Soap Bubbles

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The Soap Bubbles (Khulls: Î; Pabappa I; usually called Bubbles) were a party founded in the year 3842 in the Thunder Empire as the Thunder Empire was being conquered by Dreamland. The Thunderers here had decided to collaborate with the Dreamers, as although they preferred independence, they felt that the Dreamers at least were rescuing the Thunderers from their previous oppressor, the Crystals. The Bubbles were the ones who refused to collaborate. Although both the Bubbles and the submissivist Thunderers agreed that they preferred independence, the Bubbles differed in that if their destiny was to be oppressed, they preferred Crystal oppressors to Dreamer oppressors.

NOTE, this article is badly out of date compared with Crystals, STW, Players, etc, but I plan to bring it in line with those others.

Early history

See history for finer details.

Naming of the party

The Soap Bubbles were not related to the Soap Bubble Societies of the 2400s despite originating in nearly the same geographic area. Since that earlier name was still in use amongst the descendants of those nations, as two of the three nations had in fact survived, they occasionally referred to themselves, at least in that part of the world, as the Snow (Khulls: ; Pabappa: Šap). Snow had actually been the original proposed name for their party, but it had been changed to Soap before the official founding date in 3842, as they wanted a name that would be less inviting to the Dreamers and Dreamerized Thunderers who seemed to feel that the whole of nature was their bathroom.

Background

After about eighty years of being oppressed by Crystals, the Thunder Empire was invaded by the neighboring nation of Dreamland. The native Thunderers outnumbered the Dreamers by a wide enough margin that, even though they had almost no weapons, they were able to hold off the Dreamer invasion for two years. After two years, it became clear, however, that the Thunderers were going to lose their war, and that their Empire was merely going to change hands from one oppressor to another. In 3844, the Thunderers signed a surrender treaty turning over the whole of the Empire to the Dreamers and promising to help the Dreamers eliminate the last few rural strongholds of the Crystal armies.

The Soap Bubbles were a fork of the Thunderers who refused to surrender. Many of them were immediately killed, since they were just a tiny fraction of the Thunder population, and were thus outnumbered far more severely than the wider Thunder army had been. The Dreamers classified them as Crystal sympathizers, because they still refused to recognize that the Thunderers had any rights of their own and that there were more than two sides in this war. They considered eliminating the Bubbles a lesser priority than eliminating the Crystals, however, because like the Thunderers, the Bubbles were mostly unarmed and even those who had managed to steal weapons were untrained in how to use them properly and were thus poor fighters.

Because the Dreamers were focused on tracking down Crystals, many Bubbles escaped into the territory of the Crystals. Thus, the Soap Bubbles were saying that given the choice of two oppressors, they preferred the Crystals, whereas the Thunderers preferred the Dreamers. The fleeing Soapies said that they would even agree to be slaves for the Crystals if it would somehow help the Crystals eventually throw the Dreamer government back out of power. However, they knew that the Crystals had sworn off slavery 2500 years ago and showed no sign of returning to it ever again.

The Crystals at first considered the Soap Bubbles and the Thunderers to be the same, as the only difference between the two was that one had surrendered to the Dreamers and the other had not, and therefore considered the Soap Bubbles their enemies. (The Bubbles had actually formed in 3842, before the war was over.) They did not try to stop the flow of Soap Bubbles into their nation, however, just as they had never tried to stop the Thunderers from moving in during the previous era.[1] They merely stated that the Bubbles would be the lowest class in their society and would have to work unpleasant and low-paid jobs.

However, the Crystals soon realized that the Bubbles were now true allies, and the Crystals increased the civil rights of the Bubbles living in Crystal-held territory. This caused most of the other Thunderers that had been living in Lobexon to also convert to the Bubble party, seeing that to refuse to convert would be tantamount to endorsing the Dreamers' war against the Crystals. Meanwhile, the Soap Bubbles were being quickly washed away in the areas of the Thunder Empire that had been their original homelands. Thus, they soon became effectively a refugee minority living amongst the Crystals, despite having come to them from the Thunderers.

Thunder government returns to power

When the Thunderers overthrew the Dreamers in 3884 and established a racist government that oppressed Crystals moderately and Dreamers severely, they invited the Soap Bubbles living in Crystal territory to move back in, encouraged the few Bubbles who had hid out in Altotta to unmask themselves, and allowed mainline Thunderers to change their allegiance to the Bubbles. However, although the Thunderers legalized the Soap Bubble party in Altotta, and promised safety for those openly identifying as Bubbles, they warned the Bubbles that only mainline Thunderers could hold political office in the new nation since it was a one-party government.

Hearing this, the vast majority of the Bubbles, including the party leadership, did not reconcile. They stated that the Thunderers had drifted so far apart from their original belief system by this time that the Soap Bubbles actually preferred to live with the Crystals, and said that they would forever be allies of the Crystals. The Bubbles reminded the Thunderers that the Bubbles were the true descendants of the original Thunder party, because while the Thunderers had changed greatly under the Dreamer government, the Bubbles, having not been corrupted by the pain of abuse, had not changed at all.

Though the Soapies' difficult lifestyle attracted few converts, a small number of Soap Bubbles married Crystals, and of these, a small fraction raised their children as Soap Bubbles. This meant that the Soap Bubbles no longer had a homogeneous appearance and could not be identified on sight.

Allegations of racism

When the racist Thunderers realized that their close relatives in the Soap party were marrying dark-skinned Crystals, they declared that any Soapies who had married dark-skinned people were no longer clean and thus no longer Soap. As such, they would not be allowed to return to the Thunder Empire.

Hearing that their party's name had been perverted into a racist metaphor, the Soap Bubbles signed a nonbinding transnational agreement condemning racism and committing to the overthrow, by violence if necessary, of the racist Thunder government of Altotta. They thus signed an alliance with the Zenith, a minority in the Thunder Empire which had in turn allied itself with various other minorities. The Thunderers did not enslave Zeniths, but they saw all minorities as potential enemies and that included the Zenith.

At a conference in Crystal territory, the Thunder party (which was still legal in the Crystal Empire) argued to the Crystals that the Bubbles were trying to hide their racist past. They pointed out that the original name of their party had been the Snow, which was quickly changed to Soap. The Thunderers claimed that the name change came about because the founding Snow party members had realized that although snow and soap were both shiny white things, snow often absorbs dirt and becomes dirty itself, but soap repels dirt and remains clean. Thus, according to the Thunderers' explanation, the Soap Bubbles were proud of their white skin and had moved into the Crystal Empire believing that they were superior to the indigenous Crystal population. The Thunderers did not bring up the Soap Bubbles' strict admission criteria, as they realized that to do so would undercut their claim that the Soapies were racists; although the Soap Bubbles were very difficult for outsiders to join, it was plain that their admissions criteria had nothing to do with race or with skin color.

Taken aback, the Soapy representative admitted that there were several theories about the origin of their party's name and he did not know which, if any, was the correct one, but affirmed that the Soap Bubbles had never been racists and never would be.

Though the new Thunderers were openly racist, they had only held power in their Empire for a few months, and the Crystals were largely unaware of the Thunder worldview. Thus, the Soapies could not credibly throw allegations of racism back on the Thunderers. Instead, the Soapies claimed that the Thunderers had not been racists until 3884, and had only become such because all of the minorities in their Empire had turned against them. As such, they had abandoned the true Thunder ideology, while the Bubbles had preserved it.

The role of STW

See STW.

In 3915, an organization named Save The World was founded in the Thunder city of Lypelpyp. STW was aligned with the Zenith. The people of Lypelpyp thought this was a curious choice because almost all of the Zeniths lived on the other edge of the empire, thousands of miles away, and for a new organization to declare itself pro-Zenith in an area where no Zeniths lived seemed to be opening themselves up to attacks from the Thunderers in Lypelpyp.

But STW soon revealed their plan: they were illegal immigrants from the Crystal Empire, and their power base would be further illegal immigrants from the Crystal Empire and those who signed over their allegiance to them. Immigration into the Thunder Empire was entirely illegal, except for other Thunderers. Suddenly the previously 100% Thunder city of Lypelpyp was almost half Crystals and the city center was overpopulated and simmering with racial tension. The Thunderers could not understand why their government had allowed so many heavily armed Crystals to move into their city, after promising them year after year that their Empire would be forever a Thunder Empire and that any Crystals found within its borders would be immediately enslaved, and keeping that promise for thirty years.

The STW members were not interested in violent conquest, although they were heavily armed and very intimidating towards the Thunderers, even though the Thunderers in Lypelpyp were also heavily armed. Instead, STW was interested in dominating the economy of Lypelpyp to the point that it would be nearly irresistible for the Thunderers to sign allegiance to STW and thus destroy the power base of the non-STW Thunderers. The STWers took to the streets, blocking the path of civilians trying to get work done, harassing people at public gatherings, and in general not trying to make friends. They avoided targeting children, because they had a new weapon to use against children: children. STW was a very child-focused organization, and it enrolled children as soon as they were old enough to walk as full members. STW considered the least of its members superior to the ruling class of the non-STW people around them. Children in STW got out of school and chased after non-STW children bragging how much better they were treated at STW school than the other children were treated at the normal Thunder school.

As a technical matter, STW required its members to drop their outside party allegiances, so the Crystals who were immigrating into Lypelpyp to join STW became Zeniths when they did so. But they were dark-skinned Zeniths, and therefore by their mere presence in the Thunder Empire they were violating the Thunderers' laws and according to those laws the Thunder army was supposed to swoop in and enslave them. The people of Lypelpyp could not understand why this had not happened.

Lypelpyp adjusts to STW

The Lypels soon learned that STW's plan to seize power was extremely complicated and well-thought out. They required STW members to become Zeniths, meaning that once inside STW, the distinction between Thunder and Crystal was lost. They were allowed to keep their spiritual beliefs rather than adopting STW's official religion, Yiibam, but their political beliefs had to match STW's perfectly. In this time period, religion generally dictated politics, so to become an STW member was to effectively convert to STW's religion, even if one's mind differed on non-political ideas such as the number of gods or the location of the realm of the afterlife.

STW enraged the racist Thunder government by filling what had been an entirely Thunder city with thousands of illegal dark-skinned immigrants from the Crystal Empire, most of whom did not respect the Thunderers. Although the Thunderers had officially made peace with the Crystals, relations were tense. The Crystals were dismayed to see that they were not welcome, even though they had known all along that the Thunderers had outlawed all Crystal immigration. The people of STW were proud to admit that they simply didn't care whether the Thunder government wanted immigrants or not because they were going to get immigrants anyway. STW had decided to set itself up in Lypelpyp, and Lypelpyp was going to become the world headquarters of STW whether they wanted it or not.

As above, though, while the people of Lypelpyp referred to the dark-skinned STWers as "Crystals", simply because to them the Crystals were effectively a race of dark-skinned people rather than a religion, in order to join STW these Crystals had to become Zeniths. So, too, did the Thunderers who decided to side with STW against the increasingly angry non-STW "plain" people of Lypelpyp. Lypels soon learned that the STWers hated the non-STW Crystals even more than they hated the non-STW Thunderers, since they saw Crystals as their primary power base, and any Crystals who refused to join were doing even an greater disservice than the Thunderers, whom the STWers sympathized with since it was their country that was being invaded.

Still, they were looking to set up STW bases only in Thunder territory, never in Crystal territory, at least for the time being, as they felt the warm climate and mostly flat territory of the Crystal Empire would make it more difficult for STW to establish the monopolies that they needed to seize power. For example, Lypelpyp was in a valley surrounded by mountains, with only one road leading west and one road leading east. STW planned to soon seize control of both of them and starve out the city unless they all surrendered to STW.

Three-party setup

For hundreds of years, the dark-skinned Crystals and the light-skinned Thunderers had hated each other and each had taken turns abusing and oppressing the other, trading places every few generations as to which partner was on top. STW had come to put an end to all of that by seizing control and oppressing both of them. But the Crystals and Thunderers also had a shared hatred of Dreamland, since Dreamland had stolen land from both of them. STW had declared war on Dreamland on the very first day of its existence, and motivated its people to fight by painting murals of STW members chasing off an invading Dreamer army. In reality, in STW's first years, its membership consisted almost entirely of young children, because since they were a corporation, it was difficult for them to get adults to leave the workforce and join STW. Thus they did not actually fight, but built weapons and provided supplies to an army called the Scopes who did almost all of the fighting. STW did have a traditional army, but it was for self-defense, and this army still did not expect to be forced to fight the Dreamers since Lypelpyp was not a feasible target for a Dreamer invasion.

3919 coup

In 3919, the racist Thunder government was overthrown by dissenters from within. The coalition of STW, the Soap, the Zenith, the Crystals, and many other smaller minorities had succeeded in pushing the racists out of power and setting up their own government. However, STW's financial support had been far more decisive than all of the other parties' efforts.

Since the Soapies were the only one of the many minority parties that was descended directly from the Thunderers, they had hoped that they would be given priority in the new government and perhaps even total control. They laid out their plans for an entirely Soapy empire stretching from the deserts of Lypelpyp to the vineyards of Paba. But the rebels burst their bubble by declaring that they still considered themselves Thunderers, and still held to many of the Thunder ideals. The new Thunderers were significantly Soapier than before, but refused to allow a multiparty government either with the Bubbles or with the old racist Thunderers they had overthrown.

Thus the Bubbles still did not make peace with the Thunderers. Nevertheless, the Thunder Empire was a very large place, and some of the Bubbles did start to move back in to their old stomping grounds now that they were no longer excluded by race or any other means. They found places to live in Altotta in which they could live amongst only their own kind, protected by small but powerful Soap Bubble militias, a tactic they had learned from living for so long surrounded by enemies, something even the Thunderers had never experienced. Meanwhile, the Thunderers freed all of their Crystal slaves, but not the Dreamer slaves, since even the rebels still hated the Dreamers.

Being a minority, the Soap Bubbles had always emphasized the need to prepare themselves for a war despite being traditionally nonviolent, and thus were actually, per capita, both better armed and better educated about military strategy than the Crystals. Thus, they were better soldiers than the Crystals. Nevertheless, the newfound similarity in political ideals between the Soap and the Crystals led many Bubbles to convert to Crystalism over the years, and few the other way around, so the Bubbles remained a small minority amongst the Crystals.


Murals and propaganda

The Soap Bubbles sometimes used nonviolent imagery to appeal to their enemies; whereas all of the other armies would slice people up with swords and stab them with spears, being conquered by the Soap Bubble army would merely make people feel refreshed and a ltitle bit prettier. They painted murals of their people dressed as soldiers, with giant white soap bars in place of swords. They threatened to give any Dreamers captured in battle a hot soapy bath, turning them forever into Wet Dreamers.

However, they knew from history that such claims to innocence bought little sympathy from stronger armies, and that if they ever wanted to be anything more than the bottommost group amongst an already oppressed people they would need to behave like normal people and establish a conventional army with swords and shields.

Later history

The Bubbles nevertheless became known as the least violent of the many mutually hostile armies during the chaotic period between the last days of the Thunder Empire (4108) and the beginning of the Swampy Empire (4149). Indeed, they had remained completely nonparticipant in any violence, although because they were so small and weak, they at times entered into alliances with the Crystals in which the Crystals promised to protect them.


This was the first time in the Soap Bubbles' history of over 340 years that they had become a major independent player in a war. Previously, they had been famous for their nonviolence, although they were careful to avoid officially endorsing pacifism, knowing that too much pacifism had brought down the major empire of Paba. When they had been forced to fight, it had previously been in a coalition with another, larger army, usually the Crystals. Some Soapies had moved into Crystal territory in the past and had become well-respected there even though they were closely related to the hated Thunderers who had, in turn, later spawned the Raspara and the Matrix.

The similarity in political ideals between the Soap and the Crystals led many Bubbles to convert to Crystalism over the years, and few the other way around, so the Crystals far outnumbered the Bubbles, and by 4186 both the Crystals and the Bubbles were quite weak.

The Soap Bubbles in TLC

Background

In the year 4191, the Swamp Kids conquered Baeba Swamp. They had moved to Baeba Swamp because in their old homeland, Anzan, they had been oppressed and repeatedly slaughtered for more than forty years despite being nominally the only group in Anzan with any legal power to rule. They had tried to fight back, and indeed had been at war constantly for their entire history, but were regularly humiliated both on the battlefield and in their own cities, which were frequently occupied by hostile armies such as the Raspara and the Zeniths. They had for forty years dreamt of expanding their empire ever upward and outward, culminating in the conquest of Baeba Swamp and the building of a new capital city there, but after losing battle after battle the desperate Swamp Kids agreed that they might have to abandon their entire original empire (Anzan) and focus all their efforts on simply getting their people out of Anzan and into Baeba.

Thus, the Swamp Kids started the War of Baeba Swamp, and despite their embarrassing military history, won an easy victory in Baeba, as the local Baeban population was not nearly as well developed, militarily, as had been the Swamp Kids' many tormentors in Anzan. They renamed the new, expanded Anzan the Little Country despite being the largest country in the world, as they realized that even with more than half of the land in the world to themselves the population of Swamp Kids within it was quite small compared to some of the nations in the tropics (they did not consider most non-Swamp Kids to be citizens, although exceptions did exist).

Dissent arises

However, Baeba was a very large city, and the Swamp Kids realized they could no longer embrace democracy, since even after the bulk of the population of Swamp Kids had moved en masse to Baeba, they were still a minority. Once the people realized that the Swamp Kids had changed from being victims in their own homeland to oppressors in a foreign land, popular revolts began among the Baebans.

Demographics of the Little Country

The Swamp Kids claimed all of Baeba, but concentrated their army in the northern part and made no attempts to seek allies in the hotter lowlands near the south coast. Even within their territory, they were a minority, vastly outnumbered by their slaves. A census showed that more than 95% of the Little Country's population consisted of Doll slaves; however, this census excluded remote areas of Nama that had submitted to the Swamp Kids but were difficult to reach from Baeba.

Not all of the revolts came from the conquered people; the very king himself, whose byname was the Golden Sun, resigned from the Swamp Kids and joined the Soap Bubbles. The Golden Sun, being a king, had absolute power in Baeba Swamp and most of the other conquered territories, but not over the whole of the empire, because some areas, such as Tata and what the Kids were now calling "inner Anzan" (the old Anzan) had the ability to make independent decisions. In fact, the Swamp Kids had decided to hold off on moving their official capital to Baeba Swamp, even though the king ruled from Baeba, because they felt that Baeba had too many foreigners living in it to be stable. They nevertheless did construct government buildings just outside the Swamp so that Baeba would not be forced to rely on communication from the official capital, Sala, which was several thousand miles away.

The Soap Bubbles found the name "the Little Country" amusing, because in the Swamp Kids' primary language, the word for "bubble" and "little" were the same: i. Rival parties had previously insulted the Soap Bubbles by calling them "the Babies" or "the Little Bits", but now the Soap Bubbles told the Swamp Kids that their country's new name was better translated as "the Little Ones' Country" (because adjectives followed nouns, they could not feasibly claim that it meant "the Bubbles' Country").

Soapy-Crystal relations

The conversion of the king from the Swampies to the Soapies led to mixed emotions in Baeba. For more than 600 years, the majority in Baeba Swamp had been the Crystals, a collection of dark-skinned tribes who had put aside their differences and thrown off the yoke of the light-skinned Repilian people who had been enslaving them for more than a thousand years. Once Baeba was under their control, the Crystals became very powerful and soon were an aggressive empire in their own right, repeatedly invading the light-skinned people to their north and east: not only the Repilians, but also less aggressive outside powers such as the Thunder Empire who had until that very day been enemies of the Repilians. They never officially enslaved their enemies, but they did oppress them and deny them government benefits, thus forcing them to work much harder than native Crystals for the same amount of money and be all in all not much better off than any slaves would have been. The Crystals even went so far as to conquer the entire Thunder Empire and create a new "colonial" government giving power to Crystals only. This government was only overthrown when a different outside power, Dreamland, decided it was their turn to colonize the Thunderers.

But for the most part, the Crystals respected outside entities and had actually been allies of the Soap Bubbles for several hundred years against that very same expansionist empire known as Dreamland. Dreamland had invaded and conquered the Thunderers only after they had first invaded and taken some land from the Crystals. Thus, Dreamland was the common enemy of the Crystals, the Bubbles, the Thunderers, the Raspara, and many other smaller and much younger political parties. When King Xideri sat on the throne and declared his regnal name to be the Golden Sun, he immediately assured his audience that the war against Dreamland was still on.

Still, many Crystals were uncomfortable with the rapid change in their government. Most Crystals had accepted that they had been conquered by the Swamp Kids because the Swamp Kids were a poorly organized military force that had indeed beaten the Crystal army but seemed to be willing to make deals with the Crystals regarding power-sharing, and had for the most part built new settlements for Swampies on the outskirts of Baeba rather than attempting to displace the Crystals already living there. Furthermore, the Swamp Kids had backed down on their promise to make Baeba their imperial capital for the time being, since they doubted they could control the civilian population of Baeba even after defeating its army.

The Two Suns

The Soapies, on the other hand, seemed to consist of badly educated people who could not tell the difference between an invitation and an invasion. Further they seemed to believe that the whole of the Swampies' army would be at their command, simply because the king had joined the Soapies. Early on, one of the king's allies, another ex-Swampy whose byname was the Red Sun, had declared that it would be a good idea to kill off all of the Crystals living in Baeba, even though the Crystals vastly outnumbered the Soap Bubbles.

Soapy expansionism

In June 4193, the king created a new outreach program that focused on getting the Swamp Kids to throw off "the evil of the Empire" and cooperate with the Soap. They made no such attempts to convert the Crystals. The Soapies said that the reason for this was that the Crystals and the Soapies were allies, and that the Swamp Kids were enemies, and that the Soapies had no spare time to focus on gaining converts from their allies. Yet the Red Sun had just publicly stated that it would be a great day if the entire Crystal population of Baeba Swamp was ethnically cleansed.

However, an ally of the king whose byname was the Red Sun soon took a far more direct approach. Like the Golden Sun, the Red Sun was a former Swamp Kid who was a member of STW and had recently converted to the Bubbles. The Red Sun was very religious, and believed that it was God's will to kill all of the people in their nation that refused to convert to the Bubble party. Now he launched an outright war against the Swamp Kids, using his private army, called the Sunspots, instead of the royal army which he suspected would still be at least partly loyal to the Swamp Kids. Nevertheless, the royal army did not try to stop the Sunspots. The Sunspots fanned out across the countryside killing those Swamp Kids who had not been able to move to Baeba Swamp itself, but also pulled off some killings in Baeba Swamp itself in order to stop the others from seeing the Swamp as a safe place to flee into.

The Crystals realized that, although the Bubbles seemed to be focusing both their missionaries and their militaries squarely on the Swamp Kids for the time being, they could easily be redirected towards the Crystals in the future. They also realized that the Crystals were now much weaker than the Swamp Kids now that the Swamp Kids had freed most of their people from the parasites that had fed upon them in their old homeland. (Those who had stayed behind were in severe danger, but on the other hand, they were less tempting prey for kidnappers now that there were fewer of them to go around.)

Dissolution

The Soap Bubbles formally merged with the Crystals in the summer of 4205. The Crystals themselves lasted only a few more years in Baeba, although word of their surrender did not reach the Crystals living in the equatorial zone, and the Crystal party continued to exist in remote areas without participating in Baeba's new coalition government.

Later use of name

Shortly after the Soap party abolished itself, STW began to call many of its slaves Soap Bubbles. This was an involuntary use of the name, as neither the slaves nor the former Soap Bubbles approved of it. But because the original Soap Bubbles had abandoned their rights to the name, even neutral parties such as Nama would not stop STW from using that name. STW stated that the new Soap Bubbles were not a party, but a subsidiary of STW.

Notes

  1. False? During the early 3900s it was true that "Some Thunderers wanted to move to the Crystal Empire, figuring that they could at least prevent a Crystal takeover of Altotta by threatening to cause problems in the Crystal Empire itself, but the Crystals wouldn't let them in." However during the preceding Lantern Empire immigration was welcome in both directions.