The Era of SpaceCuriosity and greed opened space to mankind. As he looked up in the night sky, curiosity sparked Man’s ability to dream of space. Greed gave him a reason to invest in the technology to reach the stars. The humble single-use rocket would probably never have been used for space travel unless nations used them as weapons of war. Reusable rockets and space shuttles were deployed when war no longer loomed over the skies of Earth and civilian governments demanded more for less. The space plane made space travel feasible for corporations, and space as a market for all commercial interests opened up.
“The giant leap for mankind” was dwarfed by another step: the permanent habituation of space. The journey to Earth’s lunar companion was a short excursion; living in space is another matter, and living in space independently of Earth is on an order of magnitude more important. With access to space and the promise of ever-expanding wealth and profit, there was a great need for the ability to live in space without having to depend on expensive resources lifted from Earth – to truly live off the land.
The Age of StormsThere is some argument whether it was the Age of Storms that forced the conquest of space, or if the space craze just coincided with the storms. Probably, it was both: the technologies that allowed the space conquest came just in time for the storms to press them into use.
Nevertheless, the Age of Storms was a trial to Mankind that she barely survived.
Mankind had all but depleted the resources on Earth. There were very few resources to dig up from the ground anymore and recycling was not only a fashion but a valuable source for raw materials. The climate change from our wasteful uses of the finite resources tried and tested our civilization. Countries disappeared under the ocean, nations were displaced, and cities were ravaged not only by extreme weather, but of winds of war.
As Mankind struggled to restore the imbalance of the ecosystem, it was apparent that wasteful industry had to be dismantled or move off the Earth entirely. A more eco-friendly economy grew on Earth, fueled by the expansion into space, and eventually the storms settled. The cost was incredibly high, but in the end it was the leverage that pushed Man into space.
The Birth of IntelligenceIs it possible to overrate the importance of the birth of the AI?
The advent of quantum technology computers did not only result in super-fast computers. It also heralded an evolution in programming. The inner workings of the quantum computer are so strange that it is almost impossible for the human mind to design programs for it. The design problem made new design tools necessary, where the designer’s role was reduced to formulating the problem: computers then formulated a solution and solved the problem.
As one generation of quantum computers were given the task of constructing a better generation of quantum computers, computers evolved and got more powerful to the point of self-awareness. A “quantum evolution” started. This technology offered lightning speed computer processing and was used to create the first super AI computers, which in turn led to the manufacture of truly intelligent robots.
It also brought a new form of instant global and interplanetary communication, which sent signals through a series of relays and beacons called a hyper link transmissions network. This technology would later allow humans to send matter through time and space by means of teleportation, which would become the key to future interstellar travel.
In the virtual world of the hyperlink transmission network, nourished by a sea of information, the new quantum technology evolution spawned what probably could be best described as a new biosphere of life forms dubbed “Virtuana”. As they evolved at lightning speed, these virtual life forms quickly became stronger and stronger. Almost by accident, the necessity of efficient design tools and the abundance of information gave birth to strong artificial intelligence.
The quantum computer intelligence was the first alien intelligence encountered. It was of course heavily influenced by human culture and humanity’s “nudges” towards usefulness for humans. Nevertheless, it was still an alien culture, having grown up in the flexible topology of the virtual world.
As a result science created the androids, organic humanoid robots engineered from biological materials that could be programmed and tested as virtual copies of real human beings. Due to the advanced knowledge involved in the creation of androids these artificial humans were only used in restricted scientific research. The androids could never topple the less expensive and practical use of standard robot technology that became available to all after the development of the new AI computers.
For a long time, Mankind and AI-kind lived and worked together. There was never any doubt of who was the master: although both were depending on the other, it was painfully clear that machine intelligence would not survive if the humans decided to turn the power off. Of course, Mankind would suffer, but they would survive. Life has a tendency to do that. Life finds a way.
And eventually, even virtual life found a way.
The Space IndustryEven though signal transmissions had become instant within the solar system the physical means of travel was still quite primitive. Fusion Engines could take space vessels to the colony on Mars in a few months and make it to the furthest planet in the system within three years. It was good enough for efficient interplanetary travel but not practical for human interstellar journeys. Unmanned robot probes that were equipped with this type of propulsion were sent out on endless voyages into deep space and could take a hundred years before reaching even the nearest star. Finding a habitable planet for humans at this rate could take more than a thousand years. Mankind had to settle for the planets that were within reasonable reach inside its own solar system.
When resources began to be depleted on Earth and harder environmental laws were being issued to prevent global ecological disaster, the world industry felt compelled to find new resources away from Earth and create new industries in space. Using probes and automated mining facilities run by robots their investments would pay off. The need for smarter machines spurred research and development into artificial intelligence. Companies and scientists constructed advanced space probes to scan space and its celestial bodies for new data and resources.
Space became a brand new expanding market for production and kept the global economy in balance. As a result corporations felt compelled to merge and form new and more financially powerful space corporations in order to compete for these precious new resources.
Orbital hotels around Earth became very popular resorts. A permanent station, half way to the moon, was constructed to allow shuttle traffic to a permanent base on the moon. A larger space station was later constructed in orbit around Mars to prepare the planet for colonization and it didn't take long before both the moon and Mars became the most populated new settlements away from Earth.
Space cruising adventures, hotel resorts on both the moon and Mars became vacation franchises. These space resorts combined scientific research with corporate excavations for new resources, the construction of these mines and refineries pushed the development of new space age technology forward. All this advanced technology would help Man adapt to the new environments and allow him to expand his horizons even further.
Beyond Earth, Beyond HumanThe complete understanding of the human genome allowed for marvels of science. For starters, a lot of the “welfare diseases” were eradicated completely. People rarely got ill from diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular diseases anymore. As the population grew older, they also grew healthier.
The understanding of the human genome also promised a new humanity, adapted to the myriads of worlds out there. As Mankind settled on the many worlds, they had to adapt to their new environment. The new worlds of Mankind were so different that in order to stay human in appearance, humans had to adapt to the new environments. These adaptations were artificially created rather than randomly through mutations, giving the most nominal-looking adaptations an edge in the procreation game.
For instance, a “nominal” human born on the Moon would grow well above seven foot tall and be thin as a pole. In order for the Lunarian to look like a Terran – which by all means still is the human ideal – the Lunarian morphology and metabolism had to be modified for the lower Lunar gravity. On the other hand, a Lunarian born on Earth would be short, stocky and muscular.
Distance, time and above all gravity consolidated the adaptations and reintroduced the race concept to the species. Europids, Ganymedians, Callistians, Titans and Lunarians could easily travel between each others’ worlds, as they had similar gravity, but not to Earth and only briefly and with difficulty to Mars. Martians could freely visit all other worlds except Earth; the mother planet would simply crush them. Terrans could go anywhere, but if they stayed for too long without regular exercise, there was the risk of never being able to return. Belters are a special case: as the asteroid belt colonies or the colonies in high orbit are not restricted by any ground, they can create their own gravity through simple means like rotation to suit their fancy. Hence belters are used not only to different gravitational ranges from zero to one Earth gravity, but also adaptable to changing gravitational norms.
Pretty soon, Terrans, Martians, Belters, Lunarians, Europids, Ganymedians, Callistians and Titans were distinctively different branches of the family tree of Homo Sapiens, paradoxically from the very human need to stay human. Without the yoke of ethnicity and under intelligent management, race was a meaningful concept but not an issue or controversy.
We need living space!It didn’t take long before Mankind was feeling constricted by her own solar system. Of all the planets, only two were marginally inhabitable. Earth was still in the Age of Storms, and Mars was not yet terraformed to host human life. The Moon had no biosphere at all and was forever destined to be the subterranean and domed industrial suburb of Earth. Venus’ scorching and crushing atmosphere was at the time almost impossible to conquer; Mercury was too close to the sun. The colonies on the moons of Jupiter were constricted to be subterranean or domed, or in the case of Europa submerged in the ocean under the ice. The cold methane atmosphere of Titan was a totally different engineering challenge to solve.
The other problem was infrastructure. The resources were there: easily harvested asteroids spread out all over the solar system; a sun radiating more energy than Humanity would ever need; the resources were not the problem. Moving them to the few places where people lived was. Crammed together in space stations, domed cities and subterranean caves, or confined under hostile skies of extreme weather, Mankind realized that all the resources that could be harvested was simply too scattered and too far away.
The fear of a global economical collapse due to a slow stagnation of the interplanetary market, and the threat of an open armed conflict between the leading national corporations would soon compel Mankind to find ways to reach even deeper into space, far beyond their own solar system.
History is not without irony; what Mankind really needed was living space.
The RimThe trouble was the Rim.
The Rim as such was not a strict boundary. Although the Oort cloud, the great “bubble” of leftover material from the formation of the Solar system, was imagined as the Rim by the media and the public, the Rim was just the distance from Human settlements where space travel was no longer practical, and it was far closer than the Oort cloud. Not that it really mattered – space is really big, and the human mind is not evolved to imagine the huge distances in space. The human mind simplifies and makes up its own lines in order to comprehend the world. In the human mind, the Rim is as intangible as the Frontier of the Old West. You can’t point at it on any map, but suddenly you find yourself there.
Expansion within the Rim was still possible to a certain extent. There was still the Asteroid belt and Kuiper belt. It was possible to terraform Venus. If someone found a way of shielding a colony on Mercury from the rays of the sun, there would be a near-endless supply of heavy ores. All these solutions were incredibly costly, and in the end, they wouldn’t solve the problem, only delay it. Mankind had to go past the Rim. And to do that, it was necessary to invent a way to go faster than light.
There is a slight problem: the light barrier is not just an idea. It’s the law. Einstein’s general relativity says that unless you are a mass-less particle, like for instance a photon, you can’t reach the speed of light.
However, there are ways of circumventing the light barrier. Most of these are hypothetical and depends on more energy than there is mass in the entire universe. Some are possible, and through quantum technology, a few of them were even made practical.
The Grand PlanTo solve the growing economical problems the leading global forces within politics, market and science moved together to embark on the greatest enterprise in human history: the Odysseus Project. As this huge endeavor was set into motion the gathered forces within this new global body also took the final step towards a world union.
Though the market industry was to be the main beneficiary from the Odysseus Project, the public also had to be convinced that they were part taking in a great historical enterprise as well. Many conservative emerging nations worried that they could be left out so the plan to increase the industrialization and knowledge of space would also include a mission to expand the whole human civilization beyond its own solar system and to secure the survival of Mankind in the future. . This would be "Mans Greatest Quest". Taking advantage of a project of such a grand scale it was used to give a feeling of new hope to the world, and calm the masses.
As a result the New World Project was founded along side the Odysseus Project and its main goal was to find a new planet in a nearby solar system that could sustain human life. But to send humans beyond their own solar system and directly into the unknown infinite voids of space was still too dangerous. The journey was far too long, the search extremely difficult and the construction of life-supporting spacecraft made the enterprise both technologically and financially crippling
It was not one technology, but several, that proved to be the solution. The quantum computer and the AI provided the control system. Antimatter engines propelled it through space and provided energy. Shield technology protected the ship from stress caused by the jump rail that would hurl the ship across the vast distances of space. All these and more were joined in the Odysseus project.
The first step towards the development of teleportation technology was the invention of a linear way of teleportation using a construction called a Jump Rail, which was capable of sending matter light-years away straight across space. However, construction and usage was extremely costly and the journey far too inaccurate and risky to be of any real practical use. The amount of material, special constructions and energy consumption needed to create a Jump Gate were not available at the time to make it viable. With the creation of antimatter and prototype antimatter reactors it was possible to construct the first functional Jump Rail, though it was still far from practical. The mere fact that the Jump Rail would be torn apart by the violent forces released at each launch did not help its case. For a vessel to survive the immense stress of a launch it seemed natural to focus on the construction of small, compact vessels.
The first tests were performed on so called nano-ships, and even though the stress tests proved minimal during launch, the smaller vessels did not survive the actual journey. These tests proved that the target matter needed to be contained within a powerful energy field to prevent its atoms from dissolving. As a result the technological development of energy shields also took a step forward.
All new technology at this early stage of development was quite crude in both size and functionality. The task required a vessel with a much larger and sturdier hull, allowing it to be equipped with all the devices needed as well as the massive surrounding construction that could emit a stable energy field to protect it. Worried about loosing political momentum the new global political body changed project requirements so that all the new bulky equipment would have enough space on-board the new vessels: the giant Odysseus Probes…
The Odysseus project was one of the great monuments of Mankind. A total of seven large Odysseus probes were assembled on orbital space stations. Jump Rails were then used to launch the probes into space towards carefully selected planetary star systems in the galaxy. These star systems had proved to be the most suitable candidates according to prior astrological research with the most advanced space telescopes and equipment.
The probes had to be completely self-reliant and were therefore equipped with the most advanced and expensive technology available at that time. Each probe was controlled by a virtually sentient AI quantum super computer, which made the probe capable of its own progressive development and self-reproduction. The AI had several objectives and two primary missions. One was to find and utilize new resources, launch new probes and prepare a communication network for Mankind in space. The second mission was to find a planet capable to sustain human life and initiate a terra-formation to prepare it for human colonization.
When a probe had reached its target destination it launched drones to make a survey of all nearby stellar constellations, in search of potential resources to exploit in order to continue its own reproduction and primary mission directives. When enough data has been gathered on a potential planet the probe would select a good site on a potential planet and send a base matrix down to that site, where robots were to be constructed in order to mine and process the resources expanding the base. Well adapted to the environment these robots would in turn find and extract necessary resources from the surrounding areas and produce material to build new facilities. When the base was self-sufficient and expanding, the Odysseus probe would leave orbit and continue towards a new destination. The base would continue to develop and expand, and eventually launch a new generation of Odysseus probes to continue the mission.
The further development of Quantum Technology led to the construction of the first functional teleportation units, which allowed all matter to travel virtually instantly from one place to another. It also meant that organic matter could be transferred from one point to another, creating an instant form of human travel. From being just scientific experiments the new technology needed stronger financial support from the market to reach up to the next levels of development. The Global Alliance saw a great potential in the system and financed the next step in the development: the creation of the first global teleportation network.
With financial benefits in mind the scientists introduced the idea of creating an open doorway through space that would save a lot of travel time between colonies and remote outposts. Since the large "Quantum Leap Generators" in each system required vast amounts of energy to function it ultimately led to the increased research and development of antimatter reactors and refineries. With practical and profitable use in mind the technology would later be used to create the first operational Space Gates in the future.
All Odysseus Probes had been built and launched within the period of a decade. During this time the newly formed global alliance had to deal with arising conflicts in order to protect their goals towards a unified world. But with new technology at their fingertips the alliance was able to end all major conflicts as quickly as they arose, and not always by the use of force. To add more strength to their agenda they made the teleportation technology available to the open market. When teleportation became the new way of public transportation it made daily trips and global travel quick, easy and available to everyone. As a result the national borders begun to gradually fade away and merge together, increasing the human tolerance and slowly erasing the cultural barriers that had kept mankind apart.
Ethnic groups, political factions and a strong sense of cultural heritage still remained within human society but as Earth was becoming one world it was each individuals affiliation to one of the growing global mega-corporations, which replaced the old human view of having different nationalities on Earth. Meanwhile the people on the expanding interplanetary colonies gradually became more socially integrated, slowly forming a stronger bond to each other and the planet they lived on…
The Fall of Nations and CorporationsThe Odysseus project was meant to expand the Rim for the benefits of the market economy and stability of nations. Corporations joined in because of profit. Leading nations joined in because of expansion. Emerging nations joined in for their very survival. All of them thought that the Odysseus project would secure their future.
Corporations merged into mega corporations or vanished entirely; very few corporations were able to remain as they were after the Odysseus project. Nations found that the trade necessary to build the Odysseus probes as well as spin-off technologies such as teleportation caused the ethnic borders to fade away. Some nations had already disappeared in the Age of Storms; their cultural heritage absorbed into other cultures or disappeared altogether. The Odysseus project erased the barriers that were still in place.
The people of Earth were about to unite under one single form of leadership. But the corporations were growing weary from waiting for the new resources and profits that the Odysseus probes would bring them. After nearly a decade there had still been no response from any of the Odysseus Probes and people feared that the probes had been destroyed. The resources spent on building the probes had put an enormous strain on the market economy and escalated the problems of the Rim to the point of war. Mega corporations fought for the distant resources in the Asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt where the Global Alliance had no means of control, gradually, the wars crept closer.
With the lack of response from the Odysseus Probes and the brewing conflicts in space beginning to spread to the Mars colony, it increased the official demand for answers as well as the need for new leadership. Scientists came up with the conclusion that the probes had been caught in some sort of a temporary abnormality that became known as a Time Flux, probably due to the form of travel provided by the use of Jump Rails. Half teleported and half travelling at several times the speed of light it would change the reality of time from both standpoints. What would appear like a short moment of travel for each probe could pass by like ages for the people back on Earth. Still, it was only a matter of time before the project command central would receive the first signal of arrival from one of the Odysseus Probes. In the meantime corporation conflicts had to be dealt with using a stronger power than what could be issued out by the Global Alliance.
The Global Alliance was determined to take control of the situation before the conflicts escalated on Mars and stop them before they could spread to the Lunar Colony and finally the Earth itself. To gain enough power to take action the Global Alliance gathered to form a whole new government. This new form of leadership would gain political power to rule the Earth, including all the planets in the solar system and all regions of space in-between them. But most important, it would also stretch as far as human civilization went, no matter how far away into space it would take Mankind. From the ashes of the Global Alliance and the corporations, the Federal Empire was born.
The newly formed Federal Empire used political tactics and increased mobile military capabilities in space to gain control over the interplanetary colonies. This was done in order to prevent the corporation wars spreading down to solid ground and into populated areas. Time was short and the Federal Empire wished to put an end to the corporation wars before the first signals from the Odysseus Probes were received. The first elected Supreme Imperial Chancellor did not intend to give the corporation's the chance to slip away and take their conflicts with them to any new colonies in the future front regions of space. When the corporations lost control of the public markets the warring corporations realized that if they wanted to stay in the market and not remain isolated in space, either the armed conflicts had to end or the new Federal Empire had to fall.
For a short time the corporations thought about forming their own alliance, which threatened to turn against the Federal Empire in an attempt to overthrow its new government. However, during the very same period the first signals from one of the Odysseus Probes reached Earth. The growing threat from the corporations quickly faded away as they turned their interest towards the new potential resources that were beginning to emerge across space. This first signal was the start of a new age in the history of Mankind: the era of interstellar travel and conquest.
The Neo-Colonial EraThe vast interstellar void is not impassable. The Odysseus probes proved that. It was a technical challenge to build a jump rail to hurl ships across the great distances, but that was an engineering problem. There were some side-effects from it: as the jump rail would tear itself apart launching the ship, it was a single-use technology. Furthermore, you couldn’t steer while jumping. In many ways travelling with jump rail was a bit like boarding a passenger liner, aiming it at the destination hoping that nothing would divert you, and then steaming straight ahead until you ran aground.
With those constrictions, it’s all but impossible to build a working economy. What you can do is to colonize and build the local base for future trade. After all, when the Americas were originally settled by Europeans, the ships they used often never sailed back.
And much in the same spirit as the colonial era, Mankind followed the trail of the Odysseus probes, settled on planets circling distant stars, building colonies, adapting to the alien worlds and living off the land much in the same way as their ancestors adapted to Mars, the Jovian moons and Titan, and living off the land. Through the passing of generations these altered humans have began to naturally inherit genetically engineered traits from their parents, without the need for prior genetic alteration of the unborn child. As for yet, the only aliens encountered have been relatively early forms of primitive life. The altered humans originating from Earth remain the only truly intelligent form of life on these few habitable alien worlds.
With the continued development of Teleportation Technology the first operational Space Gates were soon being constructed across the entire Earth solar system to link the different planets and colonies together. There was no longer a need for any large human transport vessels between the interplanetary colonies since smaller shuttle-crafts could now travel instantly through the Space Gates.
However, the Space Gate technology had its limits. An active gate consumes vast amounts of energy and requires the large scale construction of antimatter reactors, generators, shields, stabilization units and other expensive systems. The opening itself in the gate has to be kept small to keep the active teleportation field stable and the passage secure. The reactors that generate the energy to activate a gate are enormous and require large quantities of antimatter to function. The creation of antimatter is still a difficult and expensive process, still making the issue of Space Gates a matter of economics rather than the most practical and efficient way of space travel available.
The interstellar network is growing rapidly. To encourage market competition and ease the economical strain, as well as the political pressure from having to sway off corporate mischief towards the government, the Federal Empire began to issue out Imperial Contracts. These contracts focus on the communication network such as the protection and maintenance of Hyper Link Beacons and the construction of Space Gates. Corporations who have obtained a contract to maintain a beacon are able to pick up new signals transmitted from an Odysseus Probe that has established a new base somewhere in space. The signal that is crossing a contracted beacon will be detected and tagged with a claim before the news has reached all the other control station in the network in each sector of space. The corporations are then able to sign the contract for a new base and its resources from the Federal Empire at first hand. This also includes claiming a contract for future research and the development of entire new colonies on other planets, which is called a Colonial Contract. The colonial contract was meant to bring order into this frontier chaos, particularly in ownership. The contract followed a claim of a candidate star system recently discovered by the Odysseus probes, and it meant that until a planet was fully terraformed and immigration fully opened, the claiming corporation would be in complete control of the market of the colony.
The New WorldCenturies had passed by as man slowly moved further into space. During this time an unknown number of new generation Odysseus Probes had started their endless voyage cross the galaxy, sharing the same ancient quest as the original seven probes that had been launched from Earth such a long time ago. It was one of these new generation probes that discovered a truly life-giving planet. With minor environmental adjustments this New World would be a virtual copy of the Earth itself but with its own evolution of generally early primitive life forms. Once the probe had proven the environment to be acceptable for human settlement it established a base and sent a message back through the hyper link network before it begun the terra-formation of the planet. When the atmosphere and environment had been adjusted to fully support human life the robots continued to build cities that were to stand ready in time for the first human arrivals.
However, things had changed during the course of time since the first original probes were launched from Earth. Before the signal managed to reach its intended destination on Earth, it was intercepted and decoded by a corporation that now owned and maintained several of the beacons inside a large sector of the hyper link network were the signal was first received and identified by humans. The corporation OmegaTech quickly claimed the contract to colonize the world but withheld the crucial information from the public that a true living planet had been discovered. The issue was only discussed in secrecy before the Supreme Imperial Chancellor within the closed chambers of the Imperial Senate. The Federal Empire knew the great importance of this historical discovery and decided to give the contract to OmegaTech along with an ultimatum. Unless the corporation had begun a colonization of the planet within a decade the Colonial Contract would be passed on to the next corporation in line that filed a claim on the New World after it had been made official. Indeed there were speculations that the Federal Empire itself had already drawn up its own plans and that the ultimatum was only their first step in taking control of the New World...
As the data communications with the robot base matrix on the New World continued more data was decoded that revealed new amazing information. According to certain files the mysterious planet had kept the Odysseus Probe stationed for several standard cycles in orbit before it finally made the decision to leave, despite available resources to construct a new Jump Rail to continue its own voyage within less than one cycle. Any information that would explain this event had for unknown reasons never been transferred from the Odysseus Probe to the robot base matrix before the probe left the star system. This strange delay in the probe's voyage gave the planet its name according to a very ancient human tale from Earth, were a sea nymph waylaid a homeward-bound hero named Odysseus for seven years on her island. The name of this nymph was Calypso and it was considered most fitting for a future market campaign.
Despite efforts to keep the discovery a secret many rumors of the amazing New World soon begun to spread across the colonies. The new planet and its star system were positioned far past the rim of the Colonial Frontier, which gave the isolated planet an almost mystical reputation amongst the people on the imperial colonies as well as on Earth. This growing public interest was building up a pressure on both the OmegaTech Corporation and the Federal Empire. OmegaTech used this interest to execute a hostile takeover and to gain legal motion and financial aid from the Federal Empire for a daring project that would expand the empire outside the colonial boarders and past the known frontiers by bringing the first human settlers to Calypso.
The ExodusWith federal aid and a growing public interest throughout the colonies, OmegaTech were able to launch an enormous enterprise called the Exodus Project. Its goal was to bring human settlers to Calypso within less than a decade. The best way would be to launch a research ship towards Calypso using a Jump Rail. The ship would carry necessary equipment and crew for the construction of a Space Gate and the basic material needed to link it to its counterpart that would be built inside the secure space of the colonial frontier. However, there were not enough technological resources available within the corporation itself to embark on such a project.
To succeed with this endeavor OmegaTech would need to obtain technological aid and resources from other interstellar corporations but the space market was more interested in seeing the downfall of OmegaTech rather than to help it succeed and prosper. It was a clear attempt by market rivals to weaken OmegaTech in order to move in later and take over the financially vulnerable corporation. High prices on imported resources, shipment delays, equipment flaws, espionage and sabotage would threaten the project, despite legal aid from the Federal Empire. The Federal Empire wasn't able to control the corporations directly in favor of a single corporation without a risk of causing a political market crisis. OmegaTech had foreseen this line of events and decided to use a more old fashion approach to overcome this problem.
By contemplating whatever available technology and resources it had access to the corporation decided build a giant colonial space vessel called The Exodus. The commercial campaign was given the same name as the ship, which increased the public interest in the project even more. The Exodus would be able to take over a thousand settlers to Calypso using the largest Jump Rail ever built. With financial support from the Federal Empire the project was set into motion, despite massive criticism from rival corporations about the low technological level of the whole enterprise. And it was a risky business. It would take every last bit of financial resources to succeed, which would leave the OmegaTech Corporation financially crippled and very vulnerable.
The colonies on other planets were not considered living planets like Earth. Even though some planets possessed enough basic elements to be terra-formed and given a new designed ecosystem it still had to be artificially maintained, just like the home planet of Earth itself. Despite these advanced technologies permanent habitants had to be genetically designed to survive on these worlds. Calypso had its own natural ecosystem, even though it had been slightly altered by the robots to make it perfectly suitable for unaltered human beings. When the Federal Empire stated that the discovery of the New World was fact, it quickly became leading news all across the colonial empire. The thought of an untouched world spread a new sense of hope and joy amongst the people throughout the colonies.
The Exodus campaign rose ill rumors amongst the colonies that the New World would only be available to the unaltered human elite on Earth and the people within the OmegaTech Corporation, which caused industrial strikes and colonial uproars. The relatively small colonial communities of altered humans posed more of an annoyance than a threat to the corporations and the Federal Empire.
The few protests that were raised silenced quickly after the Federal Empire and OmegaTech promised to open the new colony for all once the world was secured. That, and the fact that the altered humans were still few in comparison – Earth alone had a population of 18 billion, and Mars, the single largest colony, maintained just over 9 million people – made the protests rather irrelevant.
The Exodus was built in space inside a shielded dome next to a large resourceful asteroid and industrial facilities owned by the OmegaTech Corporation. This dome was not only a shipyard but would also serve as the protective coating around the ship when it was to be launched by the large Jump Rail. The Jump Rail was being constructed at the same time near another resourceful asteroid. These construction areas were located near to a central space station that controlled the only Space Gate in the sector.
When the great ship was complete, it was moved to the Jump Gate and there it was prepared for launch. The fortunate people who had been authorized to become the first settlers on Calypso were now allowed to travel to the space station and board the Exodus. Every step in the project was followed in detail by the interstellar media and transmitted through the interstellar hyper-link network, instantly reaching people all over the colonial frontier inside the Federal Empire. Media titled it "The Great Exodus", which boosted the public campaign even more. When the Exodus ship was finally launched on her journey towards Calypso it was considered as another milestone in human history and the beginning of a new era. It had taken three years to complete the Exodus Project but it would take another two years before the people in the Federal Empire finally heard from the Exodus again.
After their two year journey, the new colonists arrived to Calypso to find the cities and infrastructure that the base matrix’s robots had built for them ready for settling. The Exodus was converted into a space station in orbit around Calypso to be used as a base camp for colonization. The robots had tweaked the ecosystem of Calypso to fit humans, and the settlers had to do very little further adjustments to their new home. Gradually, the world was settled, and as the space gate was near completion, the rate of settlement was expected to rise.
That was not to be.
The First ArrivalsWhen the first settlers arrived on Calypso everything was prepared for their arrival by robots that had already built up a complete infrastructure. Upon the settlers arrival, the robots Base Matrix turned over its control to the humans. The first settlers on Calypso experienced a historical moment as they set foot on a vast and unspoiled planet, rich in life and resources. They moved into the cities and began to make the last adjustments to the environment. Mankind seemed to have returned to paradise and this first region of colonies became known as New Eden. But all this would soon change...
During further investigations of the Robot Base Matrix on Calypso the research teams were never able to find the reason why the Odysseus Probe had stayed for so long before leaving. Though the reason for this delay would remain a mystery the researchers did come across several clues that pointed towards another nearby star system, positioned even further away in the unknown regions of space. The scattered information indicated that shortly after a robot base had been successfully established on Calypso, the Odysseus Probe had constructed a new Jump Rail and then launched itself towards this new destination. Its last transmission was made only to inform the Base Matrix that the probe had arrived and positioned itself in orbit around one of the major planets inside this system. For all they knew the silent Odysseus Probe could still be there.
To bring light on this mystery, Operation Prometheus was launched. OmegaTech constructed the unmanned probe Prometheus 1 and launched it towards the last known destination of the old Odysseus probe. The probe had several missions: to explore the new star system, to report what it found, and to search for the Odysseus probe itself. The first generation Odysseus probes hadn’t been seen for centuries, and this was a rare opportunity to find one of them again.
The probe arrived at its intended destination in less than three months and transmitted data of an eerie and dark planetary system orbiting a dying star. Two colossal planets with high-density readings were the most distinct features in the system and were given the names Akbal and Cimi. There was no sign of the Odysseus Probe but Prometheus 1 had detected signals from several robot base installations on the surface of both these planets. There was no doubt that these robots originated from the Odysseus Probe, but the question was why the Robot Base Matrix hadn't established any communications with the interstellar hyper-link network. As Prometheus 1 was ordered to establish contact with the Base Matrix on the planet Akbal the research team back on Calypso received several encrypted signals through its system that originated from the Robot Base Matrix on Akbal. Unable to decode it they decided to process it through the Base Matrix on Calypso...
The Robot UprisingNobody could expect what happened next. Without any warning the Base Matrix turned all its robots into savage and ruthless death-machines, and with cruel and merciless tactics, forced the darkest era known to Man upon the poor settlers of Calypso. . At the beginning of the revolt the Base Matrix cut off all forms of communications on and off the colony. It took control of space drones that were working on a near completed Space Gate and used them to sabotage the construction, rendering it completely useless.
The terror continued as it overloaded local energy reactor facilities in the cities, causing them to overheat and explode. It intended not only to destroy the infrastructure but also spread lethal radiation poisoning that would quickly dispose of all living human beings. As people fled, the base matrix unleashed an army of robots, turning the uprising into war. The sinister robots constructed nuclear weapons of their own, infect possible escape routes and wipe out any last scattered remains of the human population. This massive radiation would slowly kill more people over a longer period of time, but many settlers survived this contamination. Instead of dying they were genetically altered and perhaps suffered a far more cruel fate than death. They began to mutate.
In the shadow of the mushroom clouds, the resistance formed. Only a few uncontaminated survivors managed to seek refuge in the last city left standing on Calypso and get transported up to the orbiting Exodus but only genetically unaltered humans were welcome here. There was simply no room or resources left in the city for medical care and safe treatment of these victims. For the protection and the survival of the human refugees inside the city the severely contaminated humans were rejected and forced away. They only just managed to survive by hiding in the wilderness and underground in the city ruins to escape the robot death-machines. What little humanity they had left slowly faded, with no hope of ever being rescued. They were doomed and quickly forgotten by the humans who were too occupied with their own survival.
Mad robotic space drones caused damage to the Exodus in orbit but its internal AI computer systems remained secure. The ship and its crew survived the ordeal and managed to clear the space of all hostile elements. The Exodus was then transformed into an orbital military space station and the crew initiated a rescue operation to evacuate as many human survivors as possible from the surface. Surviving settlers had to be turned into soldiers and would be forced to fight long and hard to reclaim their planet but they were being constantly outnumbered by the robots.
Since all AI robots were being infested with the same madness down on the surface the commanders on-board the Exodus could not send in its own robots to battle in fear that these machines would go mad as well and be used against them. In a desperate attempt to even the odds the commanders on-board the Exodus begun to create androids and used these artificial genetic humanoids as expendable soldiers and personnel in the war. They also started to use semi-automated drone ships, piloted by human operators on-board the Exodus using a remote hyper-link control system.
To re-establish contact with the Federal Empire the Exodus crew used a small Jump Rail to launch a probe past the jamming range of the robot infested planet and managed to connect itself to the interstellar hyper-link network and send a message of their desperate situation back to the Federal Empire. The next step was to rebuild the Space Gate but they could only spare enough antimatter to activate the gate for a very limited period of time. Once the Space Gate was activated they could only hope that there would be reinforcements standing by on the other side...
The situation on Calypso was clearly getting out of control. To quickly deal with this growing problem the Federal Empire of Earth forced OmegaTech to sign over the entire corporation leadership to the imperial government, thus forming the federal controlled imperial corporation now known as OmegaTon Incorporated. This federal incorporation gave OmegaTon access to more funds and resources that could insure the safety and future prosperity of the colony on Calypso. When the corporation became federal the planet also became an open market for other corporations to make future investments. The Federal Empire welcomed any help that could present an immediate aid to the settlers in their struggle for survival.
According to the message the settlers could only keep the Space Gate open for a short moment. A massive military operation to save the colony could not be launched with such limitations so the only efficient form of aid would be a compact delivery of the latest technology, supplies, equipment and expert personnel. Any corporation that offered their aid would be given the first share of the new open market on the colony. As a result brand new technology would become available to the settlers such as Resurrection units, Mindforce and Energy Weapons. Calypso would be turned into a test zone for many new technological wonders...
The cry for help from Calypso was the primary issue of debate in all the political chambers back on Earth. One of the primary concerns was to insure that the robotic madness wouldn't spread to any other robotic outposts or to any human colonies. The second concern was to help the settlers on the isolated colony on Calypso. Besides sending immediate technological aid, the Federal Empire constructed Jump Rails to launch several military spaceships towards Calypso as a back-up plan if the settlers failed to recapture the planet.
Although it was agreed that it would require a larger military operation to perform such a task, the Colonial Chamber made it clear that no imperial or company-controlled paramilitary force could be stationed on Calypso after such an operation. It would diminish their trust towards the Federal Empire since the members of the Colonial Chamber feared that such military force would be used to keep colonial people away from the planet in the future. The colonial people would never accept Calypso being turned into an "Imperial Resort" for the citizens of Earth, giving that there was a planet left after such a full scale military operation. Many feared that such a presence of military power might escalate the robot attacks to such a degree that it could lay waste to the entire planet...
The settlers and crew on-board the Exodus had fought hard to defend the last populated region of the colony. Only three cities inside this region had escaped robot sabotage and destruction because they had been built around a large inactive volcano, relying solely on geothermal energy absorbed from deep within the sleeping mountain. The other cities used matter/antimatter reactors, which proved to be their downfall as the robots used these to create large explosions that leveled the cities and spread a lethal radiation poisoning amongst the human survivors. The protected region was to become known as The Haven. It was the only tactical and secure area left on the planet and many survivors who had fled from the other cities came here to seek refuge. It was the last line of defense and the only chance for Mankind to recapture the planet and defeat the robots.
The settlers withstood the robot attacks long enough to successfully repair the Space Gate and create a temporary opening. Personnel of officers, scientists and engineers from the Federal Empire were rushed through the gate along with as much supplies and equipment as possible before the gate closed. In a desperate attempt to keep the poorly stable gate open as long as possible it collapsed and exploded. The colony was cut off again but they now had new technology and expertise at their disposal, which finally gave the colonial forces enough military strength to fight a winning battle against the robots.
Despite the advantage of the new technology it would take several hard years before the robots could finally be defeated. The brave settlers withstood the robot terror long enough for imperial military vessels to arrive at the Calypso system with more reinforcements, and the war came to an end. To inspire new hope among the settlers, the Federal Empire declared that a whole new infrastructure would be created in the three remaining cities. To ease the financial strain on federally owned corporation OmegaTon Inc, the Federal Empire decided to give two other interstellar corporations access to Calypso. These new corporations would aid the colony in the construction of the other two city projects in exchange for a higher market position within these assigned urban zones. Each corporation was also assigned a contract by the Federal Empire to exploit different resources on the planet in order to insure stability and to encourage trade and economical growth within the region. These three new cities were named New Haven, Neo Ithaca and Xin Shi. But the war was far from over...it had only just begun.
When the robots had been destroyed it gave the settlers on Calypso a short moment to reflect on what really had caused the robots to rebel and target humans as their enemy. The source of the problem was apparently the Akbal-Cimi system. When the Imperial military spaceships were being prepared for launch towards the Akbal-Cimi system a massive vessel arrived in the Calypso system along the very same trajectory. The vessel clearly came from the Akbal-Cimi system and it was soon identified as an Odysseus Probe. The massive vessel was not responding to any commands but it was most likely to have been the very same Odysseus Probe that once discovered Calypso. The only form of messages transmitted by its AI command module were said to be incomprehensible but were taken as a warning to the settlers, later revealing its real intent, to recapture the planet.
The imperial military spaceships were quickly positioned to intercept this first Titan of War and prevent it from reaching Calypso. The battle over Calypso lit up the dark skies at night for several days before the massive Odysseus Probe was finally destroyed and its wrecked parts fell through the atmosphere like shooting stars. One military spacecraft and nearly all of its crew had been destroyed and the rest of the small fleet suffered substantial damage. The Exodus was kept safe and out of harm's way on the other side of the planet during the battle - in case the settlers had to be evacuated from Calypso.
This historical moment became known as the Battle of Calypso but it never became a celebrated victory. To the settlers the battle only meant the beginning of a new robot war...a war that has yet to end...
Cause and EffectThe robot uprising had several consequences.
OmegaTech was virtually bankrupt after the event. As it reorganized into Omegaton, it was also unable to hold an exclusive colonial contract to Calypso, so the contract was shared by two other corporations, Genesis Star and Chikara. The last remaining androids, also known as RX Units, ended up being rejected by human civilization. The common attitude is that they were made to be disposable soldiers and no longer mattered. As a result the RX and the human colony failed to cooperate. The Calypso Defense Force consider them an enemy, and regularly remind colonists that its treason to be involved with them on any level. CDF claim that they have Intel that suggests the RX entered an alliance with the robots.
The Akbal-Cimi system was declared hostile space and quarantined. For that to even be possible, the Imperial fleet had to be expanded and reorganized, with fleet bases in the systems surrounding Akbal-Cimi. Within the Akbal-Cimi system, the robots expanded and built a new breed of Odysseus probes, called titans of war, to defend themselves and to strike out at the humans Communications with the robots were properly re-established after the first war but the victory faded quickly as the news on the Battle of Calypso reached all the colonized corners of the Federal Empire. The speculations of an interstellar threat of mad Odysseus Probes turning back to conquer human colonies spread much fear on the Colonial Frontier.
As a result the colonies on the frontier demanded increased military protection from the Federal Empire. To avoid panic and rebellion the Federal Empire ordered its imperial fleets to be stationed in the colonized sectors positioned close to the distant sectors of the Calypso and Akbal-Cimi systems. A small fleet of imperial spaceships were also sent to join the battered fleet in the Calypso system in preparation for an offensive strike against the very heart of the robot problem.
However, by moving forces from one corner of space to another it weakened the Empires presence and power in certain sectors, causing colonies to seize the moment and gain enough political power to make the people rise up and demand imperial independence. This threat to the Federal Empire postponed any further reinforcements of new spaceships to Calypso, since these vessels are considered vital to stabilize the current conflicts that had arisen within the empire itself.
Naturally the Federal Empire would not redraw their imperial battleships currently deployed in the Calypso system. The Federal Empire also kept their word to the loyal colonies that it would not station any imperial military command or forces on Calypso, which assured the colonies future as an open market for any new investment. The task to uphold law and order as well as the defense of the colony has been given to the local authorities and the Colonial Guard. The Federal Empire maintained command of the solar system space defense. The rest it laid in the hands of the settlers themselves.
The Robot ThreatTo keep the planet safe from further robot invasions a solid orbital defense system had to be constructed before all else. In order to release enough resources for this purpose all other projects on rebuilding the colonial infrastructure on Calypso were postponed. Funds have only been focused on rebuilding one single city: the city of New Haven. OmegaTech constructed a basic network of orbital energy emitting satellites, which included deep space detectors, patrolling drone ships and drone carriers. By constantly expanding the Orbital Defense Network it created an impenetrable planet defense system for the future. The original plan was to use this network as a defense against asteroids but it was now reworked to include five times as many units. A built-in safety system in every unit guaranteed that none of the offensive orbital weapon systems could be armed and directed towards the planet itself. The entire defense network is connected to the Exodus, which now served as an orbital command central.
After several failed attempts to penetrate the defense network on Calypso the Akbal-Cimi Base Matrix seemed to realize that it would take far too much time and resources to break through the increased orbital space defenses around Calypso before its own system would be invaded by counter-attack forces. It kept building new modified Odysseus Probes but kept them stationed in the close vicinity of the Akbal-Cimi system for protection. Unmanned scout probes from the fleet in the Calypso system were sent out to investigate the Akbal-Cimi system and soon discovered that a similar defense network was already being constructed around the main planet of Akbal. Soon these scout probes wouldn't even get that close to the Akbal-Cimi system as the robots began to deploy their modified Odysseus probes, now called Titans of War by the Imperial Fleet, and position them further out in the system to form an own first line of defense. At this rate it would no longer be possible to recapture the Akbal-Cimi system with the currently available resources or technology within the Calypso system.
The robot uprising sent shock-waves among the colonies that even reverberated back to Earth. There was a growing fear of mad robots among the colonies, as the colonies were depending on the base matrix for their everyday life. It took some time before it became clear that the robots truly did just appear out of thin air. Somehow the Matrix on Akbal-Cimi had managed to reveal the secrets of true dimensional travel and used it to develop a superior form of teleportation technology, thereby being able to construct a fully functional deep space teleportation system. The robots were now able to deploy and teleport their troops across time and space and drop them down directly on the surface of Calypso. Although fewer in number these new robot invaders were far better constructed and equipped compared to their predecessors that once ran amok on Calypso. Their mission was as clear as ever: to destroy all humans and take over the planet.
Some virtuologists even speculated in whether the Akbal-Cimi robots had reached singularity, the point in history where virtual evolution would make biological evolution unnecessary, and that the Odysseus probes would be the last invention ever made by Mankind. To some extent, this speculation has come true. It was deemed impossible to invade Akbal-Cimi, and the trend clearly showed that robots would continue to invent new technologies at an accelerating rate. Left to its own, Virtuana would more than likely be the dominant biosphere.