In the last instalment, we explored the phases of development in the Fifth Age and the early factions that rose and fell throughout the turbulent times of its first millennium. In this instalment, we run through two of the most important panhuman empires whose technology, trading and political capability were instrumental in forging the Ascendancy: the Gethderah Trade Federation and the League of Ha’Ruul.
The Rise of Gethderah
The Gethderah Trade Federation was one of the founder members of the Ascendency. Even today, in the Seventh Age, the Gethderah system has plentiful resources, a sizeable planet in the warm edge of the habitable zone and another at the farther, icy edge. In addition, Gethderah has two, dense asteroid belts full of minerals, two warm, sizeable moons around gas giants that have been terraformed and plenty of other, smaller moons and resources that could supply an exceptional production and manufacturing economy. From an Antarean perspective, the system can provide a stable base with minimal intervention.
Gethderah was connected to the Nexus early in the Fifth Age, around 5A128. It was lucky in that it had retained much of its Fourth Age Xon technology by dint of its resources and by having a relatively short period of separation from the Nexus.
After discovering that trade was a hit-and-miss affair due to the raider fleets attacking shipping, the ruling merchants of Getherdeh quickly established their armed traders as convoy and protection vessels and claimed specific routes as ‘pirate free’ with an increase in armed traders, privateers and Q-ships along those routes. This rapidly proved successful and, in the space of 80 years, the Mercantile Council of Gethderah found itself at the hub of a trading federation. With the member states under attack from raiders, nearby petty-empires and occasionally the Vorl, the federation quickly morphed into a mutual defence alliance with Gethderah the primary military hub.
For the next 900 years, Gethderah continued to provide trading facilities, safe havens, convoy protection and policing vessel. During that time, more than several hundred systems became permanent members of the Mercantile Council, each system sticking strictly to the trade defence treaties struck with Gethderah and providing safe haven and repair facilities to any who needed (and could afford!) such facilities. During the Time of Treachery (950-1100), Gethderah earned itself a reputation as an honest broker, one that focused on trade and not on assimilation.
It was unsurprising that the NuHu of Ha’Ruul saw Gethderah as a critical component of their proposed three-pronged structure for a new, panhuman alliance: technology and political influence from Ha’Ruul, military capability from the Saviours of Teveron, and trade and manufacturing from the Gethderah Trade Federation. Though the rulers of Gethderah had concerns about an alliance with one of the most successful military empires on Antares, Teveron’s 320+ systems and Ha’Ruul’s fewer but more advanced systems made a tempting offer and Gethderah became a founding member of the Ascendency.
Gethderah was one of the last to disconnect from the Nexus in the 5th Age but was not reconnected until the 7th Age, around 520 years after Isori. Luckily for its inhabitants, the local, elapsed time was once again relatively short, only around 650 years, so with careful management of its resources and the mining of outlying asteroids it retained much of its technology. With the aid of a large population of Boromites, it even deployed extensive settlements on most of the moons and rocky planets in the system and orbital habitats even as far out as its Oort Cloud. Indeed, Gethderah was one of the few systems to not only send unmanned, exploratory probes to nearby star systems in real space but to act on the information received and begin efforts to terraform the few, potentially habitable planets it had found.
As soon as it was reconnected in the 7th Age, Gethderah was quick to adopt the IMTel and abandoned its real-space exploration. During the Splintering, Gethderah shifted from Isorian to Concord control as a much sought-after prize, eventually becoming a major C3 military base and the capital of several hundred thousand systems in the PanHuman Concord: the Gethderah Shard.
The League of Ha’Ruul
Though never a particularly large alliance, the League of Ha’Ruul was spread over a large area. Its members were tightly-bound to each other in a mutual defence league dominated by benevolent NuHu technocrats. At the dawn of the Fifth Age, Ha’Ruul found itself with the highest population of NuHu across Antares; the nanosphere-soaked successors of panhumanity had thrived during the isolation in off-world orbitals and domed habitats on the surface of large moons orbiting Ha’Ruul’s two great gas giants.
During the early years of the Warring Ages, the technological advances of Ha’Ruul helped it succeed with smaller but more advanced forces against aggressors who tried to overwhelm its defences with numbers. Its starships and drives were amongst the best available, and it had a grasp of nanosphere and genetic developments that kept its front-line troops in exceptional – if not superhuman – condition and its technologies in exceptional repair.
Whilst Ha’Ruul provided aid to those who needed it, and would answer requests for defensive support, it would only welcome as allies those who it felt could match its manufacturing capability and understand its technology. In practice, this meant a NuHu-led society or one in which NuHu scientists had considerable influence.
Politically and militarily, the League of Ha’Ruul attempted to remain independent and ignore the chaos around it. This policy proved impossible to sustain after the Time of Treachery saw outlying worlds of the Ha’Ruul destroyed by smaller empires who betrayed their trust and turned on what they thought were numerically inferior, easy targets – in places slaying NuHu outright. This angered the leaders of Ha’Ruul so much that they sanctioned some of Ha’Ruul’s very few, offensive campaigns, not only regaining the systems but retaliating by wiping out all senior ranks in the armed forces that slew their NuHu.
The proof of a potentially ruthless response kept other such invasions in check for a while. Against rising Vorl pressure, however, Ha’Ruul felt compelled to ask the traders of Gethderah and the legions of Teveron to join it in building an alliance that would stand above petty quarrels. The Ha’Ruul NuHu reasoned that only such an alliance could bring stability to the non-Vorl worlds of Antares: through their tireless efforts, the Ascendency was born and panhumanity was saved.
In the next instalment we run through the last of the three founding members of the Ascendency, one that provided its military might: the Saviours of Teveron. Critical to the rise and expansion of Teveron were Vorl oppression, internal dissention, the rise of the legions of teveron and the influence of the Algoryn morph.