This is the Official Timeline of Gearstorm. Please treat this page as the authoritative history and update or reference other sources accordingly.
BEGIN In the 2100’s AD, mankind was in a golden age of technological advancements. However, Earth was beset by over-population, waning planetary resources, and growing food scarcity. With our new power-sources and biomedical advances, we looked once more to the stars for our future.
The first permanent moon base was constructed in 2141 AD. It was named the Tetragon for the four super-powers of the time (USA, Russia, The E.U., and China) who jointly funded it. It was meant to be a stellar assembly and launch facility for the larger of our dreams.
The peaceful age held together and by the 2150’s, thanks to the Tetragon facility, mankind boasted numerous stable colonies on Mars. Though the Red Planet’s colonies were small for they were dependent upon Earth for resupply and their low gravity made long-term residency difficult. Still, they were hailed as proof we could make it beyond Earth.
Many ambitious projects were started to search the stars for a colonizable world and just as many “colonization tech” projects were started on the ground and at the Tetragon base. In this era, we learned how to store skills and memories and how to grow clones of ourselves.
In 2156 AD, the Automated Kepler Systems Array--the humblest of exploration projects--made a historic discovery. It was a planet with an Earth-Similarity Index of 0.98, almost perfect.
Nanoprobes were dispatched at 18% the speed of light and their readings of the planet returned to Earth in 2191 AD. They were far more than we expected. By all readings and deductions, this new world had a fully functioning, human-compatible biosphere with breathable air. And it was only about twelve light-years away.
The automated system chose a name from its donor-determined list and mankind’s miracle second Earth was name Apollyon. But the miracle wouldn’t last.
The prize of Apollyon was too rich for the international peace to withstand. Nationalistic movements gained power from the over-crowded populations who were desperate to claim the open frontier of Apollyon for themselves. Demagogues gained power and diplomacy was replaced by posturing as powerful once-allies rattled their sabers at each other.
By 2196 AD, the world was in a state of multiple cold wars between the four powers. Proxy wars over smaller nations and ideologies caught fire across the globe. Fearing for their safety, the many nations of Earth began to spin a horrible web of hidden alliances and defensive treaties.
In 2197 AD, the Secretary-General of the UN, fearing that global war was nearing, held an immense diplomatic summit at the Tetragon moon base. Called The Reminder Speech ingloriously, it was a heavy-handed affair which desperately tried to focus the world’s leaders on what they could do together.
The summit worked initially. The G20 leaders present ratified an international treaty banning all independent colonization efforts. They promised that all would reach Apollyon, or none would. To that end, the International Colonization Authority was founded and charged with the task of starting a colony on Apollyon. All participating countries donated funds, manpower, and resources to it and the effort was placed under the UN’s oversight.
But peace was not to be had. Even with the biggest countries on Earth in outward agreement, many others would not listen. Political tensions continued to rise. By 2199 AD, numerous countries around the world started developing militarized space forces, in violation of all treaties counter to such. In the end, everyone knew the first to get to Apollyon would have a chance at winning it all.
2200 AD, was a big year for the UN’s peace push. Using the century anniversary as a coming together moment, the UN made a huge show of giving the ICA full ownership of the Tetragon Moon Base for use in constructing the first legal colony ship – The Vanguard. Assembly of the titanic vessel began that same year, albeit at a rushed pace for the show.
For a few months, people breathed easily. Then, in 2201 AD, a military satellite was accidentally shot down by another country’s space force during routine practice. The circumstances of who was at fault aren’t clear, but the international incident nearly brought the two countries to war.
Before hands could shake on a de-escalation meeting, the country who owned the satellite used the international focus on the peace talks to launch an illegal colony ship from Earth. It’s neighbor’s missile system shot the craft down, raining debris over a coastal city, lighting fires, and killing hundreds.
By the next year, 2203 AD, both countries were building up troops on their borders and skirmishes by deniable proxy troops were already heating up the theater of war. Peace talks failed in 2204 AD when a war was officially declared as a means of stopping the one county’s illegal colonization program.
This war triggered defensive treaties, which triggered hidden accords. The worrisome web of confusing and secretive agreements dragged the whole world down to war. Allies and enemies switched sides rapidly in the first year as the battle lines resolved.
Full-scale global war truly started in 2205 AD, when a nuclear exchange went down between super-powers. Then another super-power revealed that it had broken the ban on robotic armies. Everyone with illegal colonization programs tried to flee Earth and a series of brutal executions of their ships were televised from space as deterrents.
Around 2207 AD, nuclear weapons had driven the war underground or into bunkered mountain cities. Robot armies clashed across the radioactive wastelands of Earth’s surface while people fought savage battles in tunnel-warfare. World War 3 reached a gridlock.
Looking to break the deadlock, someone created a biological weapon. Who it was is lost, or perhaps unknown, to history. The Phage they created, however, was the ultimate weapon.
The Phage spread by multiple vectors. It incubated for weeks without symptoms. Detecting it was expensive and difficult, especially for the war-taxed medical systems. When it did manifest, the Phage would erupt from its victims as it transformed them into violent, hyper-strong zombie-like monsters.
Within a year of its start, by 2209 AD, the phage had put an end to World War 3. We were forced to stop fighting each other and instead battle the uncountable hordes of phage. The fate of mankind was on the line.
In 2210 AD, Mars declared itself independent of Earth and rallied its merger space force to enact a blockage. This action ended what little resupply the Martian colonies had been receiving from Earth still and the Red Planet’s colonies descended into one of the most brutal famines in human history.
Around 2212 AD, the phage infections caught fire on one of the moon’s several military bases. Fearing that the end of mankind was near, the ICA staff at the Tetragon declared their independence and cut off all contact with the outside world. They proceeded to pour all remaining resources into getting the Vanguard launch ready.
On Oct 13th, 2213 AD, the second to last moon base falls to the Phage and the ICA turns to defend their stronghold alone. The battle is hopeless though. The ICA, short on enough fuel to get the Vanguard to Apollyon, makes a monumental decision – the Vanguard wouldn’t carry people to Apollyon, but it would carry the means of making people once it gets there.
The once glorious Vanguard was stripped bare. Only the bioprinters, cloning technology, and cloning materials were left. Instead of sending mankind’s greatest minds into space, the skills and memories of ICA’s best personnel were recorded instead. In the care of an AI named Julia, the ship was launched mere hours before the phage overwhelmed the Tetragon’s defenses. Bearing with it the tiny Flickering flame believed to be the last spark of humankind.
In 2226 AD, the last remaining military forces on Earth band together to form the Earth Defense Initiative (EDI). Acting as the world’s government, the Commanders Council of the EDI enacts the New Horizon initiative. A global nuclear purge of the phage.
By 2228 AD, the EDI’s surface forces are able to drive the devastated phage into scattered pockets around the Earth. Additional technological advances finally yield an immunity to the phage as well. The EDI announces that the war is finally over.
Five years later, the EDI declares global peace has been obtained. To mark the first time that all people stand united under the same banner, the Commanders Council sets its sights on claiming the prize which nearly caused our extinction. Massive colonization programs for Apollyon start up the very next year.
Over the next decade, the EDI launches several large-scale military colonization fleets to Apollyon. However, the programs don’t run much beyond that. Environmental rehabilitation costs for Earth and rising social issues plague the EDI and its resources are redirected towards the ground instead of the stars.
By 2336 AD the Earth Defense Initiative government collapses.
In 2237 AD, the Martian government, having survived in isolation all these years from Earth, attempts to contact the mother planet. Their attempts are met by automated hostilities. The planet itself seems to exhibit a lack of civilized activity. Martian historians label this time as “The Stillness”.
In 2401 AD, the Martian Science Foundation (MSF), a space-oriented research group on Mars, whips up a case for sending a colonial expedition to Apollyon. As Mars suffers from tremendously low biodiversity, and the Martians are cut-off from Earth, the MSF proposes that biological data can be transmitted back from Apollyon’s researchers at light speed and then reproduced on Mars.
Funding is approved, though not much funding. The MSF builds a mass-driver launch facility and fires a series of very tiny human-printing drones to Apollyon. While the program is low-budget, it benefits from some of the best technology on Mars at this time as donors are keen to have first rights to biological discovers with commercial value at home.
Martian history ends in 2501 AD when The Stillness is suddenly broken. The last known details are that Mars is immediately subsumed by the explosive growth of the Sol-Terra Imperium.
Very little is known about the Sol-Terra Imperium other than that they are the height of human technological advancement in all of history. At some point, they run a colonization program on the (now) legendary Apollyon. Ironically, due to technological differences, they are the first to arrive to the virgin planet. The Sol-Terra Expedition (STE) beats the EDI colonization ships to Apollyon by centuries, they beat the MSF there by nearly a millennium, and they beat the ICA by even more.
Little is known about their colonies or society however as the STE colonization program on Apollyon ends or collapses, no one is sure, several hundred years before the EDI arrives. There is little more than ruins and ancient facilities left of the STE on Apollyon now. The Sol-Terra Imperium has no active presence either and its fate is likewise unknown to those on Apollyon.
Apollyon's More Recent History
Around 3230 AD the first EDI colonization fleet arrives. The colony of Northpoint is established and forms the capital of the EDI government on Apollyon. More colonization fleets arrive in following years and colonies such as Wake Station, and Satellite Station (later renamed to ImmortalTown) are created.
For nearly 100 years, the EDI flourishes on Apollyon. The human population of the planet reaches several million by 3330 AD.
It all comes to an end when the Phage re-emerges. Carried latently by the immune EDI population, a strain of the phage merges with a local Apollyon virus. This new strain erupts violently and the phage war suddenly reignites after it’s thousand-year lull.
The EDI capital, Northpoint colony, is swept under by the phage assault in 3332 AD and by the next year, the EDI government ruling Apollyon collapses.
The war from there is messy. The EDI remnants dig in and the Phage are not so numerous as they were on Earth. But the phage starts infecting some species of animals and gains larger forces that way. The remnant’s biotechnicians reestablish human herd-immunity in some locations, but not others due to the fracturing. The phage mutates again and the cycle continues.
In 3413 AD, the first Martian Science Foundation (MSF) probe arrives on Apollyon. Its burgeoning colony discovers the low-grade war of scrappy city-states struggling to live while also keeping an ever-pressing phage menace at bay.
Lacking the EDI-descended immunity (the phage never made it to Mars), the first MSF colony never gets off the ground. Infection and assault destroy it within a few months. The following colony ship learns of this and sets down in a remote and inaccessible region, establishing the MSF colony of Skywatch.
Learning from the mistakes of the previous colony, Skywatch establishes trade with the EDI remnant town Wake Station. The MSF trades its superior technology for help with phage immunity development methods as well as resources and mercenaries. Neither colony likes the other very much, but they get by.
The MSF colony of Skywatch, once established, begins its task of analyzing biological data and transmitting packages of information back to Mars. Little do they know that the Martian government is long gone.
More probes from Mars arrive on time and the Endor colony is established. With help from Skywatch, this colony grows quickly, much to the alarm of Wake Station. Eager to curb the growth of the technologically superior MSF colonies, Wake Station spies provoke a war between the Endor colony and the barbaric ImmortalTown.
The Endor colony eventually sues for peace but owes Immortaltown a brutal tribute as the price. This buys peace for a while. Long enough for the last MSF probe to land and create the colony of New Atlanta. Things are looking up for an MSF resurgence when the researchers at Endor discover STE ruins.
The EDI-descended city-states of Apollyon have long known about the STE’s advanced ruins. However, they have learned the hard way to leave them be. The MSF, seeing the ultimate prize their mission to Apollyon could ever achieve, cannot resist. The second MSF expedition into the STE ruins activates an ancient guardian defense system. It wipes out the research team but then it detects the latent phage virus in their DNA. This triggers the system to enact a global purge campaign. Or it tries to anyway, it’s really old.
The geriatric defense system runs amok, destroying the Endor colony and heavily damaging Skywatch and Wake Station. EDI and MSF join forces to put the system down before it can fully repair itself and active a true purge of all phage infections.
Afterward, the three factions dissolve into blame and fighting. Wake Station vows that it will never allow the MSF to tinker with STE anything ever again, and will regard such going’s on as an act of war.
Immortaltown cares less about the mess that was caused and much more about how the MSF saved them during one of the battles, at the cost of the tribute agreement. Immortaltown feels that tribute is still owed them and is sore about the whole deal. Now they raid the MSF regularly to recoup.
The survivors of the Endor colony fled south and reestablished themselves as the less glamorous Swamp Town.
The MSF cannot resist the siren call of the STE though. Especially now that they’ve determined that something has happened to Mars. The scheduled communications from Mars never arrived as they should have. The MSF theorizes that the STE had an FTL method of travel and they hungrily seek it so that they may one day find out what happened. They dream of returning to Mars covered in the glory of STE technology. Some research factions within the MSF have started worshipping the STE as technologically ascended human-made gods. This is a worrisome trend for everyone.
All three factions are uneasy about each other. Immortaltown’s role can change quickly depending on how brutal, greedy, or restrained it’s current dictator is. The brutal town tends to change leaders every few years via coup or assassination, so both the MSF and EDI Wake Station watch its internal politics with nervous eyes.
Wake Station wants stability in the region and just wishes that Immortaltown would die and that it could rule the MSF so as to stop them from constantly poking their noses into dangerous waters. Wake Station secretly believes that the MSF could put an end to the phage if they worked at it.
And then, into this barely stable mix, in the year 3613 AD, the ICA Vanguard arrives into orbit.
It’s safe to say that none of the factions on the ground will be happy to have another visitor from Earth. Particularly one with a massive ship in orbit. Wake Station’s immediate fears focus on the military strike capabilities the Vanguard might possess. It wants to destroy the Vanguard before the ICA can use it to rule with. The EDI cultures have had a growing xenophobia due to the MSF troubles in the past, this trend has accelerated with the arrive of the ICA.
Immortaltown sees the technologically inferior ICA colony as an easy target. Someone new that they might be able to get under their boot to serve them.
The MSF cares little for the ICA colony itself. Instead, they wish to gain access and control over the Vanguard. Not only do they want to know what happened to Mars, but they see it as an irreplaceable orbital research platform that would greatly expand their ability to survey Apollyon for STE structures and dormant facilities.
The ICA is in the cross-hairs of greed, suspicion, and reckless progress-at-all-costs. None of whom seem to care about making a better future for mankind on Apollyon itself.
- 2135 Mankind is in a golden age of technological advancement and life amongst the stars is viewed as the solution to our crushing over-population, as well as our food and resource scarcity problems.
- 2141 First moon base established. Named the Tetragon as the four super-powers (USA, Russian, EU, and China) funded it.
- 2151 First Mars colony established. Living on Mars sucks though.
- 2153 Automated Kepler Systems exploration project started. Picks up where the old Kepler program left off, scanning for habitable worlds.
- 2156 AKS discovers Tau Ceti e, it is named Apollyon automatically by the program.
- 2191 Nanoprobes verify that Tau Ceti e is human habitable at 0.98 Earth-similiarity.
- 2191 Apollyon is only 12LY away! The race to get to there first begins.
- 2196 Cold wars emerge as international tensions over Apollyon intensify. Proxy wars and a web of entangling global alliances mount.
- 2197 In an attempt to head off WWIII, the UN proposes the formation of the ICA. The G20 signs on to a treaty which bans all nations from running their own colonization programs.
- 2199 Political tensions contiue to rise. Space-based weapons and military forces are developed in violation of treaties.
- 2200 The ICA is given the old Tetragon Moon base as their base to make the official colony ship for mankind. Constuction on the Vanguard begins the same year.
- 2201 A military satilite is shot down during a training exercise by another country's space force.
- 2202 The first launch of an illegal colonization vessel happens. The vessel is shot down by it's neighbor's missile system before leaving the atmosphere.
- 2203 Tensions between the two nations involved escalate with troop build ups on their borders.
- 2204 War breaks out between the two nations. The global web of defense treaties and hidden accords drags all of Earth and Mars into WWIII. (Just like they did for WWI)
- 2205 Nuclear exchanges go down. Robot armies are fielded. WW3 is on
- 2207 WWIII descends into entrenched battle lines and tunnel-warfare.
- 2208 Looking for a way to break the resource-draining deadlock, someone unleashes a biological weapon which turns their enemies into hyper-violent zombie-monsters It's later named "The Phage"
- 2209 The phage spreads quickly, gains power, and sweeps through Earth. The war ends as everyone is forced to fight the phage instead.
- 2210 Mars declares itself independent of Earth and establishes an oribtal blockade to prevent any infected from reaching it's small colonies. This is despite the fact that Mars will starve without resupply from Earth.
- 2212 The phage infection catches fire on one of the moon's bases. Seeing the end of man coming, the ICA staff at the Tetragon declare their independence and cut off contact with Earth. They pour all resources into completing the Vanguard.
- 2213 The last non-ICA moon base falls. The phage come for the Tetragon. In desperation, the ICA launches the Vanguard unmanned. Due to a fuel shortage, it carries only DNA and printers.
- 2221 WW3 ends as enemies quickly become allies in the face of extermination by the phage.
- 2226 The "New Horizon" purge campaign of Earth leaves the planet a scortched wasteland. From the ashes rises a unifed world government. Run by a military council, it is called the Earth Defense Initiative (EDI).
- 2228 The EDI announces that it's Phage Containment program has managed to isolate the last of the threat.
- 2233 Seeking the prize which started everything, the EDI announces that man will once more reach for Apollyon. Colonization attempts start launching a few years later.
- 2336 Social problems and environmetal rehabilitation costs collapse the EDI empire over Earth. The planet enters what Mars' Historians later call, "The Stillness". Attempts by Mars to reestablish contact are met with automated hostility.
- 2337 Having narrowly avoided starvation in 2210, Mars is still a thing and the Martian govt declares Earth off-limits and goes it's own way. (Figuratively speaking)
- 2401 The Martian Science Foundation (MSF) sets it's sights on Apollyon.
- 2421 The MSF colonization program begins using low-cost mass driver arrays to launch unmanned colonization attempts to Apollyon. They won't arrive for 730 years though.
- 2501 The end of the The Stillness. Not much is known about what happened on Earth or what happens next.
- 2511 The end of the Martian Government and the MSF. All of known mankind belongs to the Sol-Terra Imperium now.
- Unknown The Sol-Terra Expedition (STE) sends colonization efforts to the (now legendary) Apollyon.
- Unknown STE colonization attempts land. Due to technology, they are the first to arrive on Apollyon.
- Unknown Only ruins of STE colonies remain.
- 3230 EDI Colonization attempts begin to land on Apollyon.
- 3330 A mutation in the phage virus, latent in immune EDI personnel, results in a phage outbreak on Apollyon.
- 3332 The Fall of EDI Colony: Northpoint
- 3333 The EDI government of Apollyon collapses under phage assault.
- 3413 MSF colonization attempts start arriving at Apollyon.
- The more recent history of Apollyon goes between 3413 and 3613.
- 3613 The ICA Vanguard arrives in orbit around Apollyon.