Hello, my name is Charles Edward Hurst.  Many have asked me to write a history of our world.  Considering what I study, I chose to answer the calls.  This is the forward to the book, with much more depth to be found in its pages.  I know that beginning a book of our civilization well before any civilization we know existed may seem odd, but considering the claims of the Shang, I think it best we start as early as possible.  The more we know, the harder it will be for others to exploit us.



The Book of Civilizations



Where did we come from?  Why are we here now?  Some people say we evolved out of random chance and there is no reason we’re here beyond random chance.  Some people say we were created by a higher power to follow some higher purpose.  I don’t know.  All I know is that we are here and I plan to do something with that fact.

We know that we were nomadic in the beginning, but some studies suggest that we also settled down in villages from the very beginning as well.  Unfortunately, we don’t have much hard evidence of anything that long ago.  There was an ice age that makes finding out what happened difficult.  Did we have great civilizations with great cities on the coasts as some claim?  Or were we cavemen huddling against the cold and scrawling on walls as others say?  We don’t know.

We don’t even really know when the ice age ended.  Some say it ended 15,000 years ago, while others say 10,000 years ago.  What we do know is that when it happened, the sea levels rose at least twenty meters in as little as two centuries, and any coastal civilization we had literally fell beneath the waves.  This is probably where the stories of Atlantis falling beneath the waves and the Great Flood come from.  Perhaps one day a true scientific study of the outer shelf can be made to see what truth those stories are based on.

We know that humanity after the ice age was nomadic, rarely settling in one place at a time for long.  We ran from the rising waters on the coasts and many of us settled far away from the oceans.  Civilizations rose up in the Andes Mountains of America, the northern mountains of India, and the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia east of the Mediterranean Sea.  Other great powers of the ancient world rose up as well, Egypt and China being examples.  There are others of course, but this is a basic idea of where human civilization rose after the ice age.

As the ancient world faded, new civilizations arose in Carthage, Greece, and Arabia, and many others disappeared.  Greece took the first steps towards founding what we consider Western Civilization, and created enmities that still exist to this day, when they conquered Egypt, Arabia, Persia, and even parts of India.  Then Rome stepped up and conquered the known world around the Mediterranean Sea.  Only the Persians were able to stand against the Roman juggernaut.

Rome itself bowed to the rising Christendom after centuries of suppressing it.  And then Islam rose to capture Rome’s eastern and southern provinces, and conquered Persia with a lightning campaign.  Europe became the bastion of Christendom, while Islam took over everything from the west coast of Africa to India.  They suppressed any local culture they found in favor of the glory of Islam and became one of the world’s greatest empires.  After centuries of reeling from the fall of Rome and Islamic invasions, the nations of Europe rose up again and colonized America, destroying the last of America’s ancient cultures.  It is regrettable that the actions of both Christendom and Islam in those centuries of war made studying our early days as a race much harder.

Russia and America rose up as new civilizations and gained enough power to influence the rest of the world.  Then the World Wars of the twentieth century destroyed the Ottoman Empire, and forced the Islamic world to live under Christian governors who often did not respect their beliefs for decades.  By the time they were granted independence, they had a host of new reasons to hate the world at large, and the Western World in particular.  At the same time, the last of a long line of Chinese Emperors fell, and shortly thereafter China rose again as the Communistic empire it is now.

We went to space, landed on the Moon, and sent probes to Mars, Venus, and everywhere else in the system.  It was an amazing time to be human in those days, a hopeful time, a time when all we saw was us getting better and going higher.  It was a time of unbridled worldwide optimism.

The Islamic Jihad brought everything to an end.  Suicide attacks, religious riots, drive-by shootings, and piracy on the open seas became their standard tactics.  They weren’t actually responsible for the Second Great Depression, even if they did trigger it.  The massive international debt and loan systems that caused it were already in place, and would have resulted in a depression of some kind no matter what.  The Jihad simply stressed an already fragile system of international trade.

With the Second Great Depression, America and the European nations couldn’t afford their foreign bases and brought their troops home.  Foreign aid programs ended and over a hundred small nations who depended on them to survive collapsed.  Into that chaos, the Islamic movements began full-scale military campaigns against non-Islamics from Africa to India and killed tens of millions of people.  Africa, Israel, and India struck back.  Everybody did actually, in their own corners of territory, but those campaigns against the Islamics were the bloodiest and most visible, and resulted in the general destruction of Islamic power in the world.

Russia and China began to flex their muscles as well, annexing their neighbors and using those resources to strengthen their positions.  America and Europe responded by forming the Western Alliance and those three powers clawed themselves out of the Second Great Depression.  Trade between the three great powers became non-existent as patriotic fervor required that people buy from their friends, not their enemies, and the Big Three rebuilt abandoned factories and began to stand tall again.  In time we even returned to space.  We colonized the Moon and Mars, and placed outposts on many other planets and moons in the system.

The year 2105 was when everything changed.  The Chinese made their first jump into hyperspace and proved that we could go to the stars, not just the other planets.  We setup a crash program and followed them three years later, and the Great Space Race began.  The Big Three went first, followed by Africa and numerous smaller nations and larger corporations.  We colonized Alpha Centauri and Epsilon Indi, and then continued out into the other systems surrounding us.  We studied The Wall of interstellar dust completely surrounding Earth approximately 150 lightyears away and found out we couldn’t break through.  We spent the next half-century trying to find our way through and finally did in 2205.

And in 2205, everything changed again.  The Peloran made Contact with the British.  It was the first time we knew that humanity was not alone in the universe.  The larger surprise was that they were just as human as we were.  Whenever we asked why, they just told us to keep looking for the answers to that.  While they didn’t bring answers, they did bring medical Treatments that cured almost every disease, allowed us to live hundreds of years in good health, and in some very rare circumstances (approximately one in a million) actually froze our aging altogether.  I am one of those Ageless.  They also helped us build hyperdrives that could pass through The Wall in safety and the galaxy was ours.

The Roderan and Shang made Contact soon after the Peloran, and we found them to be just as human as the rest of us.  The Shang claimed it was because they were our gods and created us in their image and had returned to rule over us with their great wisdom now that we were worthy of their presence.  The Peloran just smiled and told us that the Shang were not entirely trustworthy, though the Chinese seemed to fall for it, hook, line, and sinker.  The Roderan don’t talk much, at least not to us in the Western Alliance.  Even with the Russians though, they work with closed lips most of the time.

Shortly after Contact, a Russian ship fired on an American ship over a disputed colony.  That started a far more aggressive and dangerous space race between the Big Three, with fighting over colony worlds becoming far more common.  We signed several treaties promising not to engage in combat over most of our major worlds, including Earth, as we didn’t want to wipe out our major industrial bases.  That kept full war from developing, but relations in the colony regions never got better than tense.

By 2304, we had at least some form of base or colony on most of the habitable worlds inside what we now call the Terran Bubble, the clear space inside The Wall.  We also had numerous colonies outside The Wall, and had explored most star systems within 300 lightyears of Earth.  By any definition of the other races, who traveled thousands of lightyears to Contact us, we were still just a regional power at best, and the fact that we were actively fighting each other over most of that region didn’t help us.  We looked weak as a power.

That was when the Shang hit Yosemite Yards in low geosynchronous orbit over California.  The massive space station broke apart and pieces of it came down to crash all over the America West, from the Pacific to the Mississippi River.  They also targeted Washington D.C. during the State of the Union and wiped out the vast majority of the American government.

We don’t know why the Shang attacked us.  Lucky for us, the Peloran stand with us, as they promised they would.  Unfortunately, the Chinese have made it clear that they stand with the Shang.  At this time, the Russians and the Roderan have remained neutral, seemingly happy to watch us fight each other.  I don’t know if I should hope they remain that way, or pick a side.  They could after all pick the wrong side.  Whatever the future holds there, we are at War now, and we can only pray that we prove victorious, while making plans to ensure that result.