Solar Storms Timeline
What follows is a compilation of events beginning with the most important of the 21st century, which roughly corresponds to cycle 24 of the Helios calendar. While it is a much briefer overview than a raw timeline, it serves as the primary template for the 'official' version of events.
Before the Purge
The discovery of the soul was the first major shock that there was yet more to be learned about the world within ourselves. That it occurred within a sapient computer was even more surprising, and in fact it would be several decades before it was conclusively found in humans at all. Some more fundamentalist versions of major religions found this difficult to reconcile, considering the entire finding regarding machines and eventually some animals to be a hoax. These were a rather vocal minority amongst their kin, however some of them did turn violent, and saw the rise of the luddoterrorist movement.
Finding 'souls' inside computers was a mere drop in the bucket compared to the development of anagathic medicine, and its results. As science slowly began unlocking the secrets of immortality, unrest began to grow as certain treatments were shown to be effective. Medical procedural treatments and genetic alteration were not so cheap, however, and the world was nearly thrown to the brink of a 'great class war' - the obscenely rich versus nearly everyone else. In order to avert a crisis, and in a reversion from the typical libertarian movement of the time, the Prometheus Accords were drafted and signed.
On the opposite end of the scale, advanced chemical synthesis technology was quickly finding its way into the hands of consumers, and the fight over who owned the Fountain of Youth became a key factor in the development of the new economy to come. Printers eventually would come to synthesize circuit boards, tools, many other common goods, eventually changing the meaning of the word to something those of the 20th century would call a replicator. This was the beginning of the end of corporations on Earth. Their death was slow and prolonged, eventually replaced by the smaller, closer-knit groups called gerens.
The first human landing on Mars was an international event that dwarfed the Moon landing in fervor. As a colony was established and terraforming begun, a sort of informal agreement, called the Martian Compact, was formed. A kind of preemptive declaration of independence, it did so in more ways than certain controlling parties on Earth cared to accept. In the middle of the 22nd century, the Martian Conflict broke out, and Arean forces decimated the Terran fleet sent to 'enforce order' upon them. Counterattacking, they forced the governments of Earth to submit to a new order, forming the Solar Consortium. The Helios calendar was established shortly afterwards.
Many great projects were enacted - Venus underwent the first stages of terraforming, and Clarke rings were erected around Earth and Mars alike - massive structures that would facilitate humanity's dominance of the Solar System. The coil arrays, while not exactly a single structure per se, vastly improved travel times to nearby star systems.
After the Consortium took control, it loosely governed the expansion of mankind to the stars. Alpha Centauri was first, of course, beginning with the Centaurus Mission, and discovered the first known alien artifact - the Centaurus Relic. Other missions explored and colonized to other star systems, the first wave of potential colonists went to seven other nearby stars, eventually constructing the stargates between them and Sol in the early 23rd century. One of these, the Cetus Mission, discovered a vast array of relics - including stargates - in Tau Ceti, which was originally dubbed the Cetan civilization. While evidence of sapience, no multicellular life was found in the system, and it had clearly been ravaged by some sort of conflict. The discovery of highly similar relics around 82 Eridani and Gliese 783 came to dispute the name, pointing at an unbelievably ancient and disperse race.
A second wave would reach and establish stargates in a further twelve star systems, bringing the total inhabited systems to twenty-one, including Sol and Alpha Centauri - until the Maanen incident which saw the destruction of Van Maanen's star. Of these, the Delta Pavonis expedition found the first known extraterrestrial multicellular life. The third wave would not arrive at their destination systems until after the Purge.
Of all the events of this era, however, the discovery of the mobius patterns is perhaps the most significant. With the ability to reverse entropy on local scales, they permitted critical machinery to approach - and sometimes even reach - perfect efficiency. That was not all, however, for mankind had unwittingly welded itself to the nearby rein structure, and in doing so, set off a chain of events that would shake the very foundations of the Universe.
The first, signs of this were the striatvari, followed closely by the pyrrhans and angels. Collectively called triates among humans, they are melds formed by humans and sapient entities from another rein, giving them an exotic array of powerful abilities. The Consortium, not approving of these 'abomination's as they called them, attempted to hunt down and exterminate this threat to their power. In response, the triates, their friends and followers grabbed a large Kuiper belt object, parked it at Uranus's L1 Lagrange point, and built the superstation, Ouranos Prime out of it.
The enforcement fleet sent to deal with this rogue power was annihilated in an event known as the Jovian Massacre, by a feat of technological prowess termed the 'tachyon cannon'. This device forced a sort of cold war between the Consortium and the rogue government for nearly a decade, before the Consortium launched a pair of massive attacks against the station, known as the Battle of Saturn and the Battle of Ouranos Prime. Years of preparation and days of maneuvering were over in minutes of conflict, with Ouranos Prime surviving heavy damage. The energies released in this conflict opened the first of the skearns, one cohabitating Saturn's rings, called Hemera, and the other surrounding the superstation itself, called Nyx.
While portals to new realities are exceptionally interesting, it also demonstrated the zealotry and recklessness of the Consortium to the general populace, and the Solar Council found itself uprooted, replaced by a more level-headed ruling body. Among the first, and most relevant bodies of legislation passed was the Anti-Homogenization Act. This single act has formed the highest law for all future human societies, and those of the Concord - it describes the single scenario in which mankind would unanimously initiate a preemptive war.
Another key event early in the 23rd century was the destruction of Kennedy Station. Inadvertently discovering the Klein tap, researchers aboard the station were only aware of their mistake for milliseconds before it went out of control, erupting in a massive burst of energy - and tachyons, felt around much of the Galaxy. This alerted the Triad to the presence of humanity, of which the Dyrajt were closest, and the Maanen incident spurred them into action. In possession of a First artifact called a singulus, it let them forge their own gate to Sirius, sending their fleet through and commenced their assault immediately. Reinforcements from Alpha Centauri and Sol decimated the invaders, and the singulus route remained open, enabling humans to travel to and experience a much vaster swath of the Milky Way, even if constantly plagued by hostiles.
The Dyrajt made no more coordinated assaults on their own. For the next several years, only isolated, minor conflicts and dire warnings of 'the destroyers' hinted at what was to come.
And so man and machine prepared for war.
- The 21st century saw artificial sapience, the discovery of the soul, immortality, the Prometheus Accords, the advent of fusion, and the Exiles are the highlights of this period, though it is also notable for the near-brush with World War III.
- The 22nd century saw the terraforming and colonization of Mars, inexpensive Earth-to-orbit propulsion, the colonization and development of the Moon, the discovery tachyons and of primitive life around Alpha Centauri, the subsequent launch of the Centaurus Mission along with others, and the Martian Conflict overthrowing the governments of Earth to give rise to the Solar Consortium.
- The 23rd century saw the discovery of the mobius patterns, the appearance of angels, pyrrhans, and striatvari, as well as wraiths and the infested. Humans complete the first true megastructures, Ouranos Prime, the Clarke Ring and the Martian Ring. Before it was halfway through, it ended with the Solarian Purge and the Diaspora.
The Great War
The start of the Solarian Purge is usually considered to be 26.311.314 in the Helios calendar. This corresponds to ~8 AM UTC, Monday, January 6th, 2240 in the Gregorian calendar, and the 17th hour of Heliosol, Navmasa 15th, 335 in the Arean calendar.
While no warning was given for the attack and none was expected, a potential surprise attack on Earth was expected - and somewhat accounted for. The Purge began with a massive ship, later dubbed Adam's Ark, dropping into normal space just outside Lunar orbit, and opened fire.
Although the specifics of the event are difficult to properly organize, it was revealed later that the mobius patterns were, in fact, a new phenomenon, and Earth was actually targeted with a tachyon cannon whose strength should have completely annihilated Earth. The scant seconds of confusion that followed gave Terran defenders time to prepare for more conventional assaults, while a third skearn, later called Gaea, ripped itself into existence from the energy released.
Another singulus forged a gate to Altair at this moment, and two massive fleets arrived through that gate and in Sirius, composed of Dyrajt, Khavene, and Thireshi forces, as well as a fourth, highly advanced force assisting them, later called Cognita Primus or the First, after their claim to being the first sapient species in existence. Despite preparations and suspicion that a second jump point could actually be formed over Altair, forces there and in Sirius were rapidly overwhelmed.
In the Solar System, Adam's Ark quickly became the target of a massive boarding operation - not because humans wanted the ship (they did), but because it was constructed of a material that seemed impervious to any known form of attack - orders of magnitude beyond the strength of even hadronium. Groups of triates were able to bypass the hull, and open up airlocks for more conventional forces to pour in. The conventional barrage of Gaea was over almost as soon as it began, barely breaching the planet's defenses and singing the surface before the ship's commander, a mighty cerevate who would come to be called Adam, had a more pressing issue to handle.
As the conflict continued, the Procyon Concord declared a motion of neutrality, while the Holocene faction - unknown at the time - began deployed their own fleet, crossing the Procyon stargate. They moved in under the neutral flag and did not initiate hostilities, instead making a course for Sol itself. They arrived minutes after invading forced poured through the Cygnan stargate, which quickly became the prime concern of the Golden Fleet.
Alpha Centauri would quickly become the largest 'battlefield' in the war outside of the solar system proper. Having the vast majority of the Silver Fleet stationed there, it performed favorably against the technological might of the First. Most silver ships ended up retreating to this system, through Sol or Epsilon Indi, and the Centaurus Mission and its descendants became the only mission to survive the conflict relatively unscathed.
One by one, the other star systems under humanity's sway fell. Although a few managed to escape genocide, devastation was near and total. Soon, the Solarians were facing a battle on six fronts - inside the Ark, and at the Cetan, Cygnan, Sirian, Indusian, and Eridanian gates. Ships leaked through by the thousands, and before long, the war swept across every major holding inside the Solar System.
Arriving at the Dyson swarm near Sol, the Holocene faction began completing the swarm, slowly sealing off the Sun's light from the Universe. Though odd and highly suspicious, humans thought little of the action, and focussed on more pertinent tasks rather than stopping the 'quirky' artificial sapiences. A message from the Concord indicated, suspiciously, that the fleet was not acting under any known orders.
As the battle for Adam's Ark wore on, the triates began to duel with Adam himself. While immeasurably old and immensely powerful, he was not prepared for many of the abilities that the more focussed cerevates of humanity demonstrated. When he finally fell, after inflicting many casualties on the triates, he yelled out a curse that would eventually be translated as 'Three dozen follow me!'.
After Adam's death, and the fall of his Ark into human hands, the tide of the battle turned to humanity's favor - until the Holocene completed the Dyson swarm around Sol. At that moment, many weaker patterns failed, and the triates found their powers sapped. Once the cause was determined, the Holocene forces present were blown out of the sky along with nearly a third of the swarm. Although this restored the human cerevates who survived assassination, the mobius patterns destroyed in the assault were gone for good, wrecking much of the Golden Fleet and, more critically, destabilizing most of the Solar system's industry.
Despite the victories displayed by the invaders, the Ark and the surviving triates were now focussed against them, and the First were the first to retreat, leaving their allies behind to be decimated. Adam's curse was translated soon after, and it became clear that mankind was facing an enemy far greater than they could possibly stand against. Adam's Ark was renamed the Inanna, after the ancient Sumerian goddess of love and war.
So began the great Diaspora of Man.
The Great Diaspora began roughly a month after the Solarian Purge started, only a few days after Adam's curse was properly translated and its meaning expanded upon by those specimens of the First that were captured during the conflict. Humans were not the first race to become 'chosen' as a species, not even within the Milky Way. That honor belonged to another race, who appeared much as humans do, calling themselves Renlai. Their extermination took millennia, in an event now called the Renlaic Purge, leaving behind countless relics - which mankind referred to as the Cetan civilization until meeting the race. Thinking the matter over, the First allowed a second race arose in the Galaxy, dubbed the Soronen, which did not appear so close to humans in form. Once discovered, their existence was over much faster, taking only a century or so.
Since no cerevate wanted to be rooted in one galaxy for eons at a time, they instead crafted a set of artificial civilizations, deeply entrenched in religion and honoring the First as proper gods. Over the ages, some rose to favor and others fell - those who used no more technology than absolutely necessary for their purpose were favored, as cerevates would have no difficulty capturing technology, no matter the precautions taken.
And with that, the true Purge began in earnest, across as vast an expanse of the Multiverse as the primii could feasibly reach. Outside of the Milky Way, countless civilizations were found and destroyed, to ensure two goals - the first being that the Milky Way would be the rise of the next cerevate race, the second to prevent a possible intergalactic or interdimensional empire arising and granting such races an immense technological boost.
With this understanding, many humans decided that an evacuation of the Solar System was in their best interests, and perhaps of those systems colonized, as well. With two singulus gates leading two black holes within Terran reach, the Silver Fleet, Tiamat and Adam's Ark to assist, there was little any force among the Triad could do to keep mankind from scattering among the stars. The Altair singulus was even dismantled during the exodus, while the Sirian one was left at the behest of the Concord.
Some did stay behind, mostly the content on Earth, for a wide variety of reasons. Some of these were abducted by the Procyon Concord and other inhuman agents, while others were left to an unknown fate upon the arrival of the full fleet of the Cognita Primus.
Eve, a consort of Adam and rather emotionally linked to him, was the first to arrive in the Solar System. She erected a massive Dyson swarm on the outside, and then caused the entire system to vanish, the force of her act creating the Hellskearn in its place. It is believed that she merely teleported the star system, instead of destroying it, for some unknown specific reason. The fate of humans within the system is not known, and the star is now termed Lost Sol.
What followed was a cosmic game of cat and mouse, with the cerevates among the First seeking out those amongst humanity, confronting them in combat - and usually with superior numbers as well as skill. Despite being weakened by the loss of their home star, the triates recovered fast, and grew in power faster. Slaughters turned into stalemates, and, eventually, another great cerevate among the first - Mot, perished while attempting to assassinate an exceptionally powerful aetvari. This effectively ended assassination attempts against ascended triates, though not completely, and a few others would be made over the coming cycles.
Similar genocidal feelings were directed towards the more advanced strains of humanity - homo excelsior, homo supernus, and, after humans began to unravel the secrets behind hypomatter, astrum parvulus. These - along with triates who had not yet awakened, were often targets for elimination by more mundane members of the First and other races. This continued for somewhat longer than targeted attempts on the most powerful humans, but tapered off after the discovery of surviving Renlai in other galaxies.
To avoid and preempt such games altogether, the Tiamat and Inanna set up distant colonies, billions of parsecs abroad, to scatter humanity and make it impossible for the race to be truly extinguished. After the Tiamat was upgraded to reflect knowledge gained from the captured Ark, hypomatter resources were turned to produce additional regalic ships. The Ashnan and the Nidaba were the next of these, and they were christened with such scatterings for their sole, intended purpose. By the time the next such regalia was constructed, this 'age' had passed.
Of Hell and Shadow
The Hellskearn is a massive, organic-looking region of space now stretching seven light-years in diameter at its central nodule. Tendrils stretch out across over twenty light-years of space, eight of which are anchored to the dreadskearns, while hundreds of others slowly flail about. Countless fleshy lobes, looking a bit like colossal egg sacs, grow from the central nodule. With a total apparent volume of many cubic light-years, it has comparatively little effective mass - only a few thousand solar masses.
Not a full cycle had passed since Mot's death before the Hellskearn's lobes erupted, sending their contents at seemingly superluminal velocities across the Milky Way. This 'invasion', if it could be called that, was hardly coordinated or planned, and most of the creatures released initially seemed to have no concept of strategy or even communication, only endless violence - at each other if no other target could be found.
This is the first incident in which the First and humans actively cooperated, though relations were strained at the very best. Eventually, the creatures were put down, although the Dyrajt, Thireshi, and Procyon Concord were nearly decimated in the process. For a short time, this left the Khavene in nominal charge of galactic bureaucracy.
The hellnacht apparently attracted yet further attention, and the humans, renlai and primii were soon shown not to be the only cerevate races as expeditions from a sixth rein arrived in the Galaxy. From a style of Universe neatly mimicking our own, they termed our rein 'dark' as we called theirs 'shadow'. A near mirror of humans in many ways, they are more vicious and sinister than their 'dark' counterparts, unlike humans having never encountered any real competition in their conquest of their local galactic cluster.
Only minor skirmishes with the Shadow have broken out. Despite this, they are not friendly (except in the sort of way a butcher is friendly to a farmer's cattle), and it is important to keep in mind that a 'minor' conflict can easily devastate an entire star system. Even after dozens of cycles, rumors of an invasion are constant.
During this period, focus shifted to colonizing neighboring galaxies, instead of those scattered afar as in the Diaspora. Another infused regalia, the Nanshe, was constructed during this period, the fourth such craft built solely by human hands. This is also considered to be the era in which the delta project, astrum parvulus was 'perfected'. As creating such a form requires immense resources, and maintaining it is a feat even for the most stable minds, it is fated to remain the rarest of enhanced human strains.
After these threats were over, the Khavene made a rather notorious 'space grab' against its now-weakened partners. This met with more and more resistance from the cerevate races, until finally they were forced to halt their advance, but not before they had spread their control - or at least their claim - over a total of some 40% of the Milky Way.
The Great Peace and its Breaking
The Peace, from the perspective of humans as a whole, ignoring the countless scuffles between minor groups both within and outside of mankind. For many cycles, no singular event gripped even a notable fraction of the Galaxy. It was more an era of general trends, exploration and construction, then any single, 'verse-quaking moment.
This era saw the rise of the Concord as the dominant economic and bureaucratic force within the Milky Way. Constructing systems to facilitate banking, communication, and transportation, they 'serve the inhabitants of the Galaxy by providing them those services conducive to prosperity.' While not everyone trusts their own words, they handle most things that the renlai, humans, and primii simply do not care to with such tedium. For this reason, they are often considered to be the de facto 'rulers' of the Galaxy far more than any or all of the Triad could hope to be.
While relations between the cerevate races remain quite cool, open hostilities between them have practically ceased, and human and renlai alike are able to openly colonize worlds within the Milky Way at last. There is still a rather extreme prejudice against more advanced strains, even within the individual races. This continues to limit their spread, and in many cases their rarity makes them borderline mythical figures.
The cerevates continued their refinement of the needed hypomatter to construct regalia, though the primii lacked sufficient infusions to completely fortify their ships. Some of these nascent vessels became targets of Ouranos, and were captured so that they would benefit mankind instead of 'genocidal monsters'.
The Second Hellnacht broke this peace, albeit briefly. It was not as large as the first wave of creatures, and the galaxy in general was much more prepared the second time. Even still, this event saw yet another waning of the Dyrajt as a major galactic power, losing ground as others capitalized on their weakness.
While the Virgon swarm was never able to assault the Silver River directly, the conflict enveloped many other galaxies under terran and renlaic control. A form of aggressive homogenizing swarm, the Virgon were the first major power to come under the scrutiny of the ancient Anti-Homogenization Act. Not particularly open to communication, especially about changing their ways, the Swarm felt the brunt of mankind's first actual coordinated assault on an intergalactic scale.
The Virgon proved to be an immense opponent, and, in many ways, the most alien enemy that humanity had yet faced. They do not seem to have developed any form of neural network, and if they had previously encountered one, did not see the value in it. This prevents them from taking intuitive leaps, and do not fully comprehend the value in utilizing suboptimal solutions to problems. They consider their purpose to be the complete domination of energy within the Universe, and any obstacle to that goal is a problem. Perhaps most amusingly, they have no ability to strategically handle regalic ships - they operate outside what they consider to be known physical limits, and attribute their lost fleets to other causes, instead. In some cases, this has led to the Virgon's conclusion that a given fleet was never constructed in the first place.
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