Great Darkness

Duration Unknown. Estimates between 1000 and 10,000 years
Cause Unknown
Effect 222 air-breathing worlds lost all technology, countless trillions died

Also known as Time of Forgetting

A time-period labeled for each airbreathing world in occupied space when technology fell into ruin and some cataclysmic event that appears to be the same on each planet happened to usher humanity into a time of pre-technology to some capacity. The effect and byproduct of the Great Darkness is unique for each world. On Civil Earth and the Colonial Accord, humanity reverted to a mix of the Renaissance and Victorian-era technologies. In contrast, the Human Alliance and Dolrinion reverted to a combination of classical and early industrial revolutions, while rogue worlds reverted to Iron and Late Middle Age technologies. Some rogue worlds still view themselves as the center of the universe and haven’t reinvented flight yet, and others are beginning to colonize their star systems. One constant for all occupied space is that their Years of Forgetting/Great Darkness was a harsh and unforgiving time with countless deaths and pain. Any planet that made it through the Great Darkness and survived is populated with strong-willed people because of what they had to endure. No one knows what could have had the power to cause all air-breathing planets to fall into their slumber near the same time throughout occupied space.

What is known

Tonight, we speak of the time before time, before the great destruction of our humanity, when things were different here and there across the worlds. We Dark Eyes lived in the fog long before humanity fell into its slumber. Our people were never touched by the gloom above because we already hid in the darkness below for thousands of years. Our blood is pure without corruption or taken, taken into the storm. Topsiders call them Titans, but that wasn’t what they were, no, they were immoral of heart, body, and mind. The terrors of old.

Lowlands of Galma settlement elder

Each air-breathing world has its own depictions of what Old World Titans were. Some planets display them as angelic wise beings who were kind and provided for humanity. Other worlds display them as demonic terrors. The only constant on all planets is that modernized technological societies ended when the Titans left or died off. This mystery is more confusing because it appears that humanity’s ancestors within occupied space went out of their way to destroy Old World technology and achievements. Advanced machines were broken apart by force and buried. Foundation ruins of structures that would make the Civil Earth’s megastructures appear tiny by comparison were brought down and buried. The most educated minds who have spent careers researching this phenomenon believe that something drove humanity with a need to forget their past by physically removing it. Each planet has mass graves with billions of bones.

Scientific remains of Old World technology are discovered by archeologists excavating what they can through extensive dig sites across the stars. This was how the Free Worlds rediscovered faster than light jump drive technology by retrofitting and rebuilding components of Titan technology. To some degree, the Free Worlds can build their own drives from scratch now, yet smaller, more advanced chips are still harvested from sites to utilize in FTL drives. Titan technology doesn’t suffer from erosion the way Free Worlds tech does.

Titans and people from the Old World fall under two separate classifications. Titans are always depicted as angelic or demonic figures standing two hundred and seventy-five centimeters tall (9 feet) figures with the rest of humanity either bowing at their feet or cowering in fear. Occupied space is full of descendants of those people who seemed to have vastly different opinions regarding the ancient ones.

Myths and fables

Even though thousands of years have passed, the stories on each air-breathing planet’s Great Darkness endures. Fables handed down from generation to generation about flying cities that were so large they could create eclipses on worlds by blocking out the sun, to inhuman giants that lived for hundreds of years. Planet’s archaeological dig sites are vastly different from planet to planet, with the only similarity being technology was either destroyed or buried.

Titans are displayed in old art pieces as humans, but they always appear as giants that tower over common humanity. There is much debate over the possibility that Titans were genetically engineered or that the displays and leftover artifacts only depict them in this way to represent their importance in society. This is true for Civil Earth’s Tier One, who always create statues and other fine pieces after famous toga wearers from their history.

Old World

A saying used by Free Worlds citizenry when referring to a time before the Years of Forgetting when Titans lived among humanity and technology was far greater than current understanding. Educated Free Worlders look at the past with envy, curiosity and skepticism because so little remains to give a clear picture of how spectacular the Old World was. These stories might also be built up higher than how society was at that time, but there’s no way to know with certainty.

World seed engines

All artificial worlds have one location where world seed engine foundations remain leftover in ruins from the Old World. Some planets have more than just a perimeter foundation. Half-crumbled walls remain, and even at a 10th of their original size, they tower over distant landscapes. 3D model creation software has taken buried remains of walls, support beams and composited materials to construct seed engines. Free Worlds scientists simulations of models display these Titan marvels towering up as high as the clouds, and their primary metal compounds are of unknown origin. These materials have elements and matter that shouldn’t exist within our space time dimension at molecular levels. Old World composite metals never rust and remain in pristine conditions though they aren’t indestructible.

Only four percent of the planets we reside on through occupied space formed naturally. The rest within their goldilocks zones have world seed engines—more technology from our past. Teams still work on recovering information on how they functioned, but like other innovations, that tech lays in ruins.

Gabrielle Toro, relations station primary school teacher