Conflict of the Species; A Stellaris After Action Report (part 1)

This is the beginning of a new Stellaris after-action report (AAR) that I will update from time to time. While many visitors come to my site for other content, every now and then I plan to update this with how my game is going. A number of mods are being used, and I list them out at the end of the post. Enjoy!

Centuries before the founding of our beloved Imperium, Human kind lived in relative prosperity and isolation. While the continent was divided between petty factions and governments fought for supremacy, wars were rare and contained, trade was the primary activity, culture and the arts flourished, and Human kind advanced slowly but surely, with lifespans and genetic quality increasing. But while opulent, humanity had grown decadent, complacent, hedonistic, and highly secular. One would barely recognize Humanity of the past with its current state.

In 211 B.I., though, this peaceful period came to a sudden end when the First Xenos arrived. Mysterious interstellar ships broke through the atmosphere and brought havoc to the surface of Earth. Cities were destroyed. Governments were toppled. Millions were killed. Humanity’s most destructive weapon, the Nuclear Missile, barely phased the invaders. It seemed the apocalypse had come, and Humanity was in terror the like of which had never been seen before. It certainly appeared to be the end, and Humanity had never even seen the face of their assailants, not even heard their voice.

As suddenly as the invaders had come, though, they left. No one knew why they came or why they left, or even who they were. Nevertheless, the species was in shock. The planet was in chaos. Newly formed factions, rising from the smoldering remains of the old regime, fought for resources, territory, and bodies. In this state of affairs, at best, Human kind would wallow in an impoverished, violent equilibrium. At worst, the species would finish what the First Xenos started: the extinction of the Race.

In the darkest moment of the Species, though, a glimmer of light shown that eventually became a blinding sun. A warrior-prophet preached a new gospel, one that had great appeal in the aftermath of the attack of the First Xenos. His gospel stressed the important of Species over specimen, Mankind over man, and that the Species was spared so it may take its place among the others in the galaxy. Humanity was spared the wrath of the First Xenos, but there was nothing that could prevent their return other than their eradication, wherever they may be. The infighting must end; Humanity must be united under one government so that it may turn its attention to the stars, once and forever.

That warrior-prophet is now known as Daniel the Savior, and his religious-political movement, which began in the great islands off the coast of Europe, gained just enough traction to conquer first Europe, then Asia, then the world island, and finally the globe. The unification of the Earth under Daniel the Savior took over a century of bloody, incessant combat; even the mass popular support Daniel enjoyed, even the legions of crusaders flocking to his banners, struggled to overcome the darkness enveloping the planet. But the great task was accomplished, though it cost Daniel his life; when the last bastion of resistance fell, Daniel the Savior, maimed and tired, was dying slowly.

The old order and the political and social doctrines associated with it were blamed by Daniel’s crusade for the inadequacy of the Species when the First Xenos arrived, and thus would never return, for they had no place in his government. Instead, Daniel’s Holy Imperium was a militaristic, spiritual, xenophobic totalitarian regime. Daniel had refused any title other than commander during his conquest, but upon its completion and the finalization of his government, when the final hold of Urquizaville in the Americas fell, the dying Daniel the Savior finally donned the uniform and title of Emperor in the capital city of Philadelphia. He died the next day.

Daniel’s death, though sudden, was not unforseen. His son, Glavin I, was coronated Emperor after the Year of Mourning, 112 B.I. Emperor Glavin had commanded alongside his father in the latter decades of the Unification Crusade. He had demonstrated intelligence and administrative ability. Furthermore, he devoutly believed in the mission for the stars. Glavin’s rule saw Human society transform from its disorganized prior state to the neo-feudalistic one we see today. Castes were reintroduced, a ruling class curated, and the masses were tasked with laying the foundation for spreading Humanity to the stars. New industry was constructed. New cities rose from the ashes of the old. Extraterrestrial technology saw investment like never before.

It is in 0 B.I., the year the first starships were launched into orbit, that marks the beginning of the reign of the Holy Galactic Imperium.

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Humanity entered space without only primitive interstellar technology, largely based on chemical thrusters. While possible to travel between stars, this was done only with great difficulty and expense over great spans of time. Crews and passengers needed to be frozen in order to survive the journey; even with Humanity’s increased lifespan, the journey was too much to permit consciousness.

The first task of the fleet was to obtain a deeper understanding of the Sol system, unlike any done prior to the Imperium. It turned out that this revealed a great deal, and old theories reliant only on natural causes turned out to be wrong. The rings of Saturn turned out to be remnants of ancient ships in a great space battle in the Sol system. Some material resembled that recovered from the First Xenos, and academics began to theorize that the Sol system played a pivotal role in some interstellar geopolitical game that the First Xenos were still playing.

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The new theories caused quite a stir on Earth, even resistance perhaps driven by cowardice. Those clinging to old ideas, though, did not remain influential in the Imperium for long.

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Many felt that it was not practical for exploration to remain solely in the Sol system. If there were some geopolitical game being played, with Earth as the center square, more must be done to recover the shape of the board. Interstellar missions were planned by the Imperium.

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Additionally, the religious doctrines concerning the preservation of the Species above all else lead to calls for greater research in what leads to extinction. Driven by this, a body of scientists and theologians prepared a grand mission in search of interstellar planets where mass extinction events had occured, in order to catalog reasons for extinction and how to prevent it.

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The stellar map passed to the Emperor made Him gasp; many of these planets were lightyears away from Sol, barely reachable. Yet the body had convinced him of its importance, and he vowed to do what he could to see it completed.

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Meanwhile, the call for Humanity to become an interstellar race lead to the formation of yet another project for determining what other biospheres existed and how Humanity could be adapted to them (or vice versa). This project also received the support of the Emperor.

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Human starships with crews geared for exploration radiated from Sol. Decades after leaving the system, a ctew encountered strange readings in a nearby system. Later, it turned out these readings were from none other than an alien ship! While no visual contact was made, enough information was gathered from the encounter to determine where the vessel came from and to whom it was transmitting to, before the vessel suddenly left.

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Upon receiving the news, the Emperor was immediately concerned. The suspicion of all was that the ship belonged to the First Xenos; after all, the evidence in the rings of Saturn seemed to indicate that they were in the territory of a great interstellar empire that may not be pleased with an unloyal upstart species  popping up in its space. But the Emperor concluded that there was only one way to handle the encounter, and that was to track down the source of the ship.

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After months of reverse engineering, Earth scientists managed to link into the (surprisingly primitive) communication systems of the ship’s masters. In fact, the communication system could be two-way!

The Emperor’s throne room was packed with guests and dignitaries as the view screen with which first contact to an alien species would be made lowered from the ceiling. Tension froze the air. The Emperor sat calmly as the screen turned on, and the alien creatures were seen for the first time.

They were hideous.

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The encounter was surprisingly smooth. Computer scientists had been employing algorithms to decipher the alien language, and already a fair bit was known. The species, known as the Rax’Thalak, were ruthless capitalists ruled by an autocratic military-industrial complex intent on spreading across the galaxy. The aliens were not unfriendly; in fact, it was clear they were seeing the Imperium as potential buyers of their wares. The Emperor even spoke to the Rax’Thalak envoy, expressing peaceful intentions, though no interest in Rax’Thalak technology, which did not seem much more advanced than Human technology.

Many concluded that there was no way the Rax’Thalak could be the First Xenos, yet the story of the meeting and encounter spread throughout Earth. Doomsayers popped up like weeds despite the best efforts of Imperium authorities. Apocalyptic heresies kept theological scholars busy. The Imperium was shaken to its core.

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But the Emperor was unshaken. He knew there was no way the Rax’Thalak could be the First Xenos and doubted they represented any significant threat. He himself appeared on broadcasts across the planet to persuade the populace that there was no immediate danger and that the Rax’Thalak did not yet impose an existential threat. After some months, his words appeared to work.

Years after meeting the Rax’Thalak, Humankind developed faster-than-light travel technology. The technology was based on generation and passage through wormholes. Special stations were built and a ship could create a temporary wormhole through which to travel to another star system, then create a wormhole back to the station. Great distances could be traversed almost instantaneously, and truly the development of wormhole technology was one of Humanity’s finest achievements, paving the way for future Empire. Furthermore, the development of FTL travel came relatively early; the Rax’Thalak were still reliant on chemical engines.

FTL technology lead to a new wave of space exploration, and not long after its discovery, the Species encountered yet another alien race, the Ui-Turan.

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Imperium scientists concluded that the Ul-Turan were a fungal race that reproduced by sporing, and thus would grow off surfaces until they reached maturity and adulthood. They moved slowly via tenticle-like tendrils and spoke by forcing air through a massive array of flaps. Truly the Ul-Turan were the strangest of species encountered, an inconceivable form of life.

The Ul-Turan were governed by a collectivistic spiritual body consisting of elected spiritual leaders. They preached a gospel of unity with all living things, both on their own planet and beyond. They embraced the encounter with Humanity, with the Ul-Turan Stellar Mandate’s Highest Counselor saying to the Emperor, “We look forward to millenia of common harmony.” The Emperor smiled and said, “To you as well,” even though Ul-Turan beliefs could not be further from that of the Imperium’s. The Ul-Turan were dismissed by the government as harmless hippies who would not accomplish much.

By now, the spiral arm in which Earth lay was starting to look more crowded, and many experts concluded only more races could exist.

EDIT: For those who care, here is a list of mods in use (not that they will all work, and maybe some conflict or are redundant; who knows?):

  • A Fine Selection of Quality Mapmodes, Probably
  • A new Ship Class + ISB Balance AI Patch
  • Advanced Jump Drives
  • Advanced Weapons
  • Auto Build and Improve Buildings ENG/RUS/FRA/GER
  • Beautiful Universe v2.0
  • Binary Systems
  • Cat Portraits Dimorphism
  • Cinematic Camera
  • Civilian Trade
  • CofH – Stellar Expansion
  • CofH – Stellar Expansion – Embassies [Addon]
  • CofH – Stellar Expansion – Terraforming [Addon]
  • CofH Tech – Additional Sensors
  • Crystallis Ship Modules Expansion
  • Dark Avian Shipset
  • Elite Militaries
  • Enhanced Army Atachments
  • Epic Explosions
  • Ethic and Government Rebuild
  • Expanded System Names
  • Extended Emblems
  • Extended Traits
  • Extra Events
  • Flags: Emblems & Backgrounds
  • ISB Standalone – Doomsday Weapons & Ships
  • ISBS – Living Systems
  • ISBS – Micro Jump
  • ISBS: Doomsday Weapons & Ships
  • Mecha Armies
  • Megastructures
  • More AI Personalities
  • More Spaceport Modules
  • New Ship Classes & More v2.5
  • Planetary Rally Points
  • Plentiful Mapmodes
  • Pre-FTL players
  • Real Galaxy (Spiral 2 Arms) [type A]+ core
  • Reduce Aura Graphics
  • Sol System Expanded
  • SpaceAmbient Music
  • Stellar Expansion
  • Stellar Expansion – Embassies
  • Stellar Expansion – Terraforming
  • Stellar Expansion – Terraforming (Extreme)
  • Stellaris: AlphaMod
  • TFW’s Bunch of Ship Parts
  • The Belt
  • The Trait Codex
  • UI Overhaul 1080p
  • Unofficial Asimov Hotfix
  • _Advanced Buildings_
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