#atozchallenge: H is for Hallera and other CNF planets


Back when I first started planning out the Mendaihu Universe — or more correctly, the Vigil Universe, as I’d envisioned it then — I’d thought of creating a multiplanetary federation in which these stories could take place.  On the same day I’d spent in that overheated laundromat on Charles Street in Boston coming up with the Bridgetown setting, I made some cursory notes on this federation, but thanks to overthinking the physics of space travel as well as realizing I was overreaching a bit, I scaled back so the story would remain on a future Earth.  I’d keep this federation idea in pocket for future ideas.

Crimson-Null Foundation was a name I came up with before I even had an idea.  Originally it was ‘Crimson Nine’ as I was going to have nine planets involved.  I knew “Crimson” was going to reference Earth, but it took me quite sometime to build something around the rest of the name.
It wasn’t until writing The Phoenix Effect that I came up with the idea of Null, which was my own personal answer to bending the laws of physics for space travel.  It was partly inspired by the New Age books I’d been reading, specifically the subjects of remote viewing and astral travel.  I let the idea simmer for a few weeks, doing some deep thinking about the ground rules before I even wrote about it.  The shortest, oversimplified version I came up with: while in reality the body carries the soul in travel, in Null travel it’s the opposite: the soul travels and pulls the body along with it.  It’s a LOT more complicated than that, of course, but that’s the elevator pitch for it.
The use of the word “Null” soon changed to “Light” as the idea expanded, but I felt Null should remain when it’s referred to commercially: the Nullport, for instance.  This is also the reason I kept the “Foundation” part of it, to hint that it this planetary group is centered around commerce as well as peace treaties, but less so about the spiritual end of things.

Trisanda is not part of the CNF, even though it’s the ancestral homeworld of everyone involved; they are not part of the commercial ventures, only spiritual ones.

The first-in-line planet on the CNF board is of course Meraladh [mey-rah-LADH, slight lisp on the dh], the current physical homeworld of the aliens in this universe.  It’s an Earthlike planet that has five major continents and numerous satellite islands.  It’s the first planet that the Trisandi colonized after starting their spacefaring age, and has become a major travel destination for both business and pleasure.  In the trilogy, we meet numerous characters who are full or half-Meraladhza.

The second planet is Mannaka [mahn-NAH-kah], which many call the Midway between Meraladh and Earth.  It started out as a colony planet during the Trisandi spacefaring age, and was originally to be closed down once they traveled to Earth.  However, many of the families that had taken root there during this age did not want to abandon it.  It’s got a much smaller population than Meraladh or Earth, but it’s one of the most important transportation hubs in the CNF.  The Mannaki are an incredibly friendly and sociable people, and are also fiercely protective of their own.  They’re the leaders in transportation and communication technologies.  Councilor Mancka Udéma, a member of the Provincial Governor’s Council, who we meet in the latter half of A Division of Souls, is Mannaki.

Earth/Gharra is the third-important planet in terms of the CNF, and was the main destination of the Trisandi spacefarers.  Eons later the Meraladians reestablished contact with Earth to strengthen their connection; both planets created the Foundation soon after to solidify the commercial and spiritual connections of all planets inhabited fully or partly by Meraladians.
Gharra [GAH-rrah, very slight glottal fricative on the rr] is the original name given by the Trisandi to the planet.  Whenever the planet is talked about in spiritual terms, both the Mendaihu and Shenaihu will always refer to it as Gharra.

Fourth is Hallera [HAH-leh-rah], a purely Meraladian-made satellite world in which its inhabitants all live within the planet, not outside of it.  It’s another midway planet and is mainly a transportation hub, both for Null travel and for shipping purposes.  There are also some minor technological and industrial companies based here as well.  [Later on when I started working second shift at a warehouse in late 2000, I came up with an MU-related story about dock workers on Hallera.  I’m yet to write it, but I’m sure I’ll be doing so soon enough.]
Hallera does have a significant population, mostly those who live and work there, such as dock workers, transportation, security, and so on.  CNF representative Jack Priestley, who we meet early on in A Division of Souls, grew up here.

Fifth is Runeia [roo-NAY-ah], a planet not too far from Hallera.  It unfortunately has gotten a bit of a bad reputation, as technically it’s a prison planet; this is where many of the worst criminals would be sent to for rehabilitation.  The world itself is actually quite beautiful and lovingly curated by its inhabitants.  It’s extremely distant from most of the other planets, which adds to its unfair reputation as a bad place to be.  [This one’s a Tuckerized name:  It’s named after the final track, “Runeii”, of Talk Talk’s 1991 album Laughing Stock.  That song title is also the inspiration of using the extra ‘i’ at the end of some clan names.]

There are other planets involved, but I have yet to sketch them out. 🙂

On Peace, Love and Light

In the Mendaihu Universe, a very common greeting between spiritual-minded people is “Peace, Love and Light to you.” It’s meant purely as a blessing of good will and open mind and heart. Depending on the situation in which it’s said, it can either be a blessing (“I wish you the best of worlds”) or as an honoring, such as a follower to an Elder. Its creation was inspired by a similar phrase used in certain new age beliefs I read up on during the creation of the Mendaihu Universe, and its meaning is quite similar. The three elements of this greeting are considered strong energies present in universal life–peace is the balance of energy, love is its strength, and light is its physical and ephemeral existence that feeds us.

Peace is quite possibly the most important in the Mendaihu Universe.  Our alien kin are highly spiritual–that is, their connection to the universe is not just an understanding of their physical place within it, but an understanding of their soul’s ties to it.  Their extrasensory abilities have given them a keen awareness of balance and imbalance within themselves and within others, and as a result they are drawn to maintaining balance.  This is not to say that they avoid wars, far from it; they have had many civil and multi-world wars during their long history.  Additionally, there has always been a tenuous relationship between the two major factions of the Meraladhza…the Mendaihu and the Shenaihu.  There will occasionally be a civil war between the two (the latest of which is part of the main plot of the Bridgetown Trilogy), which has long been thought of as a spiritual imbalance within the Meraladzha race, and these wars are often seen as an attempt to regain this balance.

Love is used as a strength or a source of power in many stories, and it’s seen in many different forms.  I find the most interesting use of love is when it’s used for compassion and strength instead of romanticism. This kind often takes a familial form. At the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Dumbledore mentions that it’s “love” that kept Harry safe from Voldemort’s touch; it was his mother’s selfless protection that formed not just a bond but a barrier. In Naruto, it’s in the form of the title character’s parents Kushina and Minato; their love not only protects him from the Nine-Tailed Fox, it also serves as part of the lock that keeps the unwieldy spirit deep within his body, keeping it safe from everyone. In A Division of Souls, this is seen very early on when Caren’s first reaction to an unsanctioned city-wide ritual is to protect her younger sister Denni from its backlash.  Love is also a driving force within the Mendaihu Universe novels.  The relationships of family, friendship and partnership are strong and important, and serve as the backbone for the Bridgetown Trilogy.  It is often seen and utilized as a spiritual anchor, a reminder of the connection between all living things.

Light is the power itself, and it takes many forms and levels.  Using Naruto as an example again, this could be the use of chakra for offensive and defensive purposes.  In the Mendaihu Universe, it is used both as a tool and as a destination.  As a tool, it’s thought of as the energy behind the Meraladhza abilities such as soulhealing and innerspeak.  It’s also used in forced-extraction form known as Lightwork; both creative (healing, cleansing and moving) and destructive (fighting and shielding).  As a destination it’s the non-space or “Null” between two fixed points.  Only the strongest of Mendaihu and Shenaihu (both Meraladhza and human) have the ability to move in this manner.  The movement entails gathering Light energy to one fixed point–say, the space in front of you–and stepping into the Light.  The sensation is very much like stepping into complete whiteness (usually Mendaihu) or blackness (usually Shenaihu) (I say “usually” because cho-nyhndah–those who are both–can move either way).  The exit point is the reverse–knowing the fixed point one wants to get to, and releasing the same Light energy at that point.

When awakening as a Mendaihu or a Shenaihu, knowledge and use of these powers are essential, and are part of the training soon after the awakening ritual has been performed.  It is not exactly dangerous to avoid or prolong getting trained, but the longer one waits, the harder it is to learn how to wield these powers, and using them without proper training can prove dangerous, even fatal.

Granting or wishing “Peace, Love and Light” to others is considered one of the highest forms of praise, but it’s also a high form of compassion as well.  In giving Peace, Love and Light, one gives a part of their own spirit; one offers spiritual balance, spiritual strength, and spiritual being.