The Interstellar Empires
The first empire called the ‘old ones’ lasted for thousands of years and was so advanced none of the later empires or cultures could surpass their technology, only copy it. The starships and all high technology came from them.
It is thought there were over one thousand worlds at its peak, and it broke into smaller groups of worlds or federations about two thousand years ago. the empire did not execute rebels and criminals; they were exiled to far-off worlds on the edge of the empire. The large starships were used to transport prisoners to the far western worlds, and they were forced to mine metals to pay for the voyage. After the ships were full, they returned to the center of the empire and the prisoners were left to fend for themselves.
Some of the groups did well and created small empires modeled on where they came from. Others degenerated to wandering hunter-gatherer tribes and intermarried with the local hominoids and surviving members of earlier exiles. It is thought the exiling started over a hundred thousand years ago, and a need for heavy metals fueled the forced exiling of the various groups in the empire. The religions that sacrificed their people were counted as criminals like the rapists and murderers they were. The later records show ships would stop at worlds and pick up the prisoners and when full start the long voyage to the extreme west of known space. It was cheaper to mine with hand tools rather than machinery since the ship owners were paid to take the criminals from the planets.
The records show many worlds were settled this way in the distant past and as the empire expanded the exiles were sent farther away. The exiling to Earth started around twenty thousand years ago since the ice was receding and the ships could now find the metals and the prisoners could extract the ore by hand.
The Second Empire or Federation was a group of worlds that tried to recreate the First Empire on its western edge. Their free trade concept allowed them to expand; then they became more oppressive with time and religion. May of these worlds had been settled by exiles in the distant past. It lasted eleven hundred years and broke apart in a series of civil wars primarily over the control of the citizens by some of the various religions. On some to the worlds the revolts won against the temples. and on others the temples gained control over the secular governments. They also exiled criminals and rebels to primitive worlds, copying the old ones by making the prisoners mine for them. After the breakup of the federation, much of the forced exiling stopped and the religious worlds instituted slavery instead. The number of worlds in the western federation was over seventy at it peak.
The Changeling or Ghang Empire was formed when a barbarian leader on a small undeveloped world in a seventy-two-year war conquered his world and obtained possession of four interstellar ships. He then conquered seven more worlds in the next one hundred twenty years. His name was Sargon the first, and the empire was so named due to the many changelings, both in the government and military, who all were descendents of or related to him. The empire now consists of nine member planets and two dependencies and is six hundred sixty-one years old. A loose confederation, the empire serves as the deep-space military force. Free trade is the primary rule of law. The member worlds maintain their governments and laws and are normally left alone, and the empire solves disputes between worlds. The empire is trying to maintain its technology inherited from the old ones, but is having trouble since only a few citizens train in the technical skills needed. Marduk is the only religion not permitted on any empire worlds. The Empire does not allow religions to have services outside their temples or go out and recruit members. The Ghang are not religious and look to the sky, sun, and wind, only as semi-deities. This empire rediscovered the location of Earth and has been observing the planet for over three hundred years. Due to the huge population, military capabilities and lack of planetary government, the empire decided not to make official contact; they trade, observe, and on occasion land and kidnap locals for intelligence.
The Ghang have secret trade missions on the world and are located in free-trade cities or zones. Many had to be moved due to recent security problems. The missions buy and sell products for the empire, and this pays for the trips back and forth. The countries of Earth with high technology have passed the empire in some ways, and now the agents buy or steal what’s needed for the empire from them. It is getting harder to slip in and out since the security forces in the developed countries have been on high alert since 2001.
The religious empire of Marduk holds sway over twelve known planets and is trying to expand to all the known worlds. They are a very oppressive religion and control all aspects of life on their worlds. Marriage is under the control of the temples, and birth control is not legal. Most of the people do not read above the third-grade level, and the temples decide where they work and live. They have rediscovered two of the planets formerly used as prisons by the Second Empire and now have colonies on them and are mining them for metals and fuel for their starships. The Marduk and the Changeling empires are in a cold war with small clashes time to time. Many feel it is only a matter of time before all-out war breaks out between the two. The Marduk temples use slavery for basic industries and farming. The lack of higher education is causing a slow downward spiral of technology in the entire Marduk Empire.
The changelings known as Ghang can change sex, size, and species to save themselves from danger and death if they are forty percent or more changeling. The color of hair, skin, and eyes is changeable by the changelings with above twenty percent for personal whims and is done often. The legend has it the Ghang are descended from both a wolf and a monkey. The more Ghang blood a person has means the higher the rank and position in the empire. Sargon the first had more than fifty wives and concubines with over three hundred known offspring, and he encouraged his family to mate with the local people. The Ghang can live two hundred fifty or more years and can have numerous offspring. In the empire many have Ghang blood, and it is a way to rank and prestige; officially it is estimated that over sixteen percent of the empire have Ghang blood. The unofficial count is over thirty percent.
The people of Earth, or Dirt as the empire calls it, are descendents of criminals, rebels and religious extremists who were exiled to the planet by the First Empire over thousands of years. The primitive humanoids were overcome and in some cases interbred with the exiles. Humanoids are the dominant species in the galaxy an are found on most worlds. Many worlds were settled or seeded by the First Empire, and there are similarities on many worlds in the flora and fauna.
The major pastimes on earth seem to be sex, religion and war. They breed continuously and without thought as to how many people their world can feed, so many starve when crops fail. The major religions preach the concept of out-breeding the others so they can overcome them. The religions hate each other and have fought for thousands of years, and the constant warfare only seems to reduce the population for a limited time. The leaders of these countries seem to get wealthy selling war supplies to both their own military and their enemies, so the wars never stop.
The major powers at this time are the Americans, then the Russians, Chinese and the Europeans. Some the former third-world countries have nuclear weapons and are a great danger to the rest of the world with their radical religions and weak governments.
The Americans seem to be the most warlike and the most capable. Their military is composed of highly trained combat veterans, and their high technology can overpower and potential enemies. Their unique Special Forces seem to be in every corner of the world destroying some third-world governments, propping up others, and killing enemies without regard to borders. Their technology is superior to all others due in part to an imperial Ghang lander crashing in their western desert in 1947. The Americans were able to leap ahead with their technology, and the other powers can only steal what they can to try and keep up.
The current warfare is fueled by the need for oil which is used to produce energy and transportation. The last major deposits are located in areas where many of the people are religious extremists who hate and denounce all other religions. The major powers are able to produce power other ways, but their leaders have too much investment in oil cartels to change until the oil supply is exhausted.
It is the year 661 of the Ghang empire and 2004 on Earth and western space is about to change…