Hi everyone, Todd here. In today’s Aetherstream Developer’s Blog, I will discuss just a little bit of the background of the Aetherstream setting, starting with the Old Commonwealth, the predecessor of the current Terran Commonwealth. Next week I will provide more detail the two factions initially presented in Interceptor, the Terran Commonwealth and Callistonian Empire. Enjoy!
The Old Commonwealth
The discovery of the first aetherstream at Sirius led to a star system that contained a planet the was not only capable of supporting life from Earth but seemed almost purpose-built to that task. The lush world was named Eden. The discovery of more aetherstreams led to additional worlds that were ideally suited to support life. These planets are known collectively as the primes.
With the aetherstreams being fixed relative points, the gates were constructed to allow easy transport between the primes. During the early period of discovery and colonization there was abundant room and resources on the primes, so expansion was focused primarily on those systems.
Eventually, as populations grew, and the discovery of new prime systems had waned, exploration again returned to the stars. This time, instead of centered around just the Earth, explorers and pioneers began jumping to the stars of every prime, forming clusters of settlements around each prime. A few of these systems could support life, but none were like the prime worlds.
Out at the frontier are the fringe systems. Often several jumps from the cluster’s prime, news and supplies can take a long time to reach these systems. These systems serve as hotspots of piracy, claim jumpers, and the rebellious.
Amidst these thousands of star systems that form each cluster are countless colonies, mostly focused on harvesting resources. In systems along common jump routes, massive space habitats, called serai, have been built to serve as hubs for traders and other travelers through a cluster to rest, have downtime from aether travel, and share news.
Prior to the Vanishing, in which the Earth and entire solar system mysteriously and seemingly instantaneously disappeared, the Terran Commonwealth was the single central authority unifying all the prime systems and their clusters. While each the day-to-day administration of most planets and colonies depended on local governments, they all, ultimately, paid tax and tribute to the Commonwealth. Each prime cluster had a Sky Marshal to oversee the cluster’s military and civilian representatives that formed the central government on Terra. The system had worked well for centuries and there was relatively little need to large fleets and legions, mostly patrol and peacekeeping forces to ensure that colonists and resources were protected out in the fringe.
The early Terran Commonwealth had been a relatively peaceful force, unifying a network of independent systems cut off from each other following the devastation of the Gate Wars. They rebuilt trade routes, stabilized failing colonies, and unified the people. By the time of the Vanishing it had become extremely bureaucratic and authoritarian. Numerous small rebellions or those out on the fringe wishing to be independent had been ruthlessly quieted by the Sky Marshals.
After the Vanishing, with the loss of the central government of Terra and a void of power, many of the Sky Marshals and civilian leaders all grabbed for power and minor skirmishes threatened to escalate into wars. With the system quickly destabilizing the Terran Commonwealth began to shrink in a series of small and large secessions. Now, when people talk about the Terran Commonwealth from before the Vanishing, it is simply referred to as the Old Commonwealth.
The lack of a truly sapient equal remains one of the greatest mysteries. On nearly every prime world we have discovered sentient, and even quite intelligent life, but never anything on our level. Just as the Terran dolphin or Golcondan kitipine might be called sapient, we have encountered thousands of species that exhibit complex social patterns and tool-use, but nothing that would even qualify as what was classically believed to be an intelligent alien species.
No little green men as feared by our pre-interstellar ancestors. In fact, it appears that what they should have truly feared was encountering the ravenous raptorcats of the early Eden jungles or the great maws of the Atlantean depths. It remains my opinion that we are the first truly sapient form of life to develop technology and reach the stars, and as such their resources are ours to exploit.Excerpt from “The Human Primacy”, a speech by Director Salman Dinsmore of the Exploration division of the Marillius-Bek Applied Biogenetics Corporation.