- 1 The Enchanted Period
- 2 The Sailing Age
- 3 Porpino Dynasties
- 4 Pact of the Righteous
- 5 Identification Era
- 6 The Nacho Wars
- 7 Current Times
The Enchanted Period
In the earliest period of the simulation, technological space travel did not exist. Legendary kings and queens ruled with majesty and terror on many planets and moons. Some of these kingdoms were able to interact through primitive and small-scale forms of travel. This was accomplished by domesticating space creatures as communication envoys, or using ancient, gasoline-powered propulsion devices to cover short distances of space. Some of these cultures even developed sub-luminal signals which they used to communicate, at times in a religious manner, with other signals on distant worlds. Telecommunications scholars believe these early communication devices became foundations for what we currently know as the Altars of Susan. Few souls ever came in contact with each other — isolated by the enormity of space. However, tall tales — some based in reality, others conjured from myth — spread throughout the galaxy.
In particular, The Comet Dad became a thematic religious icon across a handful of developed cultures millions of light years apart; a phenomenon lending some simulation historians to believe that a being of true mythic proportions may have existed. A being that could travel in space atop comets, controlling their momentum and direction.
The crude communication and travel advancements of the Enchanted Period paved the way for the Sailing Age. In the mid-800s, the fearsome Baba-Vovo-Titi-Popo tribe perfected their Oar-Based Kinetic Propulsion systems, ushering in an age of explosive exploration.
The Sailing Age
Carbon dating shows that galactic civilizations has begun reaching each other in the Sailing Age. Similar late-Enchanted Age spears, carbon steel tools, and primitive transmission machines were unearthed across star systems, indicating the birth of a space-faring era. Many navigational historians believe that the Age began with the 842 deep-space wanderings of Baba-Vovo-Titi-Popo conquerors, skilled kinetic oarsmen who traded the galaxy's first maps for wealth. With exploration came trade and innovation. Cultures changed rapidly as they exchanged metallurgical technologies that bolstered the refinement processes for alloyed-steel, titanium, and chrome – elements integral to the behemoth space-crafts of old.
One of the most prominent philosophers of the Age, Cheryl, wrote in her 981 Treatise on Stars, Which I Like, "...so that is why I wish I could fly: the being to leap from star to star shall never wane in power." The seminal work explored a critical frame of thought: harnessing solar power as a means for deep space travel. Kinetic oar technology would soon be phased out.
Crude photovoltaic panels dating back to the early 900s were being developed by a number of civilizations across the galaxy. Tech-Archaeologists mostly credit "Dirty" Jerma Fazul for inventing the first high-efficiency solar cell in 1011. The breakthrough enabled beings to fuel travel within their local star systems. According to legend, Jerma was taking a dust bath when he shouted his famous phrase, "Uh Huh!" upon realizing that a star's radiation should be absorbed in a device to prompt electron-level excitation for electric potential that, when jumping conduction bands, creates electromotive force. It was that simple.
Early space conquests were driven by two common goals: claiming mineral-laden planets for their home kingdom, and exchanging knowledge with local civilizations. Solar sailors developed navigation and space survival techniques, even sanity meditations, that endure to current times. They manned colossal ships skirted with heavy chrome sails that, with enough solar power, could rip across space and cover distances between nearby stars. Due to a lack of medical knowledge on space diseases, it is estimated that one third of all deep space travelers fell ill to common space ailments: Purple Toe, Space Madness, Hiding Syndrome, and Pun Brain. Diaries and journals of the era refer to Space Madness as "soul rot," a psycho-emotional state in which the mind fails to perceive danger.
By the 1300s, the most powerful civilizations were patrons of scientific research in the field of galactic flight tech. To some cultures, science became religion. Commoners often joked (spray-painting public ceremony buildings) about their kingdom's negligence towards domestic affairs. Historians believe the popular children's song "If Thou Were A Space Craft" originated in the late stages of the Sailing Age, when technological advancements were highest. Despite the poor conditions of many beings, a number of civilizations were on the edge of a crucial breakthrough: warp velocity.
The Moon Grabbing Games
The centuries between 1322 and 1643 are characterized as a period of cross-colonization more popularly known as the era of "The Moon Grabbing Games". Scientific advancements towards harnessing warp velocity prompted many civilizations to expand and invade neighboring star systems. Warp physicists credit Admiral Jeff-Paul Fartman for pioneering the "sling-warp" maneuver in 1378, a tactic for reaching near-warp speeds. Sling-warping requires a space-craft to speed towards a black hole, star, or large stellar body and dip into the edges of its strong gravitational pull. The vessel would build velocity from riding on the gravitational curve and then break from its pull, launching forward with boosted speeds. This primitive warp technique — though dangerous and dependent on high-precision calculations – paved the way for intergalactic colonization and diplomacy. However, the science and art of the warp-sling has been lost for more than a millenia, in part due to the strict anti-research policies during the Porpino Dynasties.
Invading civilizations traveled with small- to medium-sized forces and would often seize their adversary's moons – holding the bodies ransom and threatening to destroy them. This tactic was common later in the era as the destruction of a civilization's moons could devastate planetary environments and ways of life. Indeed, a planet that suddenly lost its moon would undergo such sudden gravitational changes that it would wobble off of its course and plunge into atmospheric turmoil as climates, seasons, and survivability would be upended. More often than not, invading armies were hard-pressed to transport the massive of amounts of explosives needed to destroy an entire moon. What resulted were diplomatic stalemates across the galaxy, where civilizations held leverage over their enemies by securing moons and then threatening planetary existence. The Battle of Dansby-8 was one of the only conflicts in which a moon was successfully obliterated. However, the larger moon chunks mostly coalesced and their gravitational pull decreased only minimally on the targeted planet.
Simulation historians estimate that by 1587 there were thousands of moon bases. These rough outposts were heavily fortified and many became foundations for the galactic embassies of current times.
The Porpinos were a powerful merchant family who were first in the galaxy to master warp travel technology in 1606. Belvedorsh Porpino aimed to monopolize intergalactic trade by having ultra-efficient cargo crafts that could bolster commerce for anyone who would pay. His aggressive funding of warp research paid off when the first modern warp engine was built in 1623, a landmark discovery that harnessed antimatter negative energy for velocity boosts many times faster than light. The father of the warp-craft, Belvedorsh, was assassinated by a rival merchant clan in 1635. An act of violence that ushered in a dynasty of unchecked Porpino power.
Debulon (Debbie) Porpino inherited the role of Porpino family head in 1636. Strong-willed and more militaristic than her father, Debbie pivoted the family enterprise from trade to blood. She assembled the greatest mercenary force in existence. Porpino soldiers were feared for their ability to seemingly appear in a star system without warning — a tactic made possible by the Porpino warp-crafts. A strategic instigator, Debbie often sparked conflicts in distant star systems through assassinations and then offered to loan her fighting force to the highest bidder. Her plan worked flawlessly. In a short time, she had amassed unprecedented fortunes that funded her goal to launch retaliatory attacks against her father's murderers. She defeated rivals with such ease and speed that she set her sights on the greatest conquest of all: the galaxy itself.
Military archaeologists have tracked her Trail of Devastation from 1642 through 1796. Out of sheer force or diplomatic arm-twisting, the Porpino Empire grew rapidly in size and number. The Mooj'in, Klopurn, Silkpants, and Ye-Va civilizations formed The Eyes of Life, an alliance of billions that formed the largest resistance against Debbie's march across the galaxy. Though the alliance stalled Porpino advancements for a decade and grew close to developing their own warp technologies, Debbie soundly defeated and executed 17 powerful Galactic Generals during the Lumpo Wars of 1788. Not long after, research in all warp-related sciences were banned in the galaxy.
Before her passing in 1798, Debbie was fighting small proxy wars on the edges of her territories. She established the planet Springhasa as the capital of the Porpino Empire and had begun propaganda campaigns to culturally assimilate the trillions of inhabitants under her reign.
Royforge (Roy) Porpino, also known as The Paranoid Porpino, was the second son of Debulon Porpino. Shortly after his mother's death in 1798, Roy ascended to the Porpino throne. Though unsubstantiated by historical evidence, legend asserts that Roy murdered his older brother, Frank the Chill and Friendly, out of a sense of fear that Frank would assassinate him to consolidate power. Many had hoped Frank would rule. The royal poet Fergus the Potch-Laden described Frank as "a thoughtful prince, bearing promises of potch and peace. May he chill with us, for sure."
Galactic civilizations suffered major scientific and economic setbacks during Roy's reign. The new Porpino emperor's first galactic order, The Important Decree, outlawed high-efficiency warp engines on all non-Porpino spacecrafts. Travelers found to be "speeding" in his territories would be banished to the noxious mines of Hegr – slow, suffocating work until death. The law severely stymied intergalactic commerce and caused many star nations to destabilize and shrink from famine and disease.
Roy established a cult of personality and formalized a galactic religion in 1819 known as RoyJoy. The theology of RoyJoy called followers to view Emperor Roy as a "star made sentient", a powerful figure of light and redemption for the dejected masses of the galaxy. "I love my disciples," the emperor remarked during his religious coronation ceremony, "if they love me." Galactic leaders, figure heads, and artists who converted to RoyJoy benefited from a sense of security. Simply put, they would not be killed. Roy's diplomatic counsel was known for its cruelty. They orchestrated a campaign of terror across the galaxy, quietly threatening those who reluctantly recognized the emperor's religious title and executing those who defied it. Many galactic scribes secretly documented the horrors of the RoyJoy campaign as form of resistance. In Rovolio Limoshay's recently found work Tome of Roymageddon IV, the scribe writes:
"When our elected council refused to convert, Porpino soldiers dumped God Balm by the ton into our lakes, rivers, and seas. Everything became infected with the hallucinogenic oil. Bread from my brother's bakery, meats from Little Morlo's butcher shop, milk from the grazing livestock. It was all tainted. I saw my father, a space suit tailor, wrestle our neighbor's mailbox and declare himself king of postage. We descended into madness, with our dear leader Roy."
Roy's paranoia worsened with age. He refused to marry and rejected all advances by prospective suitors, ultimately fearing his offspring would attempt to take the throne as he had. By 1871, his trusted circle of advisors had shrunken to include only one royal soothsayer named Wyger Muckleak — a controversial figure of the time who claimed to divine visions from God Balm. Mental health experts believe it's most likely that Roy had grown addicted to God Balm by the end of his reign, which loosened his grip on the simulation's reality.
High Commander Gareth Myumeer of the 2nd Porpino Army led a coup against Roy in late 1873. A servant's account of the coup described how no one stopped the general from walking into Springhasa, breaking into Roy's bed chamber, and wringing the Porpino emperor's neck. He had photographs of Roy's naked, hung body sent to every star nation with a simple message: "Follow Myumeer or Face Your Fate."
High Commander Gareth Myumeer refused to besmirch his military standing with an empty royal title – "a thing of tea parties." Without a bloodline claim to the Porpino Empire, other galactic generals and nobles saw an opportunity to claim portions of the empire for themselves. However, Myumeer refused to cede any power less than what Roy had. He pronounced his historic ultimatum: "Beings of this great galaxy, I offer you a choice. Pledge allegiance to me and experience the trade, growth, and prosperity you deserve. Defy my authority, and prepare to be disorganized."
The galaxy was in full upheavel by 1880. Shifting alliances, historic resentment, and opportunistic power-seekers all fueled a decades-long conflict known as The Disorganization. During this time of turmoil, warp technology was once again being researched, with warp engines fetching exorbitant prices. Many Porpino soldiers grew rich from mutinying on their vessels, executing their captain, and then selling their warp-crafts. Under the chaos of free-for-all warfare, galactic territories formed and fell each year.
By 1907, the galaxy was exhausted by its own bloodletting and yearned for peace. Bandit brigades dotted the most traveled trade routes and general lawlessness reigned. Though some civilizations experienced slight economic improvement from war-time commerce, the consensus among galactic leaders was clear: peace must be made. Permanent peace.
Pact of the Righteous
Leaders from virtually all civilization recognized the need for stability. In a galaxy where growth and advancement depended on the efficient exchange of resources and knowledge, the Porpino conquests and totalitarian policies proved to be devastating. The developing interconnectedness of the galaxy meant that star nations needed each other's resources and technology to develop. A stark realization set in: when one civilization suffers, many more are set back.
In 1909, star nation leaders gathered on an unprecedented level to hold treaty talks for lasting peace. Many were unified under a common goal to avoid the mass suffering of the past centuries. The heated debates lasted years as competing interests over territories and resources led to constant disagreements. However, by 1912 more than 80 star nations had agreed to abide by a loose set of galactic laws and alliances known as the Pact of the Righteous.
The Pact formalized the protection of major trade routes, war crime laws, territory boundaries, and conflict mitigation measures that had to be observed before any violent use of force. It was the largest treaty of its kind and the most ambitious observance of diplomacy in the simulation's history. The opportunistic Archmonk Wayhule Limpersniff and his Monks of Truce played integral roles in mediating tensions over the Pact of the Righteous. Archmonk Limpersniff authored much of the treaty language himself, and his reputation as a moral authority and dealmaker was recognized among many leaders. He leveraged his position and fame to establish the Council of the Protected and become its first Holy Mediator.
Council of the Protected
Holy Mediator Wayhule Limpersniff founded the Council of the Protected in 1914, a governing alliance of star nation ambassadors and representatives who sought to cement peace by protecting territorial boundaries and the travel between them. The Council formed the basis for what would later become the Intragalactic Government. Historians point out that Holy Mediator Limpersniff, portrayed as meek and giddy, was a shrewd politician. He occasionally manipulated Council membership by using his galactic celebrity to sway entire populations into morally pressuring their leaders to participate. The Council swelled in power and its legacy lasts to current times.
By 1937, Holy Mediator Limpersniff was the face of the Council and had consolidated more authority and influence than any leader in it. His order of pious diplomats, the Monks of Truce, had also grown astronomically, many of them following the Holy Mediator with a fanatical fervor. Seeing an opportunity to institutionalize his power, in 1939 the Holy Mediator introduced his vision for The Protected Territories – an alliance of virtuous nations bound to protect one another from all threats to their common existence and prosperity. Many nations quickly joined the alliance as an easy path to maintaining their sovereignty and avoiding economic and political disadvantage. However, as some Socio-Historiographers have alleged, the Zold Fiasco created an immense pressure for star nations to fold within The Protected Territories or face critical levels of alienation.
A group of six star nations called the Independence Federation were founded in 1978 to resist and protest the tyranny of the Council of the Protected and its Protected Territories. This counter-alliance, though weak in comparison to The Protected Territories, launched galaxy-wide propaganda campaigns to discredit the moral authority of Holy Mediator Limpersniff and expose his power-hungry motivations. Counterculture political cartoonists made it a running gag to have Holy Mediator Limpersniff depicted as a chubby galacetelope fattening itself on the riches of other planets – a portrayal that coined the phrase "fatter than a galloping Limpersniff." The Holy Mediator sensed the challenge to his governing influence and launched a religious speaking tour emphasizing the virtues of unity and the galactic community. Rather than recognize the Independence Federation as an official entity, terms like "bandits" and "raiders" were used to denigrate the authority of those beyond the Protect Territories – regions of the galaxy re-framed as "The Unprotected Territories." Entertainers and radio-stories perpetuated the image of The Unprotected Territories as lawless regions of space, economically depleted and morally depraved.
Before his natural death in 1983, Holy Mediator Limpersniff was finishing the final draft of a work that laid out the future of his galactic vision: Wisdom's Edict. The four-thousand-page book is recognized as one of the most influential works in simulation history, defining holy authority as the most necessary influence for effective governance. Era Philosopher Chillana Sagebay put it best: "The flowery book married politics and religion for the next two centuries."
Holy Bureau of Religion
Wisdom's Edict refused to name the next Holy Mediator on the grounds that the position was no longer needed. A strategic move, indeed. This concession of power made way for a greater demand – the book proposed a formal oversight committee formed by Monks of Truce that supervised the moral leadership within The Protected Territories. Star nation leaders were initially hesitant to reshape their authority to religious criticism and investigation. However, their stance changed following the Dansby Eruption of 1995, where Monks martyred themselves to win over the planet's population and incite a horrific rebellion that devastated the planet for decades.
The Dansby Eruption forced critics of religion into silence. Declaring 2000 a holy year, the Monks of Truce launched the Holy Bureau of Religion – a large bureaucracy of religious supervisors tasked with keeping moral order within The Protected Territories. High Auditors would establish embassies on planets and report back to the Holy Bureau about whether star nation leaders governed with "satisfactory virtue." The Holy Bureau would implement public penalties on leaders that defied their moral code. These penalties would be announced on radio and ranged in severity from authoring a public prayer for forgiveness to banning alcohols, potch, gambling, research, and – in rare cases – masturbation for designated periods of time.
Between 2000 and 2080, the Holy Bureau successfully isolated many planets within its domain. Era Philosopher Chillana Sagebay succinctly explains their grip on galactic governance:
[The Holy Bureau of Religion] controlled leaders by creating planet-level conflicts across the galaxy. One leader had to deal with a ban on potch, another had to explain their lack of devotion, while three others had to ration entertainment (an abstract punishment in itself). Everyone was driven by fear to comply with religious oversight. And they were trapped in economically-beneficial alliance founded on peace – explain leaving that to your people!"
Though beings and technology thrived without war and mass violence, the increasingly harsh rulings of the Holy Bureau formed widespread dissatisfaction. In fact, Tax and Finance Historians found that a number of leaders in The Protected Territories funneled propaganda funding to the Independence Federation in hopes of challenging the Holy Bureau's influence.
Anti-Bureau propaganda campaigns of 2083 successfully created a counter-culture folk hero out of a glondosus herder called Bo Dawngonj. An articulate being with a friendly chuckle, Bo had a philosophical radio show called "Waves of Existence" that featured beings finding their personal path to spiritual wellness through meditation and potch. Affectionately known as Glondosus Bo, the spiritual guru gained celebrity status quickly with the help of marketing trailblazer Chatilda Chaffith. The Holy Bureau responded by banning all Bo-related materials across The Protected Territories. But many still tuned into his radio show, which was illegally transmitted across secret airwaves by his supporters.
Glondosus Bo preached with a tenderness that drew many to his words. By 2105, he was a popular galactic celebrity known to prefer hay huts to hotels and a potch pipe to decadent drinks. A stark contrast to the self-importance of the Bureau. In 2009, the Bureau's decree "Bo No More" declared the spiritual figurehead as a threat to galactic order and under arrest. Bo immediately disappeared. At the time, many assumed the Bureau had disorganized him, or that a star nation leader was coerced into doing the same. Archaeologists cannot find evidence regarding what happened to Bo, though some historians claim that the vanishing act was a calculated, strategic move by Bo: his disappearance made the Bureau seem unarguably vicious and bolstered his fame to mythic proportions. Indeed, some believe that Glondosus Bo became The Comet Dad.
The celebrity of Bo worked to deteriorate the political faith in the Bureau over the next century. Paranoid of its fate, the Bureau grew more desperate to maintain power by issuing obscure punishments, laws, and teachings undermining its authority on virtue.
The teachings of Glondosus Bo laid the seeds to galaxy-wide existential questioning, where beings sought to understand themselves. Potch was becoming ever more popular as a spiritual aid and planetary populations felt less inclined to police the morality of their leaders. A sense of ennui set in – things were not getting worse nor better. Until a horrific event sparked an era of hyper self-assessment.
Glitch of 2259
In the galactic year 2259, all beings of the Zidrian race, originating from the Angpetu system, suddenly collapsed and yelled themselves into convulsions, comas, and death. All at the same moment, across the galaxy. In living rooms, offices, public parks, and beyond, those near any Zidrian lifeform witnessed the terrifying collapse of an entire race of sentient life. The poet Zallum Chawkins, who held his thrashing Zidrion friend, captures the trauma in the moment: “His blue eyes rolled back into his head and his hoarse screams filled the air with pain – what do I do? Why is this not apocalypse?”
Religious leaders, including the enemic Holy Bureau of Religion, failed to explain such horror and assuage beings that it would not happen to them. Star nation leaders also lacked answers, but they were unanimously motivated to support research of the tragedy. Psychological disorders skyrocketed as beings felt like they could disorganize or collapse at any moment. By 2265, major advancements in the field of biology created technology that could delve and see into the substance of a being's low-poly makeup. An innovation that shook the understanding of life itself.
Studying the Zidrion phenomena, it was Dr. Efina Uba-Dibu in 2273 who discovered that the basic unit of all lifeforms, everything that creates appearance, mental capacity, ability, and emotions, was a code – a code that resembled the foundational command-and-response frameworks of the computer systems in her day. Her studies were closely reviewed, repeated, and proven by a majority of credible scientific organizations. The verdict shocked the galaxy to its core: life was a simulation. All was coded, part of a complex program dictating perception and forming reality. And, theoretically, the Zidrions held a unique, deadly glitch in their code. It would take nearly three decades before the technology would be available to accurately define a being's code.
Notably, As science provided the answers to their very existence, star nation leaders wholesale rejected advisement from the Holy Bureau of Religion and dissolved the committee in 2280. A large amount of the galaxy's celebrity's even blamed religious leaders for blinding them to their simulated reality. Monks of Truce were driven out of their embassies and some were even disorganized by angry mobs that star nation leaders had little incentive to stop. The vacuum of moral leadership in The Protected Territories was replaced by the methodical direction of accomplished technocrats and scientists, who prioritized simulation research above all other agendas.
Who Is What Paradigm Shift
The majority of beings questioned their purpose following the simulation's discovery. Why were they simulated? Who simulated them? What is the simulation for? Are thoughts dictated by code? What is my personal code? Am I being watched? Though answers remained speculative at best, these existential conundrums sparked a golden age of philosophy.
Simulation philosophers, like Vance Bubnut, Sylv-7, and Gleetha Veeshtha, grappled with the existential meaning of living in a simulation, ultimately arguing that life, whether coded or not, is life. Their works, like Who is What and Why We Are, helped simulacrum carry-on with their lives and find purpose where they chose to. Though beings always fear the Glitch's re-emergence, virtually all governing figures agreed to create a galactic holiday called Glitch Remembrance Day as a celebration of coded life.
The hierarchical religion of the Holy Burearu of Religion, which stressed faith in unity above all, was replaced by celebrity potch gurus such as Reefis Daynap, Darsen Shwaylife, and Spliffa Eased. Potch Gurus valued the cultivation of individual spirituality, emphasizing the needs of self before the wants of others. Such a perspective quickly caught on as a coping perspective for finding personal meaning in life, whether simulated or not.
Anarchic outbursts of violence and crime across the galaxy prompted The Council of the Protected to consolidate efforts for two important measures: maintain galactic order and prevent the glitch from happening again. Star nation leaders were more invested to work together than ever, having experienced an existential threat beyond all control. The Intragalactic Government, or IGG, formed in 2302 and established a formal governing body over the galaxy. The IGG maintained that planetary laws were valid, but asserted that mandatory galactic laws must be adhered to. The first galactic laws organized an IGG standing army and warp fleet, and drew planetary taxes to fund major research initiatives for understanding the simulation's purpose.
Dr. Tzorbibi Swaz mapped the unique identification code of the first non-sentient being, a Bonsino Turtle named Xarles Chavier, in 2305. She developed an electrical readout scheme that was able to "see" inconsistencies between the internal transcriptions, or codes, of two unique beings. Her discovery reshaped views on the biological world: all simulacra have unique codes that can be isolated. Though her research failed to find a purpose for personal codes, her insights and testimony shaped the Trial of Zateef Mndaki.
Trial of Zateef Mndaki
In 2336, Zateef Mndaki was admitted to a psychiatric ward for yelling at his reflection in the office bathroom. His co-workers at the time feared it was a glitch. Zateef had no prior history of mental instability and was recently engaged to be married, which perplexed and worried psychiatric evaluators. Zateef was diagnosed with Sudden Onset Existential Anxiety – a relatively common disorder treated with anxiety medications and therapy. However, Zateef consistently whispered and spoke to "you" and told doctors he was being "used" for a warp voyage to Kazanka. No one took him seriously until he escaped the pyschiatric ward on a hijacked warp freighter.
Fearing that Zateef's personal code contained a glitch, the IGG made his capture a top priority. IGG bounty hunters could not understand how Zateef, a simulation code analyst who never owned a space craft, could fly and execute combat maneuvers with such high skill. By 2338, two years on the run, Zateef reportedly disorganized 11 IGG special forces soldiers and a number of raiders. He was deemed the most dangerous being in the simulation from 2238 until his capture in 2450, when a delivery craft driver spotted his crashed battleship on Korpath, Kazanka's only moon.
"I swear to god I was pooping for, at most, 5 minutes. Oh, after the rest stop? Yeah I spotted Zateef Mndaki on a moon!"
Armed security forces wheeled Zateef into his trial on a dolly that was specially made to restrict all body movements. Court room images reveal how remote-enabled tranquilizer injectors were placed by his legs. Zateef, with cuts on his face and a laser gash on on his scalp, offered a testimony that changed the course of simulation history:
"Since about a decade ago, what was it – 2336? I don't remember exactly when, but my body was taken from me by a, this sounds crazy – a force beyond our simulation. The night I decrypted my own code, it took my life from me. I was horrified but intrigued at the same time. A strange feeling of dizziness followed by sense of powerlessness. It could hear me when I spoke, but controlled my body and everything in it. I felt like a host to a parasite. Powerless to a mysterious... user. It could communicate by writing to me through my own hands, and I spent years arguing with my captor through pen and paper. Incredible how I wasn't driven to Space Madness. The user's control gave me extraordinary abilities to execute tasks I did not realize I could do, disorganization among them.
When you are controlled by this user, your body is not hindered by your own doubts, knowledge, and lack of confidence. Freeing in a way. But anything this user can feasibly accomplish with your body is in the realm of true possibility. Let this set in: I disorganized dozens of beings, manned elite fighting vessels, perfected laser combat, and have traveled to more planets than you can imagine. Me, Zateef Mndaki, a B-minus simulation code analyst.
I encourage you to execute me. As fast as possible. I do not understand how I was taken, but it has to do with my personal code. Hide your code. Guard it with every ounce of energy, and know it. Because I am convinced there are more users. And I am afraid we are in their simulation.
And Gabigail, I am so sorry. I have loved you through it all."
Court officials and judges reviewed the testimony and sent Zateef to Traz VI, the highest-security prison-planet in the galaxy. Zateef disorganized seven inmates on his fourth day in the prison, and was found crying in the bathroom begging for an end. Galaxy-wide, the media published his last words: "Protect your codes."
The decades that followed Zateef's execution were filled with similar psychological cases. Beings desperate for answers to their strange, out-of-body experiences sought medical and psychological help from fear of being "hacked." Some indulged spiritual healers and celebrity doctors. The media was saturated with stories about family diaries from centuries past showing how a great grandparent "lost control", or how super soldiers of great wars -- who seemed invincible on the battle field -- exhibited symptoms of paranoia and "talking to air." The scientific and medical communities fell under immense pressure to study these "user disorders" and develop treatments.
In 2,513, galactic neuro-anthropologist Dr. Jevin-Almos Zsibbs confirmed that each sentient simulacra has a unique code that programs their overall subroutines – choices, desires, affect, mutations, and overall flow of existence – a life code. Dr. Zsibbs found a universal algorithm the summarizes the entirety of one’s coded composition into a series of symbols, which shaped the identification symbols of current times. The discovery confirmed what many hoped would not be true.
Among the code was what experts called the Universal User Constant, a small but essential loop code which indicated that the simulation included a number of "users," depending on the time. The simulated artificial life was not alone in the galaxy (and had not been) -- there was “a higher being at work” whose agenda was unknown. The Intragalactic Government immediately treated this discovery as a threat to its existence, urging all galactic citizens to report any strange activity that subverted reality. The galactic governing body could not control the user, but they could, as they put it, “eliminate the symptoms of the galaxy’s virus.”
Senator Furgo Softborn introduced the Logging In Initiative of 2566, a law that mandated all beings to register their codes or "log in" to the IGG's galactic citizen database. Senator Softborn warned that the simulation's reality was at war with chaotic forces. Anyone who resisted providing their code freely, any galactic citizen that refused to support Logging In within their community, was deemed a traitor, or worse, hacked.
Early identification technology took hours to parse through an individual's code -- yet, the galaxy-wide slog had begun. Every citizen was entitled to their code, and was provided a Login Certificate upon successful code registration. Newborns were identified shortly after birth, largely by force. News stations reported stories where aggressive IGG soldiers would gun down those who resisted the logging in process. Some planets isolated beings from their families until they received their Login papers. At times, soldiers would even exhume dead beings suspected of having been hacked and sent their bodies to identification centers without notifying family. The hasty, aggressive efforts of the IGG sowed seeds of resentment. And IGG paranoia only grew as the Universal User Constant showed that Users were in the simulation at historically high rates.
A young mail room worker in the IGG offices infiltrated Senator Softburn's office and assassinated the figurehead in 2572 with a letter opener to the heart, before taking his own life and disseminating his manifesto to major media outlets. Though Logging In efforts only gained steam from the incident, the assassin's motivation for the murder, explained in Virus Manifesto, offered a viewpoint that some anti-government groups accepted as philosophy: the Users may be a force of good, liberators from the oppressive IGG. One protest group in particular from the planet Gorfank-4 protested the harsh Logging In protocols enforced at gun-point. All it took was one soldier pulling the trigger on his pulse rifle to set off a wave of of anti-IGG news and skepticism. IGG senators voiced their concerns and argued passionately for Logging In reform. An ineffectual Logging In oversight was created. Nothing improved Logging In conditions beyond that.
By 2633, small, entrepreneurial travel agencies had begun to establish themselves offering low-fare transport to the Unprotected Territories – a place beyond IGG law. A few colonies bloomed in the outer reaches of the galaxy, with their own variations of government and law. But many beings tolerated aggressive IGG monitoring seeing no other viable way of life. It wasn't until the mid-2700s that the threat of large-scale migration threatened the existence of the IGG.
The Nacho Wars
Many Simulation Historians attribute the proliferation of the Corn Chip Eternal as the catalyst to the Nacho Wars. The snack was a cheap, nonperishable food source that ultimately fueled possibilities for large-scale migration.
Corn Chip Eternal and the Great Migration
In 2714, the snack company Tasty! Tasty! (located on its own planet of the same name) unleashed a bet-the-company advertising campaign to promote its creation: Corn Chip Eternal. Tasty! Tasty! experimented with industrial sealant to create an everlasting corn-based chip – affordable, nonperishable, and savory. To say the snack was popular fails to credit its historical impact. The galaxy's poor were the largest consumers of the Corn Chip Eternal, often creating entire meals and cuisines from the snack. Saving immensely on expenses, many were suddenly jumping at the opportunity to migrate from their planetary slums to "begin a life in the stars," far beyond the rule of the political elite and wealthy.
By the early 2800s, travel services were shuttling beings on enormous cargo ships into the Unprotected Territories at rapid rates. Major population changes caused deep political and economic disruption, and the Intragalactic Government quickly took notice. They allegedly funded propaganda campaigns to depict life beyond its protection as dirty, diseased, and desolate. The government's image suffered however, especially after an intrepid reporter name Gabigail Stotchwick uncovered the Blova-4 Data. The spreadsheets revealed a shocking amount of senators desperately clinging to power by channeling money to organized crime enterprises. Particularly, the funds enabled thug brigades to travel long distances and raid, pillage, and even murder colonists in the Unprotected Territories. The discovery shocked many, prompting celebrities and activists to speak out and suggest the dissolution of the Intragalactic Government as it was. Needless to say, migration picked up full steam.
Tensions continued to build. In 2818, the galactic government formally banned the Corn Chip Eternal on the grounds of dubious health violations and forbade the invention of nonperishable forever-foods. The government order was challenged in galactic high courts by Tasty! Tasty! and a large coalition of workers unions, and protracted litigation held the ban in check. Anticipating the worst outcomes, Tasty! Tasty! expanded operations and production to the Unprotected Territories – building dozens of industrial corn chip planets beyond the laws of the galactic government.
An IGG patrol ship was monitoring colony activity in the Zomata-Ro Sector of the Unprotected Territories when it crashed into planet Jormeel's biome village in 2820. The explosion killed the pilot on impact and caused an atmospheric leak that took the lives of 491 beings, many of them school-aged children. The recovered recording device on the ship had taped the pilot saying, among prayers and last wishes, that the engine was hit by laser fire.
"...those florpin' dirt dwellers. Had to be those tribal cretins! Choy-4, sensors indicate laser damage to engine 1. It's full-blown engine failure. Do you copy Choy-4? I'm losing altitude... biome landing may be... [end transmission]."
Before investigations into the crash could conclude, a faction of warlord senators declared the tape as evidence of an attack on the Intragalactic Government. When an IGG squadron landed in Jormeel to seize village leaders, a riot formed that prompted the soldiers to fire into the crowd, killing dozens. Colonists fled and retaliated. Squadron pilots were captured, maimed, and hanged from communications towers for three days. Their ships were vandalized and torched.
Village leaders issued their own claims to media, emphasizing how no one could have feasibly shot the pilot with the civilian-grade weapons available to the colonists. "I am afraid for my life and for my loved ones," said a village elder in an interview, "as justice becomes measured in blood." Aid, munitions, and resources poured into Jormeel from neighboring star systems and the galaxy at large. The small colony on the planet had strong public backing against the sullied image of the aggressive IGG. When government forces attacked the sparsely-populated planet, Jormeel was flying their flag of defiance, which pictured a bowl of nachos. The Eternal Corn Chips – the food that fueled escape into the Unprotected Territories – symbolized freedom from government oppression, a desire of many held together by the gooey nacho cheese of self-determination.
The colony held for three weeks before government forces overtook them, killing as many as 54 percent of the living population. The bloodiest war of the simulation's history had begun.
Rise of the New Sovereignty Movement
Galactic political alignment split between government supporters and the resistors, who formed an anti-IGG coalition in 2821 called the New Sovereignty Movement, or the NSM. Nearly a quarter of galactic senators, representing star nations across the galaxy, resigned from the galactic counsel and defected to the NSM. Many could not tolerate the unchecked authoritarianism of the IGG, referencing the horrors of the Porpino Dynasty. Propaganda from the IGG accused NSM leaders of swearing allegiances to Users, ultimately betraying the beings of the simulation at large. Nacho Wars Historians estimate that nearly a quarter of all standing IGG forces defected and warped to the Tasty! Tasty! planet, which headquartered the company and its largest factories. Military leaders on both sides of the conflict identified the company and its product as the lifeblood to the galactic revolt. NSM fighters were called to defend the planet vigorously and at all costs. Orders to protect the strategic location were given by Galactic General Zyntha DeSwole, the most decorated leader within the NSM.
General DeSwole was herself an orphan from Brezgevnia who rose to ranks from her expertise in warp-guerrilla combat strategy. Before the Nacho Wars, she was the first to implement stealth-strike operations across the galaxy that quelled raider activity on major trade routes. Her military prowess provided the strategy that severely routed IGG forces at the Battle of The Vis-Pama Beltway. Cloaking three of her fleets within the Vis-Pama asteroid belt – a dangerous maneuver that could backfire with a sudden space storm – she skirmished with IGG forces and subsequently retreated her flagship fleet into the ring of the asteroid belt. IGG commanders were eager for glory and ordered troops to pursue headlong, assuming their superior numbers would secure victory. The cloaked ships emerged and attacked from the rear of pursuing IGG forces. Tens of thousands of IGG soldiers were trapped and killed, despite outnumbering NSM combatants 3 to 1. The victory allowed General DeSwole to mount counter-offensives and re-enforce Tasty! Tasty!, as well as fortify its branch factories in other star systems as crucial supply points to the NSM effort.
In 2835, General DeSwole formally announced that all star nations in the New Sovereignty Movement shall rule themselves independently, and will assist allies to achieve independence from IGG power. Weakened and still recovering, the IGG could do little but gird its forces and prepare to re-assert control. Economically and industrially, the IGG far outweighed the production power of the NSM and relied on time and a strategy of slow attrition to destroy the revolt. Under the command of General DeSwole, NSM forces held a stalemate against IGG offensives for more than 50 years. Before General DeSwole died, her final command ordered the NSM to transfer all authority to a mysterious strategist called Signaller O.
The promotion of an unknown "voice" to the highest command post in the New Sovereignty Movement initially shook the confidence of NSM officers and soldiers. All orders for major military movements derived from secured transmissions delivered by Signaller O, who already had the access codes to all top-secret communication channels. Commands were issued with little warning and any act of insubordination – made clear in one of the first orders – would be met with immediate discharge from military service. As far as sound and the "character" of the mysterious speaker, the vocals were nothing but a static, computerized voice with in-depth knowledge of every high ranking NSM leader. Somewhat confusing at first, many were not sure how to embrace this new command structure revolving around the orders of an unknown being. Some even feared it was IGG infiltration.
The voice of Signaller O proved to be invaluable. Commands focused on quick warp strikes and retreats that, taken together, were part of a larger IGG harassment strategy that sought to divide and weaken enemy planets one by one. Knowing that NSM forces would be outnumbered in open-space battle, Signaller O coordinated small skirmishes at crucial points along IGG supply lines. The IGG could not determine how the NSM was consistently able to identify and find their cargo routes, as well as warp to key locations, destroy or raid the supplies, and then warp away just as quickly. These maneuvers deprived IGG-allied planets from much-needed supplies, and NSM forces were able to force their surrender. IGG records indicate that the success of these warp strikes sparked an interior investigation into identifying a potential mole or spy within IGG ranks. By 2861, 14 IGG planets had either surrendered or became economically deprived to the point of no military production.
The IGG had finished developing Operation OMNITEL in 2873, which was the creation of a massive cargo freighter holding the largest-ever mobile communications satellite. The most sophisticated technology of the time, this satellite was equipped with more than 10,000 transponders "listening" to as many as three million different radio wavelengths at one time. Encouraging NSM activity, IGG communications officers were told to mention "critical gamma tanks" when discussing the contents of the freighter, a code word they hoped would sound alluring to enemy raiders. Two NSM scout ships that were heavily cloaked to appear as asteroids were caught communicating in the satellite's transmission-sensing radar and were immediately captured. One of the ships had failed to encrypt their flight data, leading to the raid of Signaller O's headquarters.
IGG forces raided a small communications fort located in the dense forests of planet Morsaj. What they discovered reshaped galactic perception about the Nacho Wars: Signaller O was the identity of four beings controlled by a single User. Digital records indicated a highly-complex network of communications and coordination with a simulation User. Each being was controlled at specific, designated times depending on the missions they were following. For example, one of the captured scouts was inhabited by the User for a short time so the User could gain reconnaissance information. That information was then immediately shared to another being as the User changed control among the four beings that gave it their code.
The discovery of Signaller O as a User-controlled entity drew disappointment to the NSM from the galactic public. NSM leadership felt deceived, a small number resigning from their cause to live a hermit's existence. The IGG transmitted the find to nearly all possible radios and communications devices in its control. Of the four beings controlled by the User, three died from torture. One was publicly executed. After the judge asked the last of Signaller O why they gave their codes to such a dangerous entity, the tired being stated: "the User was chasing a goal or score defined in its own world. We wanted independence and it wanted power. An alliance of convenience I would do again."
The capture and execution of Signaller O led to a decades-long waning of NSM influence and military effectiveness. The movement was led by a council of commanders that failed to pursue a common strategic vision. By 3104, A string of major NSM losses had brought the IGG to the star system with planet Tasty! Tasty!. IGG forces threatened to do something that had never been done before in galactic history: annihilate the planet entirely. A lack of unified defenses had caused NSM forces to retreat after suffering major losses to their heavy-weapons fleet. Tasty! Tasty! was more or less abandoned by NSM defenses, leaving the planet completely exposed. The IGG allowed inhabitants two days to leave the planet. Those that did not would be obliterated. Millions died as the IGG bombed all major cities, Eternal Corn Chip facilities, and continued blasting the planet with ion artillery across the course of one year. In 3105, the Tasty! Tasty! planet ruptured to its core and self-destructed, completing the IGG's promise of planetary annihilation. The IGG broadcast the horrific event, promising to never annihilate another planet again if the NSM disbanded.
The atrocity had much of the public begging for peace. However, the NSM had split into six factions, each defending Eternal Corn Ship factories and planets in the Unprotected Territories. NSM leaders vowed no surrender: "planetary annihilation cannot be forgotten and cannot be forgiven." The NSM would dwindle and continue to fight over the next two centuries. Even after the last Eternal Corn Chip factory fell in 3154, NSM guerrilla fighters remained in the Unprotected territories and planned smaller attacks within IGG territory for decades to come. The NSM factions splintered into different tribes that turned to worshiping the Users, who they believed would return to help them rise again. The various tribes formed cults and built highly-sophisticated communications portals, or "altars" as they called them, for those they believed were a User's names.
Debates over war crimes focused much of the public's attention on the horrors of the Nacho Wars. Arguments centered on what caused more bloodshed – allegiance to a User or the destruction of a planet? Though perspectives differed among beings, virtually all agreed that fighting had to end. At any cost. Neither side won among the beings, despite the IGG claiming complete victory. But a desperation for peace made many silently side with the IGG's promise for galactic stability.
In 3217, the IGG firmly declared victory by establishing the Infinity Treaty, named after the promise to create lasting peace. The highly-publicized treaty signing featured a defected NSM soldier (who some suspect was a hired actor) penning his signature on the treaty and shaking hands with IGG leaders. The gesture felt empty to many, as it failed to honor the many, many millions of lives sacrificed in the centuries-long conflict.
The treaty formally banned a series of war crimes in IGG territories and beyond:
- Users are subversive forces and must be reported and possibly eliminated
- User-worshiping cults and movements are illegal in IGG territories
- Planetary annihilation is unquestionably prohibited
- Forever-foods may not be produced, researched, or developed
First of its kind -- a lawless planet, called Anarcho, was also formally established from Article 45.7 of the Infinity Treaty. The planet serves as a place for beings to fight out any differences they may hold and play out any cathartic scenarios that are otherwise not permitted by IGG law.
Decades before the treaty was signed, various tribes were established from former NSM factions that focused on worshiping Users. These cultists built highly-sophisticated communications portals, or "altars" as they called them, for those they believed were a User's names. These altars predominantly exist in the Unprotected Territories, with a few constructed in IGG areas. Highly camouflaged and shrouded in secrecy, the altars – numbering in the hundreds – have been able to avoid IGG identification and destruction.
Famous culture writers such as Rig Chonson describe how a sense of weariness and ennui had pervaded the galaxy. Even in the face of peace, beings were troubled by the violence and tragedy they had witnessed, ultimately feeling helpless. The IGG's Census Division has noticed that migrations are once again on the uptick. More and more, galactic citizens seek to live harsh lives in the fringe frontiers in exchange for what they view as total freedom. Some are charmed into moving to destination planets for retirement or to simply start anew.
Intragalactic Orphan Crisis
With the Nacho Wars death toll in the tens of millions, the IGG government is facing a refugee orphan crisis. In a controversial move, the IGG has established thousands of orphan colonies across its sectors to feed, educate, and mold young beings into productive members of society. Highly enforced security in these colonies gives little access to journalists and documentarians, though what little holo-film exists suggests that living conditions are similar to correctional facilities. Orphans live in cells, are provided beds of concrete, and must adhere to regimented educational and work programs. Some studies extrapolate that as many as 40% of teenage orphans attempt to escape their compounds. At 17, orphans who have gone un-adopted and have developed some type of trade or technical skill in the colony are provided a warp to an industrialized planet.
The IGG is currently attempting to regulate adoption processes and standards. Major corporations are pressuring lawmakers to legalize company-sponsored adoption. Opponents of this proposal claim that companies will abuse their guardian status of orphans and use newly-adopted children and teenagers for cheap labor.
The year is 3218. The IGG is on high-alert for User activity and funds User-awareness campaigns to promote citizen reporting of suspicious activity.
Cult of Susan
In the Current Era, the tribes unified in worship over a single User – something that has never happened. This religion is currently referred to as the Cult of Susan, named after a User identified by Big Mad Tate.