Adagio 15 – The Planet Djinnistan
Most star systems in both the Imperium and what would become the New Star League are generally referred to by their primary world, the planet in the system with the most population, highest technology, and/or the dominant culture. Between the worlds of Djinnistan, Houris, and the three moons of the inner gas giant that had habitable atmospheres and ecosystems, namely Pan, Eblis, and Surtur, Djinnistan took first place not by population or culture, but because it was one of the three heart-worlds of Faulkner Genetics.
Now, I have never contended that I am any sort of expert on genetics and the science of DNA manipulation, but I do understand the dominant role that heart-worlds had in the creation of the kind of beings known as Freaks.
Freaks were genetically engineered slave races bred mostly from human DNA, though also including recombinant lifeforms made from other viably sentient creatures. They ranged from the Longlegs Speedsters of the planet Martin Faulkner’s Dream, to the Man-bull living bulldozers of Sword-World Prime, to the fire-belching Afrits of Djinnistan.
Djinnistan was the science playground of Faulkner Genetics’ number-two man, Dr. Havir Bludlust. He was a man capable of grafting and gene-splicing his own body to achieve a sort of immortality, and doing any necessary horrible thing to other beings to get the specific genetic effects he wanted in a special slave. It is rumored that he had genetically amplified his own brain and given himself two giant bird claws in place of feet. Many claim that his self-manipulations drove him to insanity, but the masters of gene-splicing were all a little bit insane to begin with.
On Djinnistan, Dr. Bludlust produced three different kinds of Freaks with a decidedly Arabian Knights sort of theme.
The little halfling-like creatures, called Peris by Dr. Bludlust, were bred for extreme creativity. They had basically the bodies of a human child with a slightly larger-than-normal head. Their eyes were large and very clear-sighted. And they thought in very innovative and eccentric ways.
One Peri engineer designed a ground car with chicken legs instead of wheels, capable of hopping over rough terrain and running smoothly at about the hunting speed of a velociraptor, providing the most common vehicle on Djinnistan because it was a design loved dearly by all Peris.
Another Peri engineer created a material-synthesizer cannon that could instantly create any kind of aquatic lifeform in the barrel and shoot it out to a distance of one hundred meters. This “fish-gun” was not particularly useful on a desert world like Djinnistan, but became a popular “trout gun” for the mountain streams of Houris. It was also used as a “barracuda gun” on more violent water-worlds like Design and Dancer.
Besides being wildly creative, Peris were also prolific. A Peri female was capable of having one baby a year for 280 years out of a normal 320-year lifespan. That’s how you end up with baby names like, “Another Danged Boy Number 152” whom I may talk about later in this epic tale.
A second main form of Djinnistani Freak is the Winged Djinn race of humanoids with hollow bones and avian wings. These people are capable of extra-vehicular flight within the atmosphere, creating slaves capable of reaching all sorts of difficult-to-reach places on jungle planets, mountainous regions, and extra-large air spaces aboard some of the largest cargo cruisers in space.
These winged beings were the most numerous peoples residing on Houris, Pan, and Eblis. They were second only to the Peris on Djinnistan, and even the third most common residents of the magma-filled world of Surtur.
The hulking and sulfurous Afrits were a unique race designed to have fire-breathing capabilities. They were not blessed with high intelligence, but they made excellent warriors, and even better artillery pieces. They were capable of vomiting napalm-like material from their own stomachs as far as half a mile away with deadly accuracy. They were also fire-proof enough to survive a direct hit from a plasma rifle fifty percent of the time. Of course, they were most common on Surtur, but found on all the worlds of the Djinnistan System.
So, this was the planetary system that Arkin Cloudstalker, Black Fly, and Lazerstone came to in order to invade, with just the three of them to conquer the entire star system.