Elyran Culture, Law, and Society
Elyran culture generally places a great emphasis on peacefulness and respecting the natural order of things, and sources much of this attitude from the religion of Islam as well as Elyran Revolutionary Thought. Generally, prevailing attitudes are conservative because they wish to preserve what exists now and not push forward radical change that will greatly upset the current framework of the society, family, or other unit. This extends to everything from family life, with a great respect for elders and their wisdom being very common in Elyran culture, to Elyran laws, with many on the books that actively prosecute behaviour that may exude what is deemed as “immoral selfishness,” though what this definition is remains often up to the interpretation of the presiding judge or judges. This attitude is also prevalent in individual persons as well as the outlook of Elyra is to focus greatly on the whole, rather than simply the individual. People are often expected to sideline their own problems for the greater good of society or their families, rather than cause a fuss or protest. A common saying among Elyrans that expresses this is: “if the bricks crack, the wall becomes weak.” The prominence of this establishment-centred philosophy has led to many ripple-effects in Elyran society, the most prominent of which is the presumption of guilt in Elyran courts which one must then disprove before a panel of judges. For this reason, Elyran courts have a nearly perfect conviction rate for cases that go to trial.
This adherence to a collectively-focused culture extends to loyalty as well. It is culturally frowned upon for an Elyran to leave their job for a better paying one so long as their current employer treats them well and pays them a decent wage, as taking a higher-paying job and betraying one’s employer is considered selfish and greedy. From the other side of the exchange though, an employer should treat their employees well and actively try to advance their company to better provide for the lives of their employees. To this attitude, a person can and should work for their entire lives for a single employer if they are treated well and allowed to live off of their wages but should also place providing for their family first. Most Elyrans put a high value on education, and as a result, a large majority of Elyran citizens have some form of college education, even if it is only a two-year degree.
Modesty is another value often expressed through Elyran culture and is one that is most often found in Elyran fashion, which often reveals little skin despite being made from very rich colours. Originally enstated so as to prevent "Cytherian and Eridanian levels of excess," Modesty laws or “debauchery laws,” as they are commonly called, are exemplars of this cultural trend, being a very broad category of legislation that Elyran citizens can be sued for if their public expressions are deemed immoral, whether this is in look or other areas. Things that may result in fines are dying one’s hair bright, unnatural colours or black; being tattooed; getting facial or tongue piercings (things associated with Eridanian dregs and/or haram under Islam, the predominant religion of Elyra); overly exposing fashion, such as wearing clothing that shows a lot of skin in "indecent areas"; and action or speech classified as “immodest or selfish displays,” a broad definition that often is defined by the judges presiding over a court case. Different judges can have wildly different interpretations of the law and may view some things such as piercings or dyes as falling under the jurisdiction of the law while others might not; the law is very flexible and can be strict or lax. These laws do not exist to enforce things like veiled women or beneath the knee clothing on men, but are simply the Elyran state's attempt to safeguard itself against perceived "Solarian cultural disruptions." Similarly, interpretations vary from planet to planet, with different localities enforcing different standards. What is considered immodest or immoral on Damascus II or Busra may be overlooked or tolerated on Persepolis or New Suez, for example.
Charity is yet another tenant that most often permeates Elyran culture, with numerous charities and foundations set up around the country to provide for the less-fortunate in Elyra and beyond. These charities are barred by the Elyran state from conducting operations to non-citizen persons residing in Elyra, however, as the Elyran government has deemed such actions as “unjustly indulgent” to those who are not part of Elyran society yet still wish to benefit from it. Elyra is one of the leading donors to the Interstellar Aid Corps along with the Coalition of Colonies and has an incredibly robust charity culture as a result.
“The Elyran Spirit” is a value entirely unique to Elyra that has little to no roots in its source cultures and is explained through its name. It is a form of Elyran exceptionalism that asserts that Elyra, its culture, and its people are inherently different and unique to the rest of humanity and other countries in the Orion Spur. It asserts that Elyran society is the best in existence through its institutions and cultural values and that this society must not just be preserved from within, but defended from without as well. This takes the form of Elyra’s historical tendency to isolate itself from the rest of the Orion Spur, believing that other cultures and peoples will pollute and therefore erode the Elyran culture and way of life if allowed in. Many believe this way of thought is the reasoning for Elyra’s strict immigration policies as well as its general reluctance to involve itself in Interstellar Affairs; however, this element of the Elyran Spirit has slowly begun to change since the country ended its self-imposed isolation in the late 2380’s. Even so, it is not uncommon for Elyrans to view the societies and cultures of other nations and peoples as inferior, even if the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary, due to the inherently exceptional status Elyran culture and society holds by this school of thought. This ideal is not an excuse to decry the cultures of others, but is instead the incentive to consistently improve Elyran society by working in accordance with its ideals to better promote a society built on the stable foundations that others may enjoy by making their own societies and cultures more like that of Elyra. Most Elyrans are very respectful of traditions that made their society, but seek to expand upon them in new and novel ways as a method of continuing the Elyran revolution.
Family Life & Relationships
The nuclear family is the core unit of Elyran society and is often emphasised in the rhetoric of media and politicians as being the foundation upon which their great society is built.
The Elyran perception of a family is two adults, and at least two children. Homosexual or otherwise non-traditional marriages are accepted in Elyra, but having children, be they adopted or born from one of the parents, is heavily encouraged by the cultural norms of the country. Gender roles are somewhat traditional in perception in Elyra, with women often expected to be mothers alongside any career they choose to follow, if they decide to. Additionally, men are expected to be fathers, with the cultural expectations placing great emphasis on both members of a marriage to become active and caring parents for their children. Widows, widowers, and divorcees are encouraged to remarry in Elyran society and start new families to further secure the foundation of Elyra and make more children who might further preserve the Elyran way of life. Marriage is something of great importance in Elyran society that legitimizes one as a part of their own family but also one that is subject to a series of benefits under the Elyran welfare system such as tax breaks, free childcare, and family-oriented healthcare plans among others. Because of both its cultural and legal significance, marriage is encouraged from early adulthood and many families often arrange marriages for this reason. Polyamorous relationships are frowned upon in Elyra and are considered a form of adultery, a prosecutable offense under Elyran debauchery laws, as are infidelity and spousal neglect.
The role of children in the Elyran family is one that is important as well. From a young age, children are taught to respect their elders and trust the judgement of those more capable than themselves and to know their place in the hierarchy of the family with the parents cohabiting the top. They are expected to be honest with their parents and trust their judgement so as they think their parents are being fair— after they become adults, of course. Parents, additionally, are encouraged to be understanding yet firm in how they parent their children in order to raise upstanding future citizens who will benefit not just society, but the family as well. Because of the emphasis that Elyran society places upon a family, and because the citizens of the country are all encouraged to be parents, there are few things that are seen as more shameful and despicable in the public consciousness of Elyra than a person who is a neglectful or abusive parent.
Children are expected to take care of their parents in their old age, and for this reason, many Elyran houses are built with two guest rooms: one for guests, and one for the grandparents of the family to live in. This expectation of responsibility is higher in men, so the daughters of families are not expected to take on this responsibility unless there is no son in the family. When a parent moves in with their adult child, however, the dynamic between the two changes and the parent is now a member of their child’s household and is expected to now trust their judgement. Parents can sue their children for “absent neglect” in court if the children refuse to take on the responsibility of caring for them, which usually results in the parent or parents in question getting a monthly payment from their adult children to cover their expenses in a care facility.
Arts & Mass Media
Elyran arts are some of the most unique and distinctive in the Orion Spur. The common aesthetic of them is almost universally recognisable as Elyran and remains something that not only Elyran artists but also the state have worked carefully to cultivate over nearly 300 years. Elyran art is typically not abstract, but it’s in some way relative to a real-life reference, be it a feeling, person, or scene. This extends to nearly every form of art in Elyra, from poetry, to film, to visual art, to even music.
Visual art is usually of natural scenery or a fusion of nature with constructs of society, such as buildings, vehicles, or more mystical design elements. Rarely are people or faces especially drawn in this style of art. Floral designs interspersed with bits of technological machinery or glowing hues found in architecture. Generally, Elyran art is very vivid and uses vibrant, even opulent colours to paint its images, leading its artists to often take fanciful, imaginative directions in their art. This also lends itself to the official, state-endorsed artstyle of Elyra: Elyran futuro-impressionism. Verbal, performed, or written art that is not made in the official language of the Republic, Elyran Standard, is not supported, funded, or promoted by the Elyran state.
This style applies to more than just visual arts and is also applicable to the architecture found in the republic as well. Traditional designs inspired by their Earth counterparts are often used as references which things like hard light, plasteel, glass, and mag-pulse hover equipment, all accented with holographic projections and mixed with various kinds of stone, will both imitate and embellish in a unique style that is both distinctive and bright to the eye. Few planets deviate from this style, either for historical and cultural reasons, like much of the original colonial-era architecture of Damascus II, or for more practical ones, like the few settlements on Medina which rest on the planet’s surface rather than floating above it.
Elyran mass media is something that is arguably integral to not just the expression of Elyran popular culture, but also of its national culture as well. Mass media has many forms, such as holovision channels broadcasting everything from news to critically-acclaimed serial dramas, from religious services to live music. Altered variants of outside social media in the country are censored to fit with Elyran standards and laws, and the Elyran side of the Holonet as a whole is broadly restricted when compared to other countries. In recent years though, more and more people have been able to pass the Elyran government’s firewalls in order to access outside content, however the state has vowed to clamp down on these breaches. Cinema is also a point of pride for the government and people, with not only some of the most compelling narratives in recent years having come out of the Serene Republic, but some of the most advanced visual effects as well, especially from the Persepolian entertainment industry. More pertinent to Elyran culture as a whole are films from Damascus II’s first film studios produced during the Colonial Era and Elyran Golden Age. While the planet no longer produces films on any large scale compared to its golden age, Elyran cinema started there, much like almost all other forms of the Elyran arts.
QQs are a kind of uniquely Elyran content which are essentially holographic AI personalities that livestream content to an online audience. They interact with one another, have drama between themselves, and have storylines all their own as well. These AIs are watched avidly by some in Elyra as a form of entertainment. Most QQs are owned by either Elyran corporations or the state; though recently, Idris Incorporated acquired the rights to a small number and have begun their own operations in the country, albeit under strict supervision from the authorities.
Strict censorship is placed on what is and is not allowed on Elyran social media and holonet websites, and much of what applies to the average citizen through debauchery laws in real life would also apply to their online presence as well. Furthermore, political discussion is allowed in political circles but only as it relates to the confines of the Elyran political system. Much like in person, discussions that mention the destruction of the state or the participation in political activities within a party that are unapproved of by the state are illegal and can result in arrests or jail time. News articles, broadcasts, and other disseminations of information from media to the public is often under the watchful eye of the Ministry of Internal affairs to have a pro-Elyra spin on things and to vilify those inconvenient to the Republic’s goals and interests, both inside and outside of the country. Mass media serves a very important purpose to the Elyran state aside from simply education however.
Those accused of violating Elyra’s debauchery laws or committing “immoral selfishness” can often avoid jail time by making humiliating apologies which include an admittance of guilt and wrongdoing and begging for the public to forgive their crimes, all televised all on holovision. This is done locally if they are private citizens, or on a planet-wide or even national scale for public figures, depending how famous the person in question is. This is not allowed for more serious offences or repeat offenders, but it cements the ideals of modesty and collective consequences that the government wishes to instill in its people by extolling them on public television with one’s fellow citizens as examples. Non-Citizen Persons are often excluded from consuming mass media, as they lack the citizenship which is required to purchase licenses needed to activate devices so that they may receive live holovision and holonet signals.
Elyran cuisine is one of the few parts of Elyran culture that is not unified across the Republic’s many worlds, though all do share some common characteristics. uisine is halal by the standards of Islamic law, due to the country not only having its cultural origins in the majority Muslim countries of the Middle East, Northern Africa, Persia, and Anatolia, but also because the vast majority of the nation’s current population are Muslim.
Most noticeably perhaps, pork is absent from the country’s cuisine, and the purchasing of alcohol is often taxed heavily and legally restricted in the country, though this varies greatly by locality. Some planets, like Persepolis, have little to no restrictions on the buying of Alcohol aside from sales being prohibited on Fridays, a day of rest and worship in Islam, while others like Damascus II prohibit the sale of alcohol almost universally on the planet, aside from a select few specially-licensed resorts and liquor shops. None of these restrictions apply to the Persepolian moon of New Suez due to its status as a special trade zone. As a result, it has zero restrictions or taxes on the purchase, sale, and consumption of alcohol, making it an anomaly among Elyran jurisdictions.
Seafood is very prevalent in Elyran cuisine, though this is less seen on planets without significant bodies of water such as Medina and Bursa, as seafood does not travel well. For those that are able to produce their own seafood however, each planet has a unique variation on what is made from the creatures caught from the oceans, ranging from simple and elegant on Persepolis, to savory and hearty on Damascus II, to exotic and spicy on the ocean planet of Aemaq.
Tea is the drink of choice for many Elyrans, and the country has a wide variety to choose from. While sweeter, herbal teas are the most popular in the country, others such as green or black teas are not unheard of. Elyran tea is notable for its variety of components which has made it famous around the spur. Nuts, raisins, spices, and even more outlandish things like yogurt or pollens can be found in the upper echelon of teas, leading to incredibly diverse and unique flavour profiles that cannot be found anywhere else in the Orion Spur. Each planet has its own traditional style of tea, and residents of these worlds are usually fiercely opinionated about which is superior. Persepolian tea is often herbal and infused with floral products like lavender or rosewater, or even brewed from flower petals themselves, and then sweetened with sugar. Aemaqi tea is often served cold and is made from the variety of the aquaflora found on the planet, with exotic salts refined from Aemaq’s vast ocean spread around the rim of the glass. Medinan tea is notable for typically being based from green tea and is incredibly sweet, with citrus syrup or raisins usually being common additions to it. Lastly, Damascene tea is typically much stronger than any other variety, based from black teas, and is often infused with the botanicals of grains or berries grown on the planet along with a variety of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.
Elyran coffee is similarly notable, though less for the creativity of its production, and more for the strength of its caffeination. It is incredibly potent, often being stronger than espresso, and is less of a liquid than it is a gritty mash of strained, pressed, and otherwise prepared coffee grounds that has a layer of liquid coffee that seeps to the top. Its served in small cups and is usually garnished with flower petals and whip cream, with different shops using different flowers to set them apart from potential competitors.
While purchasing and consuming alcohol is restricted to varying degrees and many there do not drink it for religious reasons, one of Elyra’s primary luxury exports are alcoholic beverages, specifically wine. Beginning in the early 2380’s as part of the country’s initiative to open up to the rest of the world economically, a number of farmers on Damascus II began to retool their vineyards into ones focused towards the production of wine to sell abroad rather than just the produce of the grapes themselves. Due to the planet’s favorable climate for the fruits and investment from the Ministry of Agriculture over the years, Damascene wine has grown a prestigious pedigree that makes it a luxury good desired all over the Orion Spur.
Religion is something that is very important to the population of Elyra. Less than a twentieth of the population claim to be agnostic, and while levels of devotion and activity vary among the population, it is undeniable how religion, especially that of Islam, has shaped the culture of the country. All religions have equal protection under the law by the Elyran state in the country so long as the government officially recognises a belief as a religion. While Elyra is a firmly secular nation, many of its cultural values and ideals stem from the various interpretations of Islam, and as such, a vast majority of the country identifies as one of the various forms of Muslim and participate in the practices, customs, and holidays of the religion either devoutly or in more cultural ways if they do not actively worship. This influence can be seen not just in the country’s laws and official attitudes towards certain societal ideals, but also in the way many of its human citizens view their IPC counterparts.
IPCs legally are citizens and have the same rights with very few exceptions as their human compatriots, but they are not seen as “people” by a majority of the population. They are seen simply as soulless mechanical constructs. This does not stretch to the lengths of the Empire of Dominia, where IPCs are seen as evil harbingers of demons, and simply rests on the stance that IPCs do not possess souls and should not be treated as if they do in matters of personage and spirituality. Because of this, local laws on some planets permit that individual mosques may ban IPCs from entry if they so choose to do so.
The influence of religion goes both ways as the state also has a great deal of involvement over religious practices in Elyra. Imams are subject to the same scrutiny and speech laws as the rest of the public, and sermons aimed against the state or in favor of destabilizing it are often met with fines and arrests. The Ministry of the Interior says that this is to prevent religious extremism and radicalization from taking hold over people who would otherwise be moral and pious citizens and turning them against what the Elyran government describes as a “tolerant society.” Popular religious views on IPCs also are often at odds with the official policy of the Elyran authorities, as legally, free IPCs are just as much “people” as humans are with matters of the soul not mattering to a secular institution like the republic.
IPC Culture in Elyra
IPC culture is something curious in the Republic of Elyra as it has various layers and subcultures within itself much like any other cultural group might. Owned IPCs are rarely able to form cultures outside of their cohorts or with other owned IPCs with whom they interact with regularly, which has led to free IPC culture being the dominant variety in the country. Of free IPCs, there are a few varieties of subculture. Free IPCs are often not bound by the same societal pressures as humans, especially in regards to marriage and family, but even so, they have their own cultural traits and categories.
The first subculture is referred to usually as the “Artisan” group and are primarily composed of free IPCs that generally do not participate in Elyran society or its norms. While they are still technically citizens, the cultural distaste towards IPCs in Elyra has motivated them to withdraw themselves from societal and political issues around IPCs in the country and instead to focus on the scene of arts, trade, or other self-fulfilling pursuits. Many IPCs in this culture must interact with greater society at least in part— working a job, for instance— but the ethos of this subculture is to enrich themselves with arts and experiences separate from Elyran cultural norms as much as they can and be as politically uninvolved as possible with many refusing to vote. The goal of many IPCs in this group is to one day make enough money to be at a point where they no longer have to work and can simply surround themselves with the arts, creative experiences, and the other luxuries Elyran society has to offer. This subculture is tolerated by the government despite the fact that the goal of these IPCs is to not follow mainstream cultural norms, partially because it is small in size, and also because the government does not wish to seem as if it is discriminating against its citizens on the basis of species; there is also the technicality that everything Artisan IPCs do does not break any laws.
The second and larger subculture of Elyran IPCs are referred to as “Assimilationists,” and they are much the opposite of their Artisan counterparts. Rather than withdrawing from a society that views them as soulless, Assimilationist IPCs are instead very active in society. As their name implies, they often practice social customs and norms and do their best to integrate into society to some degree. They view themselves simply as Elyran citizens who are also IPCs and are part of the Republic as much as their human counterparts are. Many in fact are patriotic towards the Elyran state, in part because Elyra was the first nation in the Orion Spur to grant citizenship to IPCs, despite prevailing views among most of its people. However, even Assimilationists are not entirely integrated with mainstream Elyran society.
IPCs as a whole, whether Assimilationist or Artisan, often live in their own communities. It is not uncommon to find entire neighborhoods in Elyra with majority IPC populations and IPC-owned and operated businesses existing to serve that community alone. IPCs are also quite protective of these communities as well, and while Assimilationists see themselves as part of the greater Elyran society, they often look at human outsiders moving into their communities with suspicion and see them as intruders. It is useful to look at Assimilationist IPCs as those that create their own version of Elyran culture dominated by IPCs. Despite religious attitudes rejecting the notions that synthetics possess souls, many Assimilationist IPCs may practice customs influenced, inspired, or even directly related to Islam— but almost none are religious. Assimilationist IPCs see Islam as something that does not recognise them, so they refuse to participate in the religion in any way beyond respecting decidedly "Elyran" customs. A small minority of IPCs of this subculture do adhere to the faith however, but they are looked upon with skepticism or even scorn from both their own communities, with them often being seen as traitors in a sense, and greater Elyran society at large for doing so.