A brief History of Humanity’s Rise
Sometime in the late twenty first century, circa 2090, the human race took its first tentative steps off of their home world and began living in space. Their first off-world colonies were in space stations that hung in orbit around the Earth and her moon, Luna. Over the next three-hundred years they continued to branch out and expand across the solar system. New developments in propulsion technology made intra-system travel more like daily commutes, allowing people to travel between the Earth and Luna in a few of hours, and out to more distant planets in a matter of days.
As humanity expanded outward the economy that drove it also grew into a robust commerce between worlds and as commerce grew, so too did the need to have a central hub or distribution outlet for goods. Since Earth was the most likely location, as well as being the most populace world in the Sol System, it was decided to build a massive space station in Earth’s local space to become that hub. It took nearly one-hundred years to complete the massive project, although it began fulfilling its intended role some ten years after construction began, increasing capacity as construction continued.
Once completed, the Earth Ring Station became the seat of power in the solar system. The ring was administered by a conglomerate of mega-corporations that had jointly financed the project when the Earth governments had refused to do so. As commerce in the system began making this Conglomerate astronomical amounts of money they hatched a scheme to wrest power away from the political bodies that still quibbled back and forth on the planet’s surface.
After nearly fifty years of planning and gathering resources, the Conglomerate proceeded to buy up all of the debt that the nations of the Earth had accrued over centuries of financial mismanagement. They then gave the governments in question –namely the super-power nations, The United States, China, Japan, Russia, The United Kingdom, etc.— ninety days to repay their outstanding debts. When none of the governments repaid their debts, the conglomerate foreclosed on all of them and took possession of the majority of the countries. Shortly after, they began a political restructuring, carving up the globe and putting their own figure-heads in charge of the puppet show that world politics had become.
Slowly they then began to take financial control of the smaller countries, beginning with the third-world and then sweeping through Europe. While most countries began to experience unprecedented progress and unheard of monetary gains across all industries, there were those elements that resented what had been done and fought for every scrap they could take.
Eventually the dissidents struck a major blow, to themselves as well as the Conglomerate, when they hacked into the strategic defense systems and initiated a global mass-destruction, in an attempt to destroy the seats of power that the Conglomerate’s figureheads occupied. In the devastation, more than eighty percent of the Earth’s surface was rendered uninhabitable and billions of people were killed.
In true entrepreneurial style, the Conglomerate used this event to illustrate the dangers of partisan political rule and convinced the remainder of the human race that a system of corporate governance was in fact a better way to proceed. Shortly, the Conglomerate had seated itself on top of a vast, complex corporate landscape that governed the human race as though it were one massive corporation.
The Conglomerate quickly built a large fighting force of ships and soldiers in order to quell any form of resistance or fledgling political parties that may have risen up against them.
Over the next five-hundred years the Human race prospered, although not everyone was happy about it. The benefits of corporate rule were many, especially in the areas of technology and medicine. The average life-span increased to nearly two-hundred years and space travel continually became cheaper and faster. Fewer wars –public wars at least— were fought and those that were, were ended almost before they began due to swift intervention from the Conglomerate fighting force and their superior technology.
Today the Conglomerate is presided over by five executive officers that use a simple majority vote system to determine policy. Beneath these executives is an elaborate network of subordinates that support their higher-ups dutifully in hopes of one day getting the big promotion into upper management. All businesses in some way report to someone within the structure of the Conglomerate and all profits are absorbed into the non-stop machine that is the government of the human race.
Anyone who draws a pay check inevitably gets their money from the Conglomerate, even if it is through back channels or black market connections. Health care is free to anyone that is a registered citizen of the Conglomerate, as is housing and all other essentials of life, food, entertainment, basic supplies and so on, all provided free of charge simply for being a citizen of the Conglomerate. Most people are either unaware or choose to ignore the fact that the Conglomerate reserves the right to eavesdrop on conversations, communications, and exchanges throughout the Sol System in order to keep tabs on the workings of their empire.
There is a group of secret police that enforce company by-laws and bring to justice those that break said by-laws. Justice is usually swift and extreme, although hardly ever public.
The year as of the beginning of the story is approximately 3040 AD.
2011 - The United States Government ceases funding of active space activities in favor of spending money on research and licensing developments out to third parties.
2017 - Russia and China follow the example set by the United States and cease all active space vehicle operations. All major world governments now rely completely on corporate facilities to get in and out of orbit.
2020 - Cold Fusion establishes dominance in space vehicle propulsion and power systems technology, becoming the first corporation to launch a craft from Earth, orbit the moon, and return safely, without government funding, and in under 12 hours total time from launch to landing. This landmark is also the first time this is accomplished with 100% reusable spacecraft components, demonstrated by the same equipment making the same journey in eleven hours, a mere 18 hours after the original flight touches down on Earth.
2025 - Mobius Industries establishes first permanently inhabited facility on Luna.
2050 - Of the fifteen colonies on Luna’s surface, the largest is now 40,000 citizens strong. Cold Fusion becomes the first to orbit Mars with manned craft, a trip taking less than three months using their latest generation Ion drive.
2075 - First space stations at Mars and Venus are officially brought on-line and begin operations. Colonies established on Mars and its moons now have populations in the thousands.
2100 - Construction of the Earth Ring Station begins with the orbital elevator over Asia Minor. The orbital city surrounding this elevator is dubbed Neo-Tokyo.
2130 - First successful full-body cybernetic prosthetic is heralded as the dawn of the immortal human. Quark Industries is lauded as the science of cybernetics is launched into the next century.
2135 - T.R.I.P., a previously major player in the pharmacutical industry makes the leap into medical technology with high-resolution DNA scanner that can, for the first time, generate an accurate image of an individual based upon a DNA scan from a single cell of their body.
2150 - Aegis Online makes the move from simple game and software developer, to hardware and interface technology company, marked by the very first use of an Encepholographic Induction Harness to fully override the brain’s I/O carrier signals and immerse a person in a fully virtual, sensory-rich world.
2155 - Cybernetic reconstruction becomes so cost effective and common place that legislation is passed to handle the registration of alterations so that people’s identities are not lost, and so that their capabilities are known to the authorities. A new ‘class’ system is instituted whereby people with more than 25% of their bodies replaced with artificial components are dubbed ‘Tech-Line’.
2170 - T.R.I.P.’s continued genetic tinkering produces the human race’s first batch of psychics, most of whom promptly disappear into the general population and begin inter-breeding with ‘Base-Line‘ humans.
2200 - Final construction of Earth Ring Station is completed as the sixth orbital elevator goes online. All five corporations that will eventually make up The Conglomerate unofficially move their headquarters from earth to the Earth Ring Station. Off-Earth population officially crests one billion people for the first time.
2250 - Propulsion systems have developed to the point that the first Arc Ships are launched, sending manned craft outside our solar system for the first time. T.R.I.P. successfully rewrites a person’s DNA and the human race watches on television as ‘Mary’ changes, in a matter of months, to reflect her new DNA.
2300 - Venus Station officially becomes the most populace facility outside of Earth’s local space. The station has been under constant expansion/construction since its inception. For the first time, more than 99% of a person’s DNA is rewritten, by a computer, and their body changes to fit the new program in a mere six weeks, emerging healthy, happy, and espousing the change, saying they are finally who they felt they were always meant to be. New companies begin to crop up, offering on the spot genetic modifications of hair and other cosmetic features. The ‘Gene-Line’ classification is added to the human classification system.
2400 - The world’s governments begin to stumble through economic hard times as the major powers begin to deal with the effects of mass exodus to off-world facilities and new Arc Ships. Debt figures skyrocket and public opinion polls show confidence in world leaders plummeting. Psionics begin to appear in a measurable number of the Sol System’s population, and classifications for their abilities are defined, as is a system of registrations, and the addition of the term ‘Psi-Line’ to the human classification system.
2450 - The Conglomerate, now an official organization, initiates a buy-out of all major countrys’ debt, and the banks that shoulder it.
2465 - The final political resistance is swept aside as the population of the world votes the final non-corporate political officer out of office.
2470 - The world economy is due for a complete recovery in the next 5 years as salaries soar and contentment surveys show the human race has nver been happier. The Conglomerate initiates buy-outs of the world’s third-world countries, bringing their populations ‘into the light’ almost overnight.
2475 - Conglomerate take-over of Europe and Asia Minor begins. Population of the Sol System crests 25 billion people.
2480 - Dissident protestors begin system-wide rallies against corporate rule as the corporate takeover of Europe is completed and the human race is officially subsumed by a corporate rule.
2499 - Dissidents successfully hack into the old United States and Russian defense networks and launch what they describe as a ‘preemptive strike’ upon the major world capitols, intending to destroy the seats of corporate rule and take the world back for its citizens.
2500 - More than 80% of the Earth’s surface is devastated by the dissident attack. More than twelve billion lives are lost between Earth’s destruction and fighting across the Sol System. The Conglomerate is officially embraced by a nearly unanimous vote of all respondants throughout the Sol System.
2501 - A small company called Solidarity Online opens its doors. The company developes and hosts a variety of Massively Multipleyer Online games, all played through a sub-space link that enables real-time communication and interaction across vast, interstellar distances. Sub-Space technology was previously only available for applications such as data links between massive space stations, planets, and the Arc Ships moving ponderously between stars. The most popular MMO offered by the company is the stand-out fantasy game called kalijor.
2510 - The last of the Earth’s population is officially evacuated and all six orbital elevators are closed down and sealed off. The Earth is classified as uninhabitable.
2515 - Repeated attempts at landing on the surface ot the Earth, and the resources, and lives, used up in their constant rescue causes the Conglomerate to completely close the planet and set up a defense grid on the Earth Ring Station that shoots down any and all craft attempting to land on the planet. Better to sacrifice just the perpitrators than them and their rescuers as well.
2540 - Rampant, unliscensed cybernetic and genetic manipulation begins to become a problem. New laws are laid down, mandating the evaluation/licensing of every person in every Conglomerate facility in the system. Those who refuse to submit, or are away from official facilities and fail to receive word/arrive in time to be ‘counted’ are labeled as dissidents and all rights and privelages of Conglomerate citizenship are officially revoked. This event later becomes known as ‘The Purge’ and is seen as the first truly tyrannacle action taken by the Conglomerate.
2600 - Human population officially rises above fifteen billion for the first time since the destruction of the Earth.
2605 - Artificial gravity and faster than light drive systems are given their first trial runs. Within a decade, ‘gravity levelers’ are installed in all planetary and orbital Conglomerate facilities and ‘standard’ gravity is established as a measurement baseline with lower-gravity environments ‘leveled off’ to Standard, and higher gravity environments labeled as some factor of Standard (i.e.: 1.25 times Standard, 2 times Standard, etc.).
2640 - A fleet of ships bearing new super-luminal drives is launched with parts and components necessary to retrofit the now-ancient Arc Ships with super-luminal drive systems in order to speed them on the way to their final destinations.
2650 - The Kalijor game server reaches a human population of one billion people, with more than 750 million online at any given time.
2665 - First documented appearance of a Nuiri-Qatnio, a massively altered genetic and psionic abberation brought on by the interbreeding of a heavily modified Gene-Line and extremely powerful Psi-Line human. This unfortunate creature dies before its third birthday but sets a benchmark for over-modification of the human genome that causes legislation to be set in place outlawing the inter-breeding of registered Psi-Lines with Gene-Lines. The human race officially becomes five separate species.
2671 - The Dregs becomes the official name for the settlements in the Asteroid belt where there is a growing population of unregisterd and dissident individuals, now collectively known as dissidents.
2688 - Conglomerate incursions into The Dregs begin and the local population is harried by corporate forces.
2693 - Corporate harrassment of Dissidents is officially sanctioned by the Conglomerate and small to medium skirmishes begin to break out all over the Sol System, particularly in and around the Asteroid Belt.
2701 - After years of light fighting and bullying by the Conglomerate, the Dissidents of The Dregs finally proclaim in one voice that they have had enough and begin fighting openly with Conglomerate forces. Battlefields are purposfully chosen by Dissidents in order to keep the fighting off of their own turf and to create visibility to Conglomerate citizens where corporate propaganda cannot completely cover it up.
2710 - The Conglomerate’s efforts to cast Dissidents in a bad light continue, as does the fighting. The Conglomerate is assured of an eventual victory even if by sheer attrition. While Conglomerate technology is largely superior, the Dissident fighters continue to surprise them with the occasional victory brought on by unknown technology.
2720 - The Battle of Titan takes place, during which more than 250,000 people are killed on both sides of the conflict. The Dissidents manage to disable or distroy a startling number of Conglomerate vessels using smaller, faster, and extremely tough craft of unknown design, while suffering comparatively few losses of their own.
2721 - The Astraeus Accord is signed into action, bringing an end to nearly 30 years of conflict between the Dissidents and the Conglomerate.
2725 - The long-standing rivalry between Aegis Online and Solidarity Online (a grudge held by and acted upon solely by Aegis Online) begins to heat up as Aegis Online Digerati regularly try to break through Solidarity Online’s firewalls and whittle away the confidence of their user base. In response, Solidarity Online opens a small new division focused exclusively on the aquisition and deployment of new technology to enhance and protect their systems. This unnamed division’s field operatives, while never officially acknowledged, quickly become known as Pinchers and establish a reputation for being able to get into any facility or system and extract top secret hardware and data.
2730 - A new age of corporate warfare begins as most corporations adopt similar practices to Solidarity Online and begin almost openly preying on one another. What once was a shadow war of unsanctioned and constantly denied activity moves more into the light, becoming instead an open political battlefield where hostile actions are openly spoken of at the board room table and corporate strategy turns to battlefield tactics.
2740 - Human population across all colonies both in the Sol System and around neighboring stars reaches twenty billion. Kalijor is officially named by the Conglomerate as the preferred medium through which long-distance interactions and transactions are to be made. Despite much grumbling and general anticipation, Solidarity Online is not made a member of the Conglomerate.
2750 - Advances in technology have sub-space transceivers now able to be installed in craft as small as two-man shuttles, expanding the use of instantaneous communication to millions more people.
2760 - For the first time in 250 years, the Kalijor world experiences an unscheduled outage. The outage lasts nearly eight hours and is attributed to a massive failure in both the primary and secondary sub-space arrays at the Solidarity Online facility on Venus Station.
2761 - Solidarity Online successfully petitions to take over ownership of the L1 Earth-Luna Lagrange point and begins construction on The Tyconderoga.
2766 - The Tyconderoga is completed and Solidarity Online officially moves all of its operations and staff aboard the brand new space station. Kalijor experiences not one single interruption of service during the transfer of facilities.
2770 - Neo-Tokyo is unofficially abandoned by The Conglomerate, with nothing more than a token presence in the center of the city. Organized crime and the black market take over and establish a shaky understanding with the Conglomerate garrison there.
2800 - Fighting breaks out in Neo-Tokyo as an attempt is made to overrun the Conglomerate garrison in the center of the city. The Conglomerate responds by sending thousands of heavily armed troops into the city to pacify the situation. Thousands of criminals and innocents are killed in the conflict, which becomes known as The Blitz. When all is said and done, the Conglomerate garrison is ten times the size as before, and much better equiped, but otherwise, the city is again left to the crime lords and black marketeers.
3032 - Riana Thorindal is born in Kalijor at the same time as a power surge from a fusion power sub-station on Luna feeds back into the living quarters of Willhelmina Orlova’s family. The surge seems to cause Riana to gain early potential for sentience and Solidarity Online responds with the gift of a top of the line game pod for Willhelmina to log into Kalijor from. This gift is described as an apology for the feedback despite the fact that Solidarity Online could not have been directly responsible for the surge.
3033 - Willhelmina Orlova’s family home is ravaged by a fire caused by a breakdown in environmental controls and a spark from lingering power sub-station defects from the previous year. The compartment fire kills Willhelmina’s parents and brother, sparing Willhelmina only because she was in her game pod at the time of the fire. Willhelmina is later that year adopted as a ward of Solidarity Online and put to work in Kalijor, watching and helping Riana’s development into a sentient artificial inteligence.
3040 - Riana Thorindal’s conscienceless is downloaded from the Kalijor game servers into a custom made cybernetic body in order to prevent the Kalijor game world from crashing as a result of her presence there. The events of The First Key of Kalijor take place.
3041 - The Second Key of Kalijor
3042 - The Aegis Protocol and The Turin Gambit (No Link)
3043 - The Third Key of Kalijor, Status Quo (No Link), and Solidarity
3044 - The Fourth Key of Kalijor, and Vulpine Requiem (No Link)
3045 - The Fifth Key of Kalijor