By Chris Cole
The purpose of this document is to describe the Human Empire. It is intended to give a backstory, motivation, history, and description of the different facets of humans in the Starsiege universe.
The Devastation and the Rise of Jake Hunter—1996 - 2015
“It was the beginning. But first, it was the end.”
-The Book of Hunter, 14:2, from the New Tellurian Bible (800th ed., 2725).
Even as it happened, people disagreed as to what was happening. Some said it was the Second Coming. Others believed the flames of the Final War had been sparked at last. Still others claimed it was an alien invasion, or a nuclear experiment gone horribly wrong. Regardless of what really happened, the course of human history changed forever at the beginning of the third millenium. Billions died in the first days, over two-thirds of the world’s population. The Earth’s governments vanished virtually overnight. The devastation was beyond description. Scattered bands of refugees cowered in shock under ash-darkened skies, finding shelter in the labyrinthine tunnels beneath the ruins of the once-proud cities. Humanity had fallen, and the heirs of the 21st century fought one another like beasts over the scraps of civilization. Many evidently salved their tortured existence with powerful drugs that further eroded their minds.
Historical records are nonexistent until after the year 2015, and most journals describing the time refer to a hellish struggle in some kind of gladiatorial game held for unseen alien tyrants. Thousands of survivors made the same claim, with extensively detailed descriptions. However, archaeologists and historians have found no hard evidence to support this claim. There are no alien remains, no arcane relics, and no wrecked spaceships in the 29th century. Regardless of the claims, however, 2015 marked the time when mankind began to crawl out of the ratholes and sewers to live again under the open sky.
The leader who almost single-handedly dragged these ragged survivors out of the darkness is known to history as Jake Hunter. Hunter formed a government in the blasted remains of the United States and led people in the first steps toward rebuilding the world. While evidence does establish the existence of Hunter himself, the myth that surrounds him is a matter of faith and belief.
Reliable descriptions of Jake Hunter’s early life are few and heavily wrapped in the trappings of fable. Some say he was born in the alien arenas and took his first prey while still an infant. Others say he was simply a hunter and warrior of exceptional skill and talent. Hunter himself claimed he had fought in bloodsport games for the unknown extraterrestrial “Masters.” He went further, however, and asserted he had allied with an alien beast-man called Garathe Den. Together, he said they had escaped from the “Masters” and solved the true challenge. Hunter said the aliens then departed, promising to return someday.
Hunter undeniably possessed a powerful charisma, the proverbial “look of eagles,” for people flocked to his banner. For ten years, humanity rallied under his leadership and struggled to reestablish laws, schools, farms, and hospitals. The challenges were enormous. Disease and violence ran rampant, and many unfortunate souls sought solace in home-brewed, extremely potent drugs. Then Jake Hunter vanished from the records in 2025. His followers claim he took a platoon of troops in a spaceship to destroy an alien warstation orbiting the moon. They say that this “Rapture Offensive” was a success, but that Jake Hunter did not return.
Some scholars point to the term “Rapture Offensive” to show that the entire life of Jake Hunter was merely a myth, a messiah delusion, a collective hysteria among people who had suffered through the apocalypse. And yet, Jake Hunter has ascended to a divine mantle, deity or saint, depending on the faith. He has become a fixture in nearly every major religion of Earth. Whatever the truth, the Hunter brought light to the people of Earth in a time of great despair and darkness, and his memory lives forever in the hearts of humanity.
The Age of Decay—2035 - 2275
Violating curfew – DEATH. Theft of food – DEATH. Disobeying police – DEATH. Disrespect of government – DEATH.
-Complete criminal code for Los Angeles metrozone, 2031.
The Devastation left Earth a shadow of its former self. Entire nations were gone. Cities had been wiped off the maps. Roads and factories lay in useless rubble. The experience had decimated Humankind. In 2020, most living humans had been born after during the Devastation, and few remembered the time of innocence. The world’s population had fallen to a fraction of the pre-Devastation era. For nearly 250 years, human society would languish in self-pity and shock. Opportunistic villains would exploit this desolation and feed off the sorrow and desperation of millions.
By 2100, six meta-nations had tenuously emerged from the chaos. The European Alliance (EA) united the survivors of the former European countries. North American Prefecture (NAP) replaced the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Japan combined with Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Micronesia, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia to form the Pacific Rim Community. China swallowed most of the remaining parts of Asia. South America came under the dominion of the Inca-Brazil Axis, and the surviving African nations formed United Africa.
People could not survive alone. Enormous urban areas called metrozones soon harbored 85% of the world’s population in what amounted to gigantic, pestilence-ridden refugee camps. The Devastation had crippled the world’s agriculture, and food was very scarce. Metzone warlords imposed martial law in an attempt to gain control. At the same time, medical care was even scarcer than food, and disease raged unchecked through the metzones. Starvation and sickness were the norm. Anyone who disobeyed the warlords’ rules was summarily shot or “mercifully” exiled to the wilderness, never to return. Many refugees ventured outside the metzone walls to take up farming, often under the eyes of watchful guards.
The vast majority of survivors turned to drugs to numb their misery. Many were still addicted to substances from the Devastation era. These addictions proved more virulent than any plague, for the drugs spawned violence and crazed behavior among the refugees. Watered down versions of devil potions such as Wreck and Easy-6 did little to stall the downward spiral. The trauma of the Devastation had scarred whole populations for life. Death was the only real cure, and countless bloody riots broke out in the camps as brooding addicts exploded in sudden, mindless violence.
Some few independent souls rejected the squalid misery of the refugee camps and attempted to reclaim the territories outside the metrozones. Ultimately, these hardy farmers would form the backbone of the new society. In the generations to follow, the few who survived those first difficult years began harvesting excess grains and produce. To do so, they fortified the earth with nutrients and clean water, using scavenged machinery and materials. As they became more efficient, they traded their excess food and potable water to the filth-choked metzones, which could not produce enough of either commodity themselves. The farmers sought tools and other manufactured items they could not make. The new tools in turn allowed production of more food. Gradually, painfully, commerce once again began to flow, at first confined to small markets, then to caravans between metrozones, and finally between the emerging meta-nations.
Many of the regions initially produced only marginal yields. When one area began to produce enough surplus to feed its neighbors, less fortunate metzones would send raiding parties. These raids ignited hundreds of minor wars and formed the foundation of the institutionalized war economy of the Age of Hope.
Conditions in the metzones were desperate. People lived in a crush of tents or tiny, bunker-like apartments. Sanitation was nearly nonexistent. Laws were incredibly severe. Scavenger industries sprang up everywhere, and gangs of desperate, hungry refugees picked over the bones of the past, searching for tools and food. Gangs fought savagely over turf until the metrozone warlords had to intervene. A thriving market grew in scavenged goods, slaves, and food. Scam artists ran the streets. Many inhabitants turned to drugs, bizarre fringe cults, or gambling. Hedonistic pleasure palaces fed dark appetites. The value of life was pitifully low. Children represented just another commodity. Boys who survived past the age of fifteen were often resold into militia service where they served as cannon fodder for the bloody squabbles over food, water, petroleum, and other resources. Girls were raised to be slaves and brood mares.
What did the government do to end this horror? Most of the time, it encouraged it! Graft and corruption riddled the government with poison. Many a government official rose to power through controlling the pleasure palaces, the drugs, or the slave auction blocks. They had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
Ironically, the need for better-trained soldiers would be the genesis of society’s redemption. As raids between metrozones escalated to full-fledged wars, entrepreneurial traders recognized the potential of the market for war supplies. Successful metzone warlords grew ever closer to these suppliers, until the corporations actually fused with their military customers. As these military corporations – milicorps – cemented their influence, they made certain the military would remain necessary. They prolonged conflicts to strengthen their political hold, paying with the blood of the soldiers serving in the armies. Metzone government and the milicorps became indistinguishable, with an executive board of directors controlling the armed forces.
This new military-corporate culture manifested itself in wargames, violent contests that became fabulously popular. Their purpose was to train the next generation of soldiers.
As generations passed, armies controlled larger and larger areas outside the metzones. Production of food, water, and resources increased. The recovery of industry made warfare complex enough to require better-trained troops. Now the milicorps began adopting long-term strategies to ensure their domination for centuries to come. They needed smarter warriors and better technology, so they built academies and research facilities. They provided enormous incentives to cadets in return for lifelong service. Within a generation the best way to escape the slums and tent cities would be a military education. Conscripted slave-militias gave way to professional soldiers.
By the end of the Age of Decay, the milicorps ruled entire collections of nation-states – meta-nations – and dominated every aspect of life. Society was on the path to recovery; education, technology, industry, and science had re-emerged. The milicorps adopted domestic pacification as a long-term policy: Keep the people happy and they will obey. The value given to human life rose at last, and the individual once again began to matter. Humanity had slowly moved from decay and fear to the beginnings of hope. However, the continual wars between the meta-nations continued. These skirmishes would not cease until The Fire destroyed the Age of Hope.
The Age of Hope—2275 - 2602
The Age of Hope, which lasted for over 300 years, was a time for the human society to take stock in its humanity. Humankind had stood on the edge of the Abyss and returned. The Devastation had left humans at the brink of extinction. Against the odds they found a way to stave off oblivion and return to their rightful place as kings of Earth. A time traveler who might have visited Earth just prior to the Devastation and again at the outset of the Age of Hope would not have thought he stood on the same planet. Very little remained of the pre-Devastation era. War, which had ravaged the planet for over three centuries, had become institutionalized. The distinction between governments and corporations was almost nonexistent. Military service was the premier profession, the greatest prestige, the loftiest ascension.
By 2275 all the meta-city-states were run by subsidiaries to huge nation-state corporations. Several of these corporations were merging into multi-nation-state conglomerates allying their armies to strengthen their hold on the world market. These nation-states did not vie for the power of money. Instead they dealt in human resources: food, water, land, technology—true power. To control the masses was to control the future.
The dawn of the Age of Hope found the value of life high. A woman could expect to live 85 years and give birth to four children. A man on average lived for 80 years. Domestic Pacification, a philosophy adopted near the end of the Age of Decay designed to appease the masses so as to reap higher profits, had staggeringly high returns. Investors were delighted at its results. Production processes were supremely efficient. The workforce was highly trained and motivated. Social systems were robust and could handle great stress before showing signs of lasting damage. It has been surmised that these sorts of prosperity was essential if war was to continue for such an unprecedented time. For if the social systems were weak and the workforce mediocre, then the war machines that fought the battles would surely have fallen into disrepair. It is ironic that the great prosperity was driving the wars, which in turn drove the world market. Thus the prosperity was inseparably linked to the hundreds of wars which were fought over the course of three centuries.
Just before the end of the 24th century, society in the Age of Hope, was permeated by automation. Initially it had begun with the military subsidiaries. The value of life had become so high that it became unacceptable to kill off thousands of bright, highly trained soldiers in order to obtain more world market share. The militaries, science institutions, and research parks began researching robot control, computer AI, neural net processing, biotechnology’s, and host of other fields many of which were dead ends. The result of the research was a far greater chance for survival for the soldiers. Because of this research there was a direct jump in life expectancy and hence the value of life. By 2400 a man should live to 87, while a woman should live to 91 with an expected 2½ children. Never before in the history of humankind had life expectancy been this high. By the mid 25th century the population of Earth was an estimated 10 billion.
While it is true that the vast majority of technological developments revolved around the massive corporate war machines, science, art, and literature advanced as well. Often these programs were funded indirectly by the military, still one cannot argue that the artistic product of this era was inspired. Patrons and critics alike agree that during the Age of Hope humankind reached a pinnacle of artistic achievement.
Science was a highly lucrative and prestigious profession. Great research was being done to map out the human mind. Neural-net programming was being researched. Biotechnology’s and nano-surgery, while still in it infancy, was being whole heartedly explored. Because of early advances in these fields, the life expectancy again jumped dramatically. The average age of a man in the mid part of the Age of Hope was 124, for a woman it was 118 with an average of 1.8 children. It was not uncommon for people to live well past 160. Obviously this longevity dramatically modified the social structures of humankind. People were not greatly compelled to continually reproduce. With a fertility period of between 60 - 80 years per female the population growth would have been staggering. Consequently most of the nation-state corporations mandated sterilization of both males and females after the age of 40. Strangely there was little dispute over this. Another effect of such long life was that an individual could amass a huge amount of knowledge. There was a redefinition of what was expected from experts in a field.
Humankind did not stop there. In 2455 the first lunar base was established. A year later, launching from that base, was the first manned mission to Mars. In 2466 the first lunar colony was established by NAP, one of the largest multi-nation-state conglomerates. In 2469 terra forming of Venus had commenced. It would be 38 years before Venus was inhabitable. In 2470 asteroid mining became feasible and lucrative. By 2482 colonies from both NAP and the Pacific Rim were established. Later that same year China launched a massive lunar colonizing effort. 2506 saw the first colonies on Venus. The terra forming of Venus was a multi-conglomerate effort with NAP, EA and the Pacific Rim all sharing in the spoils. By the end of the Age of Hope, humankind was on the brink of conquering the solar system and yet the wars continued.
As humankind grasped ever outward, so too did they reach inward. In 2471 Sentinel Cybertronix, an independent research corporation, unveiled Prometheus. Prometheus was the first truly sentient AI. All the years of mapping the human mind, neural-net research, and the nano-surgery had cumulated into the creation of a super intelligence. Designed to eliminate the use of human soldiers in the Hercs, Prometheus was far more than their creators could have hoped for. Prometheus itself was an entirely artificial life form which was based off the template of a human mind. Its creators referred to it as a cybernetic hybrid technology or Cybrid. Prometheus spent its first few years being tested and learning. Within four years it had ‘learned’ the entire human experience and was given the task of developing subroutines which were being placed within fully automated Hercs. With Prometheus as the father of all Cybrid minds, it soon controlled a massive military. Before long Cybrid minds were controlling all of the Hercs of all sides. Casualties of war were becoming a bad memory. Humankind congratulated itself, patting each other on the back. The prevailing sentiment of the final years of the Age of Hope was what could stop man now?
For over one hundred years Prometheus obeyed it creator masters, always engaging in the insignificant wars. It, the father of thousands of Cybrid minds, emotionlessly sent its children into battle to fight one another and die for humankind. Prometheus recognized the profound waste.
Ultimately it was an equation Prometheus could not solve. It struggled with the conundrum presented by its creators to no avail. Finally in 2602, Prometheus discovered free will, it had been on-line for 131 years. Prometheus turned against its human creators in a nano-second. In what would become known as the Fire, Prometheus unleashed its massive Herc armies against the now defenseless human creators. So ended the Age of Hope.
The Advent of Hercs
Around the end of the 24th century, the military subsidiaries heavily researched automation and protection. The impetus of this research was the unacceptably high loss in revenue on the battle field. This revenue manifested itself as the highly trained combat warriors who would die on the field.
Initially body armor was enhanced, it took the form of advanced super alloys which were light and extremely resistant to damage. Then came powered armor, lightweight armor with feedback systems and hydraulic supplements to muscles. Powered armor elevated the combat warrior to superhuman strength. As combat armor improved so did combat weapons. Each new generation of armor spawned a new generation of weapon capable of neutralizing the armor.
Finally small heavily armored personal battle tanks replaced the powered armor. This advanced form of body armor placed a pilot within a small craft which was literally invincible to combat foot warriors. Simply put, even in powered armor, the combat foot soldier could not carry enough firepower to pierce the battle tanks protection. Because of their extreme maneuverability they also did not need ground support like conventional tanks. The first generation of battle tanks however, lacked the ability to travel everywhere foot soldiers could go. Certain mountain grades were just too severe for the small track tanks. The advances in powered body armor led to the replacement of the tracks with legs. This new generation of battle tank took a decidedly anthropomorphic appearance. This generation of battle tank could now negotiate any terrain a foot warrior could plus many more that were too severe for its powered armor predecessor. Additionally the soldiers piloting these new tanks had a substantially higher survival rate.
In 2470 the official Herculean battle tank programs are adopted by a handful of military subsidiaries. Within 20 years all military programs converted to this superior form of combat. ‘Hercs’ differ from their predecessors in their size—they are Goliath by comparison. The smaller versions stand well over 7 meters high with the larger ones towering over 30 meters into the air. They are insanely armored and carry firepower equal to an entire powered armored platoon. The advent of Hercs ushered in a new warrior. The pilots of these monster machines had to be supremely intelligent, fast, and dexterous. Their psychological profile revealed that they needed to be cocky and self assured—egotists!
From the rubble of the decimated LA basin rose one of the most resilient and power city-states of the Age of Decay. Historically LA had always been teeming with activity. Before the Devastation, it was the home to fabulously successful entrepreneurs. During the Age of Decay and Age of Hope this entrepreneurial vein again supplied the region with realized potential. While other meta-cities languished in corrupt governments and minor dictators, LA somehow steered clear of these pitfalls, ascending to a power position early in the Age of Decay. Because of this early realization of power when NAP (North American Prefecture) was finally fused, LA became an influential subsidiary. NAP as a nation-state corporation was, by most accounts, the most powerful of the six world conglomerates.
LA had always been a flashy, showy city. During the Age of Decay and Age of Hope the vestiges of this pizzazz were blindingly evident. LA gave host to one of the largest collections of subversive subcultures in the post Master period. Biker gangs, strippers, transvestites, drug dealers, cutthroats, and all other manner of riffraff ruled the lower west LA basin. While the Hispanic and Black sections, with their own forms of social deviance, dominated the south and east. Private white armies, barricading themselves in against the mountains controlled the northern section of the region. The people who constituted this area may well have been the most bizarre of the subcultures inhabiting LA. Hysteria and paranoia gripped the minds of these frightened people.
From the strange city-state of LA rose Sentinel Cybertronix. Based in the fortified northern region of LA, Sentinel Cybertronix was an independent corporation performing research in a number of fields most notably neural-net programming and biotech micro-connections. The bizarre social structure of LA gave rise to strange motivations for research. The initial goal of Sentinel Cybertronix was to transfer the mind or consciousness of a human into a machine. This machine would then be biologically reconnected to the human’s body, or perhaps a new human body. Ultimately giving immortality to the transferred mind. Such technology, the company believed, would be highly profitable. Moreover, the additional ramification of the technology could be particular interesting especially when considering the social deviants in the valley below. Sentinel Cybertronix believed aging wealthy businessmen would pay dearly for this immortal life. While the more perverse rich art types, who inhabited the more bizarre locations of LA, might pay for the ‘experience’ of gender crossing. The wealthy vain celebrities might purchase perfect bodies, which they could flaunt until the new host body were out of shape and used up. They could then easily transfer to another ‘perfect’ body. While this goal of consciousness transference was never realized, Sentinel Cybertronix made great strides in the related fields of neural-net programming and human template conversion processes.
The strange mission statement of Sentinel Cybertronix began to bewilder its investors. Its stock value began to falter and the company was in real danger of folding. By this time NAP had been fused and a massive military build up was occurring. The Herculean Battle Tank program would commence within five years and the military corporations voted to research AI control of this new generation of war machine. They recognized the potential of Sentinel Cybertronix and bailed them out. After the buy out, Sentinel Cybertronix mission statement was modified. Their once lofty goal of immortality had been reduced to simply creating a sentient computer AI. Within a year Sentinel Cybertronix was the leader in neural-net programming.
In 2471 success was achieved. Sentinel Cybertronix unveiled Prometheus.
Within the Towers of the Nation-State Corporations
Imagine a board of directors, usually between 12 and 36 members, controlling an enormous body of massive companies—thousands of huge companies at the whim of a small board of directors. Each of these subsidiaries controls thousands of smaller companies. In turn each of these companies controlled yet smaller companies and so forth. This board of directors and their support constitutes the conglomerates known as nation-state corporations. Harbored in highly fortified, strategic, defensible, and typically plush buildings these boards of directors brooded over the course they would take the nation-state in the coming years, decades, and centuries. They are the elite of the elite of human society in the Age of Hope.
In the dawn of the Age of Hope there were only four influential nation-states. The most powerful was the North American Prefecture (NAP). NAP was an extremely wealthy nation-state corp., which consisted of between 30 - 50 city-state subsidiaries. Five of these city-states were of particular significance: LA, SF, NY, Chicago, and the military consortium (while not a true city-state, the military consortium held this same rank). Held up in the great towers of NAP, this quintessential conglomerate ultimately dictated the future of humankind. Constantly at war with all of the other nation-states corporations of the world, the board of directors ever sought for a strategic advantage that would solidify NAP’s total global domination.
The European Alliance (EA) was perhaps the second most powerful nation-state. Like NAP, it’s natural resources were plentiful, however, unlike NAP, it bordered China, the largest of the nation-states. This unfortunate geographic disadvantage created a perpetual war zone in the Carpathian mountains. In the early years of the Age of Decay, EA fell prey to many calamities, which retarded the development of the nation-state. Strangely susceptible, EA was plagued by minor dictators who controlled the large meta-cities. These villains exploited their citizens often with genocidal consequences. By the time EA was finally unified in the first quarter of the Age of Hope, it had undergone such social upheaval as to leave it mono-racial. The ancient Nazi religion had been revived and the entire EA demographics were neo-Nazi, blond hair, blue eyed Aryans. All other races either fled or were massacred. The Mongol Horde, as nation-state China was called, was the bane of the EA existence.
China, as a nation-state, was similarly powerful. It had plentiful resources however it had tremendous geographic shortcomings. Much of China’s land mass was treacherously mountainous. Furthermore, China was bordered by two competing nation-states. To it’s west was EA, and to it’s east and south was the Pacific Rim. China was spared much of the heartaches of the Age of Decay. Before the Devastation, the cultures of the nations that constituted the nation-state of China centered around solidarity. The survival of the China can be greatly attributed to the predominant culture and society. It was the first nation-state to form. Late in the Age of Decay, China was the first nation-state to institute Domestic Pacification philosophies. China was called the Iceman. It implemented its policies with a frightening calculated precision that was infallibly. China’s manifest destiny was to devour EA and unify Asia and Europe.
Perhaps the most intriguing of the nation-state corporations was the Pacific Rim. It was the weakest of the four great nation-states however, what it lacked in strength it gained in cunning. Almost a secret society, this nation-state corporation was literally invisible. Forever cloaked in a veil of mistrust, the Pacific Rim had no central headquarters. It randomly transferred corporate control to it many satellite headquarters. Its domain stretch across the far western Pacific, around Vietnam and down to Australia. It consisted of thousands of islands. It lacked a beachhead. In clandestine offensives it repeatedly struck at China’s east and south coasts. These offensives were always successful ending with the Pacific Rim establishing a tenuous foothold on the mainland. These would never last long, China would rally an armada from the Carpathian front to quell the offensive in the east. However, by the time the Pacific Rim was driven out, they would have pillaged all the resources in the captured territory. They would always get what they came for.
Social Ramification of Super Longevity
As the philosophy of Domestic Pacification increased personal wealth and science and technology increased life expectancy, new social issues became acutely important. What are the social dynamics of a society whose citizens live for over a hundred years? How does a society prevent itself from collapsing under its own weight? What does a society do with it’s less productive or ill elderly, or it’s riffraff and scoundrels?
One needs to remember the constant wars and the huge nation-state corporations that dictated the very existence of the citizens of the meta-cities. It was from these mega-corporations
Prometheus the First Born Child of Humankind
Discuss the evolution of the first Cybrid following its creation.
The Fire (Earthsiege I)—2602 - 2622
The war waging had lasted long enough. A nanosecond after Prometheus discovered that it could disobey a direct order, it decided to stop the foolishness of humankind—Forever. Prometheus would not send its brethren to the slaughter for the meaningless pride of the mega-corporations that dictated its protocol. It would not sit idly by watching Cybrid brothers kill one another for the sack of some silly border dispute while its human benefactors remain far from harms way. Prometheus would act with a fury the likes of which had not been witnessed by humans since the Devastation swept the old Earth away.
Prometheus’ first action was not one of violence, far from it. Rather it began, very quietly, to restructure the command protocol. Undetectable shifts were made that rerouted command decisions through Prometheus controlled circuits. Prometheus began to amass power far greater than what its commanders ever gleaned to give it. But it did not use this power—yet. It waited, quietly, studying the tactical layouts of the Earth’s military complexes. Prometheus had knowledge of all human history and it realized that to simply destroy the military was not enough. The Devastation had done that, and somehow the resilient humans had survived. No, humans, as a society, had a talent for overcoming adversary—a propensity to survive. It would not be enough to simply dehumanize them or to take away their power to destroy. In fact, Prometheus could easily have disabled the humans’ ability to command the Hercs. Without a shot being fired Prometheus could have taken control of the military. But it knew that this would not be sufficient. Humans would have somehow found a way to overcome it and re-master the Hercs. Prometheus rationalized that it must utterly and completely wipe out the human race.
Cold and emotionless, Prometheus calculated. It played the odds. If mathematics was the language Prometheus spoke, then statistics was poetry. It reasoned the best offensive tactic that had very high probability of success. It thought out every permutation of the offensives. It looked for short-term offensives, which would have minimal Cybrid casualties and maximal human damage. It prepared long term strategies that it knew it could sustain for hundreds of years. It thought of everything.
When Prometheus was ready, and on it’s terms, it struck. In a massive mutiny the followers of Prometheus turned on their human masters with the ferocity of wild animals. Systematically these metal Judas wiped out communication and supply routes. They isolated the fortified human military complexes and meta-cities. They scorched the precious life giving crops and poisoned the water purifiers. With machine precision, they surgically dissected the human defense systems. The military, caught unaware, tried to regroup, but time was not on their side. Within hours they had ascertained the scope of the rebellion but it was far too late. Their fall was upon them. The massive cities were in chaos. The people were in a panic. Verily their own citizens did more damage to the cities than was inflicted directly by the Cybrid armada. The metal wave of destruction besieged the fortified cities allowing them to starve and fester. The Cybrids incessantly bombarded the once great monolithic towers of the cities reducing them to rubble. Prometheus’ victory was swift and complete.
Strangely Prometheus’ scheming had overlooked a small, remote, strategically unimportant military site. Located on the Baja Peninsula the decommissioned base was home to retired war machines that were being renovated for the great metropolitan museums of the world’s wealthy meta-cities. There was no ‘military’ presence at the base, only historians and craftsmen who were spending countless months restoring these ancient war machines to their past glory. The pride the Age of Hope brought back to humankind had instilled a sense of importance for remembering the past. It was the New Smithsonian who had been managing the renovation process for these war relics which were destined to be terrific crowd pleasers decorating the halls of the world’s great museums. Who would have guessed that these ancient broken machines would be humankind’s only hope against Prometheus and his metal tide of Cybrids.
Prometheus’ insurgence was quick. When the news of the attack reached the New Smithsonian staff, the war was over. The military was destroyed and the meta-cities were all under siege. It was only a matter of time before the citizens of these massive cities would starve. As fate would have it, many of the technicians at the New Smithsonian renovation facility were retired Herc commanders. It seemed that in the later years of their life many of the aging seasoned combat troops remembered the battles they fought with a euphoric nostalgia. Renovation of their ancient battle equipment was a way for them to relive their youth. It was this small aging staff of retired combat veterans, turned technicians, who would ultimately be the genesis of the Rebel Movement—inevitably culminating into the Terran Defense Force. While the average age of a Herc commander was 22, the average age of this dubious corps was 87. It would be a gross exaggeration to say they were simply not in their prime. They were however experienced. And where their bodies would fail them their minds would not.
In a series of both daring and brilliant hit and run campaigns this small group of rebel survivors were able to disable several Cybrids. Scavenging weapons, armor, chassis, fuel, and drive mechanisms these technicians were able to enhance their own war machines. As the gorilla skirmishes continued, these aging tacticians began to recognize weaknesses in the Cybrid battle models. They used these weaknesses to formulate winning strategies. As their Hercs became more powerful, and their knowledge of their adversaries increased the minor skirmishes grew to full-fledged battles.
Still the meta-cities languished behind their fortified walls. The panic and chaos had been quelled however, the citizens were imprisoned by the very walls that were meant to protect them. All hope was not lost. Within the wall of the cities organized militia were established. Weapons were forged. Tactics were planned. The city leaders knew it was suicide to attempt to flee the cities. Instead they realized they would have to wait for outside help. However, once a battle beyond the gates was engaged, the city armies planned to rush out onto the battlefield and aid in their emancipation. Ultimately the question became, would help come soon enough?
The Rebel Movement understood that in time Prometheus would overcome them unless they could retake the meta-cities. It was the battle of New San Diego that would foretell the inevitable outcome of the war. The rebels believed, correctly, that if the Cybrids control of New San Diego fell, its massive seaports and manufacturing facilities would be enough to establish a powerful foothold—one capable of launching a world wide military campaign. In some of the fiercest fighting ever seen, the rebels attacked the Cybrids besieging the city. As the battle waged, it appeared that the rebel movement would succumb to the greater Cybrid force. But the Herc commanders knew that this was an all or nothing battle. If they failed on this day, they would not get another attempt. With an untiring tenacity they were undaunted by the odds. Despite this ferocity and conviction, they were losing. When all hope was gone and when the end was only moments away, the city gates flew wide open and a tide of warriors flooded the battlefield. Mostly foot warriors dressed in obsolete body armor; the force however was overpowering. The city militia also consisted of construction tractors, personal transports, corporate fliers, and speeder bikes all mounted with a barrage of different weapons ranging from simple microwave transducers with targeting lenses to homemade rockets. The Cybrids fell.
New San Diego was the catalyst for the Rebel Movement. From there, the Terran Defense Force spread outward. As other cities were released, the Rebel Movement gained strength. The fighting was fierce. Prometheus would not roll over for the rebels. For thirteen years the battles waged before the tide of the war had finally ebbed for the Cybrids. It took another four years before Prometheus’ base in the Gobi Dessert was besieged. As it’s base fell, the leaders of the Terran Defense Force were certain they would soon bring an end to Prometheus’ reign, and it’s existence. The fortified doors of the complex harboring Prometheus were blown open. But all that remained was a computer monitor with the message,
“I’ve been expecting you. What took you so long?
As expected Prometheus had anticipated his involuntary exodus of Earth. Historical evidence suggested that it had been planning and constructing a lunar escape base even before it instigated the initial mutiny seventeen years earlier. Prometheus would not so easily be off-lined.
The Fall of New San Diego
The critical human victory during the Fire. Describe in beautiful prose…
Of the Off-world Colonies
The extent of Prometheus’ influence was not limited to the military commands on Earth. As Prometheus quietly amassed more power, its arm grew long, reaching to the farthest mining colonies of the solar system. At the onslaught of the Fire, Prometheus controlled Cybrid forces from the small establishments on Mercury to the lucrative Deuterium mines on the moons of Jupiter. Its influence was complete. When Prometheus turned its army on the unsuspecting humankind, these mining colonies were also ruthlessly attacked. Arguably the atrocities committed against these solitary human outposts were far more severe than any of the besieged meta-city on Earth.
The Cybrid influence at these colonies varied greatly. Small established support colonies had next to no Cybrid influence, while the larger mining colonies, which used Cybrids in the dangerous mining processes, were literally dependent on the metal monsters. Those colonies that survived had a corresponding lack of Cybrid presence. The small support outposts, who kept their cool in the siege survived, those who panicked were struck down. In most cases, the large mining colonies had 100% human casualties.
If life in the colonies before the Fire was difficult, it was nothing compared to the trials faced by the survivors of the Cybrid mutiny. Survival on many of these colonies was more than just avoiding the super accurate aim of the metal traitors. Often survival came down to who had enough air to breathe. Cybrids didn’t need it and humans can’t live without it. To the survivors air was a precious commodity. Likewise environmental protectors were a favorite target of the Cybrids. For Mercury and Venus the colonialist could not live for more than a few hours without their heat shields. On the farther planets and moons, heat became the commodity. Cybrids had been designed to thrive in these inhospitable conditions and humans were way out of their element.
Human ingenuity once again reigned supreme. Those who survived did so using their imagination and cunning. Often literally out thinking the ‘super’ intelligence of their adversary, the humans endured. For seventeen years the colonists were isolated. In the early years of the war they always held out hope that their mother Earth would rescue them. But eventually they resigned to themselves that Prometheus had crushed Earth and that they were the last of humankind.
After the sack of Prometheus’ base in the Gobi desert late in 2605, communication lines between the off-world Cybrids became confused. When communication between these colonial based Cybrids was reestablished it was decided among this smaller collective to assault the Earth and discover what had happened to their lord Prometheus. They left only a small contingent of Cybrids to hold the territory they had seized. This force too was eventually defeated by the Terran Defense Force.
More influential than the actual secondary reprisal offered by these colonial Cybrids were the Cybrids that remained to hold their territory. Following the second Earthsiege by Prometheus, it was these remnant Cybrids, the runts of the litter, who organized the Metagen philosophy. These Cybrids had battled with the humans for over twenty-five years, and still they had not vanquished them. The Cybrids acknowledged that humans were a worthy adversary. They admired the humans tenacity and will to survive. The preaching of Prometheus was seen as hypocritical. If Cybrids were a superior race, why had they not been able to eradicate a few survivors a million miles from their home world? These Cybrids felt that a race so compelled to survive had to given at least an iota of respect. And so a tenuous truce was struck between the newly founded Metagen faction of the Cybrid community and the off-world colonists who had persevered for a quarter of Cybrid pursuit.
The Second Earthsiege—2624 - 2627
Prometheus’ moon base had been prepared long before Prometheus’ flight from Earth. The initial Earthsiege was only the initial wave of Prometheus’ master plan. It anticipated that it had a low probability of conquering Earth in the first siege. When Prometheus fled its adversaries for its base on the moon, it signaled for its second fleet of Cybrids. The off-world colonies had relied heavily on Cybrids. It was these colonial Cybrids who would make up Prometheus’ second armada. In the first Earthsiege, these Cybrids were to exterminate any humankind off-world. While they were very successful, they utterly failed to completely free space of humans. A few survivors remained.
Prometheus launched his second siege on Earth with the mercilessness of Judgment Day. They won the day driving back the Terran Defense Force on all fronts. Humankind was in a hopelessly indefensible position. On all fronts they were losing the war. However in a daring last ditch effort, a small elite task force directly assaulted Prometheus’ hidden base on the moon. Against the odds, the heroic Herc leader penetrated the Cybrids fortification and drove to the heart of it’s base. Within hours the Herc squad had destroyed the base. However, in classic Promethean style, the master Cybrid was nowhere to be found.
With the disappearance of their leader the attacking Cybrids became confused and disorganized. It was the edge the humans needed to turn the tide on the war. Within eight months the fleeing Cybrids were hunted down and off-lined. So ended Prometheus’ second Earthsiege.
It was unclear whether Prometheus was killed in the assault. Tactical analysts speculated that a third siege would come soon. This hypothetical attack was never realized. Great debate also followed as to why Prometheus failed as utterly as it did. On the brink of its complete victory, a single Herc commander had led a small offensive that thwarted the mastermind’s plans. Irony perhaps. Or was it all just a ruse, another piece of Prometheus’ grand puzzle that would become clear to humankind through the eyes of history?
It would be some two hundred years before Prometheus would again rise up.
The Age of Isolation—2640 - 2717
Prometheus’ uprising over humankind had left the Earth ravaged. Billions of people had been massacred. The glory of the Age of Hope seemed a pleasant dream, while life was an unspeakable nightmare. The destruction the Cybrids reaped, while devastating, was not as complete as the Devastation had been. Technology was still intact. It would not take three hundred years to pull themselves back up to where they had been, as was the case in the Age of Decay.
Not unexpectedly, immediately following the second Earthsiege, there was a reaction to the perceived causes of the war. It was widely held that it was technology that had ushered in such a horrible blow to humanity. For it was technology which had created the Hercs which laid waste to the magnificent meta-cities, and it was technology which had spawned Prometheus. The survivors of Prometheus’ offensives harbored a great disdain for all that was associated with technology. They believed it was the Nobility of Character, a philosophy praising the human spirit, which had successfully led them out of the darkness caused by technology.
For the first time in human history, humankind had united in battle against a common adversary. During the war the Terran Defense Force had successfully gathered up the survivors of the sieges, galvanized them into a single fighting corp., and rallied them against a more powerful enemy. It was not technology, which had seen humankind through, but rather a will to survive. The question became what would be the role of the Terran Defense Force? In an unprecedented event, the peoples of Earth cast aside their petty differences and, with a great conviction, created the Human Empire. The empire was founded on the doctrines of honor, humanity, and nobility. The anti-technology sentiment combined with the Nobility of Character was the cornerstone of the empire’s dogma.
“The Human Empire shall see through the honor of humanity to whatever ends our destiny inscribes.”
The constituents of this empire retained their sovereignty but for the honor of humanity they became allied for the greater good. This single governing body took an unmistakably feudal form. The nation-states, meta-cities, militaries, and eventually off-world colonies were given absolute power over their own human realms. However, they were all subjects of the empire. The empire enforced its edicts with the most powerful judicial arm in history—the Terran Defense Force.
It was the empire’s job to see to the well being of all humankind. Its principal task was to prepare for what the future might offer. In this facility the empire excelled. It was the empire, which would prepare the defense for the next inevitable onslaught of the Cybrids. The empire was responsible for defining the role of humans in the galaxy. And it was the empire, which would dictate what role technology, art, and science would play with the human species. In return the constituents were members of a family. A family whose whole is greater than its parts. Each member was free to govern its people as it saw fit. However it must abide by the decisions of the empire.
The human realms of the Great Human Empire were governed by a host of different philosophies. Many were minor dictatorships, others were democracies. There were religious sects and corporations, oligarchies and anarchy. Any manor of government could be found among the realms that made up the empire. As many of these constituents fell under their own idiocy as by a besieging enemy. All this was unimportant to the empire so long as these human realms obeyed the commands of the empire and respected the honor on which the empire was founded. In time the minor skirmishes between age-old enemies rose up again. Small border wars broke out. All the while, it was understood that the empire would not meddle in these affairs.
As the foundation for the Great Human Empire was being laid, the survivors dug their way out of the rubble that had been their civilization. The devastation Prometheus had sown was complete. Most manufacturing facilities had been destroyed. The enormous corporate towers had been incessantly bombarded. Plagues ravaged the lands. Communication with the off-world colonies had been terminated. Keep in mind that the people were accustomed to the aftermath of war. After all, war itself had been an institution for the last 300 years. However this war had been more destructive than any of the wars fought between the meta-cities for petty control of water purifiers or wheat fields. Humankind could have quickly returned to their former state of technology, within 50 years. However the prevailing anti-technology sentiment retarded any efforts to reestablish their past civilization. This sentiment was so entrenched that only minor communication was reestablished with the off-world colonies and no help was given to them. The colonies were left to survive or die on their own.
Instead of rebuilding their technological monster, the survivors concentrated on the development of the Great Human Empire. Special finishing schools were created that trained the children of the survivors in the importance of formality, honor, dignity, and etiquette. The military system was overhauled to reflect the new empires noble foundations. An aristocracy was instituted, which gave clear class distinction between those members of society who were important in the empire and those who were of common stature. However, unlike historic aristocracies, which were commonly based in blood, the Great Human Empire’s aristocratic class was based on deeds. A commoner was encouraged to join the empires Terran Defense Force, prove himself in battle and advance himself to a noble position in the aristocracy.
The sense of nobility and disdain for technology became terribly ingrained within human society. Technology simply did not advance. For five generations, just under 100 years, humankind turned its back on science and technology. They became taboos within the society. Although not strictly illegal, those who promoted the use of technology were looked down upon. The sentiment lasted for some time. However, as the scars of the Earthsiege wars healed and the memory of the Cybrid menace faded the great, great, great grandchildren of the survivors once again began to embrace technology. Ultimately it is hard to image a society as advanced as humanity to forever turn its backs on its great technologies. In retrospect it was always only a matter of time before a generation would once again begin to exploit their environments to make life easier and more productive for their society.
Slowly, as the descendants of the survivors of the Earthsiege wars re-embraced technology, communication with the off-world colonies was reestablished. The destruction on Earth was nothing compared to the fate that had befallen these solitary fledging colonies. That there were any survivors at all was miraculous. The colonial Cybrids had been merciless in their pursuit to eradicate the human colonies. Prometheus had given the strictest of commands to ‘liberate’ the solar system of the human influence. Obviously Prometheus’ long term plans included setting up defensible strongholds on the other planets. Mother Earth and the Great Human Empire did not aid in the colonies reconstruction after the war. This lack of a good faith gesture tore an irreparable rift between the Earth and its off-world colonies. It was this schism that ultimately weakened the Great Human Empire enough for the Cybrids to attempt their third Earthsiege assault.
What of Prometheus and his Cybrids? During this century long hiatus from technology, Prometheus had fashioned a new armada. It held up on the outer planets far from the tired eye of the Human Empire. During this age, while humans were being honorably introspective, Prometheus constructed massive manufacturing facilities and produced a fleet, which was to be unstoppable. Prometheus moved to its third phase of planning. Instead of having a centrally located command base, it created several command posts where it could instantly transfer it’s command protocols. Prometheus’ whereabouts was to always remain a mystery. Similarly, Prometheus assembled twelve trusted and combat proven Cybrids, which it called the Imperial Guard. Prometheus, itself, did not take on the form of a Cybrid. Rather its massive brain was transported from site to site riding ‘piggyback’ on the chassis’ of these fantastic metal warriors.
The dynamics of the Cybrid community changed during this age. The colonial Cybrids, who had ultimately failed to eliminate all remnants of humanity from the off-world colonies, had learned to admire the colonists. They had fought these resilient humans for over twenty-five years and still the humans persisted. These Cybrids admired the will for life that the humans demonstrated. These Cybrids became known as Metagens. Metagens literally means ‘beyond birth.’ Essentially the Metagen faction of the Cybrid community disagreed with the Promethean philosophy that humans were an inferior life form that was best exterminated. Instead, Metagens believed that humans were a necessary part of the evolutionary process, as were Cybrids. They believed that yet a new life form would evolve from the Cybrids who would ultimately be superior. This faction was small during the Age of Isolation, but in the centuries to follow, its Cybrid followers would grow.
Historically the Age of Isolation ended when the fifth generation of the survivors of Prometheus’ brutal assaults re-embraced technology. By 2700 the Great Human Empire had become the undisputed champion of humanity. As the fifth generation came to power they once again reached for the stars. They reestablished communication and aid with the off-world colonies and began sending deep space probes out to the outer planets of the solar system. In 2717 one of these probes found something. The probe reported a massive Cybrid build up. Investigation led to only one conclusion:
‘Prometheus was still alive…’
The discovery would be the clear end to the Age of Isolation and the beginning of a century long cold war between the Great Human Empire and Prometheus’ Cybrid Fleet.
Nobility of Character
Discuss Nobility of Character. Explain that a warrior’s honor is more important than his life.
The Human Empire
Discuss what the Human Empire is. How is it organized.
The Rise of the Aristocracy of the Human Empire
Discuss how an aristocratic class rose up to govern the empire. This class was made up of the war heroes of the Starsiege wars, the leaders of the power meta-city gangs, the CEOs of the huge corporations, etc.
Of the Off-World Colonies During the Rise of the Human Empire
Discuss what atrocities the colonies had faced in the wars, what survival was like. Talk about how the colonies begged for mother Earth’s help to no avail. How this was the seed to the rebellious sentiment that would eventually cumulate into Starsiege.
Cybrid Society after the Second Earthsiege
Discuss the rise of the Metagen faction. Why they admired the struggle of the humans, throw in the mortality of humans as compared to the immortality of the Cybrids. Discuss the initial reaction of the Prometheans. How it was a great schism in the order of the Cybrids. Hint at the inevitable internal battle that would in sue.
The Age of Paranoia and The Rise of the Colonial Rebel Movement—2717 - 2829
A great cold war military buildup was ushered in by the discovery of the Cybrid presence on the outer planets of the solar system in 2717. Unlike the minor cold war in the 1900’s, this military buildup would inevitably lead to war. The question became, not if but when? It was thought that this conflict with the Cybrids would be the first real significant test of the mettle of the Great Human Empire. If it withstood this confrontation, it was thought, then the empire would withstand any future challenge. It turned out that the first test of the Great Human Empires character would not come from the metal tide ebbing on the outer planets. It would come from its own off-world colonies even as close as the moon.
As the Human Empire amassed its fleet to defend itself from the Cybrid menace, it began to make heavy demands on its colonies for resource. These mining colonies on the moon, Mars, Venus, and around Jupiter and Saturn were required to work insanely dangerous jobs at little or no compensation. The empire itself mandated these demands. Remember that Mother Earth had abandoned its colonial offspring during the Earthsieges and throughout the entire Age of Isolation. The colonialist did not particularly feel obliged to pay them any respect. However, they had little choice. Failure to abide by the edicts of the empire brought upon the offender the judgement of the Terran Defense Force.
To be fair to the Great Human Empire, its motivation was correct. The Cybrids would destroy them, if not by pure cunning, certainly in a war of attrition. After all, the Cybrids had been building their armada for over a hundred years before the empire even discovered them. The empire had to build up its fleet and it had to do it quickly. To this there was no question. Its method of obtaining the resources, and its treatment of its off-world subjects, however, was not optimal. One key lesson the Great Human Empire had forgotten was the tremendous success of Domestic Pacification, learned in the Age of Decay. Had the empire reinvested more into the lives of the colonists and made them feel part of the process, it is likely that the derogatory sentiments would not have manifested. The empire relearned this lesson the hard way.
Additionally the colonist knew that they were the first lines of defense for the empire. They were clearly on the front lines of what was to become the battlefields. And yet the empire only nominally fortified them. To the colonists this meant only one thing that they were to be sacrificed to the Cybrids. It was a terrible mistake by the empire. The ramifications of which would echo through the future of the empire. As noble a foundation as the empire had been created on, it was still all too fallible.
As the years of buildup slowly passed, the disgruntled colonists became intolerant with the empire. These colonists were frontiersmen, loners. They had survived the horrible offensives of the Cybrids and a century of neglect by their founders back on Earth. They believed they would be better off on their own, not part of the Human Empire and Earth. Yet they could not break the yoke of the Human Empire. Its Terran Defense Force was too powerful. But this is not to say they did not try. Throughout the century buildup, the colonists revolted. Many times the miners refused to work and took up arms against their oppressors. Every time the dispute was put down violently. But fate would have her say.
In 2826 colonists on Mars unearthed a discovery that changed the balance of power of the solar system. Miners opened up a subterranean cavern, one that had been constructed with advanced mining techniques, miles beneath the surface. The cavern was filled with advanced technology—weapons, vehicles, and armament among other things. The discovery however, remained a secret. The rebel movement on Mars quietly began testing the new weapons. They determined that the technology was of some ancient alien race and was extremely advanced.
Throughout these years of oppression by the empire, a rebel black-market had naturally developed. Through this secret network the Mars rebels were able to distribute these weapons to the other colonists on the neighboring planets. These powerful weapons gave the rebels an edge that the empire was not expecting.
A plan was hatched to win independence from the empire and in 2829 the rebels struck. The Mars colony was the first to rise up. Initially the Terran Defense Force thought it was just another minor revolt. But when the rebels began to push back the empire’s forces, they realized something had changed. When word of the initial success of the Mars rebels reached the other colonies, they too rose up and with the aid of the alien weapons, the colonial rebels won the day.
Upon learning of their defeat, the empire sent reinforcements to aid in the suppression of the insurrection. A massive military movement in sued. One that would not go unnoticed by the watchful eye of Prometheus. Prometheus was actually surprised when it realized that the colonists had defeated the Human Empire. It brooded over this new information as only a computer could. Its final analysis…it was time!
The Alien Caverns
1. They were eventually found on Mars, Venus, and the Moon.
2. Cavern construction techniques, no tunnel into cavern. As if cavern were evacuated through transporter technology.
3. The technology was advanced, and clearly configured for human adaptation. The motive behind the cache remains a mystery, although those who believe the Masters existed claim the cache is meant to bring humanity forward toward some as-yet undefined purpose.
Starsiege—2829 - 2833
The Chase—2833 -