Dragoons of the Seven Snakes
History of Space Exploration
[The following is a brief synopsis of humanity’s exploration and colonization of the known galaxy. For more information on any of the events below please see your administrator for additional access privileges. ]
To the Stars
The groundwork to the history of humans in space was laid not in the late 20th century when humans began to explore space, but in the early 21st, when we began to acquire the technology necessary to usefully exploit it. Fusion power began to work successfully in 2020 after decades of research, leading to a relatively compact power source capable of providing a virtually limitless supply of energy. However, despite the fact that it was completely overlooked at the time, the work of two little-known physicists would prove to be far more important. Thomas Kearny and Takayoshi Fuchida began publishing the theories that would lead to practical interstellar travel as early as 2018, though it wouldn’t be until 2102 that these theories were shown to be workable. However, shortly after that happened, humanity began to explode through the stars. By 2110, a scientific post had been established on New Earth, and in 2116 the first colonists landed there.
Within a mere hundred and fifty years, humanity had flung itself outward to occupy the area later known as the Inner Sphere – thousands of planets in a rough circle about a thousand light-years in radius, centered on Terra. Further outward growth would continue for hundreds of years more, of course, but by this point the essential period of growth was over. During this period, there was a great deal of political strife. Terra had been unified under the Terran Alliance in 2086, but the Alliance found it becoming increasingly difficult to maintain control over the far-flung colonies, and after a long string of rebellions, some successful and some not, the Alliance ended its attempts to rule all of humanity, and allowed the outer colonies independence. Rapidly, innumerable small kingdoms formed, and almost as rapidly they merged or were conquered until only a handful remained. The Terran Alliance fell in 2314, though it was immediately replaced by the Terran Hegemony and little changed.
Eventually, by the year 2366, only six major governments remained, all of which were ruled by essentially feudal systems of government, with thrones inherited and passed down generation to generation. The Terran Hegemony, ruled by House Cameron, was at the center of it all, ruling a rough sphere centered around Terra, and clockwise around that, there was House Kurita’s Draconis Combine, House Davion’s Federated Suns, House Liao’s Capellan Confederation, House Marik’s Free Worlds League, and House Steiner’s Lyran Commonwealth. These nations may have remained fairly stable, but they were incessantly at each other’s throats, seeking every advantage they could find on the fields of battle. In 2439, the Terran Hegemony found what they had all been looking for centuries – a true edge on the field of war. Their scientists had invented the BattleMech. Massive, imposing, and armed and armoured to the teeth, the first BattleMechs were like nothing the Inner Sphere had seen before, and the results showed that, as dozens of planets fell to the Hegemony’s ’Mechs before anyone else gained the ability to oppose them in kind. That day came within a few years of the first deployment of a Cameron ’Mech, when Lyran commandoes stormed a Terran ’Mech factory and stole the design secrets. The concept spread from there via trade and conquest, until all Houses owned the technology and further stalemate ensued. The so-called Age of War wound down, however, as the visionary Ian Cameron began to send out proposals for peace and alliance to the other Great Houses.
The Star League
Over the course of fifteen years, from 2556 to 2571, Cameron managed to sign deals with the other five Houses to establish an organization known as the Star League. Headed by House Cameron, though with the other five Houses given a place on the ruling Council, the organization promised an end to inter-House war (as well as some massive incentives to sign on to the deal, ranging from military support to technological aid). However, Cameron was as much power-hungry as visionary, and he was therefore not content to be the universally accepted leader of the bulk of humanity. When the Star League had finally been assembled in 2571, among his first actions was attempting to get the lesser nations of the Periphery into the Star League. When requests and negotiation failed, he moved to trade sanctions, and when those failed, the Reunification War began. Thought by the Star League powers to be a war that would cost little, it actually took over twenty years to pacify the last of the Periphery holdouts, as well as unthinkably large losses to the Star League Defence Forces and the various House armies and navies. However, the Star League was by far the more powerful of the sides, and their victory was inevitable, despite the heavy losses they suffered to win. When the Taurian Concordat’s last bastion of defence (a heavily mined nebula that wreaked havoc on SLDF naval fleets for years) finally fell in 2596, the Reunification War was over and Ian Cameron had achieved his dream of reuniting the whole of humanity under one banner, as it had been united during the early days of the Terran Alliance.
During the nearly two hundred years that the Star League endured and relative peace reigned, technology bloomed. ’Mech and WarShip technology continued to advance at a rapid pace, and the first Hyperpulse Generator(HPG) went online in 2630, providing humans a way to communicate between planets without the need for moving JumpShips to transmit messages. The golden era of the Star League would, however, come to an end in a way few expected.
In 2767, following a series of rebellions in the Periphery that drew the bulk of the SLDF forces away from the central areas of the Star League, Stefan Amaris of the Rim Worlds Republic, supposed friend of First Lord Richard Cameron, assassinated the entire Cameron family and proclaimed himself new First Lord. The SLDF, under the command of Aleksandr Kerensky, regrouped quickly, drove inwards, and liberated the entire Inner Sphere from Amaris’ clutches in a long and bloody 13-year war, culminating in the conquest of Terra. However, the SLDF, having been massively depleted in this war, no longer had the strength to hold the fractious Houses together, and eventually abandoned the Inner Sphere entirely in the great Exodus of the entire SLDF to the deep Periphery, not to be heard from again for three hundred years.
The Succession Wars
The five remaining great houses almost immediately embarked upon the greatest war in human history. Snatching up the rulerless planets of the former Terran Hegemony, and fighting each other for supremacy, the Inner Sphere devolved into the First Succession War. The fires of this war wreaked havoc on human civilization, and lowered the technology level of the Inner Sphere drastically, as well as resulting in billions of dead. Eventually, the First Succession War ended in an exhausted stalemate after 35 years of war, only to resume in the Second Succession War less than a decade later. The Second War lasted another 34 years, further destroying the now-irreplaceable base of Star League technology, and resumed in the Third War a mere two years later. The Third War has lasted for over 150 years, on and off, and any remaining vestiges of the Star League in the Inner Sphere are dust on the winds of history.