Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Psi-Wars Historical Timeline II: The Galactic Federation and the Rise of the Empire

Normally, a timeline begins sequentially, starting at "the beginning of history," and mine certainly does, but I'm going to break it up a little differently because I want to emphasize something to you, dear reader: put the most vital information in front of your players first, and bonus or reward information later, especially after some hunting.  I also want to emphasize that "starting at the beginning of time" is generally overkill, and you always have to start somewhere.  You'll be missing a little context, but that's okay, we'll pick up a little earlier back tomorrow.

If you're a little lost on the calendar notation, check out yesterday's post on calendars.

The Modern Era

 1359 AE to 1747 AE Interregnum: The War of the Houses
(2432 to 2832 DC Lithian; 206 to 218 gc U Eldoth)

The death of Lucian Alexus did not result in the immediate dissolution of the Dynasty. Instead, a long war broke out that turned into a detente as the various houses all angled, first, for their preferred successor (similar to the succession crisis a millennia earlier), then for their own ascendancy on the throne, then for their own local concerns.
  • The Reign of Shio Daijin: Lord Shio Daijin reached Sovereign first after the death of Lucian Alexus and seized it, proclaiming himself regent until a proper successor could be found, or so he claimed. The other houses and remnants of the Alexian Dynasty saw him as a usurper, and he was slain by Alexian remnant forces as a Traitor Lord and his house shamed.
  • The Hunting of the Traitor Lords: the last remnants of Lucian Alexus’s Immortals, his body guard, and aristocrats loyal to the Dynasty, such as Kusari Kain, sought out those they felt responsible for the death of Lucian Alexus or what they saw as attempts to seize control of the Dynasty, including the last of the Templars, the House Daijin, and others, until their efforts finally collapsed.

  • The War of the Houses: The last remnant of Maradon powers, absent the Alexian Dynasty, were the aristocratic houses of Maradon themselves. Powerful houses like Daijin, Tan-Shai, Sabine and Mistral vied for control, first of the Empire itself and then, eventually, over the sovereignty of their own domains. The majority of this war would turn to detente, with shifting alliances preventing any one house from dominating. As a result, regions of control slowly calcified into stable states, and the war became a formal, ritual affair focused more on negotiation, show of force and dueling rather than open warfare.

1693 AE to Present The Slaver Empire (The Umbral Rim)
(2776 DC to Present Lithian; 217gc U to Present Eldoth)

The Umbral Rim lay largely unprepared for the latest Mug incursion. Scattered warlords and pirate kings cast about for allies as the Mug War-Arks devastated their defenses and scattered their forces. The Slavers, who had long supported the remaining, skeletal framework of Tyrannic economic and political power as “servants” to various warlords that seized thrones on worlds like Sarai or Rath, offered their slave armies and their starships to defend against the Mug raids. They quietly gathered up all their various favors and used the war to position themselves well, until they had sufficient wealth and power that they pushed out the Mug, seized Rath and installed their own master there, and began to dictate the course of events in the Umbral Rim. With a combination of addiction, corruption and strategic brilliance, Slaver power waxed until it had united nearly all of the Umbral Rim and managed to steal worlds from the Hydrus cluster itself, eventually threatening even the Federation.  

This resulted in the Slaver War (see below) at 2211 AE (3310 DC) when House Elegans fought back and pushed them out of the Hydrus Cluster, though suffered greatly for their victory. This pushed the Slaver Empire back to the Corvus Constellation and the Sanguine Stars.  The rise of the Valorian Empire pushed them back even further, carving away most of the Corvus Constellation and liberating Sarai from their clutches.  Never has the Slaver Empire been weaker. However, a new leader has arisen, forging ties with the Sathran race, and corrupt elements within the Valorian Empire in a bid to spread Slaver influence once again.

1747 to 2276 AE The Galactic Federation
(2832 to 3377 DC Lithian; 218 to 235 gc U Eldoth)

The effect of the detente of the War of the Houses was such that diplomacy became a dominating feature of aristocratic life. Under the vision of Valria Sabine, a great Galactic Senate was called, first as a means to hammer out a specific concord across the divided houses and then, again at her patient and insistent urging, it slowly turned into a yearly forum for treaties and discussing the direction of the Houses. Then, finally, after the tragic death of her brother, Vance Sabine, and her inspiring rhetoric, the Houses agreed to form a federation: no house would rule over another and each would be autonomous, but they would all sacrifice some of their sovereignty to the Galactic Senate, agreeing to be bound by common economic, domestic and foreign policies. 
This era became an era of peace and prosperity not seen for millennia. The aristocratic penchant for diplomacy spread to all aspects of their reign, and they expanded the Galactic Federation through negotiation rather than conquest. This required them to actually have something to offer, and most independent worlds that joined of their own volition found themselves improved by commerce, tourism and technological exchange, and granted religious freedoms and freedom of travel and commerce that allowed them to live with a level of freedom and autonomy they had not enjoyed under millennia of empire after empire. 

Slowly but surely, it heralded a golden age… but not a perfect one. The aristocracy held special, unique rights over the rest, and they guarded their autonomy carefully, often refusing to cooperate with one another. Critically, the Federation had no centralized military power, for each house feared whomever controlled the levers of military power would use it to enforce their vision, turning the Federation into an Empire.
  • Expansion and Stability: The Galactic Federation expanded through negotiation. After the fall of the Alexian Dynasty, only parts of the Glorian Rim, the Core and parts of the Arkhaian Spiral remained under House control. As the Federation expanded, alien races such as the Sparrial, the Asrathi, Keleni enclave worlds like Covenant and even remote worlds, like the Rogue Stars and the Spindel Web, agreed to join the Galactic Federation. 
  • The Rise of Corporations: The Galactic Federation needed to remain an economic powerhouse to maintain its appeal to its member worlds, and to do that, it needed to grant more and more sovereignty to corporate entities. At Tan-Shai bidding, the Senate recognized the Hyperium Guild, the entire corporation, as an autonomous member. This opened the gate to other powerful corporations, and given standing in the senate, they could directly vote their interests. This often resulted in greater economic prosperity, but that prosperity was often unevenly divided, especially if the majority of the Galaxy would side with a corporation against the interests of a minority of worlds...

  • 2211 to 2219 AE The Slave-War and the Plague: Not every encounter with aliens went well. The Slaver clans of the Umbral Rim grew in strength over this era, and their raids resulted in the enslavement of members of the Federation. The Galactic Senate voted to allow House Elegans to go to war, and it brought numerous allies with it, and managed to push back the more primitive Slavers from their protectorate in the Hydrus Constellation, but the deep press into the Umbral Rim exposed many members of the Galactic Federation to new plagues that had long stewed in the confines of the Umbral Rim, and a plague ripped across the Federation, killing many and crippling more. While not a catastrophic loss of life, it was nonetheless influential to the era.

  • The Rise of Robots: With the death of many sapients, paired with rising corporate profits, more corporations began to turn to the talents of the Neo-Rationalists in the Arkhaian Spiral, including the Council of Terminus and its intelligences, and the innovative designs of the Primus system. Robots had already been a feature of the human-dominated galaxy, but after the Slaver-Plague, their presence became more pronounced and created economic disruptions, leaving discontented populations who felt their needs were left unmet by the increasingly isolated aristocracy and profit-driven corporations.

2237 to 2256 AE The Anacridian Scourge
(3337 to 3357 DC Lithian; 234 gc U Eldoth)

Into a galaxy struggling with internal tensions, a calamatous invasion crashed in the Arkhaian Spiral. Originating in the Anacridian System (or, at least, first encountered there), the Scourge tore through the Arkhaian Spiral, devastating entire planets with its nightmarish techno-organic warmachines. All life fed its engines and it devoured entire populations to sate its hunger; those who did not die found themselves infected and changed by a techno-organic plague. The entire Arkhaian Spiral begged for help, but paralyzed by internal struggles, each House refused to move, remembering the price House Elegans had paid for its war.

Finally, an honored naval officer of House Daijin, Leto Daijin, proposed a unified military force that served no House, but the Senate itself. Houses would contribute some amount to its fleets, but the corporations would provide industrial support too, creating ships designed specifically to handle the scourge. The gambit worked: the corporations build the new fleet while Leto led a delaying action with donated vessels, stopping the Scourge in the Kybernian Cluster and then, with the new fleet, pushing the Anacridian Scourge back out of the galaxy after 20 years of grueling war that redefined the Arkahaian Spiral.

2256 to 2269 AE The Hero of the Federation and the Reform movement
(3357 to 3370 DC Lithian; 234 to 235 gc U Eldoth)

With the war won in the Arkhaian Spiral, Grand Admiral Leto Daijin returned a hero. He magnanimously stepped down from his position, to the collective relief of the Galactic Senate, however, at the urging of his soldiers, the people of the Arkhaian Spiral and the people of the Galaxy, he turned to politics and was elected to the Senate as a powerful new Senator. There, he urged military reforms and, based on the treatment of his soldiers after the war, and his experiences during his travels across the galaxy, he proposed several additional policies, like an oversight ministry over corporations, making the Federated military a permanent fixture and creating a substantial welfare program for citizenry displaced by robotic labor. His proposed policies, his stoic charisma, and his deeds all made him an extremely potent political force to content with, and a polarizing figure in the Senate with his threats to the status quo.

2261 AE The Cybernetic Union and Unrest
(3362 DC Lithian; 234 gc U Eldoth)

With such a great loss of human life, and the corruption of robotics by the techno-organic plagues of the Scourge, the robots of the more remote parts of the Arkhaian Spiral began to ran amok until the Council of Terminus, absent human leadership, stepped in to control the situation and created the Cybernetic Union, an empire governed by a totalitarian version of cyber-rationalism that argued for the supremacy of the robotic mind. It forced cybernetic implants on its human subjects and began an aggressive expansion campaign while the rest of the Galactic Federation looked on with horror.

2269 AE The Martyrdom of Leto Daijin and the Galactic Civil War
(3370 DC Lithian; 235 gc U Eldoth)

Once again, a great horror arose in the galaxy and the Senate did nothing. Some senators even sided with the Cybernetic Union on their arguments about the place of robots and suggested coming to some sort of compromise with the Union. Leto lambasted the senate for its inaction and then, finally, resigned his position and took up command of his old fleets, and without waiting for orders, used them in the defense of worlds in the Kybernian Cluster, holding the Cybernetic Union back while the Senate decided what to do, an act widely hailed by the populace of the Federation. Fearing a popular man with a grand fleet as his back, the Senate recalled the Grand Admiral, arrested him for treason and executed him.

The Galaxy convulsed over the rash decisions, and his lieutenants in the navy reacted with rage. His protege and “adopted son” Ren Valorian gathered their fury and directed it back at the Galactic Senate. The “Senate Fleets” charted a course for Sovereign, to march on the very Senate it was meant to answer to. The Houses gathered their own personal defenses to hold off the advance, except for House Tan-Shai which saw which way the wind was blowing and threw its support in with Valorian. The protege defeated the aristocrats and seized the remnants of the Senate, executing for treason those who had bowed to the Union, dithered before the Scourge, and seen to the execution of Leto Daijin.

Then, sitting himself on the ancient, long-absent Alexian throne of Sovereign, Ren Valorian “accepted the call” to name himself Emperor, and declared a state of emergency against the traitor lords holed up in the Glorian Rim behind Caliban and the Maelstrom, and the genocidal Cybernetic Union, and the monstrous Slavers and other alien threats.
Thus began the Valorian Empire.

2276 AE to Present (2297 AE) The Valorian Empire
(3377 to 3399 DC Lithian; 235 gc U Eldoth)

The Valorian Empire has endured for an entire generation. The Emperor begins to grey, and his children, a princess and a prince born to him by the Lady Zandra Tan-Shai, have grown into adulthood. Those who reach adulthood in the Galaxy have known only the Valorian Empire their entire life. The days of the Galactic Federation seem like a dream clung to by the old and bitter, a fading reality that will never be again.

The Wars initiated by Ren Valorian simmer to a stalemate as he solidifies his power in the Galactic Core and sends his Imperial Knights and other agents to execute his machinations. Now, with his technological superiority nearly complete and his psychic mastery of the Galaxy nearing totality, he readies to break the stalemates between himself and the Alliance and the Cybernetic Union. The detente with the Alliance and the meat-grinder between the Empire and the Union cannot last forever...

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