Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone
History of the Hellenes
I will begin at the beginning…
According to our Oracles and the few remnants that remain from that era, our people awakened from Xaos a little over two millennia ago on our homeworld of Creta, in the Knossos System. Our Awakening was at the bidding of The Twelve, our Gods, who saw fit to give us life that we might worship them. In exchange for our obedience and worship, the Gods shared with us many things and made us a great people. Within a few centuries we had gained knowledge and capability sufficient to colonize the entire planet and were read to move offworld. This may come as a shock even in our time, we Hellenes have encountered many primitive races who have evidently struggled for thousands of years to achieve what took us but a moment. This is but further evidence of the greatness of our people and our Gods.
But this is a history, not a diatribe. I will move on.
In the 450th year after our Awakening, we took the first steps off Creta and began colonizing the remainder of our system. Within fifty short years space travel was considered nearly as commonplace as it is now, and a network of artificial satellites and stations were established. For many years we occupied ourselves with peaceful exploration, finding no foes to stop us from taking all that we saw. Alas, we often fell to fighting amongst ourselves, Spartan against Athenoian, even then. Only the Atlanteans, aloof councilors, seemed to remain neutral, binding us together when things seemed they would crumble.
As if to punish our squabbles, one day the Twelve stopped talking to us as if they had suddenly been blotted out. There, at the edge of our system, was Kronos, an immense being who seemed unstoppable. He claimed to have devoured our Gods, and said he would devour us as well. Yet somehow, in some way, we put aside our petty differences, unified as a people, and overcame him. We cast Kronos into a nearby star, and the Twelve returned.
But things were changing, accelerating, moving. Kronos’ disturbance of the star called Thera was sending towards nova, and threatened to destroy our entire system. So we fled, and spread out to find a new world. Again, we squabbled. Spartan and Atlantean headed off in one direction, the rest in another, and even that unified group spreading out, thinning through the blackness of space. For a time all of us were alone.
Perhaps we cannot fully appreciate what it is like to discover that you are not alone in the universe. During your lifespan, we have spread so far that is seems we encounter some new planet or new race regularly. But a thousand years ago, as we drifted from our home system, it seemed we were all there was. How wrong we were.
The first to cross our path were the Amazoran, who had – like us – begun to colonize other worlds. At the time, our need was greater, or so we insisted. There were battles, and blood was shed and victory obtained for the Hellenes. It was with establishing a new home system for our people that the Second Age truly came to be.
The planet Athenoi was named our new center of government, a decision that was not made without controversy as you well know. Attikan space was at the time involved in heavy conflict with Amazorans, so the Spartans felt their system would be a better choice. They were not alone. The Argosians, the Atlanteans – many opposed Athenoi, many of them powerful. As we always seem to do, we fell to civil war, into disarray. No longer one people, we became many, spreading across the sky. Today you see our systems unified in some sense, but back then it was all frontier in all directions, and each system was a separate universe. Our people had become divided and oh, how we warred!
The Machina Revolt began in earnest, ending with the destruction of all artificial lifeforms, for fear of future rebellions. The Scylla appeared through the Charbydis blackhole from elsewhere and threatened Megaran space. They were only driven back by the assistance of the Spartans and the Delphoians and their new weapons, developed in secret. The Athenoi warred with the Amazorans on their home world, and so discovered the Zorans who aided their cousins and drove the Athenoi back. This of course led to the Traoan War, and a victory for the Hellenes, albeit at a terrible cost. We made friends. We made enemies. And we discovered that some of our friends were enemies.
I speak of the Atlanteans.
It was Proclus who first discovered what they were – what they had become – and the horrors they were doing, and though it seems impossible, it was less than a year from his outcry that we were at war with them. The ensuing war was harsh, to say the least. While good came of it – the Delphoi League, for example – much was lost. Entire colonies were wiped out by the Atlantean forces, who were far more numerous than we could have imagined. Billions died. And in the end, victory was won only by surprise, when the Atlantean home world was attacked directly, sending it plummeting into Slipspace, sinking to the inky depths forever, never to be seen again.
Cut off from their base of operations, the remnants of the Atlantean fleet were easily destroyed. With their passing there was, at long last, peace amongst the Hellenes. We rebuilt. We recovered. And, alas, we forgot.
The arrival of the Zintar marks the traditional start of the Third Age, but it was a failure of ours that defines it. You see, we as a people began to forget our Gods. Some said it was because we had spread ourselves so thin that we had lost our bond with one another. Others claimed that we had been corrupted by other races, by the Atlanteans, our purity of mind and purpose having been lost. Still others said that we no longer needed our Gods, that we had moved beyond them. Some few, quickly silenced, claimed that there never had been Gods at all.
We entered an age of curious contrasts, of darkness and light. We moved away from the Gods and towards one another. We recorded our histories, and became artists, traders, and philosophers. We held games in Olympia, in honor of the Twelve who no longer spoke to us. We continued to spread out, to colonize new systems, led by the Athenoi.
War, of course, was inevitable, and without an enemy to fight we fought ourselves. The Spartans took Athenoi, then lost it. Drako seized power, then stepped down years later having accomplished so little. Even the mighty Delphoi League was not immune from corruption, disbanding in disgrace for a time, only reforming at the behest of the Oracles not twenty years ago.
In the end, it took the return of old enemies to unite us again. First, the Zorans, defying treaties to attack in the Aegean. And then the Scyllans from Ionia once again. And then…
Our lights flicker, the ship groans and buckles and the alarm sounds to indicate that we have been boarded. I have only minutes, perhaps less, to relay to you my final thoughts.
I may be the first to acknowledge that we, as a people, have entered a new era. Certainly you are aware of it, being as you are one of the few to whom the Twelve are again speaking. Long ago, this would not have been seen as a gift, for all Hellenes communed with the Gods as you do now. The fact that the Gods have returned to speak with some of us is a sure sign that things are changing once again. But there is another sign, larger, and more ominous. No doubt by the time you read this, you will already know some of what I am about to relay. We ourselves just discovered the truth some hours ago so for me it is still news. Terrifying, horrible news.
Late last year, the Kyklopes’ home world was destroyed. At the time we had no clues as to who had perpetrated the crime. But now it has happened again, closer to home. For not two hours ago, we suddenly lost communication with Sparta. We went to investigate and discovered that their entire system had been destroyed. Annihilated. And we found those responsible.
The Atlanteans have returned.
When last we fought them, the Twelve spoke to us all, and I firmly believe that it was through their guidance that we defeated them. Now the Twelve speak only to a few. The import of this should be clear to you, but if it’s not, allow me to lay it plain: you, and those like you, those who speak with Gods – you are our last hope…
Now it seems I am out of time. There is fighting in the hull and my door buckles with the impact of a heavy shoulder. They are coming through. I am finished. But this war they have started, it has only just begun. Finish it, my son.
May the Twelve be with you.