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Old December 7th, 2011, 01:16 AM
LeperColony LeperColony is offline
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Default Nth Interstellar War

So this is an old thing I wrote several years ago. I have not read GT Interstellar Wars yet, though I've really been meaning to. My inspiration at the time was acquiring a copy of the old board game Imperium. I have no idea how close this is to canon events, how or stupid my version is in comparison, but I thought I'd throw it up here.

Nth Interstellar Wars (Part 1, the Ziru Sirka)

The Ziru Sirka was based on two great principles: The superiority of Vilani technology, and the superiority of Vilani culture. Having discovered the jump drive in –9235, the Vilani set out on a wave of exploration and expansion. Finding several minor human races in close proximity to Vland, they set about assimilating both culturally and technologically. This would come to typify Vilani expansion. Explore, make contact, and bind, first by trade and then by culture, a new world into the existing order. When done correctly, this model would prove incredibly successful. Planet after planet, eager to reap the rewards of sophisticated technology willingly fell into line with Vilani cultural norms. Although regional curiosities would remain, a remarkably uniform society arose with a minimal need for coercion.

To a great extent, this was due to the fact that the new worlds, though elevated by a process Imperials would find encumbered by characteristically Vilani deliberation, underwent changes at a much faster rate than would have occurred normally. The introduction of high technology, solving as it did some problems (such as hunger, shelter, and overpopulation), brought with it a new host of difficulties, not the least of which was the effect it had on local notions of power, government, and religion. These were questions long settled by the Vilani, who had the good fortune of having weathered the process of social maturation. Now their answers became default solutions, in some cases modified slightly, adopted en masse by world after world. Unfortunately, the accelerated process was not quite as efficient as the real thing.

The client races under Vilani tutelage began their own exploration. At first fueled by the discontent’s desire to escape Vilani influence, then later followed by mainstream partially Vilanized merchants, trade reached a frenzied pace. The people of the client worlds offered new frontier societies the promise of high technology, but neglected the cultural and sociological influence the Vilani had provided. As a result, two distinct cultures began to emerge. Those worlds that fell within Vland’s sphere of influence, and those societies on the frontier, which had acquired sophisticated technology without Vilani indoctrination. War was inevitable.

By –5273, the Vilani had resigned themselves to the necessity of coercion. A central state emerged, replacing the loose trading confederation that had existed into a proto-Imperium. Though there was no emperor yet, the bureaux can trace their incorporation as methods of government to this period. Vilani society became even more stratified and deterministic, in response to new martial requirements. Of course, prior to –5273, Vland had engaged in conflicts before. Every so often, a show of force had been necessary to bring a world into line. However, these base displays had been few and far between, and in any case were a far cry from an actual war against viable opponents. Now, the Vilani found themselves surrounded by a number of rivals, each fueled by ambition and armed with Vland’s own weapons. . .

These conflicts, remembered as the Consolidation Wars, would become the defining event of Vilani society. For twelve hundred years, Vland flickered back and forth between peace and war, until finally there existed no other significant interstellar human society. In –4045, with the end of the Consolidation Wars, came the establishment of the Ziru Sirka, the Grand Empire of the Stars. The Vilani now found themselves the rulers of the galaxy. 27 sectors and over 15,000 worlds flew the Imperial Eclipse, the greatest society since the Ancients. But this great expansion came at a cost. A millennium of war had left Vilani culture irreversibly conservative, locked into a caste system from which neither innovation nor dissent could find proper expression. Cultural homogeneity became the surest way to maintain uniform order and obedience across the vast empire, bringing stability but also stagnation. Exploration ceased, and scientific research slowed to a crawl. Only the need for classification and organization drove forward intellectual pursuits.

Still, for hundreds of years, the empire thrived. Despite the lack of new research, the borders of the empire remained strong. Travel and trade lay the seeds of humanity across the galaxy, producing the living foundation upon which future interstellar societies would be based. Though incredibly limiting, the caste system provided individuals with a sense of accomplishment and belonging. The great myth of vital interdependence, on the necessity of each person and their personal achievements for the benefit of all would form the core belief in Vilani ideology of the period. It was a society of remarkably widespread contentment, all the more incredible when viewed in light of the vast disparity between the lives of the rich and the poor. Slowly, however, cracks began to appear in the perfect façade. It was a situation that could not last.

Despite the significant consensus that bound Vilani society, there was dissent. Some of it, of course, came from those whom we would expect. Alien cultures, imperfectly bound into Vland’s caste-based society, were constantly on the watch for opportunities to rise in opposition. At the same time, many humans began to experience a new sense of discontentment. Some, living on worlds that had never been fully Vilanized, came to resent living under the Ziru Sirka. Others, though ordinarily loyal to the empire, would come, as a result of experience, to question the system they had spent their whole lives supporting. In the end, the Vilani had no one to blame but themselves.

At the highest levels, the system simply broke down. The nature of travel technology required a centralized government to invest regional officials with broad discretionary powers. While the Vilani battled to forge their empire, or in the presence of other pressing threats, these officials were, on the balance, reasonably reliable. However, as the years rolled on, the lack of viable threats bred carelessness, corruption, and ambition. Imperial nobles began to see their offices as personal property rather than societal charges. Though outright civil wars or rebellions were rare, the empire would find itself slowly losing inertia. The result was a breakdown of the basic Vilani social contract. As discipline and obedience at the highest levels degraded, so too were expectations concerning their performance. Provided the provincial governor paid most of his tithe and did homage to the emperor, his use of Imperial forces to carve a personal empire in the frontier was overlooked. As long as a noble did not rebel, the emperor would look the other way. This was pretty much the way things went, as the Ziru Sirka entered its final 500 years. . .
Ironically, the same set of events that formed the Ziru Sirka would also frame its collapse. In an eerie repeat of history, Vilani technology began to reach beyond the frontiers of the empire. New interstellar states began to emerge, looking to make their own way in the galaxy. At first, it was easy enough to crush the fledgling polities. Eventually, however, the Vilani lost a battle. The provincial governor responsible, predicting the price of failure as dismissal – or worse – took the only honorable way out. He lied. Claiming victory was an ingenious way to solve both problems at once. With the war at an end, there was no need to try and regain territory lost to the usurpers. At the same time, the emperor only heard of his glowing triumph.

Eventually governors would come to master this technique, some even going so far as to skip the battle entirely. Tithes became the empire’s first line of defense, bribes paid to newly developed powers. Often times, provincial governors would use these upstarts to do their dirty work, sending their ships against other troublesome states, rebels, and even occasionally rival nobles. This trend, which began in roughly –3000, would come to represent a significant erosion of Vilani territory. The Ziru Sirka surrendered whole subsectors along its coreward and trailing borders, unable or unwilling to respond to new threats. Dynastic instability, Vargr raids, and increasing fragmentation pushed the empire past the brink of recovery. It was now simply a matter of time.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 01:16 AM
LeperColony LeperColony is offline
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Part 2 of 2...

In –2422, the Imperium met the Terrans. Two years later, the returning Americans would alert the UNSCA that they were no longer alone. For their part, the Ziru Sirka could care less about the Terrans. The Vegans, having acquired Jump drive by –5000, were thought to be the only society of significance on the rim. With their assimilation by –3400, the empire was content in its rimward border. The next thousand years saw much more pressing issues than frontier exploration. The rim, always something of a backwater, soon lagged behind the other provinces in military preparedness. Why station a large fleet in a region with no threats? A series of rebellions and near rebellions in the decades prior to –2422 drained the province of its most advanced warships, which due to a variety of reasons never returned. To make matters worse, the emperors of this period had, as a preventative measure designed to limit the power of provincial governors, forbidden the construction of capital ships without imperial approval. By the time SpaceLeaper One made its fateful journey, the rim’s military capability had fallen to an all time low.

For the Terran public, the meeting at Barnard’s Star came as a complete surprise. It was a pivotal moment, doing more for the cause of unification than years of debate and social reforms.
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