The Candy is a berserk manufacturing program, a subversive organic plague that wishes to turn most of the universe into Candy. Thought to be a failed experiment by a Floozy client race, the Candy has spread to the dark corners of the galaxy, infesting the cracks of civilization. It has been aided in this endeavor by the Intergalactic Candy Company, a motley gang of capitalists that profit off the largess of a sickly sweet apocalypse.
The Candy can be thought of as a rouge ecosystem that spreads and destroys other ecosystems. It begins its invasions with flora, simple photosynthetic algae that smothers the native plant. As the infection spreads, the flora becomes more sophisticated and begins to spawn fauna minions to defend its beachhead. The Candy also has a wide range of pathogens at its disposal to weaken and subvert any native defenders. If the host planet resists, the Candy spawns its children, sapient candy creatures capable of using tools and tactics against the defenders.
The threat of candy infestations is well understood in the Galactic community. Most civilized planets have procedures and counter measures to deal with the Candy. It can be difficult for the candy ecosystem to take hold, so the Candy takes a different tack. It comes to civilization in the form of a business, a corporation that only wishes to make mutually beneficial deals. Their prime trade good is candy, obviously, but they also deal in organic feedstock and bioweapons. Though their human proxies seem like rational businessmen, economic power is just a means to an end for the Candy. Ultimately , all must become Candy.
The Candymen are the driving intelligence this spreading sweetness. They are gestalt intelligences, each arising from one of the planets in the Candy System, and each having their own strain of Candy. They are intelligent, egotistical and quite mad by conventional standards. Those under the influence of Candy (culturally or narcotically) see them as something a kin to gods, and they tend to act like it, in a deranged classical way. Ultimately much of their energy is spent warring amongst themselves, as they are found of petty grudges and pointless intrigue.
The Intergalactic Candy Company is the public face of the Candy. Owned and operated mostly by humans, Candy Children and Candy mutants it is their job to sanitize and market the products of the Candy. They operate out of the Candy system, where they harvest and process most of their inventory. One of their major duties is neutralizing any Candy pathogens in their products, a job at which they are mostly successful*. They spend a lot of social capital on distancing their brand from the rapacious Candymen, but they are deeply entangled with those rapacious over minds.
By volume The Intergalactic Candy company's chief product is Candy Company brand sugar syrup., which is an excellent source of CHONPS**. Chemically impoverished areas buy it in huge quantiles. It's also good feedstock for organic printers. In addition the Candy Company sells a wide array of food products, mostly candy but also a variety of beverages and some sweet and savory instant meals. Many of their products have narcotic or addictive properties. They also sell bio weapons made out of candy.
Candy Children are sapient Candy creatures. They are formed when special "flavoring agents" are introduced to sugar syrup. They vary wildly in phenotype; the major commonality being their shiny brightly colored skin. Most are a single solid color but some have dots and swirls. In Candy Child culture those with markings are considered nobility and given positions of importance. Inside each Candy Child is a gland full of the flavoring agent that created them. There is a thriving culture of deviants who covet the flavors of Candy Children. Some of them go so far as to raise them as live stock. The Intergalactic Candy Company cracks down on those operations if they don't have the right licenses.
Most commercial Candy is quite safe, but the more potent and additive products have trace amounts of Candy Pathogen. Long term users start to suffer Candy sickness, as Candy biota begin to colonize their body. Their blood turn sugary, and their skin breaks out in vivid rashes. Those that survive the early stages metamorphoses into creatures resembling Candy Children. Culturally, these Candy Mutants are a step down on the social ladder; being newcomers to the candy flock. For this reason the humans living in the candy system strive to preserve their humanity; there is a significant stigma around Candy sickness. For those that care about such things, Candy Mutants are said to be significantly inferior in terms of flavor.
The Dark Drop is a rogue planet drifting in deep space, far from any sun. It is artificial; a massive machine of presumed Gnomic origin. Ancient generators thrum deep in its interior. It is their antediluvian heat that drives the candy ecosystem; midnight black sludge growing in a metal labyrinth below a sunless sky.
Here is the domain of Lady Deep night, a refined and mysterious Candyman. She cultivates a secretive and refined following. Her products are not available through the Intergalactic Candy Company, rather they must be sought out through smugglers and the black market. For those that become obsessed with her strange flavors, the next step is to travel to the Dark Drop and enroll in her mystery cult. Those that survive their initiation in the bowels of the planet gain access to exclusive products and select parties. A not insignificant portion of the galactic elite are members. The Endless Night Market is a large open air bazaar where much that is unseemly and forbidden is for sale.
The Sour Sea is the second planet from the Candy Sun. It is covered in an ocean of sour candy juice. There is no solid land; only floating mats of vegetation. There is little civilization here. The planet is mostly inhabited by primitive tribes of aquatic Candy Children. There is a single city here, the Raft, which is a jury rigged flotilla of decommissioned space ships. Though nowhere in the Candy system do they really care about the providence of the goods they buy, the Raft in particular is the best place to find a good fence. The Digesters are a tribe of Candy Children who will buy almost anything. Valuable trade goods are laundered through their network of merchant contacts. Metal and ceramics are used to repair the Raft, which is continuously corroding. Everything else is dumped into the world ocean, where powerful enzymes break it down to turn it into candy. The Raft is also home to the kind of low rent night-life that is popular with pirates. The planet is ruled by the Bright Queen, a bold and barbarous Candyman fond of alcohol and violence.
The Crusty Crucible is a small artificial planetoid in the middle of the Candy System. Made of scavenged Obelisk dreamer tech, the Crucible is capable of generating a time acceleration field. When the field is activated, time passes much faster inside the station. The Candy uses this to speed up its own evolution. The interior is a tangled mess of a Candy biome, with strains from all the Candymen competing for space. When the field is activated, the organisms inside grow and evolve for hundreds of years in the span of a month. The resulting biota is not integrated directly into the Candy, rather it is harvested and studied by the Candy Company. The harvesting teams are colloquially called scrapers and are well paid but short lived.
Slightly Spicy is Lady Deep Night's Majordomo. She is a sleek and slim Candy Child with subtle red glimmers in her black skin. She oversees Dark Drop's party scene and is responsible for grooming potential initiates for the mystery cult. She is the Sapient to talk to if you want to eat a Candy Child "legally". She herself is on the menu but for an exorbitant price.
High Evolutionary Gnar Expren is the overseer of the Crusty Crucible. He sets the initial conditions before each time jump and supervises the harvesting and research teams. He is under enormous political pressure from the Candymen, who all want to dominate the Crucible. His last five predecessors all died under mysterious circumstances, which has made him rather paranoid. He demands to see the tongues of everyone he meets with, to check to see if they're stained with candy dye, so that he may know if they're under the influence of a Candyman. Lately teams of scrapers have been disappearing, leading to tumors f feral Candy Children and chronal parasites. He is on the brink of nervous collapse and looking for outside help.
Mother's Home Cooking is the house matron of the Sump, a dive bar below the waterline of The Raft. She is a Candy Mutant, a former pirate and a member of the Digesters. She is a useful contact for current pirates but only respects those that distinguish themselves in the Sump's nightly tavern brawls.
*Once, a batch of candy was contaminated with a powerful nerve agent. The Candy company kept it on the shelves and changed the label to "Oops, all war crimes!"
**Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur, the basic elements of carbon based life.