Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sci-Fi Monday - The Fury Reach

This is the first of Sci/Fi Monday articles.

This post is going to be a long one.  No pictures, just a wall of text.  If you don't want to read it, no worries.  It's the history of the Fury Reach, the background for my sci/fi campaign area.  Once I have this out of the way I can start working on the fun stuff.  Fun for you that is, I like this sort of thing.

The Fury Reach was colonized during the Fifth Wave of human expansion.

More after the jump.

There, if that doesn't suck you into reading four pages of history, nothing will.

In the first days of space colonization there were only three organizations that could afford the, breathtaking, costs of sending people to distant planets.  The first were the richest national governments.  The second were the richest religious groups.  The third were the richest of multinational corporations, usually established for that purpose.

The KS Drive was invented in 2232 at the University of Colorado, at Boulder.  By 2237 the first scout ships had been built and were searching for likely planets.  Two corporations and three religions were involved in the initial explorations.

The First Wave colonies were settled beginning in 2247.  Established by world governments and the five non-governmental explorers, the First Wave was a period of experimentation and innovation.  While several colonies failed entirely, the worlds were re-colonized until a viable human population had been established.

The First Wave colonists were all highly trained volunteers, whether governmental, corporate or religious.  Sixty seven colonies were established during the First Wave, ending in 2352 with the start of the Fifth World War, when all new colonization efforts were halted.

With the end of the war, in 2359, the Second Wave of colonization began.  This wave was driven by mass deportations of the losers of the World War.  The victors, now in control of all of Old Earth, shipped the excess population, malcontents and prisoners of war, to new worlds in order to consolidate their conquests.  Over time the forced deportation came to include criminals and the impoverished masses.  The Second  Wave colonization was a tool to rid Old Earth of "problem elements".

The Second Wave colonies were harsh places to live.  The Earth Government maintained the rulership of these colonies but there was little supervision from Earth.  Due to the hostile nature of the colonists and their former enmity for the government, large security forces were maintained; forces which used force as a first resort.

Many of the First Wave worlds had achieved de facto independence during the World War.  The Earth government was unwilling to grant these worlds independence, but was unable to enforce its claims during the aftermath of the war.  Due to the nature of Second Wave colonization and the claims of independence by the First Wave colonies, the people of Earth came to see all colonies as places filled with subversive and undesirable people.

When the Earth Government finally attempted to enforce its hegemony on the First Wave colonies, in 2372, these planets banded together into a loose, and dysfunctional, alliance.  The First Colonial War (2372-2390) was going poorly for the Colonial Alliance until they started to arm and train the Second Wave colonists.  With this massive influx of trained and angry manpower, the Alliance was able to defeat the Earth Government and maintain their independence.

the result of the First Colonial War was that Old Earth was united under a single government but did not have control of a single colony.  The Alliance had fractured even before the fighting was over, leaving single planets or loose confederations in its wake.

The Third Wave of colonization was undertaken by both Old Earth and the former Alliance worlds.  The Colonial War had resulted in massive construction of KS ships making exploration and settlement of new planets affordable to most of the planetary governments.  The resulting Race for the Stars, beginning in 2391, saw humanity explode across near space.  This phase lasted for over a hundred years as every habitable planet and exploitable resource became a target of development.

Dozens of interstellar states grew up and disappeared as war after war was fought.  Through all of this activity human technology kept advancing and humanity kept fragmenting.

In the year 2515 humanity first encountered a peer alien species.  Called the Lizard Men by the colonists, the Diapsid were a highly advanced, and genocidaly hostile, suprise to the many states of humanity.  For the next ten years the highly centralized Diapsid Empire advanced across human space, destroying one state after another and enslaving or killing all humans within their domains.

In 2525 the Eridani Republic brought together the realms of Man in a single alliance to fight for the survival of the species.  Originally with only consultative powers, the Republic, over the course of fifty years of war, forged a powerful, unitary, military force.  The Diapsid were fought to a standstill and then pushed back.  Starting in 2582 the Eridani Republic, leading the Realms of Man, retook almost half of the worlds lost during the initial Diapsid advance.

In 2599 the peace of Chosin VII was signed, ending the war and setting the boundaries of man and lizard at the current location of their forces.  While the Empire set to developing its newly conquered planets, and breaking in its hundreds of millions of new slaves, the Republic declared war on its erstwhile allies.

The Unity War ended in 2607 with all of the Realms of Man brought under the aegis of the Eridani Republic.  Many colonies had been lost to knowledge during the years of war of the Third Wave, but all of the unconquered known worlds of man were governed by a single government for the first time in human history.

With one border sealed off through the enmity of the Diapsid, the Fourth Wave of colonization began.  This was a measured and controlled effort by the Eridani Republic to locate, and control, the old, lost colonies from the Third Wave.  Additionally, new worlds were colonized, however, the Republic was careful to avoid the headlong rush that had left humanity so vulnerable to the first advances of the Diapsid.

In 2650 the Eridani Republic became the Empire of Man, ruled out of Eridani and including every known human world.  The obsession of the Empire was its conflict with the Diapsid; a conflict that had settled into low level raiding and piracy.

Much of humanity was unwilling to accept the Peace of Chosin, as it left hundreds of millions of humans as slaves of the Diapsid.  The new imperial government saw a renewed war against the lizards as a unifying crusade to distract the people from thoughts of their conquest by Eridani and the birth of the Empire.  Empress Elizabeth Oliver I decided on war as a way to cement her empire together.

In 2662 the Empire of Man declared war on the Diapsid Empire by jumping into Diapsid space and attacking twenty two worlds.  The 2nd Diapsid war would rage for the next 47 years, requiring the entire attention of the imperial military and bureaucracy for its duration.  The war ended in 2709 with the Diapsid raid on Eridani, in which they destroyed the Imperial Navy's headquarters and most of the Home Fleet.  The debacle led the Empress, Elizabeth Oliver II, to sue for peace, ending the war in favor of the Diapsid, and with several dozen more human worlds added to their imperium.

During the 2nd Diapsid War the Fifth Wave of colonization had taken place.  This wave was carried out by malcontented elements within the empire.  Nationalistic, revanchist or disenfranchised; hundreds of groups of colonists set out for the areas beyond the borders of the empire, looking to carve new realms where they could be masters of their own futures.

These groups came in frequent contact, and conflict, with alien species.  The hundreds of years of war in space had forced humanity to develop the highest levels of military technology.  The colonists were victorious more often than not.  These wars also had the effect of forcing the development of interstellar states, yet again.

It was during this phase of expansion that the Fury Reach was discovered and colonized.  The three largest, of several dozen, states within the Reach were the Grand Duchy of Neu Normandie, The Caliphate of Martel and the Principate of Hipparcos.

In 2820 the Imperial Armed Forces invaded the Reach, enforcing their self proclaimed mandate to unite all of humanity under the dominion of the house of Oliver.  By 2835 the Grand Duchy and the Caliphate, as well as the host of minor states, had been defeated and brought under the governorship of the County of Fury; an Imperial domain reporting to the Empress on Eridani.

The Principate had been conquered but the imperial forces in the Reach were overstretched and were thrown out in 2822.  The imperial administration contented itself with tightening its hold on the other realms and fighting the alien neighbors of the County.  The reconquest of the Principate was always a matter for "tomorrow".

For three hundred years the imperial administration ruled over the systems of the County of Fury.  The peoples were citizens of the empire, paying it taxes, serving in its military and receiving all of the, many, benefits of membership in one of the galaxy's largest political groupings.  In 3141 the seventh Diapsid War broke out.  The Empire of Man was victorious, taking back all of the planets lost to the Diapsid and pushing deep into Lizard space.  For the first time the Empire of Man ended a war with the Diapsid on favorable terms.

No sooner was the war over, however, than the Empress was murdered and a four way civil war erupted.  The Diapsid were in no condition to renew hostilities but they watched as the empire disintegrated.  The imperial forces within the Reach were recalled to fight in the civil wars.  The last Count of the Reach led a vast fleet and army into the empire to fight for his own claim to the throne.  The imperial administration collapsed.

The planets of the Fury Reach were left with hostile alien and human neighbors and no support from the empire.  They quickly formed new states in order to defend themselves.  The Caliphate reconstituted itself immediately upon the departure of the Count, taking all of its historic systems as well as many new ones.

The Grand Duchy was no longer a viable state, not least because the family of the Grand Dukes had been completely wiped out by the Imperial secret police.  Within the former realms of the Duchy the Federation of Neu Normandie was established, largely to defend against the rapacious depredations of the Caliphate.

Both states inherited massive industrial complexes from imperial times.  They also inherited the enmity of several alien races on all sides.  In the cartographic north, the Principate saw a chance to gain new technologies, resources and worlds and began raiding into both new realms.

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