Sirian is originally an Elfin and later an Old Sirian colony, until the Cataclysm severed all communications outside of the solar system. Since that time, Sirian has developed a number of independent nations, confederations, and clans. Sirian is believed to have been inhabited since approximately 1000 BCE [note: all dates are provided in standard Sirian years. Sirian years are approximately 85% the length of a year on the Julian calendar]. It currently has a population in excess of three billion.
Terraforming of Sirian (1080–787 BCE) Sirian Planet (known to Sirian astronomers as Maydax-M-1482b) is approximately two billion years old. Despite being so young, Sirian has a highly developed and complex biosphere due advanced terraforming. The terraforming began no later than 1080 BCE. The terraforming included rapid changes in the planet’s atmosphere, tectonic activity, and ecology. Sirian did have primitive native life, but 99% of all life on Sirian was introduced artificially.
It is believed the terraforming was conducted by a technologically advanced race called the Elfin, although very little is known of their methods and motivations. The Elfin terraforming technology is considered to be of immense value if discovered, which was a contributing factor to the Plistein Rebellion and the Cataclysm of 610 BCE.
Because of Sirian’s location in a nebula, it was naturally hidden from astronomers. Scientists in the Zuxian empire did not detect the changes resulting from terraforming until it had already progressed by several centuries. At this point, a ship was dispatched to colonize and study the planet.
Colonization by the Zuxian empire (Age of Knowledge, 787–610 BCE)
The first human colonists arrived in 787 BCE in order to study the terraforming of Maydax-M-1482b and to establish a permanent colony. In order to make the long journey, most colonists were virtualized and travelled as purely digital entities. Once they arrived at the planet, their bodies were custom-grown and perfectly adapted to the environment. As bodies were designed to the specifications of the individuals, the first colonists represented the full range of skin colors and human features.
The Sirians established two megaplexes; one in the Ancient Valley called Vyzny (later Sirian City) which was the primary space port and research hub, and an industrial and agricultural hub called Domai on the northern continent (since destroyed). Additionally, they established a number of smaller settlements across the planet, especially on the more clement northern continent. Within a few decades the population stabilized at five billion individuals, supported by many times that number in robots, AIs, and domesticated animals.
Limitations in extreme-range communications and the colony’s small population resulted in technological stagnation, while the colony developed a culture largely unique from the rest of the empire. The Sirians did have a mature level of technology at the time of their arrival, permitting them to virtualize minds, manufacture or repair the human body, travel near the speed of light, and undertake massive geo-engineering projects. Traditional methods of living, dying, and reproducing were considered wasteful and eccentric, and most manual labor was conducted by robots or AIs.
Early in their colonization, the Sirians established communications with the Elfin. The Elfin claimed credit for terraforming the planet, but refused to provide any assistance, technological or otherwise, to the Sirians. The Elfin did not interfere with Sirian colonization, and declined to normalize relations. Despite intense searching, there is no evidence that the Sirians ever discovered Elfin infrastructure or methods of terraforming.
The Cataclysm (610–604BCE)
The destructive potential modern technology, especially aggressive terraforming, was a subject of ongoing debate across the empire. One of the most politically active organizations was a young religion called the Brothers of Plistein. The staggering death tolls of recent wars and industrial accidents resulted in a public backlash against many types of advanced technology and the ranks of the Plisteins ballooned. Within two years, the movement was co-opted by political interests. This infused the movement with significant material resources and high-level political connections, but those investors used the movement to carry out deadly attacks and create a sense of fear and obedience in the Zuxian Empire.
The popularity of Plistein precepts grew on Maydax-M-1482b, but the Plisteins never held a majority nor were involved in any acts of destruction. However, the research on Elfin terraforming became a point of contention back in the empire. A number of agents were recruited or immigrated to Maydax-M-1482b, and over several years they infiltrated critical infrastructure. It is not clear if the agents were originally planted with the intention of a terror attack, or if they were repurposed for that at a later date.
These individuals made several coordinated attacks, intended to permanently disrupt research on terraforming techniques. Early on October 23, 610 BCE a virus hit the Maydax-M-1482b network. The virus took advantage of an intentional backdoor installed on colony computer systems to support national security and emergency operations. Almost all computer systems were impacted, and began destroying data. The primary antimatter reactor on Domai was sabotaged and failed to enter SCRAM, resulting in a massive explosion that destroyed the entire megaplex. Vyzny was similarly sabotaged, but the reactor was shut down safely. Space command went offline, including with it all communications with orbiting space craft and with the Zuxian empire. Communications would never be re-established.
With the power outage and the security failure, Vyzny went into an automatic defensive mode. Automated weapons activated and destroyed anything within a fifty mile radius of the city borders. The city was designed to be self-sufficient while properly powered, and to wait until it received the encoded ‘all clear’ message from command in orbit. With the power to support grow-houses cut and no communications, the residents of Vyzny starved, or were killed by the automated defenses as they fled the city. Vyzny would maintain its defensive posture for six hundred years, killing anyone who might stumble on the city.
Cities outside of the two megaplexes fared marginally better. Cascading failures brought down power across the planet. With this, computer systems, AIs, robots, manufacturing, agriculture, and medical support shut down over the course of weeks. The destruction of Domai raised a plume of radioactive dust that blocked out the sun, resulting in a nuclear winter. Ships infected with the computer virus crashed back to the planet, adding more dust to the choked atmosphere. Ships in stable orbits usually lost power, and the inhabitants froze to death within days. Only a few, small ships avoided infection, but lacking the resources to survive independently in space they were forced to land.
The first winter after the Cataclysm, the population dropped from five billion to two billion. The population halved every following year for three years, finally stabilizing at two hundred million in 604 BCE. During this period, average temperatures for the planet were just above freezing.
The Brotherhood of Plistein were instrumental in assisting after the disaster. They had invested in alternate technologies, which provided critical aid. Colonists were able to return some power generators to service, especially wind or solar plants. While most AIs were permanently disabled, simpler robots and machines could be retrofitted and returned to service. Most towns had an active Plistein temple, which provided support and filled the gap following the failure of the existing government. Under the Plistein priests, colonists eschewed advanced technologies as the cause of the Cataclysm. Many towns burned libraries and actively destroyed advanced facilities.
Age of Clouds (604–486 BCE)
The fallout from the Cataclysm continued for decades, causing agricultural failure and cold temperatures across the planet. The first Unlife attacks occurred in the south and the disease spread northward. The Plisteins claimed the unlife were biological experiments escaped during the Cataclysm, although modern research suggests this is unlikely. With the low human population and the numerous environmental threats, unlife numbers stayed small.
Most of the population lived on the northern continent in small villages of 50 to 200 people, supported by service robots and machines, and almost all labor was focused on agriculture. Most of these were pure democracies or theocracies. Because of limitations of power generation and batteries, vehicles couldn’t travel more than five hundred kilometers before requiring recharging. This limited international trade and exploration. Most people avoided complex technology, and pre-cataclysm artifacts were viewed with suspicion. With assistance from ancient Plistein documents, the colonists begin reproducing without the aid of genetic sequencing or exowombs. Despite the hardships of childrearing, populations grew quickly.
To the south, the powerful wind currents made permanent agriculture difficult. Instead, bands would follow weather systems between automated greenhouses and abandoned Old Sirian structures. Because of their reliance on scavenged technology, the Plistein faith was not able to achieve any significant penetration. Their diet relied heavily on hunting and gathering, to augment long periods of dry or wet weather destroying crops. Because of the difficulties of living, the south was never able to establish the complex political structures that would rise in the north.
Age of Kings (486–250 BCE)
Populations in the north rose quickly and towns banded together into city-states. 486 BCE marks the first single government spanning over fifty million people, in the city-state of Krandham. northern city states competed for resources, including old technology, arable land, and slaves. The states underwent a series of alliances and wars. Most combat was focused on destroying or capturing the enemy’s irreplaceable technology, in order to force the city into becoming a vassal. Democratic governments such as Kandham eventually fell in favor of quicker dictatorships and oligarchies, and enforced hierarchies. The value of scavenged technology meant that Plistein believes lost sway with political leaders and the military, instead becoming a religion of the poor. The most successful city-states, Galanor, Belham, Bolvintia Gardarin, Wynardun, and Grovus, employed a rigid military hierarchy and inter-marriage to ultimately create a stable balance of power.
In the south, bands were more frequently bound by familial ties, with a matriarch leading the family through cooperation with every other member of the tribe. Multiple tribes would occasionally band together under a single charismatic leader, but the lack of stable social structures prevented long-term survival of governments following the death of those leaders. These tribes are normally referred to by their family lineage. Multiple tribes carry the name of Ackbar, in reference to the famous warlord, but other large tribes include the Ogebor, the Aarus, and the Yeboah.
The hostile southern environment meant there was no competition for land or labor, only for technical ability and functioning technology. Tribes succeeded through technical skill, adaptability, bargaining, or banditry. A few locations permitted permanent or semi-permanent trading posts, including South Ridge, Visuballe, and Burnal.
452 BCE, Lady Akous and her family established the first permanent trade route with the north. The south and north had long since established communications via radio, television, and Internet but physical travel was difficult and dangerous. Lady Akous provided a variety of foods and spices, mineral wealth, and recovered technology in exchange for the north’s manufactured goods and cheap food stocks.
Age of Expansion (250–98 BCE)
250 BCE the state of Bolvintia officially annexed a neighboring city Rahv, overthrowing the existing government and replacing it with their own. Re-establishing communication lines, new power plants, and fuel refineries permitted governments to extend their power beyond being city-states into full nations. Other states soon followed, expanding their zone of control.
At this time, the human population was over two billion, mostly concentrated in the north. As advances in technology and manufacturing increased the quality of life, the Plistein faith lost adherents. Meanwhile, industrial technologies made slavery uneconomical in the more advanced nations. Cheap manual labor was instead supplied by a large, poor underclass who, when their services were replaced by robotics, were relegated to life as scavengers.
228 BCE marks the founding of the Republic of New Sirian between the leading nations of the north. This was a loose confederation of the northern industrial powerhouses banded together to establish a planet-wide empire. Representatives from reach nation would meet in Galanor to negotiate interstate trade, treaties, law enforcement, and recognize territory claims. The republic relied heavily on old Sirian architecture and terminology in order to lend them legitimacy. The planet, previously referred to by a number of informal names, was officially renamed “Sirian”. The republic held most modern media outlets, and so there was a degree of cultural assimilation even among the distant southern tribes.
Nations of the Republic held the north, and used their trade bloc to dominate non-confederated nations. The trade imbalance resulted in an abundance of cheap labor, which the Republic was quick to leverage. Non-confederated nations such as Brakhaven were limited to becoming sources of cheap production. The land and oceans outside of the northern continent were formally divided among the great powers, although given the size and lack of resources, incursions were usually well tolerated.
The republic rebuilt the Old Sirian monorail, connecting Galanor to South Ridge. Galanor formally claimed South Ridge as a Galanor holding, although a few years later quarters of the city were granted to Bolvintia and Belham. South Ridge was now the ‘gateway to the south’ for the Northern Republics and the beginning of the occupation for the southern clans. northern forces pushed deeper into the south claiming resources, drafting individuals with special skillsets, and establishing work houses. However, the access to northern markets and farms filled the south with cheap food and new commercial opportunities. Southern clans, some independently and some at the end of a northern gun, re-opened abandoned mines and boreholes, extracting rare minerals for use by northern industries.
Space Age (98–0 BCE)
98 BCE, Bolvintian astronaut Valentine Seaskimmer was the first human to orbit Sirian in nearly six hundred years. The Bolvintian space program continued to lead the planet, and would eventually establish an automated monitoring base on Philipees.
In the south, advanced manufacturing permitted the construction of newer and more efficient vehicles. Cheap flight permitted clans to cover a much larger area, and thereby maintain multiple farms across a wide range. The southern cities grew in size and number. Some of the southern clans expanded into ocean vessels and underwater bathyscaphe habitats. This increased their ability to generate electricity and recover lost artifacts.
Those clans who refused to accept the yoke of the north, and the resistance fighters within occupied cities, waged an ongoing war of attrition, sabotaging and stealing equipment from northern-controlled facilities. Early in the conflict the southern clans were unable to fight directly against the Galanor and Bolvintia armored combat vehicles, and much of their energy was spent evading detection from Bolvintia’s orbiting satellites.
In 63 BCE, after a series of failures of the republic space program and an abrupt shift in the economic market, the primary source of political power in the Republic of New Sirian transferred from Galanor to Bolvintia. Bolvintia initiated a series of anti-espionage and strategic reforms, and more aggressive exploitation of southern neighbors. Raids of republic trading goods increased.
South Ridge leveraged the temporary political instability and a series of terrorist attacks hit northern-held facilities and security stations throughout the city. Galanor security forces withdrew, leaving Bolvintia to take the lead in re-establishing the republic’s political hold (the other allied states were still represented in the defense of South Ridge). The city was embroiled in months of riots and house-to-house fighting. A small nuclear device was detonated one hundred miles outside of Bolvintia, clearly intended as a warning.
The republic continued the fight for another month before officially relinquishing their holding over South Ridge and the surrounding areas. They instead placed the city under an immediate trade embargo, beginning several years of economic strain and starvation. Smuggling became the status quo for supporting the city. Southern insurgents in the north and south continued a policy of total war, attacking population centers and infrastructure, demanding that Bolvintia completely leave the south, however no further large-scale nuclear weapons were used. The embargo on South Ridge was lifted years later and replaced with crippling tariffs and carefully coordinated espionage and market manipulation, as well as frequent military incursions.
In 47 BCE, an Old Sirian ship made an emergency landing on Sirian. The crew was from the planet of Gargoria, reported the empire to be in a state of collapse and diaspora, and that contact was lost with the capital nearly a century prior. As the ship had suffered significant damage, and Gargoria was in a state of war, the crew elected to establish a permanent colony on the southern edge of the Great Desert.
As the population in the south increased, outbreaks of unlife grew more common and far more deadly, especially among the high-population northern-controlled facilities. By 40 BCE most southern habitats had at least rudimentary defenses against unlife, and many locations were considered unsafe for travelers. Twenty years later, swarms numbering in the thousands moved from farm to city to mine, overwhelming populations as they migrated north. The northern republics established a cordon along the northern part of the ancient valley, leaving the southern metropolises to fend for themselves. Southern insurgents made frequent attacks against northern lines, and the north responded by shooting southern refugees on sight. 17 BCE marks the first outbreaks of unlife on the northern continent in over a century. Several more followed, mostly among the less protected non-confederated states. While the south supported swarms of thousands, northern metropolises would swell hordes into the hundreds of thousands.
In 21 BCE, Belham scouts stumbled upon a previously-unknown city in the Crescent Mountains. Despite the city's size, there appeared to be exactly one living inhabitant, who showed up in no digital records and refused to give a name. On returning with a larger force to seize the city and its impressive technology, Belham found only a shallow crater at the reported site. A year later, a floating city was seen hovering over the Great Forest in the southern lands. Soon robotic envoys from the city established friendly (if tentative) trade arrangements with small, local villages. Only the bots themselves transferred goods or funds back and forth—no travelers or merchants were ever allowed into the floating city. When the robotic traders responded with only confusion about the name of their home or who ran it, the locals simply started calling it 'mecha city' - a name the envoys themselves adapted over time.
When a Bolvintian fighter wing was destroyed by performing reconnaissance on the city in 12 BCE, the northern republics waged a campaign of aerial and cyber warfare. However, the city appeared to have superior predictive technologies and eluded orbital and aerial reconnaissance.
5 BCE Bolvintia attacked South Ridge with carpet bombing and artillery fire. The city was reduced to rubble. Hundreds of thousands died, and the survivors mostly fled. South Ridge is now only inhabited by a few thousand scavengers and travelling clanspeople.
In the same year, the northern states agreed to a pact of nonaggression with Mecha City and its leader, whom they teasingly dubbed the Mecha King. This marked the first time Mecha City was officially recognized by the outside world as a sovereign nation, with its borders extending to the edges of the floating city, regardless of where it may be geologically at any point in time.
1 BCE, the automated defenses, including radar Cloaking over Vyzny failed. The Dela Clan was first to enter the city, and it soon fell under the political protection of the southern-aligned state of West Cove. The discovery of Vyzny, then called Sirian City in hopes it would be a gift to all the world, is considered the single greatest defining moment since the Cataclysm, as the city contained a wealth of abandoned technology and information, almost perfectly preserved. The North soon attacked and laid claim to the city. Technology was tested and incorporated into northern projects, frequently with no knowledge of their inner workings or intended functions. Some engineers had a degree of intuition that permitted them to use the technology, but most regarded it simply as a form of magic. Within the months before and after the discovery of the city, some individuals also began demonstrating superhuman abilities which were ascribed to either lost technology or simply magic. Regardless of the cause, it seemed humanity was on the edge of a golden age.
The northern republics' dominance of the planet included a cultural aspect, establishing a planet-wide language and dialect, standardizing measurements, Holidays and legal systems. The discovery of the city gave cause for standardizing calendars as well, restarting the count at 0 of the ‘Common Era’. It was expected the new Calendar would mark the age of a new empire for future generations.
(Current Sirian dates are calculated as the current real life date, minus 2010 years.)
Modern Era (0 BCE – Present)
With the discovery of ancient Sirian technology, including the ability to travel at superluminal speeds, the northern republics began the construction of new stations and ships. While the management was primarily northern military officers and industrial engineers, most of the workers and designers were southerners, selected for their long history of repairing scavenged technology and their lower labor costs. Within a few years, the first ships were completed and sent out of the solar system, in hopes of establishing contact with the Zuxian empire, or at least with other intelligent life. Unlike the politics planetside, the ships were predominately crewed and led by southerners. The fleet was successful in making contact with several new species including the Taramar and the Mutaren although the later instability of the Sirian technology meant that returning to those distant planets is now considered foolhardy.
Meanwhile, the planet saw a failure of magical devices, frequently in a dramatic burst of destruction, but sometimes in far more subtle and more dangerous ways. Those individuals who previously were hailed as magical suffered either a ‘flaring’, where they had a sudden outburst of destructive energy, or a ‘fading’, where they would voluntarily walk into the wilderness never to return.
The autumn of 3 CE was a massive coordinated attack, now remembered as the Inferno. Crowns and mobs of thralls, tens of thousands strong stormed power stations, military outposts, water purification plants, and factories. Cities went dark and life ground to a halt. People fled population centers in droves, seeking fresh food and water. Most of these people would only ever return as unlife. Some cities, especially in the militarized north, were able to hold out and maintain industrial capacity. Realizing the events were global and coordinated, the northern republics leaders debated behind closed doors for a week before establishing communications with southern cities and clans. They formally relinquished claims over most southern lands (excluding Sirian City) in exchange for a binding political alliance called the Treatise Body. Most southern representatives, seeing their own populations trapped and starving, accepted.
The Treatise Body immediately appointed military leaders charged with the defense of the planet, and established a Senate focused primarily on international relations as well as civilian government. It had taken nearly a month to establish the governing structure of the Treatise Body, and even with its far-reaching executive powers and planet-wide humanitarian missions, they had lost the initiative. The Treatise Body actions against the unlife were ineffective. Meanwhile, unlife armies walked into starved and isolated towns, devouring the survivors and destroying what remained. Belham drones reported back images of individuals surrounded by a preternatural glow, leading the unlife and exerting superhuman abilities. These individuals have since been labeled the ‘Crowned’, and are recognized as the dominant threat behind the unlife resurgence.
The north tightened border security, reinforced population centers, and increased production of space technology. The Republics offered the south military and humanitarian support in exchange for mining and industrial production. The cities of the south varied in their responses; most focusing on supporting survivors directly or fighting unlife, while others established their own space programs while leaving refugees to die. Regardless of policies, they needed their supplies from the north and so production protected at great cost. The Mecha King left obscurity, as he led raids into trapped shelters and established defended bunkers for survivors to await pickup. Those the Mecha King rescued were digitized; converted into electronic consciousness. Their old bodies were discarded in favor of robotic bodies or a purely digital existence.
Since the Inferno, the war against The Crowned and the unlife continues unabated. Population centers stay dark to avoid drawing attention of feral unlife, and bristle with defenses against coordinated Crowned attacks. Many consider the planet unfit for habitation, and those who are able have escaped into orbit. In space the Treatise Body is the dominant political force, sustained by the military and industry of all Sirian states. The Treatise Body recognizes that evacuating every person from the planet into space is impossible, but political deadlock prevents more drastic action. Treatise Body action is frequently undermined by the common belief that its members, who only recently were in a war of global occupation, will soon fall back to hostilities.