A bit of history behind the Clonetard-Cityverse. The first installment covers the earliest mechae and the first FTL ships.
About this creation
(Note: this is presented as a "History For The Ignorant" summing-up. For the record: the "Present Day" in-verse is 2579.)
We'll start with the 20th to 21st centuries. Very little before then applies to the present day.
The 20th century was a time of great change;
Wars were waged on an unprecedented scale, with armies millions strong clashing over periods of years. There were technically two major wars in the first half of the century, but the second arose directly from the end of the first, so they can be considered one protracted conflict.
Espionage became ever more sophisticated, with a plethora of new technologies giving secret agents a surplus of options to accomplish their missions. On the other hand, counterspies were privy to many of those.
The second half of the 20th century was dominated by a cold war (the first, in fact) between the "NATO" group, a mass of squabbling nations technically unified under the lead of the "United States Of America" (a densely populated and highly industrialised nation, with considerable natural resources), and the "Warsaw Pact", a similar but more unified group led by the "Soviet Union" (similar to the USA but with a larger population, which later grew into the Russian Federation). The threat of imminent destruction loomed over much of the world during this time, and echoes can be seen in the art and politics of the period.
On the technological front, superweapons both large- the first thermonuclear devices, pathetically crude devices but impossibly potent by the standards of the time -
and small- weaponised contagions -were developed and tested as a form of one-upmanship between the two factions.
Other than that, the first manned spacecraft showed up during this period, as well.
Mechae showed up early in the 21st century, when a group of disgruntled students in a small, densely populated nation called "Japan" built a device they called "Super Ultra Mega Death Robot Kawaii" in order to protest against the excessive regimentation present in their society at the time.
A note: we are unsure as to what, exactly, "Kawaii" translates to. We believe it to be a mis-spelling of "Hawaii"; an island chain between the Soviet Union and USA which was nuked out of existence in the 1980s as punishment for American forces being deployed to an isolated and unimportant region known as "Afghanistan", which the Union laid claim to.
Anyway: the Japanese government managed to bring the device down after a time, and promptly executed the crew. They reverse engineered it to produce protomechae of their own, which caused considerable upset in foreign territories, particularly the Soviet Union.
The Soviets rushed along a program of their own, which naturally led to NATO countries having a go as well.
The first known mecha-on-mecha engagement was in 2008, near a town named Chumikan, in the Soviet Union territory of Siberia. Japanese forces, led by mechae that by modern standards were impossibly crude, had forced their way through much of lower Siberia. Soviet and NATO satellite weapons were dueling for position, rendering the considerable orbital nuclear weapon stockpile of the Soviet Union unavailable for the time being, so ground troops were forced to fall back constantly. Eventually, however, the first company of "Monstr" mechae (noteworthy as the first combat-production quad mechae) arrived, and their (for the time) tremendous firepower turned the tide.
The Japanese were desperately fighting for control of Vladivostok, their landing point, two months later, when the Soviet space forces managed to gain the upper hand and render the conflict moot as only an orbital bombardment with fusion bombs can do. The result of this was the effective destruction of Japanese culture, language and technology. Very little of it remains to this day.
After that, a massive number of skirmishes between NATO and the Warsaw Pact rendered the next 20 years a very interesting time period to live in, although the sheer horror of the Siberian War forced nuclear weapons to become weapons of last resort.
However: the Warsaw Pact eventually collapsed. The Soviet Union shrank to only contain Russia, and was renamed to the Russian Federation. A new spirit of "cooperation" filled the world, and the various nations tended to rally behind any project that promised to help their goals.
A brilliant scientist named Thomas Ross, helped by a team of dedicated assistants, pitched an idea to the "United Nations" which fit perfectly: he claimed to have come up with a device which he believed could be the key to faster-than-light travel, but it was very sensitive to gravitational effects. He proposed to build a spaceship; more accurately, a starship, in the L-1 point of the Sol system. (Lagrange Points: refer to Basic Astrophysics if you've already forgotten.) The UN jumped at it; even if it wasn't capable of interstellar travel, such a vessel could make it to pretty much any point in the solar system, with tremendous advantages. (This was before the EWS Columbus mis-jumped traveling to the Jovian system; having the ship and crew creatively mangled in that fashion proved to everyone that jump calculations had to be extremely precise, and couldn't be calculated ahead of time. Lagrange points are difficult things; they get worse the more bodies are involved. Generally the points above and below the star are the easiest to use.)
These pictures are frames from the maiden jump of the EWS Drake, which jumped from L1 to L3; to the other side of Sol, basically.
As you can see, the Drake bore a remarkable resemblance to later, more advanced jumpships. The main differences lie in the design of the jump drive; the exact positions of the adjustable jump spines have massive effects on a jump as well, but that's beyond the scope of this article.
This image was taken from a distance of 120 kilometres, from an unmanned satellite, two seconds before the jump.
This is where the recording ends. Unfortunately, the tremendous EMP effect of a jump was not expected or compensated for; the Drake, unmanned at the time, had to have its electronics completely refitted afterwards. The satellites, not being nearly as overengineered, were completely fried. They weren't meant to be recovered anyway, though, so no great loss.
Next time, we'll be looking at the spread of humanity and the rise of the Terran Confederacy.
If you're interested in Clonetard City (the game):