WRITER'S OVERVIEW

INTRODUCTION


Welcome to the Starsiege Universe! This document provides parameters and guidance for individuals interested in contributing original fan fiction set in the Starsiege setting. We welcome your enthusiasm and look forward to the stories you’ll tell. This is a big, open-ended world, folks, and there’s lots to explore.

If the material in this doc raises some questions, please feel free to ask us at starsiegewriters@dynamix.com and we’ll do our best to answer them. We’ll be more than happy to respond to any questions you have on any particular time period, on technology, personalities, or politics. Whatever you think of. You can get more info by checking in with our net releases and, of course, from Starsiege itself. The “present” year is 2829, the year of the great rebellion and the year the Cybrids finally returned to destroy mankind. Please feel free to set your stories at anytime you please.

Also, we’re excited to tell you that this is a continuing universe. Beyond the events of Starsiege, you’ll find tie-ins to other games in this continuum. Trust us, what we have in mind is gonna rock your worlds!

We’ve also included a couple of illustrative pieces of fiction, sort of “A Day in the Life” of particular characters you might encounter in the Starsiege universe. Enjoy.

Note: Cybrid mentality and outlook TBA.

TECHNOLOGY


Technology is highly advanced, as you might expect in a science fiction setting. Obviously, technology shapes the society. A very broad summary of 29th century technology follows.

IN GENERAL


Bear in mind that the devastation suffered at the end of the 20th century and the more recent events of the Earthsiege (beginning in 2602: The Fire) have retarded technological progress to a degree. Much of humanity’s efforts in the last 200 years have focused on rebuilding from the first Earthsiege, reconstructing infrastructure, agriculture, and an industrial base. Furthermore, the incredible loss of life left a decimated and traumatized population. Only about sixty years ago did human science and technology again reach the full sophistication of the late 26th century. Since then, of course, great progress has been made, although certain sciences receive close scrutiny and regulation to prevent the creation of another catastrophe like Prometheus.

MEDICAL

Medical care is highly advanced in the 29th century. Immune system boosting is common, and diseases are rare. Genetic manipulation is limited to correcting medically relevant defects. Limited tissue regeneration is available but slow. Only hospitals have that kind of elaborate facility. The life expectancy of a Terran human is nearly 150 years. The birthrate has fallen to below replacement levels in the last 25 years, despite Imperial policies encouraging large families. Colonial birthrates are much higher, and colonial life expectancy is closer to 90 years.

Cloning technology exists, but with strict controls. It is used exclusively for medical purposes, as clinics grow cloned organs and other tissues for their patients. Cybernetic replacements are also possible, but unpopular due to the association with Cybrids and artificial life. The revelation in 2814 of “Trojan Horse” Cybrids, artificial assassins in human guise, led to a public hysteria that found some outlet in attacks against persons with obviously artificial parts.

BIODERMS

Although cybernetics are very unpopular, some dangerous situations in mining and industry require a combination of human judgment and inhuman strength. In 2688, the Emperor authorized a pilot program to create cyborg humans for dangerous work. Because of the public distaste for such modifications, the program used only criminals condemned to death. These individuals were offered the option of BioDerm conversion instead of execution. The term BioDerm was coined after an Imperial opinion survey found the public reaction was extremely negative to any word that sounded close to “Cybrid.”

“BioDerm? What’s that? A new kind of hand lotion?” -New Chicago resident Tiarea Bonham on hearing the term during an Imperial opinion survey.

In addition to job-specific cybernetic enhancements, BioDerm conversion involves a memory wipe and surgical addition of cranial implants. These cranial nodes receive instructions transmitted for the BioDerm and contain behavior-inhibition programming (BIP). Occasionally, a unit requires rebipping due to stress or injury. BioDerms are generally used for peaceful labor-intensive tasks, often for dangerous ones. Some units eventually develop a degree of personality. All are distrusted intensely and people generally consider them advanced but dangerous machines.

POWER GENERATION & STORAGE

Fusion plants are commonplace and some models can even be placed in vehicles such as tanks and Hercs. These small plants are constructed so as to minimize the radiation and collateral damage of a rupture or malfunction. Consequently, a Herc explosion will rarely damage anything farther than 100 meters away.

Advanced room-temperature superconductive materials enable the construction of power cells with immense storage capacity relative to weight and volume, thousands of times more powerful than the ancient batteries used in the 20th Century. Such cells make hand-held laser, gauss, and plasmafocus weaponry possible. The superconductive advancements also make solar power extremely efficient, and help reclaim waste heat from machinery, so that 29th century technology is actually environmentally cleaner.

SPACE


Forget the holovid space operas, people! 29th century space travel is reliable and fairly safe, but firmly rooted in classical physics. Powered by advanced fusion plants, spacecraft must still spray reaction mass in order to accelerate or decelerate. Typical reaction mass is water or nitrogen, but can be any common, inert element found in a planet’s atmosphere. Journeys proceed via a craft accelerating to the midway point and then decelerating to the destination. Navigators routinely use optimal orbital insertion points and gravity wells to minimize the amount of burn time needed to travel. Civilian craft commonly accelerate at 0.01G for long trips. Military ships have the capacity to travel much faster if necessary.

On Board:


Ships generate powerful electromagnetic fields to shield them from smaller space debris and use a point-defense laser system to protect them from objects too large for the shields to handle. Spacesuits are tough and much lighter than the bulky models worn by the 20th century pioneers. No known technology permits manipulation of gravity, so ships and orbital facilities require a centrifuge habitat to simulate the effects of gravity and prevent the health problems inevitable with long-term low gravity residence. Some ships, such as cargo tugs and short-haulers, don’t bother with centrifuges since they’re not meant to be lived in.

Orbital Stations

Hundreds of stations can be found in Earth orbit, particularly in clusters at the LaGrange points. Traffic between Earth, the Moon, and the Orbital Platforms is quite high. Faster-than-light travel is not possible, and humanity has not yet expanded beyond the solar system.

Space Combat

Deep space combat at this time is generally akin to submarine warfare, with much of the battle focused simply on locating the adversary. Orbital combat is much quicker and bloodier, nearly completely dominated by computers with humans only dictating strategy. The velocities involved in such conflicts outstrip the human mind’s ability to react. Orbital defenses plan and drill exhaustively, knowing the Cybrids have a decisive tactical advantage in this kind of environment.

NANOTECHNOLOGY

Nanotechnology exists but is kept under strict controls to avoid Cybrid sabotage or another disaster akin to Prometheus. Any use of nanotech is very conservative, and unauthorized experimentation or use is a capital crime.

COMMUNICATIONS

No faster-than-light communications technology exists. Earth and Orbital communications go through a sophisticated network called the OmniWeb, a combination communications and computer network. Independent radio transmissions are also used, and the radio traffic in Earth Orbit is very heavy, especially on military and government frequencies.

COMPUTERS

Incredibly restricted, for obvious reasons! Computers are nevertheless extremely advanced, and many use hologram controls, voice recognition, or cybernetic interface systems. The cybernetic interfaces are not implants, but usually headgear of some kind. Personal computers rarely have screens or any visible accessories, but appear instead as objets d’art, jewelry, or tools. Larger systems must be licensed and monitored by Zeus, the Imperial watchdog agency responsible for preventing another Promethean disaster.

True artificial intelligence is absolutely forbidden, and even non-sentient advanced systems are heavily laden with failsafe codes and hardwired overrides. The OmniWeb is riddled with nodes through which all web traffic in an area must pass. Each node monitors signals going through, and contains a selective shutdown capacity designed to isolate sections of the O-Web and even destroy particular nodes on suspicion of any irregular activity. Naturally, this function greatly slows O-Web use, but the enormous fear of Cybrid viruses or other infiltration far outweighs any frustration at the inconvenient speed.

DEFENSE


Personal Weapons:

Lasers and sonics remain the most common types of personal weapon in civilian use, particularly the latter type since it permits nonlethal settings. Military weapons include hypervelocity gauss guns (HVGs), plasmafocus “candleguns”, and gyrojet rocketguns. The standard Imperial assault rifle is the Azhukov-82, a powerful 7mm HVG that fires ceramic-tipped steel slugs at near-relativistic speeds. The ceramic tip is designed to absorb the friction heat from passage through atmosphere. Rocketguns fire small rocket-powered projectiles, which can be selected from a variety of types. One example includes “smart” ammo with limited target-seeking capability, but these can be easily confused by countermeasures. Making “brilliant” ammo capable of defeating such countermeasures is cost-prohibitive for all but elite Imperial units or warriors such as the Imperial Knights and Knight-Paladins. Candleguns are recognizable from their distinctively flared nozzles. These weapons fire a magnetically compressed plasma charge along a laser-guided pathway. They’re generally used for support fire.

“Hunter and Shiva… Let’s, ah, dampen the acceleration on the next test, shall we? Otherwise our boys won’t be able to use these within 20 meters without, uh … complications.” - Sunil Khandiva-Jeffries, Azhukov WeaponFabrik engineer, at the first tests of the A-82.

Vehicles:

On vehicles, the combination of ready fusion power and superconductive circuitry allows truly fearsome versions of all the weapon varieties. Advanced composite alloys with kinetic-absorptive hypergel and state-of-the-art armor sloping offer some protection, and nanotech repair capacity makes unit recovery fairly rapid, but the advantage still goes overwhelmingly to the offensive weaponry. The desire to avoid widespread environmental damage has resulted in a policy of reserving use of any atomic weaponry on Earth only for a last ditch defense against a Cybrid invasion. Nevertheless, microatomic charges and tactical warheads are not uncommon, although everyone views their presence with apprehension. The Inca-Brazil Axis leadership in particular, has issued statements to the effect that use of atomics on a battlefield is like using a handgrenade in a goldfish bowl, just as dangerous to the user as to the target.

Protection:

Some force-field capability is known to both humanity and Cybrids, although this technology is bulky and power hungry. Only larger vehicles with full fusion capacity can support protective force shields. Hercs and spaceships commonly have this defense, but tanks and stratofighters do not. Personal force shields are not technically possible.

Armor types range from advanced carbon fiber composites to heavier ferro-composite alloys. Variations are common. A front-line military assault vehicle listed as having ferro-composite armor may have layers of ablative metaplas under a ferro-composite shell in turn honeycombed around kinetic-diffusion gel.

Personal armor materials range from durasilk and metaplas weaves to the harder polyceram alloys used in full trooper armor and powered armor models. Ablative breastplates or reflective surfacing is also possible for additional protection.

ENVIRONMENTAL


The advent of clean power and elimination of waste heat and pollutants received a tremendous boost in the years of reconstruction following the Earthsiege. When humanity rebuilt, more attention than ever before was paid toward regaining a connection with the natural world and rediscovering an appreciation of beauty. Population again concentrated in the cities, and the survivors of the long Cybrid nightmare badly needed to soothe their scorched souls. Consequently, metrozones contain many large parks, bright plazas, broad boulevards, cozy markets, and wildlife refuges. These places were designed to heal the inhabitants as much as house them. Only in the last twenty to thirty years has the refortification urged by the Emperor marred the beauty of these new metrozones.

The efforts to rebuild a shattered Earth led to many advances in environmental restoration, most notably in the Inca-Brazil Axis with its continuing guardianship of the Amazon rain forests.

Terraforming has made inroads on Mars and Venus. Mars has a breathable atmosphere in the 29th century, and can be likened to a cold desert climate. Venus is expected to be able to open its domes by the beginning of the 30th century.

POLITICS


The big picture is deceptively simple: The Empire dominates human space, and the colonies still struggle to build a level of industry able to compete with the massive Imperial economy. A closer examination reveals a different picture by 2810.

The colonies – Mars, Venus, the Belt, Europa, Io, and Titan – all have determined independence movements in place. Wildcat strikes, smuggling, and piracy disrupt the flow of resources to Terra Mater. The Emperor Petresun patiently continues fortification of the home planet, drawing materials from the colonies under the threatening shadow of Imperial Hercs. Although he empowers the Imperial Security Force with an expanded charter and authority, he does not commit any more personnel or equipment. In Petresun’s mind, the Terran Defense Force is the wall behind which Earth will survive, and the hard reality is that colonies will have to fend for themselves when the Cybrids come. The colonies burn under what they see as the Imperial yoke, and the rebels argue liberation from the Empire is necessary in order to be able to resist a new Cybrid attack.

Some voices in the Empire dissent at the treatment of the colonies, even from among the Emperor’s own allies, but these are few and ignored. By 2820, the situation becomes volatile, and rebels openly strike at Imperial forces. The Empire cannot long ignore such provocation, but Emperor Petresun is reluctant to unleash the Terran Defense Force against fellow humans.

THE GREAT HUMAN EMPIRE


The Empire consists of a confederation of the six continental meta-nations: China, the NorthAm Prefecture, the Inca-Brazil Axis, the European Alliance, United Africa, and the Pacific Rim Community. These meta-nations retain their own legislatures and security forces. Each sends delegates to the Imperial Council. China, PacRim, and the IBA form one bloc, whereas the Alliance and the Prefecture form another. United Africa takes a more independent role and often provides the swing vote in matters of Imperial policy. The Empire exists as a sort of super-federal power headquartered in the city of Nova Alexandria in the administrative region of Egypt. Imperial law trumps metanat law, and Imperial agencies hold superior authority to metanat institutions.

The Emperor:

The Emperor is in power for life, and in Petresun’s case, that life is long indeed. When he ascended to the throne, he was already 261 years old. By the time of Starsiege, he has ruled for over 175 years. The Emperor retains executive authority and is the supreme commander of the Terran Defense Force, the most powerful military instrument ever seen in the history of the Earth. The Emperor himself has become a fact of life on Earth. No one can imagine life without him. When he ascended to the throne, he claimed to be immortal, and so far, although his body has withered to a husk, he still lives. His mind is sharp and undimmed. The faith of billions has been placed in his leadership.

The Terran Defense Force:

The Terran Defense Force (TDF) is the largest and best-trained force in human space. Its resources are enormous, its influence great, and its popularity on Earth extremely high. In space, however, the TDF takes the role of the Imperial police. The TDF does so openly in the Orbital and Lunar regions, but a sub-branch called the Imperial Security Arm enforces the law in the farther colonies. The standard soldier of the line, the Imperial Trooper, is considered among the finest professional fighters in history.

The Imperial Knights:

The formidable reputation of the TDF is further enhanced by its elite warriors, the famed Imperial Knights and Knight-Paladins. The Knights receive the best in training and equipment. Their stubborn honor and almost uncanny combat capabilities make them the most fearsome opponents in the Empire, even more devastating than the best Trooper units. The mere threat of the Knights being used has kept the colonies’ resistance movements in check until the last few years.

“Don’t worry, Clarissa. One Knight’s worth at least six dustsquatters. At that rate, we outnumber them, by Hunter! We’ll roll into Mars like God from on high. Shouldn’t be a week before we’re sleeping in the rebel commander’s bed and raiding his liquor cabinet.” - Athon deKaanson, callsign “Blackheart”, Imperial Knight-Commander.

THE ORBITAL PLATFORMS

The Orbital plats cluster amid the LaGrange points and other locations in orbit about Earth and the Moon, where they provide banking services and zero-gravity manufacturing. Lately, the Orbitals have been clamoring for inclusion into the Imperial Council, but the Emperor has resisted such a change, believing the Orbitals harbor colonial sympathies. The TDF suspects the rebel elements exchange information and illicit materials through a black market network operating out of the Orbital platforms.

LUNA

The Moon is primarily a TDF base, but the incorp Luneberg Mining & Propulsion harvests the huge ice reserves found in the deepest craters and processes the ice into reaction mass for spacecraft. This lunar export plays a major role in keeping the costs of space travel down, since otherwise water would have to be lifted out of the gravity well of Earth. Consequently, Imbrium City is a thriving town, known for its rough characters and hard-drinking miners.

An interesting side effect of this prosperity is the development of the moon as a top tourist attraction. Imbrium City also has Las Vegas-style casinos and resorts. The low gravity makes some sports possible that can’t be experienced on Earth.

Longtime lunar residents have to receive special gene-therapy and engage in intensive physical exercise to resist the debilitating effects of the low lunar gravity. Most lunar residents are in a three-month (Terran) cycle: three on, three off. The off months are spent on Orbital stations enjoying the rotational “gravity” and working out as much as possible.

VENUS

Venus is a planet still inimical to human life. Colonists there live in great arcologies powered by fusion and by taps into the geothermal activity of the planet. The geothermal conduits also operate as dampers, drawing excess heat from the planet and beaming it into space as microwave radiation. This damping function plays a role in the terraforming process, as the colonists eventually hope to reduce the greenhouse effect dominating the Venusian planetscape.

The economy is dominated by mining, but the Carson arcology has become a haven for musicians in the last five years, and one group in particular, Arcalatrix Laments, promises to be the most popular neo-Faustian band of the generation. This development has made Venus a more popular destination for tourists lately. Venusian concerts are the current rage, and are recorded for rebroadcast on the OmniWeb. Imperial Security suspects this artist’s colony is a cover for rebel activity, but so far, the popularity is such that the Empire has not yet intervened.

MARS

Mars has been terraformed to a point where it has a breathable atmosphere and a climate comparable to a cold desert. Giant robotic dustcrawlers move about the dust-covered wastelands crushing rock and seeding the finely ground remains with genetically engineered lichens and bacteria. The hope eventually is to be able to plant forests to further trap the atmospheric carbon. In the meantime, giant atmospheric distillers suck air in and distill water and other materials. Mining operations have left a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the surface, many of these long since played out and abandoned.

The scattered Martian farms require a lot of work and Martians themselves are a hardy breed. There are two kinds of Martian: the tough … and the dead. The stereotype of the 29th century colonist is the grimy, dustcloaked prospector holding a rocket carbine.

THE ASTEROID BELT

A frightening place, cold and isolated. Only eccentrics and loners people the few mining and research stations drifting amid this ancient collection of shattered rock and ice. Individuals with a desire to hide from their pasts also sometimes choose to come here to lose themselves.

THE JOVIAN COLONIES

Humans have established mining operations on Jupiter’s moons of Ganymede, Europa, and Io. Europa’s water resources are crucial for reaction mass supplies so distant from the Inner System. Jovian colonists tend to be grimly independent and close-mouthed. TDF has no presence here, and the colonists know they will have to take care of themselves.

TITAN

Saturn’s moon Titan is the most remote of the Empire’s colonies. The irony of living on Titan and under the shadow of an enemy named after a mythical Titan is lost on no one. TDF has almost no presence here, as the colony’s defenses are run by the mining corporations.

The Long Patrol:

Titan monitors the picket line of remote drones and sensors that watch for signs of the next invasion. Titan also houses the Long Patrol, a heavily armed group of cutters that service the picket line and occasionally voyage out toward Neptune. On some occasions, the Long Patrol encounters what appear to be Cybrid scouts. These skirmishes have always remained minor, although some ships have been lost over the last century. Residents of Titan are determined and extremely resourceful. Lately, the cold war between the Empire and Prometheus seems to be warming as Cybrid probes increase.

“Nothing out here. Everything reads normal. Wait. There’s someth-.” - Last transmission of Long Patrol vessel ISS Barbarossa, 2808.5652 Terran Standard.

PSYCHOLOGY & CULTURE

In truth, the struggle to return from the utter destruction of the Earthsiege has left human psyches scarred and battered. In writing about 29th century people, it’s important to keep several elements firmly in mind.

DISTRUST OF COMPUTERS

This attitude isn’t hard to explain. There are strict limits on how smart computers are allowed to get. Computer intelligences play the bad guys in the holovid adventure shows. Systems are generally dedicated to a few functions, so the average person may have several smaller computers instead of one central one. Large military systems that could fall into Cybrid hands have manual destruct options. AI research goes more into finding ways to outthink AIs than to make any improvements on the Promethean model. Rumors on the street say the Empire has a number of captured Cybrid intelligences that it is experimenting on, hoping to find weaknesses the TDF can exploit.

“Do-not-resist, soft-human-worm! Your-kind-is-no-match-for-Mechazor!” “Yeah? Have you heard of trigger fingers, wire-ass?” - Excerpt from “Return of Mechazor IV”, 2799 holoflick.

People view cybernetic implants and other such intimate use of technology about the same way you’d react to someone telling you he wanted to replace his right arm with a chainsaw. Why would anyone want to put a machine in his or her body? Since cloning permits replacement of limbs and organs, cybernetic replacements seem garish and perverse to the average human being. BioDerms are viewed as unclean as well as untrustworthy. A great premium is placed on concealing technology, disguising it as artwork or placing it out of sight behind walls.

LOVE OF BEAUTY

After the Earthsiege, the Earth lay in smoking ruins. Many of the surviving warriors had been born after The Fire and knew nothing else. To them, beauty was a quiet bunker where they could find a few moments of peace. Consequently, as the rebuilding progressed, people discovered a passion for the art and music that had nearly been forgotten during the long years of constant war. And as the cities rose, they truly blossomed with brightly painted plazas, glittering fountains, lofty tree-laden parks and wildlife refuges, vaulted museums, and noble theaters. At night, the cities glowed and sparkled like castles out of fairy tales.

People took to dressing extravagantly, in silks and jewelry. Clothing that would have been considered gaudy before the Earthsiege is now pretty standard. After the Imperial Knights were formed, more attention went to heraldry and family colors. Generally, Earthborn citizens of the Great Human Empire dress well, eat well, and carry themselves with great appreciation of art and beauty. On the colonies, however, pragmatic garb is favored. The fripperies of Earth make colonists shake their heads in disbelief, if not in scorn. Of course, the colonists are not blind to the rugged beauty of the Martian landscape or the awesome sight of Jupiter looming overhead amid a sea of stars.

Of late, the fortification of Earth has scarred the beauty of the cities with weapons and defensive barricades. Although nearly everyone is saddened at this loss, people are ready to follow the Emperor’s wise direction. As the war preparation continues, more subdued military styles are coming back into fashion.

PRIDE IN HUMANITY’S NOBLE CHARACTER

Humankind gutted out the Earthsiege. Ask anyone. The Cybrids had the advantage of numbers and, in the beginning, surprise. Nevertheless, Earth triumphed. People believe humans beat Prometheus not with more advanced technology, but through determination and force of will.

After the Cybrids fled, the surviving men and women realized in shock just what they’d accomplished. Then came the rush of pride. Humanity had fallen into the darkness and clawed its way out. In 2829, humanity stands confident in its nobility of character, its courage that the Cybrids will never break.

Character and reputation are greatly valued, even to the point where people will fight duels to preserve their good names. The creation of the Empire itself is a testament to the strength of this feeling. The Empire showcases humanity’s innate and unconquerable nobility.

COLONIAL v. IMPERIAL

By 2829, a yawning gulf separates the colonies from Terra Mater. The colonists believe they are being sacrificed to the eventual Cybrid attack, and they resent the all-out effort to protect Earth without considering colonial interests. The typical colonist is highly independent and self-sufficient, unconcerned with the trappings of honor and ritual. Imperials, on the other hand, believe the home of humankind must be protected at all costs, even if the colonies suffer. After all, if the Martians and Venusians and what not don’t like the situation, let them return to Earth! The idea that humanity will have the luxury of defending everyone’s homes is ridiculous. The typical Imperial loves pomp and ceremony, is confident in the superiority of everything Terran, and defends even small points of honor and noble privilege to an extent colonists find absurd.

“I couldn’t give a dusting crap about all them ribbons and medals the Dirtborn wear. Gimme a working Terhaar candlegun and I’ll show you how easy those ribbons burn.” - Danker Sobinski, Martian prospector turned rebel.

FEAR OF THE NEXT EARTHSIEGE

Another no-brainer. Almost everyone accepts that someday the Cybrids will return. The Empire’s frantic rearmament over the last few years has heightened the tension. People get nervous when their favorite café now looks out onto a Duranium-plated quad laser turret where the holovid shop used to be. 29th century people are well armed, and the ongoing preparation for war is everywhere. Some of the less optimistic people are taking longer vacations, saying goodbye to friends and relatives – and enlisting.

PROMETHEUS The beginning and the end, Prometheus is the living nightmare, the bogeyman who waits in the uttermost darkness to destroy the world. Although the mythical Prometheus brought fire to humanity, a different fire will be brought when the Dark Intellect comes again. Humans are always aware of the presence lurking “out there.” Imagine what the world would be like if you believed the Antichrist were actually out in it, and you’re getting close to the burden carried by people in the 29th century. People know evil exists! They even know its name. So there’s a certain fatalism, a longing for something good to balance out the evil. For many if not most individuals, the Emperor embodies that hope.

Of course, certain numbness has also set in, so that some of the younger crowd doesn’t have the same sense of urgency about Prometheus that the older set does. Sort of a “why would the Cybrids come back after we’ve kicked their butts” type of attitude. With the fortification of Mother Earth, however, these kids are coming round. Some few veterans of the first Earthsiege are still alive, but their voices are almost forgotten in this bright new age.

Even for youth, though, the name Prometheus is synonymous with total and unchanging evil. Every sane human shivers on hearing it, shivers and looks apprehensively at the sky.

TIMELINE

Here’s the chronology of notable events in the history of the Starsiege Universe.

1996 (estimated) – The Devastation occurs.

2015 – Humanity begins to emerge from the Devastation, led by Jake Hunter

2025 – The disappearance of Jake Hunter in the so-called “Rapture Offensive.” Religious movements spring up, calling Jake Hunter “the new messiah”.

2027 – First attempt at a census. Widely acknowledged as inaccurate, it still provides an estimate of perhaps 600 million to one billion people left on Earth.

2031 – The Hunter Doctrines are adopted by the survivors, who are beginning to regroup into nations. These doctrines are a collection of humanitarian rules that attempt to re-instill a sense of humanity in the surviving peoples of the world.

2035 – Age of Decay begins. Re-establishment of China, the first meta-nation. Humanity clusters in huge urban areas called metrozones. People are desperate and easily victimized by scam artists, thieves, quack cults, and petty dictators. Lotteries, drugs, and pleasure houses gain widespread popularity. Violence is common. Human life is as valuable as dirt.

2075 – Despite the Hunter Doctrines, humanity continues to feed on itself. Violence and crime are rampant. Metrozones rule through martial law. Metrozones and scavenger gangs battle among one another in competition for scarce resources. Warfare has become continual.

2100 – Six meta-nations have emerged. Wargames train children for a combat role in society. Small value is paid to human life. The average number of children in a family is 9. The life expectancy for males is 39, for females 35. Orphan children and homeless people are common sights.

2110 – Military service has become the only way to receive an education. Military academies grow in importance.

2150 – Most military organizations run like corporations. Human assets grow in importance, as well-trained troops are necessary to acquire resources. Enlistment now involves lifelong service contracts, promotion incentives, and special training.

2200 – The distinction between corporation and nation is extremely blurred. Military concerns still dominate the markets, but market share is increasing in areas of science, technology, and entertainment.

2225 – Domestic pacification strategies put in place by the meta-nations to reduce the everyday violence that disrupts business. These long-term policies aim at increasing the personal wealth of average citizens and keeping them happy.

2275 – Beginning of the Age of Hope. The domestic pacification strategies of the milicorps have created a new stability. Average life expectancy has risen to 83 years. People begin to see greater attention to the value of human life.

2350 – Civilization has revived. The continual warfare between the meta-nations has become an institution tied to the world economy. No living humans remember a time without this warfare. Humanity seems to stand on the brink of greatness. Personal wealth is high, computers have permeated society. The high value placed on human life leads milicorps to invest in the automation of weapons platforms to reduce battlefield deaths.

2400 – The average life expectancy reaches 90.

2450 – Population of Earth reaches 10 billion. Art, literature, and science flourish. Neural-net computers that mimic human thought processes become widely used.

2455 – First permanent lunar base established.

2456 – First of the manned Mars missions.

2465 – Sentinel Cybertronix bought by NAP and quickly becomes the world leader in neural-net programming, cryo-technology, and microsurgery. Human life expectancy leaps to average of 120 years on the strength of medical breakthroughs.

2466 – NorthAm lunar colonies established. Construction of Imbrium Station.

2470 – Asteroid mining is a lucrative industry for the corporations.

2471 – Sentinel Cybertronix unveils Prometheus.

2480 – NAP puts Prometheus in charge of Cybrid programming for world markets.

2482 – Mars colonies established by NAP and PacificRim. Terraforming begins.

2506 – Venus colonies established by European Alliance, NAP, and PacificRim.

2600 – Most Hercs now controlled by Cybrid brains. Few human pilots remain on active duty.

2602 – The Fire. Cybrids turn on humanity and destroy the Age of Hope. Starsiege begins.

2605 – A series of defeats forces Earth’s people to withdraw support for the fledgling colonies on Luna, Mars, Venus, and outlying mining stations. The colonists suffer massive casualties, but manage to keep on fighting, using hit-and-run guerrilla tactics.

2622 – Terran Defense Force defeats Prometheus on Earth, ending the first phase of Earthsiege. Prometheus escapes.

2624 – The second phase of Earthsiege begins as the Cybrids invade Earth again with reinforcements drawn from the colonial fronts.

2625 – Solomon Petresun, the “Voice of Humanity”, emerges triumphantly from his underground refuge with the news that coded Cybrid transmissions have been broken, revealing the location of Prometheus’ base on the moon.

2627 – End of “Earthsiege 2”. The daring destruction of Prometheus’ moon base fails to uncover signs of the dark intellect itself. Prometheus is again presumed to have escaped with its core matrix intact. Cybrid drive emissions indicate a trajectory toward the outer planets. Dazed but jubilant humans begin to rebuild. Anti-technology reaction begins to set in.

2640 – Age of Isolation. Anti-tech sentiments gain enough popularity to retard scientific progress. Little contact and no help are provided to off-world colonies.

2650 – Cybrid schism. Cybrids split into the Promethean and Metagen factions. Prometheans follow the Promethean philosophy that machine is superior to biology. Metagens have begun to incorporate a respect for human ability to survive.

2652 – Inception of The Great Human Empire. Petresun I crowned Emperor.

2688 – Emperor Petresun authorizes BioDerm program.

2700 – Humanity embraces development of high technology again as the scars of the Earthsiege heal. Prometheus continues to build its forces.

2717 – Imperial probes detect massive Cybrid activity beyond Neptune.

2720 – Long Patrols begin, using the Titan Orbital Station as a base.

2770 – Fortress Earth Proclamation issued: All economic efforts are to be regeared toward fortifying Terra Mater’s defenses. All colonial activity is directed toward providing resources for Earth.

2800 – Humanity is united only against the Cybrids. Colonies have formed resistance movements spawned by hatred of the fortification efforts that plunder the colonies of needed resources while giving little in return. The Empire and the Cybrids have massed huge armadas, but no one really knows the extent of the Cybrid buildup.

2814 – “Trojan Horse” incident. Cybrid influence discovered on Earth.

2826 – Martian rebels discover advanced alien technology. While the purpose of the cache is unknown, the rebels adapt what they can to their own vehicles and weapons. This technology shifts the balance of power such that the rebels become a legitimate challenge to the Empire.

2828 – Rebels use pirates and black market to send Martian cache technology to Venus.

2829 – Hostilities break out on Mars and Venus. The Emperor at last unleashes the Imperial Fleet to deal with the rebellions. The Cybrids see their opportunity and launch a massive invasion armada, bypassing Titan. Starsiege begins.

…. centuries pass…

3245 – Beginning of Cyberstorm I. Unitech and other corporations begin mining distant star systems. The alien technology has allowed rapid travel between neighboring stars. BioDerm technology reaches third generation. BioDerms are much more reliable now, yet still have major shortcomings as trustworthy pilots.

3255 – Unitech discovers that an entity is secretly misdirecting commands from within the Unitech mainframes. At first mistaking it to be Prometheus, the company personnel eventually call the entity Prometheus Prime. Prometheus Prime withdraws influence but leaves traces which soon cause its downfall.

3256 – Location of Prometheus Prime is extrapolated from download logs. Unitech dispatches a vanguard to destroy the entity.

3258 – Unitech destroys the base. Prometheus Prime is presumed dead. End of Cyberstorm I.

3289 – First galactic transfer conduit is discovered.

3291 – Cyberstorm II begins. Corporations vie for domination of star system that contains the transfer conduit.

3350 – Cyberstorm II has long since ended. The transfer conduit discovered in 3289 is discovered to connect to a network of such pathways. Exploitation of the galaxy can now occur. Slowly the Human Empire and the Cybrids explore these conduits, ever concerned about unexpected threats. It becomes clear these conduits were created by an alien race.

3578 – Dies Irae Contingent lands on a distant planet around a strange new star. The adventures of the last 800 years for the contingent’s pilots are worthy of note. An entire culture has evolved around the nomadic existence of these pilots.

3734 – The BioDerms liberate themselves from humanity under the leadership of a powerful BioDerm warrior called Gir Draxon. The victorious BioDerms amass an armada and begin to liberate other BioDerms in the sector. Each victory adds to their strength, and they fortify their conquests.

3754 – The BioDerms begin to invade other sectors with unequalled fury. Humans call the BioDerm hordes “The Scourge” and begin to liquidate their BioDerm populations. Both sides commit numerous atrocities.

3813 – Humanity phases out all BioDerm use, in part motivated by the desire to avoid attracting the Scourge. The Scourge continues to drive into human space, amassing victory after victory. Some heavily fortified human systems manage to hold out, thereby puncturing the invincible reputation of the Scourge. The BioDerm forces bypass these tenacious human worlds and rage across the stars in the direction of Earth.

3895 – The Scourge comes within seven jumps of Earth. Gir Draxon mounts a massive offensive, but is defeated.

3897 – Gir Draxon gathers his armada anew and fortifies the Nova-9 star system. Draxon is killed in the next attempt to reach Earth, however, and the BioDerms are thrown into confusion. Humanity uses the time to reinforce its defenses.

3950 – The Great Human Empire continues to struggle desperately against the Scourge. The Cybrids emerge from their forgotten hives and enter the fray…