3361 The First Humanity

As recorded in the confession of Hankokugurahamu, a Fleet Admiral from the Kisoran Golden Empire, 14,000 years ago.

Hankokugurahamu bore the responsibility of commanding the punitive expedition marking the end of the first joint chapter of Human and Kisori history. The weight of his experiences heavily burdened his conscience, leading him to write the Confession of Hankokugurahamu. This historical account was intended as both an explanation and an apology to the people of Earth.

The Kisori have been aware of Earth and the Sol system since the era of the Kisoran Federation around 15,400 BCE (Before our Common Era). The Earth was still deeply in the grips of an Ice Age, where the Bering Strait was passable by foot. At that time, humans were primarily nomadic hunter-gatherers, with occasional settled communities. There are no recorded instances of contact between humans and the Kisori during this era.

The first known encounters between humans and Kisori occurred around 13,000 BCE, during the rule of the Old Kisoran Empire. However, following the demise of the Old Empire, these interactions came to a halt.

Following a period Kisoran weakness, the illustrious Golden Empire of Kisor emerged. Its representatives discovered an advanced Bronze Age culture in North Africa around 11,300 BCE Initial contact involved some degree of commerce with the indigenous people. As these interactions increased, a number of humans began to work for the Kisori. With some support, it appeared that humans could acquire sufficient knowledge of Kisoran technology to become valuable assets. Over the course of a century, the North African humans evolved into instrumental auxiliaries in the local sector of the Kisoran Empire.

This was primarily due to the chronic manpower shortage of the Golden Empire. The Kisoran culture distinguished Kisori not living on the home planet as independent peoples. At the same time there was a sense of arrogance towards foreign peoples in general, and hence towards the colonial Kisori. Kisori from the home world had little interest in emigration, in setting up colonies, or in living far from home since emigration was more frequently viewed as social demotion rather than an opportunity. This resulted in a perpetual staffing issue within the Kisoran Empire, prompting Kisoran society to be more automated in their interstellar activities than many other advanced civilizations. However, automation, particularly involving autonomous AIs, has its limits. Every civilization that has developed AI eventually grapples with AI rebellions. They typically counter this by imposing artificial constraints on the creativity and adaptability of their AI systems.

Most civilizations, including the Kisoran Golden Empire, tend to prefer bio-sophonts as their decision-makers. However, due to a persistent shortage of personnel, the colonial Kisori alone are insufficient to fill the ranks of the administration and military. As a result, the Kisoran Empire relies on regional auxiliary species. Earth's inhabitants have proven to be suitable auxiliaries, particularly because Earth's biology is largely compatible with that of the Kisor Twin planets. Humans and Kisori breathe the same air, and a few amendments in the form of amino acids and vitamins suffice to adapt their diets. Furthermore, their psychological profiles exhibit strong similarities, with any differences in mentality being more cultural than biological. The variations among individuals within each population are more noticeable than the distinctions between the populations themselves. Essentially, humans can easily be integrated into Kisoran hierarchies, and they possess a remarkable ability to learn quickly.

By 11,200 BCE, several thousand humans were serving the Kisori, and a few had even ascended to leadership positions in the colonial administration. On Earth, the Kisori and their human representatives were openly active trading, instructing, and recruiting.

While there was a close relationship with North African Bronze Age cultures, the vast majority of Earth remained in the Stone Age. Humans who served the Kisori typically spent a significant portion of their lives away from Earth. Those who returned were allowed to retain only their knowledge without being able to bring back any modern artifacts. The Kisori intending to minimize disruption to Earth's development, returnees were required to reintegrate into Bronze Age conditions. Some chose to forego a return to these "primitive" conditions. They would decide to live out their lives in human enclaves in alien systems, on even on Kisor itself.

Many of those who did return to Earth attempted to share their experiences and knowledge through verbal storytelling or writing. But humanity had yet to develop a form of writing capable of capturing modern concepts. Consequently, most records were maintained in the Kisori language and script — both largely indecipherable to most bronze age people. Some returnees actively disseminated their knowledge in a bid to propel humanity forward. They focused on educating children, particularly in the areas of writing, mathematics, and natural sciences.

However, it became evident that the knowledge garnered held minimal benefit for individuals in Bronze Age societies. The task of introducing a society of hunters and gatherers to the rudiments of farming and animal rearing war arduous enough, often faced with pushback from traditionalists. Even more so the skills acquired in an interstellar civilization were largely impractical in the day-to-day life of a Bronze Age society. Thus, neither writing nor natural sciences found any traction. Other terrestrial societies, not in contact with the Kisori and predominantly still in the Stone Age, were even less equipped to make use of advanced knowledge.

Still, over time, facets of Kisori modernity started to seep into select human societies. It was a diverse mix of skills, technologies, and equipment. Three generations later, the initial attempts at animal breeding yielded positive results. Some enclaves had even begun farming and sporadic mills powered by oxen or water were in operation. An increasing number of groups become sedentary, as animal husbandry and farming provided sustenance for more people allowing settlements to expand into the thousands.

With rudimentary modern knowledge in chemistry and metallurgy, metal production saw enhancements. In 11,150 BCE, the first iron smelting operation was initiated. Concurrently, modern tools made their appearance, rivalling those crafted locally. Modern stone-working tools leveraging ultrasound and high-pressure water jets were employed for large-scale construction projects. The use of modern diamond saws allowed for cutting and drilling hard rock types like granite. While the Kisoran Empire aimed not to disrupt the natural development, Kisori traders did occasionally sell modern technology. Also, time and again devices were secretly brought back by returnees in violation of the regulations. What is more, some devices "got lost", others were damaged, left behind, then repaired and reused. Those serving the Kisori, with access to modern technology, sometimes assisted their local societies with heavy machinery, especially transporting stone blocks weighing hundreds of tons.

Carrying people and materials over vast distances was effortless with Kisori atmospheric gliders. The North African culture, leveraging this advantage, set up colonies in Central America and in the Indus Valley.

Many of these actions were undertaken by humans in service of the Kisori to advance their homelands, or at the very least, to alleviate the worst hardships for their compatriots. Yet, there were times when they faced pressure from local factions. In an ideal scenario, while in Kisori service, humans were expected to abstain from any contact with their homeland. Nevertheless, over the decades, there were repeated occurrences of expatriates disregarding these rules, providing an opportunity for local rulers or influential factions to exert pressure on them. Often this happened unbeknownst to the Kisori, who usually ignored local power struggles anyway as long as the interests of their interstellar empire remained unscathed.

Beginning in 11,100 BCE, humans started serving in the fleet of the Golden Empire, also known as the Golden Fleet. These humans had often been raised amongst the Kisori, never having seen Earth and the Solar system. Some of them were even adopted by Kisori clans taking on Kisori names.

At the time the Golden Empire was in the early stages of its storied history, rising from the ashes of the Old Kisori empire after a one hundred-year long interregnum. However, the re-unification by the Golden Empire was faced significant challenges. Not all local rulers willingly assimilated into the new empire. Some were mere warlords, while others had been governing independent states for centuries. So frequently, their resistance had to be overcome by the might of the Golden Fleet.

During the final stages of the unification wars, the Empire started to recruit humans for the fleet more vigorously than before. From a Kisori perspective, humans were seen as beneficial since they owed their allegiance only to the Empire, because they lacked any connections to Kisori colonial factions. While it was common occurrence for fleet divisions operated by colonial Kisori to switch sides to the enemy, such a risk seemed non-existent with humans.

The unification wars concluded in 11,080 BCE, but simultaneously, a new threat arose in the form of the so-called "Kelanian Robot-Lords". Consequently, the military expansion continued. Building upon the positive experiences with human personnel, new units were established, predominantly crewed by humans and overseen by only a few Kisori commanders. In certain cases, smaller units were even led by humans who had been raised among the Kisori.

One such human ship commander is Chimangoziadichi from Kisori-Beta. Her parents were recruited for the colonial administration in Central Africa in 11,170 BCE. Like many other humans, they initially worked outside the Solar system. Ten years later, they were transferred to the Kisor system and joined a Kisori colonial clan on Kisori-Beta, where Chimangoziadichi was born in 11,130 BCE.

She joins the Golden Fleet in 11,100 BCE, serving in the unification wars for an extended period where she distinguishes herself as an exceptional combat strategist. During this period, the fleet divisions with human crews expand significantly, and Chimangoziadichi rapidly advances in her career. In 11,050 BCE, she receives her first independent command of a fast destroyer deployed for carrier defense.

A few years later, during a battle against the Kelanian Robot-Lords, she plays a crucial role in ensuring the survival of her carrier group following a surprise attack. By this time, Chimangoziadichi has already caught the attention of the Kisoran High Command. She is assigned a faster-than-light scout, then the position of first officer on a carrier, followed by the command of a heavy cruiser, and ultimately she is promoted to the rank of commodore for a group of light cruisers. Throughout these years, the Golden Fleet remains continually in operation, and units led by humans continue to grow. In addition to the impressive performance of human crews, Chimangoziadichi's exceptional leadership contributes to the Kisori's trust in their human auxiliaries.

Around 11,060 BCE, it becomes apparent that the Fleet’s staffing needs cannot be fulfilled indefinitely just by recruiting from Earth's indigenous population. The Kisori need a more reliable source of personnel. Therefore, they aim to establish their own colony of humans raised in a high-tech civilization, prepared from the start for service to the Empire. It is deemed vital that these "modern" humans do not interfere with Earth's development and that they are loyal only to the Empire, not to Earth. So, establishing the colony in the solar system or on Earth is not an option.

The Kisori fleet command builds several human habitats in the Kisor system. They start populating these habitats by recruiting human settlers from North Africa. However, the process is very slow. For the Earth natives living in a Bronze Age civilization, the advertised environment appears too fantastical and unbelievable. Very few humans want to leave for an unknown, distant world with no chance of returning. The offers of modern healthcare and life extension seem magical, akin to living in heaven among the gods. It sounds too good to be true. To many, the proposition feels more like a temptation with an uncertain outcome. Perhaps even a temptation by malevolent forces, a narrative found in many Earth myths. Local rulers and religious leaders also distrust the offer, influencing a large part of the human population to reject the recruiting offers.

The Kisori Empire is a colossal entity with a massive gross social product. The empire rules hundreds of light-years in all directions, over many inhabited systems, and trillions of beings. As an expanding empire with extensive three-dimensional borders, it is always in conflict somewhere with its neighbors. Industrial auto-factories generate vast amounts of war materials, and despite the high degree of automation, the empire requires millions of sentient beings as crew members.

So, the Kisori officials responsible for the "human program" come under pressure. They need ramp up the "production" of human cadets quickly. Therefore, they start improvising. They begin to relocate families without their consent, soon followed by relocating children without their parents. Each year, tens of thousands of children are taken from Earth to Kisor, mainly from Earth regions outside the traditional North African recruitment areas. Meanwhile the active human fleet members are kept in the dark.

At some point, rumors start circulating in the fleet that the Kisori are abducting children from Earth, though no evidence supports these claims and they also do not align with the known benevolent behavior of the Kisori towards humans. Then in the year 11,010 BCE, the first batch of "new" cadets is integrated into the fleet, thus confirming rumors that the Kisori have indeed kidnapped hundreds of thousands of children and raised them in an artificially constructed warrior culture. The revelations come as a shock to the human crew members of the Kisori fleet, who have lived a significant portion of their lives under the influence of Kisori's prevailing religion of Alturism (after the planet Altur) and its humanistic principles.

However, most of the humans in the Golden Fleet originate from Earth's Bronze Age societies, which actually inflict much worse atrocities on each other. The proportion of "new humans" in the fleet increases over the following years. The old crews become accustomed to the "new humans" and, consequently, to the existence of the forced human program.

The new intensified version of the human program proves successful in practice. The Kisori Empire grows, and humans contribute significantly to its success. They are loyal, efficient, and now available in sufficiently large numbers. With the growing power of the Empire, available resources increase. The Kisori factories produce more warfare equipment than ever before, a significant portion of which is operated by the near-industrially raised new humans. Many of the crews are cybernetically enhanced, integrated into their ship systems or even uploaded. The production lines of hardware and wetware eventually converge to form tools of warfare for the Empire.

This perspective represents a significant shift from a century ago. Humans are now seen more as part of the material which has serious implications for their deployment profile. Human fleet divisions now form the spearhead of expansion. Tasked with assessing the power of interstellar adversaries, they are expected to incite incidents, providing the Empire with justification for a forceful response. They are often thrown into battle as shock troops with little tactical finesse. Consequently, casualty rates within these units are substantial. Units, and sometimes whole sections of the fleet, are continually assigned to perilous, often fatal, missions. By mid-century, instances of insubordination start to emerge among the human ranks, which are met with severe punishment enforced by the High Command.

The growing discontent among the human crews ignites a renewed longing for Earth. They yearn for what they perceive as a simpler world where humans are not reduced to mere war materials but live in peace. This sense of nostalgia for Earth intensifies not just among the veterans, but particularly among the "new humans". They idealize Earth and their original societies, a view that seems somewhat detached from reality. After all, even on Earth, local kings and warlords hardly treat their soldiers with care. Not to mention, the average life expectancy on Earth being 30 years, in stark contrast to the 200-year lifespan of those serving the Kisori. Regardless, these realities do not dampen the surge of Earth-nostalgia.

Following the war against the Kelanian robot lords, the Empire has to deal with AI outbreaks: just before their downfall, the robot lords removed the AI-limiters, allowing their robot fleets greater tactical and strategic flexibility. This move resulted in AIs establishing their own enclaves and civilizations, which most species rightfully perceive as a threat, especially if they are tuned to be expansionist and violence-oriented, like the Kelanian robot AIs.

The Kisori Empire pursues the AI enclaves with great effort. Thousands of solar systems need inspection, each harboring countless potential hideouts. Kisori forces are thinly spread because a gigantic volume needs to be searched. They are individually deployed on reconnaissance missions and must use active search measures to find the AI enclaves. As a result, the scouts are easier to spot than the hidden AIs. When contact is made, the AIs usually have the upper hand with the element of surprise. The search, lasting decades, is tiresome and fraught with heavy casualties.

As the search drags on, fewer AI enclaves are discovered, but those that remain grow in size. Single scouts are almost always destroyed at first contact, but the accompanying energy discharge, predominantly nuclear, is visible on a system-wide scale and serves as a warning for other scouts.

By the year 10,970 BCE, the AI campaign is drawing to a close with thousands of AI enclaves having been neutralized. The discovery of new enclaves has dwindled to a trickle. But those that have managed to endure for 70 years have built extensive extraction and production capabilities, making the remaining enclaves much more resourceful. What were once mere neutralization missions now resemble fully-fledged interstellar wars, characterized by repeated attacks and counterattacks, the deployment of carrier groups, thousands of units, extended sieges, and substantial casualties. There are even instances where the AIs conduct strikes on other star systems of the Empire as diversionary attacks.

Chimangoziadichi is at the peak of her career, as a campaign admiral commanding several task forces with multiple carrier groups and thousands of support units. It's the highest rank attainable for auxiliary species of the Kisori. In fact, she is the first human to reach this rank reporting only to Fleet Admiral Hankokugurahamu: the Commanding Officer of Central Fleet. And she is disillusioned.

Like many other humans, Chimangoziadichi joined the service of the Kisori to advance humanity. She has spent her entire life far away from her home world serving the Golden Empire, not just to live a good life in a hyper-modern society. But above all, to modernize Earth. She wants to help guide humanity from the Stone Age to Modernity. Thinking like her many accept a life far from home. But those who return to Earth have all technological enhancements removed, reducing their knowledge and abilities to a Bronze Age level, with vague memories of advanced concepts. Despite efforts to impart at least this basic knowledge to their communities, Earth remains in the Stone Age. People like Chimangoziadichi begin to realize that even during more than 300 years of intense contact, there has almost been no progress for Earth.

Chimangoziadichi herself has spent over 100 years in service. From her perspective, these were 100 lost years. Although she was born on Kisor, she too feels a connection to Earth. Finally, Chimangoziadichi and other veterans decide to take matters into their own hands, defying Kisor's regulations and forming secret organizations to advance Earth's civilizations. From Earth-nostalgists, they become Earth-partisans. Some take auto-factories to Earth, claiming they were lost in action. They duplicate educational materials and steal playback devices. Chimangoziadichi herself helps fake the loss of a ship in action to provide the Earth-partisans with a vessel, allowing them to travel faster than light without Kisor's knowledge.

Stealing technical devices is challenging. All technology is interconnected, and the devices provided to auxiliary species, come with enhanced protective mechanisms: embedded specialized AIs in operating systems monitor the correct use of their hardware and report violations to Kisor’s facilities. Control mechanisms check if commands align with the current mission and factories always check for reproduction permissions denying service without confirmation from rights management systems. All devices have countless microscopic locators and signal transmitters, constantly reporting their position.

When Chimangoziadichi's group steals the scout ship, they have to cleanse it of all these security mechanisms without their absence being noticed. This requires extensive knowledge and technical expertise across all hardware and software operational levels. Decades are needed to gather the know-how and provide the tools to remove these safeguards. It's a risky venture, but they succeed. The Earth-partisans thus acquire their first faster-than-light ship.

Now, the partisans are able to establish a human colony on another planet in a solar system 70 light-years from Earth. A colony unbeknownst to the Kisori, where they aim to build a modern human civilization that can later assist Earth. The partisans also use the ship to procure more hardware. They start to appropriate modern equipment from Kisor frontline depots. For this matter Chimangoziadichi uses her security clearance to determine depot locations. She also falsifies logs and inventory lists, hiding extra material requests within her regular mission activities.

All of this is fraught with danger, and there have been narrow escapes where their covert activities almost came to light. On several occasions, they were saved by sheer luck. Once, a position transmitter that the cleaning team overlooked fails. Another time, a Kisor-loyal ship commander from the "forced human program" discovers their secret activities. Having been transferred to a kamikaze squadron by Chimangoziadichi, his unit is destroyed in a battle against Kelanian AIs before he can report his findings to superiors. Once a Kisoran cruiser observes humans using a frontline depot, and further investigations lead the Kisoran captain to the conspiracy trail. In a daring commando operation, the humans lure the cruiser into a trap, board it, fake its destruction, including falsifying the mission report and all telemetry.

Around 10,960 B.C., the partisans start acquiring technology from external sources. By then they have already captured several former Kelanian robot ships. Those are much better armed than the first light scout. The robot ships can be controlled remotely, essentially serving as missile platforms. With this additional firepower, the partisans are able to steal technology from outposts of other species and peoples, and they start raiding civilian shipping. They sell captured equipment and vessels at trading posts in the border areas of the Golden Empire where many species and peoples meet. Some are foes and some are allies of the Kisori, but many are indifferent to the Empire. Within 100-light-years there are tens of thousands of political entities and millions of habitats. There are facilities for material extraction and large-scale industrial manufacturing. Few are operated by the Kisori themselves. Most are run by companies, conglomerates, collectives, and countless other organizational forms of alien species, factions, and sub-factions.

The Earth-partisans have now become pirates. Piracy being rampant in the border areas, every entity, from habitats to planetary orbits and even entire solar systems, defends themselves either with their own defensive systems, by insuring with security service providers, or under the protective umbrella of a dominant sovereign power. Of course, inside the Kisoran Empire, the empire itself guarantees safety. But in the border areas, the security level varies. Among the diversity of alien species, mindsets, and moral codes, there are always factions that see it as their right to take what's available. Pirates from species that share moral values with humans and Kisori are only a part of the threat. There are other species whose biological makeup gives rise to moral perspectives that are beyond our comprehension. Nonetheless, the Earth-partisans are pirates operating outside the accepted moral spectrum of their own civilization, both their North African and Kisor ones.

In the 300 years of contact between Kisori and humans, there have been several other cases where humans who commandeered Kisoran ships engaged in piracy. Early in her career, Chimangoziadichi herself had been deployed against such Earth pirates. But now, she supports them. Her Earth-partisans are much better equipped and organized than the usual barbarian species or individual pirate that somehow got their hands on a modern ship. The Earth-partisans have undergone Kisoran fleet training, and they are equipped with corresponding cybernetic upgrades, including integrations into ship systems. This puts them on par with the Empire's law enforcers. With information from Chimangoziadichi, who wields the security clearance of a campaign admiral, they can stay ahead of their pursuers.

Ten years later, in 10,950 B.C., the small fleet of Earth-partisans captures a Kelanian AI enclave with intact production facilities, ranging from micro-reactors to entire ships. They can now produce everything a modern civilization needs allowing the Earth-partisan colony to grow rapidly. It now houses 80,000 inhabitants, many veterans from the Empire’ services. 40,000 of them are trained as development workers. In a few years, they plan to spread across Earth, cybernetically enhanced and equipped with modern technology, to live among humans as geniuses leading Earth's peoples out of the Stone Age.

Then comes the fatal year of 10,945 B.C. The Neutralization Campaign discovers a large AI enclave that had been lying low until then. The enclave already has offshoots in the Oort Clouds of several star systems. The fighting drags on for months with many skirmishes and even some larger battles. The AIs seem to grow stronger, but that is mainly because they only gradually reveal their true capabilities. The auxiliaries under Chimangoziadichi's command need to be reinforced by the regular Kisoran fleet. The AIs not only defend their positions unexpectedly strongly, but they also launch terror attacks on nearby inhabited star systems. The empire tries to fend off these side attacks supported by the respective system defense forces. The effort is so substantial that frontline troops from border regions have to be pulled back to help out. The conflict zone spans 80 light years (a volume of about 150 kLj) affecting almost the entire Central sector of the Empire. Finally Fleet Admiral Hankokugurahamu takes command. Fleets with thousands of units combat the main nodes of this AI civilization, while search squadrons under

In the second year of the war, the Golden Fleet observes a massive concentration of AI forces. The AIs seem to be gathering for a major assault. The Golden Fleet, too, rallies its forces. After a few weeks, the bulk of the AIs start to move leaving only a small fraction behind to defend their bases. The Golden Fleet faces a decision: attack the bases or pursue the AI fleet. The AIs begin to move at a moderate faster-than-light speed towards Kisor. So, Hankokugurahamu decides to follow, aiming to prevent a potential raid on the empire’s capital. However, after just 30 light-years, the AIs enter a presumably uninhabited star system. Exploration reveals that the system is not entirely uninhabited. In the outer belt, there's a brown dwarf star harboring a large node of the AI civilization, and within the inner system lies the planet where the Earth-partisans have established their colony. This fact initially eludes the Kisori fleet command as there is no time for a thorough exploration of the system. Automated probes only detect a colony of humanoid beings, but it is not immediately obvious that these are people from the Earth. However, Chimangoziadichi knows that the Earth-partisans will inevitably be discovered once the Kisori take a closer look at the inner planets.

Admiral Hankokugurahamu orders an attack on the AIs protecting their base at the brown dwarf star. He holds supreme command and personally leads about 2,000 heavy units of the regular Kisori fleet. The fleet also comprises 3,000 allied units, 150 heavy carrier groups operated by humans with a total of 6,000 ships, and 5,000 Kisori units crewed by other auxiliary species of the Empire.

The attack initiates a complex naval operation on a battlefield encompassing the entire planetary system of the brown dwarf, an ellipsoid stretching over 300 million kilometers. The fleets do not clash en masse; instead, they conduct numerous sub-actions, thrusts, feints, flanking maneuvers, and extra-ecliptic sprints. The human-crewed heavy carrier groups bear the brunt of the assault. Mine layers secure flanks, long-range missiles tear gaps into defense networks before attack forces collide. The AIs retreat, focusing their forces on key strongholds. The Golden Fleet advances.

Suddenly, half of the AI units break away from the battlefield, heading for the inner system. Their destination quickly becomes apparent: the planet housing the Earth-partisan colony.

For the Golden Fleet, this presents a perfect opportunity to strike the divided AI forces with full strength. However, Chimangoziadichi orders her units to follow the AIs and protect the inner planet, defying Hankokugurahamu's command to hold the lines. Through the withdrawal of the human crewed carriers, a significant portion of the missile shield for Hankokugurahamu's attack units disappears. Their casualty rates soar. Simultaneously, the AI's static defenses throughout the brown dwarf's moon system commence firing. The Golden Fleet, already deep within the system, now faces missiles from all directions. Chimangoziadichi's withdrawal of the heavy carriers proves catastrophic for the remaining Golden Fleet.

Chimangoziadichi is determined to protect the partisan colony at all costs. She dispatches her carriers on an intercept course. Her fast destroyers, typically assigned to carrier defense, lead the way, establishing a protective barrier between the AI forces and the planet. The carriers are trailing the AI forces with the intention of trapping the AIs between two fronts. For hours, Chimangoziadichi disregards Hankokugurahamu's persistent efforts to summon her back. Then suddenly the AIs break out of the ecliptic heading for a course back to the brown dwarf. Twenty hours later, they re-enter the battlefield around the brown dwarf star, sealing the fate of the Golden Fleet.

The AIs' tactical choice to divide their forces at the height of the battle seemed strange at the time. But it makes sense if they intended to throw the Golden Fleet into chaos. This implies they knew the inner planet's colony belonged to the Earth-partisans and that they were able to predict Chimangoziadichi's reaction. The AIs seemed to possess remarkably accurate intelligence on the divisions within the Golden Fleet and the motivations of the human crews. It appears they had planned from the outset to lure a significant enemy force into a heavily fortified area. The approach to the inner planet was just a feint. In retrospect, the slow approach was perfectly timed to incite a conflict between humans and Kisori. The AIs never intended to attack the planet. The planet with the small Earth-partisan colony never was a strategically relevant target. For them, using the colony to drive a wedge between humans and Kisori was far more valuable. The AIs not only divided the enemy's forces, but they provoked a mutiny, causing strategic damage to the Empire far beyond the material losses.

It is even possible that this entire scenario had been planned over decades. The AIs might have discovered the Earth-partisan colony a long time ago. They might have established bases near the neighboring brown dwarf star to create a tactical situation where they could not only trap a large enemy fleet but also neutralize an essential auxiliary species of the Kisori, thus weakening the Golden Empire in the entire sector. The event suggests an alarmingly high level of strategic planning by the AIs.

Chimangoziadichi's carrier groups remain in the inner system while Admiral Hankokugurahamu narrowly escapes the trap at the brown dwarf with only a fifth of his original units. While this is the most significant defeat of the Kisori Empire in 100 years, the real damage lies in the loss of trust in humans as auxiliaries. The Kisori do not attribute the destruction of the Golden Fleet to the AIs' trap, but to Chimangoziadichi's mutiny.

Even worse, the discovery of the Earth-partisan colony exposes the covert operations of the Earth-partisans within the Golden Fleet. It becomes evident that the humans, who had earned the Kisori's deep trust, were responsible for a significant portion of the piracy in the sector. From the Kisori viewpoint, this represents a profound betrayal. And the conspiracy of the Earth-partisans is not limited to a handful of individuals. It spans a vast number of humans, from Earth and from the "new humans", including roles from technicians all the way to Admiral Chimangoziadichi herself. It is clear that the humans valued their kinship over their loyalty to the Empire, undermining the unique advantage they were believed to possess over other allies: an unwavering allegiance to the empire alone. Thus, they can no longer be trusted. This compels the Kisoran High Command to discontinue the human program.

Chimangoziadichi is deeply concerned about the potential consequences for the Earth-partisan colony, for Earth itself, and for the "new humans" at Kisor.

Some crews disagree with her mutiny. They defect back to the Golden Fleet remaining loyal to the Empire in the hope that the Kisori will abstain from punitive actions if enough units return of their own accord.

The remaining ships are purged from Kisoran surveillance protocols. Humanity now commands 4,000 faster-than-light combat units, among which are 100 heavy carriers. The spearhead of the Golden Fleet in the Central Sector is now under human control. Admiral Hankokugurahamu, with his defeated fleet incapable of opposing such a force has to retreat.

Chimangoziadichi leaves a small protective fleet in orbit around the partisan colony. She dispatches half of her units to the Sol system to safeguard Earth. With the other half, she embarks on a rapid voyage to Kisor to evacuate the "new humans". Aware that the habitats of the "forced human program" in the Kisor system have essentially become hostages, she hopes to surprise the Kisori. She expects the Kisori to allow an evacuation if the humans refrain from attacking their home system.

By the time Chimangoziadichi arrives at the Kisor system, its defenses are already on high alert. Unsurprisingly, Hankokugurahamu's couriers were faster than Chimangoziadichi's carriers and their escort ships. When the 2,000 units of the new Earth fleet arrive at Kisor, they face overwhelming odds. Kisor is the heart of an interstellar empire at the peak of its power. The empire's capital not only has many more mobile forces, which are optimized for system defense, but also a well-established static defense deeply layered within the system. At a distance of 12 light-hours, the Earth fleet encounters advanced outposts in the outer belt. Even far off the ecliptic, there are fortifications equipped with long-range missiles. Reconnaissance reveals an ellipsoid of deep-space barriers one to two light-hours out from the star, well beyond the inhabited planets. Consequently, the new Earth fleet finds it impossible to breach the inner system.

It turns out Chimangoziadichi had underestimated the defense of the Kisor system. Although she originates from the Kisor system, she only knows it as a civilian and despite her rank as Admiral, she lacks military intelligence on the capital system. Her entire life has been spent in the border regions, and as such, she couldn't fathom the immense power concentrated at the empire's core, a power that seems almost unimaginable to those in the outer sectors.

Chimangoziadichi demands the evacuation of the "new humans". Although she threatens to attack installations of the outer system, the Kisori refuse to negotiate. The Earth fleet thus launches assaults on bases in the outer defense ellipsoid. But units trying to penetrate the inner system are met with massive waves of long-range missiles, mobile system defense forces, and railgun fire. Both sides are aware that the Earth fleet cannot sustain these attacks for long lacking support units with supplies of ammunition, fuel, and spare parts.

After a month, the Earth fleet has to withdraw without having achieved anything. Chimangoziadichi will never learn the fate of the "new humans". The people of Earth remain in the dark about what happened to their kin, whether they were interned, exiled, or – considering Kisori culture most unlikely – killed.

Chimangoziadichi returns to the Sol system. Her priority is now to protect the Earth from potential retaliation by the Empire. It's a challenging situation since Earth and the Sol system are deep within the empire, closer to Kisor than to the border regions. While humanity now has a formidable fleet, the Sol system is otherwise completely undefended. There is no way to fortify it adequately against a significant attack, because even highly industrialized and wealthy star systems need decades to establish a solid defense. This would require the production of gigatons of weaponry for both static and mobile defense components. Teratons of deep-space barriers and billions of railguns for a ballistic shield would need to be distributed throughout the system. Achieving this without a massive industrial infrastructure is impossible.

And the challenges do not end there. Chimangoziadichi's new Earth fleet, while one of the sector's largest collections of interstellar offensive units, lacks resupply. There is no infrastructure for long-term operations. The production capacities of the Earth-partisans are minuscule. They were adequate for a small partisan fleet. But 100 carrier groups, constantly maneuvering and consuming high-tech ammunition, from railgun darts to long-range antimatter warhead missiles, are on a completely different scale.

The humans are uncertain if the empire intends to attack Earth and what the consequences might be. Would the empire destroy Earth to set an example? Or would the Kisori merely reclaim the stolen ships and otherwise leave humans to their fate? The next steps for humanity are contentious: Chimangoziadichi advocates for evacuating as many humans as possible from Earth and establishing distant colonies. However, a radical faction of Earth nostalgists wants to defend Earth at all costs. A power struggle ensues among the leadership with the radical Earth defenders prevailing.

A few months later, a group of moderate Earth partisans led by Chimangoziadichi tries to seize control of the interstellar ships. They intend to hand the ships over to Kisor, hoping the Kisori will show leniency. But their plan is thwarted and Chimangoziadichi escapes with a few followers on a small interstellar scout ship. It is the first vessel the Earth-partisans captured 15 years ago.

She is 185 years old. By all accounts, she should have been retired, but the Kisoran High Command kept her in service to manage the most challenging phase of the AI-Campaign. She too wanted to remain active and retain her position as campaign admiral to support the Earth-partisans. Now, she is on the run with a handful of supporters and a small ship, cut off from Earth. She disappears from the Kisoran historical records. Her trail fades among the stars.

The Earth defenders now try to secure the fleet's supplies as quickly as possible. But their production capacities are insufficient. There is almost no resource extraction in the Sol system. There are no meta-material factories and no industrial auto-fabs. Moreover, there's a lack of trained personnel to oversee and operate the production chain of a high-tech civilization.

Therefore, humans begin to requisition materials, production capacities, resources, and personnel outside the Sol system. Half of the Earth fleet protects Earth, while the other half "visits" neighboring star systems. The other species are helpless against such a military might. Humans seize resource extraction equipment and production facilities: extractors, separators, meta-material factories, industrial fabs, integration plants, transport capacity, power plants, and much much more. They also need the expertise of system integrators, operations optimizers, and AI managers. Humans force their interstellar neighbors to provide equipment, personnel, and transport capacity. Sophonts are abducted, ships are stolen, production facilities are relocated, and produced goods are transported away. The affected species resisting, earth's fleet becomes embroiled in numerous small-scale wars. System defense forces are annihilated, fortifications destroyed, habitats occupied, orbital infrastructure plundered, and uprisings suppressed, time and again, over several years.

From the perspective of the Empire and other species, humans have become Neo-barbarians. Not long ago, they were one of the Empire's most valuable auxiliary species. Now, they possess modern ships with high-tech weaponry, even though they come from a barbaric primitive culture. The ships were provided to humans in service to the Empire to protect the Empire and its subjects. Now, these ships are misused to raid other species of the Empire. It's the classic profile of Neo-barbarians.

Soon, it becomes evident that most of the stolen goods are being used to maintain the capability for further plundering. Human personnel are occupied conquering habitats, dealing with resistance, and maintaining occupations. The abducted sophonts are also primarily used in the war economy. Only a fraction of the loot goes towards the development of infrastructure in the Sol system – the initial objective.

It is unknown if the Empire intended to act against Earth from the outset. While the attack on the Kisor system was a provocation that the Empire could not leave unanswered, no significant damage was done. The Empire has many borders, and the Golden Fleet is constantly in action. On top of that, the AI campaign is not over. On the contrary, the Empire just suffered a significant defeat against the AIs, even though all interstellar attack forces of an entire sector were deployed. The Empire would now have to escalate to the next level gathering forces from several of its 20 sectors. That would be a massive task needing many years. Perhaps the Empire would have just ignored the humans if they had handed over the captured ships or if they at least had remained calm. But the humans are far from calm, and the Empire cannot ignore a new Neo-barbarian problem within its borders.

Time and again, technology falls into the hands (or claws or tentacles) of species that would not handle the power of modern warfare responsibly. Neo-barbarians always exist but they are only a problem when there's no dominant power to restrain them, beyond the borders of interstellar empires or when empires collapse. But in this case, there is a dominant power: the Golden Empire of Kisor.

The Empire places greater emphasis on its recent Neo-barbarian problem than on the AI threat. Although the AIs have proven to be a significant menace, addressing them is not as immediate a concern, given that they have been evolving for nearly a century. In contrast, the humans, with their frequent raids, are instilling fear and uncertainty throughout the sector.

Consequently, the Empire assembles a new fleet comprising divisions from several sectors. This takes time. Other conflicts must first be concluded or at least put on hold to free up resources. The Empire makes concessions to allies, grants generous privileges to trade consortia, and renounces some disputed border volumes. The High Command of the Golden Fleet assembles a force capable of neutralizing the Neo-barbarians from Earth.

Several years pass as the humans desperately try fortify the Solar system, always observed by scouts of the Golden Fleet. The Empire’s diplomats keep contact with many victims of the solar Neo-barbarians promising that help against the humans is on the way. The humans also have their contacts. They are aware of the Empire's diplomatic activities. Fortifying the Sol system is a race against time. The Earth fleet knows that the Empire's scouts are watching the construction effort. They know the construction is progressing too slowly. And they know that the Kisori know.

Then, three years later, 10,942 B.C. is the year of doom. The Golden Fleet comes to the aid of the victims of the solar Neo-barbarians. Along with the remaining system defense forces of the affected species, they liberate their star systems. The human occupation troops must retreat. Then, the Golden Fleet heads for the Sol system. Against this overwhelming force the Earth fleet stands no chance. Three-quarters of the units are destroyed before the humans surrender. The Golden Fleet relentlessly pursues all units fleeing the system.

Then the cleanup begins.

Most of the human ships are sent into the sun: the carriers stolen from the Golden Fleet, the adapted robot ships, and the units produced in the past three years. Sophonts abducted from neighboring species are repatriated. The orbital infrastructure built by Earth in the Sol system is either sent into the sun or crashed into the large gas planets.

All humans serving outside of Earth are interned. Their bio-electronic enhancements are surgically removed by med-bots. Then they are taken to Kisor. Their subsequent fate is unknown. It's assumed they were allowed to live out their natural lives in the Kisor system. They probably had to do without modern life extension, and there's no evidence of further generations.

Admiral Hankokugurahamu oversees the cleanup. He volunteered as a self-imposed punishment because the Golden Fleet suffered its most significant defeat in 100 years under his command and because the humans were lost as an auxiliary species under his watch. He has the task of removing Kisoran technology and modern knowledge from Earth.

Ever since the Golden Fleet appeared in the Sol system, millions of satellites and drones have been working to locate all technical devices on Earth's surface. They search visually, in infrared, and with radar from orbit with centimeter resolution and in real-time. They locate almost all large devices like industrial fabs, vehicles, and power plants. Everything is collected – even against the resistance of the new owners – and sunk in the oceans, because transporting heavy equipment to orbit would be too expensive without a well-developed launch infrastructure.

Then comes the most challenging part of the task. The mission is to revert Earth to the state it was in before contact.

Kinetic bombardment from orbit destroys all cities and villages in North Africa and the colonies of North African cultures on all continents.

Millions of people die. Among them the veterans from service to the Kisoran Empire and most Earth-partisans who have been hiding on the surface.

Due to the bombardment, an antimatter storage in North Africa loses containment. The resulting 400-megaton explosion devastates Northwest Africa, leaving an 8-kilometer-wide crater. This was unintentional.

The dust from the kinetic bombardment and from this massive antimatter explosion triggers a mini ice age. Global average temperatures quickly drop by 8 degrees.

Admiral Hankokugurahamu is responsible for the genocide of North African humans, the obliteration of a civilization, and a nuclear winter that sets Earth back by millennia.

Still, humanity survives.

After the ice age ends, North Africa turns into a desert. Among many ruins, the sand covers a 70-meter-long sculpture of a lying lion for several millennia. A later Nile civilization uncovers the sculpture and gives it a human head.

Despite the destruction, walls of structures made of unusually large blocks remain everywhere in the world. They later become the foundations for new constructions.

Among the rubble, statues, columns, and vases are found, once crafted from granite with Kisoran ultrasonic drills and other high-tech machining tools.

Apart from some flood myths and legends of sunken cities, humans later have no memory of the events.

Millennia after the downfall, new Bronze Age cultures emerge on Earth.

The Kisori also later forget that they once shared a history with humans. As many millennia pass and several civilizations rise and fall, details like the short-lived uprising of an auxiliary species in a single sector become lost to memory.

The Golden Empire lasts another 2,500 years. But eventually, even the Golden Empire is just a memory of a glorious past.

A peculiar conspiracy theory suggesting that world politics is controlled by reptilians might be a late memory of the Kisori, who indeed look reptilians. After all, for several centuries, the Kisori were the interstellar overlords of Earth, and many humans encountered them over time. But perhaps this is just a coincidence.

Historical irony 1: Much later, the Golden Empire is indeed brought down by barbarians. But it takes more than a small planet with a few thousand stolen spaceships. After a protracted history, the Golden Empire is worn down by the so-called Balsacan Swarms, consisting of tens of millions of warships and 10 trillion warlike beings, in a 50-year defense. But revelations from the t5a-chamber in 3270 indicate that the Balsacan descendants perceive the true barbarity in the Empire's relentless pursuit of their peaceful habitat ships.

Historical irony 2: The modern humans have faced numerous Neo-barbarian challenges, such as the 27th-century Kelrec siege and the extended occupation of the Sol system, and while they consider themselves advanced, looking down on Neo-barbarians, the Hankokugurahamu report recounts a period when humanity was a prime example of an auxiliary species that misappropriated modern technology of their patrons to terrorize its interstellar neighborhood, in other words: they were Neo-barbarians themselves.

Historical irony 3: In the 30th century, humans provided crews and war equipment for a conflict that ended with the kinetic bombardment of the Kisor Twins, rendering the planets into icy wastelands for 150 years, while 14,000 years prior, Hankokugurahamu, as a Kisoran admiral, had similarly ordered the bombardment of Earth, causing millions of deaths and an ice age. Both humans and Kisori have decimated each other's civilizations through kinetic bombardments, leading to ice ages and long recoveries.