Worlds of the Bound Keld Universe

From P.L. Sullivan:

Here are some brief descriptions of the worlds that are important in each story. The descriptions include snippets of supplementary information and backstory concepts that I had in mind while writing Bound…


Overarching Concepts

The Polis is a federation of worlds whose populations share a common sense of right and wrong. Polis care about the ethics of the means – lying is always wrong -- and they have great difficulty accepting that a good end justifies an immoral action to achieve it. Their shared awareness of right and wrong is organically based and mediated by the Consensus. Polis brains, at a subconscious level, literally create the shared understanding of acceptable behaviors, the Consensus. Polis compete with each other, but their scruples make them unable to cheat or lie. A Polis cannot harm another Polis with malicious intent. Polis must be specially trained to interact with non-Polis species (Prospects) because Polis innately assume that others are as trustable and egalitarian as they are.

The Keld originated on the planet of that same name. They share the same sense of right and wrong as the Polis; however, their awareness is more nuanced. They make choices based upon both the intended outcome as well as the nature of the act. Lying, cheating, killing are normal behaviors for them as necessary to protect the Polis.

Special Protection is one of the functions provided by the Keld. They do the earliest searches for new civilizations and protect the Polis First Contact Teams as they engage with newly found worlds.

Special Action is another Keld function. They are responsible for protecting the most sensitive Polis technologies, especially the technology underlying faster than light transport. They wield the strategic weapons of the Keld in defense of the Polis.

There are physical limits to the capabilities that can be genetically engineered into a single brain. The Polis and the Keld have each made choices between mutually exclusive options:

The Keld have chosen enhanced sensory capabilities and motor skills along with a more intimate connection with the Consensus. That more intimate connection enables them to consider both the means and the ends when judging the correctness of a course of action (they choose the “greater good”).

  • Keld struggle to visualize or think in higher order dimensions.
  • The Bound Keld are called Bound because they are so intimately connected to the Consensus that the moment by moment state of their brains is mirrored into regions of the Consensus. That mirrored copy is the basis of the restoration of their minds at reanimation. They cannot visualize or think in higher-order dimensions.

The Polis chose to give themselves the ability to think in multiple dimensions. Included with that is an enhanced visual processing center that enables them to perceive multiple dimensions when appropriate visual cues are modulated onto three-dimensional displays. Their connection to the Consensus is at a subconscious level. As a result, they have great difficulty looking beyond the means to the ends when judging the correctness of a course of action (they judge actions in and of themselves as consistent or not with the duties of ethical behavior without regard to the ends).

Prospects are all those cultures not linked to the shared awareness of the Polis, the Consensus. First Contact Teams manage the engagement of those cultures with the Polis. Special Protection provides security assistance to the First Contact Teams.


Xenoarchaeology orbital station above the planet Asplos II

This station in orbit above the dead planet Asplos II was the childhood home to Adin.

It is the home base for the xenoarchaeologists attempting to recover artifacts from the remains of the civilization that once existed on this gas giant planet.



A planet recently joined to the Polis, fifty years before the beginning of the story.

The Lingalos are the indigenous Polis species. Unlike the majority of Polis species that are evolved from savannah dwellers, they are evolved from agile tree-dwelling ancestors.

This is one of five planets experiencing an outbreak of the Mad.

The local culture is matriarchal. Rulers (always female) of dominions (countries) are titled Valadyms, and their female companions are titled Sua-Valadyms.

Adin/Shennan were posted directly back to active duty in Special Protection here after being expelled from the BarKant Institute. (The BarKant Institute specializes in training Polis to become leaders of First Contact Teams and provides consulting services to existing teams. Adin/Shennan are the first Keld to ever attend BarKant.)

Redstorm’s physical links to other Polis worlds is via Portal connections to Nexus 312.



A polis planet that hosts the headquarters of the Cybski Group.

The Cybski group specializes in the most difficult First Contact situations.

Malando is part of the Cybski group.

The indigenous Polis species of Trikinon is evolved from cliff-dwelling marsupials.



This Polis base is located on a methane-ice-crusted moon.

It was built to house the most powerful computing center in the Polis.

It attracts researchers from throughout the Polis who want direct access to its computing resources.

Cale is a researcher there and teaches post-graduate classes in data analysis there.



Ragost is one of the five Polis planets suffering from an outbreak of the Mad.

All five link to the rest of the Polis via Nexus 312.


Nexus 312

This Polis structure is located in deep space, far from any planetary system.

It is in orbit around a primordial back hole that is a gathering point for naturally occurring wormholes that link to other Polis planets.

It is a thoroughfare for travel between those Polis planets and the rest of the Polis. Its location makes it a thriving trade center for the exchange of goods, materials, and people.



Moton is early in the First Contact process and overt contact has not yet been made with the indigenous population of this Prospect world.

The First Contact Team is constrained to operate in a covert mode.

At the beginning of the story, Malando has just been appointed as Moton’s First Contact Team leader. The indigenous Prospects are engaged in routine warfare, including suppression/persecution of local populations.

The Prospects have discovered some of the primordial black holes in their planetary system. They are beginning to understand how they might possibly be used to support interstellar transport at FTL speeds.

Special Action has warned the First Contact Team that exploitation of that knowledge will make Moton a deadly threat to Polis planets. Special Action has moved to annihilate Moton unless the First Contact Team can end this threat.