Takis is a fictional planet in the Wild Cards book series. It is the homeworld of Dr. Tachyon and the source of the Wild Card virus. The culture of Takis has been alluded to in many Wild Cards stories, but was fleshed out more fully in the Wild Cards novel Double Solitaire by Melinda M. Snodgrass.
According to Double Solitaire, Takis is a planet with two moons some twenty-five light years from Earth. It has large polar ice caps, and slightly lower gravity than Earth (Tachyon often refers to Earth as a "hot, heavy planet"). Both moons have been colonized with small self-contained dome cities. The inhabitants of Takis are genetically identical to humans, with the exception that the Takisian ruling class are bred for longer lifespans, possess telepathy and other, more limited psionic powers.
The rulers of Takis, known as the Psi Lords, are divided into Houses of greater and lesser status. Psi Lord society is very structured, yet among the (male) aristocracy life is considered a constant hunt for virtu (a not easily defined term meaning the ability to succeed or fail on an epic level), which can occasionally lead to reckless behavior in pursuit of glory. Houses are ruled by a Rayis, which is roughly equivalent to an earthly king, backed by male Psi Lords known as "swords." Decisions on matters of custom or the interpretation of Takisian law are made by a council of elderly noblewomen past breeding age and no longer confined to Raranna. Some of the more powerful Houses on Takis include bitter rivals Ilkazam and Vayawand, Rodaleh, and Alaa. Serving in the place of nation-states, these Houses are treacherous, highly competitive, and often in conflict with each other. Various complex rituals and social behaviors have evolved to minimize violence and collateral damage from these events. This society has similarities to that of Renaissance Italy, although Mark Meadows thoughtfully compared it to the "Families" of the Mafia.
Breeding is of vital importance to Takisian society and this is expressed by a host of cultural nuances. Given names for the ruling class go back to the thousandth generation and what little religion the Takisians practice is a form of ancestor worship. Perfection is expressed as "the Ideal" and calling someone an "abortion" is the lowest epithet in the book. As the genetic wealth and ultimate future of a House, adult females in their childbearing years and children of the upper classes are kept closely confined and under constant guard in a special area, the aforementioned Raranna. Attacks upon a rival House's Raranna are considered a legitimate act of war as opposed to an atrocity as it would be construed upon Earth. Incest is also looked upon as a legitimate practice for the purpose of reinforcing certain genetic traits.
The most important relationship the Takisians have is with a species of living, sentient starships, a bond formed centuries ago. As with most of Takisian culture, the winning of a ship is seen as a test of personal worth and virtu. A young Psi Lord is placed on board a feral Ship, and must conquer it telepathically. Those with the will to break a Ship return as heroes. Those who do not don't return at all. When a Psi Lord dies he is placed upon his ship, loaded with treasures and keepsakes, and carried off into space never to be seen again. According to Tachyon, prior to this bond with the ships, his planet was bound by crushing contracts to the Network until his distant ancestor captured and tamed the first sentient ship to the glory of House Ilkazam.
The Takisians are highly advanced in biotechnology and genetics, being responsible for the wild card virus, which was developed by House Ilkazam as The Enhancer, a means of increasing their innate psi abilities. Due to its high failure rate, it was deemed unsuitable to test on highborn Psi Lords, while testing it on rival Houses or lowborn "groundlings" might give super-powers to unsuitable individuals. Fortunately for them, the planet Earth provided a convenient testing ground with billions of disposable people genetically identical to Takisians.
One of the primary designers of the Enhancer, Tisianne brant Ts'ara learned of the plan to test the virus on Earth and strongly protested. He raised the possibility that Earth was a lost colony of Takis, but to no effect and the plan went forward. Tisianne pursued the Psi Lord Ansata to Earth, but failed in his attempts to stop the experiment. Trapped on Earth, he eventually made a home for himself and became one of the planet's premiere experts in wild card treatment, dedicating his life to finding a cure.
Several decades later a mission was sent to Earth to study the effects of the Enhancer and to capture test subjects. The Takisians captured Dr. Tachyon as well as the aces Mark Meadows, Turtle, and Fantasy, but the mission ended in disaster. A high ranking Takisian noblewoman was killed, Tachyon and the aces escaped, and the revenge obsessed nobleman Zabb threw in his lot with the Swarm. Another shorter lull in contact between Takis and Earth followed, until the year 1990, Earth time, when Blaise Andrieux stole Tachyon's ship and arrived on Takis, precipitating the Takisian World War.
Notable Takisians Edit
- Dr. Tachyon - known as Tisianne on Takis, Rayis of House Ilkazam.
- Blaise Andrieux - Tachyon's grandson, usurper of House Vayawand, known as the Abomination.
- Zabb - Tachyon's cousin and briefly Rayis of Ilkazam.
- Durg - Morakh servitor of Zabb and then Blaise.
- Shaklan - Tachyon's father.
- L'Gura - deposed Rayis of House Vayawand
- Mona'ella - Princess of House Vayawand
- Taj - Head of the Ilkazam MIS (Mentatic Intelligence Service)
- Hastet - Chef, Jay Akroyd's wife, currently the only Takisian on Earth.
- Taksians have specially bred a short-lived form of telepath known as a soul-eater. A soul-eater's ability is remarkably similar to that of the ace Deadhead, but without the ace's psychological crutch requiring him to eat the actual brain of his victim.
- While on Takis, Jay Akroyd briefly investigated the original testing facilities for the Enhancer, which included cells for the original test subjects, in order to memorize them as a dump point for anyone he needed to teleport with his power. This was barely a footnote in Double Solitaire. No mention is ever made of the origins, specific wild card traits or fates of these nameless test subjects.
- Only a handful of humans have ever travelled to Takis. This list includes Kelly Ann Jenkins, Mark Meadows, Jay Ackroyd, and Dr. Bradley Finn. Dr. Finn is the only one to not go by ship. He arrived via Jay's teleporting power.
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