Spotshift story
Published: 2019-08-27

The beginning

2057 marked the end of nearly forty years of research and development of a world-changing technology: teleportation. The device was named Sedvan Sphere – honoring the scientist that dedicated his life to the project. Barely six years after the first short-distance cellular reconstruction, five living humans were beamed directly to Mars without any issues.  The next milestone was to transfer organisms and equipment out of the Solar System: after continued efforts, Proxima Centauri B was successfully reached in 2067. This was the final breakthrough, the fall of the last obstacle to unbridled cosmic exploration. The newly mastered technology ushered in a new era of galactic exploration and colonization. 

Following Von Neumann concepts, a system of autonomous, automated probes was set up in order to facilitate initial data gathering in new planetary systems, searching for potentially habitable locations. The probes were managed by an advanced, specialized A.I., dubbed AAIA. Logs from whole galaxies were sent back to be centrally processed using computing potential available only on Earth. The most promising locations were marked for further exploration, with specially appointed teams or more advanced drones being sent to set up initial outposts and habitats. 

Owing much to this streamlined approach, by the end of the XXII century humanity had 176 colonial bases on 80 planets. The U.S.A., EU, China, Japan as well as Saudi Arabia and Russia ended up as the forerunners of the colonization fever. Every colony was strongly dependent on Earths’ central logistic system – which in itself was decentralized, being distributed between governmental, local and orbital, server farms. 

Unstoppable technology

Not unexpectedly, the massive usage of Sedvans’ Sphere over the years was not indifferent to the subspace permeating reality. In order to research and understand the phenomenon and its side effects, a group of scientists – under the leadership of the original pioneer herself – funded quasi-neutrally by several governments, built the ISHA (International Sedvan Hyperspace Analytics) research station. Situated on a planet called Verdena, deep in the Ross-128 system, it played an important role as a teleportation ‘junction’. The new research confirmed many fears that the experts secretly harbored since the inception of the technology. All the findings pointed to one thing – that humanity did not actually understand the inner workings of subspace. This swiftly led to a global discussion about limiting or even banning teleporters.

After many debates, both on the public and corporate level, a majority of the most important entities profiting from Sedvans’ Spheres reached an agreement to radically restrict the usage of teleportation, during what was latter dubbed the ‘Cracow accord’. Off-world colonies were granted a grace period in order to meet the sudden requirements of greater self-sufficiency, preparing for the decrease in deliveries from Earth. Paradoxically, this led to the biggest burst in hyperspace activity in history, with everyone  trying to supply their dependent facilities with industry and infrastructure in order to reach autarky as quickly as possible. 

This swiftly led to yet another discovery:  the possibility of ‘wild portals’ appearing spontaneously on the most intensely frequented teleporation ‘routes’. Some entities, trying to circumvent the limits imposed by the treaty, dived into developing ‘permanent portals’.  The first result of those efforts was the ‘Gleaming’ – a way to manipulate the subspace currents in order to forcefully manifest wild portals. Protesting voices were swiftly overtaken by the chorus of propaganda and political spin generated by the invested parties. 

The Collapse

Days before the impending deadline set during the Summit, extremely strong interference appeared in the teleportation network, dramatically rising over a few hours and ultimately disabling all of the active Sedvan Spheres. Interplanetary transport and comms stopped existing in a matter of minutes. That silence lasted 21 long years, with only the bravest daredevils managing to use local teleports in short bursts.

The Present

After two decades of teleportation silence, the interference decreased enough for the interplanetary currents to be tentatively deemed safe. This allowed for a ‘rediscovery’ of the colonies: the best-prepared still existed, even thrived in spite of the Collapse. The unprepared ones degenerated in a way that sometimes showcased the worst of humanity.  

One group quickly gained in importance during that period – the Alliance of Common Planets. Systematically taking control of many of the newly regained colonies, they became the dominant force in Space. Many smaller factions and military remnants appeared, vying for supremacy, but none of them contesting the might of the ACP. 

Before the subspace catastrophe, one planet garnered a lot of attention. Antracita gained renown thanks to the presence of rich deposits of a newly discovered mineral named Galvaon. In its refined form it became an extremely effective source of energy, perfect for fueling Sedvan Spheres. Everyone realized that controlling the planet would equal galactic supremacy for the victor.

To the dismay of the would-be conquerors, the ex-employees of mining consortium MultiMine survived mostly unscathed, despite being cut off from the HQ on Earth. However, they were woefully unprepared for the aggressors that came knocking from all sides. For their own security, they deactivated every single teleporter on the surface of the planet.

This merely slowed down the approaching forces greedily eyeing the unique resource. Antracita’s orbit has begun filling with teams of Tactical Troops mercenaries, ACP platoons and gangs of interplanetary raiders – the Bullets. 

This is where your story begins.

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