The Ancient Antaran Secret
With their Hegemony reunited and their home world now free, the Antarans decided it was time to do some genetic research of their own. This decision was unfortunate for several sentient species that the Antarans discovered in the galaxy, for they became the unwilling laboratory animals. Unlike the Orions, the Antarans had very selfish reasons for manipulating these species and very little concern for their well being. The egotistical Antarans did extensive research involving alterations in several genetic pairs in individual specimens. Complicating matters even more, the impatient Antarans completed these changes over a relatively shortened period of time (compared to the Orions' more natural "evolutionary timetable").
The first and most renowned example of the Antarans' experiments was the Ichthys. These reluctant participants were just what the Antaran geneticists had in mind for mass breeding a militaristic race to serve as shock troops against the still feared and hated Orions. The Ethereans were the last verified species mutated by the Antarans. In this particular case the Antarans hoped to create a new species of life that could be used to harvest the resources for them on gas giant worlds. No one is certain just how many species the Antarans actually tampered with during the Long Night but, knowing the Antarans, there were probably quite a few.
The Ichthy Experiment
The Antarans' Ichthytosian experiments performed better in theory than in practice. The Ichthys, for example, ended up as a much more peaceful species than the Antarans originally conceived. Ichthys evolved into an idealistic race that was very oriented toward discovery and technology. They were a major disappointment to the Antaran leaders and genetic engineers who had carefully programmed aggressive militant characteristics into the Ichthys' genetic makeup which they intended to exploit for their own use. This miscalculation resulted in the Ichthys' rebellion and, later, expulsion from the Antarans' "good graces."
Historical Note: Ultimately, the highly aggressive species that we know today as the Saurians evolved from Ichthys; the Saurians essentially dissenting from their own civilization.
The Ethereans Emerge
The Ethereans turned out to be a far too tranquil species, and much less industrious than the Antarans initially anticipated. Disgusted with the disastrous outcome of their century-long endeavor, the Antarans simply released the Ethereans, for it was far more cost efficient to let them progress into extinction on gas giants than to hunt them all down and eliminate them. Left to their own devices, the undetected Ethereans slowly evolved for nearly a millennium.
Historical Note: It was the constant construction of artificial planets during the period of history covered in the Master of Orion II game that acted as the catalyst for the Ethereans to develop into a more aggressive species. The Ethereans watched in horror as their gas giant worlds were being strip-mined, blasted, and rebuilt as more conventional planets. Unable to comprehend this (to them) senseless genocide, the Ethereans fought back to preserve their race and their last remaining home world.
The Rise of the Orion Sector Civilizations
The only crucial remnant remaining from Ancient Orion Civilization was an old robotic Guardian ship that was once used to protect their proud home world. Within its ghostly hull was the key that would eventually unlock the mystery to advanced drive technology. Approximately 5000 cycles after the Ancient Orions were reduced to mere artifacts, several Orion Sector races finally managed to decipher the well-kept secrets of FTL drive technology. Once adapted, this discovery initiated an ardent competition for the unclaimed stars around the Orion Sector from 7770 to 7950.
Interestingly, many of the races that emerged to compete for the Orion Sector were in some way spawned by the Ancient Orions or Antarans' genetic experiments. Those "projects," having survived the First Orion-Antaran War, evolved into their own distinct civilizations.
NEXT IN THE BACKGROUND FICTION: "The Orion Civil War"
[ BACK TO THE BACKGROUND FICTION INTRODUCTION ]