An Introduction to the story behind the game
By the 20th century, humanity had conquered the whole Earth. Meanwhile, technological development had altered our everyday life by introducing such inventions as the internet, medicine intertwined with information technology, and space research. With our state-of-art devices, we had broken down our physical and mental boundaries, bringing an era of unforeseen technological achievements. Communication and transfer of goods and values had become faster and faster. It was the cradle of total globalization.
The first few decades after the millennium saw the revival of the space race started during the Cold War, with new participants entering the competition. Russia joined the space program of the European Union out of strategic consideration. The English-speaking countries, formerly dominant in space research, were matched by the equally thriving Asian space program. International rivalry expanded beyond the Earth to outer space.
It was not until 2049 that significant achievements occurred in space research, when the first expedition to Mars took place. Within 30 years, several self-sustaining research settlements were built on the Red Planet. The next milestone of space colonization was the building of mining facilities on the moons of the gas giants, where rare materials are quarried. Hundreds of transportation lines linked the newly conquered areas to the Earth, and the number of space stations reached 30 by 2140.
Expansion was slow but steady in the Solar system. At the same time, the Earth’s society was undergoing radical changes. More and more people were part of the classic consumer model, but production could not keep up with this, the capacity of the Earth was reaching its limits. In the meantime, boundaries between the producer companies and the branches of power were disappearing. Corruption in the growing states gave ever-increasing authority to individuals in state-owned enterprises. Private capital flowed more and more unscrupulously into government investments, critically weakening the apparatus of the nation states around the globe.
The dysfunctional governments were faced with a new, far more pressing problem: the energy crisis. Non-renewable energy source prices sky-rocketed, while research into new technologies showed little success. A new, global war was inevitable. The war was initiated by the states of growing influence suffering from the scarcity of energy, against the countries hoarding the remaining energy sources.
The war ended quickly, with the worldwide economic crisis accounting for more destruction than bombs. Before any of the power states could have won the war, the crisis induced by quick disinvestments broke the arrogant and bloated governments. The crisis of traditional nation states consummated at the end of the war, when the governmental agencies became increasingly unable to provide the social security their people were accustomed to, and thus the sudden drop of the living standards of globalization put an end to governments as such.
During the war, the multinational giant corporations devoured every key area already lost to the governments. A mere 100 years earlier, political extremes chanting their radical programs would have filled the void in power, but this changed completely by the 22nd century. These multinational corporations monopolized every element of liberal parliamentary governing, including the three branches of power, the private sector, and the press that controls public morale.
The driving force of global economy is the consumer society, the restoration of which became the primary goal of the mega corporations. These corporate giants who ruled the economy gained universal support from the public for their grand, highly resource-demanding investments as they stabilized the standards of living. The domination of heavy industry was overtaken by the centers of technological innovation and by the developing space infrastructure.
Another blue planet
The Syndicate set its priority on satisfying the universal hunger for energy by investing in numerous research projects. One such investment was the building and launching of a geostationary fusion power plant, the Helios. The power plant was designed to produce energy for the other space stations. Shortly after becoming operational, the power plant broke down and the contraction of the fusion mass inside the reactor created a “wormhole” of particle size.
Numerous theories that had been previously dismissed as fiction surfaced and companies sought to use this wormhole for the benefits of humankind. One of the boldest and also most promising theories was devised by an American-Japanese research team. They postulated that the obstacles of space and time could be overcome by utilizing the curvature of spacetime and the “wormhole” caused the failed power plant created a “shortcut” in spacetime. This strange theory was confirmed in an experiment called “Space jump”. By observation of the wormhole, spectra of a globular cluster from tens of thousands of light-years away were identified. In the attempt to create a revolutionary energy source, we came upon a discovery of inestimable value.
This tiny wormhole was the first step in the development of the Space jump technology. Only waves and molecular-size objects can traverse the wormhole, but advanced nanotechnology made it possible to build miniature space probes. With these, we were able to map all the known extra-solar planets. Several millions of probes were launched, and the first great discovery was provided by Eterna DW-113A.
This probe plotted the planet Nia, very similar to Earth, but 87,000 light-years away. Based on a recording of 19 November 2193 – according to Earth time – the planet inscribed its name in the big book of space discoveries, for the footage proves without the shadow of a doubt that there is life beyond the Earth.
It might have been the most important discovery of human history when the Eterna probe fleet discovered the life-bearing Nia. This planet located in the M54 globular cluster of the constellation Sagittarius is quite similar to Earth in many ways. It is a binary star system with two stars orbiting around their common center of mass. From these twin stars, Nia is the fourth rocky planet. The average surface temperature is 19 degrees Celsius and the density of the atmosphere is almost the same as that of the Earth.
Given these ideal circumstances, Nia is covered by a rich flora, as its air contains oxygen, a prerequisite of carbon-based life.
The two suns provide Nia with a continuous, evenly distributed radiation of sunshine. This is one of the reasons why the ice cap is quite small in size and, due to the high water levels, a mere 17% of the planet’s surface is land. The plate tectonics are very active, so even this small proportion of land is cut into little islands.
Due to the planet’s dense core and the relatively fast rotation, the electrostatically charged oceans dividing islands are impenetrable barriers to every object driven by electricity. On land – contrarily – life flourishes.
The alien species
The Syndicate has been treating all information on the existence of the alien civilization as strictly confidential. In order to keep it secret, the executives saw it best that the entire research and possible further expansion should be managed from a new base orbiting around the Earth. This base was built in the proximity of the failed power plant and serves as home for the collective project controlling research and colonization, Project Perpetuum. The civilization on Nia surprised scientists on several levels. The newly discovered species forms a strange synthetic lifeform, not dissimilar to the robots we use. In opposition to our “primitive” working robots, this species has developed separate, technologically advanced societies. Like us, they can shape and alter their environment to cater for their needs and their highly- developed industry caters for the production of goods and military needs. Their achievement of the most value to us, however, is the energy production technology which is an invaluable treasure for the energy-hungry Earth. The level of technological development of the aliens has also been a threat though. They had not become aware of us yet, but it was unanimously agreed by the board of the Syndicate that military preparation should be launched as soon as possible, using surprise to our advantage. However, as an invasion could not be accomplished with tiny space probes, the expansion was delayed for a while. The satellite footages of the Nia’s industrial facilities stimulated the imagination of scientists worldwide and the discovery gained the attention of diplomatic and military circles. Several months of research made it clear that the builders of these bases were very advanced technologically.
Defining this alien life-form is a rather challenging task, for the traditionally meant term “life-form” cannot be used in connection with them. The species shows a significant level of development: by combining technology with natural sciences, they transcend many limits of their lives.
The alien battle process shows partial similarity to earthly warfare. Their advanced technology has enabled them to develop gigantic humanoid robotic forms that have destructive powers far beyond our weapons. When the Syndicate called its army and intelligence in on the project, one of the goals was to discover the military secrets of the alien civilization. A huge number of designs were there to be taken including a wide range of new, much more efficient driving gears, novelty weapons and armors of incredible resistance.
However, the homogenization of the species failed to bring about the much anticipated peace. Races of different cultural heritage continue to shape their policies along their own interests. Three large races fight each other on the Nia currently and smaller splinter groups amend their standing-point depending on the balance between the three power groups.
Despite technological advances, this form of life still shows similar weaknesses to humanity.
At one time, the Pelistal Empire controlled all the robots, but such oppressive ruling power triggered the hatred of a few groups. The conflict, started as an inside battle for power, escalated into a total war when the Nuimqol Union and the Thelodica Clan gained independence. The rotten system which the Pelistal Empire is so eager to protect has now become a mere illusion for whose sake of the Empire mercilessly destroys every attempt at change. The hierarchy of this war-centered, totalitarian system is crowned by warriors guided by their total faith in their highest leader. They fight fanatically to restore the once-mighty empire, where every nation and race was united. Though the break-away of rebel groups substantially weakened the Empire’s military force, the Pelistalian army is still the most hard-hitting force. This dominance is due to the sheer number of soldiers, the Empire’s military experience and technological development. The Empire’s combat robots mainly use ballistic missiles, a versatile weapon with various kinds of explosives. Beside its own regular army, the Pelistal employs an elite mercenary force called Zoister.
It’s been 300 years since the renegades breaking away from the Empire founded their own state. The workers of the Pelistal Empire’s industrial plants and the outcast mercenaries formed an effective army that soon achieved military victories. The Union’s relatively weak economy is balanced by its highly-experienced military elite. The naïve freedom fighters created a democratic government and began organized counterattacks against the Empire’s army. The once disorganized “herd” of veterans and tradesmen transformed into a well-organized, influential association. The young state fighting for independence gained the sympathy of other research groups, that were also tired of the Empire’s oppression. These groups of scientists developed new, state-of-art magnetic weapons that brought a renaissance to the Union’s warfare.
The Clan was trying to get out of the control of the Empire even before the civil war. When the Nuimqol broke away, the Clan saw an opportunity to establish an independent federation as well. As the Thelodica Clan was founded by independent fund-holders, they do not share a homogenous political conviction. Their foreign affairs are not directed towards expansion, as they have no military dominance. Since the Thelodica is basically a trade organization, instead of using their resources for research and development, they buy technologies from their rivals to keep up technologically. They have a great intelligence network of spies and can steal information or technology when necessary. To protect their well-established commercial relations, they refuse to openly commit to either party, but they intervene every now and then on one side or the other to keep the balance of power. Their tactics are based on remote warfare, so their combat robots are equipped with laser weapons.
Conquest of Nia
Using the theory of a few zealous IT specialists, the Syndicate’s army made a breathtaking discovery: by hacking the alien civilization’s information system – reminiscent of the internet –, it could “infect” it and take over control of a couple of devices. The actual break-in was accomplished with tiny robots similar to space probes.
The fleet of nanorobots took control of three local military bases, along with their respective robot arsenals. With the help of the small army taken by trickery, we managed to obtain command over a large area, where we conquered factories and laboratories enabling the Syndicate to begin the production of further supplies of robots using stolen prototypes. The success of the invasion plan lay evidently in the element of surprise. Beause the aliens have prepared themselves for another breach of their network, our conquest can only be continued using a local regular army.
The expansion is further facilitated by the long-standing war between certain groups within the alien species. By applying the principle “divide and rule”, the earthly forces have so far been successful in playing off the war parties against each other.
Colonization is an extremely complicated process that can only be commanded by highly skilled and trained persons. The corporations operate academies to train their Agents, whose exceptional physical and intellectual skills make them fit for this job. By the end of the training, they become experts in military and natural sciences, information technology and economics, while also receiving comprehensive and challenging combat training.
The bases occupied on Nia are controlled by the Syndicate shareholders and order is maintained by the organization’s joint forces. The tradesmen, soldiers and bureaucrats live in a society of specific hierarchy. The Agents have a wide range of responsibilities: assisting military expansion, furthering the occupied infrastructure on the planet, and performing other logistic tasks. The Agents are so highly trained that they can perform risky, professionally challenging tasks almost entirely up to their discretion. However, the training of Agents is a very long and costly process.
Those who fit the strict criteria and genuinely wish to work for the Project Perpetuum have to join the infrastructure of the organization. Their job is to control the colonies that lie 87,000 light-years away.
Even though they sense their every action as virtual, they are all real. At the end of the training, a special chipset is inserted surgically into the Agent's central neural system - a process called neurointegration. This chipset is required to communicate with their “Sparkle” (or “Spark”), which is a remote controlled nanorobot obeying the Agent’s orders on Nia. Both neurointegration and the remote controlled colonization are strictly supervised processes by the Megacorporations for a reason: they have no intentions of sharing financial and technological gains. The Syndicate denies the information that the Earth-Nia connection can be cracked and some Agents are connecting to the Perpetuum Project this way to avoid local authorities and to gain independence from the Syndicate.
The Project run by the three corporate giants is certainly the greatest enterprise of humankind. At first, the Syndicate had reservations about sponsoring research of the wormhole. When the first great results were achieved, the Project’s research team received more attention and increasing capital investments. The gradual reshaping of goals is clearly represented by the composition of the expert team. The mapping of remote star systems first engaged physicists and engineers, but after the discovery of the alien civilization, military and intelligence forces entered and claimed their place in running the Project.
The unified body controlling the expansion, Project Perpetuum, did not gain its final form until recently, at the end of 2194. The headquarters of the Project, a space station orbiting around Earth, was finished in the same year. This is where the Syndicate holds its meetings and this is where the Agents access the Nia’s information network. All the energy produced on Nia comes here and is distributed from here. Despite the importance of military forces, managing the colonization is like a free investment, rather than a coordinated invasion. The management of the corporate giants is not directly involved in what happens; it outsources professional tasks to its specialized affiliates. The trained Agents are employed by these affiliates, and receive their missions directly from the department heads. Engaged in the Project, the Agents’ main goal is to transfer as much energy to the Earth as possible, using the energy producing technology of the aliens.
The constellation Sagittarius that is in the home of the Project has a double meaning. On one hand, it symbolizes the eternal war that interweaves human history; on the other hand, Nia is located in the globular cluster M54 that is part of the constellation Sagittarius.
Jesper Truhold’s speech 16th April 2208, detail: ‘...and I must admit, I would never have thought we could break into their system with such an apparently primitive method. Since the launch of the project, this is the first time I have felt that those robot-like creatures have something to fear. Our armies over there have grown strong enough to withstand bigger attacks so we can begin the expansion. As you can see, the Syndicate has never been so powerful. You, together with our Agents, must keep in mind that we have not only the shareholders to please but we represent the whole of humanity. Never forget that.’