|Type||Interstellar economic union|
|Base of Operations||Starholme|
|First Appearance||Aces High|
The Network is a loosely organised collective of alien species. It exists for predominantly mercantile reasons, granting its member races a vast network of interplanetary knowledge, commerce, and faster-than-light travel options. It was founded by a mysterious group of beings, known as the Master Traders, and has existed for hundreds of millennia before taking an interest in Earth in modern times.
Prior to 1990, the Network numbered 137 different sentient species spread out over a thousand different worlds. A few of these races have made notable appearances in Wild Cards literature:
The technology level of the Network as a whole is highly advanced, although some of the member races are known to be primitive, so technological standards can vary wildly from one world to the next. The founding races are generally among the top echelons of technological advancement. Some seemingly advanced races actually prove to demonstrate their technological progress in certain castes, while other members of their race can be drones with little use for equipment beyond their predetermined role in life. There are even races that have barely progressed past an iron age state of development.
Starholme is the centre of the Network. It is a completely artificial planet built in the early days of the Network's existence.
Network starships range from small exploration vessels to huge transports supporting a wide array of different species within. Some members of a ship's crew may spend their entire lives on board, never setting foot on a planet. The Network has been able to use these craft to range far throughout the galaxy, even transporting Takisians to their adopted home of Takis before the Takisians gained their own form of interstellar travel.
The Network and EarthEdit
The Network has known about Earth for a long time and have been sending a ship to check up on it every 200 years. Previously they had found that the planet had little to offer, although an exploratory visit in 1952 saw them learning about the wild card virus and suddenly the planet became a whole lot more interesting. After determining that the virus was something of a failed experiment, the Network again departed, although this time they were intrigued enough to leave observers behind. Their remote observer was a solitary individual monitoring the planet from high orbit until he was killed by the Swarm. A second posting came in the form of Jube the Walrus, a Glabberan who could blend in easily amongst the jokers of Jokertown.
The Network and TakisEdit
The Network and the Takisians have maintained a somewhat acrimonious tension between them for thousands of years. Originally the Takisians were dependant on the Network for interstellar travel and the trade deals offered to them by the Master Traders to secure passage were extremely draining on Takisian society. They parted company after the Takisians gained transportation of their own, but the Master Traders still maintained an interest in adding the Takisians to the Network. This was largely due to Takisian advancements in genetics, bioengineering, and psionics. Adding these qualities would provide great assets to the Network, but unfortunately for them, the feuding Takisian ruling class are simply not interested.