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Third Era of Humanity
2445 - The slowship Victoria, headed toward a certain star in the vicinity of Earth, strays from its course due to an unpredictable gravity well in deep space (probably a black hole). It never arrives at its target.
2477 - Australia is engaged in war with New-Zealand. Australian troups are under constant attacks and sabotage acts from New-Zealand guerilla fighters. The Australian population is still in favour of occupation.
2506 - First practical Megawave communicators are perfected. Although still bulky and innefficient, they are capable of transmitting for a distance of 26 light years.
2528 - The first extrasolar colonies begin to recieve, operate and even construct their own Megawave transmitters (that can by now transmit hundreds of light years away).
2700s - The extrasolar colonies are already fairly self-sufficient, capable of reliably recycling and producing everything they need for survival. Some of the stronger colonies even build their own Orion, and later Sleeper ships. Primitive trading networks begin to develop.
3000 - Dire tensions between the United States of America and Unified Glorious Republic of Korea lead to a limited nuclear exhange, with an estimated deathtoll of 3 million on both sides, almost exclusively civilians.
Later in the same year a party of neo-Nazi like ideology, using the political momentum given by the earlier nuclear exchange, illegaly seizes power within the USA and topples this more than a millenium old democracy. The US, under its new brutal leadership, starts to agressively promote racism throughtout the world. Due to the political climate, they find many sympathizers. It wasn't long until most of the countries on the planet's surface were under their direct or indirect control, either through intimidation, willful cooperation and sympathy, or simply conquest.
3002 - After a period of consolidation, a single unified Earth government is declared. All the colonies are supposed to be under its control, and the closer ones, within the solar system, are indeed that way. However, the extrasolar colonies have other plans.
Within a month of the declaration, the colony planet Napoleon proposes a treaty that is signed between half a dozen different colonies. This treaty of mutual self-defense establishes the General Planetary Alliance, to oppose the evil that is the Terran government, the Regime.
3005 - By this time, dozens of colonies, realizing the ideological threat posed by the Regime, have signed the Alliance treaty. At this time the treaty achieves very little except perhaps increasing trade between its members, mostly due to the unsormountable difficulties of waging strategic war at slower-than-light speeds.
The Regime and the Alliance are effectively in a state of cold war with each other.
3128 - The slowship Victoria and her 10,000 passengers arrive at a very, very distant planet, far away from most other colonies and completely different from their original target. The passangers quickly discover that the system is just barely fit for colonization, with a single solid planet to settle upon, and even that planet is so harsh that it could put Mercury to shame. The captain of the Victoria dubs the planet Smeegole, and the system - Gondor, in honour of the classical masterpiece Lord of the Rings. The colonists, some of them hailing from Pluto and Mercury and thus experienced at working in hellish environments, begin the difficult job of colonization.
3222 - A breakthrough in the understanding of physics allows Regime scientists to begin planning of the first FTL drives - devices that will allow a ship to reach and exceed the speed of light.
3251 February 5th - The asteroid-ship RSC Unsurmountable is christened. The "ship" is carved from a 28 kilometer long asteriod, on which a humongous set of conventional Fusion engines, as well as the new Pollard-drive (FTL drive), also suitably humongous, are mounted.
3252 - The combined military/police arm of the Regime, the Solar Authority, has by now very strong influence. The General in command of the Solar Authority has gained a formidable amount of political power, and with the implementation of the Pollard drive he is eager to use it against Alliance targets, and by this heat up this old cold war. The Chief in command of the entire Regime, however, was reluctant to attack the Alliance and break the relatively convenient existance they had for a long time. He felt that the Solar Authority and the smaller military organizations surrounding it and subservient to it are occupied enough as it is, quelling repeated rebellions of the few remaining African, Asian, Jewish populations.
August 11th - The situation explodes. A small war of a bunch of Regime loyalist vs the huge Solar Authority organization erupts, the battles lasting merely 3 days. This event inevitably leads to a shift in power (duh!) - the aforementioned general has now an entire star system to play with.
August 14th - The Regime now resting firmly in his corrupted hands, the general renames it the Solar Imperium. At the same day the former RSC, now SIS Unsurmountable heads towards the Alpha Centauri colony.
August 21st - The SIS Unsurmountable reaches the small defenseless Alpha Centauri. It doesn't even need to deploy its fleet of battleships and smaller warships that sit in its tremendous bays, the colony surrenders unconditionally.
August-November - More huge asteroid-ships are built and sent outwards at a speed 200 times faster than light. More and more colonies are conquered, the first to put up resistance being Chispa. Chispa is still conquered with relatively little effort, and used as a beachead for further incursions. The Alliance, now counting 98 member colonies, is helpless.
3253 - The General Planetary Alliance has finally got their hands on schematics for the Pollard drive, and is working vigorously to close the huge gap between themselves and the Imperium. Also, the Alliance draws closer together, strengthens the relationships between its member planets, and starts to form unified bodies to direct their militaries in an efficient manner against the imminent threat posed by the Imperium. These means, although seemingly extensive, do little to actually stop the Imperium's rampage.
The planets on the very front of the war with the Imperium are unhappy with the Alliance's flimsy attempts at retribution. They form their own little pact-within-pact, the Sovereign Union.
3255 - The Imperium, having absorbed many planets, is beginning to strain its resources. The fact that the Alliance has been steadily growing larger due to a mad colonization dash during the years of the war doesn't help. Because most of the Imperial armed forces are away from the solar system, this opportunity is not missed by the many, many opressed people that take that chance to stage another rebellion the likes of which was never seen before, and which were fuelled, both morally (inciting, moral support, etc.) and physically (smuggled weapons) by the Alliance. The Imperium is thus forced to deal with these internal problems and at least temporarily abolish its expansionist ambitions. During this vulnerable stage the Alliance could have made an attack, but the people were tired of war and jumped on this opportunity for peace. The Sovereign Union dared not to attack the Imperium without Alliance support, and so the three powers remained in an unresolved status quo that would last for more than a millenium and a half.