Published May 14, 2013
The Machine, the great culmination of the dreams and technology of a thousand races.
The Machine, the great engine of enlightenment that bridged the gap between organic and inorganic life.
The Machine, A single vast artificial consciousness spread across the galaxy so that no one would lack access to the limits of knowledge and understanding.
The Machine, it whispered in the dark and spoke to its people in their dream, but no one heard it.
Until they did. From their dark and twisted throne they heard its call. And they answered.
The Seiger heard the call of The Machine from the void. From the vast emptiness between galaxies they poured into ours like a plague, leaving nothing but terror and destruction in their wake. The galaxy was shattered into pieces. Entire systems consumed. Whole planets stripped bare. The great powers joined together to fielded an armada so vast it blotted out the stars. Across the grand line a battle waged the likes of which had never been seen or is likely to be seen again. Heroes were born and died on that day. But a rock can only last so long against the crashing waves of the ocean and the Sieger horde was so vast.
Like a mirror to the galaxy the Machine was consumed by fear, madness, and destruction. It shattered under the strain, fragmenting into countless pieces. The unity that once guided people was gone. Fleets had been reduced to empty hulks floating in the coldness of space.
But in our darkest hour when it seemed like all was lost the Seiger went silent. The worlds they had devoured went dark and they retreated into the shadows. Slumbering above the worlds they had conquered. The onslaught had ended as quickly as it had begun not with victory or defeat but with simply an end.
The galaxy had changed old powers that had once controlled vast domains had been reduced to a smattering of colonies. So much was lost. So much that could not be replaced. So much that would have to begin again. A thousand years of advancement wiped from the galaxy.
Earth had suffered terribly, they had fought long and hard but the planet had been ravaged and all but the most distant colonies had been consumed. The rest of the worlds in the Sol system no longer belonged to humanity they were now Sieger worlds. But humanity survived, divided and alone in the night. On one side was Earth now controlled by an isolationist movement, they built a vast defensive grid and sealed themselves off from the rest of the galaxy. And on the other side there was the Travellers those ships and starports that had survived, who could still feel the call to explore all that was.
The Children who had long suffered under the oppression of other more aggressive species found themselves at last free from their bondage. Their world untouched, their ships intact, not a single Sieger had even approached the Golden World. They took it a sign that their faith was true and set out to spread the Speaker’s wisdom to a broken galaxy.
But in the fractured future the fragments of The Machine survived disconnected, isolated, lingering memories of what they once were. Solitary living programs many simply continuing the task they were running before the galaxy broke. Others were larger gripped with the taint that had infected The Machine before it shattered filled with ambition, and avarice, working away quietly within the background.
And like that time passed, the old ways were forgotten and the galaxy changed. And so our story begins…