Timeline Outer Space
"For millennia, we have been explorers, ever pushing to the next frontier, wondering what lay over the next hill, or river, or mountain, or sea. And after so many trials, we find ourselves on the next phase of that journey, preparing to embark on this... star ocean."
- --Inaugural address of Stephen "Lightspeed" Kenny, First President of the Terran Alliance
The information below provides background information that can be assumed to be known by anyone whose origin is outside the Filgaian planetary system. Its purpose is to provide players with common background to facilitate RP; if you want your character to not know this stuff because he or she flunked out of space high school, hey, fill your boots.
As the Pangalactic Federation has been around for close to 10,000 years, these details will not be exhaustive. Expect long periods of "stuff happens, only in space."
- 2087 AD = 1 SD (Space Date, marking the development of spaceflight on Earth)
- 9867 SD = 1 PC (Post-Collapse, the calendar currently in use on Filgaia)
- 10366 SD = 499 PC = MUSH launch
-35 SD (2052 AD) - War is beginning. The Swiss emerge from their centuries-long pose of neutrality and instigate World War 3, led by a mysterious soldier who reforges Greater Switzerland into an empire. Many of Earth’s major cities are destroyed, and habitable lands across the globe are laid barren. The planet’s population is cut in half almost overnight, and is down to nearly 1 billion by 2055.
-28 SD (2059 AD) - The war comes to an end, with a pyrrhic victory by allied forces, which sees their commanders killed in battle. The Swiss empire is dismantled, but every nation is left reeling in the aftermath of the war.
-27 SD (2060 AD) - Over the next year, surviving governments agree to a planet-wide peace treaty, fearful that further conflict will result in human extinction. Rebuilding and reconstruction efforts begin.
-22 SD (2065 AD) - After five years of diplomatic discussions, the Greater United Nations is formed; unlike its predecessor, this body has full governing authority over all humankind. The GUN is tasked with the preservation of humanity by any means necessary.
-20 SD (2067 AD) - The GUN forms the Universal Science and Technology Administration (USTA) to coordinate global efforts on two projects: the restoration of Earth’s ecosystem and large-scale space development. Over the next two decades, significant progress is made on terraforming initiatives and spaceship design.
1 SD - Professor Trillas Bachtein of the USTA successfully tests his prototype faster-than-light subspace warp system, which enables interstellar travel. The first manned flight is undertaken by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen "Lightspeed" Kenny, a United States Air Force pilot. The GUN eagerly retrofits a dozen scout vessels with the new engine and sends them out into space, in search of resources and alien life.
This year is later chosen to mark the start of a new calendar, called Space Date (SD).
2 SD - One of the GUN scout ships -- the SRF-003 Calnus -- encounters an alien vessel. Communications are eventually established with a race called the Eldarians, marking the first encounter between Earthlings and sentient extraterrestrial life.
2-4 SD - Diplomatic exchanges continue between the GUN and Eldarians. Humanity continues to explore the area around the Sol system, and encounters a handful of other alien races.
4 SD - Earth and Eldar agree to a formal treaty of nonaggression and cooperation. The Eldarians dispatch dozens of scientists to the USTA to assist in rebuilding Earth’s biosphere, leading to a period of rapid and accelerated development.
5 SD - The GUN commissions a first wave of colonization vessels. These ships are enormous -- multiple kilometres long -- and are built with the help of the Eldarians in Earth orbit. Ten are planned for the first wave, and USTA scientists begin selecting likely colony locations (and screening through the many, many applicants).
7 SD - The first colony ship -- the Llanfairpwllgwyngyll -- departs on February 10. The remainder of the vessels -- the Aquila, Elizabeth, Plaiedes, Arcadia, Eldridge, Patriot, Rhapsody, Discovery, and Bastion -- are each scheduled to launch in four-month cycles.
10 SD - Communications with the sixth colony ship, Eldridge, are lost shortly after its arrival in the Kepler-186 system. The final reports transmitted from the ship indicate a massive power surge had been reported, followed by an explosion. After consulting with several of their allies, including the Eldarians, the GUN determines the system is indeed uninhabited, minimizing the likelihood of contact with hostile alien races. After much deliberation, the colonization efforts continue, though the ships are now escorted by armed battlecruisers.
The Terran Alliance
12 SD - After months of negotiations, the treaty between Earth and Eldar is expanded to include races from two other worlds: the Morphus and the Lemurisians. Following a signing ceremony in the human capital of Rio de Janeiro, the Terran Alliance is formed. Stephen D. Kenny is voted in as the Alliance’s first president, and in his inaugural address promises a new era for both humanity, and all sentient life in the galaxy. The next decade is spent in a frenzy of exploration and cross-cultural exchange between the four founding races.
25 SD - An Alliance scout vessel on long-range patrol makes an unscheduled detour to the Kepler-186 system, hoping to determine the ultimate fate of the Eldridge. The scout ship vanishes without a trace; a second sent in search of the first meets the same fate. The Alliance issues a standing order to all vessels to stay away from the system until it can study the nature of the problem.
32 SD - On his final day in office following five successive terms, Stephen D. Kenny announces the decades-long project to restore the Earth’s biosphere is finally complete. In his address, the outgoing president grants honorary Terran citizenship to the entire Eldarian race, in recognition of their role in the salvation of humanity’s home world. His successor is Gilgamesh Bachtein, son of the legendary inventor of spaceflight.
267 SD - While on a long-range survey mission, the Alliance cruiser Harlegand receives faint radio signals from an as-yet-unencountered alien race called the Tetrageniots. According to the signal, their home planet of Tetragenesis was being bombarded by radiation as a result of massive, unexplained solar flares.
The Harlegand’s captain, Harland Locklear, is placed in a difficult situation -- he is effectively being asked to respond to a distress call from an entire planet. Recalling that Earth would have died a long, slow death without the assistance of the Eldarians, Locklear orders his ship to respond to the emergency, making first contact with an extremely surprised Tetrageniot race. Locklear tasks his scientific and medical crew to gather data, and dispatches a report back to Alliance headquarters.
The Alliance’s initial response is one of shock at the audacity of the Harlegand’s captain, but they realize quickly that law and tactical doctrine neither permits nor forbids him from intervening in the situation. Alliance President Velluria Tionysus eventually sides with Locklear, and orders the USTA to either solve the problem or evacuate the entire Tetrageniot race.
268 SD - Debates over the ethics of the Tetrageniot intervention rage throughout the Alliance Parliament. Supporters of the decision make impassioned reference to the salvation of Earth, while detractors ask where the line would be drawn -- should the Alliance be tasked with saving every race on every planet in the galaxy? Should the Eldarians have intervened in Stone Age conflicts between homo sapiens and neanderthals? Where would it end?
By the end of the year, the Parliament reaches a grudging consensus. Aid to Tetragenesis would continue, but future contact with alien civilizations would be prohibited until such a time as those civilizations develop interstellar spaceflight. The decision is formalized as the Underdeveloped Planet Preservation Pact, or UP3.
270 SD - With efforts to stabilize Tetragenesis’s sun having failed, the Alliance begins construction of a series of four artificial satellites to which the the Tetrageniots can migrate. The vast majority of them do so; only a stubborn handful remain on their home planet by year’s end, most of them slowly dying of radiation sickness. The inhabitants of the artificial satellites -- Tetragenesis I through IV -- are offered membership in the Terran Alliance, bringing them fully into the fold.
The crisis now dealt with, Harland Locklear resigns from the Alliance Navy, choosing instead to live alongside the people he had worked so hard to save. While the former captain is revered as a hero by Tetrageniots long after his death, the histories of other worlds express open disdain for what they uncharitably describe as the human arrogance on display in "Locklear’s Folly."
930 SD - While in orbit around a desolate and uninhabited planet, the Alliance science vessel Inquisitor detects a massive structure of unknown alien origin on the surface. After beaming down to investigate, the crew makes an even more astonishing discovery -- the structure is sentient, and begins to speak to them in fluent English.
The device describes itself as The Time Gate, further insisting on the usage of capital letters in all three aspects of the name ("Yes, including the article"). According to The Time Gate, it is capable of transporting individuals who step within it to anywhere they wish to go within both time and relative space ("Yes, I’ve seen your ’Doctor Who,’ and it really went downhill after the Eleventh in my opinion"). After a demonstration of its power in which a crew member returned bearing a Philadelphia cheesesteak and a newspaper from 1974 AD, The Time Gate added that it would only transport those whom it chose to transport, evaluated based on criteria that it did not feel like sharing ("Sore wa himitsu desu and all that jazz").
Alliance headquarters initially refused to believe the report, until a confused-looking science officer appeared out of nowhere and handed Fleet Admiral James Ridden a cold cheesesteak and slightly ruffled newspaper from 1974 AD. After approximately fifteen seconds of debate, the Alliance Parliament declares the Styx system and The Time Gate to be restricted space; several Alliance ships are always on patrol nearby, and attempts to approach the planet are met by turbolasers.
The Pangalactic Federation
1552 SD - The Terran Alliance establishes its first colony in the Andromeda Galaxy. Now swollen to more than a hundred member races and thousands of planets, the Alliance reforms itself into the Pangalactic Federation. The Federation’s government is organized around a single, pangalactic governing body to which members are elected from 25 equally-partitioned galactic sectors of the Milky Way, seven of which remain uncolonized and unexplored.
Over the next several centuries, the central government facilities of the Terran Alliance -- most notably the Parliament -- are moved off Earth. The sole holdout is the Federation Academy, which remains based in the city of Paris (Texas, not France).
2190 SD - Several long-distance scout ships exploring the Omicron Sector are attacked and destroyed by an unknown alien race. This represents the first contact of the Pangalactic Federation with the Aldian Empire, an aggressive and expansive race determined to conquer the entire Milky Way.
The years that follow begin a war that rages back and forth across the Milky Way into the modern day; by the time of MUSH launch, the Nu, Xi, Omicron, and Psi sectors are under control of the Aldian Empire, with the battlefront moving back and forth across the galaxy. Federation officials believe the Aldians may not even be native to the Milky Way; they suspect the Empire is colonizing their galaxy in the same manner in which the Federation is spreading into Andromeda.
2731 SD - USTA archaeologists successfully petition the Federation Parliament to fund a scientific voyage to the Kepler-186 system, in the hopes of discovering the remains of the Eldridge, one of the Terran Alliance’s first dozen colony ships, and recovering historical artifacts from the early days of human spaceflight. The Federation battleship Muriela enters the system and promptly vanishes in the same way the Eldridge did years before.
4128 SD - Because scientists are all about "could we" and not "should we," another group of archaeologists requests permission to stick their noses into the Kepler-186 bear trap. Determining that they want no part of whatever it is that keeps eating spaceships (and worried about what might happen if it ever gets full), the Pangalactic Federation declares the Kepler-186 system to be restricted space, and establishes the same sort of armed perimeter it keeps in place around The Time Gate. Perversely, the interdiction makes Kepler-186 extremely attractive to those determined to escape the Federation’s eye, but the few vessels that penetrate the blockade are likewise consumed and vanish.
6734 SD - The Pangalactic Federation has now completely colonized three sectors of the Andromeda Galaxy. They soon encounter another extremely hostile empire -- the Vendeeni -- that strongly resents the Federation’s intrusion into what they see as "their" galaxy. War begins on a second, pangalactic front.
The Lezonian Conflict
10217 SD - Disaster strikes a series of colony vessels that had been heading to the Eta Sector with a series of experimental reactors capable of sustaining limited terraforming; according to the last distress call, some sort of attack by one of the crew caused the reactors to activate in mid-flight. Before the Federation can respond, the vessels change course toward the nearest planetary system, clearly hoping to make landfall. Unfortunately, the closest system is Kepler-186; they vanish inside its halo, and are not heard from again.
10329 SD - The Federation encounters a starfaring race called the Lezonians; they refuse to join the Federation, but ask that their (comparatively minor) territorial claims be respected. A trading relationship slowly begins to build.
10345 SD - The Federation planet of Coyopa in the Theta Sector reports a truly unusual disease is spreading through some of its outer regions -- one that turns infected individuals into stone. Both medical and symbological treatments prove ineffective, and the Federation Parliament quarantines the planet. Months later, the disease is reported in a handful of other planets in the sector; amazingly, it is the Lezonian race that claims responsibility. The Lezonians ask the Federation to withdraw all claims to the Theta Sector -- where Earth itself resides -- or have the disease spread to every planet in the Federation. While the Federation Parliament stalls and negotiates, priority orders are given to every available ship to seek out and find a cure for the disease.
10346 SD - The Federation cruiser Calnus -- which had been in orbit around the underdeveloped planet Roak - breaches the restricted space around the Styx system. A small landing party approaches and accesses The Time Gate; they emerge relative minutes later, dressed in strange garments, with a cure for the petrification disease in hand.
The captain of the Calnus, Ronyx J. Kenny, explains that the disease was created by the Lezonians at the behest of the Aldian Empire, which was seeking a final end to their long war with the Federation. Kenny learned the disease had its origins on the planet Roak, but that the source of it was a sorcerer who had been killed hundreds of years earlier. Desperate for a solution, Kenny used The Time Gate to travel to Roak in the past, where he killed the sorcerer with the help of several native Fellpools, securing a cure for the disease and establishing a stable time loop in the process.
While the actions of Calnus’s crew are a technical violation of both the UP3 and the interdiction around The Time Gate, the Pangalactic Federation cannot deny that the risks were ultimately justified. Following a show court martial, Ronyx J. Kenny is acquitted of all charges and hailed as a Hero of the Federation. He is promoted to the rank of Commodore, and given his choice of commands in the fleet. Commodore Kenny chooses to remain aboard the Calnus, and spends the next several years helping usher the planet of Roak into the Federation’s ranks.
The Current Year
The Pangalactic Federation remains at war with both the Aldian and Vendeeni Empires, though the long battles are occurring at the fringes of their space. Ronyx J. Kenny -- now a Fleet Admiral, and one of the most decorated officers in the entire Federation -- has re-assumed command of the Calnus for an exploration mission, a job five ranks below his actual one. Rumours abound in Paris (Texas, not the other one) that the decision was driven by Ronyx’s desire to groom his son Claude -- a recent graduate of the Academy -- for future command.
Lots of other stuff is presumably also happening -- it’s a big galaxy.