Happy tenth anniversary!

It’s been just over ten years since the game came out. I was hoping I’d already see a topic here, but I can certainly make one.

In the interest of having some sort of tribute, I wrote a few vignettes about how I think each of the factions of the galaxy would fall. I figure whatever I post won’t be seen by too many people, so hopefully the possibly-mediocre writing quality satisfies.

The Empire
The First Great Lie- that the Emperor was alive- was finally disproven by a crack team of Rebel operatives. Seizing control of Empire-wide screens for just under fifteen seconds before being gunned down, they nevertheless sowed the seeds of doubt in the citizens of the Empire for enough time to drop recruitment numbers. The Empire predictably cracked down on dissent, which handed the Rebels a crowbar to pry it apart with. After the Popular Revolt, the squabbling imperial and noble lines (twenty semi-legitimate great-for-at-least-twenty-greats descendants, and at least ten times that illegitimate or otherwise not-so-high-in-line-for-the-throne groups) tore it apart rather nicely. Cut off from future reinforcement, the (now known to be near-exclusively military bases) Upper Two-Thirds was handily squeezed dry of potential resources- in refined form and in raw form- by the still-unknown Great Enemy. Thus, the Second Great Lie was rendered irrelevant.

The Rebels
That grand enemy, the Empire, was- quite clearly- gone beyond retrieval. First to fall were the true believers- those dedicated to the outright destruction of all of the Empire. These consisted of the Rebel worlds within the former Empire and those near its former borders. Their war was done, so they quietly packed up their arms. Second were the diehard little-r rebels- quashers of injustice the galaxy over, they ran their crusades against disparate targets: most of the admirals, with their political officers and Stars Of The Revolution in hand, smashed into the Federation- though, to fit a forgotten metaphor, the windmill’s base didn’t crack too hard. The rest either wrecked themselves against the Order, or the Swarm, or the Nomads, or the Parasites, or… you get the idea- or they joined forces with those who they deemed likeminded- the Tribe, or the Outcasts, or- for a select few- the Spiderii Alliance, or- frightfully- the Parasites.

The Order
With the settling-down of the Empire and Rebels- and the debts incurred by their various power vacuums to the Federation- the richest of the rich, with their fun little assemblage of religious beliefs, turned their eyes to the Order. Exactly as pious, perhaps even admirably zealous- but heathens, heretics, pagans, whichever sounded nicer in the language the propaganda was written in. So, first- demands for conversion, if not to the one true religion at least to the worship of capital. Second, contracts with the Federation that, in their endless voids of data, contained one or two clauses about the same. Third, and last, the use of the Holy Maker- the gun that makes quite a few holes.

The Alliance
Of course the Empire had a universal hive-killer. In the long term, the strategists said, they were absolutely the most dangerous threat- impossible to kill completely, surely, and as such the faction the Empire must be most ready to eradicate. When the first dieoffs came, with no wars on for a brief period of time, the Spiderii alliance went supernova- simultaneously imploding and exploding, embroiling a near-quarter of the inhabited galaxy in war. None of the remaining groups- especially not the Continuity Hives, out there in deep space- wanted anything to do with each other.

The Parasites
The Parasites were never planning to be in the business of a forever war. The death of the Alliance brought the practice of radical biosculpting to the forefront- no more deep offense at non-native construction of semi-biological entities meant that Pacification Technicians everywhere were finally able to look for ways to get the Parasites out of everyone’s hair. And skin. And-- you get the point. The ideal method was to engineer something- and, while no details of the abomination shall be mentioned here, they did it. The Parasites are we ll into their two centuries of rest on their new world, and they seem relatively enthusiastic about staying.

The Outcasts
With the several great opening-ups in fields long repressed by major powers- biotechnology, augmentation, sociology-for-non-profit-purposes, philosophy-in-the-boring-way- they were bound to find friends soon. One of the most radical successors to the Empire, augmented and transgressive, dovetailed perfectly with the Outcasts’ interests. It was a time of healing for them- glad they found somebody.

The Swarm and the Nomads
They were both loosely federated groups going towards nowhere in particular. They both greatly enjoyed blowing alien starships apart. In retrospect, they were made for each other- all it took was a series of carefully choreographed lures set up to smack them into each other, and they went together on their merry way. They weren’t planning on staying anyway, but it helped get the stragglers out.

The Tribe
The Nomads, the Swarm, the Parasites, the Order- all those horrible warmongers were gone . The squabbles of the galaxy, big and small, had become largely irrelevant. Some of the groups had even joined with the Tribe! All the conflicts were ended, or ending. Nothing qualified as enough to mobilize a cruiser, let alone a dreadnought. The Tribe split itself into two: those who were glad that the wars were over, and those who believed they would come back at any moment. The latter, largely former Rebels quite accustomed to a state of eternal war, did quite well in setting up museums to finance their vast redoubts. .

The Federation
There just wasn’t anyone who they could justify extorting anymore. The great enemies had gone, the great allies too. This meant that the Contract Enforcement Department had become largely redundant- those who had to pay paid on time, those who didn’t had worked out their requirements earlier (whether by helping in a proxy war or by just being too dangerous to justify the expense of taking them down). The Federation didn’t pick itself apart, but even before it sundered it could no longer count itself as the be-all end-all monster economy it once was. That Great Beast of the Second Rebellion simply no longer seemed so important.

Ah, but the question is - what came next?

Well, we could get into a debate on the ethics of “is seeing a warship explode and thinking it’s pretty a bad thing?” but perhaps it should just be left as an exercise for the reader.