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Appendice 5: History of Modern Man

A thousand years has past since mankind nearly destroyed itself through war and ecotastrophe, a millennium in which all aspects of human life have changed beyond recognition. The following is a concise guide to modern human history divided into rough, and overlapping, eras based on the predominant political, cultural, technological, and social characteristics of a period. These divisions are imposed by the historian, and the reader should take note that the realities of history are never so clear-cut.

All years are in VSY, Viridian Standard Years (identical with 'City Years' for those who prefer the older chronology)

2160-2300 The Great Rebuilding

As the waters of the Great Melting receded humanity launched an energetic and carefully planned terraformation project that turned flood-ruined Viridia into an arboreal paradise in little over a century. The clean energy, bioorganic, and terraformation technologies that were perfected at this time were to be indispensable once mankind took to the stars and applied them to the colonization of other worlds.

Politically, the scant and homogeneous survivors of the flood established a world government based on the Karian ideals of corporatism and universal rights, and it was at this time that the remnants of Karas' old rival, the Empire of Myrhin, were incorporated into the world state. Amongst the Myrhin survivors was a community of brilliant engineers and physicists who were to form the nucleus of the new Viridian Aeronautics and Space Agency.

2272-2600 The Early Space Age

The era that saw mankind's triumphant return to space really began with the founding of VASA in 2272. Bursting with new energy and confidence, humanity explored the Viridia-Solaris and Leviathan Systems and colonized the new worlds of Ironglass, Vacillus, and Prime. This age was one of rapid technological growth coupled with the breakdown of central authority, and from it emerged the dominant schisms that would characterize human history right down to the present century.

The end of this era saw dramatic innovations in the field of fifth dimensional physics that led to the discovery of gravwells and their exploitation for quick transport between systems. The unified mankind that took to the stars at the beginning of this era was little more than a memory to the competing explorers and colonizers that would use grav-shunting technology to move humanity onto the galactic stage.

2494-2582 The Wars of Secession

The First War of Secession (2494-2498) occurred when the small scientific community of Prime, chafing under Viridian regulations, declared their independence from the homeworld and, in a brilliant series of defensive battles, successfully upheld their claim. The primitive and unspecialised ships of the era and the extreme distances involved, the breakthrough AI technologies employed by the Prime scientists, and VASA's increasingly uncooperative stance toward Viridian centrism all compounded to frustrate Viridia's attempts to hold her most distant colony.

Inspired by Prime's success the volatile penal colony of Ironglass was next to declare independence in a violent series of rebellions that sparked the Second War of Secession (2558-2580), a far bloodier conflict than its predecessor which saw fighting across the homeworld system and in the fragile newly established colonial holdings of neighbouring systems. The peace dictated by a fully independent VASA at the close of this war established the Tripartite Confederacy, an alliance of Viridia, Ironglass, and Prime overseen by an erstwhile neutral VASA that clearly delineated the balance of power among the factions.

2600-2900 The Age of Exploration

Though grav shunting was perfected in 2463 and extra-solarian colonies established soon after, it was not until the turmoil of the Secession Wars quieted with the ratification of the Treaty of Vacillus in 2582 that mankind begun his galactic adventure in earnest. It is theorized that much of the energy that may have otherwise gone into further civil wars was now being channelled successfully into the vast frontier opened by grav shunting technology. Humanity, having once again veered dangerously close to self-destruction, spread itself outward at an almost frenzied pace.

This age could just as well be termed the Golden Age for, while humanity moved rapidly from system to system, it enjoyed an era of unparalleled peace and prosperity. The checks and balances of the Tripartite Alliance ensured a genuine peace, and even the colonial wars that would become endemic in later eras were of minimal duration and intensity. Most colonies of this era were still ruled as direct holdings of one of the Great Powers, or maintained a close affiliate status.

2800-3000 The Age of Dissolution

As colonies continued to prosper and the Great Powers further stretched their resources across an enormous expanse of worlds, the inevitable cracks began to spread in the imperial fašade. Wealthy worlds sought fewer controls, troubled worlds demanded better leadership, and citizens across the galaxy began to shake their fist at distant overlords who, rightly or wrongly, were seen as meddlesome and exploitive.

This was a time of growing colonial warfare and discontent, and often the numerous so-called 'Independence Wars' were thinly disguised conflicts between the Great Powers themselves. Many ingenious ways to circumvent the Tripartite Treaty grew out of the small wars of this time, and it was also at this time that, while the holdings of Viridia and VASA shrank, those of the Ironglass Imperium grew dramatically. In such a chaotic environment new successor-style empires arose in direct challenge to the rule of the Great Powers, the most spectacular of which was the empire of the Great Tyrant Iskander centred on Arkadia. Because of this, the era is often called the Age of Tyrants.

2928-3132 Peril on the Rim

It has been theorized that had mankind not encountered the Koralon the decentralization of the Age of Dissolution may have gone on indefinitely, instead we see a resurgence of central power following the discovery of hostile aliens in the Void system in 2909. The constant warfare with the Koralon on the Galactic Rim, which began with the Nu-Utopia expedition, has become a fact of life for humanity's outlying worlds.

Unfortunately, little progress has been made in understanding or combating the Koralon since their discovery and many of the systems that should have comprised mankind's frontline were lost to alien encroachment. The ability to mount any real resistance to the Koralon in the Rim sectors was essentially eliminated when VASA withdrew its aegis from the region in 3132. However, the diplomatic and material planning that VASA invested into a proposed reconquest of the Rim was instrumental in the repulsion of the Koralon during the Incursion.

3178 The Present

The Koralon Incursion of 3177 marks a dramatic shift in the nature of the war with the aliens, as well as the way in which the Great Powers operate. It is of course too early to draw a conclusion from a conflict still in its early stages for, although mankind has reconquered four of the five systems attacked by the Koralon, the ruined worlds left in their wake and the tremendous damage and disruption sustained by the empires of man leave humanity vulnerable to further attack.

And worst of all is the situation on Iskandria, once the heart of a tyrant's empire and now the possible centre of the next round of interfactional fighting, the spark in a war that would dwarf those of the twenty-sixth century. Fear of the Koralon has driven many colonies to isolate themselves, and others to cultivate closer relations with one of the Great Powers. In such an atmosphere the animosities of the homeworlds can easily spill onto the galactic stage just as they had during the time of secession and civil war. And the Koralon themselves have proven to be at once more powerful and more subtle than we had ever guessed. It is clear that the Koralon Incursion marks a new era in mankind's history; one it is fervently hoped will not be its last.