The Ammonites:

 

Who are the Ammonites?

 

The Ammonites are the oldest inhabitants of the galaxy.  They originally lived on Kintara, in the centre of the Ammonite Galaxy. Since their planet, Kintara, was engulfed by the black hole (See The "Lost Animas"), they have adopted Enara as their own. Those who survived being stopped light are now known as "Enaran Ammonites", or "Enarans", or sometimes still "Ammonites". They feel they have a place as the ancients, the wise ones.  They found a way to become animas, to transcend their flesh, although they cannot transport through space, like Arcan can.  Through a complicated process they separate the soul from the flesh, and then used the ortholiquid to make a special type of amorph which in the series are called ‘animas’.

The Ammonites are not only able to communicate mentally, their diamond-shaped mental animas can fit together to form a new shape. This is a complex geometric shape - rather like a great grand stellated 120 cell polychoron (see image below, courtesy of Wikipedia), but much, much, bigger and only made of rhomboids, where each diamond shape slots into a whole, enormous diamond polyhedron. It is far more complicated than this, but this gives a general idea:


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/34/Ortho_solid_016-uniform_polychoron_p33-t0.png/280px-Ortho_solid_016-uniform_polychoron_p33-t0.png

 

The Ammonites believe that their 'star of diamonds', 'diamond of diamonds', or as they call it the ‘astrand’, is the forerunner to an absolute form which transcends all corporeal life, the 'sumand'.  Because of this belief, they have what they call ‘Legil Sumand’.  They believe that if they succeed in luring all the lost animas to Enara, there will be enough animas to form a ‘sumand’, which their scientists postulated would be strong enough to detach from their earthly bodies, and ‘ascend’.


Astrands are both dangerous, because of the power they can channel, and vulnerable, as they leave its components with no protection at all.  Astrands should only be formed in safe places, where possible enemies cannot find them, because the physical bodies have no protection when the minds have formed an astrand.  Once in the astrand, they have more powers and many more possibilities, although the astrands in themselves are not an evolutionary step, merely a ‘joining of forces’. 


The Ammonites are wrong about this.  They consider that the sumand is a means to real enlightenment.  This is why they are determined to keep their culture pure, and also why they need the lost animas, since they believe that the astrand they can form on Enara is incomplete, and needs those animas in order to form a sumand, and therefore ascend to category one status, through Legil Sumand, which is the be-all and end-all of the Ammonite philosophy, ever since they realized that their whole civilization would be lost in the supermassive black hole when Kintara was engulfed.  (In fact, the sumand may be the key to the future, but not just in the way the Ammonites think.)

 
This is tantamount to a religious more; it is not open to interpretation.  Any Ammonite who does not believe this would be eliminated.  Any of the Ammonites who don’t believe this would be hunted down and killed by their peers.


They can kill their own kind when in the astrand.  All the rest use the transgressor as a focus for the energy, and this burns through the mental meld until the Ammonite which has betrayed his peers is hit by a narrow beam which boils his brain, and then leads to his death.  This technique is used if any of the components of the astrand threaten to leave it, and also used to terminate the travelers when their time is past. 


The biggest sin of an Ammonite is to abandon his peers.  Everything except this can be forgiven.   They have another important law, that of ‘nox precatal’, which forbids them to kill under any circumstances.  Unfortunately, nox precatal is overridden by legil sumand, which is why any dissenter is automatically eliminated from the group mind, and why any danger to the astrand is countered by death.


Apart from this, they would be a reasonable species.  They are interested in other species, would not willingly destroy anything unless it threatens the astrand, and believe in exploration and expansion of their horizons. 


The Ammonites believe Arcan is an enemy, since he was formed from part of their ancestors and therefore has made it more difficult for the sumand to form.  They think he is a mistake of nature, but they are aware of his influence over the canths, and they can’t forgive him for this. They believe that without the canths they will never progress to the sumand.


Their only hope to do this may be to form an alliance with another species which is eager to harness the orthogel’s ability.    One of the travelers is diverted to Enara, and once they transmit their findings back to Dessia, the Dessites find it easier to communicate mentally with them.