In 1886, a mysterious society revealed itself to the world. The Society promised, "Scientific and social advancement the like of which no one has heretofore seen."
Over the next five decades, The Society fed the world new scientific theories, philosophies and other ideas doing so without prejudice or favour... by the end of the nineteenth century, various nations had launched one or more permanently orbiting satellites. Twenty years later, with the launch of the first ever generation ship and the rush of similar ships that followed, humanity finally became a truly spacefaring race.
Over the next two and a half centuries, humanity spread out amongst the nearby stars, terraforming and colonising worlds to suit their needs.
A group based at Greenwich confirmed the existence of alternate dimensions and eventually demonstrated their use for rapid transit to other star systems. Known as "hyperspace" in the popular press, the discovery also revealed mutants able to solve the massively complex calculations involved. The discovery led to the creation of a network of gates allowing ships to move instantaneously between linked areas of space. By the start of the twenty-third century, most systems were networked and humanity called it's domain, The Extent.
The hyperspace gate network generated a mass exodus that was resisted by the government of Earth. The colonies fought back and, in the late twenty-fifth century, a distant group of colonies united as The United Colonial Systems. Building fleets to maintain control, EarthGov mounted a war of attrition, The First Interstellar War, over almost a century and a half but, despite massively superior armaments and ship numbers, ultimately lost to logistics. In 2484, the UCS declared independence and, within a few years, other colonies did the same.
Port McKinley, a forward base under construction in the emptiness of The Abyssal Void, was completed. Earth helped form The Federation of Empires, a forum for nations to discuss their disagreements and commonalities.
The Kochevnik declared war on the Akatsu following their defeat in the Ainu system. Both Skean and Geist launch super-dreadnoughts as the UCS decided on Port McKinley as a forward base. Kaya Ishimori ascended the throne of Akatsu, creating Akatsu's secretive Bunrui Jigyōbu.
In 2728, on a pretext, the Geist declared war on Zora. Treaty-bound allies, declare war in return. The GKV Wolfram was destroyed by the Skean in the Hadrian system as the Geist introduce horrific nanotech-based weaponry. The Khazari forced a Skean retreat from Thrace.
The Skean landed reinforcements on Sartre, bringing a new robot designed to identify and destroy enemy units efficiently. They later introduced an intelligent weapons platform able to walk, run and roll. The UCS entered the war with their mobile infantry, fast and rapidly-acting troops, with movement amplified armour. The Skean reorganised their military into a single cohesive organisation based on space naval operations, a model many nations would later adopt.
The Skean and UCS co-developed "Corvettes", small, fast, lightly armoured but well-armed ships, designed to down hunt cruise-bombers. The new Allied tactics and technologies forced Geist retreats along several fronts, resistance collapsing as their allies surrendered.
In late 2737, the warring parties met and, soon after, war ceased, the Geist fleet surrendering to Skean forces in the Alba system ... the war was over. A year later, a final act of defiance as the Treaty l'Vo was signed, the Geist fleet destroyed itself.
In 2740, the UCS decided to replace Port McKinley's first orbital defence platform with two more capable platforms. On Higuchi, on Empress Ishimori's death, her son Kazuo took the throne, immediately seeking curbs on military activity around the Abyssal Void.
A joint UCS/Skean AI Project built the first true machine intelligence against a background of predictions of future Geist war. In 2755, work began to upgrade Port McKinley's defence platforms. Emperor Ishimori relocated to Hiroshi and, as tension rose around the Abyssal Void, was elevated to Imperial Warlord. Kochevnik and Zuìzhōng form an uneasy truce.
Silvio Ferraro, granted La Sancta Sedes full sovereign rights over Oceanus, Rōmulus's moon. Renaming it Civitas Vaticana, they distanced themselves from Ferraro's fascists. A new deal was worked out to rejig Geist war debts.
As the sixth decade opened, Akatsu invaded Liao and Boxer in the Qing system. Heinemann barely won the Geist Premiership but Kaiser's SSP won the Geist elections. Popular revulsion for fascism grew across the Skean Empire as a terrorist act gave Kaiser the Geist Democratic Authority. Kaiser allied with Amiga even as they herded N'Chari into Zeltlager Arbeit and both Geist and Akatsu stormed from the Federation of Empires. Ostarra welcomed the Geist, as Kaiser proclaimed his empire would last ten thousand years.
In 2780, as the Geist began to rearm massively, Saxonia trebled the size of its Imperial Fleet, the Akatsu overran Zuìzhōng and the Federation of Empires applied sanctions against the Geist and Valentia. Two years later, the UCS and Skean trialled the first drone fighters but decided that AIs were not ready for frontline roles. Vaughn II took the throne after the death of Empress Henriette but renounced it for UCS social climber Evelyn Reynolds. Saxonia launched the first of her Defence class carriers as Woodward demonstrated his revolutionary ultra-plasma engine.
In 2785, as Empress Augusta was formally crowned, Kaiser and Ferraro called for more living space.
Geist troops landed in the Donau Republik to a rapturous welcome as all N'Chari property was declared property of the state and the Akatsu occupied An-Shi. The Geist signed mutual support agreements with Valentia, The Nuclear Pact, and the Kochevnik, The Kochevnik-Geist Non-Aggression Pact.
Lawrence declared war, the LaVie quickly following suit, as Kochevnik and Geist forces invaded Leszek. The "Allies" developed new technologies and tactics forcing the Geist to abandon "Blitzkrieg" while the UCS stayed neutral but relaxed arms sales restrictions to allow the Skean and LaVie to buy munitions. The Geist Battlecruiser, GKV Maxim, was scuttled after being damaged by Skean cruisers.
The Kochevnik invaded Uusi Suomi... progress was slow but, despite high casualties, their ability to continually refresh forces finally overwhelmed the defenders. As Gaylord Cartwright took over from Lawrence, Saxon marines in Ypres system were driven from Sartre and the LaVie surrendered under much harsher terms than the Treaty l'Vo. The Geist launched The Kinetic War against New Albion after which Cartwright delivered one of his best speeches. The Saxon successfully drove the Geist back, but their high losses, though much lower than the Geist, paled in comparison to the civilian death toll.
In late 2792, Skean forces attacked the Valentian base on Vulcan, effectively destroying one battleship, heavily damaging two more and destroying many smaller ships and port facilities, at the cost of three orbital ground attack craft and two two-man crews. UCS First Cardinal, Douglas Fairchild, denied war preparation as he won a third term but agreed a materials/munitions supply pact with the Skean. In the Sea of Souls, much of the Valentian fleet was destroyed with thirty-seven battleships lost and little damage to the smaller Skean fleet.
Following the destruction of IMS Lawrence, the "unsinkable" GKV Schwartz was hounded relentlessly and destroyed near Ayra by a Skean taskforce. Woodward's latest ultra-plasma test was successful and the new engines became high-priority for all new military ships.
The Geist turned on their Kochevnik allies, a series of victories in a short space of time, but observer's predictions proved correct, with harsh Kochevnik conditions, "scorched earth" and sneak attacks causing serious problems. The Simerian Abyss Freedom Charter was agreed by the UCS and Skean as the Skean carrier IMS Oceanus was destroyed heading into Jebeltarek.
In 2793, the Akatsu invaded Chinthe and Âu Cơ, the pro-Colonial government faction resigned and relations with the UCS deteriorated.