Arion Empire Edit
The most powerful Empire in the galaxy and a chief rival to the Enlightenment. In a variant continuity, it is called the Aurean Empire. Its symbol is the Nightwing, a vicious batlike predator. The Empire is ruled from its home planet of Aria (or Aurea). The Emperor is of the Primal caste and rules a growing number of system and is the head of all their armed forces.
Arion history is roughly divided into four periods; Birth, Exodus, Emergence and Empire.
1) Birth covered the creation of the Velorians by the Galen through to the point where the Naturalists departed.
2) Exodus followed their use of a dimensional transporter to find Aria, a close copy of the world their ‘gods’ had chosen for their race, and continued through the Gene-bomb betrayal (the cause of which is ambiguous) that trapped them on Aria’s surface, adaptation to their new Prime/Betan cast and evolution of their technology. It was during this time that they developed their first crude wallships (huge slabs of metal designed to take enough punishment to get Primes close enough to land on enemy ships) in response to pirate raids, not to mention the infamous Scalantran First Strike. And this led to the Emergence.
3) Emergence was a direct consequence of First Strike. The Pirates who had come before had never attacked the planet itself -- they’d simply landed in isolated areas and carried off villages of Betans. No one knows why the Arions attacked the first Scalantran ships to come visiting; perhaps they were simply mistaken for pirates. Whatever the case, the Scalantrans were treated as pirates -- they were enslaved, and their ships converted to Arion use. Because they turned out to be simply trading vessels, adapting them to military use was an onerous task -- one still in progress at the time of the First Strike.
The first, and at the time intended to be only Scalantran warship, was a couple of leagues above anything the Arions had seen before and their defences couldn’t hope to match it. Single-handedly the vessel destroyed most of their re-commissioned fleet, liquidated their wallships before they came in range, destroyed the orbital platforms and obliterated their capital city before returning home, revenge complete.
Yet this attack did not in fact result in many casualties. Admittedly thousands were lost when the fleet was destroyed, but the Scalantrans weren’t totally heartless: they broadcast what they were going to do long before they arrived so there was time for a complete evacuation. Scalantrans, being economically motivated, saw more gain in wiping out Aria’s technical and economic base than killing its people. It had been the same centuries earlier in a clash with the Diaboli.
Had they known what a hornet's nest they’d stirred up they’d have probably accepted the lost ships as an unfortunate accident or, contrarily, simply sterilized the planet. What came next is, as they, history. The Arion attitude changed, far from being passive and merely defending against attack, they wanted to be pro-active and wipe out any threat before it could become a danger. They started with the Scalantrans. Once their economy was back up they rebuilt their wallships, this time with the crucial addition of wormhole shields, and made their first intersystem jump in hundreds of years. That attack was the start of the Empire.
4) The Arions decided security came from crushing all possible enemies and constantly expanding borders. Thus was the juggernaut of The Arion Empire was born.
The target was a remote Scalantran Meetpoint world, discovered by chance and only lightly defended. The Arions had learned their lessons and designed wallships accordingly, making them thicker and faster with new materials. They knew from observation that they wouldn’t be going up against any warships in any case, just some orbital defences and unmanned drones, none of which was a match for the fleet arrayed against them. Once the Primes hit the ground the slaughter they wrought was unimaginable, the entire colony was wiped out and its technology subverted to feed the growing Arion xenophobia. By the time the Scalantrans learned of the colony’s demise, their trading empire in that section of the Galaxy was under full attack by the seemingly unstoppable Supremis.
The First Arion/Scalantran War was relatively short but bloody. While the Scalantran technology and economy were stronger the Arions could only be stopped in space, and their home system was far too distant to be threatened. Again and again the pattern would be repeated with small Scalantran squadrons laying waste to vastly largely Arion fleets (not wallships anymore but smaller, most efficient drop craft,) but always a small number of Arion craft would inevitably slip past and land unstoppable warriors (Primes and Betans) on planet surfaces, or worse, the defense fleet would find their hulls suddenly swarming with Primes who’d survived amongst the debris.
Facing an escalating, seemingly unwinnable conflict blossoming before their eyes, the Scalantran leadership did the only thing they could; they implemented the First Consensus -- threw money at the problem until it went away, placating the Arions with systems and resources until an informal settlement was reached. Under that Consensus, the Scalantrans did nothing to oppose the expansion of what was now becoming the Arion Empire, and the Arions -- for the time being -- avoided further attacks.