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Echelon (Windows)

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    The story so far...

    By 2117, the decay of the Galactic Empire became irreversible. At that time, the overall space under control of the Empire accounted for no less the 1,500 cubic parsecs, and it was unable to effectively govern its dominions, or trans-galactic routes. Chaos reigned in the Galaxy. Civil war raged on the ruins of what once had been a powerful domain. Planetary systems one after another declared their independence. Imperial troops suppressed uprisings and rebellions with ever increasing cruelty, burning out entire planets by bombardments, showing no mercy. For many a century these planets became uninhabitable – the radioactive background of the surface reached 500 roentgen/hour. The civil war resulted in an exodus of humans from their home planets to seek shelter in unexplored regions of space. But not only civilian citizens abandoned their planets; armed forces also deserted the battlefield or refused to participate in the war that was so incongruous with their ethics and morale.

    In 2130, the entire Third Squadron of the Imperial Forces under the command of Colonel William H. Bunny deserted the armed forces of the Empire. The Colonel refused to take the order of eliminating two inhabited plants in Regis-IV and was outlawed. His squadron disappeared from the view of inhabited planets, only to reappear suddenly two months later on the orbit of Arcadia-XV, the planet where several large military academies were located. The planet was also home to several of the families of the squadron’s officers. The defense of the planet showed no resistance to Colonel Bunny and did not attack his squadron (see accompanying materials). The squadron orbited the planet for 36 hours and left in an unknown direction, along with the officers’ families, voluntary resettlers, as well as a large amount of on-ground equipment and machinery. It was apparent that the Colonel decided to land on one of the many uninhabited systems of the Galaxy and colonize it.

    By 2135, the number of planets suitable for colonization without taking special measures (Terra-Type A planets) in the explored part of the universe accounted for no more than 4.5 per cent. The most vicious battles for domination of these planets are characteristic of that period in history. The year 2140 was the most intense year of the civil war. For the most part, those were local conflicts on surfaces of TTA-Class plants; the parties used plasma, or as the sources of that time called them, “pure” weapons.

    In 2200, the Galactic Federation of Free Planets was rapidly taking the place of the former Empire. It took less than a hundred years for the economic and scientific potential of the Federation to reach the level of that of the former Empire. The standard of living of the citizens exceeded by many times the maximum level that had been formerly registered in 2113. In addition, those new colonies that survived the rages of violent civil strife had established stable trading and social ties with their mother planets.

    In 2320, in Sector 1022, the patrol ship Avant-garde established contact with an unknown cruiser that had appeared from an artificially created unstable zone of space, now known as the Zero-T channel. The cruiser had people on board. Or, rather, they were creatures that resembled people in appearance. They were the descendants of one of the colonies of the Empire that they referred to as Velian. Velian had been colonized by people in 2142. A few years later, in 2149, an operating outpost of extraterrestrial civilization was discovered on that planet. For reasons unknown, the outpost had been abandoned by its founders several hundreds years earlier. Years of research on the extraterrestrial machinery had lead Velian’s new inhabitants to a series of important discoveries in two fields of knowledge: bioengineering (genetic construction, cloning, and the creation of cyborgs), and zero-transportation (Zero-T, instantaneous transportation of objects in space). Velians then colonized nearby star systems and installed a network of Zero-T stations there. According to unverified information, the development of Velian during its last hundred years was impeded by continuous warfare. The Federation has no information regarding the reasons or the character of this warfare. It is also unknown whom they fought against and for what reasons. A year after the encounter of the two spaceships, however, the representatives of the Federation and Velian signed an agreement on the creation and utilization of a common network of Zero-T stations. Virtually every large colony received one or more Zero-T complexes from Velian. The commodity turnover within the Federation grew rapidly. Industry was on the rise, the standard of living of the citizens exceeded by many times the maximum level that had been formerly registered in the Galactic Empire in 2113. At the same time, the utilization of genetic technologies was legislatively forbidden throughout the entire Federation.

    The year 2351 – “Zero Expansion.” Totally unexpectedly, Velians gained control over all Zero-T complexes simultaneously on the entire territory of the Federation. The Zero-T control stations turned out to be “Trojan Horses” given away by Velians to almost all planetary system in the Federation. Furthermore, when Zero-T complexes were manufactured by Velians, disguised as ordinary components, they built in suppressing field generators. The design of these generators had also been based on extraterrestrial technologies, and rendered these stations completely invulnerable to the fire of regular weaponry. When the suppressing field generators are on, all electronic blocks and schemes within the field’s range cease functioning. Gravitational engines lose synchronization, and poorly shielded ship computers, sensors, targeting devices, fire correction systems, missile launchers, impulse lasers, plasma cannons, and other military devices, all become defunct. The enemy then instantaneously turns off the field, attacks, and turns the field on again, thus preventing any counter measures. Entire squadrons unfamiliar with the effect of the suppressing field became disarmed once in the range of the field. Equipment was out of control and the battlefield became dominated by Velian’s cybernetic organisms, controlled by creatures that only remotely resembled human beings. Having coordinated the launch of their disguised internal systems, and regaining control, the space armadas of Velian dashed out of Zero-T portals to attack peaceful planets. Velian assault groups descended on all the strategically important colonies of the Federation. Swarms of cyborgs marched upon peaceful cities, cruelly suppressing even the slightest attempts at resistance…

    Contributed by Jeanne (75627) on Apr 01, 2009.