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IDark Reign DatabaseImperium


Only through absolute uniformity of purpose can victory be achieved. Heroism on the battlefield is as dangerous as cowardice.

-Imperium General Gregor Trilkin


  The Decline of Earth
In the opening centuries of the third millennium. Earthís population continued to swell at a staggering rate. By 2250 the planet held over 30 billion people. Earthís scientists reached to offset the strangling effects of population. Massive hydroponics agricultural domes dotted the landscape, increasing food production exponentially. Methods for large scale, economical water desalinization were developed. High altitude aircraft hovered at the crown of the atmosphere, releasing chemicals that slowly built up the eroded areas of the ozone layer. In spite of these advances, the frenetic growth of humanity continued to strain Earthís resources to their limit. Pollution became unmanageable. Thousands of pounds of nuclear waste were sent adrift in space every year. Air pollution was so severe that in 2267 the European Environmental Council estimated that one of ever nine urban dwellers died by the age of 30 from lung related diseases. Millions began living in massive urban complexes, which contained air filtering and water purification facilities. These structured, as large as ten miles square, contained housing, commerce and entertainment for their occupants, and many people remained inside for years at a time. Wealth had become extremely polarized, and life was increasingly arduous for the majority of the populace who could not afford the safe confines of the complexes. Criminals banned together like small armies and in some areas had more control over the streets then the police. In 2314most of Earthís major nations allied to quell the rising tide of crime within their borders. The Global Commonwealth established a rudimentary dome colon on Jupiterís moon Io and began shipping violent criminals there. Heavily armed Commonwealth forces seized criminals in the streets and poured them into processing facilities. After quick assembly line trials, those deemed "dangerous or irredeemable" were shipped to the penal colony on Io to live out the remainder of their lives. The experiment was extremely successful politically. An international regulatory body, the Jovian Detention Administration, was established and granted primary claim to all prisoners. The JDA also had an autonomous police force that by 2362 was the largest standing army in the world. By 2400 almost a million people were expelled to Io annually. Additional colonies were added on Callisto and Ganymede, as well as on Neptuneís moon Triton. Although some felt escape valve for population runoff, the program was very popular, and the JDA came to hold more political and military sway then any single world government. In 2447 a rocked containing nuclear waste fir deep space disposal malfunctioned and crashed near Bombay, killing over four million people in the first few months. Food stores were contaminated across the continent. Resulting worldwide famines led to widespread rioting and organized assaults against fortified urban complexes where food supplies were not seriously affected. The JDA, which by this time was the De Facto Global Government, stepped in to suppress the uprisings, but it was becoming clear to world leaders that the future of earth was bleak. Interplanetary colonization, however, was a dangerous and arduous affair. A large private campaign to promote colonization by the Ramsdell Corporation in the early twenty-third century had resulted in thousands of deaths and only a few scattered ramshackle societies. The prisoner, colonies, while self-supporting were barren, desolate outposts. Few private citizens were willing to confront the hazards of colonization. The acting president of the JDA, Edwards Dalen, negotiated a deal with the residents of the four penal colonies. In exchange for exploring and colonizing new worlds for Earthís inhabitants, the prisoners would be granted their freedom. The prisoners were expendable and experienced at living off-world. Although counting on the off-world prisoners was less then popular, Dalen realized that control of Earthís sole implement of colonization, in addition to the political and military influence he already wielded, would place JDA in a position of new absolute sovereignty. Dalen also had no intention of ever releasing the prisoners. He knew they would never be accepted into the societies on Earth-based colonies, and they were to independent and well organized to be given their own planet. They had shown surprising resourcefulness on the prison colonies. Rather than slipping into violence and chaos as expected, the prisoners had developed efficient, productive comminutes with the limited means provided them. Dalen knew this would make them able pioneers, but also he realized they would represent a threat to the JDA if ever given their autonomy.

  The Pioneer Age
Scientist quickly located a number of promising host planets in Earthís sector of the galaxy. The Exploratory Corps, as the prisoner colonists were called, set out in massive cargo vessels, each the size of a large city, loaded with provisions, robotic terra-forming machinery, and enough genetic material to recreate self-sustaining ecosystem. Dalen provided the prisoners with only enough water for a few years so that if they could not prepare a planet for habitation within that time they would perish. Although some worlds proved unable to support life, and thousands of the Exploratory Corps died, a handful of worlds were soon ready and the first Earth settlers began to inhabit their new homes. The Corps, when finished with one planet, were picked up and transported to the next. The JDA moved into each new world established themselves as the new governing and policing force. They assumed control of each planetís water supply and instituted water rationing. Some planets did not have large enough viable water sources to support their population, so those worlds with excess water were required to give their surplus. In fact, there was more then enough water, but the JDAís control over water distribution gave them unchallenged leverage over the individual governments established on each planet. The JDA began stockpiling excess water in huge, asteroid-sized storage tanks orbiting a number of undeveloped worlds. The Exploratory Corps pushed deeper into the galaxy, with mankind trailing behind, seeping into every crack the Corps opened. Hungry from centuries of limited space and resources the human race devoured the galaxy. Within a generation a hundred planets were inhabited. Within two generations, a thousand. The JDA declared itself the official galactic government and was renamed to the Imperium. Although some worlds chafed at the Imperiumís continued dominion over all water supplies, none defied them.

 
The Marked
In 2507 a regiment of Exploratory Corps, aboard an Imperium cruiser en route to a new colonization assignment mutinied, seizing the ship and abandoning the new on an undeveloped world. The dissidents then took refuge on a nearby planet, Teron, whoís populace has grown tired of the Imperiumís ever increasing demands on their water supply. An Imperium fleet was quickly dispatched to the planet and determined the city in which the stolen ship had landed. Three regiments of Imperium infantry descended to the planet and seized the city. The ship was located and the Corps members guarding the ship were tortured until they revealed the location of the rest of their unit. The remaining Corps personnel were tracked down and all were killed in an open courtyard. The Imperium left the city intact, but a sizable force of Imperium troops remained on Teron, and the planetís water ration was halved. The Imperiumís ruling directorate feared that similar incidents would continue to occur, and determined to institute a more decisive means of controlling the Exploratory Corps. Imperium geneticists had been developing enzyme keys which, when injected into the bloodstream, could crack, and alter the DNA code of every cell in the body to a prescribed manner. Exploratory Corps personnel had been receiving periodic injections of these substances to improve their immunity to alien bacteria and other microscopic life forms encountered while colonizing new worlds. In response to the Teron incident, a new, more ambitious strain of genetic keys was developed which created a chemical clock in the brain stem that caused life functions to cease at the age of 25. These agents were systematically introduced into all Exploratory Corps members along with standard immunity treatments. In addition, the changes in the genetic code made the left eye of each member of the Exploratory Corps completely black. In this way, the Imperium could easily identify Exploratory Corps members and make it impossible for them to escape. In addition, the fact that they would only live to the age of 25 made it difficult in organize any sustained effort at rebellion. The scheme was more successful then anticipated. Within a few decades, the Exploratory Corps came to be known as the Marked and began to think of themselves as cursed. There were no further outbreaks of violence, and the Marked largely gave up hope of ever being granted their freedom. As the business of colonizing the galaxy became less risky and less vital, the Marked, who were viewed as a separate caste from the rest of the human society, were used to perform many of the menial tasks needed by humanity. In time, many among the Marked did not even believed they deserved to be free.


 
The Dawn of War
In the late twenty-sixth century, an extraordinary boy, Perigil Ilacas, was born to Marked parents. Living in the household of a noted educator, Lajos Cardat, for whom his parents worked as servants, young Ilacas spoke seven languages by the age of five and was versed in a number of sciences. As the parents approached 25, they made a deal with Cardat, who was sympathetic to the plight of the Marked, to raise the boy as his own. Only in this way could Ilacas continue his education. To pass the boy off as a citizen, his mark would somehow have to be removed, but the marks had been engineered to be resistant to removal, even by techniques such as tissue replacement. Once the new tissue was accepted by the body, the enzyme keys, which remained in the bloodstream of every marked human, would simply alter the new cells, and the mark would reappear. Cardat arranged for the boy's eye to be removed and replaced with a cybernetic replica, a procedure that was extremely expensive and, if discovered, would have resulted in death for all involved. By the age of 19, Ilacas had become a leading scholar in the field of genetics. Although he never told his adoptive father, the real motivation behind his study was to uncover the genetic basis for the mark. Ilacas eventually found the enzyme keys that were responsible for the differences in the DNA and deduced that these were man-made agents that had at some point been deliberately introduced into the Marked population. However, now age 22, Ilacas feared that he would not be able to discover how to counteract the keys in the few years he had left and feared also that if his research was ever uncovered by the Imperium, it would be destroyed. He decided to make his discovery public in the hope that other scientists would join his endeavor or even that public knowledge of the fact that the mark was a manufactured product of the Imperium would force them to release his people from their genetic bondage. Within a week of the announcement, Ilacas, Cardat, and all those associated with his research were dead. However, news of the incident spread, and quickly small uprisings flared up around the galaxy. The Marked found support on numerous planets. Some viewed the Marked as mankind's pioneers who had delivered humanity from their doomed homeland of Earth. Some believed their subservience was unnecessary. Some simply saw an opportunity to throw off the yoke of the Imperium and reap the profits of their own bounty. Imperium warships were hijacked, complexes sabotaged, water convoys seized. Several planets, including Teron, raged into full revolt. The rebellion slowly grew more organized, and within a decade the Marked had become a dedicated revolutionary army. Calling themselves the Freedom Guard, they coordinated the efforts of a hundred insurgent worlds into a unified endeavor. Although outnumbered, technologically inferior, and lacking strategic strongholds, the vastness of the Imperium's domain worked to the rebels' advantage. The Freedom Guard struck at strategic targets and then moved on, never facing the formidable Imperium war machine head on. After years of trying to smother the growing tide of insurrection, the Imperium found itself facing full-fledged civil war.

 
The Desiccator
In 2618 Imperium general Gregor Trilkin approached the Imperium's Ruling Directorate and requested permission to develop a new weapon. Tired of pursuing smaller Freedom Guard forces across the breadth of the galaxy only to engage them in inconsequential skirmishes, he wanted a potent new tool to turn the course of the war. Trilkin's arms research scientists had actually already designed a devastating new chemical weapon, a catalyzing compound that sheared the hydrogen atoms from water molecules. The compound then incorporated the free hydrogen atoms, thereby reproducing itself and continuing to divide any water molecules it came in contact with. The effect could be transferred through airborne water molecules and even through water in living organisms. One molecule of the compound could therefore consume all the moisture in an entire planet in a matter of minutes. The Ruling Directorate was hesitant to develop a weapon whose function was to destroy the very implement of their control, but Trilkin assured them that they would only need use the Desiccator once. Once its force was demonstrated, Trilkin claimed, the Freedom Guard would relent. Trilkin ultimately planned to use the weapon to seize control of the Imperium. With sole command of the Desiccator, the Ruling Directorate would have no choice but to submit to his authority. The Directorate Chairman, Albrach Boas, was aware of Trilkin's new weapon from several of his personal moles in Trilkin's command. He also suspected the general's intentions for the Desiccator, but needed someone to put an end to the war and knew Trilkin was the best man for the job. Trilkin was a ruthless and efficient tactician, but a predictable politician, and Boas felt he could deal with Trilkin after he had put down the Freedom Guard.


 
The Torgans
The Togran Foundation was founded in 2382 by molecular physicist Alpheus Togra, son of Petrak Togra, the third and last Chancellor of the Global Commonwealth. Petrak's assassination in 2356 led to the Rubicon rebellions and ultimately to the demise of the Commonwealth. JDA president Grote Reber suppressed the rebellions in four short days without consulting any of the national governments involved. The JDA's position of global leadership was cemented. Reber negotiated the dissolution of the Global Commonwealth and the transfer of its remaining authority, mostly bureaucratic, to the JDA. Alpheus, only nine at the time of his father's death, studied under his mother, physicist Gisela Togra, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2349 for her neutrino reactor. By his early twenties Togra had surpassed his mother in reputation. His Foundation, which he established at the age of 35, was dedicated to the development of a new paradigm of human understanding of the physical universe. Togra rejected the five hundred year old reductionist approach to science. Togra believed that matter could be easily and permanently altered at the molecular level and steadfastly maintained that the necessary knowledge and tools to allow such conversion could be uncovered in his lifetime. Matter, he claimed, like all of reality, is more than a sum of its parts. His research focused on element 115, discovered in the outer planets in the early days of exploration of the solar system. Element 115 was the only stable member of the very heavy elements. Other elements over atomic weight of 92 undergo spontaneous fission almost immediately. In addition, the "strong" force in element 115, the force that binds the nucleus together, was unusually powerful and similar enough to gravity that the force could be tapped and amplified and used to make a gravity drive for interstellar travel. The drive bent space in the same way that gravity does and actually pulled the destination point to the traveler. While the peculiar properties of element 115 were accepted by most scientists, none had been able to unravel its mysteries. Togra claimed that the element represented proof that our understanding of the nature of the physical world was flawed, and claimed that by unlocking the secret of element 115, he could transform Earth, even the entire galaxy, into a paradise. Although considered one of the great thinkers of his age, Togra's obsession with element 115 was mocked as yet another megalomaniacal attempt to turn lead into gold. Togra countered, "If I can tame the soul of matter, what need would I have for gold?" A man of considerable charisma and rare genius, Togra developed a dedicated following and became a spiritual as well as scientific leader. Togra claimed that the great scientists were simply discovering what the great mystics had always known in a less literal way. He believed that inquiry into the metaphysical realm was as important to mankind's development as scientific advancement. Many of the world's leading minds abandoned their own work to join the Togran Foundation. By 2387, Foundation members numbered nearly one thousand, and Togra's work on matter conversion was making great strides. Togra became increasingly withdrawn and secretive about the Foundation's research. He suspected that several Foundation members were leaking information to the JDA. Togra stopped accepting new members and expelled three Foundationers he believed were selling his secrets. He began working entirely alone, often fasting and meditating for days at a time. He was rarely seen in public and grew increasingly paranoid. In 2391, Togra confided to a few of his closest associates that he had cracked element 115's secret. Before Einstein it was believed that energy and mass, as well as linear and angular momentum, were each independently conserved; that is, none could be created or destroyed. Einstein showed that energy and mass were in fact interchangeable and united them under a single conservation law. Through his work with element 115, Togra found that linear and angular momentum were also equivalent to mass and energy, as well as charge, quark number, and several other variables. All of these, he claimed, are aspects of a single essence that obeys a single conservation law. The unusual nuclear forces of element 115 were due to the fact that the momentum of the electrons of its atoms was being converted to the "strong" force in the nucleus and back at an incredibly fast rate. Based on this discovery Togra was able, in a small-scale reactor, to convert the angular momentum in the electrons of an atom of hydrogen into mass. He estimated that a single atom of hydrogen could produce as much matter as a fair-sized asteroid. He needed only to refine the process to make the reaction produce the desired element, and build a number of large-scale reactors to allow near unlimited matter conversion. He was certain, however, that the JDA was about to seize his research, and he decided to abandon his home planet and move the Foundation to an off-world colony. Togra claimed to have found a host planet near the galactic center on which a habitable ecosystem could be developed within a few years. Within a generation, he claimed, they could build their own heaven. Four hundred thirty-seven Foundation members, some of the world's foremost biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, doctors, and philosophers agreed to accompany Togra. Within a few months Togra organized a small expeditionary force of cargo vessels with light warship support. Togra had expected the JDA to resist the endeavor, but they seemed to view the departure of the Foundation as simply an opportunity to be rid of some of their most influential, outspoken agitators. However, as the Togran expedition reached the outskirts of the solar system, Togra's paranoia proved valid. An attack force of JDA ships ambushed the convoy, engaging the warship escort while cutting off Togra's ship and attempting to board it. Unknown to even the other members of the expedition, Togra was armed and prepared for the attack. He killed two JDA agents and placed a small explosive device on the boarding vessel. His ship was damaged in the explosion, but he managed to escape the skirmish, leaving the remaining Tograns behind. When the remaining JDA ships realized what had happened, they disengaged and attempted to follow Togra, but no trace of him was found. The Togran vessels, without their leader but unable to return to Earth for fear of the JDA, decided to continue on to their destination and hope that Togra would somehow find his way there. A few days later the Tograns received a garbled transmission from Togra. His ship was damaged beyond repair. His navigation systems were not functioning, and he had barely managed to ditch the ship on an unknown planet. By the time of the Freedom Wars the Tograns were merely a curious anecdote in the Imperium's Neuro-Historical Archives. However, the Tograns had flourished on their new home planet. By genetically engineering offspring, they developed a society of more than one hundred thousand within a few generations. Most of the subsistence work was done by machines, and the need for government was minimal. To avoid pollution, the Togran industrial complex was maintained in massive factory vessels that orbited the planet. Togran society grew increasingly insular and monastic. The majority of the society's resources was dedicated to scientific research, and citizens did little but work, study, and pray. With disease all but conquered, the Foundation members survived for hundreds of years, pursuing the limits of human knowledge with a dedication approaching madness. However, although Togran technology far surpassed that of the Imperium worlds, the Foundation scientists had been unable to reproduce Togra's breakthrough in matter conversion. For generations the Tograns scoured the galaxy for their lost leader but found no trace of him. Togra eventually rose to a mythical status in Togran society, and his followers stopped searching for him. They believed that their lost prophet would return to deliver them without need of their intervention, but as the centuries rolled by, Togra did not appear. The war between the Imperium and the Freedom Guard raged across the galaxy, destroying everything in its wake. Eventually the war spread to the remote Togran home worlds. Although superior technologically, the Tograns had no experience with warfare and their society was crushed in the onslaught.