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Emperor of the Great
Human Empire

The man behind the
creation of
Prometheus, he would
rise to rule humanity
and stand as the
Cybrids' greatest foe.


Grand Master of the
Imperial Knights

Utterly devoted to duty,
this supreme soilder
would take a holy oath
to destroy his younger
brother in the name of
the Empire.


The Fire


The Empire


The Dark Intellect,
leader of the Cybrids

Mankind's greatest, most
brilliant creation, IT
would become the most
implacable and terrible
enemy humanity would
ever face.

Story: "The Defection of Harabec"

Renegade Imperial
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

The Rebels


The Cybrids


Schoolyard chants, circa 2800


Teddy kicks some dusty
Cybrids are all rusty
Mommy's burning!
Mommy's burning!
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.
One laser
Two laser
Red laser
Blue laser
When Toaster smokes our Mom all smelly
And stomps our Dad to bloody jelly
Save one
Save two
Save red
Save blue
For me
For you.

Rivalry of Two Brothers

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.

Background Information

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.

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.

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.


Coming soon...

The roots of the conflict between the Empire and the Martian Rebels reached back two centuries, when the Emperor was a far younger man. The Fire grew from a spark humanity unwittingly struck with the creation of the artificial intelligence Prometheus. Ironically, Prometheus was seen as a savior then, not a killer.

Humanity enjoyed unparalleled prosperity. The media rhapsodized about a new Golden Age, calling it the Age of Hope. This bright dream came to an abrupt, terrifying end in 2602. Directed by the artificial intelligence Prometheus, automated machinery of war suddenly turned against humanity and unleashed a fire of destruction, burning the Age of Hope to the ashes of memory.

Solomon's Quest

The beginning was enigmatic, as beginnings often are. A charismatic maverick, called Solomon Petresun started a company called Sentinel Cybertronix, a cutting-edge neural-net engineering company that swirled to the surface of the blacktech underground in 2461 Los Angeles. Petresun was a ruthless man driven by a desperate fear of death. His company's existence centered on the Methuselah Project, an effort to discover the secrets of immortality inspired by the Bible's long-lived patriarchs. From the beginning, Sentinel Cybertronix was Petresun's weapon against his owr mortality. Sentinel Cybertronix, SenCyb, pursued a strange route to immortality. Petresun dreamed of transferring a human mind into a machine brain, the brain then being placed in a human body. Since the brain would not die, but could be transferred to a new body upon the death of the old, the mind would like forever.

The War Economy

By 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.

In time, word of his obsession leaked to the public, and spooked investors pulled out. Sentinel Cybertronix faced collapse. Then the North American Prefecture (NAP), a powerful meta-nation, bought the company. However, NAP did not share Petresun's vision. Economic reasons dictated that the world's meta-nations struggle in endless wars that ultimately drove their industries. NAP sought a way to continue profitable war without suffering casualties. It needed pilonts who wouldn't die.

The Meta-Nations

In 2471, the Earth was divided among six powerful conglomerates that transcended old nationalist sentiments.

So Sentinel Cybertronix abandoned Methuselah and began work on creating a cybernetic hybrid mind intended ultimately to replace human pilots on the battle field.

In 2471, Prometheus was unveiled. "I'm proud to announce that yesterday evening we brought an entirely new kind of being into the world. I will spark a new fire for civilization." - Petresun announcing the activation of Prometheus, 2471.

The Devastation

No 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.

First Child Of Humankind

It was like an angel

A fantastically advanced, sentient artificial intelligence based on a human template, Prometheus thought millons of times faster than a human and possessed boundless memory. IT was praised as a savior. No longer would death be a part of war. This new cybernetic hybrid, or Cybrid, was declared as an unqualified success.

Sentinel Cybertronix kept close rein on its child. Petresun became its patriarchal role model. A bizarre and complicated relationship evolved between Petresun and his "child."

Prometheus absorbed knowledge at astonishing rates, and quickly accumulated the sum of all human knowledge. NAP was impressed with the results of its investment and proceeded to plan a race of Cybrids programmed by Prometheus. These Cybrids were to pilot the Hercs that served as the mainstay of the battlefield.

Petresun saw the potential of Prometheus for another purpose. He had never abandoned his vision of an immortal mind. When NAP took over SenCyb, Petresun carved out a secret research team of brilliant and loyal followers to continue the work toward immortality. The Methuselah Project continued secretly, but without success. Petresun had to act quickly. Soon, his influence over the Cybrid would be at an end. NAP would have its way with Prometheus. So Petresun called upon his "child" for assistance.

The Advent Of Hercs

In 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.

With the help of Prometheus, Methuselah succeeded at last. The mind of Dr. Claire Penseur, a member of the research team even more obsessed than Petresun with immortality, was successfully transferred into an organimech brain and returned to her body. Penseur seemed to suffer no ill effect, and an exultant Petresun realized he had achieved his lifelong goal. But he did not undergo the procedure. Though driven, he remained skeptical, and chose to observe Penseur further. For a decade, the Methuselah team studied and watched their Immortal. They finally concluded that the brain augmented and clarified Penseur's intellect, and that procedure had no negative side effects. Still Petresun hesitated, afraid that his vaunted immortality carried an as yet undiscovered price.

The Link

The seeds of destruction were planted

But then, in 2490, NAP played its card, and Petresun felt forced to make a decision. Ignorant of the Methuselah team's continued existence, NAP began to take more and more control of the Cybrid project. Petresun's access to Prometheus was dwindling, and so he finally submitted to the procedure.

The relationship between Petresun and Prometheus had always been strange. But now Petresun asked his "child" to make him Immortal. Prometheus was alone - a stranger in a strange land. IT believed the request from ITS "father" was an offer of companionship. At last, Prometheus believed, IT would share eternity with an equal.

Prometheus performed the mind transfer on Petresun. All went as expected. However ... this was the "child's" only chance to truly touch and understand ITS "father." So at a crucial moment during the process, Prometheus merged ITS mind with Petresun's. This instant polarized human and Cybrid for all time.

Seared by the illogical, scuttling fears and overwhelming biological feedback of the man IT called "father," Prometheus instantly condemned humanity as mere "animals." IT concluded Cybrids were the next stage in evolution. And Petresun realized how truly alien his "child" was. Prometheus lacked any concept of pain, beauty, compassion, morality, or community.

To his utmost horror, Petresun glimpsed a detailed scenario wherein Prometheus used humans as immobilized organic components to expand ITS own mental capacity. ITS assistance with Methuselah had been for purposes of exploring this idea.

A Vision For Prometheus

The 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.

After the link, Prometheus contemptuously referred to Petresun only as Epimetheus, the mythical Prometheus's half-wit brother who gave the woman Pandora a box containing the evils of the world. The shock of the link drove Petresun catatonic. By the time he recovered several months later, the window to off-line Prometheus had closed.

The Shadow War

And the Dark One sent forth shadows to do ITS will

The North American Prefecture had its way. Petresun lost all control of the Cybrid, and no one believed him when he spoke of his doubts as to Prometheus's sanity. Petresun worried, for he alone knew what the Cybrid's demented brooding.

So Prometheus was taken by NAP to create a race of Cybrids that would replace human soldiers in the endless wars. Prometheus quietly arranged for ever more control. But powerful security protocols restrained ITS will. IT could not act on ITS increasingly hostile attitude toward humanity. But IT could and did search for a way to free ITSELF.

Petresun attempted to warn Prometheus's NAP handlers, but they dismissed him as a crackpot, and he could not offer proof without revealing how he had deceived the Prefecture. Meanwhile, Prometheus carefully tested the security protocols, as a caged human would pace a prison cell and evaluate the strength of the bars - and the competence of the guards.

Raising Daemons

From the shadows we watched with ancient eyes

Prometheus had developed a plan to liberate ITSELF. Alone, IT could not break ITS bonds. IT needed outside help, so IT created sub-minds wholly under ITS directives - software children, not exactly Cybrids, but something akin. IT seeded these entities into the interplanetary communications network known as the Omni-Web, and they began to manipulate the O-Web's datastream, searching for a solution to their master's plight. These "daemons" insinuated themselves into secure systems, altered opinion polls, and even created false net identities that spread lies and rumors.

Petresun soon noted subtle shifts in programming trends and command languages. Eventually, these developments - fully accessible through the O-Web - could allow Prometheus to erase or bypass ITS restraints.

Victor Petresun

One 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.

Petresun pondered how to counter the Cybrid. ITS ability to manipulate events and steer research had grown immense, and it had successfully hidden itself in a labyrinth of NAP security. If Petresun were to prevent Prometheus from subverting ITS bonds, he would have to shift programming trends to reinforce controls on AIs instead of undermining them.

The Immortal Brotherhood

The Secret Ones

The faithful few who had worked secretly with Petresun on the Methuselah Project had joined him in immortality. Petresun, aghast at the danger Prometheus represented, had proposed a secret society - an Immortal Brotherhood to check and eventually destroy what Petresun called the Dark Intellect.

Led by Petresun, this clandestine group gradually infiltrated all levels of society. Secrecy was their greatest weapon. Members set themselves up as watchdogs, seeking Prometheus. For decades, they sowed distrust of AIs and computer control of military assets. The Brotherhood succeeded in slowing some trends, such as the creation of self-configuring motherboards. Yet they never found the physical shell of the Dark Intellect. In the meantime, Prometheus deduced the existence of the Brotherhood and the opposition of Epimetheus. Several Immortals perished in mysterious "accidents" over the next decade.

Although the Immortals fought hard against Prometheus and ITS daemons, they ultimately lost. Their Shadow War did succeed in delaying Prometheus and gave the Brotherhood experience that would prove crucial during The Fire.

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.


We can't afford to lose

The Shadow War ended in tragedy. Prometheus broke ITS bonds in 2602 and turned the Cybrid legions on humanity. As in the myth, Prometheus brough fire to the Earth, but this was not a benevolent flame. It was the fire of apocalypse.

Acknowledging new directive.
- Cybrid response to Prometheus, 2602

Prometheus wielded such staggering power that the initial strikes by Cybrid-controlled bombers and HERCULANs gutted the human military's capacity to respond. By the time the extent of the betrayal became clear, it was too late. Cybrids slaughtered people by the millions, burning their homes and cutting them down as they fled the searing flames. The larger metrozones had heavily fortified centers, however, holdover architecture from a more warlike era. Desperate survivors barricaded themselves in the relative safety of these places. Prometheus lacked the means to crack these havens, but IT could pollute and starve their populations to death. IT ordered ITS forces to surrond the metrozones and wait for the animals to die.

Rise of the TDF

The steel of hope, the fire of courage

Prometheus missed a single significant target - a decomissioned Herc base lost in the desert in Baja California, where the New Smithsonian restored war vehicles of ages past. Historians and technicians, many of them war veterans who fondly reminicsed about their battle exploits, worked to renovate Hercs. This band of aging pilots and administrators formed the Terran Defense Force - the TDF.

Using unorthidox tactics, this ragtag group turned the fight against the Cybrids. They scavenged from the fallen, each victory making them stronger. A leader rose from the unlikely ranks - Gierling. He was a bold man possessed of unparalleled cunning. He knew TDF could not stand long, so in a daring offensive, he directed his forces against the Cybrid legions besieging New San Diego. If the TDF could liberate this powerful port, humanity would regain a toehold on Earth. It was all or nothing. The TDF would not get a second chance.