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Sima Kalhana is a famed historian. She occasionally publishes articles on GalNet that cover a wide range of historical topics, such as the Battle of Achenar, the Thargoids, and Generation Ships. Most recently, she wrote a four-part retrospective that summarised the events of 3307.

Timeline

02 JAN 3308

  • Sima Kalhana reviews the most newsworthy events of the past year in this series of articles.
    "July began badly for the Federation, with more factions seceding in response to the Proactive Detection Bureau's establishment. The newly independent nations severed all links with these new surveillance efforts, inspiring many other systems to do likewise. This secession crisis would rumble on for the rest of the year. The Blue Viper Club, one of the rarely seen dredger clans, joined forces with the Kumo Crew to manufacture a medicinal drug that turned out to be a new strain of onionhead. The drug would ultimately end up being legally distributed by Neomedical Industries, causing Archon Delaine to seek revenge against the corporation. Tensions soared in the Marlinist Colonies during an election for the head of their diplomatic consulate. Aaron Whyte's candidate had the support of an Imperial senator, which would have given the Neo-Marlinists a powerful voice within the Empire. When a more moderate candidate was elected, the NMLA reacted by bombing both Marlinist starports, murdering tens of thousands including First Minister Jenna Fairfax. It seemed Theta Seven's extremist views allowed anyone to be targeted as an enemy, even his fellow Marlinists. The civil war concluded in August, with Whyte killed in battle as his supporters were overcome in direct combat. Following accusations of incompetence regarding the vanished Alexandria megaship, Aegis was officially suspended and subjected to a board of inquiry. This would have ramifications for the ongoing conflict with the Thargoids, and encourage Salvation to position himself as an alternative. In the corporate sphere, Zemina Torval created a new subsidiary of Mastopolos Mining that would eventually become an autonomous company. There were rumours that the Torval and Mastopolos families were now at loggerheads after decades of working in unison. In September, the mystery of Hyford's Cache was finally unlocked. The trail led to revelations of dark experiments which are believed to have involved human test subjects and Thargoid technology. When the Thargoids themselves appeared en masse in the Cornsar system, Salvation was ready for them. An anti-xeno superweapon of undisclosed nature was deployed, wiping out some of the aliens and driving away the rest. It seemed that the self-titled 'man of science' had developed something revolutionary, inspiring many to place their faith in him to end the Thargoid menace once and for all."[1]

31 DEC 3307

  • The last in a series that reviews the events of the past year, by noted historian Sima Kalhana.
    "October brought further controversy for the Federation, when a diplomatic conference in the Delta Pavonis system was revealed to be a honey trap designed to capture Yuri Grom. Only a rush of support for EG Union allowed their ruler to escape, causing political embarrassment for President Hudson. There was more corporate drama when Zemina Torval relinquished her long-held majority sharehold of Mastopolos Mining, fuelling rumours of a family rift with her cousins. Torval Mining Ltd became a fully independent corporation run by her daughter Constantia. The Colonia Bridge project officially started the first of two phases this year which would see the construction of 56 megaships between the Alcor and Colonia systems. Brewer Corporation enjoyed great public support for improving this travel corridor along the 22,000 light year journey, and revealed plans to enhance it further in the new year. Hadrian Duval, his wife Lady Astrid and their unborn child were the specific targets of another starport bombing by the NMLA. It proved unsuccessful, but did result in the Imperial Senate offering them protection in order to secure the Duval bloodline. It also led to a manhunt for Theta Seven, the galaxy's most wanted terrorist. In November, Orion University claimed that the dredger occupied by the Scriveners Clan was legally their property, but the nomadic descendants of its original crew refused to give up their home. The stand-off caught the public attention, with some supporting the clan's right to independence and others keen to discover what their Knowledge Core contained. Ultimately the Scriveners retained their freedom, sailing off into the void with their secrets intact. Many were shocked when Admiral Tanner, Aegis's military chief, went rogue and tried to force access to a starport controlled by Salvation's allies. His conviction that the anti-xeno superweapons were responsible for provoking the Thargoids was, however, not enough to win the day. The NMLA threw everything they had at the Mudhrid system in an attempt to rescue Theta Seven, who was hiding among the Far God cult to avoid capture. But the terrorists were crushed by ACT and a coalition of ships, with Theta Seven martyring himself by destroying the hijacked megaship Sacrosanct. A happier event in December was the birth of Hector Duval, son and heir of Hadrian and Lady Astrid. There were celebrations across the Empire, but also questions asked about the future of the Duval dynasty and if the child might one day inherit the Imperial throne. The year ended as it had begun, with Thargoid vessels swarming into nebula systems. But with incursions steadily increasing over recent months, there were fears that this time they might prove unstoppable. Salvation's superweapons were once again deployed to halt the aliens' progress, but will they be enough to prevent the Thargoids from threatening humanity in 3308?"[2]

29 DEC 3307

  • Continuing a series of articles by historian Sima Kalhana that look at the most newsworthy events during the past year.
    "April 3307 saw the creation of the Federation's Proactive Detection Bureau in reaction to the Nine Martyrs bombings. This organisation monitored all public and private communications for evidence of terrorists, to prevent similar attacks in future. But its highly controversial nature would soon present the Federation with new challenges. ACT's investigation led them to the Neo-Marlinist Order of Mudhrid, which had helped deliver the caustic enzyme bombs to their nine targets. The faction's defeat was an early victory against the NMLA, but much of the organisation remained a mystery. When the 'ghost ship' Adamastor began receiving an encoded signal, this began an entire saga of mysteries. Its long-lost sister ship, the Hesperus, was soon located by pilots who had been recruited by an anonymous figure named Salvation. His interest in Azimuth Biochemicals, the 200 year old corporation that owned both vessels, would bring a strange twist to the ongoing Thargoid conflict. In May, Hadrian Duval was targeted by Federal forces after accusations that he was the mastermind behind the NMLA. The spectre of Empire-Federation war rose once again as Nova Imperium successfully defended itself, but ACT concluded that evidence had been falsified to implicate Hadrian and his new wife Lady Astrid. Aegis came under intense scrutiny when the megaship Alexandria, laden with newly collected Guardian artefacts, began attracting Thargoids in every system it jumped to. The Alexandria later vanished completely in hyperspace, and to this day remains missing presumed destroyed. The Alliance election finally took place at the end of May, having been delayed by three months due to the Galactic Summit. Councillor Nakato Kaine fought a spirited campaign, but Edmund Mahon was re-elected to serve a second term as prime minister. Supporters of Neo-Marlinism gained a voice in June, when Minister Aaron Whyte offered a peace deal with the Empire to prevent further terrorism. The idea of a political wing of the NMLA gained support from those fearing further bombings, but opened major rifts within the Marlinist Colonies. Salvation once again contacted pilots to track down survivors from the Hesperus. This led to the discovery of an ancient Guardian-Thargoid battleground, where Azimuth scientists had built a research base around their vessel Proteus. All were killed by unusual experiments into weaponising Guardian crystals. The Proactive Detection Bureau had been generally accepted by Federal citizens, but many claimed it was a violation of civil liberties. Halfway through the year, the Azaladshu Free faction took the bold step of seceding from the Federation, thus triggering the possibility of mass rebellion."[3]

28 DEC 3307

  • The noted historian Sima Kalhana takes a look back at the turbulent events of the last year in a four-part series of articles.
    "The start of 3307 was a time of crisis. The rise of the Neo-Marlinist Liberation Army (NMLA), the Marlinist refugee crisis and increased Empire-Federation tensions had brought a full-scale superpower war closer, with renewed attacks from the Thargoids increasing the pressure. All of this led to Pranav Antal's proposal of a diplomatic conference for all three superpower governments to work through their problems – the very first Galactic Summit. Within weeks, Sirius Corporation was selected as the neutral host for the conference. Li Yong-Rui scored another triumph by establishing the Marlinist Colonies for millions of political refugees who had fled from the Empire. In February came the trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent, accused of arranging Starship One's destruction back in 3301. His paymaster was revealed as Core Dynamics CEO Jupiter Rochester, who wanted to replace Federal democracy with direct corporate rule. His breakaway faction Jupiter Division was defeated in battle and Rochester himself jailed for life. This also led to Core Dynamics's acquisition of Lakon Spaceways being cancelled, leaving the Alliance to purchase a majority sharehold in the company. Key players on the political stage finally gathered when the Galactic Summit began in late February. The Sirius system hosted leaders from the Alliance, Empire, Federation and independent systems. Even pirate warlord Archon Delaine gatecrashed the event, causing controversy with his 'crown of bones' speech. It seemed for a while that the bickering between so many strong personalities might trigger a war rather than avert one. But gradually there was progress, with the possibility of a treaty to increase unity against the Thargoid threat. But before reaching this conclusion, the Galactic Summit was derailed by a threat from another source. Nine Martyrs – as named by the NMLA leader Theta Seven – was the largest terrorist attack in history. Hundreds of thousands were killed by starport bombings in nine systems, including the superpower capitals of Alioth, Achenar and Sol. This horrific tragedy ended the conference abruptly, but did give rise to some inter-power cooperation. A new agreement signed at the Galactic Summit allowed the Affiliated Counter-Terrorism unit (ACT) to be formed rapidly. Drawing on the superpowers' security services and other organisations, its sole purpose was to hunt down and eliminate the NMLA, a task that would dominate the headlines for the rest of the year."[4]

07 JAN 3303

  • Continuing our popular series on significant episodes from human history, noted historian Sima Kalhana discusses the development of the hyperdrive.
    "Hyperspace technology originated in the early 22nd Century, but it wasn't until the 2800s that consumer ships began to take advantage of it. The first commercially available hyperspace system was known as the 'Faraway Jump'. The Faraway system was far from perfect, however, depending on a complex network of monitoring satellites, branch lines, stop points and rescue stations – which took hundreds of years to establish – to operate smoothly. It was around this time the phrase 'witch-space' first appeared, reflecting the inherent dangers of early hyperspace technology and the strange 'corridor' a ship travelled through during a hyperspace jump. Some even believed witch-space was haunted by 'ghosts of ships that went into Faraway and didn't come out again'. It is certainly true that a number of ships never reached their destinations. The original hyperdrives were powered by a fuel known as quirium, the formula for which was a closely guarded secret. When this formula was lost, the hyperspace industry suffered a major setback. A number of different drives strove to fill the void left by the quirium drives, but it was the Type 2b that proved most popular. Unfortunately, ships equipped with a 2b left behind a hyperspace 'cloud' at their entry and exit points, making it all too easy for malcontents to track and ambush these vessels. In the late 3290s, a new hyperspace system emerged that immediately rendered the Type 2b obsolete. Jump times were reduced to mere seconds, as they had been with quirium drives, without any loss in jump range. Journeys that had hitherto been considered unfeasible were now within the realms of possibility. Even today, hyperspace remains poorly understood. Many pilots have reported glimpsing inexplicable lights, and even structures, within the witch-space tunnels. It may be centuries before all of its mysteries are unravelled."[5]

19 AUG 3302

  • Continuing our popular series on significant episodes from human history, noted historian Sima Kalhana discusses generation ships.
    "Before the development of faster-than-light travel, colonising distant star systems was a profoundly difficult proposition. For the people of the 21st Century, the answer was the generation ship. These vast interstellar arks, equipped with everything needed to sustain human life, were crewed by multiple successive generations – pioneers who were born, lived and died aboard a starship. The first generation ship was launched in 2097, and in the centuries that followed, many more set off into the vastness of space. Most of these ambitious expeditions were funded by large corporations, and the penalties for interfering with them were severe, given the enormous cost of mobilising them. At the time of writing, there are believed to be somewhere in the region of 70,000 generation ships coursing through the galaxy. The approximate location of most of these ships has been calculated, but not all are accounted for. Many of the corporations that funded the original generation ships have now been dissolved or assimilated by other organisations, so it is difficult to determine exactly who is responsible for some of these vessels. It has been theorised that some of the original generation ships may soon reach their destinations, but since not all of those destinations are known, it is entirely possible that they could have been colonised while the generation ships were in transit. We can only hope the powers-that-be have a contingency strategy for such a scenario."[6]

12 AUG 3302

  • Continuing our series on significant episodes from human history, noted historian Sima Kalhana discusses the Thargoids.
    "Are we alone in the universe? It's a question we've been asking for millennia. Even before we expanded into space, we wondered about the possibility of non-human intelligence. Of course, for some, the question has already been answered. We have seen the aliens and we have given them a name: the Thargoids. But accounts of Thargoid encounters are shrouded in so much ambiguity, it is hard to accept them as proof of extraterrestrial intelligence. Furthermore, there have been no credible reports of Thargoid sightings for hundreds of years. The first reported Thargoid encounters date from 3125, when accounts surfaced that pilots had been pulled from witch-space and attacked by mysterious octagonal starships. Witnesses asserted that the strange vessels were exceptionally fast and remarkably manoeuvrable. Pilots who survived these experiences were convinced they had encountered extraterrestrials, and named the aliens 'Thargoids'. As news of these encounters spread, rumours surfaced that the interdictions might be a response to an earlier human attack. Leaked Federal intelligence indicated that colonists in the Veliaze system had encountered and assaulted an extraterrestrial deputation shortly before the Thargoid interdictions began. Suggestions that the Thargoid attacks were a reaction to this attack carried more than a hint of plausibility. Not long after, reports of Thargoid encounters came to an abrupt halt. In the decades that followed, not one credible account of a Thargoid encounter was reported. For some, this was proof that the original reports were groundless – 'the fantasies of lonely pilots, looking for attention', as Arvan Corto of the Imperial Navy said at the time. But public opinion shifted in 3250 when reports emerged that the disappearance of the Thargoids might have been a direct consequence of a covert anti-Thargoid operation. An anonymous message, delivered to a number of media outlets, claimed that an organisation known as the Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm had developed a chemical weapon specifically designed to target Thargoid technology. This chemical – known as the mycoid virus – was designed to attack plastic polymers, which were believed to be present in Thargoid hyperdrive systems. The fact that the virus also appeared to harm the Thargoids led to speculation that the aliens' bodies might contain some kind of polymer-like material. The report was dismissed by many leading political figures as a conspiracy theory, but some asserted that it contained enough plausible detail be believable. Since then, very little credible information has emerged. The original accounts from 3125 report that Thargoid ships can execute huge hyperspace jumps, while information purportedly from INRA documents indicates that the Thargoids originate from an ammonia-based world. There are even rumours that the Thargoids have a collective consciousness or 'hive mind'. Some of the less outlandish theories include the suggestion that electronic countermeasure technology was reverse-engineered from captured Thargoid vessels. And what of the barnacles, Unknown Artefacts and Unknown Probes? Many believe these objects are of non-human origin, which has led to speculation that they were created by the Thargoids. Unfortunately, however, analysis of these objects has not yielded any concrete information about their origin or purpose. Are the Thargoids real? Frankly, I don't know. But if they are, their true nature can only be guessed at."[7]

29 JUL 3302

  • Continuing our popular series on significant episodes from human history, noted historian Sima Kalhana discusses the foundation of the Pilots Federation.
    "The Pilots Federation was established in 2805 in response to a surge in private-starship ownership. It was created principally to allow pilots to share reliable trade-route information, and to provide them with a system of mutual protection against the rising scourge of interstellar piracy. At the time, independent pilots were generally mistrusted, the itinerant nature of their profession giving rise to perceptions of irresponsibility. The Pilots Federation's strict code of conduct put an end to this, and over time a galaxy-wide respect for its members emerged. As piracy became more prevalent, the Pilots Federation started issuing bounties on known pirate vessels. Some of those outside the organisation condemned the initiative as bloodthirsty, but few were able to argue with the impact it had on piracy. Shortly thereafter, the Pilots Federation introduced an official ranking system to reflect the number of combat victories achieved by each of its members. Pilots who accumulated the largest number of kills were awarded the title of Elite – a citation that became highly coveted among independent pilots. The Pilots Federation derives the bulk of its wealth from the GalNet data network. Originally a system of ship, bounty and star-chart data, it evolved into an interstellar aggregator of market information and galactic news. By 3300, the Pilots Federation was not only the dominant provider of this information, it was also the main manufacturer of the hardware and software serving this data. Today, Pilots Federation systems are fitted as standard on virtually all independent starships. In 3290 the Pilots Federation expanded its ranking system to encompass the fields of trade and exploration. In 3301 it expanded it again to include pilots who had distinguished themselves in the Close Quarters Combat championships. The Pilots Federation has always remained politically neutral, avowing that it exists to support pilots rather than nationalities or political factions. The organisation is based in the Shinrarta Dezhra system, which can be accessed only by invitation. Receiving an invitation is typically dependent on achieving a high rank in the Pilots Federation. This stipulation has contributed to perceptions of the organisation as secretive – a perception compounded by the fact that the Pilots Federation has very little direct interaction with the public."[8]

15 JUL 3302

  • In a return to our popular series on significant episodes from human history, noted historian Sima Kalhana discusses the foundation of the Alliance.
    "The Alliance may champion the ideals of harmony and independence, but it is very much the product of violence. Alioth, the Alliance powerbase, was once a highly contested system. In the decades that followed its colonisation, it was the site of almost constant conflict between the Federation and the Empire. Naturally this made life difficult for the system's inhabitants, whose lives were impacted by generation after generation of war. The turning point came in 3228, when the Federal corporations supplying one of Alioth's main population centres attempted to raise prices. This triggered a revolt. Federal and Imperial forces were despatched to quell the uprising, but the resistance, bolstered by fighters from neighbouring independent systems, successfully repelled them. Ultimately the Empire chose to withdraw from the system, reluctant to commit to a potentially protracted campaign far from its centre of power. When the Federation realised how unpopular the war had become among Federal citizens, it followed suit. In the wake of the conflict, the idea of an independent socio-political body rapidly gained popularity among the people of Alioth, and in 3230 the Alliance of Independent Systems was established. Its founding principles were simple: to protect and support those who wanted to remain independent of the Federation and the Empire, and to empower its member systems while simultaneously preserving their independence. Over the next two decades, more than twenty systems joined the Alliance. Today, the Alliance is widely seen as a paragon of democracy in an increasingly autocratic galaxy. It is governed by a body known as the Alliance Assembly, the primary function of which is to establish common policies and treaties among the Alliance's member systems, and act as an arbitration body when necessary. The notional head of the Assembly is the prime minister, but in reality it is the Council of Admirals that wields the greatest degree of power. The Council of Admirals is a six-person body comprising the leaders of the six largest military forces in the Alliance. In addition to selecting the prime minister, the Council also commands the Alliance Defence Force, a vast flotilla of ships contributed by each of the Alliance's member systems. The Council of Admirals is free to deploy the Defence Force without the approval of the Assembly, making it extremely powerful. There can be no argument that the Alliance lacks the power-projection abilities of the Empire and the Federation. But it is more than capable of competing with them in economic and political terms, and of defending its member systems when necessary. What the future holds remains to be seen, but under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Edmund Mahon, it seems likely the Alliance will only continue to grow."[9]

09 AUG 3301

  • In respect of the assassination of Emperor Hengist Duval the planned article for this week has been moved to next week so that historian Sima Kalhana relates some of the key moments from his life. Emperor Hengist Duval was the 15th in the Imperial Duval bloodline to lead the Empire and he saw a great deal of change in his comparatively short reign. He was born in 3163, only a few days before the death of his grandfather Hender Saik Duval. Some claim that the spirit of Hender had already passed to Hengist such were the similarities in looks and manner noted in Hengist's later years. When his father, Hesketh Duval, died in 3233, Hengist assumed his place on the throne. The live broadcast of the coronation created an impression of a serene transition. However lurking beneath this appearance lay significant tensions. Most significant of which was the growing power of the Senate which had developed during the extended period of his father's illness. A parallel with the situation with Hengist's coma can be seen in recent months. At the start of his reign the cold war between the Empire and the Federation was starting to thaw, a process which continued for decades, although friction has recently resumed with the rise of certain powers like President Hudson and Senator Patreus. Hengist's reign witnessed a major technological advancement with the introduction of the new frame shift drive. This sped up travel between stars systems and even inside systems by an incredible margin. It created a more quickly shifting political, military and commercial landscape as reacting or causing changing became much easier. Hengist fell ill early in 3300, and he managed to continue light duties throughout the first half of the year. His sickness worsened as the year progressed and during this time he remained in seclusion with only rare visits to the Senate. At the turn of 3301 he slipped into a coma. Many expected him to not awaken from the coma and it was a great surprise when he recovered several months later. Near the close of 3300, Hengist decreed that his only legitimate child, Harold (who is Aisling Duval's unmarried father), was not of sound mind and so unfit for rule, and in any case had no legitimate children himself. Following this announcement Arissa Lavigny-Duval declared that she was the illegitimate child of Hengist. The Emperor supported this claim by announcing his forthcoming marriage with Arissa's mother, Florence Lavigny, and was expected to formally adopt Arissa and cement her claim to the throne. With his murder and the marriage not completed the succession to the Imperial throne is again not clear cut and many fear the potential instability this could cause to the Empire if not decided quickly after the Emperor's funeral.[10]

02 AUG 3301

  • Continuing GalNet's exclusive series highlighting key events in human history, historian Sima Kalhana remembers the Antares Incident.
    In last week's article about the Sirius Corporation, I described the Antares Incident as one of the corporation's greatest failures. Until the recent disappearance of Starship One, this was considered the most infamous spacegoing accident of all time. The Highliner Antares was to be the first of a new type of fast, comfortable liner, making a trip in hours rather than the weeks that were common at the time, and offering a previously unseen level of luxury – something we are accustomed to in the top-class liners of today. It was the first ship to use a production version of a new type of hyperdrive, a predecessor to the modern fast hyperdrives. The Antares vanished during its maiden voyage in the Sirius system in 3251, with many celebrity guests on board. The event is poignantly remembered in this quote from the Federal Times: "Your reporter watched the departure of Antares on her maiden voyage, the monolayer streamers glinting in the harsh light of Sirius as she moved gently away from the orbital habitat and out to launch range. Spacemen talk of a graveyard of lost ships, a place where all who lose their lives in the colossal drive to colonise the galaxy rest in gentle luxury. We can be sure that the great Highliner Antares is now in their company." The exact cause of the accident was never properly determined. The final report indicated that it was most likely caused by the unlucky failure of a single component during the start of the jump, causing a small fire in a key part of the drive that resulted in a massive explosion and consequent misjump at the same time. There were, of course, a great many fanciful explanations, too. Since the accident, no confirmed wreckage of the ship has ever been found, although several claims of discovery have been made over the years. Combined with the lack of a definitive cause, this has led to considerable speculation and many conspiracy theories concerning what actually occurred. The final safety report into the incident found there were insufficient safety precautions within the internal drive systems. This delayed the commercial introduction of these drives for several years, damaging the Sirius Corporation, and ultimately resulting in the fitting of many additional safety features to these new hyperdrives. It was later speculated that the deaths of those on the Highliner Antares effectively saved the lives of many more in the subsequent decades, as the number of ships that went missing was measurably reduced, and the new drives proved to be much more reliable than the earlier, slower drives they replaced.[11]

01 AUG 3301

  • Sirius Gov CEO Li Yong-Rui is the focus of this seventh article from political commentator Marcus Macmillan about the movers and shakers in 3301.
    In this week's historical article from Sima Kalhana, she wrote about the founding of the Sirius Corporation. The Li dynasty's involvement with the Sirius Corporation can be traced back to the company's founding almost 800 years ago. By the age of 25, Yong-Rui had earned doctorates in physics, politics and economics. He was hired by Sirius straight from college. He then quickly made his way up the ranks, and at the tender age of 35, Yong-Rui was made Vice President of Forecasting. He has a proven track record in business, but has also demonstrated significant insight in the fuzzier elements and in particular how to provide effective government. With these skills he was considered the ideal candidate for Sirius Corporation's new Sirius Gov division.[12]

28 JUL 3301

  • Continuing this GalNet exclusive series, political commentator Marcus Macmillan writes about some of the movers and shakers in 3301. In this third article he looks at Alliance Prime Minister Edmund Mahon. Politicians from the Federation and Empire often underestimate their counterparts in the Alliance. This is in part due to their relative sizes, since of the three superpowers the Alliance is by far the smallest and least powerful. However, it should be remembered that the Alliance was born from defeating both the Federation and the Empire on Alioth, a topic I'm certain the esteemed Sima Kalhana will cover in her Sunday posting sometime soon. The other superpowers also see the Alliance's complex interlocking of systems, committees and power-sharing as a limit on the Prime Minister's influence. Edmund Mahon is a career politician and knows the Alliance political system well. He has a strong academic background as well as a lifetime of service. While some of his counterparts lacked leadership or the ability to drive the disparate elements of the Alliance, he is known to be able to work within the system and actually get things done. Some would argue, and I count myself among them, that Mahon is probably the greatest leader the Alliance has seen since its inception. He isn't much to look at, but his drab exterior belies a cunning mind and a will for the Alliance to bring its values to more systems. He is also an expert at ensuring that the concerns of individual systems are properly represented within the Alliance, something that is seen as very attractive for new member systems.[13]

24 JUL 3301

  • In this latest edition of GalNet's series relating key points in human history, popular historian Sima Kalhana addresses the rise of the first mega-corporation.
    Apart from a few isolated backwater systems, the presence of mega-corporations is ubiquitous throughout civilised space. Massive as many of these organisations are, none of them compare to the wealth and influence of the Sirius Corporation. The rise of the largest corporation in history started in 2339 when the Sirius Corporation launched the first completely corporate colonial mission arrived in the Sirius star system. The continual state of conflict between the Federation and the Empire catapulted the Sirius Corporation into an economic powerhouse as they became the lead supplier of fuel, then later drives and other technologies. Within a century, its products were integrated into military and civilian production. It also developed an envied trusted status with both superpowers and indeed supplied both sides during their conflicts. This in part was due to strict information restriction protocols and an open promise that it would favour neither side during any conflict. The Sirius Corporation developed its own code of strict laws to ensure fair dealing as well as the good governance of its workforce. Its influence reached such a state that the so-called 'Sirius Convention' was applied not just during deals with the corporation, but between independent systems as well. Throughout the years, fuel and drive production has remained their core business, although judicious expansion into other markets has driven its astronomical growth. The Sirius Corporation now operates several product-oriented divisions including: Sirius Catering, Sirius Mining, Sirius Power, Sirius Luxury Transports, Sirius Industrial and Sirius Atmospherics. Most recently they launched a new venture, Sirius Gov, to provide governmental services for population management on all scales. Its history has been marked with some failures, most notable of which is the Antares incident which I will examine in the next article. However, its successes have far exceeded those failures and the Sirius Corporation remains the most powerful corporation in known space.[14]

19 JUL 3301

  • In this third article in GalNet's series about the defining moments in human history, famed historian Sima Kalhana discusses the first war between the Federation and what would become the Empire.
    -
    Although there had been other small-scale incidents beyond the Solar System, the war between the Federation and Achenar (as it was then) was notable as the first large-scale interstellar conflict. Much has been made over the years of the Federation's reasons for invading Achenar, in particular the claim that the annihilation of the native sentient species was little more than a slim pretext. While it was certainly true that the principal reason for the military action was Achenar's refusal to join the Federation, it is also worth noting that the protection of xeno-culture and life forms was a key tenet of the Federation's founding. Under the command of Admiral Richard Morgan, a fleet was assembled at Beta Hydri and began its transit to Achenar towards the end of 2323. That region of space was relatively unexplored and thinly populated at the time, meaning that the fleet lacked the logistical support needed for a mission of this scale. Despite a long and fragile supply line, Morgan chose to engage the defenders in a single large battle. Achenar was alerted to the plan and laid an ambush for the invaders, applying the infamous pack-hunting formation against the Federal fleet initially, then against its supply lines. Throughout 2324 the Federal fleet continued to try and establish a foothold in the system, but with little success. The constant attrition took its toll on the invaders and in 2325 Achenar counterattacked in what is now remembered as the 'Great Battle of Liberation'. Every local ship, civilian and military, was pressed into service in a coordinated attack against every element of the invasion fleet. The battle succeeded in pushing the Federal fleet out of Achenar and they retreated to their base in Beta Hydri. Bolstered by improved supply, the Federal fleet held its ground. Skirmishing between the two navies continued for another fifty years. During this time, and seeing the need for a buffer zone around their home system, Henson Duval expanded into the nearby systems. This heralded the change from a single-system colony to a pan-system empire, and so the Empire as we know it today was born.[15]

12 JUL 3301

  • Continuing GalNet's series about the defining moments in human history, famed historian Sima Kalhana talks about how the Empire came to be.
    -
    The Empire has become such a dominant presence in human culture that it is easy to forget that for almost a century the heart of what was to become the Empire was just a single system. The Achenar system was first colonised in the middle of the 23rd century. It was founded by an expedition led by Marlin Duval, a wealthy woman who had grown disillusioned by the ever increasing rigidity of the Earth governments and stifling social conformity. Marlin Duval vowed to get as far from Earth as she could, and after a long and treacherous journey across what was then unexplored space, most of the convoy eventually reached the Achenar system. The system of Achenar was chosen for the outdoor world orbiting one of its gas giants, already capable of supporting human life, now known as Capitol. There was already life on the planet and though Duval didn't know it at the time, one of the few known sentient species watched their landings. Back then, life was known to be plentiful throughout the galaxy, though it wasn't appreciated how rare sentient life was. Before long the species was made extinct by the settlers, mainly through imported bateria. Much later, this extinction would later be used as a pretext for Federal intervention in the system. Under Marlin Duval the population lived under idealistic democratic rule with elected Senators representing the people. This changed dramatically after she died in a speeder crash. Her brother, Henson Duval, then assumed control and established the now familiar line of imperial succession. Some claim that he killed his sister to claim power, but this was never proved. For many years succession was restricted to the male line, and it was claimed various means were used to restrict royal births to only male children. This practice was later abandoned, and recent events at the heart of the Empire indicate that male succession may soon be broken. In 2324 Federal forces attempted to invade Achenar, with the pretext of causing the alien extinction, but also because of Achenar's refusal to join the Federation. It was the conclusion of this war which resulted in the birth of the second of humanity's great power blocs, and cemented Henson's position as a powerful leader of his people.[16]

05 JUL 3301

  • In this new series exclusive to GalNet, famed historian Sima Kalhana visits the defining moments of human history since our first brave steps into space and to the star-spanning species we have since become. In this first article, she talks about the founding of the Federation. With a history spanning millennia, it is the oldest of the major factions.
    -
    In this modern age it's hard for us to imagine that before the Federation, humanity existed on just a single world, bar a few small colonies on Mars and the Moon. Even stranger to our current experience was the fact that so many disparate tribal groupings, or 'countries' existed on one world. The Federation arose from the ashes of the Third World War in the mid 21st century. The war caused tremendous devastation across the planet, decimating the population. Many different factors changed humanity's outlook after that. The rise of the corporations, the discovery of the first fossils on Mars, and the explosive exploration triggered by the invention of the hyperdrive by Li Qin Jao and others in the 22nd century, first by unmanned probes, then with manned craft, overtaking the generation ships sent in the previous decades. Despite the huge dangers involved, a massive land-grab followed, fuelled by the voracious corporations. It wasn’t until some of the ecological excesses of these early colonists became apparent over a century later that Earth took its first steps, founding the Federation and becoming the colossal entity it is now, creating some order in what had become an unruly free-for-all. In 2242 the Federation Accord was created outlining certain rights and responsibilities for members, uniting many of the new colonies, by force in some cases. After a short conflict the Taylor Colony in Tau Ceti bacame the first signatory outside the Sol system. The name of the Federation was also changed at this time to the 'Federation of Star Systems', but the name didn't stick and quickly returned to just the Federation. From that point the Federation provided a stable framework to facilitate the further expansion of humanity to ever more distant star systems but not all colonies wanted a part of this. A distant early colony, formed by a band of political idealists as far from Earth as they could manage, in the system of Achenar would eventually spark another defining moment for the Federation and indeed humanity as a whole.[17]

References

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