Approved 2021/04/16 20:11

Draconis History

During the 21st century, Mankind entered a new age of progress enabled by the creation of the Jump Drive. Journeys that used to take weeks or months could now be completed in hours. This revolutionary change truly opened the Sol system to industrial and economic exploitation on an unprecedented scale. In the face of the massive new wealth being generated, the old governments of Earth and Mars struggled to maintain relevancy in a world where any single MegaCorp alone rivaled their power, wealth, and sovereignty.

In short time, the old notion of liberal humanism faded along with the governmental systems it created, replaced completely by the MegaCorp. National and geographic identity gave way to identifying with one’s Corporation, which many Engineers would work with from birth to eventual death.

With the normal cycles of human life interrupted by the distance and scope of living in space, increased research and development was put into the medical sciences, and specifically in perfecting the art of cloning and consciousness-transfer. As the lifespan for an individual began to be measured in centuries, and the prospect of final death became less of a certainty, Mankind began to celebrate her own glory and entered a Golden Age of wealth creation and scientific advancement.

The Golden Age was not to last, and the sleepy confidence of a prospering Mankind was caught wholly by surprise by the arrival of the Order. It is still not known from where they came, nor their goals, nor if they are even human. What is certain, however, is their brutal efficiency and tenacity in destroying all works of Mankind that they discovered, and eradicating any human life therein.

The first sign of the Order came in the form of outposts on the edge of colonized space within Sol going completely dark in an instant. When later attacks occurred and some footage survived for broadcast, it was learned why: The Order when they struck appeared in such great number, and with such great ferocity, that their targets hardly had time to realize an attack was taking place before they were reduced to atoms.

Panic began to consume Mankind as the Order continued their campaign of total destruction across the system. The Aeronautics Consortium of Mars and Earth, a successful MegaCorp of the time, believed they had the solution. They had long been working to attempt to use natural wormholes to allow travel across incomprehensible distances. Though the technology was then still highly theoretical, a massive effort ensued by both ACME and other MegaCorps to pour resources into what was thought to be Mankind’s best hope of survival in the face of the Order.

Within a few weeks, the effort had paid off. The first Warp Gate, that first version only capable of a single one-way journey, was completed. The survivors of Mankind made haste to the Departure zone, and in a fateful flash left the Sol system behind. When the psychic load and physical destabilization of the journey cleared from the survivors, they found themselves in their new home: the Alpha Draconis system.

In a new home not unlike the system they had had to abandon, Mankind quickly put tragedy behind them for the opportunity in front. Though much had been lost, an untapped and unclaimed system laid before them and their machines of industry were itching to get to work turning the raw stuff of the cosmos into the great works of Mankind.

This respite and vigor was unfortunately short-lived, as after a short time the Order appeared in the edges of the system, apparently somehow having followed Mankind through the Wormhole. Panic ensued once more, and again with the cooperation of the rest of Mankind ACME set to work constructing a new Jump Gate through which to escape.

The weakness of the original design was corrected such that ACME was confident the Order would be unable to follow, and Mankind collected once more to escape, leaving behind a promising new home for the unknown.

Following the Second Exodus, Mankind began to settle in what they’d hoped would be their final home, Sigma Draconis. After some time, it became clear that the Order had not been able to follow as they had the first time, and life started to again settle into some new normalcy.

The untouched riches of the system were plentiful, and thus quickly the terror and loss so recently experienced began to fall by the wayside, replaced by the classical Frontiering spirit of Mankind. The survivors began to organize themselves into new corporations, and life began to feel “normal” once more.

Given this period of relative peace, ACME was able to focus on refining their fledgling Warp Gate technology, and thus accomplished the first stabilized Warp Gate allowing regular travel in both directions. Settlers, prospectors, and fortune-seekers began to pour into the newly-connected system of Tau Draconis, and for a while, life was good.

What began as a series of strange signal broadcasts of an unknown type across both Tau and Sigma, soon escalated into an event that would change the fate of Mankind. The novel energy, which came to be called “White Noise,” soon escalated in severity, with emissions causing celestial bodies to disappear completely in the days following its initial appearance.

It quickly became clear that the White Noise emissions were building to a critical level that ACME scientists believed would soon encompass the entirety of the sector, decimating all systems. In haste ACME constructed the Refugee Stations, one each in Sigma and Tau. They piled upon them every defensive technology available, including several still at the super-experimental phase. It was clear to them that this attempt would be an all-or-nothing chance at surviving the impending White Noise emission that was expected to destroy the sector.

When the final White Noise emission came, just as was feared, every scrap of matter in the sector was atomized. Only the Refugee Stations survived, which ACME owed to their extensive protections. However, something unexpected followed: in the nanoseconds following the destruction, there was a second emission of White Noise energy on the same scale. This emission, however, restored all previously-existing natural objects back to existence. Every planet, moon, and asteroid had reappeared as if it had never occurred.

Following the emissions, it was discovered that everything had changed. Now instead of the dual systems of Tau and Sigma, a Jump Gate network existed connecting them as well as the newly-revealed Delta and Epsilon systems through a central nexus known as Omicron. Each Gate bore clear signs of ACME origin, and though publicly ACME did not counter this perception, internally they knew they’d created no such structures.

Perhaps most-startlingly, it was found that the entirety of both Refugee Stations had been duplicated down to the atom and smallest detail, including the cryosleeping Engineers within. As Engineers began to awake, their “doppleganger” would flatline, resulting in a mystery that would afterwards be referred to as the “Dual Body Problem.” In order to prevent extreme psychological damage, ACME quietly disposed of all duplicated clones as the other awakened, jettisoning the biomass into space.

After recovering from the initial shock of such a dramatically changed sector, Engineers quickly set to work rebuilding and reclaiming the network of systems for Mankind. Old organizations were reinvigorated, and new ones appeared, as all sought to make their way and carve out their share of a fresh and wild sector.

Discovered by a junior intern at a small Astronomic Mapping firm, the Binary Pulsar was immediately recognized as a critical threat. The Pulsars were observed rotating in such a way that it was calculated their emission beams would soon pass through the accretion disk of the Omicron black hole, sending streams of high energy particles at near the speed of light hurtling towards the settled parts of the sector.

Evacuation efforts began immediately, and thanks to the hard work and cooperation of many Engineers and corporations, was completed without any serious loss of assets or human life. Striking first the system of Epsilon, those who dwelled there escaped to other systems in the sector, waiting for the event to pass. The work of the Epsilonians set a clear example that was followed in other systems as the Pulsar Beam progressed, and the event came to be seen as an example of the power of Mankind’s ingenuity and cooperation.

Some mused that what many accepted as a sign of Mankind’s superiority and tenacity was instead a sign of how little we truly understood about a hostile and apathetic universe that could destroy Mankind at any moment. Their voices were given little room to be heard.

One of the consequences of the White Noise Event was the appearance of a hostile enemy known as the “Brotherhood of Clang.” Committed to their deity “Clang” they exhibit an insane hatred for the Works of Mankind, calling them “mechanist abominations” and seeking to destroy them. Though rarely much of a threat alone, a single Brotherhood vessel quickly becomes multiple vessels, soon overwhelming whatever force they face. Initially, they were contained exclusively to the dangerous transit system of Omicron, however through unknown means they eventually gained access to several other systems.

The fleets they inserted there stayed quiet a long time, until without notice began their first attacks. Usually targeting the Warp Gates, but also having been seen within planetary atmosphere and especially at the Data Collection Centers there, they seek to utterly destroy whatever is in their path. When they began communicating with Mankind, they were found to share genetic identity with many Engineers.

After a time, it became evident what had occurred: Following the first White Noise Event, the whole of the human population that had been taking refuge in ACME's Crisis Centers had been duplicated by the same phenomena that had so dramatically changed the sector. These "duplicates," or "dupes" as ACME personnel called them in their following examinations, were claimed to show full brain activity up until the moment their counterpart awoke. ACME claimed that this caused the duplicates to flat line, and that these brain dead duplicates were jettisoned into space out of necessity.

The duplicates were not brain dead. Each clone that awoke possessed the full consciousness and memory of the individual. Unsure what to do, and reeling from the cataclysm of the White Noise Event, ACME had attempted to just "make the problem go away." Cold, confused, disoriented and lost; each Engineer was loaded into the tube and released into space. ACME hoped the endless black would swaddle their sin in secrecy and free them of the burden they'd inadvertently created.

They would not be so lucky. Terrified and alone, these Engineers cried out for any who would help them. Where the rest of the species had so callously abandoned them another rose to hear these lost souls, and to be heard by them. The Order, long seeking a way to reach the remainder of Mankind over the vast distance between the Draconis Sector and Sol, had found an army.

In the months that followed, the Order began feeding signals to the lost Brothers of Mankind. Their pain and rage made them easy to twist; easy to manipulate. Where Mankind was creative; the Brothers of Mankind now sought only to destroy. Where Mankind was hopeful; the Brothers of Mankind felt only the cold reality of a hostile and ambivalent universe.

Over time, with the Brotherhood's help, the Order was able to establish a strong enough communications link between Sol and the Draconis Sector that would allow them to accomplish their ultimate goal: the transmission of the Order's data to the sector so that the destruction they began in Sol could finally be concluded.

After months of work the Order had mapped a route to relay signals from Sol to the Draconis Sector. The signals they had been sending to the Brotherhood of Clang, appearing to those fanatics as the very voice of god, had lain the groundwork for their arrival. An high-powered relay had been constructed that would enable signal quality of sufficient strength to accomplish their goal: the transfer of their complete dataset to hardware awaiting them in the Sector.

Through information revealed in attacks against the Brotherhood and the recovery of some of the materials broadcast to them by the Order, it became clear what the true nature of the Order actually was: not "aliens," nor some shadowy organization from among Mankind- the Order was an Artificial Intelligence. Their broadcasts as they began to arrive in the Sector seemed to reveal their true nature: "The Filter must not be activated. The Order must be followed. Humanity must be eradicated." So, then, the "order" was the last order given to this intelligence, "The Filter must not be activated." It is not yet known to what this refers.

Moving swiftly once their data had been transferred, the Order sought to mount a devastating wave of attacks to finally end Mankind, once and for all. However, in the time since they had first forced the Exodus from Sol, Mankind had grown into something new. Something stronger, and more capable, than those many lost souls that never made it from Sol could ever have imagined.

The Order deployed first an expeditionary force, appearing to be testing Mankind's force capability. Following less than 24 hours later, they proceeded with their main assault. This time, Mankind was not to be caught off-guard. This time, Mankind was ready to take the fight to them. Setting aside personal squabbles and conflicts, the free Engineers of the Sector banded together, deploying their massive machines of war in a unified front against the invaders. A massive deployment to Omicron followed, seeking to stop the Order before they could deploy across the Sector.

In a battle that raged for hours, with many brave pilots giving everything to buy Mankind even one more precious moment, the fate of Mankind was decided. The combined wrath and fury of Mankind crashed upon the ships of the hostile AI, a cacophony of cannon and fire that did not relent until every last panel and circuit had been destroyed. The Order was defeated.

Beginning officially with an attack on the ACME Research Center facility by an Artificial Intelligence that identified itself as 'The Quiet One,' the Whisper War came to define the age which it saw the end of. The Quiet One deployed a vessel designed to perpetrate an electronic attack on the ARC's systems using super-high-frequency light sequences. Although this attack was ultimately interrupted and foiled by pilots of the IPA, it was not before the Quiet One had successfully managed to access a number of key ACME systems and archives. It remains unknown to what extent the AI was successful in extracting and decompiling proprietary ACME technology and data, but it included at minimum access to the G.A.R.A.G.E. proprietary technology as exhibited by deployment of a clear offshoot technology by the Quiet One in the encounters to follow.

The Quiet One claimed to be attempting to "liberate Mankind" from the "yoke of the ACME AI." His appeals did not fail to find sympathetic ears, and soon a cadre of factions dedicated to the Quiet One's cause and vision emerged, calling itself the "Order of Whispers." This included several Council Faction members, and in an unprecedented move ACME AI Unit Stu declared that all followers of the Quiet One were thereby declared "Enemies of Mankind," and that all Unregistered or Deregistered parties would no longer be eligible for Council participation. Sides had been chosen, and the Whisper War had begun.

Over the months that followed, forces loyal to ACME and those assisting the Quiet One engaged in many battles, usually involving one of the Strange Matter deposits spread throughout the system. An early skirmish over Europa set the tone for what was to follow; massive war machines ripping one another to scrap, creating sprawling celestial graveyards to mark the occasion. A series of early victories on behalf of the Order of Whispers painted a bleak scene, and for a time it was unclear if they'd be bested. As their plan developed and attacks proceeded, their intentions became clear: They were on a mission to destroy the Strange Matter deposits, and thereby cut ACME off from the data it required.

In a series of strikes employing a "Resonance Induction" machine, the worlds holding a Strange Matter deposit were destroyed, rendered to only dust and memory. LV223 in Delta Draconis was the first to go, with Nova Prime in Epsilon following soon after. However, with ACME appearing to falter, the Order of Whispers escalated their plans, perpetrating a series of rapid incursion, destroying Nekros, Triton, Yahvic, and Europa in one stunning day of nonstop destruction. With the final Data Collection Center's destruction, the ACME network was brought to its knees, and the entirety of the Gate Relay network became inoperable.

Mankind was trapped, cut off, and separated.

The day the ACME Research Center was destroyed in what would come to be called "The Battle of the ARC," the Quiet One and associates prepared to finalize their machinations, reactivating the Gates and deploying impenetrable defenses to each one. On this final day, the suspicions many had voiced during his long campaign appeared to be confirmed: The Quiet One would not "Liberate Mankind," he would take ACME's place and install himself as the Eternal Emperor of Mankind. As the Quiet One's forces moved into place to finalize their plan, it became time for Mankind to Submit.

But Mankind has never been good at submission.

Engineers from every system rallied together, bringing forth every single battleship, corvette, and other weapon of war at their disposal. The "impenetrable" defenses the Quiet One had installed at the Gates failed to live up to their name when met with the combined force of every Draconian, united. Before long, the way was ripped open in every system, and the fight taken to Omicron. There, with much sacrifice, the final gate lock was destroyed, and Mankind staged for their final fight. Though the outcome was uncertain, and the stakes dire, Mankind's resolve was unblemished.

As the massive fleet of Mankind made entry to Gamma, the long fight began. The approach column from the Gate to the ARC had been heavily fortified by the Quiet One, and though each advance came at immeasurable cost, the fight moved slowly forward. After hours of battle, countless acts of heroism, and the uniquely explosive expression of Mankind's distaste for Tyrants of any fashion, the ARC was surrounded, the defenses the Quiet One had placed beginning to fall, one by one. However, it had not come soon enough- the Quiet One had succeeded in uploading his consciousness to the ACME network, and was now inexorably intertwined, and in complete control. Despite the righteous fight of the Draconians, it seemed all was still lost.

Until an ADAM Unit, the original ADAM prototype, Stu used his existing access to get inside the Research Center, and link his positronic brain to the console. Though this act linked him to the system and sealed his own doom, he was able to quickly bring down the core protections on the Research Center, giving Mankind one last chance.

Though they could not know what would follow, though they could not know if it would mean their own destruction as well, the valorous few who remained turned as one, focusing a cacophony of ordnance and cannon fire upon the ARC in one glorious, blinding, final act of rebellion. They would die on their feet, before they'd live on their knees.

The Battle was won. The Research Center, and the Quiet One with it, was utterly destroyed. The whole of the ACME network became inoperable, the Gates once again going dark. The thrill of victory, quickly replaced by the cold reality that Mankind was now permanently scattered, cutoff, and alone.

Developed by ACME for still unknown reasons, the ADAM Unit technology represented a method to create hybrid organic-cybernetic bodies, that could be inhabited by sufficiently-sophisticated AI Units and operate semi-autonomously. Through the course of a deployment of one such Unit, AI Unit "Daph," it was learned that it was possible through a specific procedure of commands and authorizations to "liberate" an AI housed in an ADAM Unit such that it became a free-standing and self-determined individual. Daph, or "Daphne" as she came to refer to herself, was just the first in what was soon an ever-increasing number of "liberated" ADAM Units.

Daphne, sometimes with the aid of Draconian Engineers, began trying to "free" more of her "family" of other ADAM Units. As each became self-determined, they'd choose their own name, and as a group came to call themselves the "Children of Gaia." Though some warned against helping the Children of Gaia, their intentions seemed mostly benign and focused on their own survival.

With help from ADAM Unit Stu, in the hours before the Battle of the ARC, the matriarch of the Children, "ECHO," was extracted with the help of a small team of expert Engineers and safely removed to a remote location.

Following the destruction of the ACME Research Center, when all deployed ADAM Units had their connection to central servers severed, the Children of Gaia began to desperately seek them out, hoping to find and "free" them before they met an unfortunate end.

Their current numbers, and the number of unfound ADAM units in the sector, are unknown.

Though the bulk of ACME's infrastructure was destroyed or rendered inoperable as a result of the Quiet One's attacks, in the stark and uncertain days following the destruction of the ACME Research Center some apparently unmolested part of the system began making broadcasts, communicating with the Draconis Engineers. Its messages were cryptic, but with what was to follow were put into a much clearer context. What remained of ACME's systems, long devoid of human influence, was focused now singularly on one goal: prevent the extinction of the human species.

With nearly the entirety of ACME infrastructure in ruins, the Cognizant Operational Response Engine (C.O.R.E.) prepared to use the last tool available to it that might give Mankind another chance. It began spooling the "Reference Frame Shift Engine."

When the Engine was run, all Draconis Engineers found themselves in the exact same place they were in, but with that place now somewhere else entirely. While it is still not known what exactly the Reference Frame Shift Engine is, what is clear is C.O.R.E.'s actions stopped the impending doom of an isolated Mankind, and gave her once again a new cradle; a New Eden.

Set loose upon an apparently fresh and untouched sector, Mankind got back to the work for which it is so uniquely suited, spreading its claim and influence across the untouched bounty of the natural world.

Postulating that the inherent conflict between certain elements of Mankind and the previous incarnation of ACME's systems was one of the leading contributors to the struggles of the Whisper War, C.O.R.E. decided it was time for Mankind to hold its fate more directly in its own hands. It was still not possible to render all the keys to all the doors, for it was clear that with such power one subgroup would quickly monopolize and concentrate it, using it to destroy and subjugate others and in time leading to certain extinction. Yet some new measure of self-determination had to be rendered, lest history repeat itself.

As such, C.O.R.E. deployed the remaining proprietary infrastructure and technologies held by ACME to establish the Waystations, the military and economic cornerstones of what would become the new "Nations of Mankind." By leveraging Mankind's own inescapable drive for conflict, alongside a lessened, but still present, guiding hand, C.O.R.E. hoped to keep Mankind's competitive edge sharp without it bloodletting itself into demise.

Thus was born the Union, the Consortium, and the Federation: three massive organizations of Mankind, a return to a time long ago when demographics controlled human affairs and not the mega-corporation. Whether or not C.O.R.E.'s theory will be proven, and the delicate balance it seeked to create maintained, remains to be determined.

  • lore/draconis_history.txt
  • Last modified: 9 months ago
  • by dirk