The original Federation Timeline didn’t include a variety of background items from the distant past (since the players wouldn’t be aware of them), and – of course – didn’t include any of the major in-game events or their consequences. Since more information is currently available, I’ve expanded this timeline:
-65 Million Years: The highly-social Ratha begin their expansion into space. They discover the Umal – a primitive quasi-reptilian amphibious race of hierarchical pack-hunters with formidable berserker-enhancements which (barely) allow them to hold territory along limited areas of the continental fringes and islands against the competition of other predators. The Ratha attempt to assist them in building a civilization. The results are disastrous. The Ouratha robotic troops are developed to shore up the defenses, and later are redesigned to enforce a genetic-modification solution – splitting the Umal into a sane subspecies and the original psychotics in the manifold. Unfortunately, sharing cultural details has linked the Umal and Ratha manifolds. When the Ratha manifold begins to open, it subjects their homeworlds to new primal-Umal attacks. Ratha civilization collapses in chaos, rather than in the usual slow decay. The Ouratha robots, unable to pursue the Primal Umal into the manifold, add “maintain and protect civilization” to their original mandates – defending civilization and the Ratha, containing the primal Umal, supervising inter-species interactions, limiting such interactions to safe levels, and supervising species expansion. Unfortunately, the Ratha civilization is gone, although a low-population pastoral culture – and occasional use of the Ratha worlds as day-care and educational centers – continues to this day.
-35 Million Years: The Ouratha, following up on new species contacts, control most of the galactic core. Numerous uninhabited solar systems have been converted into industrial centers, and several thousand encountered species have been supervised, and their cultures and technologies recorded and preserved, despite the organic tendency to occasionally do supernatural things and for their populations to appear and disappear in violation of various accepted natural laws. A gradual expansion into the galactic arms begins. Unfortunately, as information is shared, the primal Umal spread as well – albeit now spread so thinly as to be an annoyance rather than a major threat. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, the Ouratha define pre-technical civilizations as being unready for contact unless emergency assistance is required.
The Taractocoli Resistance:
-14,200 BC: The semi-independent mobile trade-emissary units of the Taractocoli (oceanic community-minds, each resembling a coral-reef community covering up to a hundred square miles) begin probing into space, seeking – as per their genetic imperatives – additional trading partners. They are quite disappointed to find that the Ouratha robots are actively inhibiting both long-range travel and the spread of more mobile civilizations, thus putting them out of reach.
-13,800 BC: The Taractocoli begin undermining the Ouratha regime by sending out genetic engineering teams through the manifold to uplift, and push towards civilization, higher lifeforms on various nearby worlds – implementing a long-term plan to create their own nearby trading partners.
-11,400 BC: The Sarresh (feathered quasi-felines) are uplifted by the Taractocoli (the eighteenth race to be so aided), and begin to build their own civilization with the Taractocoli’s covert assistance.
100 AD: The Sarresh achieve nuclear power and space travel, and come under the protection/supervision/rule of the Ouratha. They are assisted in the colonization and industrialization of their solar system. (The Ouratha would also have intervened – helpfully – if their civilization had hit the industrial era and then started to collapse).
Developments on Earth:
2020-2060: “The Crisis Years”. A combination of factors – the rapid dispersion of diseases such as AIDS, the various Filoviruses, and Brazilian Hemmoragic Fever (Likely a runaway bioweapon) via air transportation, the massive climatological changes and rising sea levels resulting from global warming, resource exhaustion, water shortages, extinctions, soil depletion, pollution – and the fertility drop resulting from the dispersion of estrogen-mimicing chemicals, leads to massive ecological, social and industrial disruptions.
2015-23. The Resource Wars. A series of small- scale conflicts – mostly over oil – throughout the Middle East, Far East, Africa and South America. The profession of “Mercenary” becomes respectable, but the actual damage is relatively minor.
2024. Reliable, bodywide, genetic modification techniques developed – and widely used to stop the progression of AIDS. Sadly, much of Africa and the Far East is virtually depopulated already.
2029. Brazilian Hemmoragic Fever – an airborne virus resembling Ebola – breaks out in Brazil. The containment measures will eventually include major nuclear strikes. A cure is found by 2030, but much of the world will be generations recovering.
2031. Exotica Bodyworks, specialists in human- genetic augmentation and bioware, opens for business – and kicks off years of legal wrangling.
2034. Commercial neural interfaces come on the market, making cyberware practical.
2036-2060. “The Anarch Years”. Amid mass social disorder and corporate infighting, groups begin to employ bio- and cyber-enhanced agents against each other. The “Cyberpunk” era.
2039. Anasensecence or Youth treatments become truly effective. Those who can afford the cost can now extend their basic lifespans by at least fifty years. Global unrest, assasinations, and outrage, inspire the development of cheaper treatments with somewhat reduced results… Improvements continue from this point on, leading to increased stability and social order as the average age increases, but a decrease in the rate of scientific development.
2043. The European Fusion Consortium builds, and brings online, the first “commercial” fusion power plant. The surviving industrial nations adopt the design; cheap energy – and intensive recycling using fusion heat – begins a general recovery
2049. The Siberian Wars break out. Much of the far east is eventually involved. Mutual exhaustion eventually ends the conflict, but massive european investment is required for rebuilding.
2054-55. The Environmental Restoration Council holds it’s first effective series of meetings. ERC regulations will form the foundation of the global recovery effort over the next century – and continue to hold a good deal of influence today.
2058. The first Laser-Launch Facility built in Baja, California. Orbital Colonies follow shortly.
2060-2102: The Environmental Reaction. Massive cleanup efforts, restoration of extinct species, and climactic control efforts are undertaken. Earth is the first planet to be “Terraformed”… Most heavy industries are transferred offworld. Vat-based food production using fusion energies supplements, and partially replaces farming. Genetic modification of the human genome threatens creation of multiple subspecies. The Environmental Restoration Council becomes a major power – while many of the smaller, “classical”, nations begin to merge.
2062. Asteroid WRM-371 – now commonly known as “Wormwood” – makes a near-earth approach. The true extent of the danger remains unknown today, but is “played up” by the remaining astronomers. Results include riots, an upsurge in religions and “enjoy it while you can” movements – and a global industrial effort to turn it aside… Given that most current estimates of the impact chance are less then a 2% anyway, this succeeds easily. Lack of agreement as to the appropriate group to put in charge hands it to the Environmental Restoration Council. The work is sucessfully completed in 2066.
2064. The Ecumenical Council… Faced with the theological dilemmas raised by genetic engineering and modification of humans, ani-men, fuctional sex changes, artifical life, cosmology, the widespread social disruption of the period, and various other challenges, a council of religious leaders reaches agreement on unification… Buddhism, Catholicism, and many of the fragmented smaller sects, combine.
2069. Small-scale fusion generators and drives enter commercial production. “Spaceplanes” become common, small towns become virtually independent.
2073. Mining of the asteroid belt and relocation of smaller asteroids begins.
2076. The Casamir Generator is developed – and opens the first major “new frontier” in physics in the past fifty years.
2081. First lunar “states” established.
2084. Sailsbury Plain Supercollidor in England demonstrates the existence of quark substructure and validates the “Keith-Erissin nonlinear interaction theorems” – demonstrating both the interactions of sentient minds with quantum effects and the electro- cosmological interaction.
2087. Danar Sky Survey locates 183 potentially habitable planets within 60 light years, and three extraterrestial ecosystems. They survey also notes a wide variety of planetoids in the Oort Cloud and an assortment of deep-space phonoumena. The first, asteroid-based, colony ships are soon launched.
2092. Keith-Erissin force field developed. The Mach Drive (96) and the Inertial Damper (99) follow.
2094. “Paraphysical Abilities” demonstrated to be Keith-Erissin interactions tuned by the nervous system. The effects and range are both very limited.
2098. Some 80% of Earth’s surface “returned to nature”, The Sahara Sea is created.
2103-2214: Solar Expansion. The introduction of commercial Mach-Drive Spaceplanes drives a wave of expansion across the solar system. Terraforming is applied successfully to Mars, less successfully to Venus. The colonization of the Oort cloud is begun by breakaway groups, and generation-style colonizing expeditions continue to be launched… Progress in science and technology slows as resources and manpower is devoted to colonization, terraforming and expansion – and as theories become so complex that only true geniuses can understand them at all.
2103. The “Voyager” Fusion Thruster/Mach-Drive Hybrid Spaceplane goes commercial. Bussard Ramjet systems will be added in 2117 – partially negating fuel-velocity limitations. Ships may now reach top speeds of almost .75C.
2119. Dana reaches Bernards Star and establishes the first extrasolar colony. The trip, made at .05 G, required slightly over 25 years.
2126. Oort mining crews discover life deep in the ice of several planetoids. It uses DNA-RNA and protein coding compatible with earthly life… The discovery validates the Arehennius Spore Theory, and leads to predictions of compatible ecospheres, and extreme biohazards, on worlds around other suns. A number of the mining “colonies” will later be used as bases for the establishment of permanent colony settlements in the Oort cloud.
2133. Holzman Genetic Survey demonstrates that better then 60% of the population at large carries three or more genetic enhancements; The Herinfjord Maturation Series (Enhanced strength, agility, and endurance) and Adojan Immunity Enhancement (From the AIDS period) are near-universal. Premarital gene- counseling now highly advisable.
2134-38. Mars is subjected to a carefully directed series of directed cometary impacts designed to provide additional volatile elements and water. As a desirable side effect, numerous volcanoes are reactivated.
2153. Terraforming of Venus begins. Earth 99% urban, stabalized at approximately two billion.
2167-76. The Solar Wars. Political wrangling – backed by extensive military “posturing” and a few skirmishes around various space outposts – results in official Terran – soon to be Solar – Federation recognition of the Outworlds Alliance – and the wide variety of local governments it encompasses.
2192. Establishment of the Unified Federation Defense Corps. Given the general lack of enemies, the UFDC slowly evolves into a sort of combination peacekeeping/exploratoration/engineering/job corps organization with secondary military aspects. This is widely regarded as a good thing – especially by those considering the full destructive “potential” of space-based weaponry
2214. Benford Ling, experimenting with anomaly 3187CV, successfully demonstrates a prototype jump drive – really little more then a minor, if a very complex, modulation of standard ship shields. The main limitation is the distribution of jump points – and the time required to locate them.
2215-2431: Interstellar Expansion… Jump drive technology allows cheap and easy colonization on a massive scale. The exploration of alien ecologies and lifeforms advances the life sciences, but leaves little interest in – or funding for – other fields of study… Coupled with the conservatism inherent in vastly extended lifespans, and the constant drain of the adventurous and energetic to colony worlds, the physical sciences stagnate. Great improvements are, however, made in education and psychosurgery. Secondary civilizations develop in the Oort cloud.
2218. “Teacher”, the most sophisticated expert instructional program to date, is released as free software. It’s limitless personal interaction, VR teaching environments, patience, terabytes of data and techniques derived from dealing with millions of human children, transforms education. As intended, human society maintains a certain coherance across the light years. Enhanced socialization, effective “intelligence”, and mental stabality, become normal.
2256. The first “Galactic” survey reaches 500 light years out. Biospheres prove plentiful, as do waterworlds and desert worlds – but advanced life is rare, and no other sentient races are found. Some two-thirds of the stars within 500 LY seem to have one or more jump points associated with them, most commonly at 20-40 light hours out.
2265. With significant human colonies present on forty worlds, and a variety of unpleasant alien bioagents “encountered”, the initial enthuiasm for colonization wanes. A period of consolidation, and better surveys before colonization, ensues. Final approval is left up to teams of “expendables” sent on preliminary surveys.
2288. First Contact. The Tahl, a vaguely eel-like aquatic species, are discovered on Mac Lir, a recently-discovered waterworld. Their “culture” is ruthless, intricate, and – thanks to their lack of manipulative organs and enviornment – purely oral. A research center is soon established, but most of the human race finds it pretty disappointing. Some primitive talking fish were not what they’d had in mind for an alien race.
2300. The Malenfant Foundation – driven by the general disappointment of the Tahl – campaigns for widespread uplift of several species to full human equality. Bypassing both environmental and genetic laws, the foundation establishes breeding colonies of sentient Chimpanzees, Dogs, Dolphins and Squid. After much wrangling, members of these species are granted limited rights on most worlds.
2346. Menemonic Interface developed. Computers can now act as an integral part of the user’s mind and memory. Skill programs and Actwire technologies are developed shortly thereafter. Physical science begins something of a renaissance.
2376. The existence of Quagma demonstrated.
2497. The Terran Sphere reaches 100 colonized worlds. Solar Federation officially renamed to The Federation in recognition of this milestone.
2532. Current time. The Ourathan invasion.
2533: The Ramath, an exploration craft, encounters the Ouratha, and is followed to Cinture (named for its unusual equatorial ring of continents), an outlying colony world. The Ouratha promptly invest the system and begin the usual takeover – although they do lose a few ships to the unpredictable resistance of the asteroid miners. In the absence of the usual courier, the free-trader Soravin under John Calzin is paid a substantial bonus to take a couple of troubleshooter-investigators on board, make a courier run, and check up on the colony.
The crew of the Soravin successfully investigates a wrecked Ourathan ship and determine that a robotic invasion, albeit one resisted by a second unknown alien group as well as the locals, is underway. While the robots technology is better than humanities, it involves refinements of known principles only; most technological limits have apparently been reached. In a desperate attempt to escape after being spotted by the Ouratha, the Soravin jumps out of reality entirely – eventually (albeit after lengthy series of adventures in the manifold and both acquiring and losing members of the crew) managing to return to core earth. Consulting with McAndrew, of the Earth Defense Forces (until now a fairly theoretical organization), the Soravin crew undertakes a variety of missions into the Manifold, investigates the Ouratha, discover the existence of the primal Umal, and deal with a small group of them.
2534-5: Meanwhile, after determining that offensive operations against the Ouratha are problematic – and that the people of the worlds that are being taken over are not in any urgent need of rescue – humanity falls back on jump-point defenses while the Soravin attempts to trace the Ouratha back to their origin near the galactic core. The traceback is partially successful – but does pass near enough to the Taractocoli to encounter several of their client-species. Attempts to negotiate with the Ouratha – and demands to speak to the organic intelligences involved by an increasingly-crazed (or possibly possessed) Captian Calzin – are fairly fruitless, although there is no particular hostility from the Ouratha.
2536: Approaches diverged, as Captian Calzin attempted to deploy the resources of the “Imperial Space” Zone of the Mandate against the Ouratha and then, finding even those resources insufficient, first triggered a nova and accidentally created a ring singularity near the front lines – requiring the evacuation of several worlds thanks to the expanding radiation shockwave – and then went in search of super-weapons. Meanwhile, Ryan and company began importing exotic matter from the depths of the Manifold and reinforcing the jump point blockades as the Ouratha begin exploiting the Ring Singularity. Back on core earth, the consequences of dimensional travel – and the disappearances of talented children – are starting to become apparent. As Orc invasions (chasing a child who’d wandered off with the One Ring), fictional characters, and similar intrusions begin to take priority over a distant robotic threat, the jump point barricades are reinforced to the point where the Ouratha elect to launch a fleet through normal space – even if it will take at least 50-60 years to arrive near core earth from their closest holding – and close to 300 to reach the furthest human-held worlds. Captian Calzin is diverted into a hypothetical military simulation-world, self-destructs there, and is put on time-out.
2540: Technological innovation and research begins again – but is greatly hindered by the diversion of talented individuals into exploring the possibilities of the Manifold and by periodic fantastic intrusions and by the fact that life is already pretty comfortable. It has become accepted that many children will spend quite a lot of time poking around in the Manifold.
2548: With dimensional gates becoming more common, the modestly-talented begin to wander into the Manifold – and are unable to readily escape unpleasant situations. Protective measures – such as guides – are set up and an ongoing effort to bring at least some of the more accessible worlds under some sort of control is instigated. The Singularity Wars begin – albeit with relatively little effect on core earth, although an apparently-perpetual series of low-key intrusions provides plenty of opportunities for special forces actions and individual heroes. Conflicts in the manifold vary wildly.
2572: Ships, wagon trains, and similar “primitive” transportation using gates/”wormholes” to move through the Manifold are now transporting as much traffic as actual starships are. Preparations for the eventual defense of core earth are now well underway – although continuing interactions with the occupied worlds via the manifold lead many to question the necessity. Current predictions indicate the arrival of the Ourathan fleet in 2591.