The legends vary through-out the Milky Way Galaxy. Depending on the quadrant, the name has a different root language, myth, legend or religion. The most common definition often translates into “The Old Empire”. Other names such as “The Evil Ones”, “The Ancients”, “The Empire”, “Great Old Ones”, “Ancient Gods”, “Old Ones” refer to the same entities who once battled the invading extra-galactic “Domain” in a great, galaxy wide apocalyptic War that wiped out most sentient life in the local Universe one and a half billion years ago.
The invaders won. Just barely.
The conquerors, a race of beings who were actually a genetic mish-mash of various life forms blended together in their home, the Triangulum Galaxy, were of the classical humanoid form; symmetrically bipedal, single head, binocular vision, two arms and legs, five fingers and toes and genetically enhanced to possess great mental abilities such as telepathy, visual and non-visual, great physical strength and filled with a desire to spread their philosophy of individuality, justice, freedom, tolerance, racial equality and harmony and any other adjective akin to goodness and anti-evil. The jihad that consumed their home galaxy and carried over to this one had the religious fervor that rivaled any in galactic history, past or present.
The Old Ones had no concepts of democracy, equality, freedom or justice. To make things worse, these ideas were being spread by the “edge of the sword” so to speak. Quite illogical to say the least and it made any dialog impossible by any stretch of the imagination, even if these alien things could be understood by the Ancients to begin with.
For you see, the Ancients were post-Singular beings known as Matrioshka and Jupiter Brains.
The Old Empire myth was just that, a myth. Although these creatures had vast knowledge of each other and most were linked by a manufactured worm-hole network, they were independent entities and polities. They were never joined into a cohesive unit such as nations, collectives, unions, federations and empires. They were as far beyond that as an AI is beyond an amoeba. Not only were they beyond those concepts, they were beyond another ancient concept that had to be relearned on the fly; War.
The Great War caused much suffering and agony on both sides. Whole worlds, solar systems, entities, polities, ships, fleets and myriad beings were eliminated and obliterated, forever extinct, never to be seen again in the Milky Way. The years became decades, which turned into centuries and millennia in a wink of the galactic eye. Eventually both sides reached a deadly stalemate with no end in sight. And no hope of detente either.
Because in the Domain view, the Matrioshka and Jupiter beings were an abomination. Immortal physical creatures were against the Laws of Nature and The Star Maker according to the religion of the humanoids. To them, all physical life was subservient to the Immortal Spirit that underlies all of Creation, the very essence of the Star Maker. Although Domain citizens enjoyed great, long life-spans measuring into millennia, they were not immortal. That was against the purpose of experiencing physical existence, which was to learn lessons essential for the education of the Star Maker, of which all things good sprang from. Beings such as Old Ones represented everything antithetical to the philosophy and creedo of the Domain. Creatures who uplifted themselves to the point of being virtual “gods” were anathema to the Domain denizens. How dare they liken themselves to be as the Star Maker, the Creator of All?
This doctrine underlay all the Domain believed in and formed the basis of their political philosophy. The gifts of democracy, individual freedom, material wealth, science and politics were formed in the Domains’ earliest times on a small blue, water world at the edge of the Triangulum Galaxy. All the various races of that galaxy came under the thrall of the charms of the Domain, adopting different cultures’ ways and means as they spread, incorporating all they came upon as their own. Eventually, the vast Galactic Culture became as one, and was simply known as the “Domain”, or “The Galactic Domain”.
Although the Domain claimed democratic equality for all and their Great Fleet was an instrument of “peaceful exploration”, it was expansionist in nature. The ships of the Domain were armed to the hilt with various weapons and shielding and built with the combined shipwright technology it has adopted throughout its 10,000 year history of previous exploration/expansion. Built with the idea of “self-defense” in mind, these weapons would’ve made the great tyrants of the past drool with wanton coveting and lust. More than once during the 10,000 year history of the Domain there had been pre-emptive wars, genocides, ethnic cleansings and resultant population Diasporas, all in the name of peaceful exploration, science and self defense. Eventually, the Domain melded into a complete homogenous culture, which was a sort of enlightened socialism, all its citizens were free from material want or need, knowledge was free for the taking and everyone could be anything, or anyone they wanted to be.
Even as the Domain claimed that it had no centralized government to speak of, this was just propaganda for the benefit of the masses. The Domain, for all intents and purposes were ruled by what was known as the “Jury of Nine”, or just “Nine”. These were humanoid beings of great mental Power and Abilities, able to see into the 5th Dimension and conversely, into all aspects of All, Past, Present and Future.
And they knew what made the Domain tick and run with the efficiency of a well oiled watch; Military expansionism.
With their home galaxy under their total control, the Jury of Nine knew that without new territories to explore and expand into, the great, peaceful, “democratic” society will start to eat itself from within, leaving behind scorched, cindered worlds, super-nova remnants and vast tracts of empty space where once vibrant stellar megalopolis’ existed. The Nine couldn’t allow that to happen.
So they looked across intergalactic space into the Local Group of Galaxies to see if there were greener pastures, so to speak. Almost all five galaxies were into various ascending stages of galactic cultures struggling to unite their respective galaxies. Wars and more formation wars were rampant in these places. The Domain, although formed by wars itself, didn’t necessarily poke its nose into places where there was more than a 50 percent chance it would get its butt kicked. But there was one galaxy that seemed to be peaceful. No signs of wars, megastructures or any subspace signals indicated advanced civilization of any type, it was as if virgin ground was being assessed for plowing.
Something was wrong however. As the Nine were preparing the propaganda to be disseminated throughout the Domain to push for building great Ships to be constructed for intergalactic exploration, anomalies were discovered within the galaxy slated for exploration. The anomalies were few at first, then more were found as soon as pattern was found. It was discovered that stars themselves seemed to be talking to each other. Gravity waves, traveling the speed of subspace radio, was flowing between red dwarf stars there on a continuous basis. This meant only one thing, that galaxy was home to a vast and very ancient civilization. And probably one of the First also, possibly coming into being during the first five to six billion years of the Universe’s birth. This wasn’t good. But it wasn’t all bad either. The Nine determined through their future casting of the possible outcomes, they figured Domain forces had a better than sixty percent chance of taking over the entire galaxy and defeating those Ancients. They knew the odds if they didn’t try. There was an 85 percent chance the Domain will start to collapse upon itself within 500 to 1,000 years.
So the propaganda was refined to fit the new situation. The meme for intergalactic exploration would be reframed into a religious jihad, to rescue helpless beings trapped in the other galaxy by these monstrous super-beings into perpetual slavery and servitude. And it was up to the virtuous Domain to set these helpless creatures free. All the Star Makers’ creations were free, independent spiritual beings and it was up to the Domain to “enlighten” these evil “Old Gods.”
The Jury of Nine was surprised by how fast these ancient structures relearned the art of war. Even though Domain Forces made great headway during the first thousand years of the War, the Brains fought them to a standstill after a little better than half of this galaxy had fallen under Domain control. Many truces and armistices were tried over the next thousand years, but all were doomed to fail because of the very dissimilar natures of the combatants. During this time, the Domain colonies were coming into their own and were demanding a greater autonomy in their affairs. And some didn’t like the genocide they were witnessing on both sides. Some of these Colonial Powers decided to approach the Old Ones on their own to see if any peace could be worked out between them. And in certain areas of the galaxy, peace did happen because of great efforts on both sides.
But the Nine were displeased with this. “Peace” didn’t figure yet into their plans. War was necessary now because it was a great economic driver in the home galaxy and ships with superior “defensive” weaponry was needed for further exploration/expansion of this galaxy. More fables of supposed Ancient atrocities were spread into the areas of truce and thus, the truces started to fail because of misplaced distrust.
Not all Colonies were fooled by the meme spread however. Some had the where-with-all to have spies in the right places and knew about the Nine and their manipulations. Despairing because of a “war without end”, these worlds secretly formed a plan with some of the Old Ones to stop the madness. Plans were laid to store the various Colonies DNA into the very earth of their worlds. The DNA was adapted to each specific world and unique to its individual ecologies. It was then buried into the very substrate of each world. Although these worlds varied slightly in their make-up, each one was an oxygen/nitrogen water planet like all of the Domain planets at home. When all was said and done, if the Plan came to fruition, each planet had the chance to bring forth intelligent life, unique to each, but with the same template, bipedal, single head with binocular vision, five or six fingers and toes on two arms and two legs.
When this was finished on these Colonies, the Brains along with their colonial conspirators committed suicide on a massive scale. Gamma-ray bursts, on a scale unheard of in the entirety of the local group, scoured the whole of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Brains converted themselves into pure nuclear explosions, setting off a chain reaction of supernovae that spread gamma-rays everywhere. Entire worlds and solar systems were sterilized. No life of any kind was spared, plant or animal, except in the very remote reaches of the Milky Way where the gamma radiation was filtered by distance and time.
To say the least, the Nine were quite caught off guard by this conflagration. There was only a 20 percent chance something like this would happen in their timeline analysis. With the War being waged much to their forecast expectation, unplanned for events usually are the result of elitist hubris. It is forever thus.
The Domain in the home galaxy were of course, shocked and dismayed about what happened to the Colonial Domain. Because of the expanding gamma radiation, the Milky Way was closed off for the foreseeable future, perhaps for good as far as the Domain was concerned. A whole galaxy was radioactive and dangerous for humanoid, or any life for that matter. No further attempts would be made to explore that galaxy, or any galaxy for that matter. For the first time in many thousands of years, the Domain had experienced total and utter defeat. And that made their eventual fall and demise even faster than would have happened naturally. The Nine destroyed the very thing they had sworn to protect and save. Even as they performed ritual suicide, to enter upon the Wheel of Pain again, they knew they would remember this lesson. For the Star Maker would make certain they did.
As for the Milky Way Galaxy, it would once again become a home for intelligent life, after half a billion years that is. For it would take 500 million years for the gamma radiation to clear out into inter-galactic space. Surviving species at the periphery of the galaxy were decimated numerically, but were hardy enough to adapt and evolve with the weakening radiation, forming intelligences that had the very Event itself burned into their racial memories. Races such as the quadrupedal Ane and Byrk had legends of the Brains, which they considered gods at first until they happened across ancient libraries orbiting neutron star husks. The information recovered from these libraries helped the Ane become the great artificial intelligence engineers they are. These methods they still jealously guard to this day.
The Harmon boast they even knew the Brains and the Colonial Domain. This is doubtful, because the first intelligent ancestor of the Harmon didn’t come onto the scene until 200 million years after the Brains and Colonial Domain became extinct. The Harmon even claim they were the first to call the humanoids of the Colonial Domain what would become the eventual common name attached to them; The Progenitors.
Of course these are the things of Galactic legend. And as the centuries, millennia and geological epochs passed by, the Milky Way once again blossomed with humanoid and non-humanoid intelligence. And as with the nature of humanoid beings, wars and empires soon blossomed and died. The various descendants of the Domain, especially on the old Colony worlds that are in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, developed empires and tyrannies in various fits and starts. The Vegan Tyranny, Vulcan Orthodoxy ( pre-Surak ), Andorean Precept, the T’klingon and Rihannsu ( Romulan ) Empires had attempts to emulate their Domain Progenitors. None were quite up to the challenge. And had they known they were all related in the first place, they would’ve destroyed each other sooner!
But there was a young race that came upon this arena by accident. Violent by nature like the rest, expansionist and curious to boot, they adapted quickly to the Galactic neighborhood and formed alliances with the slightly older cultures using trade as a way to gain knowledge of ship building, exploration of virgin territories and of the elder cultures themselves. Rapidly assimilating these cultures with their charm and guile, these ‘humans’ accomplished in decades what would’ve been centuries had they not made contact with the Vulcans. And within a mere three hundred years of their initial contact with the outside galaxy, the humans had formed a mighty alliance that already survived many major conflicts, even one with an advanced culture that most assuredly should’ve destroyed them utterly!
And it is with this in the closing years of the late 24th and early 25th centuries of the human calendar the mighty United Federation of Planets is being observed by a very, very ancient jaundiced eye.
“It is time”, whispers the observing entity, quickly dissolving into diaphanous vapors.
Acknowledgements: This is my first attempt at Star Trek fan fiction in many years and I borrowed some elements and creatures from a couple of fan fic authors I have read over the past few years.
1. The Harmon. They are a very ancient race of beings that Captain Jay P. Hailey came into contact with on his voyage home on the starship Harrier. These are the creations of Jay P. Hailey. His site is in the side bar.
2. The Ane. These beings who look like Thompson’s Gazelles are the creation of Gerry Stahl and Jay Hailey. They figure prominently in their stories and are very interesting characters.
3. The Byrk. They are mine and are based loosely on the Ane, simply because of the nature of evolving in similar environments after the gamma-ray burst extinction Event.
4. The Progenitors. These are Paramount owned characters and are the ancestors of all the humanoid beings in the galaxy, Humans, Vulcans, Rihannsu, Betazoids, T’klingons, Bajorans, all of the humanoid races in the Trek pantheon. Also explains how they can all interbreed with each other.
5. The Domain. A group of beings from another galaxy that invaded the galaxy centuries ago. The name was mentioned in an interview by Matilda O’Donnell MacElroy made with an alien survivor of a UFO crash named ‘Airl’. The link is here.
The acknowledged characters belong to whom I mentioned and mine are mine, not for sale or resale.
Enjoy the story.
P.S. The Star Maker belongs to the great Olaf Stapledon, an influence upon the gods of science-fiction like Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein, who in turn were an influence on me. Thank you Mr. Stapledon.