Stellaris

How future civilizations might view the past

stellaris 7 - How future civilizations might view the past
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The following is a lecture hold by a member of the curator order in a curator-order-led university open to all members of the galactic community.


Welcome to this lecture, please sit down so we can begin. There is no time to waste. My name is Professor Tor-Gol of the Curator Order and today's topic is the rise and fall of the Meduran Hegemony.

As you all should know by now, galactic history is a more or less repeating cycle of creation and destruction and our galaxy has seen many of these completed over its lifespan.

Now you might ask yourselves, what does one have to do with the other?

As it happens, the fall of the Meduran Hegemony coincides with the end of the galactic cycle prior to our own – a trait it shares with all the other spacefaring civilizations present at that time, as the galaxy was wiped clean of nearly all advanced intelligent life during the final stages of the events we are going to discuss today.

But what makes the Medurans stand out from other contemporary civilizations, you ask? It is their central role in the events at hand. But I do not want to jump ahead too far with this little introduction.

The Meduran Hegemony – I will be referring to it simply as the Hegemony from here on out – was a comparatively young empire within its own cycle. Available information regarding their society and other internal processes is sporadic at best as nearly all evidence of their existence can only be drawn from third party sources. The reasons for this will become clear over the course of this lecture. However, decades of archaeological work throughout this quadrant allows us to draw a somewhat coherent picture at this time.

The Medurans were a molluscoid species originating from an ocean world in the outer rim, a section of space known today as the Veiled Expanse. They were widely known for their practice of alien slavery, beginning with their plantoid brethren who had the questionable luck of sharing their homeworld with them. As an upstart empire among advanced and even ancient civilizations, they followed a flexible foreign policy, forming temporary alliances as necessary and going to war when the situation seemed favorable. Over the span of less than 200 years and a series of increasingly aggressive expansion phases, they had subjugated the better part of two quadrants.

By then, smaller empires began to submit without a fight, fearful of repercussions in case of resistance – it was well known how the Medurans dealt with aliens who had the audacity to stand in their way. A prime example is the well documented case of a military coalition formed to take down the Hegemony during its early expansion: while the Medurans' initial slave species had by then been altered to a nerve stapled workforce of mindless drones with the help of a collaborating empire of insectoids versed in genetic manipulation, members of the coalition species were turned into livestock without the mercy of being nerve stapled.

Though, as these reports originate solely from sources with prior Meduran occupation history and no accounts from neutral sources are available, you have to take this information with a grain of zro.

It was at the peak of the Hegemony's power when a sleeping giant chose to awake. A neighboring fallen ascendancy which had been preoccupied with itself for millennia, hardly interacting with the rest of the galaxy at all, suddenly focussed its attention on the Hegemony. Judging by all available accounts, the war was short and decisive. The subjugator had been subjugated and with them all their former subjects who now served new masters.

From what little information could be compiled, it is believed that in their later stages the Hegemony became ever more isolationistic. Mentions of psionic pursuits as well as deeply engrained revanchism taking over the Hegemony dominate the later period.

I do realize that by mentioning this, some of the attendants may feel triggered by the mention of this scientific field. Mr. Gentar, I can already see your color shifting —

"Thhhe Directorate hassshhh determined thhhat psssssioncsss are impossssssable!!!"

— , but let me assure you, these are no fake party tricks we are talking about. I know that the Directorate of Resh'Tar preaches materialistic dogma like the Numistic Order preaches the accumulation of wealth, but have you ever given it a second thought that not all science might manifest in technology you can touch with your claws? You should clear your scaly heads of this belief system, otherwise despite your undisputed intellect the Resheeti will never be able to understand the universe as a whole.

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Well, where was I? Ah yes, their psionic pursuits. The Hegemony had not forgotten their defeat, nor had they been idle. Based on our accumulated knowledge, the Medurans became one of the most potent psychic species known in recorded history, surpassed only by the Zroni themselves. When half a century later Hegemony fleets left their space headed for their overlord's seat of power, the galaxy was in shock. The war decades prior seemed to repeat itself with tables turned.

Though it was only then that the scope of the Meduran's folly became apparent to the galaxy at large. The hegemony fleet orbiting their overlord's homeworld readying to make the final strike vanished in the blink of an eye, and with them the entirety of their empire ceased to exist. Their former planets now empty veiled husks. Mr. Toros, it came to my attention that you took part in an expedition your country sent out into the Veiled Expanse a few years back. Maybe you can share a few of your impressions with your fellow students. To my knowledge, the Dawi Confederacy did some extensive studies on these veiled worlds.

"Aye, Professor! So, ye see, tos planets aren't really there, not in tha normal sense atleast. Me captain fired a few planet crackers at em. Went right through…" —

"Isssss thisssss your undersssstanding of ssssscientific sssstudies?! Why am I even assssking, you even blew up Prophetssssss Retreat."

— "Na tell me, ye beardless lizard, how else shou' we have gotten ta tha living metal when tha treehuggin' pointy ears told us we kinna set foot on tha frackin' planet?!" —

"And thisss issss why nobody can have sssssyntheticssss now…"

— "Aaaaaaanyway, tos veiled worlds seem ta be partly shifted ta another dimension. Kinna find out why though. There's a hol bunch of dem there, too."

Ahem…, thank you for your contribution, this should be enough. We cannot have the Eldari Ascendency shut down this facility… The Medurans had quite literally made a pact with the devil and it backfired right before their hour of triumph. So, as Mr. Toros correctly stated, these planets are partly shifted to another dimension. This is what happened to all planets with notable Hegemony presence on them at the time of their disappearance. This phase shifting did work in both directions though – a fact that the rest of the galaxy painfully learnt when a host of psionic energy beings flooded out of former Hegemony space. The details of what followed are trivial. We know that at the beginning of our current cycle no spacefaring civilization remained.

Now, is this truly the end of the story?

My personal research suggests it is not. The oldest spacefaring civilization of our cycle happens to be the Eldari Ascendancy, which even predates the founding of the Curator Order by far. As you all surely know, our overlords are staunch believers of the divine. Gods – or perhaps god-like beings – who supposedly uplifted them to become their apostles. To this day they are still waiting for their return.

Could it be that not all Medurans vanished into the void? That some of them remained and are still watching galactic history unfold from the shadows to this very day?

–"Professor Tor-Gol, the Curator Order prides itself with its scientific method based on facts and evidence, not wild theories and speculations based on random coincidences. Furthermore, the Curator Order as well has long since determined that psionics are impossible. As you are still of the rank of initiate to our order, I will see past your transgression to our code. May I suggest you review your research? Your scientific career appears promising and it would be shame should your overzealousness stand in its way."–

Head Curator!? I haven't noticed you before. How long have you been standing there? Why are your eyes glowing…

…I see now where I have drawn some hasty conclusions. I thank you for your kind words, Head Curator.

–"You may continue your lecture, Professor. Please do excuse me now."–

Class, please consider my last contribution the thought experiment of a very imaginative mind. It is very likely these are nothing more than mere coincidences.

And with that I will end this lecture. Please note that all this, excluding the aforementioned point, will be part of the upcoming exams. I'll see you in the next lecture, have a good day.

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