Trader Emergency Coalition (TEC)
The Trader Worlds enjoyed a golden era of lucrative trade and relative peace under the strict guidelines of the interplanetary Trade Order. They had forgotten their ancient history of war and replaced it with a future of endless prosperity. The arrival of the Vasari caught the Traders completely unprepared.
Advance exploratory waves from the Vasari Exodus Fleet, hastily crushed and colonized over a dozen worlds. Political infighting amongst the Trade Order representatives and the independent Opulentsia, delayed the first military response by months. Finally, they sent everything they had to repel the invaders; a cobbled band of ships designed to combat piracy. The untrained, undisciplined, and poorly equipped crews met a swift demise.
Disasters continued for years but, the resilient Traders slowly learned to apply their perfection of the economic engine into an ever more powerful war machine. Factories, trade routes, and savvy businessmen were now one with star bases, supply lines and master tacticians.
Unfortunately, the disastrously poor cohesion of the independently operated planetary fleets often negated this progress. As the Vasari approached the central worlds, it became clear that their advance could not be stopped without higher levels of coordination. The Trade Order could not fulfill this role because its mandate forbade interference with the sovereign rights of the member planets. Thus, the Trader Emergency Coalition (TEC) formed despite strong opposition to the loss of planetary autonomy.
United under one authority, the TEC finally stalled the Vasari advancement, but the reprieve was brief. Their deviant brethren, exiled one-thousand years ago, have returned with a colossal fleet of sophisticated war ships and now wreak havoc across the undefended sectors. With their entire force dedicated to maintaining the Vasari line, the TEC faces a near hopeless dilemma.
The ancient Vasari Empire once ruled over countless worlds. Beginning at the galactic core, the empire expanded uniformly, brought hundreds of alien races under its control, and showed no signs of slowing down.
Most species encountered were young enough to be subjugated peacefully, although, some resisted and were harshly enslaved. Those who had expanded into space were quickly exterminated. Once conquered, most species were integrated into the Vasari social structure as “valued citizens”. The Vasari locked each planet down and ruled from vast orbital structures, finding a minimal surface presence more effective for both production and the minimization of rebellion.
When the first of the inner planets fell, analysts initially assumed that the local species had somehow managed to rebel. They immediately requested a wing of the Dark Fleet to restore order but no status reports were ever received. Instead, three more planets dropped from the communications grid. The probability of multiple, simultaneous, and successful rebellions was exceptionally remote. Internal Intelligence concluded that a renegade force from within the Vasari engineered a revolt. As deliberations proceeded on how best to deal with the traitorous acts, another series of planets were lost, including their world of origin. The unknown enemy’s rate of expansion far exceeded even that of the entire Dark Fleet. As a last resort, the Dark Fleet Veerr brought the bulk of their forces back from the expansionary frontier and massed for a blind assault on whatever was eating its way out from the central worlds.
The inhabitants of a perimeter planet were surprised when a single warship of the Dark Fleet appeared out of Phase Space bearing signs of heavy damage. Their curiosity and confusion quickly gave way to fear when they boarded the ship and found the crew apparently mad with terror.
In a rare act of autonomy, the colony decided it would be best to take precautions and temporarily evacuate to a system far from the Empire.
The refugees waited for signs of a safe return but instead, the signal from their warning beacons ceased. The lifetimes of the warning beacons were used to estimate the speed of the threat. It would not be long before their current position would be compromised. Additional beacons were placed at their current location and the group moved on to a considerably further destination.
Settling for a time, the refugees started to build colonies, construct new ships, and extract resources. Ultimately, their goal was to uncover the nature of the threat, to research technologies that might aid in its destruction, and to restore the rule of the Empire.
For the next ten thousand years this pattern would repeat - the growing Vasari Exodus Fleet only ever a generation ahead of the relentless, unknown enemy.
When the Vasari arrived in Trader Space ten years ago, they were confident in their ability to quickly deal with the locals. Initially, the victories were painless – the scouts alone procured the initial settlements – but as time went on it became clear that the local space-faring species would not be so easy to eliminate.
Now, the Vasari are caught in a stalemate, and in some positions, on the verge of being pushed back. A state of panic ensues. Already too entrenched in this disastrous war, the Vasari are simply unable to withdraw without catastrophic losses. Even worse, the conflict is consuming resources faster than can be put into the reserve. They will not be able to fuel the next phase of their exodus and time is running out.
The origins of the Advent began well before recorded history. It is said they began as one of many broken peoples who sought spiritual escape on peripheral worlds following the great wars.
The earliest known records trace back to the formation of the Trade Order. At its inception, the Order sent emissaries to recruit all known inhabited planets into the organization. One such group discovered a single desert world orbiting a massive red star surprisingly populated by a thriving civilization. Excited by the profitability of this potential market, the Order authorized immediate integration and the emissaries initiated contact. The representatives of the planet decidedly rejected the membership offer.
Not willing to accept failure, the Order sent a series of market research teams to acquire data that could be used to formulate a more elaborate strategy. They received a single, incomplete report containing disturbing information.
Shocking acts of deviancy, at every level of society, violated the venerable taboos common to all the Trader Worlds. Sinful cerebral integration technologies, unrestricted biological experimentation, strange forms of collectivism, and the wholesale usage of countless neurochemicals were but a few of the transgressions.
The Trader Worlds overwhelmingly voted that such an aberration had no place within the territories of their new Order. With an instinctive fear, the Traders took control of the planet by force and exiled the inhabitants far into uncharted space.
The exiles would integrate the story of their origins into myths and prophecies. They believed that their destiny was to exact retribution and assume their rightful place in the galaxy. One thousand years later, when it became clear that the rare and precious resources that empowered their unique way of life approached exhaustion, the society unanimously decided to return their original home and fulfill their prophecies.