Category Archives: History

Chapter 9: The Cysti

Introductions

A line of Ferrum soldiers flanked one side of the alien shuttle craft’s door, a line of Arma on the other. They stood at ceremony attention but there weapons were armed. Ferrum Director Emil Stanic, the station commander, and the Scientia Research Head, Mattias Eriksson, stood at the head of the lines. Everyone waiting for the shuttle door to open. Stanic could hear Eriksson’s heart pounding and thought what bad form it would be to have him drop dead of a heart attack in front of their alien guests. But then he realized that his heart was galloping too.

The last several days were spent broadcasting back to the alien craft information we hoped would translate our wish to meet on peaceful terms. Now there was an alien shuttle docked in the hangar of the Planck Space Station. Half the station’s crew was present, every one of them wearing the same look of excited terror.

Inside that ship was the absolute unknown. This moment had lived in our imaginations for centuries but the reality of it defied all reference. The combined intellectual and scientific speculation of human history. All the fantasy of science fiction that embodied our broadest hopes and our darkest fears. None of it held any weight in the reality of this moment. Every person standing there then was struck by the same two realizations; that we were scientifically, psychologically, and emotionally unprepared for what was in that ship; and, despite that we’d known the fact of it for a long time, when that door opened we were no longer alone, no longer the center of the universe. Stanic thought that it was perhaps the first time in history humankind had been truly humbled. Then the shuttle doors open.

A being steps out. Thin, well over two and a half meters tall with grey blue skin and dressed in a long red robe adorned in intricate patterns. It had a long neck and a smallish head crowned with horn-like projections that swept along the cranium merging in the back. It’s face is almost featureless and dominated by huge eyes with golden ringed irises. It had no identifiable nose and a very small mouth.

The alien paused at the opening studying the hangar full of humans before stepping out and gesturing for the other two in the ship to follow. For a several minutes they all, aliens and humans, stood and looked each other over. Stanic suddenly realized that they probably had no clue who to approach and stepped forward. The lead alien acknowledges this and stepped towards Stanic as well. Stanic felt an odd wave of calm wash over him as the alien approached. He glanced back at Ericsson and gestured for him to keep pace. Ericsson moved with a conscious effort to keep his legs under him, eyes fixed on the aliens. The alien bowed and presented its open palms. Stanic instinctively responded by mimicking the gesture. Then the creature put its hand on its shoulder and spoke, it’s voice was calm and even. “I am Kora of the Cysti. Are you able to understand me?”

Stanic reached behind his ear and touched his Wernicke device attached there. A few days before their visit the aliens had transmitted detailed data on some technology. The Scientia brains determined it was some sort of language processor and began programming ANTS production code to manufacture device. It acted to intercept speech and translate it before passing it on to the brain. It seemed to work, although with a slight delay.

Ericsson excitedly responds to Kora’s inquiry, “Yes, we can understand you. Incredible. Can you understand us?” Kora nods in acknowledgment. Stanic takes another step forward and makes introductions, “I am Director Stanic, I command this outpost, and this is Doctor Eriksson he leads our scientific endeavours here. We are humans” Kora bows with open hands again and replies, “We are joyous to meet you.”

Politics

Over the next few days we exchange general information with the Cysti. Biological, cultural, and scientific basics needed to form a foundation of understanding. The Cysti already knew a great deal about our technology given they had been studying us since encountering our first probes into Vigilem.

From them we learned Vigilem was home to several native races as well as many that claimed territory in the region. They explained that while we were free to explore and establish colonies and outposts, we needed to be aware that we do not have the freedoms we had in Draco-Tao. Vigilem has a complex and shifting interspecies political system, of which the Cysti acted as arbitrators. A political system we were not required to participate in, however one of which had rules we must abide if we were going to be in Vigilem.

Whether or not humanity would join some intergalactic federation was a matter beyond Stanic’s authority. A matter the be discussed in further meetings between the Cysti, Imperium Leadership, and Brotherhood Command in the coming weeks.

One thing was clear. We definitely weren’t the center of the Universe anymore.

Chapter 10: Coming Soon

Chapter 8: First Contact

Business As Usual

Following the conclusion of the Clan War in 2270 it was back to business as usual in Draco-Tao. The Lumus enthusiastically continued their colonization, and the Brotherhood set to the task of bolstering defense. Towards the end of 2285, 30% of Draco-Tao was effectively mapped, a sizeable feat. In general colonization and populations were steadily on the rise.

In late 2286 a Lumus long distance freighter is attacked and its cargo of decommissioned LEAP gates stolen. LEAP technology cannot be transported via LEAP because of the residual Nueon charge left over after extended use, so gates and reactors were some of a few things that still had to be transported by ship. The theft of the gates was followed a few weeks later by another highjacking, this time of a transport carrying food stores. Over the next year hijackings increased to the point that the trade guilds began demanding military escorts. Based on descriptions of the hostile ships involved it appeared that the Pirate Clans were making a resurgence.

It was unfeasible of course to task military resources to protect every shipment through the galaxy, and with the Illuminated adhering fixedly to their noninterference policies, tracking down the Pirate activity proved difficult. Clan attacks steadily increased as did their boldness. Armed engagements were inevitable.

In July of 2295 Clan insurgents occupy the Three Graces colony. The 15 day occupation of the large densely populated capital city of Tethys proved difficult for Arma forces not used to ground assaults or the Clans guerrilla tactics. Before the city could be secured more than 25 thousand colonists died in the conflict.

Five years later in 2299 Clan forces seize control of the Arma military shipyard in the remote Plath system. The Plath shipyard was built in the middle of an asteroid field, and the entire system itself was littered with asteroid debris. The asteroids provided an abundance of raw materials that made Plath a highly productive shipyard as well as making it impossible to LEAP into, or even navigate larger ships through. For this reason the facility was very lightly guarded making it easy for the Pirates to gain control. It’s also why the conflict to drive them out dragged on for over a year resulting in the Clans acquiring hundreds of Arma ships. Ships that allowed them to grab more power.

The mining outpost orbiting the gas giant Thelon was the primary source for Pewon 121, an extremely rare noble gas used for Plasma weapons. Normally only available and refined in small amounts, Thelon’s lower atmosphere contained huge quantities of it. The Clans knew Thelon was critical and either wanted to take it, or destroy it. The five year long war for control of the region ended in 2313 when Ferrum forces located and destroyed the Clan shipyards hidden in the Cascades nebula deep in uncharted Draco space. The loss of the shipyards seriously crippled the Clan’s cause, but did not stop them. They were in Draco-Tao to stay this time.

Vigilem Expansion

Despite conflicts with the Pirate Clans Lumus expansion in Draco-Tao moved along at a healthy pace, the population soon approaching 250 billion. This didn’t mean that the Lumus weren’t still looking for other intelligent life in the Universe. On May 12th 2358 a long distance research probe returns flyby data on a planet located in the NGC-1291 galaxy more than 10 million light years from Draco-Tao. Images of the planet showed the ruins of a vast ancient alien city. Many Scientia researchers had been focused on the area as a likely location for alien life due to the prevalence of structured radio signals coming from the galaxy. With this new evidence the Lumus Imperium sanctioned extended exploration of Vigilem.

This new expansion was met with the usual opposition and conservative calls for caution from the Brotherhood. Ultimately they knew there was no stopping the insatiable curiosity of the Lumus and committed a Ferrum fleet and 13,000 Ferrum soldiers to the expedition. The initial push into Vigilem included 150 thousand people that would be tasked with finding a new home world and begin laying the infrastructure required for a permanent colony and eventual expansion point.

With 180 years of colonization under humanities belt a prime planet was located in no time. The new world was lush with an ecosystem that fell in the desired Humable range, meaning diverse enough to withstand the introduction of a new species, and balanced in such a way that humans were the top predator. This new world was called Pilam and was the 5th planet in the binary star system Leto.

First Contact

October 5th 2361 3:34 AM – Ferrum fighters scramble to intercept a vessel approaching Pilam. Every station in orbit around the planet is on full alert and anyone not frantically rushing to their duty station, is either staring slack jawed out of a view port or at a monitor. The ship doesn’t seem to be in any hurry, approaching the planet at a leisurely and steady pace with no deviation in its course even as Ferrum Grendel fighters flank it. Scientia scientists aboard the Planck Space Station bicker over procedure while barking conflicting orders at the communications crew.

For nearly 200 years since the discovery of the Hollow Moon in the Milky Way galaxy mankind has known they were not alone and sought out intelligent life. The entire motivation and purpose of journeying to Vigilem was to realize this desire, and for all the speculation and planning and dreaming, now with intelligent life on our doorstep no one could agree on how to say Hi. The chaos is finally broken by a comms officer by the name of Kalie Usagi, unable to get anyone’s attention puts the broadcast she is monitoring on the stations open channel and everyone falls silent as they hear the first words ever spoken by a non-human. “Open hands to be received in kind.”

We’d made first contact.

Chapter 9: The Cysti

Clan Wars

Period between 2250 and 2270 of conflicts where the Brotherhood, Lumus, and Nomad faction respond to the violent encroachment of Pirate Clans into Drago-Tao from the Milky Way.

Gaian War

A conflict between the Earth-is-home extremist organization – eventually to become the Gaian Nation – and the rest of humanity. The conflicts started as protests to humanity’s continued exploration and expansion into space during much of the 2100’s. Discord escalated in 2163 with the discovery of the Hollow Moon and evidence of advanced alien intelligence in the Milky Way galaxy. The Gaian war from 2168 to 2178 resulted in the overthrowing of the UGC and the Gaian Nation coming to power.

Chapter 7: The Pirate Clans

The Pirate Clans

By 2168 the violent war on Earth had pushed millions of people into the Milky Way Galaxy hoping to find peace in the outer colonies. However, after the conclusion of the Gaian war in 2178 the outer colonies were more or less on their own. Cut off from Gaian controlled Earth and abandoned by those that had escaped to some distant unknown galaxy during the Exodus. With no central authority, corruption ran wild and one by one star systems came under the control of several criminal organizations known as the Pirate Clans.

By 2183 most of the Milky Way was ruled over by nine major Clans constantly vying for territory and resources with each other. Under their reign it cannot be denied that humanity survived and even flourished, however the evolution of civilization took a very different path than it did in Draco-Tao. Violence, inequality, enslavement, exploitation; these things were not just commonplace, they were an integral part of the political and financial systems of the Clans.

Nomad Rebellion

In 2245, unable to withstand the will of the Imperium on their own, and with the Brotherhood refusing involvement, the Nomadic groups called out to their brothers in the Milky Way. The Clans seeing the opportunity for expansion and profit answered the call, and under the guise of assisting the rebellion they began moving into Draco-Tao. The Brotherhood immediately saw the threat and attempted to intervene but it was too late. The Clans flooded in from the Milky Way and seized control of Nomad territories. By 2250 they were firmly established and began moving into Lumus regions.

The Clan’s quickly became a real threat to the Imperium way of life. They were particularly adept at finding and attacking newly established colonies, seriously undermining Lumus expansion efforts and expanding their own territory at an alarming rate. In the beginning the Clans, having spent decades at war with one another, and controlling massive armies and fleets of combat ready ships, more than outmatched the Lumus and Brotherhood forces. The Lumus in particular suffered heavy losses early on, lacking any real military force of their own. The Brotherhood fared better but were far too few in number to push back the Clans.

It was clear that the factions of Draco-Tao could not persist in their current fractured state. An alliance was struck between the Brotherhood, Lumus, and the few surviving remnants of the Nomads. The Brotherhood began recruiting and training soldiers from the Civis population that would become the Arma – the new official Lumus military. The bulk of Lumus industry was shifted to the rapid manufacturing of military technologies and with the vast resources of the Lumus, and the military will and strategy of the Brotherhood, the Clans began to lose ground.

The Clan Wars

The Clans did not yield easily. As each independent Clan began to lose territory they too unified – something never achieved before in their history. For a brief period both sides were fairly evenly matched. Eventually however, as the Arma ranks steadily grew, the Clans’ forces and victories rapidly dwindled. Their response was a marked increase in violent and bloody campaigns against innocent targets.

A Clan favorite tactic was to coordinate attacks on multiple Lumus colonies in order to divide Arma and Ferrum forces. They would then use the distraction to hit the real target such as weapons manufacturing facilities. The Brotherhood quickly developed new tactics using superior LEAP technology making these diversionary ploys less and less effective. As defeat loomed the Clans’ objectives shifted from holding territory to inflicting as much damage on the enemy as possible.

On August 15th 2270, in a bold show of power, the combined forces of the Clans attacked the Lumus home world of Solum. The attack was quick, expertly coordinated, and deadly. Ferrum and Arma defense forces were overrun, and before reinforcements arrived two Clan ships made it through the defenses into Solum orbit. Before being destroyed they launched their payloads of nukes towards the planet. Most of the bombs were intercepted by planetary defenses, but three found their targets detonating over the major city of Cybrene killing more than 390 thousand people.

The Lumus took the losses hard calling for immediate retaliation. and the use of a powerful weapon developed by the Brotherhood only a few years prior. The Brotherhood agreed that the use of the Singularity Bomb was justified. A message had to be sent before Clan reinforcements could be called in from the Milky Way. There was only one problem, since their retreat after the attack on Solum no one had been able to track the Clans’ location.

Enter the Illuminated.

Since their separation the Illuminated had been watching the events of humanity unfold – hidden and adhering to a strict policy of noninterference. But with many of their own families having been killed in the attack on Solum, it was too much to bear in silence. They revealed themselves and offered their assistance. The Lumus and Brotherhood accepted without hesitation.

Heavy Hitter

On August 20th 2270, Operation Heavy Hitter is put into play. The newly allied Illuminated, using their abilities to access subspectrum communications paths, locate the Clan lair on a planet in one of Draco-Tao’s uncharted regions. A Mark1 Singularity Bomb is LEAPed into the Clan occupied system. Speeding towards the planet the bomb detonates precisely on target, an area between the planet and one of its moons.

The bombs mass collapses into a micro singularity. The effect is brief but powerful. In the span of a few seconds the sudden intense pocket of gravity pulls at the moon, fracturing and shearing off enormous chunks of its surface and pulling them towards the singularity. On the planet’s surface the gravity variance is enough to influence tectonic shifts causing planet-wide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. As well, the Clan ships and stations around the planet are flung out of orbit, some shooting off in wild vectors and others ripped apart skipping across the planets atmosphere. Then the singularity dissipates and the dislodged lunar chunks slam back into the moon with incredible force sending a shower of debris towards the planet.

The moon’s orbit had been so destabilized that it was torn apart. For days it disintegrated bombarding the planet with more debris and causing even more devastating tectonic events. A single bomb had triggered an extinction level event. The message was sent. Draco-Tao was not defenseless. The remaining Clan forces surrendered, or were tracked down with the help of the Illuminated, and sent honor-bare back to the Milky Way.

The Clan War was one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history, consuming more than four billion lives. However it brought the factions of Draco-Tao together. Not as one, or without discord, but with a sense of critical cooperation. The Lumus remained over-zealous of their expansion efforts, but now at least adopted standard security policies. The Brotherhood took the lessons of the war and improved its tactical training. As well they began their own expansion efforts, establishing militarily strategic colonies, and even pushing into uncharted regions ahead of the Lumus to ensure security. Even the relationship between humanity and the Illuminated had been reestablished, if even in just a limited capacity.

It may not have been a perfect unity, but it was a vital unity for the adventure to come.

Chapter 8: First Contact

Chapter 5: Exodus

Inhuman

For Gaian Military High Commander, Lea Wurfel, the war was not over. In her view there were billions of threats to Gaian security living throughout the galaxy. Every colony on every planet was an enemy of Gaia, and the most immediate threat was Pangaea. The massive orbiting complex was home to nearly a billion people, many that had never set foot on Earth. Wurfel, like most conservative Gaians, believed that people not born on the planet lacked a connection to the Earth Mother, and therefore held no loyalty to Gaia. In fact anyone not born on Earth wasn’t seen as a true human, and had no rights under Gaian law. As such, there was little opposition when Wurfel order the extermination of Pangaea on April 20th 2179.

For ten days Pangaean security forces resisted occupation but, severely outgunned, Pangaea eventually fell. What was once arguably the greatest engineering marvel in human history, and often touted as the closest to utopia man would ever achieve, was turned into a concentration camp overnight. Wurfel and her troops showed no mercy. For weeks Gaian soldiers tortured and executed Pangaean citizens by the thousands.

The death squads would disable life support and watch people suffocate and freeze to death. When they became bored of that, they would pack people by the hundreds into large cargo containers and launch them out of airlocks to burn up in the atmosphere. It seemed to have become a game for them as they worked their way through the massive space station. News of the atrocities on Pangaea spread quickly throughout the outer planetary colonies but most were unable or unwilling to intervene. There was hope however.

Leap Of Faith

A decade prior the “Leap Of Faith” mission was to be the furthest LEAP ever attempted. The mission was intended to explore a solar system in the NGC-1300, or Draco-Tao galaxy. Discovered four years prior by a LEAP probe, the system contained two habitable stellar bodies named Solum and Solide. The first was one of the most earth-like planets ever discovered with conditions and resources as close to perfect for colonization as anyone could ask. The second was a moon, not as earth-like, but rich with valuable minerals and ores critical in technology manufacturing.

Initially the Faith mission was to be just another scientific conquest, but as the Gaian War unfolded, EDI Director Grey Hevey saw it as plan B. He knew that without UGC support human colonization of the Milky Way was unregulated, and with the harsh living conditions and no central authority, corruption would quickly take root. Piracy had already become commonplace and seeing the situation only becoming increasingly unstable Hevey decided that establishing a foothold in the distant galaxy was the best strategic move.

The Leap of Faith mission was kept under the strictest secrecy, known only to a few top level EDI and WSO officials. On March 7th 2169, a massive 240 meter tall space station named Isis Tempus, along with a small fleet of support stations and ships, LEAPed out of orbit around an isolated planet in the Milky Way. Twenty two seconds later it reappeared in the Draco-Tao galaxy located in the Eridanus Cluster, approximately 61 million light years from Earth.

Liberation

In the end none of the outer colonies had the resources to do anything about the atrocities on Pangaea. But, unbeknownst to most of humanity, over the previous several years the manufacturing facility on Solide had been busily turning out the most advanced military craft ever produced. The Grendel HF-A05 was the first of its kind. A fighter craft capable of both atmo and space combat.

With the fall of the UGC, Grey Hevey moved to rally former EDI personnel under a new flag – The Brotherhoof Of Sol. While nowhere near the scale of the former EDI, Hevey still inspired tremendous loyalty, and thousands pledged themselves to the newly formed Brotherhoodl. However, even with the new ship there was no hope of taking on the full force of the Gaian military on the ground. So Hevey aimed for the moon.

On May 28th 2179, Grey Hevey, aboard a Shinigami class space station positioned just outside the range of the Earth Detection Network, gives the order to launch operation “Hell Hammer” and fifty Grendel fighters pour through three specially modified LEAP gates.

The first squadron emerged from LEAP at top speed, skimming 30 meters above the lunar surface. The ships plow through the Gaian rail gun placements outside the Luna Chorda Moon base before the defense system can even come online.

The second squadron LEAP to secure the Pangaea space complex while the third and fourth squadrons head for the planet surface. In the night sky above the new Gaian capitol, people look up at what they believe to be shooting stars. By the time they hear the the growl of Grendels engines, fire is already raining from the sky as plasma cannons hammer the city.

By morning, as Hevey and a fleet of Shinigami LEAP into orbit, the Brotherhood have secured Pangaea, the Gaian capital, and most critically, Luna Chorda. The Gaian airforce respond by are no match for the maneuverability or power of the Brotherhood fighter craft.

Hevey makes a simple demand. The safe release of anyone that wished to leave Earth or he would destroy Luna Chorda. Not knowing the extent of Brotherhood forces, Gaian Military Commander, Lea Wurfel begrudgingly agrees to Hevey’s terms and sanctions, not only the release of the Pangean prisoners of war, but also the free passage of anyone else that wished to leave Earth.

Exodus

Over a period of four months the combined fleets of the former EDI and WSO ferry some 2.5 billion people from Earth and Pangaea to their new home on Solum. On September 13th 2179, the last of the refugees LEAP away from Earth.

Chapter 6: Factions

Chapter 6: Factions

Second Renaissance

A decade following the exodus from Earth nearly three billion humans called the planet Solum home and civilization flourished. The plentiful resources of both Solum and the moon of Solide allowed infrastructure to be established quickly and settlements become cities seemingly overnight.

By 2200 civilization on Solum was well established and focuses had shifted from survival to the opportunities and freedom ahead. The new landscape inspired many, scientifically and artistically. An entire uncharted world fueled scientific exploration resulting in discoveries driving new technological advancements. As well a varied array of art and architecture arose during what would be known as the Second Renaissance.

The Second Renaissance also saw new philosophical and sociological transformations. Unlike any other time in human history, there was no need for carefully crafted diplomacy, or the establishment of arbitrary borders, to ensure peace between peoples of differing social philosophies. Humanity was not bound to a single planet anymore and as people remade society parts of civilization began to break off into distinct factions.

This is not to say there wasn’t a government or order, but the authorities that arose from this period, and that would persist, were very different from any other time in human history.

The Lumus

After the exodus from Earth in 2181 a temporary government was formed to help organize the more than two billion displaced peoples. The new governing body, known as the Imperium, was extremely effective and popular. It was not merely a government, but a subculture unto itself. Over time the people of Solum came to identify themselves collectively as the Lumus, and by 2210 the Imperium was recognized as the established authority.

With the majority of the population having come from Pangaea it’s not surprising that the cooperative values and traditions of their former society remained. Lumus culture emphasized the importance of community. It also prioritized intellectual advancement. A segment of Lumus society identified as the Scientia became responsible for the scientific and intellectual development of society as a whole.

Anyone that didn’t align specifically with either the Imperium or Scientia were know as Civis, a class not below the others, but without a specific charge. The Civis made up the bulk of Lumus society and as such the bulk of Lumus agriculture and industry.

Each segment of Lumus culture played its role in achieving the single overriding principle of Lumus philosophy; that it is the destiny of mankind to spread throughout the universe. A drive that often put the Lumus at odds with the Brotherhood.

Brotherhood

The Brotherhood of Sol were the self-sworn protectors of humanity and were much respected and honored for their role in the liberation and exodus. However it was clear from the beginning that Brotherhood society was separate from all others. While they were a constant presence, they didn’t call Solum home, instead claiming the moon of Solide as their homeworld. It was not however until after Grey Hevey’s death in 2191 that the Brotherhood began to see itself as a defined culture and in 2199 they officially declared themselves independent of the Lumus and Imperium.

The relationship between the Brotherhood and the Imperium was, to say the least, strained. The Brotherhood frequently disputed Imperium policies, in particular those pertaining to Lumus expansion and exploration into the new galaxy. It wasn’t that the Brotherhood opposed expansion, it was more of an ongoing struggle to rein in the, often reckless, Lumus enthusiasm for discovery. The Brotherhood was not even a tenth the population of the Lumus so their aggressive expansions challenged the Brotherhood’s resources and ability to protect them as they ventured off into Draco-Tao.

Nomads

The Brotherhood were not the only ones at odds with Lumus policies. As humanity expanded throughout the Draco-Tao galaxy there were inevitably those who did not wish to fall under the rule of either the Imperium or Brotherhood. These outliers were known collectively as Nomads. Over time, as tends to happen with isolated cultures, Nomads became unfairly stigmatized.

It was no secret that much of the conflict between the Nomads and Lumus stemmed from territorial disputes. In their vie for independence the Nomads pushed into Draco-Tao early on. As the Lumus began their expansions they often encroached on regions establish by Nomad pioneers and attempted to enforce governance over Nomad colonies. Sometimes they simply moved into regions and took over. This forced the Nomads further out into more remote, less desirable regions.

The confrontations between the Nomad groups and Lumus, combined with the Brotherhood’s refusal to get involved, would ultimately lead to the Nomad rebellion.

The Illuminated

One of the most important and controversial technologies to come out of the period of the Second Renaissance was indisputably the Process of Illumination. Not only was it the catalyst for many social and political debates over the true nature of humanity, it spawned a new culture unto itself.

Developed in 2160 by Pratt Groom, a leading Neurobiologist, alongside artificial Intelligence expert, Professor Emory Toffton. The Process of Illumination was a complete mapping and deconstruction of the conscious and unconscious mind of an individual. Every aspect of the person is transferred into a data construct specifically designed as an exact parallel of the subjects neuro pathways. Every memory, every emotion, every sight and sensation is reconstructed in an artificial duplicate of the persons mind.

Groom and Toffton had set out to capture the very essence of a person. They wanted the ability to escape flesh and bone and achieve immortality. From the beginning the technology raised many moral and philosophical questions pertaining to the consequences of immortality and even what it is to be classified as human. This did not deter 97 year old Groom in the least. On April 10th 2212, Groom is the first to undergo the process. A complete success, Groom awoke inside the Illumination Matrix after the 7 day long process and what he described as, “the worst nap I’ve ever taken”.

By 2221 nearly 300 people were part of the program. Illumination attracted some of the greatest minds in Lumus society; scientists, artists and teachers, all approaching the end of their lives. But the draw was far more than the prospect of immortality. With access to massive data stores and shared mind spaces, the Illuminated could explore ideas and thought without limit. As well, they had the ability to stream themselves over subspectrum communications, essentially giving them the ability to travel millions of light years to remote outposts with just a thought.

Controversy surrounding Illumination continued to rage on. There was much debate over whether or not the minds in the Illumination program were still considered people and thus the extent of their rights in Lumus society. By 2228 more than two thousand people had taken part in the Illumination process and with their growing population came increased prejudiced and persecution. Despite their continued and significant contributions to science and research they were treated with detachment at best. The worst persecution came from those that felt the Illumination process was an affront to God. They saw the Illuminated as having their souls ripped from their bodies and being denied the afterlife. These groups often took extreme actions in their attempts to shut down the Illumination program, both legally and illegally.

The situation came to a head on July 4th 2228 when the Imperium ruled that the Illuminated were digital facsimiles of deceased individuals, and not a people. The ruling effectively stripped the Illuminated of all rights in Lumus society. Considered little more than software, the Imperium began to approve petitions from the families of many Illuminated for the immediate termination of their loved ones from the program. However in anticipation of such a ruling, and in fear of their continued existence, the entire Illumination Matrix Facility had secretly been relocated to an undisclosed planet out of reach from the rest of humanity.
In February of 2229, with all physical ties to Solum severed, the Illuminated declare their independence from Lumus society, and to some degree, humanity. They then for the most part disappeared, with only a few choosing to continue their interactions with humanity.

Fractured

The Second Renaissance was a time of great strides forward for the new order of humanity, as well as its fracturing. The latter of which would open Draco-Tao up to an old, and a new threat.

Chapter 7: The Pirate Clans

Chapter 4: The Second Fall

A Hollow Moon

On August 12th 2163, the crew of the Letwene Arbor Class Space Station, led by Commander Darren Hessler, intercept an aberrant radio signal coming from a moon orbiting planet PL9987 located in the Centaurus Arm of the Milky Way. The signal is persistent and highly structured suggesting an intelligent source, and as per protocol, the Letwene reroutes to investigate. What Hesslers crew finds is truly amazing and within weeks of its discovery teams of scientists swarm the location.

The whole of the moon’s interior was host to a vast alien machine. This machine, powered by the moons own molten core, had devoured the moons resources from the inside out leaving behind a vast network of tunnels and massive chambers. There was much speculation over the purpose of the machine and the complex left behind. Of particular interest was what had been housed in a network of chambers filled with rows and rows of identical cells, theorized to have been some form of stasis or incubation system. The hollow moon housed an estimated 30 million pods and the mysterious race that was presumed to have once occupied them were dubbed the “Sleepers”.

As news of the Hollow Moon and the Sleepers began to saturate global media, conflicts with Children of Gaia groups steadily increase, and public fears begins to spin out of control. The new fear over a potential alien threat bolsters support for “Earth is home” extremist groups, and even many hardcore WSO supporters begin to shift alliances in the reality and uncertainty of the recent discovery.

At the same time, in the wake of the Gaian terrorist violence, millions flee to the refuge of Pangaea. But as the enormous space complex quickly reaches capacity, and the stations steady expansion is all but halted by disrupted supply lines, more and more people are turned away. This further strengthened the Gaian movement by reinforcing propaganda that Pangaeans did not care about the problems of the planet side population. While profoundly untrue, more people began to see Pangaea as an elitist culture living in luxury as everyone else suffered. In reality, by 2164 the Pangaea population was over 900 million, and over crowding had began to take it’s toll on the communities of the once Utopian society.

As the Gaian ranks continued to grow, so did their resolution and violence. The complexity and number of casualties of their terror efforts was increasing. In September of 2165 Gaian agents infiltrate the food courts of a popular mall in Dubai resulting in the poisoning deaths of over a hundred thousand people. Humanity had not seen this level of unrest in over a century and UGC Security forces were unprepared and struggled to maintain order. The EDI was more adept at handling extreme situations but their resources were stretched thin with most of their forces off-world.

The Gaian War

The Children of Gaia were no longer a series of “Earth is home” factions operating independently of one another. The group had become a unified and highly organized separatist movement under the leadership of Yonas Girmay.

Girmay was a dynamic leader and a brilliant strategist. Under his flag the Gaian movement grew at an exponential rate. He turned the random terrorist attacks of hundreds of factions into a calculated global campaign of psychological warfare. Girmay and, his right hand and leader of the Gaian military, Lea Wurfel, successfully captured and held enormous regions unofficially defining territorial boundaries between the UGC and the Gaians.

On May 11th 2166, the Unified Global Committee, in an effort to stave off war, offer to grant the Children of Gaia sovereignty. A temporary ceasefire was proposed to allow for the safe passage of UGC citizens out of Gaian controlled territories. Girmay responded,

“We have taken the first step to liberation, but our journey is far from over. We are Gaian and we will not rest until our world is purged of those not of Gaia. We have been offered our own territory up as a gift, as if we had not already taken it for ourselves. But we will not be petty in the face of this disrespect. We shall honor this cease fire. For the next 48 hours no Gaian shall raise a gun to our enemy. However, a reward will be given for the head of every fleeing rat cut down by a Gaian blade. We will see to it that the UGC receives every one of the citizens from our lands. Let them sort out the pieces.”

As thousands are brutally slaughtered in the streets the Unified Global Committee officially declared a state of war for the first time since its establishment in 2039. UGC Security Forces move into Gaian controlled territory, thus beginning the first battle of the Gaian war.

Tides Of War

Since the beginning of the Gaian war advantage shifted regularly between the two sides, with the UGC steadily losing ground in each exchange. However, despite consistent victories, public opinion of the war was shifting inside the newly formed Gaian Nation. In particular opinions regarding the tactics endorsed by the Gaian leader, Yonas Girmay, and his military head, Lea Wurfel. More and more their methods were viewed as unacceptably brutal.

On December 25th 2173 Girmay is killed during a conflict between Gaian and UGC naval forces in the Baltic Sea. Immediately following the news, Lea Wurfel steps up to take the role of Gaian leader, but the Gaian Council quickly dash her aspirations and instead appoints Brodie Mustar as the new Leader of the Gaian Nation. Mustar was a well known figure and represented the Gaian public’s growing distaste for war. However, over the next two years under Mustar’s new policies the Gaian Nation was diminished both in territory, and in political might.

The UGC still held the Luna Chorda Moon Base and thus the whole of Earth’s Helidyte supply. Previously, under Girmay, all the Helidyte that fueled the Gaian Nation was captured from strategic conquests of UGC reserves. Now with Mustar’s lack of military progress left them buying Helidyte from unscrupulous off-world resource traders, and as the Gaian treasury was exhausted, so became the Helidyte. For the first time the UGC saw a clear path to victory as Gaian financial and energy reserves dried up.

By late 2175 the Gaian Nation was critically weakened. With the Gaian military severely crippled, its war machines sitting with their reactors cold, the UGC issued an ultimatum. The Gaian Nation could surrender and enter negotiations to retain their sovereignty, or the UGC could end the war with a final military action. Seeing no other options Mustar conceded. On November 8th 2175 Mustar prepared to announce surrender, but as he begins his speech Gaian military forces, led by Lea Wurfel, storm the building. Without pause Mustar’s entire political committee is executed where they sit. Then the world watches as Wurfel cuts down a pleading Mustar during the live broadcast. Her face streaked with blood, Wurfel stares into the cameras saying only one thing,

“As I breath Gaia shall not fall.”

With Wurfel in command the Gaian military returns to guerrilla warfare and violent acts of terror. While initially seen as futile attempts at holding onto the already dead cause, it soon becomes clear they are merely diversions. On July 6th 2176, Wurfel, and several heavily armed squads of a Gaian special forces landing party, attacks and captures the Luna Chorda Moon base. Space travel was a punishable offense by Gaian law and in the entirety of the war no Gaian forces had ever left the planet, so the lunar complex had been left almost completely unprotected. Suddenly the Gaian Nation held all the power and the tides of war had shifted once again.

The War Ends

Several attempts to retake the Luna Chorda facility were made by UGC and EDI forces, but none were successful at breaching Gaian defenses. Over the next year a series of strategic attacks on UGC facilities further tightened the Gaian stranglehold on UGC resources.

Cut off, the UGC leadership finds it difficult to reduce energy consumption across its territories and quickly burns through its Helidyte reserves. Like the Gaian Nation two years prior, UGC cities begin to go dark and the UGC Security Forces are severely weakened. As more and more territory falls to the Gaian military and their brutal methods, UGC leaders reach out to the Gaian High Command. Wurfel however is not interested in their surrender.

On December 14th 2178 the Gaian military takes the UGC capitol city, executing every member of the UGC leadership and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of citizens. Over the next few weeks Gaian forces, as part of Wurfel’s Operation Locust, systematically eliminate all remaining resistance. The Gaian war was over.

Chapter 5: Exodus

Chapter 3: Into The Stars

The Signal

On October 25th 2142 at 4:12 AM GMT, a crew of University students studying old MBUS communication systems on a decommissioned Pike G2 outpost, intercept a strange radio signal. They relay the signal back to their University lab on Earth and 45 minutes later an emergency meeting of the UGC is called.

The signal was human in origin but had come from far beyond man’s current reach into the galaxy. As it was now generally agreed that the Shinigami had used some form of LEAP technology to escape destruction over 110 years prior, there was little debate over the source of the broadcast. To make matters more tense the news of the signal had been made public despite UGC efforts to suppress the information. Amid general fear there was also outrage as questions as to why the signal had not been detected by the SkyEye probe network began to be raised. An investigation soon uncovered a financial conspiracy spanning three decades.

Records seized from SkyEye vaults made it clear that the contract with the UGC to replace the EDI network was an elaborate scam. A scam resulting in the company holding contracts for 89% of all consumer and commercial communications worth tens of trillions of dollars. Given the nature of the fraud had undermined global security the UGC deemed it an act of treason and ordered the arrest of the SkyEye board of directors.

As the events surrounding the SkyEye fraud unfolded there was a collective realization that nobody had been listening to the skies for the last 30 years. World media was dominated by speculations of who, or what, else may have heard the Shinigami broadcast. More importantly; did they have a thirty year head start? People were beginning to panic and demanding action by the UGC. On November 1st 2142, the UGC unanimously voted to reinstate the Earth Defense Initiative. Grey Hevey, son of Garmin Hevey, former head of the EDI at the time of its dissolution, was to be appointed the new acting Operations Director. Hevey agreed to take his father’s former position on the condition that the EDI be reinstated under the terms of its original contract with unlimited access to resources.

The Sword You Fear

If in fact the Shinigami signal was a call for help and a potentially dangerous alien threat was impending, Earth needed a plan. On November 10th 2142, Grey Hevey addressed the UGC in a globally broadcast open meeting revealing that he planned to build a new Shinigami Space Station.

“We are strongest when we face our fears. The tragic events of 2029 have too long been in our nightmares. The Shinigami is a terrible weapon, but it is a weapon we should wield, not cower before. What once nearly wiped us from existence may very well someday be our salvation. God forbid we ever have to use such a weapon, but if it comes down to it, we will not hesitate to make it the thing of our enemies nightmares. The sword you fear is the sword you don’t wield. We will fear no more.”

The UGC backed the EDI plan alongside overwhelming public support. Still not everyone was onboard. Many in the WSO felt that we were assuming the worse and that at least more research into the matter was needed. On January 10th 2149 the new Shinigami 102D Space Station was launched. The 102D not only bore the name and retained much of the original design characteristics of its infamous predecessor, it also housed a variation of the biometric weapon that wiped out two thirds of civilization. It was also the first space station to be equipped with Generation 3 LEAP drive technology.

Over the next few years the divide between the EDI and WSO continued to widen. On May 14th 2149 Tyla Keller, head of the WSO, release details of the organizations plans to move up its schedule for long term deep space exploration. The WSO’s mission objectives included establishing a number of permanent outposts and research colonies, and actively searching for habitable worlds. All of which were expected. However in an interview when asked if the WSO was concerned about encountering an alien race, Keller responded,

“Concerned? We’re anticipating it! We’re actively seeking out contact with another intelligent civilization. We’ve known that we’re not alone for a long time. Don’t you think it’s time to meet our neighbors?”

Pushback

Keller’s statement shocked the world sparking public protests, political scorn, and even death threats from various “Earth is home” groups. However for as many that were outraged there were just as many that supported the WSO initiative and millions flocked to join the organizations efforts. More than a year after missions began, public opinion continued to be split on the WSO’s controversial objectives to contact an alien civilization. Opposition groups had begun to take an ever more aggressive stance on the matter with each mission launch.

The Christo mission marked a major milestone for the WSO and humanity. It was not only to be the furthest from earth humanity had roamed, but if successful, the Christo crew would be the first humans to walk on a planet outside our solar system. The fifteen person crew was tasked with investigating a number of worlds thought to be suitable for potential human colonization.

On August 25th 2150 the Christo Space Station departs from Pangaea’s Branson docking port. Billions watch from home, and over 120 thousand people gathered in the nearby Pangaean Grand Park to witness the historic event. At 2 PM, as port tugs pull the station to a safe LEAP distance, the world watches in horror as it explodes 400 meters from the Pangaea complex.

Docking barriers absorb much of the initial blast but debris from the explosion rips through the nearby park dome. In a matter of seconds thousands of people are ejected into space before the Pangaean emergency systems can seal off the section. Moments after the explosion an extremist faction of the “Earth is home” group, Children of Gaia, claimed responsibility.

“We can no longer stand by and watch heathens turn their back on their true home, endeavoring to open us to untold dangers simply to satisfy their selfish curiosity. We must take it upon ourselves to defend our Earth Mother.”

Ten minutes after the terrorist’s statement, eight more explosions shook Pangaea as bombs detonated in the WSO headquarters, a major research facility, and the homes of five top level WSO officials. Eight thousand men, women, and children died in the terror attacks that day, and more than three thousand were critically injured.

The Children of Gaia terror campaign did not stop after the Christo disaster. As security on Pangaea tightened, the Gaian terrorists shifted their efforts to targets on the ground. After a series of devastating attacks on a number of transit stations kill hundreds, stories began to emerge that Pangaeans were getting special protection. As public animosity grew so did support for the Gaian movement. This was only exacerbated by the increasingly heavy handed tactics of UGC and EDI security forces in their efforts to weed out members of the Gaian terror cells, often violating the rights of innocent citizens in the process.

Limitless

2153, Generation 4 LEAP marks the most significant advance in the technology since its invention. Using new improvements to particle sinks and reactor technology the new LEAP system, branded “Limitless”, promised to eliminate limits on LEAP travel. The drive had been tested up to 5 million light years, but unlike previous LEAP systems, that had maximum power capacities, Gen 4 did not. This meant that as reactor technology advanced, or as new power sources were discovered, LEAP ranges would potentially be limitless.

Thousands of expeditions launched every year carrying a new breed of explorers into the heavens, fulfilling the long romanticized dreams of their ancestors. The vast galaxy, of which we previously only occupied a tiny corner, truly became our home. Once escaping the interference of the Sun we quickly discovered that planets like Earth, and indeed life, were not such isolated occurrences as we once believed. Within the first year of interstellar exploration fifteen habitable worlds were discovered. Many of these new worlds were teeming with plant, microbial, and even animal life. Life that was shockingly similar to that found on Earth.

On August 25th 2154, planet PL-091 became the first interstellar world claimed by humans with the establishment of the WSO Nova Research Colony. By January of 2159 twenty planets and moons were home to more than 150,000 humans. However, all this did not help consolidate an increasingly divided public. While WSO supporters were aglow with excitement over opening new territory. The opposition saw a greater threat than ever before.

Chapter 4: The Second Fall

Chapter 2: A World Unified

A New World Government

A decade after the Shinigami Disaster civilization was well on its way to recovery. From tragedy arose brotherhood and the remaining world governments came together under a single flag of humanity. On December 23rd 2039, Dean Karls is elected as the first Head Chairperson of the Unified Global Committee and for the first time in human history there is a single unified governing body. The UGC immediately sets to work, establishing two other organizations.

The Earth Defense Initiative (EDI) is established on February 4th 2041 with the sole task of defending the planet and its population from any and all extraterrestrial threats. General Kenneth Brightman is appointed as Operations Director. The organization is given access to unlimited resources, and a deadline of two years to develop an early warning system composed of a series of listening posts positioned throughout the solar system.

On March 16th 2042, the World Sciences Organization (WSO) was formed. Under UGC policy all technological advancements must be made public with full disclosure. The policy was designed to prevent another Blaisdale/Shinigami type incident, however the EDI required for certain technologies to be classified in the interest of global security. It was agreed that certain technologies would be granted a level of secrecy however the newly formed WSO would be in charge of disseminating variations of beneficial technologies to public and private firms, maintaining the confidentiality of the technology without stifling advancement.

The formation, and initial policies, of this new unified global government was in no small part motivated by the discovery of the true origins of all of the former Blaisdale Corporation’s technological advances.

We Are Not Alone

In July 1988 the Soviet Union, along with other nations, launched a number of missions to Mars. It was reported that due to loss of communication with the Soviet Mars orbital probes, Phobos 1 & 2, the landers attached to these satellites were never deployed. This was a lie. The landers were in fact deployed to a region of interest at the planets southern pole. On August 13th 2004 a Russian top secret manned mission lands unceremoniously on the surface of the red planet with a crew of three unnamed Cosmonaut scientists. Their mission; to study the crash site of a large alien space craft.

Over the next several years the Soviet scientists cataloged, analyzed, and reported on their findings of the alien technology. Information that Blaisdale, and the company’s five founding members, obtained from the Soviet government during the global economic collapse of 2011. Blaisdale then proceeded to reverse engineer the technology and began releasing “innovations” to the public.

Of the projects derived from this alien tech was something codenamed Distant Horizon, an apparent means of long distance space travel that possibly explained the Shinigamis 101-D’s sudden disappearance years prior. The news that we were not alone in the universe, coupled with the possibility that the murderous Space Station may still be lurking, was cause for great concern.

Huge Leaps Forward

In 2048, after suffering from numerous setbacks and a year behind schedule, the EDI finally begin deploying their early warning system. There were more setbacks to come however with the continued failure to produce a more viable propulsion system, a major hurdle to the effective expansion of the detection network. The project limped along under great scrutiny until 2060 when Dr. Abla Zwarhi, a prisoner serving two life sentences for ethics violations in a WSO Science Work Camp, makes a breakthrough.

Zwarhi had spent the first twelve years of her sentence working on a new power source based on Tristan Benoble’s Quantum Static Theory. On March 23rd 2059, she confirms Benoble’s work and creates the first Quantum Static Reactor. A year later Pinot Garrett, building on Zwarhi’s work, designs a version of the reactor that is safe and magnitudes more powerful. The Generation 1 QS Reactor was the solution to the EDI’s propulsion woes. By 2065 the detection network was growing rapidly, however so were public concerns over the exorbitant costs associated with the EDI program. The Shinigami disaster was not so far from everyone’s minds to question the need for the network, but there was growing debate as to whether EDI should continue to have a blank check given its continued lackluster performance.

Then on September 7th 2072 the nature of human space exploration is changed forever. At a research facility in Cern, an egg is successfully transported from a test chamber into the wall of an adjacent lab thirty meters away. The project is called Linear Exchange of Absolute Position, aka LEAP, and is the result of more than 70 years of work done by John Hawking to prove his Interuniverse Resonance theory.

The first LEAP gate is put into service on September 13th 2074 and successfully transports a shuttle and its crew from Earth’s orbit to just inside the Mars orbital plane. The 78 million kilometer journey took a mere .3 seconds. Within a year the EDI was positioning LEAP gates throughout the solar system dramatically cutting the long term costs of maintaining the detection network and allowing for expansion far beyond its current range. A new era of space travel had begun.

Just a few years later on June 24th 2083, Terrance Wilcox, a physicist working out of a makeshift lab in a rented warehouse, successfully measures a theoretical light spectrum existing far below all known wavelengths. A subject of interest for scientists for nearly a decade, sub-spectrum wavelengths travel outside normal space, 200 times faster than upper spectrum light, passing through all known matter. Many scientists theorized that sub-spectrum light played some role in our perception of time itself.

Eugene Mills, a 28 year old engineer working for a small technology firm in former Canada, wasn’t interested in time. Mills saw sub-spectrum’s potential in communications and in April of 2088 created the Sub-Light Data Burst (SLDB) communications array. The immediate advantage of the SLDB system was speed of communication over long distances. Eugene also devised a method for secure communications by spreading data across multiple wavelengths making the signal nearly impossible to intercept. SLDB quickly replaced current MBUS technology for deep space communication.

This wasn’t necessarily a good thing for the EDI. The increased speed and range of SLDB made nearly 70% of the EDI network redundant, and again made them the target of public scrutiny over cost. To make matters worse, the company SkyEye introduced a new deep space probe of their own, boasting that they could achieve 50 times the coverage of the EDI network, and do so at one third the the current operating budget. In July of 2094 the first SkyEye probe cluster is deployed and the UGC cuts the EDI’s budget by two thirds. By 2107 SkyEye had become one of the most profitable and powerful companies in history, and on September 21st 2112, the UGC officially dissolved the Earth Defense Initiative, handing over complete responsibility for defense monitoring to SkyEye.

The Orbital Boom

Not all technical innovation was in government and defense however. As per UGC policies the general public enjoyed the benefits as well. In 2097 eccentric quintillionaire Hjörtur Gudmunsson announces his retirement from earth and moves onto his very own private space station. Gudmunsson’s succession from the planet made world headlines and sparked public interest in the idea of living in orbit. Within a few years more than 30 companies were in a mad race to build consumer space stations. By 2104 the Orbital Boom was in full swing with the world’s wealthiest scrambling to live among the stars.

Between 2107 and 2112 roughly 250,000 people were living at least part time in orbit, either in private space stations or small colonies. By 2120 that number had doubled. Then in September of 2120 the construction of a massive space complex named Pangaea began. Pangaea would be an ever expanding complex housing not only living facilities, but all the needs of a flourishing society. The goal was complete self-sufficiency from the planet.

By 2129 LEAP had travel made moving around the solar system almost as convenient as taking a weekend drive. Both Venus and Saturn had become popular vacation destinations with luxurious space station resorts. Mars was home to the Besbool Research Colony on its surface, and the Martian Academy of Astronomy in its orbit. The draw of orbital life was more than just the thrill of living in space. It also proved to be very beneficial to humanity in terms of health benefits and technological advancements. By 2142 the Pangaea Orbital Complex officially reached a population of 100 million.

But all wasn’t a model of Utopian happiness. While many cities around the world thrived in the new orbital economy others had been all but abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Entire towns were closed down and in some areas the lack of municipal resources had allowed crime to run rampant. Some researchers were also beginning to think that the massive Pangaea complex itself was causing planetside environmental changes. The so-called “Shadow of Pangaea” was suspected of blocking sunlight, causing lower crop yields and vitamin deficiencies in people and livestock.

Fueled by negative press and speculations, “Earth is home” groups gained more and more influence. Originally started by a handful of people that simply chose to adopt a more off-the-land lifestyle, some factions harbored more extreme views and actively protested people leaving for Pangaea. The picketing and graffiti of shuttle stations, and incidents of “mud slinging”, where mud was literally thrown on departing passengers, had become commonplace. Many sociologists were concerned that the division between the population on the ground and in space would continue to grow. But whatever the consequences, it was clear the migration had just begun.

Chapter 3: Into The Stars

Chapter 1: The First Fall

The Rise

The Blaisdale Corporation, a privately funded technology firm founded by Marya Blaisdale, was relatively unknown until the winter of 2012 when it unveiled its new prototype computer processor at the ComDex technology expo in Las Vegas Nevada. The processor named CORE was so advanced that it was at first thought to be a publicity stunt. It was no stunt but it did garner the company overnight global recognition as well as the open wallets of thousands of eager investors.

Blaisdale would make headlines again in the summer of 2014 with the introduction of Proteus, a new propulsion system using low power controlled magnetic resonance to seemingly defy gravity. The technology would eventually revolutionize industry and mass transit around the world. A year later on August 20th 2015 the Blaisdale Corporation quite literally gives the world the Exponential Energy Matrix.

Marya Blaisdale proclaimed in her whirlwind media tour promoting XEM that the first step to global equality and an end to corruption was free access to energy. XEM was a clean, sustainable, high output reactor, that would do just that – give energy to all. Within only a few years XEM technology was bringing power to the most remote corners of the world.

The Blaisdale Corporation continued to produce a steady stream of advanced products, working their way into every aspect of industry and daily life. The company quickly becomes a controlling force in communications, transportation, agriculture and even global defense.

On January 1st 2021 the first Shinigami 101-A Space Station is brought online. The Shinigami is publicized as a communications control center and research facility. Five years later the Shinigami 101-B goes live, further extending the reach of the Blaisdale Corporation’s control over thousands of global systems.

Growing groups of opponents begin to attack the company in the media, claiming that Blaisdale was seeking to control and undermine every aspect of society. The company’s CEO, Marya Blaisdale, denounces the claims and challenged naysayers to provide proof of their accusations. In the end the glowing record, and overwhelming benefit the company’s innovations brought, diminished the validity of any proposed conspiracies.

In March of 2028 the third, and publicly final, stage of the Shinigami project is completed with the launch of the 101-C. Days later the disappearance of a prominent critic of Blaisdale prompts a Federal probe into the company. Initially simply protocol, the investigation shockingly brings to light a number of clandestine, and potentially criminal, ventures being undertaken by the company. Amid public outrage the Blaisdale Corporation is ordered to turn over the operation of their communications networks, including Shinigami Space Stations, to government control pending legal proceedings.

On March 10th 2029, two days before the government turnover deadline, a small group of Blaisdale scientists, working in secret, flip the switch on the fourth undisclosed stage of the Shinigami project. At 6:16 GMT the Shinigami 101-D goes online and 14 minutes later the world goes dark.

The Fall

Hundreds of cities around the world are plunged into chaos and panic as XEM power stations, communications, and broadcasting systems suddenly stop working. Every system controlled by the Blaisdale networks is simultaneously shut down. One hour later a single message is broadcast. A demand for global unification under the guidance of the Blaisdale Corporation. Marya Blaisdale is taken into custody where she is compelled to reveal that the Shinigami 101-D was developed as a global security platform designed to eliminate the need for conventional militaries and police forces. A project that was meant to bring peace to the world, enforced by the Eye Of God.

The Eye Of God was a secret project known only to Blaisdale and her most trusted scientists. The system monitored the biometric and brainwave patterns of every human on earth through the very Blaisdale technologies on which they had become dependent. It could detect aberrant thought patterns, such as those associated with extreme violent intent, and could then target a specific individual’s bio-electrical signal and, using a tuned electromagnetic beam, disrupt all brain function in the target instantaneously killing them.

The world governments, faced with billions of panicked people and an ultimatum to bow before a master of unknown intent, decide to take military action. A series of coordinated strikes were initiated the Shinigami 101-A and 101-C Space Stations were destroyed. A second attack targeting the remaining two stations is launched. Missiles from the United States destroy the 101-B, however missiles launched from Japan on the 101-D have less effect, inexplicably veering off course before impacting the target. Moments later thousands of people in Tokyo begin dropping dead of no apparent cause. The Eye Of God weapon was real.

Every military resource available on the planet was tasked to taking out the 101-D Space Station. After two days of failed missile strikes the disaster came abruptly to its own end when the space station simply vanished. In the aftermath a terrible quiet lingered in the cities and villages of the world as tens of millions of dead lay in streets, shops, shelters and homes. More than 75% of the world’s population was lost, and the survivors left to put the world back together.

Chapter 2: A World Unified

Sentina Trade Pact

Sentina Trade Pact is a set of agreed upon rules of conduct between various parties trading within the three galaxies – Draco Tao, Vigilem, and Milky Way. These are guidelines meant to promote healthy trade practices. Laws dictating trade restrictions are set and enforced by individual governing bodies. This pact does not override or provide protection from any local authority beyond that described below.

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Process Of Illumination

In 2160 Pratt Groom, a leading Neurobiologist, along side Professor Emory Toffton pioneered the technology to record thoughts and memories from brainwave patterns. Their developments became the foundation for Intuitive Neural Simulators (INS).

Groom set out to capture the very essence of a person. He wanted the ability to escape flesh and bone and achieve immortality. To this end Groom partnered with Artificial Intelligence expert Emory Toffton. After 17 years of development Groom and Toffton introduce “Illumination”, a process to translate and store human consciousness as living data.

Illumination is not simply making a copy, it is a complete mapping and deconstruction of the conscious and unconscious mind of an individual. Every aspect of the person is processed and transferred into a data construct specifically designed as an exact parallel of the subjects neuro pathways. Every memory, every emotion, every sight and sensation is reconstructed in an artificial duplicate of the persons brain.

Once transferred the subject is fully aware and has all their memories. They are able to interact via a holographic avatar and use various sensory inputs embedded in the system to give them the ability to see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Toffton’s incredibly elaborate construct even translates the system diagnostics data into the equivalent information that the brain would have received from involuntary processes such as respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Intuitive Neural Simulation

Developed on September 20th 2160 by Professor Ernest Ovinko, the Intuitive Neural Simulation is a quasi-artificial intelligence core. The INS system is not capable of independent thought like a traditional AI, rather it is a predictive interface. By analyzing neural patterns of a user the INS system can determine what you are about to do relative to the current task or situation.

For example if you are a ships navigator and you need to plot a course, the INS will sense your intent and begin all the preparations for the process before your arm has received the signal from your brain to raise you hand towards the controls. Without INS interfaces modern space combat would not be possible as pilots reaction times would be limited by their physical reactions.

INS systems are used as interfaces for complex computer cores, such as those in large space stations and ships. Early versions of the INS simply acted as hands-off interfaces for simple systems such as browsing the internet. However each successive version of the technology was able to predict actions faster and more precisely  The INS-9, affectionately called Einstein, is the most widely used incarnation of the technology. The Einstein is so fast and accurate in its predictions that it seems almost precognitive.

 

Autonomous Nanomachine Task System (ANTS)

Developed in 2143 by Bordstrum Konchū, the world renowned expert in molecular manipulation using nano-machines and a third generation Nano-engineer. His Grandfather Ito Konchū was recognized as one of the pioneers of nano-machine design. And his Father, Wilhelm Konchū, was responsible for most of the nano-tech used in modern medicine.

Molecular nano manipulation involves using very advanced nano-machines to restructure molecules in order to enhance their properties or create new ones. The process was widely used in the manufacturing of alloys and polymers, as well as micro circuitry, and of course, the manufacturing of other nano-machines.

The Autonomous Nano-machine Task System (ANTS) is uses nano-machines to perform extremely complex tasks independent of an operator. Once programmed the system either completes a one time task or to perform continued maintenance, using a basic distributed AI to handle resource management. There are various forms of the system commonly used.

Manufacturing ANTS

Manufacturing ANT Systems can range in scale from the manufacturing micro circuitry to the manufacturing of ships and and buildings. They are efficient and precise, able to build even the most complex structures from the ground up. Industrial ANTS can produce a 12 meter space ready shuttle craft in roughly 18 hours. They can work in almost any environment including the vacuum of space where they can produce a fully operational 120 meter tall Isis Tempus space station in about 18 days. The only limiting factor for the system is available power source and available raw material. The power is provided by low yield nueon radiation, either as a generated field or more precise beam. The raw material comes in the form of Carbon Slugs. These slugs are comprised of densely packed base elements that can be restructured by the nano-machines into anything they might need. They’re typically mostly Carbon isotopes but the composition and size varies depending on application.

Maintenance ANTS

Maintenance ANTS are nano-machines built into almost all complex structures such as ships and space stations. They can be powered by a charge carried through the structure itself or by an external Nueon power source. Their purpose is the constant maintenance of the structure in which they are embedded. In large structures like space stations the ANTS are constantly repairing damage. In smaller structures, such as ships, they typically require an external power source and will use carbon stores when available, but will also redistribute existing structure to perform emergency repairs.

Medical ANTS

Medical ANTS are very specialized. Every human born since 2110 has been implanted with Medical ANTS in some form. They do not use Nueon radiation, instead they use the body’s electrical charge to perform maintenance tasks such as minor cellular damage. They can also be charged externally to boost their healing processes and aid in the repair and recovery of severe injury. In extreme cases they can even sustain brain function for days.

ANTS are a vital technology for human civilization, but they have been used for so long that they are often taken for granted.

Asteroid Mining

Between 2118 and 2170 asteroid mining was highly glamorized in the media on earth. Numerous shows and movies were made highlighting the thrill and adventure of being a Rock Jockey. Children collected and traded Jockey profiles intently following their career stats, such as how many rocks cracked and ore tons logged. As a result hundreds of rookies with dreams of fame and fortune would make for Titus every month.

The reality was, albeit astoundingly profitable, asteroid mining was brutally difficult and extremely dangerous. A skilled Asteroid Jockey could make as much as a corporate CEO back on earth in their first year – if they lasted that long. Working with massive, constantly moving, often volatile and unpredictable asteroids in the vacuum of space took a special mentality. 90% of rookies bowed out within their first two months.

Garnering less fame, but far more profit, were the mining companies themselves. Along with the Gratestar Mining Company there were five other Titus super powers. Asteroid Inc., Haulidyte, Grimms Consolidated, HLS Mining, and StarKat Drilling Co., were all vying for prime sectors.

Competition between crews was fierce. The Titus asteroid field was massive but not every asteroid was a gold mine. As well the further into the field you ventured the more dangerous it became. The inner field was dense and very active, and therefore more unpredictable. Once a survey came in reporting a stable sector ripe with ore it was a race to see which crew could mark the best rocks and pull the most ore.

Asteroid mining is still a vital part of industry wherever humans settle, and while still quite lucrative, it has lost its popular mystique.

Pangaea Space Complex

Pangaea

Artist: CAK1776 on deviantart.com

In September of 2120 Quandry Industries, the leader in space technologies during the orbital boom, announced plans to build a massive ever expanding space complex named Pangaea. By 2142 the newly opened Pangaea had already reached a population of 100 million and was expanding rapidly hitting 300 million by 2159.

The Pangaea space complex was perhaps one of the greatest engineering marvels of all human history by sheer scale alone, and certainly by planned sustainability. Aside a few resources and construction materials, the station was almost entirely self-sustaining. It was just as impressive of an social engineering feat as well. Between 2140 and 2160 Pangaea was considered the closest to a Utopian society that humanity had ever come, or was capable of. The poet Arthur Knight described it best in his famous 2152 poem titled Pangaea:

History has dreamed of heaven since man was first able to prattle tales to wide-eyed transfixed children in flickering fire light. Since agreeable scribbles allowed stories to be scribed and passed between wondering peoples. Since we conceived of our capacity to shape and shift, by our will, the world – we have dreamed of a heaven. The reward for the beneficial deeds of our minds, and the reprieve from our struggle against natural binds. We as one dreamed of Pangaea; and as I stand on ground crafted of those dreams and stare out over the bend of blue that I am no longer bound to, I weep that I have lived to know heaven. To see a population live by hand and heart and the unshackled instinct of compassionate cooperation. To see the potential met to not rape to reap, and not sully to sow; and to see the lust for abundance abolished by the knowledge of sustainable need. I stand abroad the broken limit of sky on the fringe of infinity, and I wonder what dream of man, in kind, will be conjured and conquered next.

However, during the Gaian war from 2168 to 2178 life on Pangaea was far from Utopian. By 2164 the station was already struggling to maintain its population of now over 900. This population explosion was fueled by people fleeing the planet out of concern over violent terror attacks by the Earth-is-Home extremist group Children of Gaia. On January 2nd 2166 Pangaea officially hit the 1 billion mark. Near the end of the war, approaching a population of nearly 3 billion , resources were pushed to their limits. But still the ideal of Pangaea endured and through an overriding will of cooperation and strict rationing the population was sustained.

In 2179, after the fall of the UGC, the new Gaian authority declared that anyone not born on Earth was not of Gaia and therefore not human. The Gaian leader, Lea Warfel, ordered the extermination of the Pangaean population. Warfel’s desire was not satified however as Pangaea was liberated two months later on September 13th 2179 by the Brotherhood of Sol.

In the years after the Exodus the Gaian government had Pangaea destroyed, scattering it’s remains to create a vast debris field around the planet to prevent ships from LEAPing into orbit. To further discourage unwanted visitors they deployed mines throughout debris.

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Orbital Boom

On September 12th 2097, eccentric quintillionaire Hjörtur Gudmunsson announces his succession from the planet after spending five years designing and building his own space station, named the Solotude 1, on which he vowed to live out his days alone.

Gudmunsson’s move made world headlines and sparked public interest in the idea of living in orbit. Within a few years more than 30 companies were in a mad race to build consumer space stations. By 2104 the Orbital Boom was in full swing with the world’s wealthiest scrambling to live among the stars. Within three years more than 3000 new space stations were in orbit around the planet.

Between 2107 and 2112 roughly 250,000 people were living, at least part time, in orbit either in private space stations or small colonies. By 2120 that number had doubled and it was still only the beginning of the Orbital Boom.

Sub-Spectrum Data Burst Communications

First successfully measured by Terrance Wilcox on June 24th 2083, a long theorized light spectrum existing far below known wavelengths. Sub-spectrum wavelengths travel 200 times faster than the upper light spectrum, outside normal space, and passes through all known matter. It cannot be reflected or bent like visible light, and many scientists theorized that sub-spectrum light played some role in our perception of time.

In April of 2088 Eugene Mills, a 28 year old engineer working for a small technology firm in former Canada, createed the Sub-Light Data Burst Communications array. The immediate advantage of the SLDB system was speed of communication over long distances. Eugene also devised a method for secure communications by spreading data across multiple wavelengths making the signal nearly impossible to intercept. SLDB quickly replaced MBUS technology for deep space communication and persists to this day as the primary communications technology, with noted advances in hardware and data compression.

The Quantum Static Reactor

Dr. Abla Zwarhi, a prisoner serving two life sentences for ethics violations in a WSO science work camp, makes a breakthrough. Zwarhi had spent the first twelve years of her sentence working on a new power source based on Tristan Benoble’s Quantum Static Theory. On March 23rd 2059, she simultaneously confirms Benoble’s work and invents the first Quantum Static Reactor. The tiny device generates 145 kW for approximately 3.1 seconds before the resulting plasma build up breaches the inadequate containment vessel killing Zwarhi and 75 others.

A year later Pinot Garrett, building on Zwarhi’s work, designs a version of the reactor that is safe and magnitudes more powerful. The Gen1 QS Reactor produced 300 times the power output of the biggest XEM power cores. It was so efficient in fact that Stellar’s predictions for their engines performance turned out to be significantly underestimated.

The QS Reactor did however have a major drawback. The byproduct of the particle conversion was super-heated plasma. This plasma could not be vented safely inside the atmosphere except in very small quantities. This meant that the new power source could only reach its true potential in the vacuum of space.

Interuniverse Resonance Theory

John Hawking had spent his entire career working to prove his Interuniverse Resonance Theory. After the events of the Shinigami disaster destroyed much of his previous research he was forced to start over, something he would later say was his greatest blessing.

In 2025 Hawking had been collaborating closely with a colleague inside the Blaisdale Corporation. After the disaster in 2029, Hawking had become certain that what had allowed the Shinigami 101D to escape destruction was a technology based on his theories.

The Interuniverse Resonance Theory states that all matter in the Universe vibrates at a specific base frequency. This frequency is unique and is what binds matter to our specific universe.

Hawking believed that given enough energy, matter could be forced out of its origin universe and into another. This displaced matter could not however exist in the other universe due to its mismatched resonance frequency and would be instantaneously forced back into our universe. Hawking also theorized that matter forced out of its universe would not re-enter at the same position at which it left. Instead it would re-enter at a new position relative to the energy used to force it out initially.

On December 8th 2051, after years of development Hawking successfully built a device that was able to shift an atom of iodine one billionth of a micron. Hawkings’ device used Nueon particles to alter the resonance frequency of the iodine atom enough for it to be push out of our universe.

Unified Global Committee

A decade after the Shinigami Disaster civilization was well on its way to recovery. From tragedy arose opportunity. The vastly reduced population and sense of unity allowed the remaining world governments the opportunity to restructure.

On December 23rd 2039, Dean Karls is elected as the first Head Chairperson of the Unified Global Committee and for the first time in human history there is a single undivided governing body.

The UGC was a democracy in which representation was determined by geographic resource need in such a way that the benefit of abundance was to provide to scarcity. This included not only natural and manufactured resources, but also education and intellectual resources. The UGC established a number of organizations that were under its direction, but not entirely its control. The most notable of which were the:

  • Earth Defense Initiative (EDI) – mandated to protect humanity from any and all extraterrestrial threats.
  • World Sciences Organization (WSO) – mandated to safeguard and disseminate beneficial technologies to world industry to ensure technological advancement.
  • Health Of Humanity Resource (HOH) – oversaw and directed global health services as well as the development of medical technologies and medical research.
  • Enlightened Agricultural Trades (EAT) – managed the resources, technologies, and distribution of global agricultural needs and goods.

From 2039 to 2162 the UGC was amazingly successful presiding over a relatively peaceful and prosperous world population. In 2162 conflicts with the Earth-is-home extremist group, the Children of Gaia, began and escalated into the Gaian war in 2166 ultimately leading to the overthrow of the UGC by the Gaian Nation.

Quantum Static Theory

Tristan Benoble was born on February 8th, 2012 with a rare genetic disorder giving him a 15 year life expectancy. Tristan was however also a child prodigy. By age 7 he had earned an honorary degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Tristan then moved on to conquer Biochemistry where he, at the age of 13, developed a treatment for his condition. On his 17th birthday he accepted the Eva Vertes Prize for Medical Advancement.

The future ahead of him Benoble became an unstoppable intellectual force. By age 22 he was considered a leader in the field of Quantum Physics, posting a ground breaking paper on Quantum Static Theory.

In 2034 Benoble theorized that it was possible to utilize the energy from Higgs field particle interactions to create a limitless source of power. However with the world still rebuilding from the Shinigami Disaster, Benoble was never able to test his hypotheses before dying from liver disease on June 12th, 2038.