THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
Although technology and world culture progressed rapidly throughout the twentieth century, their advancements paled in comparison to the seemingly reckless leaps that would follow. By the end of the twenty-first century, mankind had seen bold and unprecedented changes within the world. Radical new technologies were surfacing at incredible rates, offering increased access to advanced computers and informational databases to even the most destitute nations of Earth. In the wake of the eradication of Communism from the Eastern Nations, nuclear weapons quickly became available in abundance. The international power structure, once defined primarily by the acquisition of capital and military superiority, was blasted apart as third-world nations rose to challenge the economic and military might of the world’s super-powers.
As the manipulative sciences of cybernetics, cloning and gene-splicing rose steadily into the public forum, militant humanist and hard-line religious groups challenged the rights of private interest corporations who profited from genetic experimentation. Multitudes of people were being augmented with cybernetic implants while others began to manifest slight physical mutations ranging from heightened senses to advanced telepathy. These dramatic changes within the human gene pool caused widespread panic amongst many of the fundamental humanist factions.
Technology continued to evolve and spread, and population rates soared. Near the end of the twentieth century, there were six billion people upon the earth. Within three hundred years, the population had grown to an estimated twenty-three billion. Pollution and a lack of natural resources and affordable fuels added to the fire as world leaders sought ways to stem the growth of their nation’s inhabitants. Popular sentiment held that the world was plummeting towards an inevitable catastrophe as overpopulation and genetic alteration swept across the globe.
Meanwhile, as tensions rose around the world regarding the use and capitalization of cybernetics and genetic mutations, many core international economic systems folded in upon themselves and shut down. Horrific acts of terrorism and violence erupted between the corporate sector and the humanist factions, resulting in forced police actions across the globe. Irresponsible media coverage of these atrocious police actions spurred the already rampant civil chaos in many of the larger countries. Ultimately, the precarious balance of world power exploded into international pandemonium.
THE NEW ORDER
On November 22, 2229, the United Powers League (UPL) was founded. The UPL was to become the ultimate incarnation of the vision of a unified humanity held by the now defunct United Nations. This new order encompassed and controlled close to ninety-three percent of the earths population, failing only to bring order to a few volatile South American states. The UPL was founded upon the basis of ‘enlightened socialism’, but often resorted to harsh, fascist police actions to maintain the public order. With its control lasting for nearly eighty years, the UPL began to devise a rigid agenda that would unify the various cultures of humanity for all time. Great lengths were taken to eradicate the last vestiges of racial separatism, and the Unitariate Commissions banned many of the world’s oldest religions. English was designated as the common tongue of the planet, replacing many ancient languages that were subsequently banned in their native countries.
Although religions were officially banned by the UPL, the organization held an almost zealous belief in the supposed divinity of mankind’. This quasi-religious dogma called for the immediate eradication of any non-vital prosthetics or mutations amongst the pure-strain human gene pool. Hard-line UPL proponents and scholars argued that genetic alteration, cyber technology, and the use of psychoactive drugs all led to the eventual degeneration of the human species. The UPL leaders formulated a bold plan that would assure that humanity would persevere, unscathed by the tempting corruption of radical technologies.
THE GREAT PURIFICATION
Like the bloody Inquisitions that devastated Europe eight hundred years before, the UPL set in motion one of the harshest agendas ever conceived by humanity: Project Purification. This genocidal crusade was the Government’s final solution to the matter of cleansing humanity of its more degenerate facets. UPL troops scoured every nation on earth, rounding up dissidents, hackers, synthetics, the cybernetically enhanced, tech-pirates, and criminals of every kind. This planet wide culling resulted in the eradication of nearly 400 Million people. The world-media, now under the strict control of the UPL, downplayed the horrific violence and kept the general populace of earth unaware of the scope of the atrocities being committed.
Despite their heinous acts, the UPL succeeded in advancing many core technologies. Fields of research that had lain dormant for decades were opened again under UPL control. The Space Exploration programs of the mid-twentieth century, abandoned by the American and Russian governments due to drastically reduced budgets and incessant political sabotage, became the basis for a new era of exploration for humanity. The coupling of cryogenic hibernation with warp-drive technology resulted in the ability to travel amongst the stars. Within the span of forty years the UPL founded colonies upon the moon and many other planets within the Terran solar system.
During this period, a brilliant young scientist named Doran Routhe made plans to consolidate his power within the UPL. Uninvolved with the vulgarities of Project Purification, Routhe was obsessed with founding colonies upon the world beyond the Terran Sector. Routhe was convinced that the discovery of new minerals and alternate fuel sources on the outlying worlds would make him one of the most influential men on earth. Through his political connections and personal fortune, Routhe was able to secure thousands of UPL prisoners to use as guinea pigs for his secret plans.
The prisoners, slated for mass execution under the edict of Project Purification, were transported to Routhe’s private laboratories. Routhe, planning on sending the prisoners off to colonize the outlying worlds, had his science crews prep nearly 56,000 people for long-term cryogenic hibernation. Cataloguing the various mutations and cybernetic enhancements of the prisoners, Routhe input all of the data into a revolutionary supercomputer. This Artificial Tele-empathic Logistics Analysis System, known as ATLAS then processed this genetic information and was able to predict which of the prisoners should be able to survive the trial to come. Only 40,000 of the prisoners were deemed viable to survive the rigorous conditions. Those 40,000 were then loaded onto four gargantuan, automated deep-space supercarriers. As the prisoners were prepped for cryogenic ‘cold-sleep’, the ships were loaded with enough supplies, rations and hardware to aid them once they arrived at their scheduled destination. The navigation computer was then programmed with the co-ordinates of the outlying planet Gantris VI. All seemed in perfect preparation, but even Routhe could not have imagined that the prisoners would be launched to their almost certain deaths in the galactic rim.
THE EXILES AND THE LONG SLEEP
The ATLAS was installed into the first of the super carriers, the Nagglfar. Three other carriers – the Argo, the Sarengo, and the Reagan – were programmed to follow the Nagglfar as it was launched into the void of space towards Gantris VI. Over the course of this journey, which generations later would call ‘The Long Sleep’, ATLAS continued to monitor the humans kept in cryogenic stasis. Evaluating the numerous mutations and enhancements found within the prisoner’s gene pool,
ATLAS became aware of a powerful mutagenic strai
n that existed in some of their DNA. While this mutation was found to reside in less than one percent of the prisoners, it seemed to augment the latent psionic potential within the human brain. ATLAS calculated that, should the prisoners survive in their new environment many of them might benefit from this psionic mutation within only a few generations. These findings were recorded and relayed back to earth, straight into the logs of Doran Routhe.
Originally scheduled as a one-year trip, their voyage took a turn for the worse at some point during the journey the navigational systems linked to ATLAS shut down, erasing not only the co-ordinates of Gantris VI, but those of the earth as well. The four ships, carrying their hapless cargo in stasis, barreled blindly through space at warp speeds for nearly thirty years.
Eventually, the warp-drive engines of the four super carriers reached critical meltdown. After twenty-eight years of warp travel, the huge ships emerged into real space near the edge of a habitable star system. Some 60,000 light years from the earth, their engines destroyed and their life-support batteries nearly exhausted, the ships engaged their emergency protocols and plummeted towards the nearest habitable worlds in the system.
The Reagan and the Sarengo crash landed on the world that would be named Umoja. The Sarengo, which had suffered massive systems failures during its atmospheric descent, smashed into the planet killing all of its 8,000 passengers. The Reagan was more fortunate, making a controlled descent and landing safely. Once the ship had landed, the ‘cold sleep’ chambers were deactivated and the surviving passengers slowly awakened. The passengers, attempting to discern where they were and how long they had ‘slept’, found that the ATLAS system had somehow erased all knowledge of their journey from their computer banks.
The Argo landed upon the red world of Moria. Its passengers met with the same fate as those aboard the Reagan, as all information regarding their current status was erased. Only the passengers of the Nagglfar could access their ship’s computer to discern their plight. They accessed ATLAS directly and confirmed their growing suspicions that they would never see the earth again, for although they had landed on the temperate planet of Tarsonis, the Nagglfar was damaged beyond repair. The surviving exiles, now spread across three worlds, began to salvage their wrecked ships in an attempt to find refuge in their new surroundings.
THE CONFEDERACY AND THE NEW WORLD
The inhabitants of each planet worked to survive in what they termed ‘the New World’. Unaware that their fellows also thrived upon the other worlds in the system, the vagabond Terrans made do with whatever meager resources they could find. Having lost the means to communicate over interplanetary distances when their ships were stripped for essential materials, the Terrans lived in isolation for decades. In a relatively short amount of time, the three isolated groups of Terrans founded their sister colonies upon their respective worlds, and although it would be at least sixty years before the three colonies would be reunited by space travel, each of them grew into prosperous, self-contained communities. Tarsonis, the largest and most technologically advanced of the colonies soon developed second generation sub-warp engines. This allowed their ships to explore the myriad, barren planets of the surrounding star system and eventually led them to find the other survivors of the Long Sleep.
Once reunited, the three colonies benefited from mutual trade and commerce treaties. Although Tarsonis kept pushing Umoja and Moria to join in a conglomerated government, the two colonies steadfastly refused. The fleets of Tarsonis continued to explore the Terran patch of space that came to be known as the Koprulu Sector.
Founding prosperous colonies upon seven other worlds within the system enabled the military might of Tarsonis to grow by leaps and bounds. A new government, christened the Terran Confederacy, was founded by the Tarsonian colonies. The Morian colony, which had benefited from having the largest resource mining operations in the Sector, began to fear that this new Confederacy might attempt to move in and regulate their lucrative operations. Thus the Kel-Morian Combine was formed; a shady, corporate partnership that would supply military aid to any Mining Guild that was oppressed by Confederate policy. Tensions rose between the Confederacy and the Combine leading to the outbreak of the Terran Guild Wars.
The Guild Wars lasted for nearly four years, with the Confederacy eventually “negotiating” peace with the Combine. Although the Combine retained its autonomy, almost all of its supporting Mining Guilds were annexed into the holdings of the Confederacy. The Umojan colony, after seeing what blatant abuse the Confederacy was capable of, founded the Umojan Protectorate. This nationalized militia would work to keep its colony free from Confederate tyranny. In the final analysis, the Guild Wars assured the Confederacy its position as the dominating factor within the Terran power structure.
The might of the Confederacy continued to grow as its ‘prospectors’ claimed world after world with their reckless expansionism. Pirate groups and radical militia organizations began to spring up more frequently as Confederate enforcement agencies continued to abuse their citizenry. One of the greatest examples of revolt against Confederate policy was the Rebellion of Korhal.
THE REBELLION OF KORHAL
Korhal was one of the core Confederate worlds originally settled by Tarsonian colonists. A world of affluence and enlightenment, Korhal contributed greatly to the military and technological advancements of the Confederacy. Although the Confederacy benefited from Korhal’s continued productivity, the citizens of the colony resented their forced affiliation with the often-corrupt Confederate Senators. Attempting to retain their independence, the citizenry of Korhal instigated numerous riots against the local Confederate militia. The Confederates responded in kind and declared martial law throughout the colony. This only seemed to agitate the populace even more, escalating the already rampant civil chaos. The Confederates believed that if their most treasured and pampered colony could turn against them, then all of their other colonies might revolt as well. It was decided that the crisis on Korhal would be ended by any means necessary. Korhal would serve as a chilling example to all of the colonies in the Confederacy.
A dynamic Korhalian Senator by the name of Angus Mengsk took it upon himself to formalize the sentiments of his fellow citizens. Their cry for freedom was undeniable when Mengsk actively declared war against the Confederates. Whipping the people of Korhal into a volatile, patriotic frenzy, the Senator succeeded in capturing all of the Confederate outposts on Korhal. Issuing statements declaring that the Confederacy no longer held any claim over the world of Korhal, Mengsk succeeded in garnering the respect and admiration of many other struggling colonies.
The Confederates, seeking to contain the situation, pulled their forces from Korhal and withdrew their fleet from its skies. Mengsk and the other leaders of the revolt, believing that they had won their independence, celebrated their victory over the Confederacy. The Confederates, knowing that a perceived loss to Korhal might instigate other colonies to revolt, planned to retake the planet through subtler means.
The Confederates sent three of their deadliest assassins, known only as Ghosts, to eliminate Mengsk and his supporters on Korhal. The Senators decapitated body, along with those of his wife and young daughter, were found the next morning on the private balcony of his towering, fortress-like headquarters. Mengsk’s head was never found. While the assassination did
much to weaken the revolt on Korhal, it also fuelled the
fires that would eventually forge the greatest enemy the Confederacy would ever know…
Arcturus Mengsk, an accomplished Confederate Prospector and businessman, did not take the news of his family’s death well. Having been a Prospector for years, Arcturus knew of the despicable lengths that the Confederacy would go to in an effort to reach its objectives. He was uninterested with greater Sector politics and was even alarmed and somewhat embarrassed by the actions of his estranged father on Korhal. He never dreamed, however, that his family would be killed merely to prove a point. Their deaths stirred something inside the young Arcturus, leading him to forsake his promising future and follow a lonely path of vengeance.
Rallying the various militant groups that had followed his father against the Confederates, Arcturus succeeded in fashioning an impressive, yet somewhat ragtag, army. Mengsk’s followers struck boldly at various Confederate bases and installations, costing the Confederacy billions of credits in men, machines and equipment. With rumors spreading of a secret alliance between Mengsk’s group and the Umojan Protectorate, the Confederate government quickly decided on a final solution to their problem. A salvo of one thousand Apocalypse-class nuclear missiles was fired at the planet of Korhal from the distant Confederate capital of Tarsonis. Over four million people were annihilated during the savage attack. In a single instant, the prosperous colony of Korhal was reduced to nothing more than a super-heated sphere of blackened glass and stirring phantoms.
The news of the holocaust reached Mengsk at a secret base located within the border of the Umojan protectorate. With nothing left save vengeance, Arcturus and those gathered with him on that sorrowful day pledged a sacred vow to bring down the Confederacy at all costs.
Calling themselves the Sons of Korhal, Arcturus and his renegade team of volunteers quickly made themselves as the most wanted fugitives in the Sector. Striking silently and swiftly, the Sons of Korhal won countless victories over the Confederacy. But with every battle won in the name of justice, Arcturus was portrayed as a madman and a terrorist by the Confederate-controlled media. Most colonies refused to house or provide services to anyone affiliated with the outlaw group. Yet, despite seemingly overwhelming odds and scandalous public opinion, Mengsk never gave up the fight against the Confederates. To this day, the Sons of Korhal continue to confound Confederate enforcement agencies as they work to bring about their mission of liberation for the Sector.
The various colonial powers and pirate militias continued to spar with the Confederate forces. Although many of the groups were constantly at odds with one another, the overall Terran presence within the Koprulu Sector continued to strengthen and expand. These petty squabbles would end soon enough as the Terran colonies found themselves in the midst of a struggle of epic proportions.
Without warning a fleet of fifty alien warships descended from the skies over the outlying Confederate colony Chau Sara. The massive ships opened fire upon the unsuspecting colony, continuing to decimate every inhabitant settlement on the planet. This unprecedented attack caught the Confederate forces by surprise, sending the shocked Terran fleets into disarray. Although they had never encountered alien species of any kind, they rushed quickly to defend themselves against this new, mysterious enemy.
The Confederacy launched a clumsy counter attack against the alien fleet as it made its way towards the second Terran planet of Mar Sara. The alien fleet, identifying itself as the Protoss, mysteriously withdrew its forces and spared the colony. Soon afterwards, a second, terrifying alien presence was discovered on the outskirts of Mar Sara. These new, insect-like invaders were very different from the Protoss that attacked the Colony just a short time before.
No Terran agency could account for the disturbing presence of not one, but two strange alien races within their colonies. Overcome by a collective, paranoid terror and encumbered by their own political infighting, the hapless Terran factions could only watch as an ever-increasing tide of alien invaders made their way towards the heart of the war torn Terran Sector.