In the year 2014 everything changed for humanity.
It was January, and an arctic vortex held most of the northern hemisphere in its icy grip. They came from beyond our solar system to devour us, the Durog Empire. Aliens from a faraway nebula. Millions died in their opening salvos. New York, Beijing, Moscow, London, Shanghai. Gone. Obliterated so swiftly it was as if they had never been. And then they landed soldiers that swarmed across the Earth like a plague of locust killing indiscriminately.
Humanity was doomed.
But then we learned something. A secret kept from us for decades. This was not first contact. Our governments had been aware of the alien threat for more than half a century. Plans were already in motion.
With secrecy no longer needed, all pretenses were abandoned. Space-faring battleships were launched from hidden bunkers, bearing a never-before-seen insignia, the seal of the Singular Earth Alliance, S.E.A. as they call themselves.
S.E.A.’s counterstroke was as sudden as it was devastating. Aimed at durog installations on Earth and in space, thousands of nuclear warheads were launched. Millions of humans died, huge swaths of our precious Earth were poisoned. Such was the price paid in blood to rid our world of the invaders. And we paid it willingly.
The Durog were wounded, but not defeated.
By February, Earth was hardly recognizable. Billions had died. Our greatest nations were destroyed. Nuclear winter was setting in. Communications were crippled. S.E.A. was the only thing standing between humanity and extermination.
The war began then in earnest.
In those early months S.E.A. fought a bitter and costly ground battle on Earth while humanity struggled simply to survive. Nuclear winter drove temperatures suddenly downward, leading to a complete cessation of food production. Without new sources, food supplies dwindled rapidly.
We should have died in that first year, but once again S.E.A. was ready. Through a partnership with the Atlantis Venture, they prepared for this very event. Food, enough for billions, was ready and located strategically across the planet. Fallout shelters were also available. We began to believe that if the Durog could be pushed back, perhaps we would survive after all.
Calls for help went out to nearby aliens – the Glopians of Vlaapus and the Tayvaak of Kranor-Se answered. Help was coming, but it would take months to arrive. We held out, we persevered. We had to for our only other choice was extermination.
Slowly, steadily, S.E.A. pushed the fighting away from Earth. First the Durog were ejected from our planet, then our moon, and by the time the first Glopian battleships dropped out of hyperspace, the war was raging on and around Mars. Planet by planet the Durog were driven backwards until finally, in 2019, after five long years of war, the few remaining Durog departed into space, leaving behind a damaged, but surviving, human race.
EARTH. AFTER THE WAR.
The Durog had come prepared. Within sixty days of initiating their attack every major government on Earth was gone. The United States. Russia. The European Union. China. Japan. India. Their capitols bombed into oblivion by Durog warheads or nuked by our own counterstrike.
The rest of us fared little better. Everywhere the Durog established a foothold in those early days, S.E.A. dropped a nuke. Thousands of bombs fell on our planet to devastating effect. The skies darkened, temperatures plummeted. Food production stopped. Billions died.
Into this chaos came the Atlantis Venture. A conglomeration of companies prepared and trained for just this eventuality. In those first days, it was Atlantis that offered humanity hope.
Then we heard the first advertisement for the city of the future. It's October 2016, and the New Earth Consortium, headed by the Braxler Corporation, makes a bold claim. They can restore the Earth, and eliminate the radiation. They can deliver paradise.
It is called Olympus, and it is sold as our salvation, it promises to return us to what we had before. Olympus is the future, the promised land. We began migrating en masse. It was perfect in almost every way. Its only failing? Size. Olympus did not have room for all that came.
So the doors to paradise were shuttered. Production ran day and night at Val Core Robotics, churning out new machines to expand Olympus as fast as possible. Every day hundreds of the teeming masses were able to enter. Still thousands more arrived. Something had to be done. Braxler Corporation agreed. The Braxler Bacterium, responsible for the miracle of reclaimed land, was licensed to others. Those with enough power and influence to buy their own cities were now free to do so.
So were born the nations of today, and foremost among them, mighty Olympus that stretches across much of the land that was once Brazil.
And outside these cities? The Radlands. Radioactive wastelands blanketing most of Earth. With Earth’s climate decimated by the war, the Radlands are a dusty desert prone to sudden storms and bone-chilling temperatures. In this harsh environ a new and unusual life has emerged. Mutants. Man and beast alike. Their bodies changed by long exposure to extreme radiation. Most so hideously malformed that the people of the cities cannot abide them.
In the Radlands these mutants huddle in small towns and villages, scavenging from the skeletons of what was, and trying desperately to survive.
SPACE. AFTER THE WAR.
While on Earth we struggled to survive, in space S.E.A. thrived by pursuing a focused charter independent of Earth, with a clear mission: protect humanity at all costs. As far as S.E.A. is concerned, its writ supersedes the politics of Earth.
Within a handful of years following the war, two massive construction projects were undertaken.
The first, Sothis Station, was conceived in 2021, in response to a sudden burgeoning interest by alien species in Earth. The station was built as a joint effort between S.E.A., the Atlantis Venture and the New Earth Consortium. It went online just two years later, in 2023, and serves as a required stop for any alien wishing to visit Earth.
The second project, and this far more deadly, a ring of massive battle-stations, the exact number unknown, cloaked with captured Durog technology, and drifting through the Oort Cloud. Called the Sekhmet Stations. Sekhmet offers a simple promise to anyone seeking entry into Earth-space without the proper codes: complete annihilation.
There is one way into our solar system, and that is through Sothis.