The Nightfay ship-worlds appear very different to Orth, populated by those calling themselves the Second Peoples. Consisting of eleven vast city-ships, each home to around a billion people, they're places a place of high technology, and no magic.
Science & Technology
Much like the Ancient Peoples aboard their great ship, the Second Peoples have advanced incredibly far beyond those of Orth, learning the secrets of the universe. They have space stations, faster-than-light travel, incredible medical and communications technologies, and have started the process of terraforming the next planet in towards their sun.
Despite their incredible advances, the unequal distribution of its benefits has kept their lives far from the utopian vision their better members aspire to. People are born into generational occupation, and generational debt. Those born in higher society grow to become officers, running the ships. Everyone else is seen by the Officer class as simply the required mass of limbs needed to pull the levers and grind the asteroid ores required to run the vessels and keep them in the skies.
Outside of the ships exists the Interstellar Alliance of Spacefaring Peoples, or IASP for short. This group is a loose alliance of dozens of peoples, who spend their entire lives aboard far smaller ships, asteroid colonies and stations. Having rejected the politics of the Nightfay ships for something more egalitarian, an uneasy tension has developed between they and the ships. The ships have come to rely on the mining of the natural resources IASP conducts, whilst IASP requires the food, air and water that the Nightfay produce to continue to exist.
Wealth, Technology & Power
Ruled by advanced technology, even the most downtrodden, awful hellholes of the lower decks of a Nightfay vessel or IASP slum have technology that the rules of Orth would go to war over. It's a place of great innovation and advancement. A place where corporations can become more powerful than the Officer classes aboard their ships, and pan-national governments have the power to end all life in the stars above and on the world below at the flick of a button.
The technological revolution which Orth is undergoing has happened twice in the stars above. An inter-ship agreement resulted in a unified, single global government, whose reign kept the world frozen in time for millennia after millennia. The great Kabakuro family dynasty of the Ithri rose to power, and held it for 972,681 years, until a fleet-wide uprising overthrew them.
Over the last 8,000 years, the stability of the semi-fascist Officer class has enabled steady governance and progress. However, much was lost in the coup, and entire ships and space stations were lost into the void. Trade has grown around artefacts of that era when they're rediscovered, with some trading for sums of money which a family could live off to the tenth generation, in the hope that the payoff will be worth it when the machine can be used. Above all else, the currencies of the peoples of the Second Peoples are hope and power.
Officer Class & Admiralty
The ships are run by the Officer Class, a group of 1,000 people per ship who collectively make all the decisions about the operation of their vessel and its running. They themselves are subject to the Admiralty, a group of 132 (twelve from each ship) who decide the course of the entire fleet, and negotiate with IASP.
IASP is a chaos of groups, each with their own interests, rarely working together. Its dispersed nature means it has no central body for negotiation. Instead, as factions rise to prominence, de-facto leaders emerge. The current crop of leaders are:
- Seritlanthus, Narobarus and Torbiulunas, Esengutah from the asteroid platform Ypnor
- Lerion, a grade 8 Artigenence, primary AI onboard the space station Weeping Dawn
- Sel, a Falgyr, and Olni, a Nimp, from the shipyards and construction firm Buildtec
- Michabriel, an Angelucian, of the mining consortium Terranab
It's well known how the Second Peoples came to be on their ships and stations, and their history is both well recorded and corroborated by the Ancient Peoples. Whilst Manovelar hasn't been seen in generations, it's believed that her influence enabled the final collapse of the Ithri dynasty.
The wake of the fall of the Ithri, a new group rose to religious power, known as the Worshippers of Manovelar. They are now the most powerful and numerous religious group anywhere, with around half the fleet and a third of IASP holding their faith. Their central tenet of that faith is that Manovelar will watch over them, and ensure no lasting harm comes to them. This may or may not be true.
Ancient/Second Peoples Relations
Over the last thousand years or so, both the Ancient and Second Peoples have withdrawn their interference with the peoples of Orth, for fear of doing more damage.
However, there are minor exceptions to this. The Nimps have been recently increasing their contact with the Morund Collective in Begureu, where they keep an embassy of sorts, and the Hadas, who occasionally turn up in Carinerino, seemingly maintaining technology.
Travel between the Nightfay ships and the Golden Plane world is possible through the use of Portal Trees created by Golden Plane scientists. Similar trees allow for instant transport between the ships and the planet surface. The exception to this are the Disapperatures, who seem to be able to move anywhere they wish at will.
Suggested Further Research
The Culture novels by Iain M Banks
Stargate SG1 TV series
The Expanse by James S. A. Corey - books and TV series
Star Trek Deep Space Nine - TV series
Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049 by Ridley Scott/Denis Villeneuve
Serenity by Joss Whedon
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers