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The First Great Galactic War (Eclipse Session Report)

Jesse Dean
United States
Chicago
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Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!
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The inevitability of the First Great Galactic War seems obvious in hindsight but was anything but in the years leading up to the spark of the conflict. Each of the species involved in the war had legitimate gripes against the others, but in the end the real source of the conflict was simple; each of the aggressor civilizations had determined independently that the current galactic order was no longer acceptable and felt that a rearrangement in it would result in gain for their particular species. The Eridani Empire had exited a period of torpor and wished to reclaim the glories of their past, the Hydran Progress was driven ever-forward by their unquenchable appetite for scientific progress, the Orion Hegemony’s government had been seized by a death cult that sought to bring death and destruction to as much of the galaxy as possible no matter what the cost, the Planta had reached the natural confines of their living space and sought to claim ever more territory for their sporelings, and the Terran Conglomerate sought to establish new sources of resources in order to extend the financial power of their markets.

The early years of the conflict were characterized by tentative steps by the main players out of their home systems and into neighboring, largely inhabited, locations. Each civilization added these territories to their own with little regard to the wishes of the natives, though their ultimate fate varied greatly depending on which civilization integrated them. During this early period of the conflict, first contact was also made with the previously rumored ancient vessels. Each of these was efficiently and effectively destroyed using the particular technological innovations that the civilization had discovered.

The Terran Conglomerate and Hydran Progress were the first civilizations to gain access to wormholes that allowed extensive interaction. Early interactions were tense but it was quickly that both civilizations had more to lose than to gain from a conflict at this stage in the build-up. Both were still dealing with the threat of ancients and had a great deal gain from trade. While the Progress had more powerful ships, and probably would have won any conflict they saw the Terran Conglomerate as the least of their concerns. Tales of the massive expansion of the Planta deep into the farthest reaches of the galaxy and had left them very concerned. Any conflict with the Terrans would weaken them in the face of an eventual conflict with the Planta.

The Planta had indeed expanded fast and efficiently building a vast civilization while also finding stores of ancient knowledge that they used to improve their quality of life, but at a great cost, their scientific advancement ground to a stop and their production capabilities slowed to but a trickle. They became so completely focused on integrating and worshipping the knowledge of the ancients into their civilization that they neglected the need to progress further. This helped them in the short term, as they used ancient technology to great effect in establishing their galactic preeminence, but in the end it proved to endanger the Planta in the face of other civilizations that were worried about the threat the Planta’s expansion represented.

This threat was even further highlighted when the Planta invaded the Galactic Center. Only the Hydran fleets were near enough to attempt to aid the Galactic Center Defense System, but even with the aid of some advanced ancient computers, the Hydrans found themselves to be no match for the Planta’s advanced cannons and ancient shields. They were forced to retreat after losing a dreadnought fleet and the Planta made short work of the Galactic Center Defense System. The Hydrans were able to slow the Planta down enough, however, to cause a permanent shift in the character of the conflict.

Immediately after the seizure of the Galactic Center, the Planta forged diplomatic pacts with two of its three neighbors: the Orion Hegemony and the Eridani Empire. This only increased tension with the Hydran Progress as the Hydrans were the only neighbors to the vast Planta Space that lacked diplomatic relations with them. This tension led to a broad build-up of military forces in the Galactic Center on the part of the Planta and led to great leaps of technological innovation on the part of the Hydrans, leading to the development of advances in financial and mining technologies as well as the first orbital stations to appear in Terran and Hydran sectors.

During this same period that the Hydrans and Planta were building for an eventual conflict the Orion Hegemony was watching and plotting. While the Hydrans focused on building up their general technological edge to overwhelm the Planta’s ancient-enhanced military engine, the Orion Hegemony focused its efforts on the most efficient way to bring its monumental military forces to bear on its neighbor. The first advancements to this effect were in using grid technologies to allow for financial refinements and advancements, allowing them to support their burgeoning empire. The second advancement of this kind allowed them to generate wormholes, forever changing the topography of conflict in the galaxy.

What wasn’t obvious to observers at the time was that despite their diplomatic agreements with the Planta, the Orions viewed the Planta as ripe of a target as the Eridani Empire. To this effect they maintained secret negotiations with the Hydrans through the vagaries of small, secret wormhole conduits that went through remote parts of Planta space. This is how knowledge of wormhole generators spread to first the Hydrans and then the Terrans and how this triple alliance eventually brought the collapse of the Planta civilization.

The second stage of the war started when the Orion Hegemony demonstrated the power of this new technology to invade Eridani space. Eridani defenses proved to be insufficient to fight off the aggression and though the Eridani sent out desperate pleas to the Planta for aid, the Planta refused to do so. A war against the Orion Hegemony would weaken their defenses in the face of the Hydrans and they did not want to have to bear the onus of being regarded as traitors for abandoning diplomatic agreements; the Terran Conglomerate, smelling blood, responded by also invading the flailing Eridani Empire, forcing the Eridani to split their forces in the face of the twinned assaults.

The Hydrans launched attacks at the unprotected core of Planta space, easily defeating both the fleets that were raised in response and the forces sent by the Planta in retaliation. The second part of the Hydran-Orion plan was then implemented as the Orions struck into the deepest stretches of Planta space and decimated these distant systems. All attempts by the Planta to fight back simply showed how much the lack of focus on technological innovation had hurt them; they lost every battle while the Hydrans were able to advance with minimal losses. The Planta were more successful at fighting off the Orions, but in the end it looked like it was the beginning of the end for Planta space and perhaps, even the Planta race in general. The Hydran Progress were triumphant, and it was considered to be only a matter of time before they established themselves as the preeminent force in the galaxy, with the Terran Conglomerate as a friendly client state.

This all changed when a small Orion fleet, intent on seizing a valuable core system was destroyed by two fleets of Hydran Dreadnoughts. To this day it is unknown if this conflict was the result of a miscommunication or a deliberate plan by the Hydran government to ensure that the Orions knew there place but it brought a quick end to the First Great Galactic War. The Planta were allowed to exist on in diminished form, the Eridani reclaimed the systems they lost to the Orions and the Terran Conglomerate settled into its position as a client state of the Hydran Progress. The Hydrans and Orions began to eye each other warily from across the galaxy and began the process of building up for what was eventually known as the Second Great Galactic War. However, that is a different story for another time.
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