Empires prehistory

Discussion in 'Worldbuilding' started by Omneh, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. Omneh

    Omneh Member

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    “Ricky… RICKY.” The student, engrossed in doodling, jerked his head up surprise to meet the lopsided gaze of Mr Vabrelles.

    “Yes Sir?”

    “Pay attention.” Vabrelles had a voice that couldn’t help but bark, a situation not helped by the almost laughably retro synthetic voicebox visible beneath the stretched skin of his larynx. Almost laughably.

    Ricky looked at his lap. “Sorry Sir.”

    “What’s this you’re drawing Mister Hill? Shall I show the rest of the class?” A thin smile tugged at polished cybernetics.

    “Uh, sir, that won’t be necess-“

    “Actually, I believe it will be. You see, your absent minded and quite frankly poorly skilled doodling is, in some small part, a valuable contribution to today’s lesson!” Vabrelles tapped at a screen embedded on the inside of his forearm and Ricky’s doodle appeared on the screen behind him. The class erupted in laughter at the image which depicted Ricky and the girl sat next to him moving in for a kiss, with the word EPIC above their heads flanked by odd symbols and fireworks. Ricky desperately tried to ignore the megawatt intensity of her glare.

    “What do you call this symbol Ricky?” Vabrelles extended a finger and a red laser point circled one of the odd symbols without as much as a tremor. Ricky fervently hoped that his teacher’s digit laser was decommissioned. Students learned quickly not to mock Vabrelles for his retro augmentations – he was nearly a century old, one of a few surviving veterans of the Kolntus-Emin conflict. In other words, a hero. Vabrelles would happily lecture you at length about what he considered to be the flimsiness of modern technology, concluding with a mechanical chuckle about how you’ll see his point when an EM pulse goes off and you’ll be asking him to unzip your trousers so you can take a leak.

    “I don’t know sir, I thought it looked cool.” The doodle was replaced with a grainy image of a strange flag – a strange black symbol in a circle of white, bordered by a bloody red. The symbol was similar to the ones Ricky had doodled.

    “Can any of you tell me what this flag represents?” The class remained silent. “No? I’m not surprised.” Vabrelles returned to the front of the class and began to pace back and forth, the servos in his legs whining just within earshot.

    “The ideology that worshipped this flag is ten thousand years away, both in time and space. Those who marched under it have been far surpassed in evil in the time since, yet they and the fallen Hegemony share a common ideological root.” Vabrelles ceased pacing and slowly scanned the class. “Can any of you work out what that connection might be?”

    A solitary hand shot up. Vabrelles ignored it and fixed his mismatched eyes on a dazed looking student. “Mister Jacobs, your thoughts, if indeed you are capable of having any?”

    The rest of the class contrived to retreat from the unfortunate Jacobs like a low tide exposing a rock, all without moving an inch in their seats. His dazed look was replaced by panic.

    “They… they both used genetic engineering?”

    “WRONG.” The entire class flinched. “Wrong on several counts in fact. But despite that, you are close to a certain truth. The Nazis – the group that flew this flag and under which murdered millions in the pre-information era of the homeworld – did not understand genetics. Indeed, had genetics been discovered at that point they would have been presented with a great deal of hard evidence against their beliefs. Furthermore, Jacobs has failed to remember that he, along with everyone else here, has had his own makeup tinkered with! Does anyone here have Cystic Fibrosis? Muscular Dystrophy? Haemophilia?”

    The class shared mystified looks. “Of course not! The only people who need to know those terms are doctors and historians. They are genetic disorders, routinely and safely treated. We Brenodi are not monsters – we do not consign unborn children to painful lives and early graves because we have renounced genetics as a route to leaving behind our human frailty.” Behind Vabrelles, the screen flickered through increasingly grisly images of genetic problems. He turned as an example of something called extreme harlequin ichthyosis appeared, regarded it dispassionately for a second while Ricky swallowed bile, then the screen went dark.

    A grainy video began playing that showed thousands of soldiers marching beneath the strange flag, wearing uniforms of cloth and wielding antiquated firearms. “I will ask again then. Who can provide me with an educated guess as to what the key similarity between these Nazi’s,” – The screen changed, showing familiar and eerily similar documentary footage of Hegemony soldiers marching beneath their standard – “and the Hegemony at its worst, before the Independence war, before the Northern Faction overthrew the Hegemony and created the Jekotian Republic?”

    The same hand that Vabrelles had ignored earlier shot up. Vabrelles sighed and surveyed the owner, the girl depicted in Ricky’s doodle. “Alexis?”

    “They both thought they were superior to everyone else, Sir.”

    Vabrelles remained impassive. “Very good Alexis. Yes – both of them believed they were superior, supermen or ubermenschen if you will, though there was somewhat more truth to the Hegemony claim.” Alexis’ hand was again in the air. Vabrelles brow furrowed, an expression that looked like an ammunition belt getting snarled up.

    “I believe I know what your question is Alexis. I also know that the same question is on the lips of everyone in this class with the possible exception of Jacobs, so go ahead.”

    “Sir, isn’t Northern Faction the name the Jekotian terrorists are calling themselves?”

    Despite having known the question was coming, a black look passed over what was left of the teachers face. “The name they stole would be a better way of phrasing it. Yes, they call themselves the Northern Faction or NF for short. That is where the similarity ends. The Northern Faction that we will learn about was a rebel group within the Hegemony that opposed the brutal ideology of their masters and staged a coup while the Hegemony was attempting to suppress the Brenodi rebellion. Our leaders and media may prefer to forget it in times like these and pretend that we won independence all by ourselves, but in truth we owe our freedom in part to the original Northern Faction.”

    Vabrelles seemed to allow himself a satisfied smirk as he basked in the full attention of the class.

    “The terrorists we now fight are extremists dedicated to resurrecting the old Hegemony and overthrowing not just the Brenodi Empire, but the Jekotian Republic that we nobly stepped in to assist after the natural disaster that toppled its cities. That the disaster occurred during a time of war was a coincidence, nothing more. There are legions of geologists who will tell you the same. Their atrocities are justified by a flimsy conspiracy and committed by people who wish to restore a world order that killed tens of millions and brought misery to the rest.” The endless columns of marching soldiers were replaced by grisly scenes of mass murder, human experimentation and desolate cities. The final image was of a spaceship, unimaginably vast, a hollowed out asteroid with crude fusion rockets attached to it. It looked nothing like the ancient images of the warp ships that Ricky had loved to pore over as a child.

    The hard expression on Vabrelles’ face softened. “The Hegemony was proof that spending too long cooped up in a box can send you a little mad, and it looks like we’re running out of time.” The spaceship was replaced by a lesson timetable. “Before Ricky so rudely yet so constructively interrupted us, we had briefly summarised human history up to the invention of the Internet, which was a crude precursor to the Web that meshes our society.”

    Vabrelles paused, reading the timetable. “Next time, we’ll be summarising the millennium that saw the colonisation of the home system and the debates that ultimately led to the renunciation of genetic engineering by the United Nations of Sol and the launch of the SS Huxley.”

    “Some of you,” Vabrelles spared a look for Alexis, who seemed horrified that the summary lesson had been cut short less than a third of the way into human history, “May be disappointed with the slow pace of these lessons.. Even summarising our history briefly, without any respect for the myriad details that may be appreciated, will take hours. You may already know some of what I tell you, from stories your parents told you at bedtime, from the legends our leaders love to compare themselves to or from your own reading. I am here to make sure you have as few gaps in your knowledge as possible. However, you must enter these lessons with the understanding that even when you receive your first augments you cannot hope to understand in any depth more than a fraction of the history of our species. For those among you who might go on to pursue a place at university reading history, you cannot hope to be an expert on more than a heartbeat in the lifetime of humanity, even with the very best augments your money or your ability can buy. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert in any of this.”

    Vabrelles paused for a long moment, running a hand absent mindedly back and forth over the scar tissue that was knotted between the ancient augments covering his arms. “I have however seen at first hand the horror that history can unleash.”

    Vabrelles drew himself up, a movement that involved a pneumatic clanking and added half a foot to his height. “We Brenodi are the proud bearers of a set of traditions that have endured through sixteen thousand years of human history. We count among our civilizational forebears the Republic of Rome and the British Empire, the world straddling superpowers that were the United States, European Union and African Confederacy. We are the trueborn sons and daughters of the United Solar Nations and the galaxy spanning Union that once ruled the stars above.” He cast his gaze around the class, seemingly looking for something in them. “What you learn here is as essential to you as what you learn in Physics or Brenodi or Fabrication. What I teach is your place. Not in the current order, like the Hegemony which presumed to declare at conception the role a child would play in a society. That is yours to decide, a gift of freedom that has endured for sixteen millenia. I teach you your place in time and space, so that you understand the sacrifices made so that you might have some idea of the glories we hope to regain.”

    The class sat in stunned silence. Ricky privately tried to decide whether Mr Vabrelles was a pretentious old fart or a total badass.

    “If you would like to know more, get started on the recommended reading list. I also love the sound of my own voice, so if you can bear it, I’ll be telling some war stories in the canteen in half an hour. Class dismissed.”
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
  2. Omneh

    Omneh Member

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    I got tired with mapping and decided to write some background story. The whole scene is a massive ripoff if you haven't gathered already.

    A note on the conversation about the reference to the EPIC clan tags - there was actually a big hooha back in the day about their apparent similarity to swastikas. Still have no idea what the symbol is meant to be for.
     
  3. D.D.D. Destroyer

    D.D.D. Destroyer Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Shekels. It's the symbol for israelian currency, the shekel.

    I'll read this story in a bit, I'm excite! Also, inb4 Trickster edits himself out.
     
  4. Grantrithor

    Grantrithor Member

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    I thought it was the golden dawn logo
     
  5. Drag0wn

    Drag0wn Member

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    This story reminds me of Starship Troopers. Great book.
     

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