Monday, February 10, 2020

Third Imperium - First Imperium: The Vilani Empire

First Imperium: The Vilani Empire

In approximately -9200 Imperial, or 4800 B.C., a strain of humanity that had been settled on the planet Vland discovered the Jump drive. As the Ancients had been wiped out nearly two hundred thousand years prior, and the Droyne had apparently abandoned the use of Jump drive, this made the Vilani the only Jump capable civilization in the Orion Arm. Over the next several thousand years, the Vilani leveraged this technological edge to dominate their neighbors and carve out an empire that spanned hundreds of parsecs. Over the centuries, the Vilani discovered several other non-Vilani human civilizations, as well as non-human aliens such as the Vegans.

Initially, the Vilani sought to exert their influence over the civilizations they came into contact with via trade and economic muscle. However, as the races that the Vilani came into direct contact with explored beyond the reaches of Vilani influence, civilizations gained access to Vilani technology without being assimilated into Vilani culture. Starting in -5400 Imperial, or 900 B.C., the Vilani launched a series of conflicts now known as the Consolidation Wars. Over the next thousand years, the Vilani conquered and subjugated its neighbors to Vland's rule until there were no civilized states on its border.

In -4045, the Vilani formally established their holdings as an interstellar empire, which they referred to as the Ziru Sirka - the Grand Empire of the Stars. The First Imperium, as it is now known, controlled approximately 27 sectors of space, and incorporated somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 inhabited worlds. Control came at a cost. When the Consolidation Wars began, the Vilani ceased exploring and focused on claiming control over known space. Once the Consolidation Wars ended, the Vilani were confronted with the difficulty of administering a vast empire in which getting a message to the outlying regions could take a year or more.

The Vilani responded to the challenge of managing their interstellar empire by dividing their efforts and becoming more hidebound and conservative. The entire Ziru Sirka was divided into three administrative districts known as Bureaux, which managed their respective regions mostly autonomously from one another, subject only to supervision from the Emperor. Vilani culture also became quite inflexible, with a caste system dominating the lives of the citizenry. Throughout the existence of the Ziru Sirka, a citizen could expect to have their entire life determined by the circumstances of their birth. As one might expect, this rigid stratification of society resulted in stagnation. Not only did exploration cease, technological progress ground to a halt. It took the Vilani nearly three thousand years to go from Jump-1 drives to Jump-2 drives. After the Ziru Sirka came into being, even that slow pace of technological advancement ended.

With no enemies of note on its borders, the Ziru Sirka lasted for 1,200 years despite its obvious flaws. Meanwhile, things were stirring in the rest of the galaxy. In 900 B.C., the Zhodani discovered Jump drive technology. In 180 B.C., the Hivers did as well. The K'Kree unified their homeworld in roughly 200 A.D., and discovered Jump drive technology in about 375 A.D.

In 2087 A.D., or -2431 Imperial, the Solomani discovered the Jump drive, and within the next ten years, came into contact with the First Imperium. Within twenty years, the Solomani and Vilani were at war.

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