08 August 2010

The Alternate Alternate Star Trek Timeline

Way back in 2008, I posted my version of Star Trek's future history. It was unsatisfying (to me, at any rate), and under the impulse of my recent reacquaintance with things Star Trek, I revisited and extensively revised my history.

As before, I make no apologies for stealing ideas that I liked from the canon and elsewhere to incorporate in my vision.

[All dates are based on the Common Era dating of Earth]

Some terms defined:
The Primary Volume: This is the name for the region of space centered around the Founding Worlds of the Federation. Vaguely defined, its primary characteristic is that most intelligent species within its ambit are descendants of the hominids seeded by the hani over a period of 2 million E-years.

Ascendant Races: The Ascendants are a group of races that have transcended a purely material existence and no longer have any or much interaction with less evolved races. The number and nature of most Ascendants is unknown but a few that continue to interact with the galaxy at large include:

• Organians: The Organians would like to have no interaction with the galaxy but the Federation and Klingon Empire made that impossible in AD 2205. However, since they stopped enforcing the Organian Treaty in 2230, they have remained aloof from others’ affairs.

• Metrons: Outside of their interference during the Federation’s first encounter with the Gorn, the Metrons have refrained from further contact.

• Thasians

• The Continuum: Most recently, the Continuum has made itself known in the entity Q but the creature Trelayne, encountered by Enterprise, may have been a member of this group.

• Bajoran Prophets

• Adonais’ race: Encountered by Enterprise under James Kirk, Apollo/Adonais was the last of his species to maintain a physical existence. Since his transcendance, no other contact has been recorded with any other member his race.

• hani: The species that seeded Earth hominids across the Primary Volume beginning c. 2mya. The Hainim maintain a tradition that the original motive was imperialistic – the hani desired to dominate the galaxy – and that eventually they were defeated by a coalition of other races in a war that nearly destroyed contemporary galactic culture.

Forerunner Races: The Forerunners are a group of mostly extinct races that never achieved Ascendance (at least as a species) but did achieve space-faring civilizations prior to the current civilizations.

• Krell: Capable of star travel, the Krell (apparently) were never colonizers, though they did explore nearby space. Their crowning achievement was the creation of a civilization without instrumentation. Unfortunately, their homeworld was destroyed by a runaway chain reaction of the planet’s energy-production systems in AD 2130.

• Tkonians: Masters of an extensive and militaristic empire (at least by tradition), the Tkonians may have been the leaders in the coalition that brought down the hani.

• Ikonians: The Ikonians (aka the qhalur) mastered an alternative method of space travel: Gates that crossed space-time. Gate-connected systems encompass an enormous volume that probably far exceeds the present boundaries of explored space. There is evidence that a future has sent a team into the Gates to shut them down as they represent a substantial danger to the fundamental space-time continuum: Three hundred thousand years ago, when someone went back in time and changed things, the resulting “timequake” devastated Ikonia and every other Gate-connected world.

• Preservers: The Preservers were an offshoot of the hani, and appear to have gone extinct relatively recently (within the last 1,000 years).

• Vegan Tyrants: The Tyrants may also have been a hani species but they may also be related to the Old Kings of Klingon history. Vanishingly little is known of them.

• Arretians: Another hani remnant species, they destroyed themselves approximately 500kya. A lost colony may have interbred with Vulcans 6,000 years ago to produce the current, metapsychic species.

• Time Planet’s race: The only working artifact to survive from this race is the Guardian of Forever.

• Slavers: The thrintun were one of the first sentient species in the Milky Way galaxy, flourishing more than a billion years ago. Knowledge of their existence derives almost exclusively from discoveries of their stasis boxes, which preserve a variety of artifacts in an atemporal field. The only other known species from this remote era is the tnuctipun, the slaves who destroyed the Slaver Empire.

• Hainim: The direct descendants of hani who didn’t transcend (for whatever reason). In the modern era, they live a materially, technologically simple lifestyle on Hain.

• Talosians: The species continues to survive on Talos (at least as late as 2205) but both they and the Federation maintain a strict quarantine of the system.

Major Races: The major races are simply the current civilizations that play an important role in the present era and include:

• Humans
• Alphacenti (Angwusnasomtaqa)
• Vulcans (Kasî)
• Andorians (Andî or An’ndarân)
• Tellarites (Maushark)
• Klingons (tlhIngan)
• Romulans (Tsenuchaya)
• Orions (Ferengi)
• Gorn
• Tholians
• Kardassi
• Lyrans (Tzenkethi)
• Hydrans
• Eridani

c. 2mya – 50kya
An unknown species (or multiple species), commonly referred to as the hani, whose homeworld is Hain, seed a large number of starsystems with hominids from Earth, including Vulcan and Romulus. This fact explains the prevalence of humanoids in the region, and the relative ease of interspecies fertility.

The seed populations are not limited to Earth. There is cross seeding, illustrated in the cases of Romulus, whose population came initially from Vulcan 70,000 years ago, and the Kalar of the Rigel Star Group, who were also transplanted from Vulcan 200,000 years ago.

c. 100kya – 12kya
Approximately 100,000 years ago, the Old Kings conquers the primitive natives of Klinzhai (despite their humanoid appearance, the original Klingons were unmodified natives to their world) and begin a series of genetic modifications that make the base Klingon genome extraordinarily “plastic,” able to fuse with most other carbon-based genomes with relative ease. This results in a wide variety of castes that fulfill various functions for the Old Kings’ civilization.

c. 25kya
The majority of hani ascend, leaving a remnant physical population behind on Hain that continues to survive into the modern era.

c. 12kya
The Klingons rise up against their masters and overthrow the Old Kings in a holocaust that destroys many worlds and reduces Klinzhai to a Stone Age level.

A colony in the Fomalhaut A system evolves into the Orions (Ferengi) from a base population of pleasure- and labor-caste Klingons.

On Klinzhai, the so-called Imperial Race emerges from a mixture of labor and soldier castes with some admixture from smaller, more specialized populations.

c. 5000 BC - 4000 BC
Vulcan’s first advanced civilizations flourish. Though they never develop warp drive, they do create an interplanetary civilization of considerable accomplishment.

Vulcan nearly perishes in a nuclear and biological cataclysm that utterly wipes out these first civilizations and leaves few survivors. The extra-Vulcan colonies are unable to survive without support from the homeworld and perish.

The Vulcans of this era were far closer to humans physically and mentally. Though they had a greater capacity for metapsychic talent, it was not dominant. Post-Cataclysm, there is evidence that the Preservers intervened in Vulcan development, producing the modern Vulcan species. The discovery of Sargon’s World (Arret) in AD 2206 corroborated this theory.

c. 3000
Romulus develops its first urban civilizations and begins a historical and cultural development that closely mirrors Earth. Technical discovery largely parallels Earth’s so that when the two races meet in the 22nd century, they are on a par.

c. AD 1
Surak appears and sets Vulcan on its path of “logical” development. It’s not an easy road to follow and Surak is long dead when Vulcan is finally united under his philosophy’s aegis.

On Earth, the three Abrahamic religions of West Asia become the dominant creeds.

c. 700 – 1700
The Vegan Tyranny dominates the Primary Volume, conquering the nascent starfaring races of Tellar (61 Cygni), Andor (Epsilon Indi) and Orion (Ferenginar - Fomalhaut A).

c. 1400
On Romulus, the first space missions begin. By 1600, Remus hosts several large colonies of various hearthworld polities.

Also, a warrior-centered religion broadly similar to the militant Shintoism of early 20th Century Japan begins to flourish. Riding a wave of religious fervor, one nation conquers the planet by 1750.

c. 1600
Klinzhai is unified under the Klingon High Council, with the occasional Emperor or Empress ascending to the throne.

c. 1700
The Vegan Tyranny is overthrown. The Tellarites, Andorians and Orions all begin to develop independent, starfaring civilizations.

c. 1800
Vulcan discovers warp-drive.

Romulus conquers Remus.

Klingons first venture into interplanetary space.

c. 1900
Klingons develop warp-drive.

c. 1950 – 1970
The Emperor Kahless leads the first expansion of the Klingon Empire into interstellar space. After him, there would always be an Emperor or an Empress.

c. 1970 – 2020
Keth the Centenarian establishes the political foundations of the Klingon Empire and ensures that it will outlast its founder’s death.

c. 2000
Vulcan explorers reach Sol and begin observations. At the same time they prevent other civilizations (notably Andor and Tellar) from interfering in Earth development.

Second Great Depression (Earth): The economic meltdown of the world economy leads to small-scale wars, terrorism, and political and social instability (including “Colonel” Green’s dictatorship, which endured from 2033-2035 over a large portion of Southeast Asia and Australia). The estimated death toll is 600+ million.

By tradition, the Second Depression ends when an obscure physicist at the University of Montana, Zefrem Cochrane, publishes his unified field theory, published 2044 as On the Foundations of Reality. (at the age of 34).

Cochrane publishes On the Foundations of Warp Dynamics, proving the theoretical possibility of FTL travel.

Exhausted by 40 years of turmoil, the surviving nations of the world reconvene the United Nations in Toronto. (Toronto was chosen as a neutral meeting ground since there was still a great deal of mistrust among the major powers of the period such as Brazil, Singapore and Tehran.)

The Toronto Conventions are adopted – the first step toward an effective world government. This document is heralded in subsequent decades as being on a par with the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the original UN Charter, the Fundamental Declaration of the Martian Colonies, etc.

Work begins on dismantling the world’s arsenals of conventional and nuclear weapons.

Taking advantage of disarmament, Cochrane convinces a consortium to back the building of a warp-drive prototype using a nuclear missile as a foundation.

c. 2055
The fundamental constitution of the current Romulan government takes shape around this time.

Cochrane launches the first warp-drive ship, Phoenix. The ship is detected by a Vulcan surveyor in-system at the time, leading to First Contact.

Subsequently, Vulcan aids Earth with medical and other humanitarian technology that allows the planet to recover from the previous century.

Vulcan introduces Earth to the Andorian Star Empire, the Tellarite Territories, the Orions and the near-human inhabitants of Alphacent.

While the Andorians and Tellarites are clearly products of a nonhuman evolution, the Alphacenti turn out to be the modern descendants of the Neanderthal, presumably transported from Earth by unknown entities. (Archeological evidence proves that the entire ecosphere of Alphacent is only about 250,000 E-years old. Before then, the planet could only be classed as M by courtesy – it was far too cold, arid and oxygen poor to support life more complex than lichens.)

Earth’s space program concentrates on developing intra-Solar industries and colonies. Permanent bases are established on Luna (2068) and Mars (2080), and a flourishing space industry develops.

SS Lewis & Clark reaches Saturn (2071) and discovers evidence of alien artifacts on many of its moons (approximately 0.25 million years old).

Xenoarcheologists discover extensive ruins at the Martian poles (2077). Like the Saturnian relics, the oldest date to about a quarter of a million years ago and the youngest are about 100,000 years old.

In this period, certain member governments of the United Nations begin secret experiments in eugenics, ostensibly to eliminate genetic disorders in the human species but with the ultimate goal of creating a race of “supermen.”

The United Nations Space Fleet (UNSF) is created. Though it is a military body, the focus of its training is on avoiding conflict.

First Earth Trading Mission to the Orion Colonies.

The United Nations Space Fleet Academy is opened in San Francisco.

The Fundamental Declaration of the Martian Colonies establishes the right of any Earth colony to self-government.

The Eugenics Wars: The “supermen” rise up against the United Nations and their own creators, seizing power in a number of territories.

The last significant military conflict fought on Earth claims 60 million lives. The greater portion of these casualties was incurred in the campaign against Khan Noonian Singh, the most powerful and capable of the “supermen,” who ruled India and Southeast Asia.

Genetic experimentation is severely limited, though research in combating genetic disorders continues and results in some remarkable advances.

Horrified that Earth may be plunging into a fourth World War, Zefrem Cochrane emigrates to Alphacent (at the age of 86). Still mentally and physically active, the esteemed Cochrane teaches at several Alphacenti research establishments for the next two years before disappearing into uncharted space aboard a prototype warp shuttle.

Khan Singh escapes the storming of his capital (Karachi) with c. 100 fellow “supermen” aboard a sublight, DY-100 class ship (Botany Bay), which escapes the UNSF’s net to disappear into interstellar space (Singh used a sublight vessel so as to avoid a detectable warp signature).

Outside of Singh’s clique, 114 “supermen” survive the war and are interred in a penal colony in Antarctica.

c. 2100
By 2100, Anglic has become the de facto lingua franca of Earth. A mix of English (its foundation), Argentine Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi, Mandarin and Cantonese (with other, lesser influences), it would be largely unintelligible to an English speaker of the early 21st Century.

Romulus develops warp-drive.

Sarek of Vulcan is born.

Loathe to execute the “supermen,” the UN finally decides to exile them to an extra-Solar colony – Sikudhani, a G5 sub-giant 78 light years from Earth which hosts a Class F, marginally habitable world. The voyage takes nearly 12 years (at warp 2), with the “supermen” in suspended animation aboard two automated ships.

Earth establishes its first (officially recognized) extra-Solar colony in the τ Ceti system (τ Ceti II Newhope).

The first era of extra-Solar expansion. Since even the most advanced ships are limited by technology to speeds of warp 3 or less, only about 20 worlds in a 40-light-year radius are colonized.

The Bellerophon expedition reaches Altair (a 200+ day voyage at Wf 3) and discovers the ruins of the Krell civilization (α Aquilae II).

Amanda Grayson is born. Scion of an influential family of noted scientists, she moves to Vulcan in 2140 to join the Science Academy there and meets Sarek.

The “supermen” reach Sikudhani and establish the colony of Prometheus (Sikudhani VI).

The Voyager A probe series is sent to map nearby space. Eight highly advanced vehicles are launched, of which all but one return within the alloted mission time. Voyager A-6 is caught in a black hole’s influence and disappears.

Sarek and Amanda Grayson marry.

Sarek and Amanda Grayson conceive the first (and as of 2300, the only) hybrid human-Vulcan, Spock.

CSV Etruscan disappears while surveying the ρ Puppis system. It’s later confirmed that this is the first contact with the Romulans.

CSV Vespa is lost in the same region as Etruscan.

DSV Digenes Akritas survives an encounter with two Romulan warbirds in the τ Gladii system. The UNSF goes on Priority One Alert and plans are made to expand its military arm.

The Romulan War begins when New Novgorod is obliterated by orbital bombardment and the Romulans open an all-out offensive against Earth and its allies. Until 2174, neither side has any capital ships so the conflict develops between single ships and small task forces. Commanders on both sides are largely on their own.

The UNSF and Romulan forces struggle indecisively over the next decade without ever meeting face to face before a treaty is arranged by subspace radio. Andor and Alphacent participate in several campaigns but Vulcan and Tellar remain neutral.

In the wake of the war, a movement begins to create a federation of some sort among Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar and Alphacent.

James Kirk is born in Iowa (Earth) (an older brother, Samuel, is born in 2168).

Richard Daystrom develops the prototype duotronic computer.

The first Achilles class cruiser comes out of the SanFran Orbital Yards. Andor, which enthusiastically participates in the war, focuses on support vessels like the enormously successful Huzrûn class missile cruiser and the Batarân class destroyer.

The Romulans don’t have the capacity to build such vessels and the tides of war rapidly turn against the empire, culminating in the Battle of Cheron in late 2175. It’s a clear victory for Earth and its allies but at a terrific price. Neither side can continue to prosecute the war.

Faced with increased pirate activity (Orions primarily but some may have been the result of Klingon activity) and pressure from the Vulcans and a growing peace faction in the Assembly, the UN sues for peace with Romulus.

UN Secretary General Abram Danton and the Romulan sayagur (Praetor) Vritloki Sarrag hammer out the Treaty of Cheron. At no point in 10+ years of war did either side come face to face, nor did the Romulans ever accept any communication attempts until the treaty negotiations. Even then, no visual communications were ever established.

From fragmentary remains, Earth knew that the Romulans were one of the many humanoid races in the Volume; and DNA showed a close relationship with Vulcans. The Vulcans managed to keep this quiet but even they didn’t realize how close the relationship was.

The Romulans pursue an intensive course of weapons development and ship design that results in the plasma torpedo, a practical cloaking device and the Hnek (warbird) class cruiser. It does not result in dilithium or transporter technology, which proves decisive when the Empire tests the Federation’s defenses in 2205.

Earth discovers the properties of dilithium, which make warp drives capable of Wf 5 (the so-called “time” barrier) and above possible. The Klingons had discovered dilithium c. 2175 but didn’t reveal ships equipped with them until after the UFP introduced the Constitution class cruisers.

The DSV Sentry engages the IKV DevajSogh to rescue a Klingon family fleeing from that empire, inaugurating Earth’s first known contact with the Klingons (unexplained disappearances of ships in the preceding decade could have been due to Klingons, and Earth merchants may have unknowingly encountered Klingon traders in the bazaars of the Orion Colonies). (This is the so-called battle of Donatu V mentioned by Spock in The Trouble with Tribbles.)

The Klingon frontier with the Primary Volume was about 6 months travel time from Earth at Wf 4 but the Klingons had been sending scouts and recon expeditions deep into what would become Federation Treaty Space for decades.

The existence of two large, aggressive interstellar polities is the final piece of the puzzle – In the First Babel Conference, the Founding Worlds (Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, Alphacent) create the United Federation of Planets (2184).

One of its first tests as a government is the rescue and aid mission to the Tarsus Colony, where 4,000 colonists had been massacred by its governor (2185).

George and Winona Kirk and family move to the Tarsus Colony. George dies in Kodos’ pogrom but Winona and her sons survive, returning to Earth.

“The Flying Fortress” Incident; Earth very nearly goes to war with Klinzhai.

With the processing power of duotronic computers, the matter transporter is successfully tested.

Over this decade, the various space fleets of the Federation’s member worlds are integrated into Starfleet.

In addition to Starfleet, the UFP creates the Civil Space Service. Not as formal an organization as the Fleet, the CSS still regulates civil shipping throughout the Federation; for example, no crewer can serve aboard a vessel without certification from the CSS. Both organizations become the “glue” that unites the myriad cultures of the new alliance.

The Axanar Peace Mission forestalls outright war between the new Federation and the Klingon Empire but incidents continue to occur between the two polities.

The UFP evacuates 10 million from Bayard’s Planet, whose system would be rendered uninhabitable from the effects of the nearby φ Puma nova. It’s another major undertaking by the newborn alliance that proves its worth.

The first Constitution class heavy cruiser, DSV Constellation, begins active duty. The Constitutions are more than simply battle cruisers, incorporating incorporate facilities for exploration and scientific research. The design turns out to be more successful than its creators could have hoped, as Constitution-based starships become the backbone of Starfleet for the next two centuries.

Kirk attends Starfleet Academy.

Spock abandons his father’s teachings and leaves the Vulcan Science Academy to join Starfleet.

Creation of the UFP Law Enforcement Agency (as the alliance was already known as “the Federation,” the agency’s acronym quickly became FLEA and its agents “fleas”).

Enterprise comes out of the L-5 shipyards of Sol; she is the first of the Constitutions whose components are built entirely from scratch and the first nonprototype to incorporate several major advances: dilithium crystals, making speeds of Wf 5+ possible; duotronic computers; phaser and photon weapons technology; and the transporter.

Starbase One – aka Fleet Headquarters – is built on Luna, Earth’s moon (by the time Kirk assumes command of Enterprise, it’s become known as Lunar Command, or less charitably, the Loonie Bin).

Robert April commands Enterprise. Spock joins the sciences department in 2193 as an ensign.

Kirk rapidly rises through the ranks to become the youngest Starship captain in history. He first serves aboard Republic but his longest service is aboard Farragut, where he becomes the protégé of its captain, Warren Garrovick.

Spock serves aboard Enterprise before resigning to pursue the kolinahr discipline on Vulcan.

Christopher Pike commands Enterprise.

The Talos Star Group is declared “off limits.”

The Back to Earth movement results in the Federation’s first existential crisis, nearly causing the break up of the newborn polity at the Second Babel Conference.

The Conference also results in the short-lived experiment of exchanging ambassadors between the Federation and Klinzhai. (The Federation’s ambassador was recalled after two years, and the Klingon’s ambassador never officially occupied the “Klingon Embassy” on Earth, he and his entourage were hosted on Deep Space Station J-7 for the embassy’s entire existence.)

Matt Decker takes command of Constellation.

James Kirk commands Enterprise for the first time.

A long-anticipated war with the Klingons ends abruptly when the Organians intervene and stop it. The Organian Treaty will govern Federation/Klingon relations for the next 25 years.

In this year too, the Federation comes into face-to-face contact with the Romulans, discovering them to be a Vulcan subspecies.

Enterprise encounters the so-called “energy barrier” near the galaxy’s rim. Initially this phenomenon is thought to be natural and extend around the galaxy but a subsequent joint UFP/First Federation scientific mission (2210-2219) discovers that it is the remnant of a vast alien construct that may have surrounded a volume of space 10,000 LYs across. Considering its properties, its purpose was most likely defensive. The mission “turned it off” in 2217 and xeno-archeological expeditions continue to study the ruins of the mechanisms to the modern day.

The Time Planet becomes the second “off limits” world, and a highly classified archeological expedition begins researching its artifacts.

The Klingons and Romulans contact each other and agree to several technology-exchange treaties over the next century. The first treaties result in the sale of several hundred D-6 class cruisers to the Romulans, and the production of the Hnek-lla class warbird, capable of Wf 6/8 and equipped with disruptors in addition to a plasma torpedo. Like the Constitution heavy cruiser in Starfleet, the Hnek becomes the basis for most Romulan ship classes for many years to come.

Multitronic computer research suffers a catastrophic setback with the M-5 debacle. Despite this, several of Richard Daystrom’s colleagues persevere in making a workable multitronic circuit, succeeding in 2211. Because of their breakthroughs, both the Genesis project and transwarp drives are made possible.

Enterprise undergoes extensive refits, making it the class ship of a fourth generation of heavy cruisers.

The first great expansion of the Romulan Star Empire brings it into volumes opposite to the Federation. They encounter the Gorn sometime between 2215-2220 and engage in several short but intensive wars with them.

The V’Ger probe (the reconstituted Voyager A-6) returns to Earth.

The M-6 multitronic computer is perfected, making possible the breaking of the “transwarp” barrier (speeds that approach the theoretical limit of Wf 10).

Starfleet commissions the building of the Excelsior class of transwarp heavy cruisers.

Spock commands Enterprise; though under him its duties are primarily confined to training and scientific research. Kirk becomes Chief of Training Operations. Uhura and Scott remain aboard as XO and Chief Engineer, respectively. Chekov transfers to Reliant as XO; and Sulu gets in line to command one of the Excelsior class ships coming on line.

The Genesis Incident precipitates the second great crisis in the Federation’s existence and a precipitous deterioration in UFP/Klingon relations, though the Organian Treaty continues to preclude armed combat. (As Carol Marcus was the only surviving Genesis team-member to survive the debacle, the Federation Council has little difficulty suppressing the theory and technology to create the Genesis Effect, and it appears that no other polity has had the temerity to pursue it in the century since.)

The Incident also induces the Star Empire to open formal relations with the Federation. By 2216, there’s a Romulan ambassador on Earth and a Federation ambassador opens an embassy on Remus (the Romulans refuse to allow aliens on the hearthworld).

Despite technical difficulties, the fifth generation of heavy cruiser-class vessels incorporating transwarp technology enters regular service. (Transwarp drive is based on a better utilization of warp-field generation, making speeds closer to the theoretical maximum of Wf 10 possible.)

By 2215, all of the Constitutions had been refitted to Enterprise class standards. They would remain in production through 2218, the last being decommissioned in 2230.

An extragalactic probe wreaks havoc on Earth’s ecosystem in an effort to re-establish contact with the extinct species of humpback whale. Representatives of the species rescued from the 20th century and brought forward in time satisfy the probe so that it ceases its assault on Earth. Naturally, research into utterly nonhuman intelligences receives a tremendous boost.

The probe refuses any contact with Federation representatives but its departure trajectory sends it toward the Magellanic Clouds.

Kirk commands Enterprise on its final five-year mission before he and the ship retire from active service. Kirk is promoted to Fleet Captain, Reserve, and Enterprise becomes a Museum Ship at the Memory Prime Complex at α Centauri.

A catastrophic subspace implosion destroys a Klingon operations complex in their home system and threatens Klinzhai with destruction (its effects were felt clear to the Klingon/UFP frontier). A promising beginning of talks between the Federation and the Empire ultimately results in nothing. The Klingons balk at potentially becoming dependents of the “Earthers.” Even today the Klingons do not discuss the measures taken to save their homeworld but by 2250 Klinzhai had apparently fully recovered.

DSV Excalibur (under Aunas Sirjari) reestablishes contact with the “supermen’s” colony on Prometheus. The Prometheans have managed to survive the overweening ambitions of its first generation of “supermen” by re-engineering the brains of second and subsequent generations to produce proteins that ameliorate aggressive expressions – the Prometheans retain the basic drives of unmodified humans. Since this expresses itself (partially) in pheromones, even first-generation “supermen” find themselves acting less aggressively. This effect is found to affect unmodified humans as well.

Prometheus becomes the third world to be declared “off limits.”

Jean-Luc Picard is born in France (Earth).

Apparently satisfied that the Federation and the Klingon Empire have advanced sufficiently to preclude another full-scale war, the Organians inform the respective capitals that they will no longer enforce the Treaty outside of the Organian system.

Tensions rapidly escalate between the UFP and the Klingon Empire but a “hot” war is avoided. The Federation, though it has a “war party,” cannot afford war with the Klingons as it is juggling a host of negotiations with other potentially hostile polities such as the Gorn and the Tholians. The Klingons, in turn, are attempting to deal with their own diplomatic problems, having encountered two highly advanced, highly aggressive polities on their borders opposite the Federation (codenamed “Lyra” and “Hydra” by the Federation).

James Kirk dies alone saving Enterprise-B from destruction.

At the Federation’s 50th year, the outlook of most member worlds is good. Despite an almost continual state of crisis with the Klingons, other diplomatic fronts look promising (or at least “not threatening”) – the Gorn, while not overly friendly, eagerly accept trade with the Federation and exhibit no great desire for conflict; the Tholians want nothing more than to be left alone, something the Federation is happy to oblige; relations with other star-faring races are good; and the Romulans demonstrate little interest in testing Starfleet’s defenses.

The first Ambassador class heavy cruiser is commissioned. These vessels gradually supersede the Excelsior class as Starfleet’s flagships.

The Ersatz War: Matters come to a head between the Federation and the Klingons but neither can declare a real war because of economic and political factors. What results is a series of single-ship and small fleet “incidents” that cause tremendous loss of life but resolve nothing.

Starting in 2243, a remarkable conference of UFP and Empire diplomats hammers out the Khitomer Accords, which not only bring hostilities to an end but (to the surprise of everyone) actually calls for a limited alliance and the beginning of normal relations.

The Romulan Empire unilaterally pulls out of its treaties with the Klingons, and recall their ambassador to the Federation. They close off the Treaty Ports and seal their borders with the UFP and the Klingons for the next 40 years.

From 2245 to the end of the century, the Romulans and Klingons carry on an enthusiastic “war” of privateers and raids. Most encounters involve fewer than 5 vessels on either side but there are several major engagements (including the infamous Khitomer Massacre and the Tomed Incident).

The Khitomer Massacre: A Romulan task force destroys the colony via orbital bombardment.

Romulans destroy Enterprise-C (an Ambassador class cruiser) when it responds to a distress call from the Klingon colony at Narendra III (narghrIn’a wej).

The Federation’s centennial is inaugurated with the introduction of the first Galaxy class heavy cruiser – the latest generation of the heavy cruiser class, incorporating the advances of the previous century, and continuing the tradition of peaceful exploration and expansion. At this time, the Federation comprises nearly 500 full status member worlds (“world” here describing not only planets but also artificial habitats) in 320+ systems; it also maintains associate status with a further thousand.

The Klingon Empire at this time is thought to comprise 300+ worlds plus the same number of splinter states and client worlds. The alliance with the Federation still governs relations between Klinzhai and Earth. Economic interdependence has become so great that there is little sentiment for hostilities on either side, though uncontrolled contact between the two polities is still infrequent.

The Romulans are thought to control approximately 150 worlds (many artificial constructs, considering the paucity of Class M worlds in that region). The Federation is aware that the Romulans and Gorn have clashed repeatedly but the Gorn are reticent and the Romulans mute about the subject. The Federation is also aware that the Romulans have encountered a third polity, codenamed “Eridani,” which has dominated their attention since soon after the Treaty Ports were closed (this information is based on third-hand accounts gleaned from the Klingons and the Orions).

The Orions remain independent. Orion was formerly a slave world of a Vegan Tyrant. When those enigmatic beings were overthrown c. 1700, Orion exploited the advanced technology left behind and became a trading entrepot for the surviving races of the region; a position they continue to hold. Some Orion “families” also became notorious as pirates and smugglers, willing to carry any cargo to any destination for the right price. The Federation strictly regulates trade between member worlds and an Orion Colony (statistically, the plurality of military incidents with Starfleet vessels involves Orion privateers).

The Gorn and Federation have opened a handful of Treaty Ports but contact between the polities is strictly controlled and very limited. The Federation believes that the Gorn occupy 100-120 worlds.

The Tholians continue to refuse contact with any other race. Since its first encounter with the Federation, the Tholian Assembly has become less preemptive in protecting its space, usually warning ships that they have strayed before escalating the confrontation.

Direct contact with the “Lyrans” and “Hydrans” has still not been established. It is believed that the Lyrans are felinoid in appearance and are at least as technologically capable as the Federation and the Empire. The Hydrans are believed to be one of the few known methane-breathing species.

The newest star-faring polity in the region is the Kardassi Union, which first encountered the Klingons some time after the Ersatz War. The Kardassi are a relatively young species; they only acquired dilithium technology after meeting the Klingons. They are also a highly aggressive species, routinely attacking both Klingon and Federation colonies and ships they believe are trespassing in their space. As in the Ersatz War, tensions are high on both sides and “incidents” are frequent.

Jean-Luc Picard commands Enterprise-D.

The Sovereign class heavy cruiser is commissioned.

Deneb (α Cygni) joins the Federation. At c. 1400 LYs from Earth, it is the most remote UFP member; even at Wf 10 it takes 10 months to reach it.

Enterprise-D is destroyed preventing the use of a nova-inducing device by terrorists.

The Sovereign class Enterprise-E is commissioned and given to Picard to command.

Enterprise-E is instrumental in preventing another terrorist group from going back in time and preventing Zefrem Cochrane from making First Contact with the Vulcans.

The Dominion War: An alliance between the Kardassi, the Tzenkethi and the Hydrans launches a war against the Klingons. Initially, the Klingons do not invoke the treaty with the Federation and attempt to deal with the problem on their own. After several near-crippling defeats, however, they swallow their pride and ask for assistance. The Federation attempts to remain neutral but eventually lives up to its treaty obligations and supports Klinzhai in several crucial engagements that break the alliance’s back.

The war ends with 400 million Klingon deaths, 800 million Kardassi dead, and a near equal number of Tzenkethi (Hydran casualties are unknown but at least three gas giants were utterly sterilized with the loss of all life). No Federation world suffered a direct attack but Starfleet casualties numbered more than 60,000, making it the bloodiest single conflict in its history, and the bloodiest conflict involving humans since the Earth-Romulan War 120 years earlier.

Romulus enters into a disastrous war with the Eridani. In 2300, Suorun hai Vriyag, a Romulan fleet commander, seizes power in a bloody purge of the ke’eretl (Senate) and the varannu tsa (Fleet High Command).

Normal diplomatic relations are resumed between the Star Empire and the Federation.

Some Notes:
The leaders of the revolt against the Old Kings were a scientist caste whose brains were augmented similarly to the human “supermen” of the Eugenics Wars and a caste of metapsychics whose powers (according to legend) rivalled those of Vulcans. The far more numerous (and paranoid) Imperial Race exterminated both these castes within a millennium of the revolt and little of their genetic legacy remains.

The Preservers (or Arretians) were the penultimate of the Forerunner races (the Vegan Tyrants were the last). They flourished in regions that are now dominated by the Federation and the Klingons up to 5,000 years ago. Contact with Sargon, Thalassa and Henoch was too brief to establish the nature of Preserver civilization except that the primary culture destroyed itself in a war a half-million years ago. It’s theorized that a remnant population may have interbred with archaic Vulcans after the Cataclysm, though their origins remain a mystery.

“Logical” is put in quotes because it is an inadequate translation of what Surak’s philosophy attempts to describe, which is the wholly integrated reality of the universe as perceived by the conscious mind. Even most Vulcans have only a limited knowledge of or experience with Surak’s disciplines.

The last meeting of the UN had occurred in 2027, and ended when mobs stormed its New York headquarters and massacred the diplomats in attendance.

Vulcan (T’Kthušai – 40 Eridani, 16.5 LY), Alphacent (Polikaptiwa – α Centauri, 4.3 LY), Tellar (Mauhúl – 61 Cygni, 11 LY), Andor (Andar – Epsilon Indi, 11 LY), Orion (Ferenginar – Fomalhaut A, 22 LY).

τ Ceti IV n’Kafri is home to an insectoid races known as the Kafer.

An unexplained catastrophe destroyed the expedition a year into the survey of the planet. Its cause was only discovered 18 years later when the UNSF scout Denmark rescued the ship’s only survivor, a child of two of the expedition’s scientists. Subsequently, α Aquilae II was destroyed by a runaway chain reaction of the Krell’s energy-production systems.

Sarek and Amanda’s union remains unique in the history of humans and Vulcans. While intimate relationships between human and Vulcan have and continue to occur none have resulted in such a long-term union or the production of off-spring.

The Treaty of Cheron set up the infamous Romulan Neutral Zone. It’s not a border so much as a zone of space monitored by both sides. Centered on Cheron, it is 100 LYs across and 2 LYs wide. Any starsystem that falls within this zone is off limits to Earth vessels (and later Federation vessels) or the Star Empire’s. With the exception of Cheron, there are no Class M worlds charted in the RNZ and few systems contested in the war fell within the zone. Its primary purpose, once the monitoring stations were set up, was as a buffer between the UFP and the Empire, making it extraordinarily difficult for either side to interact (theoretically, Federation or Romulan ships could have spent six months going around the zone to infiltrate the other side).

The breaking of the “time” barrier in 2184 reduced the effectiveness of the zone but the Federation chose to honor the treaty, and the Romulans only gained dilithium technology when they made contact with the Klingons in 2206.

The “Lyrans” are ancient foes of the Klingons, possibly encountered as far back as their earliest forays into space. According to Orion sources, the Lyrans call themselves Tzenkethi. They are a felinoid race but beyond a reputation for extreme ferocity and violence, nothing else is known of them and no encounters have occurred between a Federation ship and a Tzenkethi.

The “Hydrans” were encountered sometime before 2230 in systems the Klingons were mining for He3. They are a methane-breathing species that lives in the atmospheres of gas giants. As with the Lyrans/Tzenkethi, the Federation’s knowledge of this race comes mainly from Orion sources; it’s sketchy and unreliable.

There are two Denebs in Federation parlance – Deneb Kaitos, which lies 96 LYs from Earth, is home to an elephantine species that joined the UFP in the early 2200s. Deneb Prime is home to the humanoid Bandi.

06 August 2010

Hiroshima Day 2010

For the interested my thoughts anent Hiroshima can be found on my post from August 2009. I think it's a good thing that, for the first time, we're sending a relatively high ranking representative - the U.S. ambassador to Japan - to the commemorative ceremony but I feel there's still a long way to go before we own up to the consequences of our choice to drop the A-bomb in the first place.

Actually, this year's anniversary brings to mind the recent revelations from WikiLeaks concerning the failing occupation in Afghanistan and the continued existence of the same moral blinkers that made Hiroshima possible. Tom Engelhardt's latest TomDispatch asks the question about just whose hands are bloody - hypothetically Mr. Assange's or the architects of the Afghan War's whose casualties are all too real. The following are all examples of the real blood on the real hands of the real war criminals in this affair:

  • July 2008 - An American plane or planes "take out" an Afghan bridal party -- 70 to 90 strong and made up mostly of women -- on a road near the Pakistani border.
  • August 2008 - A memorial service for a tribal leader in the village of Azizabad in Afghanistan’s Herat Province is hit by repeated U.S. air strikes that kill at least 90 civilians, including perhaps 15 women and up to 60 children.
  • April 2009 - Members of the family of Awal Khan, an Afghan army artillery commander on duty elsewhere, are killed in a U.S.-led raid in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan. Among them are his "schoolteacher wife, a 17-year-old daughter named Nadia, a 15-year-old son, Aimal, and his brother, employed by a government department.” Another daughter is wounded and the pregnant wife of Khan's cousin is shot five times in the abdomen.
  • November 2009 - Two relatives of Majidullah Qarar, the spokesman for the Minister of Agriculture, are shot down in cold blood in Ghazni City in a Special Operations night raid.
  • February 2010 - U.S. Special Forces troops in helicopters strike a convoy of mini-buses, killing up to 27 civilians, including women and children.
  • February 2010 - In a special operations night raid, two pregnant women and a teenage girl, as well as a police officer and his brother, are shot to death in their home.
  • July 2010 - Residents of a small town in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan claim that a NATO missile attack killed 52 civilians.
I am reminded of something I just read in Peter Heather's Empires and Barbarians: As a result of Roman diplomatic and military policy along its frontiers (which included, among other things, periodic incursions to install "good" leaders/depose "bad" and destroy the means of production), the empire sowed the seeds of its own destruction by fostering the growth of anti-Roman, organized polities.

Except for the actors, what's really changed in 2,000 years?

01 August 2010

Semiannual Book Review (Jan-Jun 2010)

It's a month late but here's my picks from the first six months of my 2010 readings:

On the fictional front, I made two spectacular discoveries this year: Sylvia Townsend Warner and T.F. Powys.

A couple of years ago, I read Warner's The Kingdoms of Elfin, a collection of short stories set in various fairy realms. I enjoyed the book but was unaware that she had written anything else. Come an issue of The Nation and there's a review of a reissue of her novel Summer Will Show that sounded so interesting, I had to follow up. As it turned out, the first book I read was Lolly Willowes: Or the Loving Huntsman. It was brilliant! Over the course of the next few months, I devoured Mr. Fortune's Maggot, The Salutation and the novel that started it all, Summer Will Show. On the to-read shelf remain The Corner That Held Them, The Music at Long Verney, T.H. White: A Biography, Warner: Selected Stories and The Barnards of Loseby (aka The Flint Anchor).

In the course of reading Warner, I came across the observation that she admired the author Theodore Powys so I decided to track down his stuff and was amply rewarded with The White Paternoster and Other Stories and Father Adam. Still to read is the short-story collection Mock's Curse. I'd like to get copies of Unclay and Mr. Weston's Good Wine. Unfortunately, Powys' work has long been out-of-print and it's difficult to find reasonably priced editions.

I can't explain better on why to read both these authors than to quote from John Gray's essay on Powys in The New Statesman:

"In their different ways, all three Powys brothers deserve retrieving for a
wider readership, but none more so than Theodore. He is by far the best writer
among them, and the most original. The greatest value of his work, though, is in
showing that it is still possible to write about the primordial human
experiences to which religion is a response. Secular writers tend to steer clear
of them, and end up stuck in the shallows of politics or fashion. On the other
hand, Christian writers are mostly precious and unpersuasive, like T.S. Eliot,
or else more or less openly fraudulent, like Graham Greene. Very few
20th-century authors have the knack of writing convincingly of first and last
things. A religious writer without any vestige of belief, Theodore Powys is one
of them."

Other fiction works of note this first half of the year include:

Anchorwick, Geoffrey Barlough
The Napoleon of Notting Hill, G.K. Chesterton
Blindsight, Peter Watts
The Red Tree, Caitlin Kiernan
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
Run, Man, Run, Chester Himes
Lorna Doone, R. Blackmore

I've made comments on all of these at my GoodReads site.

Before moving on to the nonfiction side, I should mention that there were a few months when I went on a Star Trek novel reading jag, prompted by my purchase of a model of the rebooted Enterprise, chronicled in my April post. It turned out to have some profit: I discovered a very good author, David Mack (Sorrows of Empire, Vanguard: Harbinger, Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind and Vanguard: Precipice, again all of these have some commentary at my GR site).

In nonfiction, I found myself preoccupied with a loosely themed course of religion-based readings. I began last Christmas with an audio CD of Karen Armstrong's Buddha; in January, I moved on to Wendy Doniger's The Hindus. From there I moved on to:

Augustine, Gary Wills (audio CD)
Christianity and Chinese Religions, Hans Kung/Julia Ching
Lost in the Sacred, Dan Diner
God's Battalions, Rodney Stark
A People's History of Christianity, Diana Butler Bass
The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes
Becoming Enlightened, The Dalai Lama
Sarah the Priestess, Savina Teubal
The Woman Who Named God, Charlotte Gordon
Jesus, Interrupted, Bart Ehrmann
The Evolution of God, Robert Wright

Most have commentary at my GR site. The most "mind blowing" was Jaynes' The Origins of Consciousness, which argues that human beings didn't develop a modern consciousness until the 2nd millennium BC. Before then, we were essentially schizophrenics, listening to voices in our heads and interpreting them as gods (or God).

Another interesting and controversial book was Diner's Lost in the Sacred. The author argues that Islam suffers from a lack of secularization.

The Evolution of God was preaching to the choir when it covered the development of the notion of "divinity" over time but Wright lost me when he attempted to argue that our ideas have progressed toward an ever more benevolent and universal deity. He comes across as an agnostic desperately trying to find a reason to believe. That said, it's still a book worth reading.

My position on religion (atheism) didn't change - in fact, it was strengthened by my reading - but I did learn a great deal and enjoyed the experience.

Other nonfiction of note:

The Balkans, Mark Mazower (audio CD)
From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll
The 10,000 Year Explosion, Gregory Cochran
The Humans Who Went Extinct, Clive Finlayson
Mind of the Raven, Bernd Heinrich
A Journey to the End of the Russian Empire, Anton Chekhov
Out of Our Heads, Alva Noe

One of the more interesting books was The 10,000 Year Explosion. The authors make the nonstartling (to me) assertions that evolution has continued to affect humans up to the modern day and raise all sorts of interesting examples to illustrate this but wind up relying too heavily on the biological basis for human cultures.

Well, it's the beginning of August and I've already got 9+ books under my belt for the second half of the year and many more interesting ones on the To-Read shelf so the year-end review should have some further interesting reading to talk about.