Sot'm History and Culture

As chronicled by Adam J Purcell


Only the planet Sotus has indigenous life. It's inhabitants are a mechanic life form known as the Sot'ms. These technologically advanced people are especially well known for their love of the military and what they term 'wild parties'. Their home world is most regarded for it's huge towering metal cities, the famous architecture of Walton and it's hoopy casinos.

Little is known of the origins of Sotus' robotic populace but it is generally accepted that an organic life form instigated the Sot'ms, though they themselves treat this as a taboo subject. When pressed on the issue a Sot'm will invariably claim that mechanical life is the pinnacle of evolution.

The Sot'ms have been on good terms with the Gallifreyans since their first contact in -67,777,216 TL. Early meetings saw the Sot'ms gain, amongst other things, faster than light space travel. The famous Gallifreyan architect known as Walton made his home on Sotus and was responsible for much of the famous structures that still stand to this day, millions of years later.

Like most civilisations of this technological level they have not advanced much in the intervening millenniums, there being little necessity for greater technologies. Due to an ancient quirk in the Sotem governmental structure the system is ruled by a controlled monarchy in the form of a scientist known as Professor Sot'm. It is widely believed that Professor Sot'm was the first of the race, though it is reported that even he cannot remember his origins some hundred million years ago. Nonetheless, he is considered the wisest being in the universe by his populace and has been personally responsible for many of Sotus' technological advancements over the millennia.

Visitors are generally discouraged in the Sotem Spiral with the exception of ambassadors and invited VIPs. Few civilisations existed back when the Sot'ms first went out to the stars and they quickly gave up with the idea of contacting others. The current extent of Sot'm space travel is little more than a few diplomatic delegations (for minimal trading) and their mighty mining craft which literally shatter planets for conversion into base atomic stock.

All Sot'ms work directly for the government, though they do not understand the concept of government and just consider themselves part of a large community to which they all contribute. This centralised method has successfully eliminated wastage and duplication of activities. Unlike most races who attempt this method, the Sot'ms have managed to avoid corruption, many believe they are incapable of it - they certainly appear quite innocent to most of the other more cynical races. Some of the lesser races actually scorn the Sot'ms and their apparent utopia but secretly wish they were as advanced that they only needed to work 1 in 4 days as the Sot'ms do.

The Sot'm People

No two Sot'ms are alike. Despite the odd form of government, individualism is very important to the robotic creatures. This is reflected in the way that each Sot'm is built (or 'brought into being' as the Sot'ms call it) as a custom one-off. This is achieved by having each and every Sot'm design their own replacements (known as 'The Successor') from name right the way down to internal sub-system placements. The Successors are normally based on their 'Progenitor' and must conform to the normal Sot'm template.

The average Sot'm life-span is in the region of 30,000 - 40,000 years, though death is normally a result of a major accident, otherwise gradual sub-system replacements can keep a Sot'm alive for millions of years. The second most common cause of death is a ritualised suicide known as 'causing cold neuro-paths'. When a Sot'm feels as if they have attended all the worlds best parties and casinos (where they can win the right to extended holidays) and have nothing else left worth enjoying, they can apply for the right to 'cause cold neuro-paths'. The government Recreation Function will note any activities the Sot'm may wish try first, if any remain that they have not already enjoyed, or grant permission. One of a 'pending cold neuro-paths' Sot'ms final acts is to assist in building 'The Successor', though they cannot both be alive at the same time - The Successor is not brought into being until after the Progenitor's death.

Once a Sot'm neuro-unit is brought on-line it must receive a constant supply of energy, a delay of more than 65 nano-seconds will cause unconsciousness until a return of power and more than about 45 standard minutes will cause inoperable neuro-unit damage and thus death. Though it is quite possible to replace the neuro-unit it is in essence putting a new mind in a once dead body. This is regarded by the Sot'ms as extremely distasteful, akin to the myths of reanimating the dead as zombies on other worlds.

Apart from their organic 'beards' (which provide energy by converting nitrogen), Sot'ms tend not to decompose. As a consequence their dead are 'Reclaimed into Sotus', which is their form of cremation, where their bodies are broken down into atomic stock. Sot'ms do not have family but the gathering of friends and acquaintances for the 'Party of Reclamation' generally numbers in the high hundreds to a few thousand.

The Sotus Government

The government is split into 4, roughly equal sized, 'Functions'. All of the societies needs are catered for by Sub-Functions within one of the main Functions. Professor Sot'm informs the 'Assembly of Bureaucrats' of his policy decisions which they must enact through the Functions. In theory the Assembly also has a right and responsibility to overrule decisions which prove unpopular with the people but never have the people opposed one of the Professor's ideas ever since the Assembly was formed over 30 million years ago.


The Sot'ms have never been engaged in real war, neither civil nor against another species. This has led them to believe war is, on many levels, little more than a game. Their 'General Military' (a Sub-Function) works closely with the Recreation Function to stage artificial wars for the amusement of the populace, it also serves to keep the military busy and well trained. The only other purpose for the General Military is to act as Sotem Spiral protectors and security for excursions out of system.

The Military Function also runs the local Police force and the investigative agencies that maintain law and order (though surprisingly under-utilised given the Sot'ms tendency towards wild parties).


A quarter of the population and government resources are allocated to running the various forms of recreation and entertainment of the Sot'ms. The Recreation Function is charged with organising major events and routine entertainment alike. It also has to carry out surveys of the populace to determine what they wish to have and even goes some way into developing new activities. Other responsibilities of Recreation include the running of the media and all other information dissemination. Any form of entertainment that exists in the Sotem Spiral is directly run by Recreation, whether it be a major system wide tournament right down to local party or gaming centres.


Without raw materials the other 3 Functions would collapse. Requirements supplies all the necessities of life for both the populace and the other government Functions. It runs the various mining and element fabrication plants as well as off-world negotiations for commodities and mining rights. Product distribution networking is controlled by Requirements, which even runs the local 'shops' (Sot'ms do not have a fiscal economy) where Sot'ms can order virtually any item or service imaginable. Building allocation and maintenance as well as transportation systems are all managed by this Function. In essence Requirements carries out the mundane tasks required to keep the civilisation running smoothly.


Many observers find it hard to believe that nearly a whole quarter of the population and government resources is contributed to the Scientific Function. The Sot'ms are a very technologically advanced race but they have had no major advances in millennia and are rapidly (in cosmic terms) being caught up by younger races. Many have attributed this plateau to the Sot'ms somewhat isolationist nature - no sense of competition with other worlds or views of things being any different to their stagnant society. The biggest success of Scientific has been its ability to distribute knowledge throughout all of its millions of research labs, undoubtedly the reason for the races continued existence where many other civilisations have grown and fallen during the Sot'ms time. Scientific is also responsible for created and repairing Sot'ms, though Requirements deals with repairing all other machines (largely non-sentient). In general Scientific produces little in the way of innovation and its main reason for not being swallowed up by Requirements is, simply, tradition.

Sotem Spiral

Stable system with 10 major bodies.

Location: Far edge of the constellation of Kasterborus.

Overview: An ancient and abnormal system. Three type 'M' stars share the same orbit at the edge of the system, precisely equidistant from one another. Around each of the three orbiting stars is an identical mini-system of three planetoids which are also equally distanced - 120º between them. Many believe this to be an artificial configuration but no proof has been found to support this theory.

System Data:


Type 'G' yellow star
334670.16 Gallifrey masses
Surface temperature 6073ºK
Terrestrial planet
1.78 Gallifrey masses
Surface temperature 292ºK
Orbital period 312 days
Orbital radius 1.237 A.U.
Terrestrial planet
0.56 Gallifrey masses
Surface temperature 285ºK
Orbital period 586 days
Orbital radius 1.523 A.U.
Barren planet
0.07 Gallifrey masses
Surface temperature 153ºK
Orbital period 4.45 years
Orbital radius 2.745 A.U.
Trimp, Sarg and Xos:
Type 'M' red stars
60908.62 Gallifrey masses
Surface temperature 3351ºK