The Second Orion Civil War
Gossiping merchants and boastful raiders from beyond the Orion Sector awakened these dormant races with their intensely candid accounts of the dangers that lurked in the vast galaxy they traveled. With these recurrent nightmares playing persistently in their minds, the artistic dreamers under the Pax Humanica could no longer sleep peacefully while certain races moved steadily down the road toward colonial expansionism and military superiority.
It was during the turbulent 17700s, when open trade had been re-established under the Orion Senate, that interstellar ships continuously brought news throughout the sector that the more adventurous Orion races were beginning once again to reach for the stars.
Historical Note: This is the time period covered by the game Master of Orion II.
None, save for the Ethereans, whose presence in the Orion Sector had remained a complete secret, cared to be left behind in what became a renewed "race for space." By 17733, the once dominant Pax Humanica had collapsed completely as competition among those it ruled thrived. The pursuit of individuals shifted from "harmony" to "excellence." Naturally, this renewed interest in space exploration generated an increased need for weapons to maintain the peace between the now extremely competitive races of the Orion Sector.
It was the dawn of a great awakening at the end of the Long Night. Although this period was significantly scarred by warfare, it was also an era vibrant with energy and ideas. Great artistic and cultural treasures were created amid the tumult, and the wonders of technology were explored extensively. New thinking was taking firm philosophic root throughout the Orion Sector while petty planetary princes extended their branches in pursuit of expanding their borders.
The First Two Phases
A period of renewed expansion, sector-wide colonial wars and the sanctioning of a new (and once again democratic) Orion Senate in 17789 brought an end to the First Phase of the Great War. As Empires grew rapidly and fixed borders were drawn, the arms race continued to punctuate continuing hostilities as the Second Phase began, promising both hope and horror.
It was in the midst of this Second Phase of the Second Orion Civil War (GC 17863) that the Antarans made their presence known by conducting numerous hit-and-run raids in the Orion Sector. Their plan was to keep the pressure on whichever race seemed to be gaining an advantage in the war by a combination of direct military attacks and ominous ultimatums. As the Antaransí raids intensified, Orion ship losses mounted, its worlds were ravaged, and the Antaran attacks became less discriminatory. It was this change in their threat status that shifted the Orionís focus on the Antarans from "somebody elseís problem" to "a common enemy requiring unified action to defeat."
Historical Note: The Antarans conducted far more raids into Orion Sector territory than is commonly believed. The purposes behind these "phantom raids" immediately prior to the Second Orion Civil War were probably twofold:
First, to probe this part of space and search for their Ancient Orion cousins with whom they had an ancient score to settle.
Second, finding the Orions extinct and replaced by "a hodgepodge of puny freaks and mutants," the Antarans undoubtedly set out to find any Ancient Orion settlements left on worlds not yet occupied by these new ëlocals.í The Antarans absconded with uncounted secrets and treasures from the lost Orion ruins they discovered and looted.
In 17878, the Orion Senate conducted a concentrated study of the clandestine Antarans. The results confirmed that the Antarans were a very ancient race utilizing sophisticated technology that was unknown to the Orion races. Even more terrifying, the Antarans were operating from another dimension, which would prevent anyone from counter-attacking. A breach would have to be created to invade their dimension before the Antarans could be seriously threatened. "Taking this war to the enemy," it was declared, "will be difficult."
The Great War continued with the ruthless Antarans doggedly marauding the weaker races until they were no longer capable of any coordinated resistance. Once this was achieved, the Antarans would return to their own dimension to escape retribution. The stronger races that were able to launch a serious assault against the hostile Antarans lacked vital leadership. During this period, no civilization was powerful enough to unite the Orion races into an organized defense. The irreconcilable distrust and animosity they had for each other still prohibited such coordination even in the face of the Antaran menace. Feelings of frustration grew among the Orion races due to their inability to fight an enemy that remained out of their reach (in another dimension). If the Great War could not be ended swiftly among the Orion races, then the Antarans would soon be the new Masters of the Orion Sector.
NEXT IN THE BACKGROUND FICTION: "Antaran Domestic Politics and the 'Three Wars at Dawn'"
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