A History of the Vectan Empire

I’m hoping to being writing periodically on my various alien races, for today I’m opening this with a bit of History on the Vectan Empire.  This will probably prove more interesting as background information for the new book I’m presently working on which occurs in the era of the Vectan Republic.  Hopefully, you’ll find something interesting here, if not check back next time and see what I’ve got myself into.

Vectan history has generally been divided into three major periods, pre-Imperial, Imperial and Republican.  The pre-Imperial era covers the time from the first historic records to the unification of planetary government under the Merkaskan Empire, roughly 10,000 years.  The Merkaskan Empire ruled over the Vectan home world and nearby colonies for roughly two thousand years.  The era of the republic followed the collapse of the Empire and the civil war with the outer colony worlds.

Pre-Imperial Vectan

This era marks the advance of Vectan civilization from early agricultural villages to industrial nation states that controlled different regions of the Vectan home world.  Vectan was a pluralistic society even in the early period, owing largely to the Vectan ability to sense emotional states in other Vectans.  Conflicts did arise at times, and it was through a series of massive wars near the end of the period that directly lead to the establishment of the Merkaskan Empire.

Merkaskan Imperial Era

The Merkaskan Empire has roots from a nation state founded around the city of Cotakisni in 300 years before the establishment of the Empire proper.  The Untal state was resource rich, and borrowed heavily from the cultural and academic riches of Cotakisni to become a dominant economic, cultural and military force on the Vectan home world.  Many smaller nation states choose to align themselves with the Untal state, as the Merkaskan family exerted increasing dominance.  Other Vectan regions sensed the threat represented by the growing influence of the Merkaskans leading to increases of tensions between the Merkaskans and those states not under their direct control.  This lead to a series of conflicts in the 100 years before the establishment of Empire.  The largest core of resistance came from the Mestan region where the local states unified in fighting the Merkaskans both militarily and economically before finally being crushed.

The Empire was officially established once the final resistance to Merkaskan domination of the home world was realized.  The Merkaskan civilization was an established industrial economy at the cusp of a electronic and computer revolution.  Within a few generations, the early empire had established spaceflight, global communication and the early period of automated production.  The period of recent conflict receded in the cultural consciousness as an era of economic plenty replaced the depravations brought on by the war.

The Merkaskan government also established itself so as to avoid conflicts.  Regions were given significant levels of autonomy so long as tributes were paid to the Imperial court.  The Emperor and the court worked to establish itself less as a ruling class and more as arbiters of dispute.  With that they used their authority to establish Imperial law throughout the home world and breaking down traditional arrangements that didn’t work in support of the Emperor’s interests.  While this did cause friction the early Emperors were extremely judicious in their rulings so as to minimize conflicts even as they worked more of Merkaskan philosophy into the established agreements.

The Empire continued to solidify it’s control of the home world for several hundred wars as technology advanced and the early space probes gave way to the colonization of the Vectan home system.  The Vectan home world was the only natively habitable world in the system, but using automated production habitats were build throughout the system, both as orbital platforms and on planets and moons.  Aside from relieving population pressures, the new space colonies provided a massive influx of resources to the home world.  By the 5th century of the empire, the Emperor was standing in review of the first interstellar missions.

The 5th century space missions were long missions, with the crews frozen for the duration of the century long trips to other nearby solar systems.  The early explorations found several new habitable worlds and within a decade of hearing each report, massive colony ships were launched towards each of these worlds.  By the 7th century of the Imperial era colonies had been established on Netuth Bula, Tesul Ran and Usmen Reaca, with millions of colonists leaving the home world every year eager to expand Vectan civilization on these new worlds.

During this period of early colonization, space travel was still an long trip in frozen conditions.  Vectans had not developed faster than light travel or communication, so ships were sent off which took up to a hundred years to reach one of the newly established colonies.  News and information traveled back and forth at the speed of light, but that mean any communication would take almost a decade for a response.  The colonist were also nearly a hundred years behind current Vectan culture when they finally were unfrozen on their new worlds.  Divergent cultures were soon established and Imperial rule became little more than formal dressing for the largely self ruled colonies.  Even so, the regular communication from the home world allowed for the colonies to maintain a firm connection to the government and people back home.

By the end of the first millennium of Imperial rule the colony worlds had populations in the billions and had firmly established themselves in each system.  The home world had also nearly exhausted itself of colonists to send to the colonies.  For nearly four hundred years any Vectan with an adventurous spirit had volunteered to leave, and the cultural impact was beginning to be felt on the home world.  Traditionalist groups had begun to form in the provinces, each seeking to reestablish some portion of pre-Imperial norms, or idealized versions of those practices.  With the outflow of loyal imperials to the new colony worlds, the traditionalists managed to expand their influence.  After nearly a thousand years of peace on the home world, the Emperor and the court were unprepared for the danger posed by the traditionalists and other insurgent groups that began to arise.

As series of limited uprisings began in Mestan and were quickly suppressed by Imperial security forces, but the Emperor and court decided that this was just the beginning of a wider threat.  There was also the issue of the massive colony ship construction yards falling increasingly idle as the demand for new ships had fallen drastically.  The two problems presented a common solution and the Emperor ordered the forced colonization of disruptive groups.  So that these disgruntled populations would not disrupt the good order of the established colonies, new more distant worlds were selected for their forced settlement and the resettlements were begun.

The expulsions soon triggered a defensive response from any group that feared they would be targeted by the Emperor’s campaign.  This just reinforced the Emperor’s determination to continue with the relocations.  For nearly three hundred years, the Emperor continued the forced colonization as resistance was slowly stamped out.  In the end, large swaths of the home world were rendered empty, and populations considered loyal were allowed to move into the newly opened lands.

The thoroughness of the Emperor’s campaign had led to the expulsion of almost one quarter of the home world population.  By the end, even groups that had resentments against the Empire were careful to suppress those feelings lest they also be sent to the new colonies as well.  A new peace was established.  Unlike the peace of the first millennia, this era was marked by a more aggressive Imperial government and less assertive public.  The fear of the Merkaskans had shifted the tone of Vectan culture.

During this period, the Empire advanced slowly, in part from Imperial policy.  The Emperor was concerned that rapid advances in technology would only lead to greater instability in the aftermath of the expulsions.  For another 500 years the way of life on Vectan barely changed.  The inner colonies were heavily influenced by this lethargy and found themselves held in place as well.

During this period the outer colonies struggled to assert themselves.  With populations unprepared for establishing colonies on remote worlds, and without the generosity of supplies sent with the initial colonies the early years were harsh.  These forced colonists cut themselves off from the home world, not even attempting to maintain contact.  Over the centuries they rallied themselves, building up new societies based on the very sentiments that had lead to their expulsion, without any interference from the Emperor or the court.

This division continued as the Empire continued into its third millennia.  The slow pace of Imperial technology still yielded advances.  Slowly, propulsion technology was improved, and top speeds began to approach the speed of light.  With it only taking years to travel between the home world and inner colonies, a new limited trade network was established.  The resources involved were still massive and with no contact from the outer colonies, the Empire choose not to risk decades long missions with their few fast ships.

The advance of technology continued and by the 2500th year of the Empire, the light speed barrier was finally breeched.  In the first few decades this discovery didn’t have a large impact on travel as the speed difference only shaved a few years from a round trip, but the basic technology allowed for far faster communication.  The multi year delay was soon reduced to mere months, with improvements coming year after year.  With these improvements in both speed of vessels and long distance communication, the Empire decided to reestablish contact with the outer colonies.  The first wave of emissary missions met with mixed results.  Some of the ships were destroyed on sight, others were warmly greeted by the colonials.

The colony worlds had advanced to different degrees in the millennium between their establishment and the newfound contact with the Empire.  The most powerful was the colony founded on Karan Crel.  They had managed to nearly breech the light barrier before being contacted by the first imperial ship and seized the emissary ship to obtain the technology.  With the limits of technology available the outer colonies had been largely independent, most of them were not even aware of the location of other colonies.  That division allowed the empire to make inroads throughout the outer regions even as many worlds rejected any contact with the empire.

The limitations of long distance travel precluded immediate action from the Empire, but over the course of the next three hundred years, the Empire reestablished contact or dominion over the various outer worlds.  Many of the outer worlds allowed the limited trade that was demanded from the Empire.  The Emperors of this era avoided direct conflicts, preferring more subtle influence through trade and cultural exchanges.  The lack of long range military ships precluded any thoughts of armed conquest, and it was felt that such a military conflict would only damage the very value of the outer colonies the Empire wished to exploit.

It wasn’t until the end of the third millennium that a new Imperial philosophy took hold and a series of imperial conquests were launched against the more resistant colonies.  The more advanced outer colonies united against this attempt at Imperial dominion.  A brief series of wars ensued leading to a new more open imperial union.  The outer colonies were allowed virtual autonomy with a promise from the Empire not to exert unwelcome dominion.  The resentments still lingered, but neither side possessed the force required to settle the matter more decisively.

This stalemate continued over the next several hundred years.  As corruption seeped into the imperial court, the Emperors grew increasingly concerned about the affront to their authority.  As the centuries ticked by, one after another attempt to expand their authority over the outer colonies were used to counter balance the deficiencies in their home rule.  The conflicts ranged from small to large, and with each following period of peace came the preparation for the next battle.

Ultimately the final peace came around the 3500th year of the Empire.  It was during this time that Shalat K’tal traveled through the whole of the Empire, visiting the colony worlds and learning from the different cultures and experiences that spanned Vectan space.  He managed to complete the seminal work of the Republican period during those final years before the great schism.  The Book of Aralan was released a mere decade before the beginning of the war, and it found its way throughout the whole of the Empire.  The philosophy presented would make little difference to the conflict, but the seeds planted would establish the path of Vectan civilization to follow.

The final war was ultimately spawned by the outer colonies that wished to establish their own path without the influence of the Empire.  The Empire was more concerned with Imperial control over the home world and inner colonies, and used the war effort to mask over the growing severity of Imperial mismanagement by rousing patriotic spirit.  The conflict was brutal, with several out world colonies being destroyed by imperial forces as well as devastating attacks upon the inner colonies.  Ultimately, the Imperial government’s mismanagement of the war effort led to a internal revolt that over the course of five years ultimately overthrew the Imperial court.

The overthrow of the Empire brought an end to the war.  The outer colonies became independent and formed the Vectan Alliance.  The inner colonies and the home world combined to establish a new republic, founded in part on the philosophies introduced in K’tal’s Book of Aralan and beginning the era of the Vectan Repub