Only the winners and survivors write histories. When deciphering a hundred thousand year saga whose primary participants are dead or missing and whose survivors are of alien cultures with self-serving agendas and viewpoints, much information can be lost or distorted. While the dates and major outcomes are indisputable, the motivations, causes and effects are obscured by time, translation and outlook. What follows is a brief outline of the consensus views of Human historians developed over time and from a variety of sources. Other interpretations of events are possible; other conclusions over motivations or final outcomes are potentially plausible.
All dates herein use the Terran Standard calendar. The current Grand Federation Common Calendar is based on the orbital period of Focus (289.32 days), has a year zero date of April 10, 59,489BC and is octal. For reference, 1CE corresponds to 75,101 GFCC (decimal) or 222,535 (octal).
The Founders evolved on Hallowed, a mild, humid world circling a K2 star near the inner edge of the Orion Arm. Focused on scientific and philosophical endeavors and of delicate constitution, the Founders remained mostly on their homeworld during the five centuries of their atomic and fusion eras, establishing a few orbital habitats and sending robotic probes to other star systems. The Founder expansion began with the discovery of gravstar drive and their first crewed interstellar expedition in 98,310BC, a journey of six light years that reached twice the speed of light. Other expeditions followed, and over the next six thousand years, the Founders refined gravstar technology to allow voyages at up to 144 times the speed of light.
The Founders were never great colonizers, preferring to remain on their homeworld or in spaceborne habitats, but during their gravstar expansion, they traveled over 2,000 light-years from Hallowed and launched an unsuccessful expedition to the Sagittarius Arm. They established outposts in hundreds of systems, observed and sometimes contacted dozens of intelligent species, and studied nebula, neutron stars and black holes. During this era, they first contacted the macrojump-capable jovian Dantum, and discovered the ruins of the Hitzarchi and first Dragon civilizations.
With their frail physical and delicate mental constitutions, the Founders were unable to utilize macrojump or microjump interstellar travel. In 92,147BC, Founder physicists perfected the worm drive, vastly increasing their interstellar capability. For the next thirty-odd thousand years, the Founders expanded their scientific travels, founded a few more far-flung habitats and established tenuous contact with the Sagittarian civilization. Founder travel cumulated in one or possible two expeditions to the Galactic Core, traveling up the Orion Arm past the Bar, into the Halo and all the way to the central black hole. Records of the Core Expedition(s?) are fragmentary, but the Founders apparently encountered both friendly and hostile alien civilizations along the route and eventually abandoned further journeys along that path. No verifiable records substantiate rumors of expeditions to the Magellanic Clouds.
During the end of the pre-Federation Era, apparent turmoil in Sagittarius prompted the Founders to limit travel and development to the local Orion Arm region. In this period, the Founders developed deeper diplomatic and cultural relations with other starfaring races, notably the Dantum, Un’aa’gram, Eenikiti and Teechiri.
The culmination of closer relations between the Founders and other major races was the signing of the Federation Treaty at the commerce world of Focus. The original Grand Federation of Races consisted of the Founders as patrons and arbitrators of the Federation and five major races: the Dantum, Un’aa’gram, Teechiri, Eenikiti and Szri’ta’zhan, who determined most foreign policy, settlement and economic issues. These five Primary races acted as the patrons of eleven Secondary races, also starfaring capable. Initially, a hundred and one Tertiary races, spaceflight capable and inclined to interstellar contact, formed the lower rung of Grand Federation civilization. Primary and Secondary patrons sponsored the Tertiary races and aided their further development.
The next thirty thousand years were a period of “peaceful stagnant expansion” for the Grand Federation. Half of the Federation’s growth occurred in the first nine thousand years, with continued expansion slowly creeping across the expanding frontier in years. The civilization made little technological progress beyond the High Worm/Stasis culture of the Founders, but the Federation grew to include over eight hundred races and fifty thousand inhabited systems spread over an elliptical volume encompassing three thousand by fifteen hundred light-years along the coreward edge of the Orion Arm. Outlying outposts extended deep into the Orion Arm, reaching as far as the Orion Nebula.
The Founders gently enforced peace through the region, encouraging consensus and gradual maturation of species. Early in this period, the mechanoid Zhretra first appeared within the Grand Federation on Drift cities, traveling sub-light through interstellar space from coreward regions unknown. After some trepidation and unrest, the mechanoids were accepted as a secondary race under Dantum patronage.
The Grand Federation developed a set of common languages, standardized forms of communication suitable to different types of races, that were originally intended as aids to communications between races, but soon came to be the dominant forms of communication by most Secondary and Tertiary races, even among members of their same species. While some more influential races tended to form single-race colonies, many systems were settled by a combination of races with mutual environmental preferences and patronage webs. The Grand Federation of Races eventually evolved into a true multi-racial state with heavily entwined races and a common core culture.
As the era progressed, the Founders spent less time guiding the Primary races and more time devoted to increasingly esoteric and inwardly focused projects. Finally, after consultation with the Primary races, the Founders withdrew from active participation in Grand Federation policy in 30,384BC, retaining only observer status on Focus.
Shortly after the Founder withdrawal, the Grand Federation Council began to split into two major factions: the Radicals, led by the Teechiri, Szri’ta’zhan and Tze’t and the Conservatives, led by the Un’aa’gram, Eenikiti and Dantum. Though many races, notably the Jembo, remained neutral, policy decisions focused on the divisions between these opposing groups.
The Radical agenda emphasized guided artificial evolution towards a goal of transcendence. They held that the Founders were well on their way to achieving this objective, and that learning from the wisdom of the Founders was the highest imperative. The Radicals soon orchestrated the transfer of the Federation capital to Hallowed, and there established small enclaves dedicated to pilgrims seeking the wisdom of the Founders.
The Conservatives were more concerned with economics, stability and cultural diversity between species than what they believed was Radical religious superstition unfounded by facts and unsupported by the Founders. Originally suffering from disunity and competition that was probably encouraged by the Radicals, they did little to challenge the government at Hallowed until the Un’aa’gram and Eenkiti buried their differences and convinced the normally impassive Dantum to join them in action.
The Consolidation Wars period began in 25,318BC with an attack on the Teechiri homeworld of Sicheeteeri and quickly disintegrated into general warfare between the two factions. Both factions employed planet busters, bioengineered weapons, mass deportations and genocide to achieve victory. The Founders intervened to stop the first war after six years, but the strain of the conflict led to a centuries-long dark age.
A second war, beginning in 24,730BC, featured the total destruction of Sicheeteeri, the extinction of the Urdunnu and a series of Teechiri plagues that nearly destroyed the biospheres of hundreds of methane worlds. The Founders did not intervene in the second war, but it wound down after a few dozen years as the Grand Federation slipped into a second, longer dark age.
The Third Consolidation War began around 22,450BC and involved primarily Eenikiti forces hunting down Teechiri settlements as the Conservative races tried to divide the rest of the Radical forces. A truce in 22,353BC ended the struggle in the Conservative's favor and the Grand Federation administrative capital moved back to Focus.
The Fourth Consolidation War lasted just three years and ended in 21,251BC. The war began when a Radical coup failed, leading to a spasm of violence on thousands of worlds and settlements. By the end of the fourth war, the Teechiri were effectively extinct, the Szri’ta’zhan were no longer a Primary race, and Vandar had retreated to serve the remaining shrines and enclaves on Hallowed.
After the Consolidation Wars had ended, the Conservatives reformed the Grand Federation constitution, establishing more formal patronage procedures to guide races to maturity and banning many of the worst weapons of the Consolidation Wars, including planet busters and bio-plagues. The Grand Federation began a period of slow reintegration, eventually growing to its former size though not its former technical sophistication, and slowly incorporating new Primary races, the Hubas, Khabadera and Fontan. The remaining Radical races, represented by the more moderate Tze’t, accepted the Conservative Reformation framework, but continued their pilgrimages to Hallowed and worked toward transcendence within the umbrella of a multicultural Grand Federation. During this period, distinctions between races became more nuanced, with three tiers based on a race's age, patronage and vitality differentiating the Secondary Races, and a similar division, mostly patronage-based, differentiating the Tertiary Races.
During a subsequent flowering of intellectual pursuits, the Grand Federation undertook a major expedition to the Galactic Core. Traveling up the Orion Arm in 16,387BC, the expedition disappeared over seven thousand light years from the Federation frontier. A mission to the Globular Cluster M4 met with success, but an attempt to contact the Sagittarian civilizations a century later, in 15,962BC, ended in a violent confrontation and brought this Age of Exploration to an end.
The newly starfaring telepathic Heshar race joined the Grand Federation as a Secondary race in 5742BC and quickly gained economic control over key sectors of the Federation. By 5004BC, the Heshar, respected by both Conservative and Radical elements, and favored by the Founders themselves, became a Primary race.
The Heshar were a race of genius and hubris. Convinced that they could better run the Federation themselves, in 4832BC they manipulated the Grand Federation Council into appointing them the successors to the Founders and arbitrators of the Primary races. Playing factions and races against each other and pursuing a very mild pseudo-Radical agenda, the Heshar brought the Grand Federation to its largest extent, encompassing over seventy thousand systems and nine hundred races and bringing technology back to the Worm/Stasis level not seen since before the Consolidation Wars.
The Heshar were even less interested in colonization than the Founders, maintaining only trading and exploratory teams off their homeworld. They maintained control through subtle manipulation, economic pressure and assistance from dozens of Heshar-raised Tertiary races including the M’kkiae and transplanted Humans. In the end, the Heshar were too radical for the Conservative races, too conservative for the remaining Radicals and too overbearing for all. The Primary races set aside their differences and carefully conspired to rid themselves of Heshar dominance. The M’kkiae, whose convoluted mental patterns confused even Heshar adepts, were the chosen instruments of the Heshar Fall.
In 729CE, the Heshar organized a great armada to travel across the void to the Sagittarian Arm on a mission of exploration and commerce. Numbering over 3,500 vessels, the Great Expedition set out for Sagittarius and reached a rally point at the edge of that Arm in early 732CE. There, the M’kkiae vessels and warriors revolted, attacking the flagships of the fleet with almost suicidal fury. By the time the few hundred surviving vessels had returned Grand Federation Space, the War of Liberation had begun. M’kkiae warships pounded the Heshar homeworld and the Khabaderan and Eenikiti fleets destroyed commercial fleets and stations. The Heshar fought back within the Rules of War established by the Reformation, the same rules they accused their enemies of breaking. They had allies at first, including the transplanted Humans, but in the end, numbers won. The Heshar, with their incubator caste decimated by the initial assaults and their allies bribed away by amnesties and concessions, finally surrendered their claim to control of the Federation in 814CE and retreated to their battered homeworld.
The War of Liberation weakened the Grand Federation. After the war, the territory of contiguous contact shrunk to two-thirds of its Heshar maximum, somewhat less than its Reformation Era maximum. Worm drive and stasis technologies were lost again, and the Grand Federation began a long period of slow reconstruction and inward focus. Communications with more remote races like the M'kkiae gradual dwindled and eventually ended.
Contact with the expanding Empire of Humanity came in 3236CE. Early diplomatic relations were hampered by dissention among the Primary races over how to treat the young expansionistic race, hoping to avoid a repeat of the Heshar experience, and by illegal trafficking in the Khabaderan religious herb, chundas, known in the Empire as the addictive drug Static. The Empire and the Federation fought two wars in the 35th Century, the first over control of the Heshar historical sites, the second (the First Federation War) over inter-border piracy and chundas. The First Federation War and the subsequent Annexation Campaigns saw an expansion of Imperial Space to the contiguous Federation border and featured Human use of planet busters and a bio-weapon that eradicated chundas, precipitating the Khabaderan fall to Secondary status; the Zhretra, instrumental in the Federation war effort, assumed Primary race status in their stead.
After a few centuries of often uneasy peace, the Empire and Grand Federation fought three more wars between 3780CE and 3854CE, pushing the Imperial frontier beyond Antares and establishing the permanent border that would persist, with a single mutual modification, until the end of the Empire. For nearly a thousand year, relations between the Grand Federation and the Empire of Humanity improved and stabilized, with Human technology again bringing the Grand Federation and the neighboring Dragon Sphere to Worm/Stasis levels. Humanity refused offers to join the Grand Federation as a Primary race, but the Grand Federation enjoyed a period of stable, though static, existence. Expatriates from the Grand Federation and Empire settled each other's territory, and relations between the Humans and the Zhretra and T'zet warmed.
The Mech Plague released during the Imperial War of Disintegration crossed into the Grand Federation by 4756CE, bringing a spreading destruction and the disintegration of technological civilization. Though the Zhretra Drifts and other spaceborne settlements suffered the worst, the entire infrastructure of the Grand Federation collapsed, and only through the joint efforts of all the races did the Grand Federation remain united. Replacement technologies developed by the Tze't (for superconductors in 4778CE) and the Zhretra (for quantum computing processing and storage in 4789CE) helped to maintain interstellar civilization. Stabilizing at early macrojump technological levels by 4800CE, the Grand Federation established a buffer zone along the Human and Dragon frontiers, maintaining a shield against refugees and infected vessels.
The Grand Federation redeveloped a higher level of technology than Human Space during the first millennium of the Chaotic Era, reaching late macrojump technological levels by the early sixth millennium. In 5641CE, the Primary Races approved the Metamorphosis Project to reestablish pre-Plague society by converting the monopoly-based economy back into an egalitarian post-Materialist culture. This effort suffered from inadequate infrastructure and resistance from many Secondary and Tertiary Races and led to a general economic collapse by 5700CE. The next five decades were a period of disorder, with more aggressive Secondary Races, notably the Zreem, Bekna and Gulkan revolting against Primary Race authority. The first half of the 58th Century saw unrest, occasional warfare and economic chaos that resulted in the growth of Merchant Guild economic influence within the Grand Federation.
In 5750CE the Focus Revised Protocols established a slightly devolved Grand Federation structure, giving more privileges to Secondary and Tertiary races and developing a new staged approach towards post-Materialism. The once Conservative Zhretra supported the Radical cause in the talks, siding with the T'zet on most issues and a third faction, the Reformers, led by the Hubas and a group of first and second tier Secondary races, including Federation Humans, began to gain influence.
Grand Federation society began to reach early microjump levels by 5800CE and reached a post-Materialist society before 6000CE. The Primary Races slowly overturned the trade concessions granted to the Merchant Guild in the 58th Century, limiting the export of most microjump technology. Soon, trade with outside entities mainly flowed through the Zhantlas Union, though Merchant Guild border outposts on worlds such as Amada continued to have limited access to Grand Federation markets.
Today, the Grand Federation of Races remains a united political entity with a strong multi-racial base. The three main factions of Federation society compete peacefully for dominance, with broad coalitions of interests and consensus decision-making governing political and economic processes. Within the Grand Federation, tens of billions of Federation Humans, both transplants and expatriate descendants, play a large role in the government and economy, though these Humans remain a Secondary race under Un’aa’gram, Dantum and Tze’t patronage.
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by Geir Lanesskog, All Right Reserved