Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
I – Valivarre
Valivarre is a bright blue-white A6 dwarf, twice the mass of Earth’s sun, and substantially hotter at the surface (8300 K). Valivarre is large, at 1.95 times the radius of Earth’s sun, and puts out sixteen times the light; and a higher portion of that is in the ultra-violet than one sees at Earth. Analysis of the star indicates that it is a mere seven hundred and ninety million years old, and it is estimated that within thirty-five million years’ time, Valivarre will have become an orange K5 giant, destroying all life in the system.
Valivarre is home to twelve planets. The first three are rocky, hot, inhospitable worlds, ranging in size from a tenth to nearly twice Earth’s mass. The next five are gas giants, the inner two being similar to Jupiter and Saturn respectively, and the outer three more resembling Uranus and Neptune. The outermost four worlds are composed largely of a mixture of rock and water and methane ice, larger analogs to the Uranian and Neptunian satellites, and Pluto.
II – Fantoma
Fantoma is the fourth planet from Valivarre, orbiting every 2066 Terran days at a distance of 3.95 AU. At this distance, it receives approximately the same amount of radiative flux from its sun as does Earth, though the light is more in the blue and ultra-violet. Despite the fact that Valivarre is nearly twice Sol’s radius, Valivarre subtends only a quarter of the solid angle on the sky at Fantoma as Sol does on Earth, due to the greater distance. Because Valivarre is bluer, and because of its smaller angular size, looking directly at Valivarre is several times more dangerous to the naked eye at Fantoma’s orbit than looking directly at the Sun is at Earth’s. Fantoma’s axis of rotation is inclined 26 degrees from the orbital plane, and the planet possesses a formidable magnetic field. However, as Valivarre’s solar wind is subsonic, Fantoma lacks the magnetospheric structure for which Jupiter and Earth are famous.
Fantoma is a gas giant, somewhat smaller than Jupiter, with a total mass 208 times that of Earth’s, and a radius slightly more than ten times Earth’s (64,930 km). With a rotation period of eleven hours and six minutes, the enormous coriolis forces drive the atmosphere into bands of high- and low-pressure zones (like on Jupiter and Saturn), and a large number of storms are visible. Most prominent is Yev’evle, a high-pressure region near the Fantoman equator similar to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot; this storm has persisted throughout the full extent of Tirolian record-keeping. Furthermore, because of the far greater radiation input than on Jupiter, the atmosphere is far more dynamic and turbulent. Fantoma’s atmosphere is composed largely of hydrogen, helium, methane, ammonia, water, and carbon dioxide, and as a whole the planet appears as varying bands of blueish-green and white.
A modest ring system encircles Fantoma, extending from 1.3 to 1.7 Fantoman radii, consisting mainly of rock fragments which range in size from dust to several meters in length. While clearly visible from the surface of its moons, these rings, which are inclined at most 0.2 degrees from the planet’s plane of rotation, are not nearly so spectacular as those surrounding Saturn, but are still more impressive than Jupiter’s. The most unique aspect of the Fantoman rings is the prevalence of magnetic monopoles amidst the dust in several of the middle rings; these particles have not been found in large quantities elsewhere in the Galaxy. It is possible that an object composed largely of monopolar matter passed too close to Fantoma and was torn apart by tidal gravity, and the fragments were incorporated into the ring system.
Fantoma is home to eight moons. The first two, Falcaro and Stonol, are small bodies of rock less than a couple percent of Earth’s mass. Falcaro is extremely geologically active, as is Stonol to a lesser degree. This is due to the tidal pull of Tirol, which prevents these two moons from being phase-locked with Fantoma. The third moon, Tirol, is very nearly the size of Earth. Madrea, the fourth, is a modest moon a hundredth Earth’s mass. The other moons, all further out than Madrea, are very small, at most 0.3% Earth’s mass.
III – Tirol
The third moon of Fantoma, Tirol is the traditional seat of Tirolian civilization, though the Zorrlev’dra Gisterae abandoned the surface centuries ago to dwell in their artificial clone-societies aboard their orbital motherships, leaving the bulk of the populace on the planet below.
Tirol is a somewhat smaller planet than Earth, with only 61% of Earth’s mass and 82% Earth’s radius. Tirol is, on the whole, marginally denser than Earth (thanks to a larger core relative to the planet’s size), and possesses a surface gravity 92% of Earth’s. It orbits very close to Fantoma’s equatorial plane at a distance of 2.4 Fantoman radii (157,711 km), completing a revolution every twelve hours and twenty-one minutes. Because of Fantoma’s great size, and the small size of the other Fantoman moons, Tirol is phase-locked to Fantoma; that is, from Fantoma’s perspective, Tirol always shows the same side to it.
The most prominent object in the Tirolian sky is Fantoma, subtending nearly 45 degrees in diameter. Eclipses of Valivarre by Fantoma are almost a daily occurrence on the Fantoma-ward side of the planet. Depending upon the season, Fantoma is visible even at noon. From Tirol’s perspective, Fantoma never moves in the sky, and its position in the sky is entirely determined by the observer’s location on Tirol. The phase-lock also means that Tirol’s rotation period, or its day, is the same as its rotation period around Fantoma: namely, 12 hours, 21 minutes. Because Tirol’s orbit slightly overtakes Fantoma’s rotation, Fantoma appears to rotate retrograde (from Tirol’s perspective), with a period of almost 110 hours, or nearly nine Tirolian days. Tirol’s higher rotation period affects its weather significantly. The centrifugal force on the atmosphere is more than three times that on Earth, and the coriolis force nearly twice it. Weather patterns tend to be confined to smaller cells than one would expect on Earth, and much of the cloud cover and precipitation are at the lower latitudes.
Tirol has no detectable intrinsic magnetic field; even if it did, it would be dwarfed by Fantoma’s contribution. Fantoma’s field is, to good approximation, a well-aligned dipole, so its magnetic field lines are seen on Tirol as being virtually parallel to the planet’s rotation axis. Despite the differences, two-dimensional compasses act similarly on the surface of Tirol as on the surface of Earth. The main effect is that Tirol sees intense aurora at all latitudes. The presence of debris from Fantoma’s rings also makes meteor showers a frequent occurrence on Tirol.
Fully 32% of Tirol’s surface is land, the majority of which is a single super-continent named Pae’rana centered on the sub-Fantoma point. A series of volcanic islands and several small sub-continents exist on the side of Tirol opposite Fantoma, but that half of the planet is almost entirely ocean. Tirol is somewhat tectonically active, as the other moons disturb the planet’s phase-lock with Fantoma, but continental drift away from the supercontinent is relatively minimal, thanks to the Fantoman tides.
Much of Tirol is more arid than Earth, especially toward the center of the supercontinent Pae’rana, but the planet sees all the range of climes and ecological zones Earth does. Indeed, Pae’rana’s ecological zones exist in large part in belts, according to latitude. At the highest latitudes are arctic and tundra zones, then a taiga-like forest belt. Lower in latitude are the grasslands, and below that the equatorial deserts and jungles. Most of the Tirolian population lives in the grasslands and steppes, and on the coastlines of the more temperate zones.
IV – Tirol’s Peoples
While Tirol’s inhabited surface area is similar in size to Eurasia and Africa combined, its racial composition is dramatically more homogeneous than old world Earth. There are only three racial types, descending from Earth’s Caucasians, Dravidians, and Mongoloids. From this fact, it can be surmised that the original humans transplanted to Tirol originated in the Near East and Central Asia. In the six millennia between the arrival of humans on Tirol and the advent of civilization across the planet, the Tirolian peoples fragmented into four major language families, and innumerable tribes and ethnic types. Eventually, by a process of attrition and cultural assimilation, Tirol’s peoples began to consolidate, first into the great empires, then later into the major industrial nation-states. By the time of the advent of space travel in 652 C.E., only seven major languages were left, and four of those belonged to the ‘Tzen’ branch of the Orpelo-Sue’tonan language family. Increasingly, the dominant culture became that of the Tiresians, relative newcomers to Tirol’s ethnic mix. The earliest appearance of the Tiresians in the planet’s records dates back no further than 410 B.C.E., and they did not become prominent in world affairs almost until 360 C.E. By the emergence of the Zorrlev’dra Empire in 1361 C.E., Tiresian culture and language had penetrated to every corner of the globe, as a consequence of their political and economic dominance. Today, most of the ancient cultures and peoples are diluted beyond recognition, and their unique facets have been relegated to family- and place-names, and regional festival costumes. A singular exception are the rugged and independent-minded mountain people of the Rilac region, who have kept their language and customs over the many centuries.
Tirolian culture, and by this one means Tiresian culture in particular, is very superior in its outlook. After a thousand years of being an interstellar power dominating hundreds of alien worlds and a thousand colonies of all sizes of their own, Tiresians grew to look upon themselves as the highest expression of civilization in the Galaxy. The maintenance of the ancient forms of government and the creation of monumental architecture became paramount in the Tirolians’ priorities. The Zorrlev’dra Ertulve and Masters were seen by many on Tirol as having abandoned their duties to the state, as they abandoned Tirol itself, but the Tirolian citizenry had neither the resources, power, or will to challenge the Empire.
Tirol’s myriad of pre-industrial cultures produced a flowering of mythic and religious literature over the millennia, though all share a common thread. In the variant of the myth the Tiresians inherited, the Tirolians were originally created by the supreme god Var’e, a solar deity representing both creation and destruction. Eventually, Var’e’s domain was invaded by the supreme evil entity in their mythos, called Adoyn’de, and the Tirolian race was abducted by a race of demonic dragon-like creatures called the P’tok, of which Adoyn’de was king. Brought down from Heaven as slaves of the P’tok, Tirolians eventually overthrew their masters with the help of the intercessory deity Fanto, in his first incarnation, Zor’de. Fanto’s third incarnation, Lanack, is said to have been born nearly six thousand years later, and to have taught the Tirolians the arts of civilization, after waging a century-long war against an evil king.
Eventually, the Fanto cults evolved into a number of national and sectarian deities, from which several major universalist philosophic religious systems emerged. These belief systems, however, died at the hands of the secularism of the early interstellar republics. In the following centuries, Tiresian philosophical thought, the dominant form, dwelt more on civic duty, familial obligations, and public morals than on transcendental or theological concerns.
V – Tirol’s History
Life clearly did not find its origins on Tirol. Valivarre is too young a star, scientists suggest, for life to have formed on the worlds that orbit it. Similarly, DNA sequences from other worlds in the quadrant indicate that life on those worlds, in part or in whole, shares a common ancestry with that on Tirol.
Evidence is beginning to suggest that the Tirolians are the third civilized species to have inhabited the planet. The first occupation period, dating 114 million years ago, appears to coincide with the enormously widespread colonization of worlds by an unknown, long extinct race dubbed the ‘Seeders’. This race, of whom no artifact has survived the vast eons, appears to have settled hundreds of planets in the quadrant before their demise. Because of stellar dispersion, it is impossible to know (without surveying the entire Galaxy) how large their sphere of influence once was, though estimates place it on upwards of a thirty thousand inhabited planets. On some worlds, it appears they only introduced new life to pre-existing ecosystems. Others (such as Tirol) appear to have been completely terraformed, and all their life transplanted from elsewhere. In the more than one hundred million years since life was seeded on Tirol, however, the planet has developed its own unique species and ecosystems, as evolution took its course. The life brought to Tirol has long since adapted to its climate, and to its bizarre day, night, and eclipse cycles.
The second alien occupation period appears to have been a mere 15,000 years ago, when a second race, dubbed the ‘Settlers’, established a small colony on Tirol. Little is known about this race as well, other than that they brought more lifeforms from other worlds and deposited them onto Tirol, Praxis, and elsewhere. Most important of the races brought by the ‘Settlers’ to these planets were, of course, humans from Earth. Few ‘Settler’ sites have ever been unearthed, and those that have been found have revealed little; Tirol appears to have been a small backwater colony, possibly agricultural in nature. In any case, the population of ‘Settlers’ on Tirol seems to have never exceeded six thousand in small, dispersed settlements. The ‘Settlers’ apparently used cremation in their burial rites, and no confirmed reports of their skeletons have ever been found – though human remains are often associated with ‘Settler’ occupation sites. It is a possibility that a Tirolian racial memory of this race formed the core of the myths relating to the P’tok.
Sometime around 14,000 years ago, not long after the humans were brought to Tirol, all traces of the ‘Settlers’ vanish – with indications that their settlements were destroyed by violence – and the humans transplanted to this distant planet began their long reign as the unchallenged masters of this world.
The first Tirolian civilizations began to appear approximately 6500 B.C.E., in the Dev’er and Relav river valleys, with three other complex urban cultures springing up within the next millennium. Writing appears to have been developed in the Dev’er city-states approximately 5800 B.C.E., and independently again in the Relav and Tonvella cultures within five centuries of that. Much of Tirolian civilization can be traced to these earliest cultures, though all were eventually conquered by successive waves of later tribes.
Tirol’s pre-industrial history is long and complex, and, owing to limited translations available to Terran historians, is not as widely understood as one might like. The primary cultural continuum that led to the Tiresian culture began with Dev’eria. Though this region’s political centers were conquered and destroyed by successive waves of barbarians over the millennia, the newcomers invariably adopted the Dev’er culture. This insured that it remained culturally intact until 1200 B.C.E, when it was finally destroyed by a nation of tribesmen influenced by their society, the Tettelians. In the prior centuries, however, the Forasi city-states emerged, and though culturally distinct from the Dev’er, many of the religious, technical, and scientific achievements of the De’ver were imported. Following on the heels of the Forasi were the Ein’liba, whose drive and martial ambition caused them to build a vast empire that reached its height by 721 B.C.E.; the Forasi were conquered and their culture adopted to a great extent by the Ein’liba. Waves of barbarian invasions, incessant warfare against the various dynasties ruling Tettelia, and economic problems eventually toppled the Ein’liba by 301 B.C.E. Northwestern Pae’rana then entered into something of a dark age, from which the modern cultures of Su’tone, the backwater southern coastal regions of the old Ein’liba empire, eventually emerged after their long intellectual slumber. Among the nationalities that emerged in this region were the Tiresians, descendants of barbarians who had pressed upon the Ein’liba empire centuries before. By 360 C.E., the Tiresians had emerged as one of the most powerful nations in the Su’tone region, and were expanding their influence eastward into Orpelae.
Technology advanced at an impressive pace during the fifth through seventh centuries C.E. in Su’tone, fueled by population growth and economic development. During this era, the peoples of Su’tone began to aggressively expand, colonizing much of Pae’rana and displacing and dominating the indigenous peoples and cultures.
Nevertheless, the aggressive competition between the Su’tonean nations led to several devastating world wars, the third of which ushered in nuclear weaponry. A reluctant participant in the last one, Tiresia nonetheless emerged as the sole major world power, with the might to impose its will, if necessary, on any part of the planet.
Tiresia and the other Su’tonean nations took the lead in technology, though it was Rilac that first entered space. The space era began slowly for Tirol, but by the early 800’s C.E., a permanent presence was established on Fantoma’s more stable moons, and after two centuries, the Tirolians had established colonies in orbit around or on the surface of many of the worlds and moons in their star system. By the discovery of fold technology, fully ten percent of the Tirolian race lived off-planet.
D. Interstellar Republic
Deteriorating social and economic conditions in the decades after the first fold-capable ships were launched led to a mass exodus of Tirolians. Foremost of the egress to the new interstellar colonies were those not of the Tiresian culture (which had been adopted by most of the Su’tone peoples, thanks to the vastly successful economic trade bloc the region had formed). The largest single colony was Ci’Va, initially settled by Rilacians after their homeland had been devastated by civil war and famine for nearly a century. Within two centuries, Ci’Va was the largest Tirolian colony, and a major trading and industrial center, second only to Tirol itself.
Eventually the disturbances on Tirol itself subsided, and under the lead of the Tiresians, Tirol unified into a more or less homogeneous republic in 1166 C.E. Colonization of other worlds proceeded with great haste, aided by advances in fold technology and a huge increase in the population’s growth rate.
Improvements in fold-engines, though still limited by modern standards, led to a thriving interstellar trade. At first, the core of the Interstellar Republic supplied the colonies, but soon they began to develop industries and resources of their own, and began to trade among themselves, and to deliver agricultural goods back to Tirol.
During the exploration of the quadrant, the Tirolians encountered their first civilized alien species. The most important of the peoples encountered were the Karbarrans. A race of bear-like creatures, the Karbarrans had developed a credible presence in space on their own, without the benefit of FTL ships. However, though Karbarra’s fantastic industrial capacity dwarfed even Tirol’s, pressures due to population and pollution were straining Karbarra’s viability. The Tirolian Interstellar Republic and the Karbarran Hegemony concluded a comprehensive and amicable trade agreement, with Tirol providing fold technology, monopolar mining rights, and foodstuffs in exchange for Karbarran industrial expertise, biotechnology, and innumerable products, such as Sekitan ore. Relations between Karbarra and Tirol were generally favorable for the next two centuries.
The Tirolians also encountered their first enemies in space during this period as well. A half-dozen minor wars were fought in the Republican epoch against the Perytonians, and a major war was fought by Tirol and Karbarra in 1274-1306 C.E. against the V’loxia, a dragon-like people whose borders included a hundred inhabited worlds. The conflict was costly and terrible, and ended with the extinction of the V’loxia. The Karbarrans were appalled by the genocide of the V’loxia at the hands of the Tirolians, and this rift began a downward spiral in these two worlds’ relations that led to Karbarra severing ties to Tirol proper in 1339 C.E., and the entire Interstellar Republic three years later. Karbarra then aligned itself with the autonomous Tirolian Republic of Ci’Vonia, which, by this time, controlled a dozen planets (centered on Ci’Va) and stood to benefit enormously from the larger market for its foodstuffs and products. What had been a centuries-long friendship between Tirol and Karbarra quickly evolved into an armed stand-off. Tirol began to suffer an energy crisis, as Karbarran Sekitan, a deuterium-rich ore widely used for fueling most fusion reactors of the time, became generally unavailable. This embargo forced Tirol to return to older and more inefficient methods of acquiring the choice nuclear fuels.
Exploration vessels led the expansion into space, and charted hundreds of new worlds. The culmination of these missions occurred when Zor Derelda, a young Tiresian project scientist assigned to a deep-space survey team, discovered the planet Optera and its unique lifeforms. The discovery of protoculture, as a power source and as a catalyst for cloning, produced nothing less than a revolution in Tirolian technology, and soon, a revolution in the political sphere as well. The loss of Sekitan now proved advantageous to the Tirolians, as the replenishment of the protoculture matrix required large amounts of heavy water to be extracted from Tirol’s (and its colonies’) oceans – a technology Tirol had to revive and master after they lost the Karbarran ore.
However, it was not in power production that protoculture’s discovery caused the most radical changes to Tirolian society. Rather, protoculture’s ability to accelerate cloning and to repair cellular damage was what ultimately reshaped Tirolian culture. Tirolian biotechnology was already extremely advanced at this time, thanks in part to the ground-breaking research in the field pioneered by their former Karbarran friends. But soon, ambitious life-extension projects made the aristocracy virtually immortal, genetically improved grains and farm animals were spread all over the empire, custom genes introduced the entire spectrum of color into Tirolian eyes and hair. But most ominously, entire races of clones were created, biologically and socially conditioned into a condition of servitude. The first of them, a race of ten-meter tall warriors bred for combat, was called the Zentraedi.
E. Zorrlev’dra Empire
The Zentraedi were developed in 1355 C.E. at the behest of the Tirolian Senate by Tirol’s most powerful bloc of scientists – a group of ideologues calling themselves the Zorrlev’dra Gisterae. Founded by a set of identical triplets calling themselves the Zorrlev’dra Ertulve, and obsessed by the numerology of threes, the Zorrlev’dra Gisterae set about using the cloning technologies to create what was, in their view, the perfect society – a race of triplets acting in concert for the good of the race, where emotional expression and individuality were forbidden.
Though the Zentraedi were nominally under the control of the Senate, the real control lay in the hands of the Zorrlev’dra Ertulve. When word of the Zorrlev’dra Ertulve’ eugenics experiments broke, the Tirolian people, especially the patrician classes, were aghast. The Elders were ordered to immediately cease their experiments by the Senate. In response, the Elders called in the Zentraedi and seized control of Tirol in 1361 C.E., disbanding the Senate and quickly destroying the Tirolian military. In the Great Hall of Tiresia, as the Senate – under house arrest – watched, the Zorrlev’dra Empire was proclaimed into existence. The homeworld securely in their hands, the Zorrlev’dra Ertulve began to set about establishing control over all the worlds in the now-defunct Interstellar Republic.
The first crisis facing the Zorrlev’dra Empire was on Karbarra. In 1378 C.E., the Karbarrans tested on an obscure moon a new type of starship-mounted weapon: the Reflex Cannon. Combining the power of a nuclear weapon with the advantages of an area-affect beam gun, and impervious to the anti-missile defenses as mounted on starships, this weapon’s test was meant by Karbarra as a signal to Tirol – that it would not be bullied by the Elders. Nevertheless, the Elders rightly perceived that this technology, if given the time to develop, would upset the balance of power in the quadrant away from the infant empire. The Zentraedi were mustered and dispatched to Karbarra, which was soon conquered with minimal collateral damage and loss of Karbarran life, and its great industrial capacity turned to Imperial needs. The Karbarrans were forced to hand over the secrets to the Reflex Cannon, which was perfected by the new Science Triumvirates. Soon, new classes of Zentraedi ships began to appear (the flagship and monitor), which were built around the terribly effective split-boom beam gun.
The Karbarrans, though resentful of the conquest, were treated with the utmost respect and charity by the Imperial Governors, and thus never rose in revolt against the Empire – indeed, Karbarra saw its greatest economic boom in three centuries when Tirolian merchants began to return. Ci’Vonia, on the other hand, immediately objected to the loss of its trading partner, but was mollified by assurances of autonomy and free trade with Tirol.
Still, the Elders were uncertain of their position. As their power originally derived from protoculture, they resolved to be the sole masters of it. Optera was ordered defoliated, leaving its inhabitants, the Invid, to starve – precipitating one of the greatest conflicts the Empire would know. As the seeds of the Flower of Life were stolen from Optera, the seeds of the Empire’s overthrow were also sown.
By 1450 C.E., the new triumvirate clones were perfected, and the Zorrlev’dra Ertulve retired to their great motherships in Tirolian orbit with their triplet minions. Surrounded by their immediate servants, the Zorrlev’dra Gisterae, the Elders quickly succeeded in gaining for Tirol all the Tirolian colonies save one – Ci’Va, whose treaties with the Empire were honored, so long as Ci’Va gave token deference to the Imperial order.
At about the same time, like a phoenix from the ashes, the Invid began to appear, ravaging outlying colony worlds and folding out before they could be caught by the Imperial forces. This harassment, though unsettling to inhabitants of the outlying colonies, was not a serious threat to the empire, but it did require the establishment of a vast defensive fleet of Zentraedi. Very quickly, the Zentraedi succeeded in forcing the Invid to flee Optera, but the harassment continued after the Invid adopted a new world outside the Tirolians’ sphere of influence as their secret base of operations.
At this point, only one weakness was apparent in the Imperial armor: though the Zorrlev’dra Ertulve had a monopoly on protoculture, they could not produce it indefinitely without help – and increasingly, they grew completely dependent on this energy source whose production they ultimately could not control. For reasons the Elders and Masters could never discover, the Flowers of Life would produce seeds that could release energy, but would never be able to germinate – the seeds were sterile. Eventually the plants would mature and cease producing seeds, becoming worthless to the Empire. The secret of fertile seeds was tightly held by Zor, the scientist who initially discovered the Flower of Life, and he held it as his trump-card. Zor destroyed all records of the Flower’s biology, committing it to memory. Though cajoled into providing fertile seeds for the Empire, Zor did so only when the lives and liberties of the colonists and citizens of the Empire were respected. The Elders were willing enough to grant Zor’s demands, so long as subversive elements did not threaten their power.
In 1481 C.E., Zor was given permission to relocate to Ci’Va, to continue his researches and collaborate with his Ci’Vonian colleagues. During this period, a number of breakthroughs were made in the area of genetic engineering, though only a few of these were forwarded back to the Elders. While there, increasingly disenchanted with the Empire and its continual wars and expansion, Zor pseudonymously wrote a series of political and philosophical tracts favoring a federalist republican system of government over the current Imperium, and lambasting the triumvirate as an unnatural abomination. When word of these essays reached Tirol in 1502 C.E., Zor was recalled by the Elders and severe restrictions were placed on his movement and activities. Nevertheless, his writings struck a chord in the Ci’Vonian people and in the old patrician families on Tirol and elsewhere in the Empire. Ci’Vonian nationalism, long kept silent for fear of Imperial reprisal, was awakened, and an anti-Imperial chorus began to be sung on every world in the Empire, forcing the Elders to act swiftly and decisively.
F. Ci’Vonian War
With their prestige and power on the line, the Zorrlev’dra Ertulve authorized their chief subordinates, the First Zorrlev’dra Master Triumvirate, to take charge of the situation. In 1519 C.E., Ci’Va was ordered to surrender its sovereignty to the Empire, and to receive an Imperial Governor Triumvirate. The Ci’Vonian reply was to blow the Governors’ shuttle out of the sky as it attempted to land on their world. The crisis escalated, and the 1st Master Triumvirate was forced to send a fleet of a thousand Zentraedi warships to Ci’Va. Unwilling to assault Ci’Va because of its formidable defenses and enormous economic and strategic value, the Masters hoped that a credible threat would cause the Ci’Vonians to bow to their will without violence. Unprepared for the situation, and utterly naive of the pleasures of culture, the Zentraedi commanders accepted talks on Ci’Va, and came, along with a significant contingent of their troops, to the surface. As the Zentraedi commanders discussed the situation with the Ci’Vonian government, their soldiers were entertained by a surprisingly fearless and hospitable Ci’Vonian people. In almost no time, the Zentraedi began to request amnesty on Ci’Va, and were happily adopted by the Ci’Vonian people. A larger fleet of 200,000 vessels – known as an “Inspection Army” – was immediately dispatched to restore discipline, but the soldiers of the relief fleet refused to fire upon their own. In six months, the cultural contamination of the enormous Zentraedi presence above the planet was virtually complete.
At this point, with the defection of fully a fifth of their forces, the Zorrlev’dra Gisterae were forced into action. The Grand Fleet, then comprising 800,000 Zentraedi warships, was dispatched with orders to annihilate Ci’Va and the rebel Zentraedi. Without a clear-cut defense, and hopelessly outnumbered, the rogue Zentraedi landed their ships on Ci’Va’s surface and engineered a hurried evacuation. By the time the Grand Fleet folded in to Ci’Va’s space, one quarter of Ci’Va’s population, five hundred million people, and all of their Zentraedi allies had disappeared into the vastness of space. Ci’Va’s remaining population fought valiantly, and succeeded in delaying the Grand Fleet long enough for their evacuees and their Zentraedi allies to make good their escape. Nevertheless, the Grand Fleet quickly disabled Ci’Va’s defenses, and bombarded the surface of the planet until its oceans and atmosphere boiled away, as an example to any subject world who might consider revolt.
The crisis, however, had only just begun. Using fold-guerrilla tactics pioneered by the Invid, only on a far larger scale, the Ci’Vonians, those Tirolian patrician allies and sympathizers who had been exiled because of their vocal support of Ci’Va, and Ci’Va’s vast allied Zentraedi armada launched a terrible war against the Zorrlev’dra Empire. Forced to dramatically increase the numbers of loyal Zentraedi, the Elders found themselves fighting a defensive struggle against a relentless and spirited enemy. With the Imperial defenses spread out over so many systems, the “Disciples of Zor”, as the Masters came to call them, were able to concentrate their forces on every single target they chose to attack. They handily won almost every military engagement; always folding to parts unknown before Imperial reinforcements could arrive. In just over two centuries, the Empire had fallen to tatters, caught between the Ci’Vonian Zentraedi and the plundering Invid, who took full advantage of the confusion to pursue their own vendetta. In 1792 C.E. the rebel armada threw caution to the wind and attempted to win the war in one single stroke. The entire rebel fleet folded into Tirol-space and quickly shattered the defensive Zentraedi units in orbit around the planet, then began to surround and attack the Masters’ motherships. The Ci’Vonian fleet was supported on Tirol’s surface by a large fraction of Tirol’s patricians, who saw this as an opportunity to rid themselves of the Elders. For the first time since the Zentraedi were created to fight for the Tirolians, the Elders and Masters were forced to send their own people – especially their triumvirate clones – into battle. Though losses were heavy on all sides, the Imperial reserve armies held the line long enough for Zentraedi reinforcements to arrive. The Grand Fleet was assembled and folded in to Tirol-space, quickly crushing the Ci’Vonian task force. With half their ships lost, the Ci’Vonians were forced to retreat again into the inky blackness of space. Never again were they to pose a serious threat to the Empire, though the damage was already done. The Zentraedi ‘domillans’, or advisors, were cautioned never again to allow themselves close contact with cultured peoples, because of the consequences of the cultural contamination by the Ci’Vonians.
G. The Masters’ Empire
Frustrated by the poor handling of the Ci’Vonian war by the Zorrlev’dra Ertulve, the 1st Zorrlev’dra Master Triumvirate, with the assent of virtually all the other Zorrlev’dra Gisterae, seized control of the government in 1800 C.E., keeping the Elders on as mere figureheads. With the Ci’Vonians effectively out of the way, and the Zentraedi fleets burgeoning, the Empire began to rebuild from the terrible fighting that had brought it on the brink of annihilation. An Imperial renaissance began, though the reformed empire of the Masters was only a small fraction of the Elders’ at its height. Most of the outlying colonies, especially the small ones, had been utterly eradicated by the Invid’s ruthless advance, and many of the larger ones had been devastated by the Ci’Vonians or the Masters in their war. But with the consolidation of the Zentraedi around the remaining colonies, the Invid threat was contained, and would not seriously trouble the Empire for two more centuries. Still, the long war had given Dolza, the Zentraedi supreme commander, significant autonomy over the Zentraedi fleet and its operations. Communications between the Masters and their Zentraedi slaves began to break down, while Dolza’s interpretations of his orders became troublingly distant from the Masters’ intent.
By now, the problems with the dwindling supplies of protoculture had begun to approach a crisis level. Every half-century, Zor would be released from his house arrest and sent to seed a host of new worlds with the Flower of Life. In approximately 1950 C.E., Zor was once again dispatched in the newly-designed Tirolian onitor Macross for that purpose. The Masters had long accepted that Zor would never divulge the secrets of the Flower of Life to them, but they also found that he was tired of fighting them. His demands became increasingly token, and the Masters were more than happy to satiate him.
At this time, the Invid tactics began to undergo a bit of a revolution. As the Invid began to capture the Tirolian colony worlds, they began to build up a stockpile of the seeds of the Flower of Life. To their dismay, the Masters discovered that the strain Zor had been seeding was a mutant variety, that even the Invid could not cause to produce fertile seeds. Even worse, the infertile seeds and plants captured by the Invid kept them powered and fed, at least for a time. With the introduction of their vast Hive Ships, spherical analogs to the Tirolian motherships, the Invid became capable, in some small measure, of challenging the Zentraedi in a stand-up fight. The Invid made virtually no permanent gains during this perod, and suffered a major setback when their new base of operations in the Large Magellanic Cloud was discovered by the Masters’ fold-sensing probes. A Zentraedi taskforce made a six year-long journey to this planet and struck a terrible blow against them, forcing the Invid to abandon their homeworld for the second time. Still, it became painfully clear that the balance of power was shifting away from the weakened and devastated Empire, and to the Invid.
In 1940 C.E., the Zentraedi rooted out the last Ci’Vonian stronghold and destroyed it. Though the Zorrlev’dra Gisterae long feared the return in force of the “Disciples of Zor”, this fear was never realized, and the Ci’Vonians were never heard from again. The Invid had become the sole remaining enemy.
Still, though its worlds were mostly protected, the Empire’s collapse was imminent. Power supplies were scarce, and to maintain order, a fair degree of autonomy had to be returned to the worlds inhabited by non-Tirolian races, like Karbarra – though none of these worlds desired independence, as that would leave them open to the depredations of the Invid. The Imperial renaissance foundered, and rot began to set into the long-stagnant society.