The universe is created as a single oneness, a vision of perfection and harmony dancing on quantum strands of possibility. Sentient life, immeasurably wise and powerful, is spontaneously brought into existence to give voice to the harmony of existence.
The totality of creation shatters. Clashing probabilities spawn an infinitude of realities, each only a fraction of the whole but each reflecting aspects of it. These ‘shard realities’ are scattered throughout a medium of entropic forces known as ‘Fracture space’.
The universe that will later become host to the Authority comes into being in the big bang.
Surviving entities on separated reality shards succeed in achieving communication with one another. Their collective efforts bring into being the Mantra, a gestalt remembrance of the perfection at the beginning of the universe.
The Mantra begins spreading through fracture space, re-aligning realities to the collective whole and re-incorporating sentient life to its matrix.
The Mantra encounters entities that have failed to assimilate its message for the first time. After a long introspective juncture the Mantra proceeds to eradicate the life in question and substitute Mantra-compatible forms in its stead.
The Mantra encounters organised, active resistance to its advances on a scale that impinges on its collective consciousness for the first time in billions of years. Devotees are mustered carry the Great Song directly into the resistant shard realities resulting in the first Mantra wars.
The planet Earth is formed.
The Mantra encounters the inorganic ARK civilisation and eradicates it. Fleets of ARK ships escape into fracture space, emerging randomly centuries, sometimes millennia later in other reality shards. The ARK ships are autonomous and appear programmed to attempt to assimilate life forms and reconstitute them as non-Mantra compatible replicants.No-one knows how or why, their secrets died with the ARK civilisation.
Multi-cellular life emerges on planet Earth.
The Mantra encounters the inorganic Seal civilisation and attempts to eradicate it. The Seal maintains resistance for over a million years before being overwhelmed. A fragment of the Seal escapes into fracture space.
Dinosaurs rule the Earth.
Part of the fragmented Seal arrives in the Earth reality shard, crash lands more accurately, and begins adapting to local conditions.
Pursuing Mantra forces discover and attack the Seal’s bastion in the Earth reality shard. The bastion is destroyed and the Mantra forces move on, but the Seal has in fact survived the attack in a dormant state.
The Mantra wave propagated by the force that attacked the Seal reaches Earth, igniting mysticism and enlightenment in primitive humans.
The gift of the Mantra is exploited by various individuals and groups to gain power over their fellows, accelerating organisation and civilisation (which is the latent intent of the Mantra) mostly for their personal gain (which is not). Full enlightenment is never achieved and humanity evolves instead through millennia of religiously-motivated wars.
Mantra forces are dispatched to eradicate humanity, although relocating the specific reality shard and breaching it again will take millennia. In the meantime many human-equivalent species in other realities are eradicated or joined to the Great Song.
The Mantra breaches the Earth reality shard, first manifesting at the colony world of Kharkyn. MORTIFACTOR REX, ANGRA and RAJAH lead the chorals and celebrants spreading the good news of the enlightened eradication awaiting humanity. The Mantra wars begin.
Population of Earth exceeds 6,000,000,000 human beings. It is predicted that core resources on Earth like fossil fuels will be exhausted within 50 years. 1990-2020 are marked by the Oil Wars.
United Nations security council is dissolved and reconstituted as the United Nations Allocation Authority (membership exclusively USA, Russia, China). UNAA-instigated resource wars and energy initiatives slow the expected impact, but great suffering follows in the next six decades:
The victorious coalition represented as the UNAA reconfigures itself as the Terran Authority of Nations before moving to consolidate all remaining Earth resources under its control.
Extraplanetary colonisation efforts begin throughout the Solar system, chiefly in the form of asteroid belt mining but viable settlements are established on Earth’s Moon, Mars and Titan. Many are privately held operations with little love for the Terran Authority.
Population of Earth plus its colonies around the solar system now exceeds 200,000,000,000.
A revolt on Titan is repressed. Riots occur on Mars. Civil wars and insurgencies grip much of Earth. Life goes on.
Population of Earth and the solar colonies now exceeds 20,000,000,000,000. After more than six centuries of unrestricted growth the solar system has been almost entirely stripped of its resources. The Terran Authority begins an ambitious program to start long range colonisation of other solar systems using what little remains.
The first Lorentz-Tannhauser accelerator gate is established beyond the orbit of Pluto. In later ages this titanic structure is further expanded to become the Cerebrus Gate.
Colonisation ships are sent via the gate to Alpha Centauri. The journey is completed in six weeks, defying all known laws of physics. The Terran Authority ships have unknowingly crossed into Fracture Space during the journey.
The resultant echoes in Fracture space make the Mantra aware of the exact location of the failed enlightenment of humanity, Across a kaleidoscope of interlinked alternate realities Mantra forces begin moving to the origin point of humankind so that it can be eradicated.
The Terran Authority launches further colonisation missions in two major waves, the second and far larger one occurring after 2693 when it was determined the Alpha Centauri mission had been successful. The first wave, however, featured large numbers of individuals seen as undesirable and expendable by the Terran Authority.
First wave colonies include
Second wave includes;
Hopes that the newly established colonies would build their own gates and send shiploads of raw materials back to Earth prove overly optimistic. Little more than a thin trickle is sent as the colonies concentrate on establishing themselves and pushing further outwards. Earth becomes a backwater and by 2850 (estimated) Earth is a virtually hollowed-out shell. Resource shortages become critical. The solar system falls into anarchy and the Lorentz-Tannhauser gate is abandoned.
On the fringes of known space human explorers stumble across the Seal’s ruined bastion world. The Seal reawakens, integrating the explorers and their machines. One individual proves extremely compatible with the Seal and becomes the first Awoken, Aurelius.
The Seal’s integration method, the Brand, spreads effortlessly and for the most part peacefully across the human colonies. Other Awoken emerge on various planets. Human civilisation and cultural development accelerate massively under the Seal’s influence. The spread is uneven, however, being far more pronounced in advanced societies and slower among the more far-flung, agrarian worlds.
Advances in fracture drive technology mean human ships can now travel without using gates, although gate-travel remains faster and more accurate.Aurelius moves among the Awoken and speaks passionately of the need to truly unify humankind. Most are persuaded or coerced into supporting his plans. Aurelius terms his new order ‘The Authority’.
Aurelius leads the Authority on to the unification of all human colonies. A few worlds, like Auris, avoid complete integration due to their location or local power structure, but they still bow to the manifest power of the Seal. There is resistance from some of the Awoken and unBranded worlds. To counter this Aurelius creates the Iron Legions from volunteers Branded and trained to enforce the Authority’s will. Local rebellions, lawlessness and insurrection continue spit and fizzle periodically but overall the Authority is a benign, civilising force.
The final conquests of human space are made and Aurelius completes his victory with the capture of humankind’s cradle world, Earth. He reclaims the planet, using the Seal’s power to restore the ravaged world to an earlier, unblemished age.
The Authority rules with peace, tranquility and timeless efficiency for more than a thousand years, overseen from the near-mythical Earth by its equally mythical leader, Aurelius. Hunger, poverty and disease are all but eradicated. Throughout this period Aurelius pursues the creation and adoption of Awoken ‘offspring’ through various means (including ERIS DISCORDIA, ATHENA and APOLLO), establishing an immortal, dynastic pantheon.
Periodic rebellions and outbreaks of lawlessness (the dividing line is blurred) continue to trouble Authority worlds, provoking the intercession of the Iron Legions. Aurelius tasks Athena with determining just why.humans continually struggle against the benevolent rule of the Authority.
The Mantra finally succeeds in breaching the Earth reality shard at the recently colonised Authority world of Kharkyn. The Mantra sets about assessing the colonists and establishing shrine-portals thoughout the local volume of space.
Iron legion forces led by KARA arrive to investigate the loss of communications with the colony. They encounter the Mantra and suffer some losses to Mantra enlightenment before the light-years distant Seal responds to nullify the immediate threat. KARA leads an effort to shut down the shrine-portals but is thrown back by overwhelming numbers. She does, however, secure vital information on the Mantra shrine-portal tech.
Reinforcements are sent to Kharkyn led by MIDAS and GILGAMESH and a multi-continent war rages there. Fleets of Mantra ships arrive in other systems and the Mantra wave spreads across the universe. Where the Seal is strongest populations resist the siren call, but many worlds fall to the Mantra in the first centuries.
The Authority changes virtually overnight as the Seal exercises ancient defensive protocols to ensure maximum resistance to the Mantra. Whole populations are forcibly Branded to expand the Iron Legions, foundries work day and night to build ships and weapons. Aurelius leads the charge, encouraging, cajoling and oppressing. How much he is a willing leader and how much he is the mere puppet of the Seal is unclear.
The Seal effects massive changes to Earth, mining out much of the planet’s iron core for raw materials. Over 70% of Earth’s mass is consumed raising new fleets and legions, the remainder (including Aurelius’ city-sized palace) is kept stabilised and preserved by the power of the Seal as the same idyllic Elysian fields Aurelius brought into being millennia previously..
By pouring every possible resource into war the Authority manages to stabilise a front line of sorts against the Mantra incursion, a band of contested star systems that become known as the war worlds.
CHAIN leads a successful revolt by disaffected Iron Legionaries against the Authority on Caireen. The rebels gain control of the Caireen gate and use it to solicit support on other worlds. Factions from Ironreave, Tar, Hoarfrost, Spatha, Theddus and Anvil rally to the cause.
Aurelius dispatches ATHENA to investigate the Uprising. He declares that on her return he will expect a full summary of her previous research. ATHENA has secretly determined that the state of rebellion so often found in humanity is it’s innate response to the call of the Mantra, a psychic immune system that has been developing since the first impact of the Mantra wave on early humanity. She determines that at this time preserving the Uprising is more important than the Authority or Aurelius.
ATHENA releases a modified form of the Mantra enlightenment on the Iron legions under her control with the express purpose of triggering the Uprising response. Huge numbers of Legionaries join her in changing sides to support the Uprising, most of them becoming Nameless. Aurelius is furious (and fearful) at her betrayal and commands that the Uprising be eradicated.
Tar, Hoarfrost, Anvil and Spatha are brought back under Authority control. However the occupation forces find themselves fighting a running battle with elusive Uprising insurgents. Despite Aurelius’ best efforts the Mantra pressure remains relentless and the Uprising prove too agile and persistent to easily destroy.
Raids by ARK ships begin. They go unnoticed at first but a lone Ark ship is witnessed retreating from Karhen, an Authority colony world, after destroying the colony and a Mantra shrine-fleet.
A battle at Belgren between Mantra and Authority fleets is interrupted by an attack by multiple ARK ships, the first time the giant vessels have been seen working together. The ARK ships attack both sides without discrimination.