WAR ROBOTS 00 - BACKSTORY
In the year 226 Pre Desolation (PD) a third world war (WWIII) began, fought by our ancestors on Earth. It was fought primarily by three great nations and was the most devastating war Earth had ever seen. Unlike the preceding global conflicts of Earth WWIII, or The War of the Apocalypse as modern historians refer to it, was not fought by two opposing sides, but by three. The three nations of Russia, America, and Europe each fought the other two for supremacy in a conflict that could not be avoided anymore than it could be won.
Leading up to the war, declining American influence began to create a massive power vacuum in parts of the world that had long relied on American assurances of trade and military might for stability. A strengthened Russia intervened in these regions and the world began to turn to Russia for leadership. This shift in global leadership accelerated the decline of America and desperate American leaders worked to regain the influence that they had lost throughout the world. This quickly resulted in proxy wars between the two countries, largely centered in the Central Desert District, formerly known as the Middle East, where the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa meet.
A simultaneous conflict was brewing between the nations of Europe and Russia, however an even fiercer conflict raged within Europe itself. Almost half of the member nations of the European Union were facing bankruptcy. Most of these poorer nations favored trade and energy deals with Russia which was experiencing huge economic growth in part because of its involvement in stabilizing the energy rich Middle East. The wealthier European nations, particularly France and Germany, wanted to ensure progress toward a united Europe and viewed greater involvement with Russia as a threat to European unity and sovereignty. Ultimately this lead to a brief European civil war in which Germany asserted its dominance over the continent and formally established the European Union as one country. However during the war several eastern members of Europe appealed to Russia for help. The result was prolonged and open conflict between Europe and Russia over territory claimed by German Europe but held by separatist groups seeking admission to the Russian Federation.
The seeds of conflict between Europe and America were planted when the Americans began to re-assert themselves in world affairs. American programs to build foreign fighting groups who opposed Russia also strengthened militant organizations that worked actively against Europe. These differences came to a head during the European Civil War when America supported the secession of the United Kingdom from Europe. While Germany and France had quickly established control of the European continent the islands of the United Kingdom were not successfully secured, and backed by the American Navy fought a prolonged naval and air war with German Europe.
This three-way planetary conflict lasted until the year 186 PD. During the forty years of global warfare various nuclear weapons were employed with increasing frequency and devastating affects. The result was sporadic regions of radioactive wastelands. The population of earth began to drop drastically as famine and disease spread. Contaminated water sources poisoned entire cities and the birth rate of the planet dropped sharply from mankind’s constant exposure to nuclear material in the air. Finally the three super powers had exhausted themselves. In multiple incidents their own populations revolted. The war for global supremacy ended, with no victor but a sickened and dieing world.
Despite the ravaging of humanity and her home there was hope for recovery. The grand children of those who had begun WWIII signed a truce in 186 PD and by 177 PD had signed agreements that would forge the three beleaguered empires into one human government. The world had changed. It was apparent to all nations that in order to survive mankind must unite. The world united out of desperation, but as that unity grew a hope was born. Hope not just for survival but to flourish. Hope for not just earth, but for the stars. Together mankind would spread life and guarantee it’s future instead of jeopardizing it. The Union of Humanity was born.
As war often does the great conflict had produced massive advances in technology. Most famously, the war’bots developed during the war were more mobile and versatile, not to mention more lethal than conventional armored vehicles. War’bots had first been necessary as a means to control portions of the battlefield that were severely irradiated and could not be accessed by conventional forces. Such areas were often completely devastated and could not be traversed by wheel or track. For this hellish environment the walking war robots were first developed. Initially they had been remotely operated and some were even autonomous, however they proved too vulnerable to cyber attacks and were quickly replaced by ‘bots crewed by pilots.
It was the experience gained from designing these giant semi-autonomous machines coupled with advances in space technology and travel during the war that provided humanity its greatest hope of moving forward. The low to mid orbital transports and bombers of the war provided the prototypes needed for efficient spacecraft and furthered the goal of a human government that would span the solar system. Earth was poisoned, and if she survived it would be hundreds, perhaps thousands of years before mankind flourished on her surface again.
The newly formed Union of Man focused its resources on establishing a permanent human presence through out the inner solar system. By 165 PD massive robotic printing and construction systems had established Luna City, humanity’s new capitol and the first major settlement on Earth’s moon. Shortly following Luna City’s establishment Mars City, built in the same ever-expanding hexagonal pattern as Luna City, and Mercury City, the great subterranean colony and mine were permanently inhabited. While, both Luna and Mars were sufficiently plentiful in raw resources it was the mine on Mercury that produced the highest quantity of heavy and otherwise rare metals that provided Shipyards on Luna and Mars with sufficient materials.
Worsening radiation on Earth accelerated its inhabitant’s immigration to Luna City and as early as 162 PD the official census of Luna City exceeded 100,000 citizens. Another 100,000 inhabitants were estimated to be living in other settlements on Luna, Mars, and Mercury that same year. By the year 159 PD there were in excess of one million citizens registered as living permanently off Earth. The radioactive contamination of Earth continued to spread and district upon district was declared uninhabitable by Luna City’s Union Council. These uninhabitable districts were quarantined and emigration from them was prohibited to avoid genetic contamination. As an added precaution in 153 PD all refugees from Earth were subject to rigorous screening before being allowed to gain citizenship in the Union of Man. The government that had promised to save mankind now excluded most of humanities members.
The Union’s increasing restriction on emigration from Earth led directly to a burst of unauthorized Lunar, and Martian colonization. The Council of Man, in an effort to protect the genetic health and integrity of humanity, ordered the extermination of all non-citizens on Luna and Mars. The great cleansing of 140 PD serves as a reminder to us of the desperate struggle our ancestors faced to ensure our very existence today. The human will to survive was not limited to Union citizens though and many of the doomed inhabitants of Earth resorted to smuggling, piracy and any other unauthorized actions in an attempt to survive. To this day their descendants lurk in the darkest corners of the Solar system.
The rising threat of piracy lead to the considerable growth of humanity’s navy and the creation of the first two interplanetary space craft with the single designated purpose of warfare. The MK1 Battle Cruiser and MK1 Assault Cruiser provided the teeth to mankind’s navy that the older Expeditionary Cruiser and Transport Cruiser lacked. The pirates and other criminals, who generally relied on these older ships, were no match for true warships and quickly learned to avoid any regions of space patrolled by Union ships.
During the same period increasing desperation on Earth and the corresponding resolve of the Union’s Council resulted in open revolt by many districts on Earth. The residents on Earth believed that the Council had written them off and was abandoning them to the encroaching nuclear devastation. The aged war’bot forces of the third world war returned to service under many various revolting factions on Earth as well as for the council’s security forces, who used them to crush the uprisings. This period of conflict also saw the first war’bot design to be produced on Luna without ever having been produced on Earth. The Golem became the primary war’bot for Union Security Forces and is the most widely used, by most Lunar clans to this day.
Despite the severity with which the Earth insurgencies and pirates were dealt with the Unions Council worked tirelessly to make room for authorized immigrants to Luna and Mars. The construction processes that had first been used to print Luna City had been steadily improved on and work had not stopped to build one city after another to which immigrants could relocate and become productive citizens. Many of the cities were created as destinations for immigrants from specific Earth districts. London, Kiev, Beijing, Washington, Rio, Rome, Sydney, Frankfurt, Cairo, and many others were quickly filled even as more cities were built.
When off Earth colonization had first begun, only those who were the best in their field had been permitted to settle. Engineers, and skilled tradesman contributed greatly to the early success of the cities. However, as the flow of immigrants increased their skill decreased. The resulting flood of impoverished refugees from Earth brought with it the immortal problems of humanity. The Union of Humanity Council created a provision for its poorer members, but the ever-growing needs of the poor quickly surpassed what the government could produce.
Because over seventy percent of the burdensome refugees from Earth were permanently settled on Luna the Council established a tax system for the colonial cities of Mars and Mercury in 107 PD. Up until this point each of the cities, regardless of location, had been under the direct authority of the council on Luna. In response to increasing demand for taxes, largely in the form of raw materials and food, the cities of Mars created the Council of Mars and demanded equal representation in the Union government. The Union of Humanity Council, based in Luna City, was almost entirely comprised of its own residents and refused to allow any change to its membership. The Union Council declared the Council of Mars illegal, and issued arrest warrants for its members. In alarmed response the citizens of Mercury refused to comply with the new taxes and also refused to export any goods to Luna. After only seventy years of unity, and many grand achievements, Humanity had returned to its natural state of chaos.
By the end of the year 107 PD a fleet of Union cruisers had arrived in Mercury’s orbit to enforce compliance and ensure that the export of Mercurial ores resumed. Although, the force was small, consisting of only twenty-eight cruisers, eight of which were transports, it was considerably powerful compared to the approximately fifty modified MK1 Transport Cruisers that Mercury had assembled for defense. After a Union vessel easily destroyed one Mercurial Cruiser the other transports quickly fled and Martial law was implemented on Mercury.
Dissent within the Union Navy lead to the desertion of sixty-seven cruisers and their crews who abandoned Luna and went into service for the Council of Mars, significantly increasing its navy’s strength. These included three Battle Cruisers, and fourteen Expeditionary Cruisers. Another thirteen Cruisers of various types were recorded as missing, and were presumed to have deserted, but their whereabouts were never determined.
With over a third of its Navy missing, and a significant portion of its remaining force securing Mercury, the Union Council was unable to immediately respond to what it now called the Mars’ separatists the way it had to Mercury’s petulance. A military stand off ensued.
Without easy access to water from Earth’s oceans Mar’s established ice mines on the dwarf planet Ceres. However, the Union Council sought to pressure Mars into compliance and deployed Cruisers in an attempt to intercept Martian ice transports. These heavy patrols near Ceres, the military occupation of Mercury, and responding to the sharp increase in Piracy, that resulted from the political instability, began to stretch the Union Navy’s resources thin. Although new Cruisers were still produced in Luna’s orbital shipyard, they were produced just as rapidly by Mars and in Independence Year (IY) 0 the Council of Mars formally declared its independents from Luna.
Feigning a large-scale attack that appeared to target the primary orbital shipyards of Luna the Mars Navy lured the bulk of Union Navy Cruisers away from their normally close defensive orbit of Earth’s moon. Once Luna was vulnerable a small detachment of fast Assault Cruisers escorted the drone ship Phoenix of Mars to Luna City where after discharging its ordinance, it rammed into the capitol city, destroying the government district and killing all five hundred Union Councilors, who were in an emergency session because of the perceived attack on their shipyard.
The fleet from Mars, outnumbered, broke of their approach and returned home. They left Earth’s moon in Chaos. Luna City was a smoking ruin with tens of thousands dead. The fifty-seven cities of Luna had no government. The Union Navy had no command. Each of its senior officers had answered directly to the council leaving no clear leader. Worse, most cruisers had been crewed entirely from one city at a time, and an immediate divide opened within the fleet. A simultaneous power struggle within the Navy and between the Lunar cities quickly lead to the Cruiser Commanders moving to support their home cities against political rivals or to protect them after being threatened.
When the news of what had happened on Luna reached the blockading cruisers at Mercury a quick thinking Battle Cruiser Commander, named Sterling, declared himself in command of the Mercury detachment and threatened to destroy any cruiser trying to leave. The Cruisers at Mercury had been a relatively small force but had suddenly become the second largest Navy in the Solar System. Sterling later declared himself Marshal of Mercury and eventually established what is now the Protectorate of Mercury. Possibly the wealthiest of mankind’s Solar realms, the Protectorate is the largest trade center for the independent Lunar cities as well as the Confederacy of Mars, countless pirates, smugglers, and thousands of other men and women who live on illusive cruisers, decaying colonies or cobbled together stations throughout the Solar system.
Far from Mercury, Mars dissolved its planetary council after toppling the Union government but maintains a loose and often quarrelsome confederacy. The Mars fleet, although the largest unified navy in the Solar System has never mounted a significant attack against Luna since the destruction of Luna City. To do so would risk uniting the lunar cities again and there is little to gain from such an attack. Instead, the Mars fleet has worked increasingly independently, with Cruiser Commanders assuming ownership of their ships and soliciting investors for salvage expeditions to Earth, trade runs, or selling protection of a valuable shipment. Piracy is a major problem throughout the Solar system and Mars investors are always happy to buy a share in a newly captured cruiser.
Conversely, on Luna, most of the cruisers operating from its ports are owned by one of the cities. These Cruisers serve as deterrents to rival cities and pirates projecting power and protecting trade with Mercury for their home city. Without the massive bureaucracy of the Union of Humanity and its council virtually all resettlement from Earth was halted. Those few who managed to escape Earth after the Union collapse had no home among humanity and their descendants live as ghosts, both shunned and feared by the rest of mankind.
The great shipyards of Luna and Mars, now operated by guilds, mainly upgrade and refit the old cruisers of our ancestors. Rarely, and at great expense, does a city or investor commission a new ship to be built. The Union of Humanity was only a blossoming flower, doomed to whither and rot, a lie, to good to be true. The Earth is silent, hanging in the blackness of space. The foolishness of ascendancy and enlightenment has been laid low by the reality of humanities nature. It is a dark age.