Agriculture

The Akashans have hyper-efficient agriculture. One Akashan's labor can feed roughly 1,000 people. Their food crops are immune to every disease they know, although new ones seem to constantly pop up. Akashans enjoy eating meat, but they prefer to simply culture high quality meat in biotechnological meat factories instead of raising and breeding food animals.

Biology, Bioaugmentation, and Medicine:

The Akashans have completely mastered the mysteries of their genetic codes. They have long since eradicated every genetic defect from their genetic pool. Any mutation which matches known defects of the past is quickly spotted by regular medical inspections and corrected, usually while the child is still in the womb. Previously unrecorded mutations are left alone as long as they produce no obvious ill effects; they may prove to introduce some useful trait into the gene pool.

Akashans are effectively immortal so long as they receive regular medical care; they have conquered aging, although the cure requires yearly treatments. These treatments are provided for free to Akashans as a government service. While the Akashans have developed equivalent treatments for their client races, the process is expensive, and many of the client races can't afford such largesse, which then causes social conflicts within their ranks over access to the treatment. They haven't developed a version which works on humans, but that will likely come fairly soon.

Lost a limb? No problem. The Akashans possess advanced cloning techniques and tissue regeneration technology. They can clone you a new leg and graft it on, or if you have enough time to spend waiting for it, they can convince your leg to regrow from the stump. Heart failure? They can clone you a new one. Need blood and you have a rare blood type? They probably already have it in stock, but if they don't, they'll clone your bone marrow and have it churn out a vatful of blood for you. Broken spine? A child could knit it back together. Accidental lobotomy? Here, have a new frontal lobe, cloned from the rest of your brain. Born blind? They'll take a sample from your shoulder and convince the cells to start growing eye tissue instead, then attach the eyes into those empty sockets.

Basically, if anything's left of your body, and you're still alive, they can fix it. If you didn't die too long ago, they can revive you. Even if your entire body was destroyed except for your brain, they can grow you a new one. Diseases are no sweat if they've already found a cure. Most new diseases, they can find cures quickly, or at least treat the symptoms.

What if you're dissatisfied with that body? Well, they can fix it. Who needs breast implants when they can simply convince your body it was supposed to have the chest you always wanted all along? Want to look like Schwarzenegger? Get a muscle augmentation treatment. Ever wanted to try being purple for a while? With a little help, your body will produce all the purple melanin you'll ever need, and it'll give you good enough UV protection that you'll never burn or get skin cancer again.

Indeed, one can go beyond the normal limits of body and mind, to the point of simulating 'super powers'. Research in this area has been limited because only possibility-ranked individuals can use such powers, and as a result, the development of such abilities tends to be the result of accidents and self-experimentation.

There are limits to how much you can augment your body. Some augmentations require you to eat food like a madman in order to provide the power supply. Others require symbiotes to take up residence, and it gets dangerous having too many of those in you at once. Akashans, humans, and their client races can't support more than three symbiotes at once without getting sick, and you can only support a limited amount of 'bionetics', as the various biological implants available are known, although the amount varies by how intrusive the bionetic implant is.

Several biological augmentations are very common in Akashan society. Everyone receives the treatment which ensures that their immune systems will, on the introduction of a fourth bioenhancer organism into their body, attack all such organisms, wiping them out in order to prevent the rapid degeneration induced by possessing four such organisms in one's body.

Many Akashans possess a head computer. This allows them to drive vehicles by thought, link themselves mentally into the ThinkNet?, chat in an apparently telepathic fashion with others so equipped, and perform a variety of other impressive feats. 'Skill packages' can be downloaded into available memory, allowing one to perform any necessary duty in an emergency. They are standard issue for all starship crews, and very common with everyone else. Such computers cannot perform the feats which more conventional Akashic ones do, but are quite useful anyway.

Enhanced immune systems and a 'Nephriic Screen', which helps to identify and prevent the digestion of toxins, are also very popular items.

The Akashans also use their genetic engineering to produce servitor organisms and devices. Details of these are covered under the various categories their functions fit into.

Communications and Computers

Akashan communications have been greatly aided by the biotechnical beings known as 'transtech'. For reasons the Akashans don't understand, these creatures have come to be known as 'Babel fish' among their human associates. These creatures live in your ear and act as translation devices. They typically begin with a knowledge of 30-40 languages, and will gradually acquire others that they are exposed to, up to a limit of 50 or so. (The most expensive versions can learn up to 100 languages). They are symbiotic.

The Akashans use living, sentient computers with psychic modems. Every planet has its own global network, which then connects to other planetary systems through specialized stargates and to other planets within the system by telepathic communications. As a result, communications over these networks is nigh instantaneous to anywhere on the same planet, involves minutes to hours of delay within a single star system, and takes days between systems.

The basic communications device is the commtrol, a portable brain specialized in telepathy which can transport messages telepathically to other commtrols. It is about the size of a camera and has a range of about a hundred miles. Messages can be sent longer distance by routing them through a relay commtrol, which is much larger and has a wider radius of transmission. There are also huge satellite commtrols, which are used to bounce messages thousands of miles across planets, between planets and orbiting ships, and between planets.

Similar organisms serve as psychic modems for Akashan computers, allowing them to communicate remotely without the need for any physical connection.

Many Akashans have head computers that allow them to communicate by thought with freestanding computers and other headware possessors, and many others learn the psychic talent that enables communication with computers. This allows them to download data directly into their brains and upload sensory experiences and memories into an electronic data format. This has many good and bad uses. These head computers are also used, especially in emergency situations, to download skill packages from other systems. Thus, if someone has a heart attack and a doctor isn't handy, you can down load a medical package and save them.

There are, however, downsides to headware. For one thing, people can conceivably download viruses into your brain, thus enabling you to experience things like sudden fatal heart attacks or the urge to assassinate your neighbor. Secondly, skill programs often don't live up to their hype; the highest levels of skill eat up far too much memory for a simple head computer to handle well. Finally, having to get cranial surgery when your motherboard fritzes out is neither cheap nor fun.

Cyberware

Akashans dislike cybertechnology, finding it intensely creepy. Most won't even manufacture it for the client races, although some Akashans easily swallow their revulsion when they hear the jingle of money. Their client races make heavy use of it since the Akashans are generally reluctant to sell biotechnology to them.

Energy

The Akashans are obsessed with clean energy. Solar power, geothermal, biological generation, and water power are their preferred sources of energy, although they also possess fusion technology, matter/anti-matter technology, and a variety of other energy technologies. Solar power collection satellites are in geosynchronous orbit over their territories.

Interstellar Transportation

Akashan lightships are an example of the combination of inorganic and organic technologies. The lightships are, for the most part, alive and often sentient. They power themselves through a combination of sunlight when out in space and periodic infusions of needed nutrients when in dock. The stardrives which enable the ships to achieve faster than light travel (without a functional stardrive, a lightship can only move at one quarter the speed of light) are inorganic, powered by matter/anti-matter collision, but controlled by the ship's nervous system. Ships are typically telepathic, and also possess the ability to generate a variety of electromagnetic phenomena, which are used for both combat and short range communications.

While their ships can achieve speeds of up to 600 times the speed of light (And thus could go from Earth to Alpha Centauri in about 2.4 days, for example), the Star Sphere is 750 parsecs (2445 light years) across, and thus transit would normally still be fairly slow between the five hundred inhabited worlds of their home galaxy, the Star Sphere, if not for the Stargate networks of the Akashans and the Sidar.

The original Stargate system was designed by the Sidar, who built elaborate self-maintaining devices around apparently pre-extant wormholes. Despite the disappearance of the Sidar, these gates continue to function, millennia later. Most of these gates led to other galaxies, but the first ones to be discovered, such as the four which connect to the home system of Akasha itself, connect to locations within the Star Sphere.

Experimentation with these gateways led to much of the current reality technology of the Akashans, the creation of the Trees of Life, and the creation of the Akashan Stargate network. The Akashans can only create Stargates within the same cosm, but this has been good enough to link every inhabited system in the Star Sphere.

It takes about a day to navigate the hyperspace inside a stargate, regardless of the distance one is traveling. Most ships can navigate themselves through the gate, but normally several astrogaters with appropriate psychic talents back up the ship to reduce the chance of disaster.

Akashan ships normally cannot survive in a gravity field much stronger than that of the Earth's moon, and thus the Akashans have developed gravitic shuttles which use a gravity/anti-gravity drive for navigation to shuttle back and forth between ships and ground. Gravitic shuttles are mostly inorganic, which makes some Akashans rather uncomfortable. They also can't function more than 10,000 KM from a large ship, station, moon, or planet, as they depend on manipulating pre-extant large gravitic fields.

Manufacturing

Because of their focus on biotechnology, Akashan 'factories' are more like greenhouses, zoos, and animal breeding grounds. Some of these are fairly automated, such as the places with produce transtechs in bulk. Others are effectively biological workshops with a large crew of Akashans handcrafting organisms.

Inorganic devices are manufactured by fully automated computer controlled plants. These are usually put somewhere people won't have to look at them. The Akashans possess technology similar to the ULTRA CAD technology of Tharkold. It is here that many of the trade goods made for sale to the client races are manufactured.

Many Akashans enjoy making things by hand, using fairly simple tools...well, simple by their standards. Such things are felt to take on a bit of the personality and soul of their maker, and thus don't inspire the same degree of alien otherness they feel from most inorganic devices.

Transportation

Akashans prefer ideally to ride animals, and they have tamed a dozen or so riding species for various environments, including two species which fly psionically. However, the world often moves at a faster pace than the Akashans would like, and so they have also developed a variety of specialized species for rapid land and sea transport. (Air transport is usually done with geomantic shuttles, since it's hard to get organic flying creatures to be able to have enough spare lift to carry anything).

Swifters and Skimmers are the land and sea vehicles of choice. Swifters are effectively vegetarian hovercraft. They must be fed large amounts of plants daily, or they will eat every plant they pass over. (If you stay off the grass, they'll starve). Swifters come in various sizes; the most common ones on Earth seat four, since the Akashans brought few long distance transport vehicles. Skimmers feed on the plankton in the water; it is unwise to operate them in heavily polluted waters as they will poison themselves.

Akashans make some limited use of short-range wormholes to create gateways between distant points at the planetary levels, but these are dangerous and require a high level of energy expenditure. As a result, they are usually reserved for emergencies and military use.

Weaponry and Armor

The Akashans have produced a wide variety of biological weaponry. Moreso than many cultures, they have focused on weapons which knock out, incapacitate, entangle, or stun, rather than kill, especially in the area of hand-held weaponry. Many specific examples are described under Equipment.

Akashic lightships have the ability to generate electro-magnetic energy at a variety of wavelengths as an offensive and defensive measure. As a result, they have workable forcefields.

The Akashics have yet to invent a man-portable force field generator; the power required is too much for an organism to generate, or even any man-portable inorganic power source.

However, they have developed a variety of kinds of armor and other biotechnological suits. Kinetic armor protects against kinetic attacks by psionically feeding on the energy. Plasma armor provides similar protection against electromagnetic, strong, and weak forces. Unfortunately, the two cannot be combined because each is symbiotic, and if you wear one on top of the other, the lower layer both cannot function and gets devoured by the outer layer. This complication leads many Monitors to actually wear various inorganic armors which provide less protection than either of these, but are useful against a majority of attack forms.

Psychic and Spiritual Powers

Most Akashans have psychic powers; those who do not tend to be viewed as handicapped. These range from those who can communicate with people in the same room by thought and move pencils to those who can do demolition work for a living with the power of their mind. Many Akashan biotechnological devices use synthesized psychic powers.

Only those who belong to the many priesthoods of Akasha possess spiritual powers, and not even all of those. While conventional magic has little power in Akasha, Akashan priests can work wonders on a par with what mages do elsewhere. Developing these powers requires rigorous spiritual discipline and years of training.

One factor contributing greatly to Akashan isolationism is that these psychic and spiritual powers (and Akashan Biotechnology) only seem to work within a very limited region of Shadow. The Akashans are thus loathe to go beyond those limits.