Welcome to the Green Worlds! The Saguaro live on a considerable number of worlds within and beyond the Empire - as mercenaries, as members of the Legions of the Imperial Sovereign, and as contemplatives. A few have even established new religions, or collectivist commonwealths with human and alien partners. In contrast, few worlds welcome or tolerate the manipulative and expansionist Peyotl. These graspers and schemers are restricted to those worlds they have taken by subversion and force, or where they have established a well-defended enclave as a base for future conquest.
The planets conquered by the Peyotl are called the Green Worlds. They have made small but significant and destructive inroads into the Empire, roughing the edges of the Imperial Extents. Theirs is a slow invasion; most Peyotl are in no hurry to do anything. The Peyotl never travel via hyperspace. Something about that medium disturbs them. Instead, some lineages of Peyotl travel at a leisurely 1% of the speed of light, while others use slipknot networks to pass through sutures in the fabric of space-time that allow for immediate transitions from system to another.
All Peyotl have in common their means of transportation: massive bioships that are composite structures grown from an ever-varying mix of substrates (animal, fungal, and plant). Each bioship is an ark, carrying an entire biosphere within it including several Peyotl clans, Saguaro footsoldiers, massive carnivorous ferns, fierce and beautiful orchids, a variety of allied insect species, and often also human slaves.
Every planetary invasion begins with a mass driver attack. Peyotl bioships cast huge seeder modules at target worlds. The heat of atmospheric re-entry triggers germination in the seeder modules. The modules release numerous species' seeds and spores in a massive air burst in the lower atmosphere, ensuring maximum distribution over target areas. At the core of every seeder module is a terraforming engine, which upon impact turns on and begins transforming the planetary environment.
Here are a few of the Green Worlds:
- Bloom, a world of shallow seas and numerous island chains, once home to a species of nomadic fisherfolk. The fisherfolk are gone now, and Bloom is entirely given over to the Peyotl and their plant and insect allies.
- Cinder, a Superearth where the Peyotl seeder module bombardment somehow went very wrong, putting enough particulate matter into the atmosphere to produce a runaway greenhouse effect. Rumor has it that some Peyotl survive in domed cities on the planet's surface.
- Garganta, a world taken by the Peyotl after a series of furious clashes with the Empire's Legion of the Broken Branch. The loss of this system was a bitter blow to the Empire, because Garganta's slipknots open into the Tangle Supercluster - a megastructure linking more than 1,000 suns.
- Neweye, an important trade world connecting the Comet Barbarians living within the Empire with their kinfolk living beyond the Imperial Extents. Neweye is an important world for negotiating marriage alliances among the Comet Barbarian clans. The Peyotl established an enclave on a human settled equatorial island just a few dozen kilometers away from the planet's primary spaceport. (The humans have survived on the Green Isle, although they are reportedly very strange. Many have odd tumorous growths in the center of their foreheads.) Peyotl trade various drugs and pharmaceuticals for the Comet Barbarian's ample supply of ancient starcharts and other trade goods. Interestingly, a few of the Peyotl elders have made a name for themselves as matchmakers among the Comet Barbarian clans.
- Suphis II, home to the Axis Mundi trees. This world was bombarded by a Peyotl ark fleet, but was saved by the foresight of the 30th Imperial Sovereign, who after destroying the invasion fleet used Excommunication to protect the world from further incursions. It's fate is unknown at this time.