Very little is known about the Zi'vani before the dawn of the Empire of Skyridge, since most of their historical records were lost during the Sectus Harvests and the civil war. We do know that they had a tribal culture until a million years ago, when they began farming. After four thousand years, the nations of Skyridge united, which is generally believed to be the dawn of the empire.
The Empire of SkyridgeEdit
The Colonization of the Solar SystemEdit
Soon after the Zi'vani developed spaceflight, they started to explore the other moons of Radagast. Radagast has a total of 74 moons, ranging in size from captured asteroids all the way to the giant desert planet Khandar, three times the size of Skyridge. Over the course of half a century, the Zi'vani colonized all of them, and then by building the floating Caladrian Cuty they colonized Radagast itself. With the advent of better starship engines, they began to explore the other five planets and the asteroid belt.
Two planets lie closer to the sun than Radagast - Harasa and Magnar, formerly "hot jupiters" and now dead, cthonian worlds. These hostile planets were of little or no interest to the Zi'vani at the time, though later they would become home to military bases. Farther out are three more worlds - Mirador, a neptunian plane with 16 moons; Asghar, a frozen super-Earth with subterranean oceans; and Erebor, a small, cold planet with rich mineral resources. Between Radagast and Mirador lie the asteroid belt, and beyond Erebor is the system's Oort Cloud. All this would be home to Zi'vani colonies.
Zi'vani vessels launched from the moon Delphicus and began to set up mining stations in the asteroid belt. From there they entered the Mirador system and started colonizing the moons, and after all the moons of Mirador were colonized they moved on to Asghar and it's twin moons, Sahra and Taril. They were expecting to find life in the oceans of Asghar, but unfortunately the water was stagnant and dead due to poisonous gas. Finally, mining stations were built on Erebor and comets in the Oort Cloud, as well as several distant dwarf planets. After the entire solar system had been explored and colonized, there was one more question - what next?
Colonizing the Nearest StarsEdit
The nearest star was two light years away, and the fastest Zi'vani ship could traverse that distance in 79 years. The average lifespan of a Zi'vani at the time was roughly 15 years, a far cry from the current average of nearly twenty-five decades. The Zi'vani decided to build sleeper ships with the crew and passengers in cryogenic suspension, then launch the vessels to the nearest stars never to return.
Fifteen ships launched to fifteen stars, but two were lost under uncertain circumstances. The thirteen other vessels safely reached their destinations and the descendants of the original crew and passengers began building colonies and vessels, then sent a message to Skyridge 2.5 light-years away, informing them of their arrival. This historic moment was cause for much fanfare. When complex life was found on the planet Xin'qan in the Ripraxia system, even more fanfare was heard.
With the establishment of an interstellar commonwealth, the Empire of Skyridge had truly begun. After about a century, the inhabitants of one colonized star system - Mithriliaea VII - built sleeper ships to colonize another 18 star systems and launched them. It appeared this would be the only way the Zi'vani could ever reach the stars. But in the Re-Tkon system, a supply ship on a routine mission to an asteroid mine made a shocking discovery which would change the fate of the Zi'vani forever.
Finding the VesselEdit
Adrift in the Re-Tkon system's asteroid belt was what appeared to be a damaged and abandoned alien starship. The find was reported and taken to the system's main science station for further research. News spread throughout Zi'vani territory at the speed of light, and the people were astounded. There was intelligent life elsewhere in the universe!
Research on the spaceship turned up much highly advanced technology, including deadly laser weaponry, self-repairing nanobot systems and, most valuable of all, a warp drive FTL engine. The Zi'vani reverse engineered their own FTL ship and tested it by flying to Skyridge and back. They succeeded with flying colours. A new era had dawned - no more sending out sleeper ships to never see their home again, so that a future generation could colonize a distant world. Now, they could explore the stars themselves, and be home in time for tea.
As the first Zi'vani FTL starships began to venture out into the stars, they found that the Large Magellanic Cloud was quite empty at first glance. Then, their place in the universe was irrevocably altered. Again.
17 light-years from Skyridge in the Aladhjinn system, a Skyridge exploration vessel discovered a starship, with a different configuration than the previous one they had encountered. And this one had a crew - the serpentine Slithari, another young, exploratory race. This meeting rocked both civilization's respective worlds. There was sapient life out there among the stars.
After they managed to break the language barrier, they decided to form an alliance. And this was only the beginning…
Expansion and ExplorationEdit
After finding the Slithari, the Zi'vani encountered many other races in their exploration of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Some would become allies, some enemies, and some remained neutral towards the pioneering explorers. It was during this time that the Zi'vani colonized and explored 70% of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a stunning feat for a new species. However, the empire was growing to big to manage, and so colonization came to an end while ships were recalled to prevent rebellion among races within the empire.
While the empire ceased to expand, some explorers continued to seek out new life and new civilizations beyond the borders of the Empire of Skyridge. At the close of the Age of Exploration, the Zi'vani managed to chart the whole of the Large Magellanic Cloud and sent tentative forays towards the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Milky Way. Most of them disappeared, and their fate is unknown. But some theorize they were discovered by something deadly.
The Golden AgeEdit
The Zi'vani controlled all five sectors of the Large Magellanic Cloud and were prepared to explore the Small Magellanic Cloud and possibly the Milky Way itself. This was the Golden Age of the Empire, a time when the majority f the races in the Large Magellanic Cloud were united and peace reigned.
But golden ages seldom last long, and the seeds of the empire's downfall soon began to grow, even before the First Harvesting War.
It is uncertain when, exactly, the Skyridgian high council grew corrupt, but evidence started to collect around the time when the first colonies were set up in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Seven star systems were colonized, but something was wrong. One after another, colonies started to mysteriously disappear. The colonists begged for help, but the high council refused.
It was discovered that at the time the reports came in, the council had been overseeing the construction of a starship made entirely of gold. This starship would obviously not survive the physics of space and the engineers warned them of this, but one of the council members flew the ship anyway. It imploded and he was killed. The other council members sued the engineers and illegally had them executed.
On the outpost of Kalonia, five colonies decided to secede from the empire and gain peaceful independence, as the government grew increasingly corrupt and they wanted to found a new empire that would spread the former glory of Skyridge. In response, the high council sent out a fleet to slaughter the 7 million colonists in a two-hour antimatter bombing. The emperor himself was shocked and tried to have the council arrested, but they poisoned him and put up his newly-hatched son as a puppet, therefore gaining complete control over Skyridgian politics.
Assassination became common in the higher government positions and small debates with outlying colonies could result in slaughter, to the point where the people grew fearful and submissive. Rebellion was quickly and savagely crushed and bodies piled up. As the high council grew richer, poverty swept through the empire and the average person became poorer and poorer. But the situation would only get worse, because something was coming. Something big.
The Harvesting BeginsEdit
Soon, it wasn't just the extragalactic colonies that were disappearing. Based on information gleaned from Zi'vani computer systems, the attackers knew that there were resources to be harvested in the Large Magellanic Cloud. And so came the Sectus, the builders of the spaceship in the Re-Tkon system, the destroyers of worlds, and their battle cry - "Harvest!" - would strike fear in the hearts of the many races of the Cloud.
At the edge of what we now call the Colonial Sector, colonies started to vanish. Soon, even the High Council had to take notice. The fleet, relatively depleted and outdated thanks to the High Council's lucrative and wasteful spending of money, was deployed to guard the first line of defence, some 7,500 colonies in the Colonial Sector directly in the path of the invasion. Soon, the First Harvesting War of the Large Magellanic Cloud would begin.
The First Harvesting War of the Large Magellanic CloudEdit
We are Sectus. You are a resource. You will be harvested for the queen. You will become a part of our quest for perfection. Harvest. Harvest! HARVEST! HARVEST!!
- The Sectus battle cry
The First SkirmishesEdit
The fleets first met at the colony of Tangmerjaal, a city located on an eyeball planet. Three Sectus ships encountered fifteen Zi'vani ships and attacked them. Their strategy was to use an electromagnetic pulse to knock their electronics offline, then harvest every resource on the ship, including the crew, which were used to create Sectus soldiers. The Sectus had created themselves from the races they had destroyed.
Soon afterwards, they began colonizing Tangmerjaal and stripped the planet down to a molten core. Out of the planet, they created a fleet of spaceships, close to a thousand, and fuelled them on every ounce of thermal and radioactive energy the planet contained. Before long, no evidence existed that Tangmerjaal had ever existed. That was when the Zi'vani learned the meaning of fear.
The fleet, seeing what had happened at Tangmerjaal, realized that they were hopelessly unprepared, and by maintaining their current defence of the arc of 7,500 colonies, there was a risk of Sectus ships slipping through their defences. The High Council was worried that the second line if defence wasn't strong enough to hold them and decided to recall their warships to defend more strategic areas within the Imperial and Central Sectors.
As the fleet pulled back, 7,500 colonies were left to their doom. With evacuation by the Empire unlikely and no means of transporting large numbers of people into space, the Zi'vani of these colonies seemed doomed as the Sectus marched on.
Battle of ThralnokEdit
The first major engagement between the Empire of Skyridge and the Sectus hive mind was in the Thralnok system, a system controlled by the Slithari. The Sectus ships easily destroyed the drones patrolling the system's Oort Cloud and soon reached the outer planets. There, the thousands of Sectus ships met 13,000 Skyridgian warships. The war had begun in earnest.
The plan was to surround and destroy the fleet before it could go any further into Skyridgian space, giving the Empire time to build up a more sizeable defence before the Sectus sent another fleet. They planned to force the fleet between the gas giant Thralnok VII and it's rings and moons, then fire at them as they emerged through a narrow gap. However, though they managed to force a few hundred ships through this trap, the sheer size of the fleet overwhelmed them and they were forced into retreat.
The Skyridgian fleet sustained heavy damage from behind and was forced to stop at the super-Earth Thralnok V, the system's main planet and the only habitable one. Unfortunately, they couldn't stop the relentless movement of the fleet, and every ship harvested meant a new enemy vessel. All but around eighty ships were harvested or destroyed and the remainder were left with no choice but to retreat. The Thralnok system was harvested and all the planets in the area were stripped of resources before the fleet moved on, leaving behind only scattered chunks of rock and a stellar core.
The Fall of the SlithariEdit
As the fleet captured star system after star system, among the greatest casualties were the Slithari, who were mostly found in a swathe of Imperial Sector space directly in the path of the oncoming fleet. The proud and war-like serpents fought to defend every last planet and were defeated. Their efforts to damage the fleet were mostly in vain, as the Sectus could easily repair most, if not all, of the damage inflicted by the Slithari.
As the war progressed, the Slithari lost their homeworld of Charan-gar. This was a hard blow for their moral, not to mention the extinction of half their species who lived in the Charan-gar system. By the end of the war, only a few million Slithari still existed, and by the 22nd century they were still on the brink of extinction. The Empire of Skyridge had also lost one of it's most feared and respected member species.
The Battle of Re-TkonEdit
The Battle of Re-Tkon was very important in that if the Empire failed to defend it, then nothing stood between the oncoming foe and the Skyridge system itself. The Zi'vani, the myriad Imperial races and the allies of the Empire gathered to form a formidable fleet, 2,000,000 ships strong. While half of those ships gathered in the Skyridge system, the other half defended Re-Tkon. By now, the Skyridgians understood that the only way to stop the Sectus army was by destroying their queen, the controller of the hive mind. Her death would mean the collapse of the entire invasion force, as the leaderless and isolated Sectus would descend into madness and death. But destroying the queen's ship would be easier said than done, since the Sectus had no intention of allowing her to be killed. Ships beyond count would be surrounding her and every last Sectus was ready to die for her. Against such a powerful and merciless foe, the Empire seemed doomed.
The battle plan was to channel the Sectus ships through the asteroid belt where the wrecked vessel had been found many years before, hopefully dividing them and allowing the Skyridgian ships a shot at the queen's vessel. But an asteroid belt is an interesting battlefield, one which had advantages and disadvantages for both sides in a battle. The Sectus knew strategy and being a hive mind had the collective experience of their whole race. Setting a trap for them, as experience had proven, would not be as simple as it appeared.
The Sectus could've gone over or under were it not for their urge, almost an addiction, to harvest resources. The queen sent ships through the asteroids, which the Zi'vani managed to destroy. However, the second wave began destroying the asteroids and used antimatter to cause an explosion, sending debris flying towards the Allied fleet. They continued to send asteroids towards them until the Skyridgians were left with no choice but to take the offensive.
An advance force of Allies went through the belt to attack the Sectus, and soon the damage to the asteroid belt was severe enough that the Sectus could get through without endangering the queen. The fleet fought long and hard, but it was a losing battle. When half the fleet had either been destroyed or harvested, the remaining ships had no choice but to retreat. Several Hoth ships stayed behind, using antimatter weapons and performing suicide runs. They destroyed a large number of ships, but they failed to destroy the queen and not one of their vessels survived. In the name of honour, they all died in battle, and not one was harvested.
Entering the Solar SystemEdit
Before long, Sectus ships started pouring into the outer reaches of the capital system's Oort Cloud. Upon hearing this information, several High Council members spontaneously decided to go on an expedition to a distant star system, where they planned to set up a new capital. Unfortunately, they arrived at a bad time, as a nearby star had unexpectedly gone supernova and sent a gamma ray burst in their general direction. Some suspect Harbingers were involved.
Back in the heart of the Empire, a last-ditch attempt was made to avoid the inevitable Battle of Radagast. A squadron of Hoth vessels from the outlying House of ________, formerly banished from the empire, came to defend their people and restore honour to their house. They were accepted with open arms. While a large number of reinforcements went to support the allied army, 300 ships went to the outer planets to face the Sectus and hopefully buy the Allies a little more prep time.
The Battle of RadagastEdit
The Hoth fought well, but slowly they were battered and forced back until they reached Radagast itself. However, they had intended this. It was a dangerous and costly maneuver in an attempt to inflict damage on the fleet without giving them time before the main battle to prepare. While the _____ House members were all killed and the House was wiped from existence, the damage they inflicted may have saved many a life.
In the battle, the tide seemed to be turned in favour of the Sectus. They easily wiped out a large portion of the fleet and began harvesting several colonies. But by sheer force if nothing else, the Allied fleet inflicted severe damage to the fleet, mainly thanks to the Hoth attackers who had died for the Empire of Skyridge. Miraculously, one of the Zi'vani commanders was able to attack the queen's ship just as it began harvesting orbital structures around Skyridge and cities on the surface, and they made a suicide run on the ship and killed the queen.
Victory, But At What Cost?Edit
The Empire celebrated their victory, but the threat of another invasion loomed. The High Council, however, refused to prepare for the next attack, and instead focused on victory propaganda for the purpose of lining their pockets, imposing martial law. But the Empire, by now, was too large to handle with the few resources they had left, and harvesting the Sectus ships proved impossible due to nanobot defences.
Meanwhile, on 7,500 planets thought to be destroyed, cloaking devices made to mask their existence from all kinds of eyes were lowered, and a civil war began.
The Skyridge Civil WarEdit
The Battle of NiflhiiamEdit
To the shock of the Empire of Skyridge, a fleet mysteriously captured the planet of Niflhiiam in under two minutes. The handful of surviving automated defences were easily wiped out and all planetary colonies were occupied. In those two minutes, the Empire of Skyridge shuddered, for they had almost no way of stopping the rebels.
A Rebel StateEdit
The Republic of Skyridge formally seceded from the empire soon after taking Niflhiiam and created the Charter of Skyridgian Rights, the basis of the modern Pact of Skyridge and Extraplanetary Colonies. The planet Jagran was established as a temporary capital and an election was held. President ________ became the leader of the Republic, beating General _________ by 238 votes.
The 7,500 StarsEdit
The flag of the Republic, bearing 7500 stars, began flying on several hundred distant planets, and soon up to a quarter of the Empire had seceded. This was very bad news for the High Council, who immediately called upon their meagre surviving military forces to stop the Republic. The greatest power in the Large Magellanic Cloud had been brought to it's knees, helpless as the rebel fleet came towards the heart of their sphere of influence.
The First ChargeEdit
President ________ ordered a major advance, planning to strike at the Empire's heart while it was exposed. Planet after planet surrendered without a fight, and the fleet grew self-confident and certain of success. That would prove to be their downfall.
The Battle of Mobli VIEdit
The Imperial fleet arrived at Mobli VI, which was a strategic military holding. The Republic was expecting the Moblian citizens to surrender, but the Empire launched a fierce attack. The Republic, though strong in numbers, had very little experience in a serious battle and were soon defeated. The survivors fled, pursued by the Imperial fleet, well into the Republic's territory. Just as soon as the war had begun, it seemed to be over.
The fleet was picked off, one by one, until they reached Jagran. The Empire bombarded the planet, killing millions of citizens and seemingly shattering the rebellion once and for all. But instead of wounding the rebels, they galvanized them. Jagran became a rallying cry, and the rebel capital was relocated to Garambone. President ________ refused an offer of peaceful annexation from the government and gathered together their remaining military forces to recapture Jagran and force the Empire out of their territory.
The Second ChargeEdit
The charge on Jagran was costly, but ultimately successful, and once again many planets pledged the rebels military support. The advance resumed and the rebels began capturing more planets. They gained the experience to deal with the Imperial military. But they needed to form a crucial alliance in order to succeed. They needed to ally with the Hoth.
Alliance with the HothEdit
The Republic soon entered negotiations with the warrior Hoth. Though old allies of the Empire, the Hoth had lately been growing increasingly distant from the Skyridgian people. Some historians think the only reason for Hoth support of the Empire during the First Harvesting War was their fear of the Sectus, not support for the Zi'vani. Ultimately, they agreed to defect from the Empire, proclaiming the rebel's cause to be honourable. This marked the end of around a century of Hoth membership in the Empire.
Occupying the Outer PlanetsEdit
Soon, the rebels and their allies controlled the outer planets of the Skyridge system and were fighting to take control of the moons of Radagast. It was soon readily obvious that the Empire had already lost, but they refused to go down without a fight. Drones were sent to hamper the advance of the rebels, but they could do little more than slow them. While the armed forces of the Empire prepared for a battle to the finish, the Council secretly fled for a distant star system.
The Battle of SkyridgeEdit
The Battle of Skyridge was the last major conflict in the Skyridge Civil War. After shooting down the planet's automated defences, the rebels faced off with the Imperial fleet in orbit of the Zi'vani homeworld. The Imperial fleet was still broken and scattered after the conflict with the Sectus and stood little chance against the rebels. Soon, the emperor was forced to wave the proverbial white flag, and thus the Empire of Skyridge came to an end.
The Downfall of the EmpireEdit
Soon after the Empire was dissolved, the majority of the Large Magellanic Cloud was teetering on the brink of anarchy. With the galaxy's central power gone, old enemies began taking advantage of the situation and dictatorships took over distant outposts. What was once a unified galaxy broke down into countless factions and scattered alliances. Paupers became peasants, and anyone with a gunship could rule their solar system. The rebels knew that if they wanted to reunify the galaxy under the banner of Skyridge, they had their work cut out for them.
In Skyridge's capital city, a declaration was signed that officially declared the political power of the High Council and the imperial bloodline to be nil, which meant that the empire was legally, officially, theoretically and practically over. The declaration also wrote out the government structure, and laws of, the Republic of Skyridge. A new era had dawned for the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The Republic of SkyridgeEdit
As soon as the republic was formed, it's first act was to claim all star systems within a radius of five light-years that were formerly controlled by the Empire of Skyridge. Some of these colonies had separated and were already plotting to conquer Skyridge, but with the help of the Hoth, these insurrections were soon put to an end. The republic then got to work trying to get through nanobot defences on the Sectus vessels, in order to create a fleet that could reconquer the Cloud.
The work of getting past some of the most advanced nanobot technology in the galaxy was difficult at first, but eventually they managed to salvage enough Sectus tech to build up an imposing fleet. They then began reclaiming lost territory through alliances, conquest and annexation. This process would take a while and leave the republic seriously bankrupt.
Soon, the first president was officially elected, by the name of _____________. During his tenure, he realized that rebuilding the Empire would take about a century at least and seriously deprive them of resources. There were those who thought that the Large Magellanic Cloud was better off without the Empire of Skyridge looming over every star and every planet.