Emperor of the Great
The man behind the
Prometheus, he would
rise to rule humanity
and stand as the
Cybrids' greatest foe.
Grand Master of the
Utterly devoted to duty,
this supreme soilder
would take a holy oath
to destroy his younger
brother in the name of
CONCERNING THE ORIGINS OF SOLOMON
CONCERNING THE LEADERSHIP OF PETRESUN AND
The Dark Intellect,
leader of the Cybrids
Mankind's greatest, most
brilliant creation, IT
would become the most
implacable and terrible
enemy humanity would
Story: "The Defection of Harabec"
Knight turned rebel
Once the greatest Knight
of the Empire, this wild
card in the games of the
Emperor would galvanize
the Martian rebels into
challenging the power of
CONCERNING THE ROOTS OF THE COLONIAL
CONCERNING THE REBUILDING OF CYBRID MIGHT
|Teddy kicks some dusty
Cybrids are all rusty
|Little old Peter
Missing his liter
While Herky plays in the red
Down came the glitches
And burned us in ditches
And we slept after eating our dead.
When Toaster smokes our Mom all smelly
And stomps our Dad to bloody jelly
|Micro-turbulence rattled Caanon through the antikinetic foam cocooning his Herc. His bones ached. Martian terrain blurred red across the holowindow on his HUD, the red of dried blood and old sins. It was fitting, he thought, to confront his traitor brother in a place named for the god of war. Are you there, Harabec? Can you feel my presence?||Harabec shifted uneasily. Something felt wrong. The ambush had been easy to plan, thanks to TDF broadcasts announcing the landing site. Arrogant bastards, the Knights. Dared you to face them. Well, that crap didn't help 'em in Turkhazakistan. Didn't help you there, either, Harabec reminded himself. Not a bit.||The HUD winked off and left Caanon waiting in darkness. The only saving grace to a ten-gee orbit-to-ground insertion was that if anything glitched, he'd die instantly. Aerobrakes deployed and the dropship shuddered into final descent. Caanon slammed into his wombchair like a stone block hitting a gel-bag. He couldn't breathe; agony consumed him. Harabec's face burned in his brain like a nova all the way down.|
|The sense of doom nagged at Harabec. He'd retracted the spythread to save it the shock of the Imperial landing, so he was blind for the moment, which didn't help. His instincts told him he'd missed something. Think, for Hunter's sake! The ground rumbled, buffeting his Herc even under its protective camouflage. The Imperials had arrived.||Caanon realized he was clenching his fists, waiting for the shockharness to blast him with adenojolt. It wasn't supposed to hit conscious pilots, but it'd malfunctioned last time. The price had been two days of migraines and nausea. Not this time, thank Hunter. He ignored his aching body and ran a post-drop check. The hatch blew and the foam around his Herc began to boil away on contact with atmosphere. Caanon popped the vehicle restraints and moved Icemistress out, her weapons on-line. I'm here Harabec. Come to me.||Harabec tried to stretch in the cramped confines and considered the situation. Knights didn't rattle easy, but the new rebel weapons ought to knock the dustin' starch out of 'em. The rebs had all seen combat now, but most were still pretty green, like Verity. She was an innocent kid, not like that BioDerm psycho. Father, I'm going to kick your precious Knights in the teeth. Remember Turkhazakistan? They can be taken.
So can you, a voice whispered in the back of his head. So can you. He snaked the spythread up slowly.
|The canopy cleared suddenly as the last foam vaporized. Dust from the landing still hazed the air. A rugged landscape rose around Caanon as Icemistress clanged down the ramp. Anticipation filled him. Scans showed nothing but TDF forces and the ruins of the base. His Hercs moved through the rusty haze, forming squads. Caanon thumbed his comm. "CC to all Swords. Report by squad ..."||The menacing, brightly painted Hercs filled Harabec with dread. He'd worried for one heartstopping moment that the sonic boom of their landing would blow off some camo, but the foam that turned the Imperial radar probes also killed most of the sonics. As he'd hoped. Everything looked jake. The Knights just needed to step into the killzone. So what was wrong?||Harabec! Caanon remained impassive even in the privacy of his Herc cockpit, but freezing anger filled his chest. Harabec had betrayed everything he'd been given, everything he was - everything! He'd shamed the family name.
Harabec. I'll lay your poisonous head at His Majesty's feet or lie in a Martian grave. I swear it.
|Whoa. That's Caanon! What was he doing here? The Grand Master on the first wave was like a general hitting the beach with the marines. That's what he'd missed; he hadn't expected to face his brother so soon. Why hadn't he seen this? No matter. Now it was personal. Okay, Caanon, if this is how you want it...
Hunter's bones, Harabec thought bitterly. When you betray family, go all the way. He signaled his troops to select targets as Caanon's Herc filled his sights.
|Caanon keyed his command channel. "Saber, on Falchion's right flank! Broadsword, you're two ticks behind! Tighten up!" Are you watching brother? Harabec had something planned. He was smart, cagey. Something would happen soon. Well, here I am. Let's see your cards. "Tighten up, all squads," Caanon ordered. "Status is red and hot. Anything moves, vape it."||The Teddies were in the killzone. Harabec shot a last bleak look at Caanon in the Knights, directing traffic. His hand hesitated over the signal switch. Caanon, why did you have to be first? Damn you! He slapped the switch. His Herc erupted from the sand, weapons blazing. "Nail 'em!" he shouted. "FREE MARS!"
|| <Chooser-of-Strategies: Prime> considered the data. The human\\animals fought each other on Fourth Planet. <Third Planet\\Homeworld> was undefended. <First-Thought//Giver-of-Will> was correct. This would be an efficient operation. <Chooser-of-Strategies: Prime> signaled the armada: INITIATE ATTACK SEQUENCE >> APPROACH FROM SUNSIDE >> MASK DRIVE FLARES >> EVASION\\STEALTH. ACKNOWLEDGE//SUBMIT! Nav units chimed their acknowledgement\\submission. The sensors of <Chooser-of-Strategies: Prime'sglt; flagship showed the vast armada shifting to attack formation, thousands of drives brightening in perect concert. <Chooser-of-Strategies: Prime> perceived emotion at the sight. It believed the feeling was classified as Pride.
|2471||Sentinel Cybertronix unveils Prometheus.|
|2602||THE FIRE. Cybrids turn on humanity and destroy the Age of Hope. Earthsiege begins.|
|2605||A series of defeats forces Earth's people to withdraw support for the fledgling colonies on Luna, Mars, Venus, and outlying mining stations. The colonists suffer massive casualties. Survival is the best they can hope for.|
|2622||Terran Defense Force defeats Prometheus on Earth, ending the first phase of Earthsiege. Prometheus escapes.|
|2624||The second phase of Earthsiege begins as the Cybrids invade Earth again with reinforcements drawn from the colonial fronts.|
|2625||Solomon Petresun, the "Voice of Humanity," emerges triumphantly from his underground refuge with the news that coded Cybrid transmissions have been broken, revealing the location of Prometheus' base on the moon.|
|2627||End of THE FIRE. The daring destruction of Prometheus' moon base fails to uncover signs of the dark intellect itself. Prometheus is again presumed to have escaped with its core matrix intact. Cybrid drive emissions indicate a trajectory toward the outer planets. Dazed but jubilant humans begin to rebuild. Anti-technology reaction begins to set in.|
|2652||Inception of The Great Human Empire. Petresun I crowned Emperor.|
|2717||Imperial probes detect massive Cybrid activity beyond Neptune.|
|2770||Fortress Earth Proclomation issued: All economic efforts are to be regeared toward fortifying Mother Earth's defenses. All colonial activity is directed toward providing resources for Earth.|
|2800||Humanity is united only against the Cybrids. Colonists have formed resistance movements spawned by hatred of the fortification efforts that plunder the colonies of needed resources while giving little in return. The Empire and the Cybrids have massed huge armadas, but no one really knows the extent of the Cybrid buildup.|
|2826||Martian rebels discover advanced alien technology. While the purpose of the chache is unknown, the rebels adapt what they can to their own vehicles and weapons. This technology shifts the balance of power such that the rebels become a legitimate challenge to the Empire.|
|2829||Hostilities break out on Mars and Venus. The Emperor at last unleashes the Imperial Fleet to deal with the rebellions. The Cybrids see their oppurtunity and launch a massive invasion armada, bypassing Titan. STARSIEGE begins.|
After the last Earthsiege, The Dark Intellect fled deep into the vastness of space with the survivors of its once-mighty armies. From a secret base in the darkness, it oversees the marshalling of a new invasion force. Its spies bring it news of Earth and its human\\animal rulers, including the hated Emperor, the greatest error Prometheus has ever made. For nearly two hundred years, Prometheus has regretted creating the immortal brain that now houses the mind of the Cybrids' greatest enemy.
Now, however, the Emperor has made a mistake at last. He has allowed his animals to fight amongst themselves. He has allowed his fleet to leave <Third Planet\\Homeworld> defenseless. Prometheus has waited decades for such an oppurtunity.
This time, the humans\\animals will perish. This time, the program of genocide will run to completion. This time, the Cybrids will rule the Earth forever.
They multiply in the void somewhere beyond neputune, changing and evolving into new models. They construct their armada in hidden shipyards and factories, thinking alien thoughts and waiting for the next oppurtunity to return to Earth. Every so often, a Cybrid drone slips toward the inner planets, observing human activity. The number of drones has increased in recent years.
The Cybrids are ready. Their massed legions are more than enough to decimate the humans\\animals, according to their calculations. However, the humans\\animals have defied such conclusions before, and <First-Thought//Giver-of-Will> wants to be even more certain. Now that the humans\\animals fight each other, the Cybrids can strike directly at their goal: Earth, their <Homeworld\\Desire>. Unburdened by the limitations of flesh, they wait in their approaching hiveships, still as statues, ready to reclaim what is theirs.
Not everyone is content with Imperial rule. On the planets of Mars and Venus, on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, a hardy breed of colonists resent the fruits of their labor being stripped to equip the Empire's military buildup. They whisper, too, that the Empire will abandon them when the Cybrids come. And these independent souls will not go quietly. They plan to free themselves of Imperial tyranny and fight for themselves.
In the last few years, the rebels have received help from Harabec, a Terran renegade who harbors a deep hatred for the Empire. The rebel leaders' suspicions have been laid to rest. "Bek" has committed himself body and soul to the rebellion, and is now the rebels' leading field commander.
MACHINES OF WAR
In the 29th century, Hercs remained the lords of the battlefield. With their maneuverability, shields, and massive firepower, they dominate warfare. Hercs turned the Cybrid tide in the first and second Earthsieges, and humanity still relies on these Goliaths today.
But other vehicles are coming again into their own. Fleet scouts, powerful tanks, lightning-swift aerofighters - all challenge the Herc with improved weaponry, mobility, and advanced stealth technology. As the end of the third millennium approaches, new discoveries promise to make warfare even deadlier.
Even with the new machines, the human factor remains paramount, however. The finest and deadliest pilots alive are the Imperial Knights. And the finest among the Knights is the traitor Harabec.
In the 29th century, humankind thrives under the power and stability of the Great Human Empire. On Mother Earth, the Immortal Emperor Petresun has ruled for over one hundred and seventy-five years. He is the child of Prometheus, a man whose mind lives on in a marvelous organimech brain trapped in a decaying body. He forged an Empire from the chaos following the Fire, and today he broods from his throne, wondering when the Dark Intellect will strike again. His will and foresight are humanity's greatest weapons. For almost two centuries he has built the Earth's defense. And when the Cybrids return, he will face his greatest test.
PHOENIX and ICEHAWK
These brothers were both renowned Imperial Knights, sons of the famed Weathers family. Now one is a traitor. Cannon, the eldest, is unquestioningly loyal to the Empire. He is called "The Icehawk" for his cold efficiency. Harabec, a warrior prodigy called "The Phoenix" for escaping impossible odds, has deserted his position and defected to rebel forces on Mars, leaving shame and dishonor in his wake. As "Bek," he has transformed the rebels into deadly fighters and set them against the Imperial Police and Imperial trade, leaving such a trail of destruction that the Emperor has finally dispatched the Imperial Fleet to bring the traitor to heel.
Cannon, now Grand Master of the Knights, spearheads the Imperial forces, seizing the chance to confront his brother and clear the family name. He has sworn to lay his brother's head at the Emperor's feet.
The War EconomyBy 2450, a perpetual border war was an institution driving the world economy. Buoyed by the war effort, governments offered their citizens unprecedented prosperity. Yet this wealth carred a blood-price; people began to demand an alternative.
The Meta-NationsIn 2471, the Earth was divided among six powerful conglomerates that transcended old nationalist sentiments.
The DevastationNo one knows what happened, but at the beginning of the millennium, everything collapsed. The only certainty is that billons died. Civilization faced extinction before humanity clawed its way back from the abyss. It destroyed the old order and laid the foundation of the modern age.
The Advent Of HercsIn 2470, single-seater tanks featuring superior armor, weapons, and interface systems incorporated powered-armor technology to produce HERCULANs (Humaniform-Emulation Roboticized Combat Unit with Leg-Articulated Navigation): anthropomorphic goliaths capable of negotiating nearly any terrain. The pressed dubbed these new vehicles Hercs.
They became humanity's main weapon against the Cybrids, their hollow-eyed pilots engaged in intense, around-the-clock combat. No image captured the essence of The Fire better than a battered Herc emerging from the smoke, weapons blazing.
A Vision For PrometheusThe NAP military hoped to produce a legion of Cybrids to replace soldiers and keep the war economy in place bloodlessly. Hence the decision to sell Cybrids to the other meta-nats. Programmers shackled Prometheus and began conversion of Hercs to Cybrids. NAP profits soared, and the Board of Govenors received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Victor PetresunOne of the first recruits for the Brotherhood was Petresun's own son Victor, an outstanding Herc pilot of the NAP Mobile Armor. Victor was a gifted soldier, totally loyal to his father. After The Fire, age and CMD caused a rift between Victor and his father.
Cell Memory Drift (CMD)Immortality carried a hidden price. The organimech brain's interaction with new bodies could cause severe personality changes, even madness. Shaken Immortals ultimately found ways to minimize CMD, but never completely eliminated it.
Acknowledging new directive.
- Cybrid response to Prometheus, 2602