The Universe of First Strike Version 2

8 Mar

The Universe of First Strike Version 2

Although rumours of older civilisations and godlike alien beings pervade the known galaxy, it is generally acknowledged that the cat-like Tarn’li were the first race to develop a working form of FTL drive. 30’000 years before First Contact (2021), they opened the first gateways into quantum space and started to expand beyond their solar system. Early expansion proved tricky – quantum space, being a higher energy dimension than normal space, is difficult to navigate – but within 500 years the Tarn’li had mastered it to the point where they could start to lay the foundations for their Association. As entering quantum space required colossal energy levels, they built the first gates (although rumours of older gates are known to exist) and a network of beacons that allowed navigation through the unpredictable eddies of quantum space.

Their expansion was rapid, allowing them to claim a vast portion of the local region. A number of alien races were discovered and – having been found to be rather less advanced than the Association – were helped to develop the technology for space flight and even encouraged to settle alongside their new friends. Not all of the new races enjoyed the discovery that large swathes of the galaxy were already claimed, or the permanent assumption of superiority held by the Tarn’li. Several of them turned on their masters, forcing the Association to fight to push them back to their homeworlds and seal them off from outer space. Others fled into quantum space and attempted to settle worlds well beyond the expanding edge of the Association.

The discovery that not all of the younger races were grateful to the Association for what it had done for them caused considerable soul-searching among the Tarn’li. One school of thought held that the younger races were naturally barbarians and could never be fully trusted, no matter how thoroughly they were integrated into the Association. A second school of thought claimed that the introduction of advanced technology into primitive societies had precluded any form of social maturity – immature primitives had suddenly been granted access to technology (including weapons) that they were ill-prepared to handle. The discovery that one such race had destroyed itself with Association technology tipped the balance in favour of the latter school of thought and all further contact with primitive races (defined as not possessing FTL travel) was banned. Unfortunately, it was already too late to prevent considerable amounts of Association technology from falling into the wrong hands.

It was also too late to prevent considerable discord among the younger races who had been permitted into the Association. They realised, correctly, that they would almost certainly be regulated to second-class status and would never be permitted to ‘mature’ to the point where the Tarn’li would treat them as equals. Several revolts (and refugee flights) are known to have taken place during this period, but the Tarn’li remained firmly in control. It was during this era that the Association scouts discovered Earth, in 1536. As humanity was clearly a primitive race, Association sociologists established a observation post on Earth’s moon and watched humanity’s development from a distance. Earth would be a protectorate without ever knowing what it was being protected from, or even that there was any protection at all.

This coincided with the development of biological immortality among the Tarn’li. Already a long-lived race, with a relatively low birth-rate, their population almost creased to expand – indeed, it began to contract. A mental lassitude had gripped the entire race, sending hundreds of thousands of settlers immigrating towards Capital, their homeworld and the heart of the Association. In their absence, the rim of the Association began to suffer from attacks by races from outside explored space – some given advanced technology by renegades, others claiming to have developed FTL travel on their own (and therefore claiming equality with the Tarn’li). One such race was the Mer’fuk, who had originally been hired as mercenaries (in defiance of Association Law), but had managed to use what they’d learned from their masters to gain control of a space fleet of their own. The Association could have eliminated the threat they posed with little effort, yet there was no longer any will to defend the borders of explored space. The Mer’fuk Hegemony was permitted to start expanding until it controlled three lesser races (and treated them as slaves) and came up against other expanding powers.

Strategically, the Association’s position was dire. While it maintained a technological advantage, it would have found it difficult to fight multiple border campaigns simultaneously. The Commune (the Association’s Parliament) attempted instead to buy off the barbarians along the rim. This worked about as well as one might expect. The barbarians used the money extorted from the Association to build up their own fleets, preparing for the day when they could take the rest of the Association for themselves. By 2000, there were no less than fifteen galactic powers pressing against the Association. Several of them had formed alliances in anticipation of a coming struggle for supremacy.

One Tarn’li – who took the name Mentor – had the nerve to go against the Commune and break the laws banning contact with primitive races. Taking a small fleet of freighters and a handful of older warships, Mentor made First Contact with Earth in 2021. Mentor’s logic was simple; humanity would be crushed when one of the expanding powers stumbled across Earth, unless humanity build a defence in time to save their world. And if they did, Mentor reasoned, the Association might have a powerful (and grateful) ally.

Although shocked by the arrival of an alien fleet, the various nations on Earth responded well to the challenge. While Mentor’s hoped-for political unification never came about, all of the major powers on Earth contributed money and manpower to the Federation, which would serve as Earth’s interstellar representative. The Federation Navy, originally using the warships Mentor had donated, was established to defend human space. It is a testament to the ingenuity of humanity that by the time the first non-Association starship entered the Sol System, Earth already had bases on the moon, an ongoing asteroid mining project and the beginnings of a shipyard. By 2027, the first extra-solar colonies were founded on uninhabited worlds near Earth. The worlds were not suitable for unprotected life, but in time they could be terraformed and made habitable. One year later (2028) a human scout ship discovered an inhabitable world, which was promptly named Terra Nova. With enthusiastic support from the Federation’s member states, colonisation began almost immediately.

Unfortunately, this was noticed by the Mer’fuk Hegemony, who maintained that they had a (spurious) claim on Terra Nova. They brought the matter before the Association Commune, claiming that the humans were trespassing on their world. Reluctantly – and aware of how Mentor had armed the human race – the Commune sided with the Mer’fuk Hegemony. Earth had no choice, but to accept the Hegemony’s occupation of the human colony. The humans on the planet’s surface were declared third-class citizens of the Hegemony. In recompense, of sorts, the Commune ordered the Hegemony to pay compensation for the lost investment. Rather surprisingly, the Hegemony paid up – humanity, simmering with rage over their treatment, put the money towards expanding the Federation Navy. The entire population of Earth (and the worlds the Hegemony hadn’t bothered to claim, yet) was determined that it wouldn’t be allowed to happen again.

In the wake of the Terra Nova disaster, humans started to spread through the known galaxy, many choosing to live and work in the Association. Others became mercenaries, fighting for alien powers, or traders exporting human goods to the stars. Human entertainment flicks became surprisingly common within the greater universe; the Galactics found movies like Independence Day to be magnificent comedy. Wherever they went, humans sent back regular reports to Earth about the dangerous universe they had entered. No one expected the Hegemony to leave Earth alone for long…

6 Responses to “The Universe of First Strike Version 2”

  1. The Deposed King March 9, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    Well this really emphasizes how Humans have spread across known space and with Terra Nova now part of the Merciless Funks there should be lots of humans in the Hegemony as well. I say its time to teach those Funks not to funk around with US!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Operation Clunker took on a life of its own. When independently wealthy humans who’ve moved off earth due to the looming threat, as well as those pioneering mercenary types get the word, Admiral Wachter might not be as low on recruits and personnel as you might think. Especially if one of those billionares has investments in a trade port and can help offload the freight goods, Operation Clunker can no longer send home.

    Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of billionare humans trying to stick their fingers into other interstellar pies, you said there were 16 or so lesser empires all around known space as well as a vast Association. Success would vary but attempts would have be made by ‘anonymous’ investors. Looking to create at first a safe haven from the coming storm and then a small little empire of their own. Trade empire, manufacturing empire,… mercenary empire?

    Which totally ignore the widely held theory that Earth was just Mentors Gambit, a stalking horse if you will, to divert attention away from his true project. Everyone knows Mentors true loyalties are to the Association and his race. All right- alright, I admit it, I’m one of those, Mentor is a Deep Planner and earth was his side show pony, Conspiracy Buffs.

    Knowing the Association as well as he did, (Mentor), probably wanted to be in Jail because he could continue to run his secret little empire from prison and avoid further prosecution while inside. Plus out of sight out of mind. Earth was just a high profile, low percentage success gamble. One that might pay off for both him personally and the Assocation at large, but which is really only one small facet of his Master Plan!

    The Deposed King

    • chrishanger March 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

      That’s definately something I’m going to play with.


  2. The Deposed King March 10, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    Which part the Human Emmigrents rushing to swarm the Hegemony like the Irish Immigrants threw themselves into the American Civil War?

    Or the Mentor Conspiracy Angle? :))’

    Both have the potential for fun. I’ve got to think the Mentor Angle is a shoe in, even if there is no big secret plans 🙂

    Oh hey, if you get the chance. I’d appreciate it if you’d head on over to my Blog and drop a comment on my Admiral Who, first chapter (4k). Got the whole book written and about 30K through the first editing pass. Still needs work though.

    The Deposed King

  3. The Deposed King March 29, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    thanks for the comments.

    the deposed king

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