Nikolai

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Smokez83

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I do apologize for the relative slowness I am coming out with these Dossiers - I am juggling a number of writing projects at the moment, and because I can turn out a Dossier in 1-2 days, even workdays, they are given lower priority than some of the more involved projects I'm working on.

That said, the next Dossier should be written, barring the unforeseen, within the next two weeks, possibly sooner, and then call it another 2-3 weeks before I can do Chapter 7. In general, I would say you can expect some sort of update every 2 weeks or so, going forward, but give or take a week from time to time.

As others have said, no need to apologise, they are well worth the wait! If only life and responsibilities would stop interfering... ;)
 

Idhrendur

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As with everyone else, I agree that they are worth the wait.
 
IIS Dossier: Royal Paradiso of Allure

Kylia Quilor

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IMPERIAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE BRIEFING DOSSIER
CHILDREN OF EARTH DEPARTMENT
DOSSIER: ROYAL PARADISO OF ALLURE


Allure.png


In 2242, by way of the Despoiling Horde, the Empire made contact with the Royal Paradiso of Allure. A society at once harsh in discipline and hedonistic about life, Allure is a study in contrasts and paradoxes. Fueled by domination, slave labor and extremely libertine attitudes about almost everything - and by the ever-present force of pain - the Royal Paradiso of Allure is not what citizens of Vanerra would likely call a paradise, and not just because its harsh desert sands would be murder on the skin and health of any Psilon.

Programming Note said:
As I've alluded to before, Allure, if described in its full detail would be what one might call 'family friendly', nor would it be actually allowed to be fully described on this website. So there's going to be some vagueness and skipping over of some things here and there. However, as I've also said, Allure could basically be described as 'What if BDSM were a political ideology', albeit here in Allure, all notions of Safe, Sane and Consensual aren't really a thing.

Allure in the Second Empire

Allure-home-system.png


Allure, in the Arizda system, was settled by the League of Argoss before even the Second Empire was officially founded, in -59, by the Allure Paradiso Corporation, a start-up venture that wanted to exploit the planet as a resort world. The planet had remarkable and gorgeous vistas, the kind of one-of-a-kind natural wonders that could draw people in from all over the world. So the initial settlement was entirely around the idea of setting up the infrastructure for resorts, for tours, for vacations of all sorts. The process took five years, but thanks to a clever advertising campaign, once the resort world was open for business, Allure had waiting lists hundreds of thousands of people long.

Over time, of course, as more resorts were created, more and more people had to live on Allure permanently, to provide support infrastructure for the resorts, those working on them and for the tourists themselves. What had started as a vacation spot built on the viewing of natural wonders became a resort world that offered everything and more. Rare drugs and hallucinogens. Parties that lasted for days at a time, even one that technically lasted for six years, three months, two days, five hours and seven minutes. For amazing art, for interactive experiences - every sort of tourist trap imaginable, really. But what Allure quickly became most known for, somewhat unfairly, was the skill and beauty of their prostitutes, strippers and adult film actors. How exactly Allure became quite so known for that, how they ended up standing so far above any other world - prostitution, porn and strip clubs being nearly universal to one degree or another - is unclear, and a matter of historical debate even on Allure.

But it was known for that, and more. On Allure every known breed of Children of Earth, and even aliens could be found in the brothels, whorehouses, escort services, strip clubs and adult film studios. This even despite the Second Empire's xenophobia - granted, many of the aliens on Allure were slaves bought on the open or grey markets, but still. And it wasn't just humanlike aliens that featured in the brothels - aliens of all sorts. One of the most popular aliens, among the xenophiles, perhaps unsurprisingly, were the many-tentacled Vacopirans.

Every fetish, every kink, every type of desire when it came to sex and sexuality was catered to. It was a world of libertine experience - and by the time the Kishrath invaded, the sex industry basically ran the entire planet. Even then, Allure had more to offer, but no one came to Allure without intending to partake in its sexual offerings.

Allure was, initially, quite safe from the chaos that afflicted the Empire as the Kishrath invaded - it was far from the front lines of all the battles, and rich tourists continued to come to the pleasure planet, though now their attempts to distract themselves with hedonism were far more frenetic and desperate, partying as the galaxy burned around them. But even Allure, relatively safe as it was at first, found itself attacked by raiders, cut off from supplies it desperately needed and left unprotected and bare to countless attackers. Allure's people were carried off in dozens of raids, the infrastructure of the Arizda system was destroyed or pillaged.

Food was not grown natively in sufficient numbers to feed the planet, not even close, and so starvation and riots took over the resorts and cities. The zoos were broken into and the animals slaughtered, even some of the sapient aliens were eaten by the truly depraved - there are rumors of actual cannibalism, even, though the consensus of the historical community in Allure is that there remains no proof of that.

(That the historical community, like everything else on Allure, is censored to various degrees is of course, neither here nor there).

Order was restored, eventually, after much of the planet's population had died of starvation, disease or being put down by what would become the start of Allure's new government. The Mastery Society had merely been a professional association of professional dominators/dominatrixes, Bondage clubs and brothels, the trainers of the workers at the same, and all manner of related businesses. But when chaos took the planet, somehow, they managed to maintain a measure of cohesiveness, and in what had to be at least somewhat comical at first - before it very much stopped being that - they restored order wherever they could, by any means, including and especially by force. And they did it while still usually in the garb of their professions, or variations thereof. Hence the nearly comedic look that must have once been part of it.

And to maintain that order, infractions began to be punished in extreme ways - ways that do not bear further detailing here, though interested members of the Assembly can find further details in an Addendum Dossier available upon request. It is not advised for the squeamish, repressed or easily offended, however.

But the restoration of order came with a new order, an order that embraced the pleasure that Allure had been known for, but also the pain of order and punishment. No more could chaos ever be allowed to claim the planet.

And the way to ensure that was to rule through strict domination, to enforce submission, to maintain a total hierarchy from top to bottom. With everyone having a place and staying in it. With control maintained through pain and pleasure - punishment and reward, the perfect duality. But it would be reduced to its simplest forms, on both fronts, all the time.

Allure Today

Today the people of Allure are diverged from the baseline of the average human after centuries of eugenics, genetic modification in the womb and societal shifts leading to a level of conformity quite unlike most Children of Earth.

Allure-Race.png


But even more than the biology/psychology of an Allurid, the society of Allure seems, on the surface, to be nonsensical. On closer examination, it goes from nonsensical to appalling, disturbing and aberrant to any sane form of morality.

At the core of Allure's society is sex. Almost all forms of punishment and reward are related to sex, and it is the way the social hierarchy is constructed - without going into too much detail, there is no such thing as 'rape' (of adults) in Alluran law, and indeed, it is essentially encouraged. All of the people of Allure are monitored by sophisticated computer systems, implanted chips and monitors and more, implanted upon their 18th birthday - or, in theory, an earlier or later date for faster or slower aging subspecies or alien races, though such has remained theoretical for the time being.

Social status and thus, to an extent, one's role in society is, insanely, defined in large part by one's ability to force another to have sex, or at least control a sexual encounter - the totality of their experiences of domination or submission are thus calculated and weighed by the everpresent monitoring and thus their standing is weighed. The ones forced to submit or that have lost control the most have the lowest standing, reduced to various forms of menial labor, servitude or outright slavery. Managers and specialists have middling numbers for both domination and submission, and the most powerful of the society are those who have never or extremely rarely lost domination.

Among the Royal Family and various other elite families, inheritance of the throne is determined by the child that has the greatest domination score out of all the rest upon the death of the previous monarch. Though rumors persist of... even more perverse means of measuring that dominance, the IIS is quite certain that those are not true, bar what might be a handful of extreme examples.

Children are almost never carried to term by the mother, but instead grown in tubes after conception, though property, broadly speaking is matrilineal, since it may be quite difficult to determine paternity of a child given the mores of Alluran society.

Any deviation from the values and systems discussed above are investigated and punished by the Dominatores, the highest police agency in Allure, and one that retains its roots the strongest - their uniforms and combat armors, though entirely pragmatic and practical in actual materials and use, are designed to look like the outfits commonly worn by pre-collapse Alluran dominatrixes and dominators. They use electro-whips to stun and capture their targets, and those found guilty are... forced to have their status reduced to the lowest possible, and often subjected to reeducation camps to ensure they know their place and understand the importance of the Alluran way.

Allure-Space.png


Allure's broader ambitions, now that they have returned to space, is to spread their system to all life in the galaxy - not just the children of Earth. They are firm in their belief that all life must submit to a single, dominating hierarchy, and that their system is the best, perhaps only, way to do just that, to ensure that the crises that befell the First and Second Empires do not happen. And they are willing to use force or persuasion or economic coercion to achieve their goals, one way or another.

However, there is little urgency in their plans, as they are quite caught up in their own propaganda - the Allurans are convinced of the natural superiority of their system, and thus, that it will naturally take over others given time, that others will see the value or be made to see the value - and that they can take their time in conquest.

Alluran Culture

<Removed for purposes of good taste. Removed details available to members of the Assembly on request>

IISS Recommendation

The conquest and forcible dismantling of the entire Alluran social apparatus. Their practice of slavery of other Children of Earth is impermissible, and while there is nothing that should be done about a sexually libertine attitude or a society where in sexual domination and submission are part of the society (as long as it is entirely consensual), the Alluran social and governing system is immoral and indefensible by any reasonable measure.[/quote]
 

Kylia Quilor

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And there we have it, just about two weeks, as promised.

I tried to keep the dossier to the site rules, and give as little explicit detail as possible while getting the point across. if I violated the rules of the forums here, let me know and I'll gladly correct for them (and I suppose, if necessary, I may just have to axe the entire Dossier, though I'd rather not). From a worldbuilding sense or narrative sense, Allure is a very interesting kind of messed up (albeit a society that probably couldn't function, but hey, it's sci-fi) but it might not have been the best of ideas for this AAR-setting.

Anyway, Chapter 7 should be coming in about 2-3 weeks, probably closer to 3, though I can't say for sure.
 

stnylan

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The Allure of Slavery is disasteful in the extreme, the IISS recommendation should be carried out and, if resisted, carried out with extreme prejudice.
 

Macavity116

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**Goes away for two weeks.

**Come back to the forum after a lengthy absence.

**The very first thing I see is the ROYAL PARADISO OF ALLURE.

:confused:

"This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."
 

Kylia Quilor

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**Goes away for two weeks.

**Come back to the forum after a lengthy absence.

**The very first thing I see is the ROYAL PARADISO OF ALLURE.

:confused:

"This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

Bwahahaha. Glad you found it... interesting :p
 

Nikolai

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Ugh. Let those deviants see hellfire. From the rightful heirs of Earth. :p
 

Direbrew

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Hard to inflict punishment on a people like that, I would imagine. The only recourse is that old joke about a sub asking for punishment and a domme refusing :p

I binged this AAR very quickly and it's one of my favorites on the forums atm.

Now, if you could forward the parts of the dossier that were restricted to my personal mailbox... some of us must brave these kinks if we are to understand them, after all.
 

Kylia Quilor

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Hard to inflict punishment on a people like that, I would imagine. The only recourse is that old joke about a sub asking for punishment and a domme refusing :p

I binged this AAR very quickly and it's one of my favorites on the forums atm.

Now, if you could forward the parts of the dossier that were restricted to my personal mailbox... some of us must brave these kinks if we are to understand them, after all.

:D:p
 

Kylia Quilor

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Chapter 7 material has been played - ten relatively uneventful years. Didn't quite feel ready to declare the 2nd Impurity War - I just finished researching Destroyers, so I'd like to grab a few of those first.

But also:

13 First Contacts.

Thirteen. Yeesh. I mean, I knew what I was doing when I came up with so many distinct Empires, but damn, Kylia, wtf did you get yourself into?

Anyway, you can expect chapter 7 itself to be posted probably Sunday Evening EST
 

Macavity116

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Thirteen!? Your galactic map must be running out of empty space by now. Yikes.

Better clear out a few extra tables at Space UN. :p
 

Kylia Quilor

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there's at least three more nations floating around out there I haven't met yet in-game, too. Though maybe one got eaten up by now, that seems unlikely.

But yes, Space UN has a lot of tables.
 

Direbrew

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Kylia: Yes making all these nations will help me create a richer narrative!
Kylia, later: Why have I done this to myself? What terrible hubris led me to this madness? O, I suffer...

:p
 

HistoryDude

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Well,that will be a lot of Dossiers...
I've been secretly following this AAR for some time now...
 

Kylia Quilor

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Kylia: Yes making all these nations will help me create a richer narrative!
Kylia, later: Why have I done this to myself? What terrible hubris led me to this madness? O, I suffer...

:p

I'm a would-be writer hubris comes with the territory.

"We have a name for people who create universes - they're called gods. There is no greater hubris than to think that we could take the place of godlike implications."
-Gregory Benford

but yes holy crap what have I done to myself.

Well,that will be a lot of Dossiers...
I've been secretly following this AAR for some time now...

quite a lot I may either put half of them after chapter 8 perhaps or make some of them shorter just so we don't take quite so long to get them all out before chapter 8. To a certain extent some of them have been shorter more recently if only because it's becoming harder and harder to come up with Innovative details about diet and culture and so on for every single planet that I made. While I did create some lore for every faction I made, some are more one-dimensional than others in terms of the specific trope I was working with where is others I put a heck of a lot of thought into creating.

Also glad to have you post! Glad you're enjoying the AAR
 
Chapter 7: Peace Amidst A Galaxy At War (2243-2253)

Kylia Quilor

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Chapter 7: Peace Amidst A Galaxy At War (2243-2253)

The ten years after the victory in the 1st Impurity War were a period of tight budgets, limited stockpiles, and a plethora of contacts with the rest of the galaxy, the discovery of new threats and strange new nations that had arisen in the aftermath of the fall of the Second Empire. It was a period of peace for the Empire, but in every corner of the increasingly smaller galaxy, war gripped the Many Children of Earth.

Immediately after the completion of the cease-fire with the Purity Order, negotiations for open trading between the Saykori Protectorate and the Empire were also completed, allowing easier access to the pharmecuital plants of Saykori for the Empire, which would prove crucial when hostilities with the Puritans inevitably resumed.

Saykori-Commercial-Pact.png


The first of many wars abroad began on 1.20.2244 when the Confederated Houses of Nordan declared war against the Jolnar Technocratic Union, citing a desire to test the mettle of their well honed skills against the methodical and technological superior weaponry of the Jolnar.

Nordan-Declares-War-Against-Jolnar.png


The 1st Impurity War had been a rousing success for the Empire - several systems taken, the lines held and the Empire poised to drive a knife right into the heart of the genocidal monsters at their border. Unfortunately, not every Psilon on Vanerra agreed, and thanks to immigration from Alvania, new, pacifistic ideals were starting to spread throughout the populace. In response to the casualties - especially of the ground invasion of Da-Phorzoqus - a small group within the Assembly of Notables began to form. Calling themselves the Non-Interventionist Center, they rejected the idea that the Third Empire had to be born in blood, and that indeed Tychea would not welcome unity through violence.

Pacifists-Founded.png


It bordered on blasphemy and treason, but God-Empress Ishem found that bordering wasn't the same thing - the NIC, as they came to be known, was very careful to stay on this side of the law, and among their number were a few radical members of the clergy, who provided theological cover for their deviant and cowardly ideas.

Compounding the threat of the Puritans, the Empire received saber-rattling from the Nordan, in the form of a compliment and a threat. The 1st Impurity War had shown to the Nordan that the Empire was a worthy opponent to face someday, and in a diplomatic transmission, they said as much, praising the battle prowess of the Durunia Fleet and the Army of Crusading Justice.

But they also expressed a desire to face the Empire on the field of battle, to clash with them and see who came out on top, regardless of the casualties involved.

Nordan-Saber-Rattling.png


But all of that was overshadowed on 1.7.2245 when Ezo Caes, still abord the ISS Nerdyn after all these years, stumbled into the space of a new star nation.

The Black Rose Remnant.

Black-Rose-First-Contact-Replacement.png


Despite their bizzare appearance, distorted and twisted, the so-called Deadrosiers of the "Black Rose Remnant" claimed to be Children of Earth - and later DNA analysis would prove that claim true. Far harder to believe was their succeeding claim - that they hailed from Black Rose itself.

The claim they make, as impossible as it has to be, is that many outlying stations and picket fleets had yet to be destroyed when the Colossus Weapon destroyed Black Rose and the united rebels fought one another to claim the terrible engine of destruction for their own. These picket fleets, civilian vessels and a small handful of hastily thrown together colony ships that had been dispatched days before the attack on Black Rose were hardly enough to survive even against whatever small fragment of the rebels came out on top of the battle over the wreckage of Black Rose.

Face with no other choice, the stations were evacuated, every ship filled to bursting, and a blind jump was made to...

Anywhere.

Thousands of years floating in cold space, dealing with ships constantly falling apart, never finding even a remotely habitable world until they found a radioactive hellhole they called Deadrose had changed them, so they say, and now, they are ready to "reclaim their right", in the name of their Imperial Family, which they claim is descended from a cadet Branch of the First Empire's Imperial family.

And everyone else, every other Child of Earth bore the Blood Guilt of the destruction of Black Rose. Vanerrans included. None could ever be equal to the Deadrosiers, at best they could hope for second-class citizenship. Slavery or extermination would be the fate of those who resisted too much.

The discovery of the Black Rose Remnant and their claims sent the entire Empire into a furor. If they were the rightful rulers of the First Empire, did the Empire not owe the Deadrosiers proper deference, even oaths of loyalty? If they were the remnants of the First Empire, did they have access to the lost Jump Drives, to the technology to build Gateways, to the means to create Gaia Worlds?

Or worse...

Did they know how to make Colossus Weapons? Would they bring back one of the most awful of horrors humanity had created for itself?

Ishem took a breath and adjusted the micro-speaker on her collar, looking into the holo-camera, waiting for the gesture from the technician that it was time to speak.

just what we didn't need. This. The Empire was beset by threats - the Impras Syndicate, the Purity Order, the Angelic Library, The Orcus Regime...

And now a collection of strange mutants declaring they were the rightful heirs of the First Empire.

The technician held up four fingers, counting down, and then when the last finger dropped, Ishem took one last deep breath and looked at the holo-camera head on, the transmission sending throughout the Empire.

"People of the Empire. Four days ago, word reached us of the discovery of what might be the most unusual Children of Earth we have ever seen. That they are Children of Earth is unquestionable - their genetic markers are clear as to that origin. But the changes that have been wrought on them render them barely recognizable, even more alien to the original human form than Psilons..." she allowed a rueful chuckle. It was important for her people to know that she was able to laugh, that she wasn't concerned, worried... borderline terrified at the prospects of what the Black Rose Remnant represented.

All of which I am.

"Even more of interest is their claim to be the rightful heirs of the First Empire, the survivors of Black Rose. Despite the evidence they have sent, evidence they purport that supports their claim, the preliminary analysis by the scientists and the historians of the Empire is that they are in fact, lying."

"While it will take months to go through all the data they have provided, the current consensus is that the evidence will continue to bear out this first conclusion." Ishem continued, her voice calm, serene, soothing, her will a steady one to guide the Empire through the storms they all faced, a pillar of strength in frightening times.

"The so-called Deadrosiers of the so-called Black Rose Remnant are little more than con-artists on a massive scale, trying to sell the galaxy on some natural right to rule. Their assertions that all Children of Earth in the Galaxy but themselves bear a Blood Guilt for the destruction of Black Rose is merely theater to support their claims."

A lie.

The consensus was far from united, and though the proof was hardly deemed conclusive yet, far too many of the scientists and historians she had assembled into a closed think tank to study the "evidence" the Black Rose Remnant provided...

Far too many were starting to believe it, even if only tentatively.

"There is no evidence that these warped and damaged souls bear any of the greater technologies of the First Empire." That much, thank the goddess was true. No Jump Drives. No Colossus Weapons.

"The 'Black Rose Remnant' is a threat to the Empire, to the Divine Mission that Tychea has laid down for us, and they shall be dealt with in due time, but they pose no greater threat than the Purity Order - which we defeated once, and will defeat again and again."

"Vanerran Supremacy and the Third Empire will not come easy, such has always been known. These con-artists will only be one more bump in the road to the future Tychea has promised us, the future that will be ours, as long as we dedicate ourselves to the righteous path before us!"

"In the name of the Goddess, glory to Vanerra, glory to the Empire, glory to the Children of Earth!"​

Compounding the discovery of the Black Rose Remnant, however, was the fact that after IIS intercepted a number of transmissions the Black Rose Remnant was sending out, seven more nations were discovered - and it was learned that the Black Rose Remnant was caught up in a war, rendering them even less of an immediate concern than they had been. Between 1.14.2245 and 1.20.2245, the Empire established first contact with all seven:

Promiser-First-Contact.png


The Promise Coalition greeted the Empire with relative warmth - though not entirely fond of the Empire's political structure, the Coalition's hatred of piracy meant that any civilized society that condemned such practices was welcome to their friendship, at least without further reason to oppose them. Born out of the aftermath of a brutal pirate raid in 2185, the people of the world now named Promise made the Oath and Promise - to never let pirates and marauders live, and to ensure the Children of Earth suffered not at the hands of such monsters.

Bandar-First-Contact.png


The United Bandar Fleets, by contrast, were the very same pirates that had raided what would become the Promisers - their region of space had been blessed by unusually placid hyperlanes faster than the rest of the galaxy, and the Orcs of Bandar, a world that had been a hive of criminal activity and piracy even in the Second Empire, took ever advantage of that opportunity. For the moment, though, the Bandar Fleets were allied with the Black Rose Remnant in a war against their former victims in the Promise Coalition and the Promisers' allies in another odd nation.

Purposeful-First-Contact.png


The Purposeful Unity.

Finding their origins in the teachings of the late Second Empire Elvhen philosopher Legaros Voran, the Elvhen that settled the world of Kayroar as the Second Empire began to collapse believed that the true source of strife for the Children of Earth was free will and individuality - that only through true collective will and action could a true peace be reached for all the Children of Earth. Tyranny could not truly eliminate free will. Instead, through a combination of cybernetic enhancements, nearly insane genetic modifications that should not work, and psionic techniques extracted from a recovered Skreeth Data Core found on one of the outlying planets of the Purpose system, the Kayroar Elvhen joined all their wills into one single unified gestalt.

The Purposeful Unity is a singular hivemind, made up of billions of Elvhen, all speaking with one voice, and one mind. While it appears that they do have some limited free will and personality in each individual member of the Hivemind, it is a frightening submission and indeed, obliteration of the self.

AML-First-Contact.png


The greatest threat among the contacts of the "Black Rose Remnant", however, was the Anti-Mutant League of Alcarnus.

Genocidal monsters akin to the Purity Order, the AML is at least fractionally more sane than the Puritans - baseline humans, they do not subscribe to a false narrative as to what Humanity's genetic past is, but they instead believe that all mutants must die. Originally merely an anti-genetic engineering movement in the Second Empire, the Anti-Mutant League appears to have, in the aftermath of the fall of the Second Empire, radicalized immensely on the world of Alcarnus, taken it over began a crusade to claim the rest of the galaxy and "save" all true baseline humans from the evils of any and all "mutants".

Fortunately, the AML is far too distant for now to be a major concern. Especially as they are caught up in their own war with their neighbor:
Systech-First-Contact.png


Systech Solutions Incorporated, a name familiar to any student of the history of the Second Empire, has somehow survived on the world of Dalia, and rebirthed itself into a major economic concern. Interested far more in the bottom line than anything else, the Empire will stand to benefit quite well from them in due time, assuming they hold the line against the AML.

Pacific-First-Contact.png


Contact with the isolationists of the Pacific Harmony was brief, rude and inconclusive. Isolationist to the point of pacifism, the Harmony has no interest in the rest of the galaxy, believing any non-Elvhen to be of little merit due to their shorter lifespans, and even other Elvhen to be far too concerned with the rest of the galaxy to be of interest. What little we can tell does suggest a very rich artistic culture, but one the Harmony has no desire to share.

New-Covenant-First-Contact.png


The Cult of the Dead Carpenter is one of the most fractious and divided faiths in human history, more prone to sectarianism and internecine conflict and recriminations. The theocratic "New Covenant" takes the Cult of the Dead Carpenter even farther, by following a Third Testament, starring the Second Coming of the Dead Carpenter himself, who purportedly arose on the world of Nezek Prime 819 years ago, during the dark times after the fall of the Second Empire. Abandoning all pretensions of peace and love, the New Covenant will impose their true faith on all the Children of Earth.

But even this rush of new contacts was not enough - the galaxy was already becoming increasingly smaller, but Systech Solutions Incorporated, in exchange for contacts with nations in Vanerra's region of space, also provided contact with another power.

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The Church of Artea dates back to the First Empire. Following the so-called Bloody Whip, a Goddess of pain, power and blood, the Church of Artea has always been a study in contrasts, and the modern form of it, ruling over a region of space from the world of Satan, is no different. Despite following such a vicious, cruel god, the Arteans are surprisingly friendly, though cautious. They prefer peaceful spread of their Faith.

The Church of Tychea did not, surprisingly, immediately decry the Artean faith. Though it is a cruel and bloody religion, the Oracles and the Clergy independelty came to the same conclusion - Artea is, in a way, merely a manifestation of Tychea. The alien Kossuth that originally worshiped Tychea through the face of Artea were merely incapable of understanding Tychea's true majesty as the Collective Will of the Universe made Manifest, and though Artea is radically different from Tychea in so many ways, she is, unquestionably, merely a facet of the Goddess, an aspect left to those whose needs are different.

A lesser aspect, true, but an aspect nonetheless.

The Church of Artea, quite surprisingly, seems to agree with this theological conclusion as well, though the leadership of the Church does not subscribe to the idea that the House of Tychos is owed their alliegance because of this.

Not as of yet, anyway.

But through the Arteans, still more contacts were made, with five more stellar powers, finally rounding out this fast-paced period of new contacts:

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Sotrore, in the Second Empire, was best known for its excellent universities and the quality of the philosophers it produced, and it would appear that that has retained true. Ruled by a long line of Philosopher-Kings in the style of the ancient ideals of Old Earth's earliest philosophers, Sotrore stands as a third pillar of Psilon life in the galaxy, though like Xathea, they do not yet subscribe to the truth faith of Tychea.

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The Iron Kingdom of Moristar is militant, with a desire to create their own version of the Third Empire, founded on wills of Iron. The great weakness of the Second Empire, in the eyes of the Fleet-with-a-nation that is Moristar, was it's unwillingness to be truly Iron, to be unflinching and unbending. Had the leadership of the Empire refused to bend to the will of regional elites and shown true will and determination, the Second Empire would never have become decentralized and thus so vulnerable to the Kishrath. Had the generals that overthrew the Senate had the will to truly follow through on their actions and impose true order and discipline on the Second Empire, it could have held together.

Iron. Iron Wills. Iron Leaders. Iron People. Such is the doctrine of Moristar. To bend is to break, to compromise is to destroy that which you hope to preserve.

Moristar is not especially hostile, but Iron does not bend, and by the will of the Goddess, neither can we.

But far more terrifying than the Moristarian Iron Fleet, even if a distant threat, was the discovery that the Battle of Elteris Prime did not destroy all the Gynoids.

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Programming Note said:
As I mentioned all the way back at the start, the image for the Gynoids in the first post is the 'lore-accurate' one, but at the time of starting this game, the Mod that provided that image was not working properly, so I had to use this one. Interestingly, it seems that mod is working now, it's a mite too late to fix it for this game. But still, the image in the first post is what the Gynoids are supposed to look like.

In the Kishrath Hive-Tunnels deep in the Mantle of Elteris Prime, the 2118th Infantry Division of Gynoids survived.

In the tunnels, a small number of fabricator and command units survived, corrupted sensor data suggesting to them that the battle above was still ongoing on the surface above. And that some Kishrath escaped. But with no FTL ships at their disposal, few actual combat drones and little resources, the Gynoids had no choice but to rebuild slowly and rediscover core technologies they'd never been programmed with.

For the Kishrath still needed to be defeated.

Unfortunately for all life in the galaxy, it would seem that the AI controlling the 2118th Division has come to the conclusion that, after their 'escape' from Elteris Prime, the Kishrath had infected and assimilated all other life in the galaxy.

To fulfill their programming, all life must be exterminated, all Kishrath killed.

Even greater than the monsters of the New Ravening, or the assimilationist Archivist Angels, the genocidal monsters of the AML and Purity Order, the Gynoids are the technology of man, the saviors of the Children of Earth, turned against their creators and all else for one singular, sole purpose.

Absolute destruction. The saviors will, if not stopped, become the Destroyers.

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The Phidain Commonwealth, thankfully, is a friendly and open power, experts in genetic modification - they uplifted the pre-sapient life of their world, Saesur, creating a co-equal race that lives and works alongside them, and they are perhaps the most openly xenophilic people in the stars... in every sense.

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The Durgon of the world of Goldenhand were long expert bankers and financiers in the Second Empire. Like Systech, the collapse of the interstellar system of trade and finance that served them was a devastation, but like Systech, the world has risen to new heights. The various banking clans of Goldenhand have now unified under the leadership of the Golkdan clan, though given the strategic intermarriages between the clans, they are effectively one supra-clan by this point. The Golkdan Banking Union wants a new unity in the stars, but they don't really care who makes it, as long as they can profit. However, as staunch materialists and broadly atheistic, they are unfriendly to the foundational ideals of the Empire. What this will mean in the long term remains to be seen.

Finally though, by 3.15.2253, the spate of contacts was over and done with, leaving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the IIS, the Ministry of Trade and various related departments, offices and agencies scrambling to provide new arrangements, analysis and plans to the God-Empress and the Assembly.

On 6.15.2245, the study of Bold Horizon's moon, Ucrichi IIa was completed. As suspected, it was not a natural satellite to Bold Horizon, but instead, a migrant from another planet destroyed elsewhere in the solar system, at least, that was the theory. The cause of the destruction was unclear, but judging from the extensive dark matter deposits on one side of the sheared sphere, dark matter energy or weaponry was involved in some form.

On 7.18.2246, colonists drawn from the increasing number of Elvhen immigrants from Saykori were dispatched to the tropical planet Izlenek II, to establish a colony to be named Theurge.

As the Empire built more ships, trained more soldiers in preparation for the 2nd Impurity War and tried to ensure the domestic side of things was ready to support the engines of war, the Empire found itself repeatedly operating with minimal reserved, forced to sell dark matter and food surpluses in order to gain the funds needed to obtain essential minerals and alloys for continued development and production. More alloy foundries were established, and though it was a diversion of resources the Empire also was forced to provide subsidies to various civilian manufactories out in the colonies, to support the basic needs of the populace. Further, new research labs had to be opened - the Empire needed to take and hold a true technological edge if they hoped to challenge their rivals.\

Triangulating and triaging these demands was a thankless task that fell to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Industrial Council - the demands of the Army and Fleet for materials was met by the demands of every other arm of the Empire's government for resources, and there simply weren't enough free laborers to actually do all the work that needed to be done, especially on the colonies. Vast mining and farming complexes were built, but there simply wasn't yet enough manpower to fill them, but it was deemed better to have the capacity now than to need it and not have it later.

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On 4.7.2247, the Impras Syndicate declared war against the Orcus Regime, apparently unconcerned that they were jostling the elbow of a power that was doing good by all the children of Earth by targeting the monsters of the New Ravening. But the Imprasians didn't even bother to come up with a justification, they merely moved their forces across the border in a naked territory grab.

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Shortly thereafter, on 6.7.2247, the ongoing Nordan-Jolnar war that had begun three years earlier ended with a Nordan victory, albeit a minor one. Having tested the mettle of the Jolnar, the Nordan were content with merely capturing a handful of border systems, rather than prosecuting the war to the ends of the earth.

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The three captured systems

However, also on 6.7.2247 came the death of High Explorator Ezo Caes.

His 47 year service aboard the Nerdyn had only seen him return to the Forni system a bare handful of times, and not even to the Empire's space in more than the last twenty. But he had been a servant of the Empire, pushing at the margins of explored space, making contacts and finding Cybrex artifacts. His list of scientific and academic honors was long, and he had honorary degrees from every Vanerran Institute of Higher Learning.

Ezo Caes had been a brilliant man, the one who had proven that the Hyperlanes had begun to stabilize, the one who found the shell of a Gaia Seed, Cybrex artifacts, habitable worlds and countless alien powers, friendly and hostile. He had spent his life seeing - up close - wonders few Vanerrans, few of any race or people could hope to see in anything but video, holograms and images.

An Empire-wide day of Mourning was declared in the wake of his passing, and the Science Ministry held a casket-less funeral for him, and his body was interred in with other heroes of the Empire in the upper levels of the Imperial Crypt, just scant feet above the lower levels were previous God-Emperors and God-Empresses and other members of the House of Tychos were interred.

To fill his very large shoes, Ezo's protege Shami Calvi was named to command the Nerdyn. Born on the ship, Shami was noted at a young age for her brilliant, eager mind, endlessly curious about the galaxy at large and, perhaps even more importantly, she had a marked talent for the physical and astrophysical sciences.

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On 1.6.2248, after years of negotiations, the Kuiper system, in the Leage of Kram'col, was selected as the location of a central market and clearing house for Galactic Trade. Despite the Kram'col's general isolation and closed borders, exceptions could be made for trade and traders, and traffic to and from the Galactic Market proved to be the biggest source of foreign travel in the League.

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Very few actual physical goods changed hands at the station, of course. Rather deals were made and orders sent and money changed hands as resources were moved far away from the station, the Market soon getting a permanent presence from nearly every nation - with the obvious exceptions of the Purity Order, the AML, the New Ravening, the Angelic Library and the 2118th Gynoid Infantry Division - and every corporate and trading concern in known space. Even the Purposeful Unity, for all that their gestalt disdained trade and commerce, had representatives there, in case essential resources were ever needed for purchase to the Unity.

In time, millions upon millions would call an ever expanding star-station home, and the Galactic Market Station would come to be known as The Street, named for a legendary mythical center for finance and commerce back on Old Earth.

On 3.1.2248, in news that made the galaxy tremble, the Gynoids launched an invasion of the Church of Artea's territory - their initial forays were quickly pushed back, but the Gynoids were now clearly ready to purge all the 'Kishrath' from the Galaxy. Or at least start the process.

But even with this deadly threat to all life on the warpath the galaxy was ready and primed for internecine conflict, even as other wars ended - the Deadrosier-Bandar alliance was forced to inconclusively end its war with the Purposeful Unity and the Promise Coalition.

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On 5.24.2248, the Despoiling Horde announced a return to their raiding ways of old, and launched attacks on the Stalinist Socialist Republic, soon pushing deep into the SSR's space:

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On 9.6.2248, Fleet Logistics was given a major overhaul to support the demands of the preparations for war against the Puritans. With the Throhinuth system so far from the Empire's core regions, with Neston the only channel for supplies and personell from the front, entirely new systems for resource and manpower management had to be created, lest this limb be cut out from under the Empire.

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On 10.13.2249, the Puritans showed that they had regained some of their confidence after their poor showing in the 1st Impurity War, with Director of Declarations of Death Rekvor czo Stoz'qah sending out a series of increasingly gruesome, painful and and frankly, biologically impossible promises of Death for all Psilons.

God-Empress Ishem merely mocked Director czo Stoz'qah with increasing bite and wit with every transmission, and IIS spies reported that by the end of the month, the Director was taking a sabbatical from his post in order to refrain from having an aneurysm from all the rage the God-Empress's disrespect was putting him through. He is reported to have said

"YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO FEAR US, SCUM! PREPARE FOR YOUR DEATH AND DESTRUCTION, COWER AND KNOW THAT THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO SAVE YOURSELVES! FEAR THE ORDER!"

Needless to say, the God-Empress nor any of the Imperial Government was in any hurry to comply with these demands.

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On 3.1.2250, it was found that the planet life on Blessed Friendship - all of it - was mobile, posing a serious risk to the colonies on the planet if the problem was not addressed. Research teams were immediately dispatched to see to it.

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Showing just how uncompromising they could be, the Iron Kingdom of Moristar, on 4.13.2251, declared that the Church of Artea, and the worship of the Bloody Whip was anathema and invaded the Arteans, even as they fought the Gynoids.

When asked for a comment by the Vanerran Broadcasting Network, the Minister of Foreign Affair's opinion of Moristar's actions nearly broke the automatic censors with its profanity and vulgarity. Needless to say, the official stance of the Empire was that Moristar was run by borderline insane idiots who were now placing life in the entire northern reaches of the galaxy in jeopardy by attacking anyone at war with the Gynoids.

On 9.19.2251, the Orcus Regime, forced by the necessities of their conflict with the Impras Syndicate, ended active Hostilities against the new Ravening - and while the New Ravening had captured an insignificant system from the Regime, they had lost several systems in turn, and so at least some containment had been provided.

On 1.22.2252, Theurge reached self-sufficiency and 200 million settlers. On 6.11.2252, in a statement that condemned Moristar for their idiocy, the Phidain Commonwealth declared war on the Gynoidss.

On 2.10.2253, after many years of work, designs for two classes of Destroyers were ready to be put into the field. The Close-range Knife class and the long-rang Artillery Catapult class.

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The Catapult class was designed to be able to supplement it's artillery role with point defense, in the event that enemy carriers or missile ships targeted the artillery.

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In an ideal situation, a Knife-class Destroyer will carve right through a ship's shields and begin to punch into an enemy hull shortly after an engagement begins.

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On 9.29.2253, the Migrating Forest Problem on Blessed Friendship had yet to be solved, but there was a new sense of urgency, as the forests cut through the outlying portions of a city under construction. As slow moving as they were, the forests caused no casualties, but the property damage was quite expensive.

On 11.02.2253, a memo was circulated throughout Fleet Command, emphasizing a need for 'Overwhelming Force' to serve as the heart of the Empire's strategy going forward, but especially in the impending 2nd Impurity War.

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"I appreciate that on the surface, this memo seems to be extremely similar to the strategy Ascia Nat suggested in the runup to the 1st Impurity War," the Fleet Chief of Staff, Valia Moqu said. "But that's not exactly what we're proposing here."

"Good," the God-Empress said, setting the tablet-pad on her desk. "Then explain it to me. Because anything smacks of Nat's idiotic ideas has no place in the Fleet." The purge that had followed the end of the 1st Impurity War, with anyone loyal to the former Minister Nat was still legendary in the Fleet and the Ministry of War. Ascia Nat herself had resigned in disgrace when the 1st Impurity War began, but she'd had a powerful faction behind her.

Not much anymore.

"As it stands right now, both the Puritans and we have our fleets stationed in the Antarkos and Throhinuth. Virtually everything both side have is in those systems. In that sense, it is none too different than how things were before the 1st Impurity War. Unfortunately, we both have options that didn't exist now, and that complicates things significantly."

"Because there is a wider border." There was no flavor of a question to her words.

"Precisely. The Puritans could decide to try to come at Throhinuth from behind, or try to bypass it and our ships entirely - and it would be very hard for our ships to catch up to them."

"On the other hand, they know exactly where we have to strike and want to strike - if we were to try the reverse, leave Throhinuth and Da-Phorzoqus uncovered and unprotected to go around, not only would that jeopardize everything we've managed to accomplish in that system and planet, leaving those "Pureborn" loyal to us and the Army of Crusading Justice itself exposed."

"Essentially," Valia summarized, laying another tablet on the desk, "the Puritans could try to turn the tables and pull another Neston on us. Which means we need to be able to provide enough forces to punch through their ships and the stationary defenses. At the moment, we don't have that."

"But if the Puritans try to go around?"

"Well, depending on when hostilities begin, and who starts the war, they will make some small initial gains, but, if you approve this new budget," yet another tablet was laid onto the desk, the God-Empress immediately looking over it, "you'll see that a major focus for the coming year will be the fortification of every station between the border and Neston. As it stands, Throhinuth is well fortified. As long as it is backed by our ships, they will face Neston all over again."

"But there's no way these outlying systems could ever be as fortified as Throhinuth," The God-Empress observed. "The stations lack the capacity for enough fortifications."

"And there's no way we could be sure to have our fleets in position. The fact of the matter, your Divinity, that it is a dirty little secret of Interstellar Warfare that fixed defenses are, at the end of the day, nothing more than a stumbling block. Any nation willing to commit the time and resources can punch through even the greatest of static defenses. All static defenses can do is constrain options, slow enemies down, and, most importantly, weaken them for confrontation with mobile forces."

"Attrition."

"The casualties to our station personnel will be total for multiple systems, even if we have time to fully implement all the planned upgrades, but... it will be the only way we can be sure that a battle between our fleets is successful. As it stands, if our fleet is defeated... we lose every ship we have, or nearly so, and we may as well cede the entire Empire to the Puritans. We cannot afford to fight a pitched battle where we do not have supremacy." She laid out three more tablets.

"We established contingencies based on projected Puritan plans of attack," Valia gestured to each in turn, "Identified as Black-1, Black-2, and Black-3. Assuming we are able to put the defense systems in place, the vessels of the Puritan fleet will be weakened, and, as long as we haven't frittered our forces on any of the Puritan's stations

The God-Empress narrowed her eyes.

"So you're saying that even if they leave Antarkos uncovered, we can't attack it?"

"No. Antarkos is their capital. It has formidable defenses. Defenses that would substantially weaken our fleet. We cannot afford to take those loses until we have defeated the Puritan fleet in detail. Else they could simply pounce on our ships from behind, as I'm proposing we do to them."

The God Empress looked - and felt - somewhat lost amidst the slew of tablets and plans before her. "Break it down for me - is it the opinion of the General Staff that the 2nd Impurity War will, for all intents and purposes, come down to just one battle?"

"Ultimately, yes. Either their fleets are dispersed and destroyed on a single battle, or ours are. There can be no middle ground, and trying to dance around each other and hit outlying targets will only hurt us more than them - their vessels are, pound for pound, stronger than ours, at least until we can start putting Destroyers into service.... And unlike defense platforms, which are fire and forget, our logistics train can't quite yet support Destroyers."

The God-Empress spent the next several minutes going over the various tablets, quicking moving from one to the next as Valia explained the details of the analysis and the further specifics of Black-1, Black-2 and Black-3, as well as the contingencies, categorized into Grey-A and Grey-B, each one with a number of subheadings after it. This also necessitated two more tablets.

Sitting back in her chair, the God-Empress cleared her throat, steepled her fingers and glared at Valia. The Fleet Chief of Staff flinched a little at the stern snap that whipped off of the God-Empress's mind.

"Let's start over, from the top. And, most importantly - if this all works if the Puritans decide not to initiate hostilities. If they don't choose to act first, sooner or later, we'll need to start things - and then make sure they dance according to your schedule."​

Author's Note said:
Bonus points to whomever can correctly guess which scene from which Star Trek I'm channeling with this narrative scene here.

As 2253 drew to a close, the Empire was starting to come out of the thin budgets of the last decade, it had over 200 Billion souls - Psilons, Elvhen, Human and Pureborn - and it was almost ready to start a new war with the Purity Order.

And all around, the galaxy was lit aflame by wars in every corner.

The Children of Earth had found eachother, en masse, and like always, man declared war on man. For every reason. For none.

And as always, the hubris of man has come to bite them.

But despite those threats, the dream of the Third Empire is stronger than ever before.

As The Goddess Wills, So Shall It Be.
 
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