(Thanks to John Rutherford)


The Creation of the Universal Calendar System

In 2858 UC (Universal Calendar) 2198 CE (Common Era, or Gregorian Christian calendar) 1618 AH (After Hegira, ME or Muslim Era) a Congress was held at Utopia Station, Earth Orbit, among other matters to resolve practical problems, as well as religious and political difficulties, caused by the use of different calendar systems. Representatives of all ethnic, religious and political groups agreed to use a single date system in all communications and creation of historical records. The decision was made to adopt the commencement date of the Japanese 'national era' system; the date since the first Emperor, Jimmu or Jinmu.

Below are conversion tables adopted by the Utopia Congress; the list is not exhaustive.

  • To convert CE to UC ADD 660
  • To convert ME to UC ADD 1240
  • To convert Jewish Era to UC SUBTRACT 3101
  • To convert Hindu Saka to UC ADD 582

Early Expansion

Mankind has been in space for over a hundred years, and had extensively colonised the home system before the first steps into interstellar space became possible with the invention of the hyperspace drive.  The political groupings at that time were almost unrecognisable by modern standards.

c.2190CE, 2856 UC major space political groupings prior to the first solar expansion:

  • NASA
  • [THE POPULATION OF EARTH] - At this time disorganised and in an anti-scientific 'dark age'.


The Belter scientific base on Oberon (the largest moon of Uranus) led by Professor Mek Semaj announced in 2856 that they had achieved communication with alien intelligence by unknown means; and expected to have built a practical superluminal vessel within five years. The resulting BATTLE OF OBERON (2857) to seize control of this technology resulted in the destruction of human presence on the moons of Uranus and much of Professor Semaj's work. It is possible that Semaj succeeded in building a superluminal 'star-ship' and escaping; though this has never been proved. A Peace Conference was held in 2858 and agreed what became regarded as a highly satisfactory and constructive outcome.


Key elements of the Treaty.

1. Remaining fragments of Semaj's work to be shared freely between all of Humanity. Communication with the unknown ' alien intelligence' was never officially restored, (although listening has taken place intermittently ever since) but this information led directly to the development of superluminal travel, and communication, by 2870. The first step was the construction of CAMERON STATION, the very first Hyperlynium Accelerator, at Lagrange 5 in earth orbit, which was completed in 2860.

In addition, Semaj had collected clues as to the location of several 'Earth-like' worlds; listed in what became known as the SEMAJ CODEX, this added impetus to a technological race to build practical interstellar vessels and hence colony ships.

Following the Congress a period of peace and political consolidation set in. By 2865 four major developments had taken place:

1. Most importantly, an economic and cultural renaissance had begun on Earth. Led by entrepreneur and statesman GUSTAV MALD (? 2790 - 2880 UC) a new burst of high-technology expansion began on Earth, initially centred on the Southern Hemisphere and Japan.

2. The Martian Helix, having abandoned its more extreme genetic doctrines, had built a working relationship with the Belter peoples and allowed limited exploitation of the Martian surface to take place.

3. The Church of the Seventh Coming had 'claimed' Venus; and also claimed to have developed new means of terraforming it. They had set up bases on Mercury.

4. The major spacefaring Corporations (NASA, Boeing, SolarTech and Mizu) formed a Conglomerate (Terran Space Inc, 2864) led by JEAN-LUC LETAPPIER (2820 UC - ) and were granted peaceful access to terrestrial resources.


The thirty years before 2900 was a period of increasing domination of the Solar System by Earth and its Allies; and saw the creation of Humanity's first extra-solar colonies. During the bloody so-called RAZOR-BLADE WAR (2872-5) Earth had achieved planet-wide Unity. Earth's increasing economic and military power (under the name of the SOLAR REPUBLIC adopted in 2880) steadily forced all the statelets and free peoples of the Solar System to accept her sovereignty; the sole exceptions being Mars, which after a failed invasion by Earther forces was given 'Protectorate' status and left under the day-to-day jurisdiction of the Helix; and the Inner Planets of Venus and Mercury, which were left isolated under Church suzerainty until abandoned in 2885.

After a number of lethal accidents and lost prototypes, in 2870 LeTappier's engineering and science team built the first working prototype superluminal ship 'PROMETHEUS' using Semaj's allegedly alien-inspired theories and new discoveries made by Earther scientists, including hyperlynium from the L5 Accelerator and Chen Kim-Prescott's 'M25 limit'.  This first ship has a hyperspace velocity of one light year per week.

Only a few months after the launch, the crew of 'Prometheus' discovered the second earth-like world in 2870 in the Alpha Centauri system; (1.3 parsecs) it was named 'GUSTAV' in honour of the First Citizen of the Solar system. Euphoria gripped Humanity; but the colony was destined for a sad fate only thirty years after its foundation.

In one of the greatest puzzles still facing science, it was found that Gustav (Alpha Centauri 2) had an ecosystem based upon earth-type DNA. While being a very difficult world with climatic extremes and dangerous indigenous life-forms, it was clearly capable of supporting human life. Its close range to Sol made a colony a very practical proposition, and the newly formed ALPHA CENTAURI COMPANY (predominantly a Japanese and American enterprise) arranged for millions of colonists to move to Gustav. By 2900 Gustav's population was eight million; but the ACC had made the catastrophic error of over-reliance on Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) computers to manage the colony's development.

Colonial development During this period a number of other, much less ambitious, colonies were founded, all technically under the auspices of the Solar Republic. The dates given below are for the colony's official founding, and [ ] its distance from Sol in parsecs.

  • 2877 NASA [5] settled by citizens of Europe and North America.
  • 2879 WOLF 359, [2.3] a debatably habitable world, was settled by a small team of Pioneers from Great Britain.
  • 2881 SIRIUS [2.6] A world of great potential was discovered and one-third was granted to the Martian Helix by the Solar Republic; the remaining two-thirds were reserved as a penal colony.
  • 2882 STEELYARD [14] (later renamed HIGH LAND) settled by Incorporated Space Traders of Japan and Luna.
  • 2885 CANAAN [26] - (the Church of the Seventh Coming and the Venerian Exodus;) the Church, and associated colonists of many types, accepting that the terraforming of Venus would take many more centuries, departed for a new world which they named 'Promised Land' or 'Canaan'.
  • 2896 HSIEN-TSU [8] (later renamed GLENN) was founded by Asian and Australasian settlers.
  • 2898 MIR [5] was settled by people from Russia and Africa, with a presence by Incorporated Space Traders.

It is not the intention of this general work to describe in detail the early history of these colonies; suffice it to say that the colonists, with energy and determination, overcame both natural hazards and internal conflict, sometimes exacerbated by interference by outside Powers, to make every colony reasonably successful and profitable.

During this entire period, hyperspace travel was severely limited by the expense and difficulty of constructing hyperspace engines and hyperspace transmitters. Only a handful of HYPERLINIUM ACCELERATORS were built and the number of operational vessels rose very slowly, not least because so many were lost by navigational error, reactor leak and numerous other mishaps.

By 2900 only 135 hyperspace ships were registered; most were small (only twelve were of Class 5000) and interstellar commerce, including emigration, was hence extremely small in volume. Exploration was also very restricted; ship-owners were usually unwilling to risk a valuable hyperspace vessel in unknown space, and so new systems were explored only when it was apparent that a higher return was likely than plying between existing colonies; which was rarely the case.

Despite this it has been rumoured that freelance explorers have founded 'secret' colonies; worlds that await rediscovery by mainstream humanity.


The increasing totalitarianism of the Earther rule was increasing discontent, both on the planet itself and in its other domains; for all of Humanity owed at least nominal allegiance to the Government in Havana, Earth. Increasingly, allegiance was owed only in name and the Republic came under terrorist attack. Campaigns of civil disobedience and tax evasion became more widespread.

In the year 2900 came a bloody catastrophe, which slowed the expansion of Humanity's colonies and cost millions of lives; the A.I. Disaster.

THE A.I. DISASTER (known to some as THE ROBOT WAR) remains, in many ways, a mystery.

Controversy rages about what happened and why, but the results were all too apparent. The War began in the Alpha Centauri colony on 2900.123 when Gustav's Artificial Intelligence computer launched an unprovoked attack on a group of Martian star-ships. It remains unknown why the A.I. did this; sabotage and programming error have been suggested. Unfortunately, the Martian vessels were equipped with an A.I., which responded in kind, knocking out orbital defences and bombarding the surface of Gustav. Human operators were powerless to intervene as the battle escalated.

All who could do so, fled. Meanwhile, on Mars a similar or related malfunction occurred, as millions of robots under central A.I. management turned on the human citizens of Mars. Domestic, industrial, environmental and transport control machines became, temporarily at least, lethal enemies of humanity. Three million died in the City of Hellas alone in what became known as THE ROBOT REBELLION [2900 126-29]. Martian astronauts and marines succeeded in destroying the Martian A.I. and its robot defenders [BATTLE OF STICKNEY 2900 UC] in the nick of time;

Mars was shattered economically and still has not recovered fully. Worse was the fate of Gustav. When explorers returned on 2900.242 they discovered a dead world, which had been thermo-nuclear bombed and was in a deep nuclear winter. Of its population of nine million, only the twenty-four thousand refugees who fled in a handful of star-ships survived. The Centaur Corporation declared the planet closed as a memorial.

The consensus among scientists is that an unknown saboteur introduced commands into the programs of the A.I's of both Mars and Gustav, triggering off a sequence of events outside human control. To prevent a recurrence, such machines no longer have such autonomy, particularly over weapons systems. Artificial Intelligence machines were violently shut down throughout human space, causing the loss of vast amounts of data, massive dislocation, and delay to many key scientific programmes. The economic and human cost of the Disaster was huge; fourteen million died and three trillion credits of colonial investment were written off. Particularly for the Martians and Centauri colonists, the psychological scars remain.

From these disasters, it became clear that sentient AI was not a technology that could be safely used, and all polities agrees to the first Stickney Treaty - banning AI's forever.


Since the A.I. Disaster the pace of colonial development slowed down appreciably. Only two brand-new colonies formed, not least because the Semaj Codex no longer had any helpful guides to the discovery of earth-like planets. However, all the existing colonies thrived, and some achieved the position of being able to finance and equip their own expeditions to found 'grand-daughter' colonies.

Not least this has been because of the decision of the Solar Republic, taken by First Citizen ABDULLAH DA SILVA (elected 2905) to encourage colonies to build their own autonomous shipyards for the construction of star-ships. The first of these new colonies were:

2909 NEW GUSTAV [25] also known to some as JABNEH - settled by the surviving Centauri colonists and declared a 'robot -free' colony. Has attracted rapid investment and has a fast-growing population.

2916 AGAMA [8] was founded by religious settlers from Israel, Europe and North America, with heavy backing from Earthers and the colony of High Land.

Mankind started to gain the sort of economic surplus necessary to permit expansion.

2950-3196 : The Great Colonial Age

Gradually, colony world after colony world is finances and founded.  A huge variety of cultural and political diversity re-emerged, and manking regained the freedom to be different.  Overlying this is the increasingly tighter control of the major powers over the trade and political destiny.  The major powers, unable to engage in offensive wars of invasion against the economically powerful homeworlds, conduct their rivalries by proxy amongst the weaker and more distant colonies.  Despite this conflict and low level warfare, growth continues, but the end of this period over 800 worlds are human inhabited.

Earth, under the pressure of a number of secessions and internal dissention, reformed itself as an Empire.

3196-Present : The exterminator War

The first reports of unprovoked attacks of annihilation on human colonies came in the latter part of 3196.  Humanity in the newer outer colonies, particularly in quadrants 5, 6 and 7, temporarily set aside the intrigue and infighting and combined their forces to face the first confirmed alien force.  It transpired that the enemy was a force of AI-controlled super battleships, unleashed in or left over from some long-forgotten war.

The Exterminators were beaten back during bloody and hard fought battles found during 3197 and 3198 across the affected quadrants - cluminating in the location and destruction of two major Exterminator bases.  A temporary respite was gained for a few months, but the middle of 3199 saw a change of tactics and a renewed offensive by this implacable enemy.



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The Universe(of Starship Marine, Starship Strike and Plan A) is © Jim Wallman 1996-2011. You may freely use this material in other games, works, websites etc for your personal entertainment - with appropriate credits as to authorship and copyright. It may not be resold or distributed with any publication for sale without the express permission of the copyright holder.