The dark agents of the I’krl are not that hard to imagine infiltrating the worlds of Fading Suns. Forgoing the “Men In Black” parallels, they can pass as Changed fairly easily. Infiltrating from outside the Known Worlds, the Gardhyi would be first introducing their influence among the lost worlds. There, humanity is less influenced by unifying things like the Church and the Nobility and can easily become pawns of the I’Krl Theocracy.
In the Kurga Caliphate, the Gardhyi would have to be well hidden and conform to the strict religious code of the Kurgans. I would imagine it a little more difficult to initially get a hold within the Caliphate but once they have that hold, they can utilize factional fanaticism to manipulate the people.
Ex: A Gardhyi agent has influenced a single group of people (city, nation, caste, extended family) into a more radical interpretation of the Law. Spawning additional documents and claiming them to additional Law (like the Mormons to Christianity and the Bible), they have been ignored and written off as a fringe group. Only recently have they been gaining power and influence within the Kurgan society.
In Vuldrok Star-Nation, the influence of the Gardhyi is more believable. A culture born of rogue worlds, there is little restrictions to prevent the subtle influence the Gardhyi would bring. Factions of religious fanatics hidden under the veil of the various religions of the barbarians are probably quite common. Shaman leaders with bizarre powers are probably rumored all over the Star-Nations.
In the lost worlds, whole worlds could be ruled by Gardhyi spreading the word of the I’krl in whatever way they want. Manipulating disparate and fragmented civilizations separated from the Second Republic, the Gardhyi could easily have a considerable following in the Lost Worlds. And eventually, with the connection to the I’Krl, could figure out ways to open gates back to the Known Worlds.
I am thinking of the planet Hurricane in the Ptolemy system. Below is a re-invention of the system
Lost World: Hurricane, in the Ptolemy System
An outlaw system that’s preyed for decades on the shipping and outposts of the out regions Vuldrok space, Ptolemy is the feudal fief of one ruthless man – Vardye Hellis. Heir to a dynasty of pirate lords, Lord Hellls is the unchallenged king of the system. He commands a pirate flotilla that terrorizes the outer edges of Vuldrok space, owning to no Star-Nation or Vuldrok war lord. Ruling from the storm-wracked world of Hurricane, Lord Hellis carefully seeks a Known World patron who will allow him to remain the uncontested master of Ptolemy.
In early Second Republic, an entrepreneurial firm by the name of Vergance Explorations surveyed the Ptolemy system and sold the rights to a corporate conglomerate called the Nariac Domain. Although the Nariacs were much more interested in colonization efforts on their side of the Republic, the Nariac Central Committee decided to establish a foothold in this new region of space. They established a Workers Colony on Ptolemy, to send less than desirable members of their citizenry. The acrid wastes of Hurricane proved to be a challenge to many and an ideal place to send undesirables and malcontents. As the value of the colony grew, the Nariacs quickly installed a few terraforming engines to speed the transition of Hurricane’s atmosphere into a breathable one.
Nariac support for the colony gradually tapered off as the Second Republic collapsed. The War of Liberation that followed severed all ties to the Domain. The gate was sealed and all incoming space traffic ceased. The Ptolemy system was on its own. The leading military officer of the colony, Colonel Barak Durenko, recognized his opportunity. Siding with the rebels, and backed by his small but loyal security force, he seized power in 2355.
Durenko soon realized that despite all the work done on the world, Hurricane was not a planet to sustain the population he had to support. Early in the Dark Ages, the Hurricane colony teetered on the brink of collapse and annihilation. Even after raiding and re-establishing system mining installations, Durenko could not find enough resources to sustain his people.
Gaining enough gate keys to reach nearby lost worlds, Durenko authorized a raids on these worlds. The nearest world was Lucullus, a planet once considered a sister world in that it too was a dumping ground for undesirables. Using what was left of the Nariac Colonial squadron, Durenko attacked and the raid proved highly successful. Durenko began a campaign of out-and-out piracy against every system within his reach.
It was during this time, the I’krl very covertly influenced Hurricane. A Gardhyi agent named Gilas Tere Rothmyr had infiltrated one of the more influential religious factions and was using it to work his way up the upper echelons of power. Through is influence, the Church of Asar slowly became a leading power in the politics of Hurricane. Colonel Durenko even was a follower.
Rothmyr eventually gained a position on the Church Council and eventually an assistant liaison to the King Durenko. Taking every opportunity to influence the new King, Rothmyr became a confidante to the king. What no one knew was Rothmyr secretly had access to a gate key and produced gate keys when the king needed them, claiming Asar provided them. When Durenko began his raiding campaign, Rothmyr was key in that plan, although the king never revealed this to the people.
This not only bolstered Rothmyr position, but it also gained the Church of Asar considerable political power. Other popular religious faction were marginalized to cults while the Church of Asar gained positions of power within Durenko regime. However late in his reign, Durenko began to question the power the Church was gaining. Upon his death at the hands of an ambitious and charismatic underlingCere Hellis, few knew Rothmyr’s true role in the overthrow. The leader of a pirate squadron, Hellis was a loyal follower of Asar and built a loyal following of increasingly ruthless and desperate men. Declaring himself Lord of Ptolemy, Hellis continued the raids, with Rothmyr’s and his agents help. At the same time, Rothmyr established himself as Hugh Bishop of Grand Church of Asar, now the dominant spiritual power on Hurricane.
As Hellis won a reputation as a corsair lord, attracting new followers from each for plundered world, Rothmyr’s own cabal of Gardhyi grew as he covertly arranged for more of his kind to infiltrate Hurricane society. When Hellis (Hellis the First) died, he passed the rule of Ptolemy to his son, Uric Hellls, who in turn passed his reign to his son, Fyra Hellis, thus starting the Hellis dynasty ruling to this day under Vardye Hellis.
Lord Vardye has faced only one serious challenge to his rule. Lord Hellis was given a new key by the Church Bishops and raided the further out than the squadrons of Hurricane had ever raided – into Vuldrok space. The small star nation of Aegis, with their fleet fought off his corsair squadron, followed the survivors back to Ptolemy and destroyed his shipyards and fortifications. In the aftermath of the disastrous raid, Vardye Hellis was forced to put down a widespread mutiny among his followers, but he survived the turmoil through the judicious application of force, with the help of a newly established royal paladin guard, chosen by the lord and blessed by the church – the Naithian Guard. Miraculously, this guard were “blessed” with amazing technology by the church, making them extremely lethal.
Little did the Hellis regime know that the Gardhyi agents among them were working with other Gardhyi among the Vuldrok colonies nearby. They wanted to put the people of Hurricane into a new level of desperation and need, as they were ready to execute the next phase of their plans.