The Varlian Gate
The universe is not like a puzzle-box that you can take apart and put back together again and so solve its secrets. It is a shifting uncertain thing which changes as you consider it, which is changed by the very act of observation. A powerful man is not a man who dissects the universe like a puzzle-box, examining it piece by piece and measuring each piece with scientific precision. A powerful man has only to look upon the universe to change it.
A Short History of the Human Race by Halith Jonalison
… Now let us look at the events that conspired to launch man to the stars and drove Constantine and his successors to their actions. At the close of the 3rd century PS(Pre Space) international good will on Earth was at boiling point. Over the course of the previous few hundred years extremist Muslim terrorist groups had continued their attacks on the West with ever increasing fervour to such an extent that even those countries who had had little to fear, such as those of Eastern Europe and those few stable African countries, were united in counter-terrorism actions and legislation. The attacks have actually been claimed by some to be the cause for the majority of the African sub-continent to stabilize with foreign supported governments (as nothing is better for uniting a warring people then an outside threat). In retaliation the West launched its own form of terrorism in trade embargoes by the UN , aggressive diplomacy and covert strike teams. By 300PS the situation had become so critical that news stations had stopped reporting cases of Muslims and Sikhs being shot in Europe and North America. It is at this stage that the East withdrew from world affairs with the exception of China. The conflict had not brought down the West or even fractured it – it had in fact done the opposite and turned the situation into a holy war, uniting Christianity in all its many forms under one banner of contempt. This period of Human history became known as the Great Schism, as the world was split into three spheres of influence: the Christian West, Muslim and Hindi East and those that declared no allegiance (China, Brazil, Switzerland, etc.).
So it remained for the next two hundred years until in July 2nd year 0 (or 2508 in old Christian measurements) the first colony ship was launched from 20 miles outside Moscow to settle the Martian desert with 150 souls. It is from this date that we now record the passing of annuals without the contrived method of relying on some dead man’s birthday – so making it year 0. About two weeks later another ship was launched from the edge of the Gobi Desert though its destination remains unknown due to later circumstances which will be disclosed shortly. The launches were in reaction to the deteriorating atmosphere and climate of the planet and within a few years hundreds of such ships had already set out to settle the galaxy. So it was that the first permanent Human colony in the great expanse of space was established in the 3rd annual.
In the 4th annual the Democracy of Nations was established by the Christian states and declared rule over “any present or future colonies existing within 10 light years of Earth” . This, of course was not entered into by the East, which according to what little evidence is left us remained a kingdom for another sixteen-hundred annuals. Then the wars of Theism began, of which there were four. These began after the Synod of Naples in the 69th annual where it was decreed by both Orthodox and Catholic (which were by this point only differing in their manner of dress) churches that God the Three was the one and only god in the universe and claimed space travel as his gift to his children. It would be pertinent to point out that according to records from the early 500PS(pre space) the declaration would not have caused much outrage, but because of the high level of tension existing between the religions by that point “all Hell broke loose” to use an old Earth saying. The next sixteen-hundred years or so we refer to as the Dark Age of Earth because most all records from the period were either destroyed due to the ensuing conflict or lost to time in the period since. Each settled planet chose a side and the conflict became sector-wide warfare – the first hostilities man made in space…
….After the Great Wars of Theism ended around annual 1542, the Democracy of Nations was a pale shadow of its former self, with only the delegates from the Martian colonies and few from the Americas left in attendance. It was around that time the man who later became known as Constantine came to the fore. He called out for an end to the endless conflict that was destroying Humanity; forcing brothers to flee to the further reaches of the Galaxy and was crippling an already wasted planet. He called for an end to religious fervour and a beginning for logic and cool common sense. His argument: that if gods exist then why do they let their chosen people suffer so for their belief in the teachings and the divinity of the being? Why should God allow man to murder his brothers and pollute the land he made with his own hands if he truly cared for his creations? Humanity should be the guiding light in the universe not some being that only offers vain hope and can be proved by nothing other than fiction. He said that if one needed to believe that they should believe in the cosmos as a power unto itself, but one that has no want nor will to bless or curse –an impassive force that shapes the whole not the individual. He drew hundreds, followed by thousands of followers until at length he was able to wage one final war on the Misguided . Over the course of the next 75 annuals he was able to purge the world of resistance and set about burning every text he could find concerning God. The end of the war was marked by Constantine’s anointment as Sovereign of Earth and Guardian of the Human race. It is thought by some scholars that his last title was an afterthought on the part of adoring supporters, but none disagree that it has caused no end of trouble to the Galaxy in the time since. Constantine declared all gods false and enacted a death penalty to those would dare tempt fate again by worshipping such falsehoods. To this day the rulers of what became the Imperium Cognati have all seen it as their right and duty to expand their territory until all of humanity resides within their protection.
Soon after these events Constantine’s successor (his son Garius) led an expeditionary force of 20,000 from Earth to reinstitute those planets that had fallen out of contact with Earth. The force took back its first planet from the Misguided in 1703. Four hundred annuals later in 2181 The Trench was discovered by Viktor Vanx whose invention is still in use to this day, allowing Humans to travel through the tides of the sub-dimension and speeding up travel times by years.
Over the next 6000 annuals the Imperium continued to re-educate human settlements established in the depths of space until in 7540 it conquered its 100,000th colonised world. In this period there were rumours of a man constructed almost entirely of metal and augments. The rumours were substantiated by inexplicable happenings that could only be attributed to such a being such as the sudden construction and invention of beacons to guide those in The Trench safely to their destination and the armies of androids that appeared overnight in many farming communities throughout Imperium. As such machine cabals begin to form who see this creature as a god-like being. Strangely the Imperium has yet to do anything about these sects and it might be that they are in league with this construction.
The Varlian Confederation was discovered by the Imperium Cognati in 10670 near Galactic Centre. It is the largest organisation of planets yet encountered and its people have worshiped a new god that they say lives at the centre of their ruling planet for the past 6000 annuals. This has yet to be substantiated, though the zeal of the people is real and they have been fighting Imperium rule for the last thousand annuals. Within the last hundred years there has been a movement to worship the Emperor as the avatar of the cosmos and that he is the light of humanity that guides them with wisdom and strength through the galaxy conquering those lost to the dark. But all that is a bunch of nonsense and was probably brought about by the man being close to five hundred annuals in age….
It is the 11724th annual and the Imperium Cognati is waylaid by forces on all sides. The Emperors cousin Solus has seceded with the northern most reaches of his domain and the Sin Dominion launches regular raids and invasions from the south. Meanwhile the Emperor has launched a new invasion north-east into Varlian space, making Galactic Centre, also known as the Varlian Gate, one of the most dangerous places to be…