Game History

The Ages of Mankind

The Age of Sol.

We as a society are somewhere in the far distant future. The year as ranked by ancient calender has ceased to be something relevant. Most societies now orient their calenders on either the Sundering, or more recently, the Resurgence. The exact date has been lost to disuse and the degradation of data in the sundering.

What is known, is that in the ancient past, humanity discovered the first Manifold. Located in the outskirts of the solar system, it was the last major astronomical body found. Positioned as such that it was constantly in the shadow of Jupiter as seen from Sol 3, many scholars postulate that it was placed there to hide it until humanity was ready, developed enough, to find it.

Alien and archaic in construction, the Manifolds were left by a yet unknown race from long before man walked upright and operate on a level of physics mankind has only rudimentary understanding of. The best sciences of humanity place the Manifolds at somewhere between two hundred and fifty thousand and twenty five thousand years old. They are massive technological gateways that link star-systems across the universe together, but do not utilize faster than light travel. These massive relics, the size of moons and usually having their own gravatonic pull, allow travel between the stars, through distances unknown.

The Age of Sol, our prison of a single heliosphere, was broken by the Key of the Manifold.

The Age of Exploration

The governments of Terra made the first tentative steps in to extra-solar territory. The first system traveled to was (dubbed Prima by Captain Xochitl Alcantara of the Explorer ship Outbound Light) a virtual wonderland of resources and land for the overpopulated Terran Dominion. Tentative exploration gave way to a full on gold-rush migration of humanity when the data was released. Prima IV was an earth-like world with a developed flora and fauna compatible with humanity.

Commonly called Los Azteca, Prima IV was descended upon by colonists eager, desperate for land and a future far from the polluted and overcrowded home world. Settled by peoples primarily from Central America. Funded by the last energy reserves that Terra had to offer, Corporations signed Generational Agreements to finance the vast cost of immigration across the stars. These agreements indebted the family to labor for the Financier for a set period of time, generally lasting three generations. Four generations of labor and toil would see freedom and land of their own, for those who came later. Some called this a return to slavery. The corporations called it good business. The laborers were, for the most part (In the first generation) simply glad to have a world where the sky was blue and the water was not toxic.

Prima was the template for all the worlds that came after. The Manifold located in the Prima system was found to link to yet more stars, while Sol's (Renamed Sol1 in honor of its homeworld status) manifold tapped to link to even more. As extra-solar travel became cheaper and faster, more and more colonization took place out of the Solar System. Very soon it was found that the entirety of Sol1's industrial and agricultural output could not feed these colonies. The restrictions on off-world colonization were lifted to generate more more capacity for self-sufficiency in the colony worlds.

Feeding the voracious need for resources in the core worlds, corporations and private groups launched themselves farther in to the void, traveling yet unexplored Manifold-links to world after world. The resource rush was on. The tedious and slow process of deciphering the runes and inscriptions on the face of the Manifolds slowed humanity only fractionally as we spread throughout the Grid. Each system with a manifold also had within it a life-bearing planet that was compatible with humanity. While not always comfortable, these worlds would not be directly fatal to human-life such as Venus or Mercury. This led to an almost endless choice in where to settle. As the land-rush matured, any and every group that could gather the money to purchase a freighter or old star-liner could find and claim a world of their own.

Encounters with intelligent Xeno-forms eventually came. Some were hostile, some were not. Some had technology while some were primitive and barely qualified as sentient. In some war cases, war was fought with Alien races that resented the rise of humanity. No alien race, however, seemed to be able to match the numbers or technological prowess of the children of Sol and all came in to subjugation.

The Age of War

No race could match us, save ourselves. As the central core worlds were increasingly populated and industrialized, planets broke away from the authority of Sol and formed their own governments. Sol was powerless to stop this. Colonization had never been strictly regulated, nor could it be with the abundance of land to be had. Sol had grown rich on the expansion, giving the settlers the tools they needed to strike out, but now the core worlds of the first wave of expansion had developed to a level where they could challenge Sol’s economic might.

Rather than fight these emergent core powers, instead Sol and the Core entered in to joint governance, a representative republic based on Sol, what would later be the Galactic Republic. As more and more and more of the periphery powers came out of sustenance work and started to develop economically, governments sprang up overnight as powerful cabals claimed worlds and set up their ideological philosophies on colony worlds.

The rapid expansion of humanity, both in terms of territory and power, was not without cost, however. Wars with the alien powers were common, but humanity had numbers on its side and technological capacity. The Central Worlds Dominion was far from unified and constantly vied with each other for dominance in the central senate, constantly casting their tendrils of influence into the periphery and beyond. The core sponsored wars of proxy, in which one star nation would fight for the ideals of a given core world, while another star-nation would fight for yet another core world. This system of subterfuge and support ignited what is what is called now the Age of War.

The Age of War raged for nearly an untold number of years, but spanned at least a thousand, some say more. It came to a close only when the Core Worlds realized the effect their power plays had wrought. The Core Worlds slowly solidified their loose alliance in to what is called the Core Worlds Authority today. This group of seven of the most powerful worlds in human space called for the founding of a forum for dispute to discussed, a Galactic Representative Republic in which any power, alien or human could join.

The Age of the Republic

The idea of the republic grew slowly at first. The independence mindset of the frontiersman of the era was not conducive to joining a central government. This changed however, when the Core Worlds and the worlds closest to the core formed a trade alliance that benefited members of the alliance above others. The members of the Galactic Republic now included the most industrialized worlds, those who supplied the tools, the new settlers, the capitol and the ships for expansion.

From there the Republic grew swiftly, radiating outward from Terra until, at some unknown point (time is a fluid concept in space) in the past, it could count among its members 98 percent of the known human worlds. Some holdouts existed, but they were coming around. Several alien races at the fringe of humanity's sphere joined the republic. It was an age of enlightenment and advancement.

Sciences approached the arcane as technology grew so complex that it seemed to overtake mysticism. Some say the Core Worlds approached the ability to understand the Manifolds themselves, learning much about the manifolds and the underpinnings of cross-spatial reality. Culture continued to develop in the stars, religion shifting and swirling around a thousand different suns. The ancient beliefs of the Cross, the Crescent Moon, the Star and the Fat Man fell away, arose, became new, until none were exactly recognizable as before.

Humanity was poised for a change and a galactic renaissance was upon us, a time of understanding and peace that could spread like a virus thought the manifolds. It was the Age of Man, an age of enlightenment. But this was not to be.

The Age of the Sundering

Though no one knows the exact year, it is said that approximately 25 generations ago, the manifolds sealed themselves. They stopped functioning as before and actually closed themselves from further inspection. Not all the manifolds went off line nor did they all shut off at once, but enough of them went down that humanity was effectively and totally shattered. The Core Worlds were sealed from the rest of the universe and the vast majority of the colony worlds beyond were sealed into themselves, single voices in the chorus of the republic. This is called the Sundering.

A dark age descended on human and alien alike as trade and discussion came to a grinding halt. Recently settled worlds
with low levels of industrialization died out entirely as supplies needed for survival did not come, while more established worlds descended into prehistoric chaos as food and technological goods they could not make for themselves ceased arriving. It is supposed that a hundred billion souls died in the first generation.

Some few systems were able to cobble together a balanced, sustainable economic and educational program and were thusly able to avoid a slide in to abject barbarism. These states were few and far between, as scattered grains of sand on a floor of black marble. The vast majority of settled worlds slid in to a neo-feudal, land based pre-industrial mindset as agrarian farming and lifestyles supplanted a high-tech trade-based economy.
Humanity would remain this way for longer than anyone could remember.

The Age of Rediscovery

Slowly and without any underlying pattern, manifolds started to reopen. Some systems had maintained inter-system travel and noted this almost immediately while others still do not realize it, having no domestic space flight capability. Small pockets of the network opened and allowed minimal trade to resume over a span of 2-5 systems. Some of the stronger worlds used this small opening to carve out micro-empires, others for trade and cooperation.

None could deny that the rest of the web was opening, however, when the Spacers Guild of the Core Worlds Authority entered system after system, rediscovering what remained of humanity. The Spacers Guild was the remains of the Republic Manifold Authority, the Republic’s traffic-control service. Now the spacers guild, they were the only commercial space service available for most planets.

It's been 10 years since the gates started opening and most societies are just now fielding the first manifold-capable ships in 50 generations, cobbled together from ancient hulks, refitted with Spacers Guild parts. The Core Worlds are all too willing to provide civilian technology, but they are not providing military goods to any power.
Outside of the Core Worlds, a patchwork of barbarian worlds, far flung aliens and a few regional powers that have arisen as parts of the Manifold Network. Humanity has a long way to go to reclaim its peaks…

The Core Worlds Authority has issued a call to each of the worlds: Send an Alderman. It is time to reform the Republic. But the Core Worlds Authority is not naive. They know that war, that conflict, is about to engulf the universe as humanity shakes off its captivity and feels its strength again.

The Resurgence

The actual Terran year is lost to antiquity, but the Spacers Guild refers to the current age as 10RM, Resurgent Manifold. Most of the Resurgence nations have adopted this vernacular for discussion of temporal issues. Nations have risen, Empires are being carved and humanity stands on the threshold once more. Wars are waged, alliances brokered.

The time of the Shattered Sphere is not quite over.

The Age Of Conflict has returned.

Back too…

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