Episode 1: Prelude to War – Twelve Colonies of Kobol

Hello, everyone! My name is Apollonir, and welcome to our new series "First Contact: Colonial War"! Our series will explore the context of what was dubbed the Great War, the political decisions that lead to it and saw it through, and the important engagements between the alien Citadel and the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, both in space and on the ground.

Before we delve into the actual war, in the bloody fighting that saw the death of billions of people on both sides, we must explore the context that lead to the war. How a certain string of events and decisions snowballed into the greatest slaughter in recorded human history. And we'll start with the Twelve Colonies.

I believe it is safe to say that had we not discovered element zero, we would have zero knowledge of alien life and we would have probably found ourselves in another war with the Cylons. But, as destiny would have it, a fateful discovery was made. That discovery happened on October 4th 2122, five years after the Cylon War.

After the war, the Twelve Colonies were extremely busy rebuilding the devastated colonies, and building its naval force. The demand for raw resources was so high that the home production could not satisfy the demand. With the Red Line now in place, the Colonies had to look for resources further away from the Cyrannus System than ever before. And it was the prospector ship Kolodona that first found element zero deposits on the planet Panora Beta II, in the Panora Beta System.

The discovery perplexed human scientists at the beginning. It was unheard of to find a chemical element with atomic mass zero. As you already know, the main property of eezo is the ability to release dark energy when subjected to electrical current. The released dark energy can be manipulated into mass effect fields that can lower or raise the mass of objects within the fields. This is but school trivia for you, so we will not dwell on the topic.

Another major discovery that helped us make leaps in eezo based technologies and physics came in the form of an alien outpost two years later, in 2124, on Panora Beta II's equator. The outpost, for it was a very small base, perhaps established for the same reasons we were there for, looked like it had been abandoned a long time ago. The former occupiers left behind many pieces of technology, among which were two turrets with cannons and three computers.

Before we go over the technologic advancements this new find enabled, we must first consider the major impact proof of intelligent alien life had on Colonial society. You see, the very first words of the Sacred Scrolls say that, and I quote, "life here began out there". It's widely accepted that humanity originates from the legendary planet of Kobol. There are no fossil records of human evolution anywhere on the Twelve Colonies, so we must have come from another planet some 2,000 years ago. The prospect of alien life, intelligent nonetheless, turned upside down many religious ideas, especially the one saying that humans were the only intelligent race, as the Lords of Kobol graced the universe with.

This worked as the catalyst to further unite humanity under the Colonial rule. Humanity was still fractured when the Cylon War began. The history of interplanetary conflicts between the colonies is pretty long. The Twelve Colonies – a federated, presidential, multi-ethnocratic system – rose to prominence in the wake of the Cylon War. This was the closest humanity ever came to full union in history. But, once the war was over, old arguments started to rekindle. The rebuilding effort was heavily focused on the colonies most damaged by the conflict, so, naturally, the vast majority of resources flowed there. Secession was becoming a very possible outcome. But President Hartmut Hodde knew how to use the discovery to the Colonies' advantage. His announcement and charismatic speeches about how we had to face the future together, to stand strong against a possible alien and Cylon menace… they worked wonders in consolidating unity and raising the legitimacy of the Colonial Government and, by extension, the Twelve Colonies.

This frenzy of humanity against everything else pushed for many advancements, especially in the military. People were very afraid of a possible alien threat besides the Cylons. It gave us a big scare, the prospect of having to fight two enemies on two fronts. The robots wanted our destruction, why would aliens not? Let me tell you, this very mentality is what will escalate the war with the Citadel in 2157 and 2158.

The applications of eezo were numerous. More and more star systems that housed the mineral in various quantities were discovered as humanity explored further away from the Panora Beta star cluster. Most applications went into the transportation industry, as new ships that integrated mass effect technologies were built. The military too was happy to introduce mass effect based weaponry to the Colonial Fleet. By 2132, the Colonial Fleet's new warships were equipped with mass accelerator close in weapon systems to use against incoming munitions and aircraft. This significantly reduced the amount of space ammunition occupied on a ship.

The major issue was overheating of the weapons, but a very ingenious cooling system based on liquid nitrogen allowed a CIWS weapon to fire 45 minutes without stopping until the weapon would overheat. The fact that the new CIWS systems were a mix between mass effect and traditional ammunition played a factor. You see, conventional thinking would have you design tradition feeding system for mass effect weapons. The ammo is supplied in the form of a metallic block, and mass effect fields would chip away small pieces that were launched at the target. But, as the galaxy would find out, the Colonial Fleet is anything but conventional, as the designers were more ingenious with the method of reloading. Instead of feeding a solid metal block, the projectiles were still the old bullets but with no casing and explosive propeller. The slug was fed into the barrel and accelerated to relativistic speeds. The rate of fire was not as great as old CIWS, neither was the maximum speed achieved by the slug compared to Citadel weapon velocities, but overheating was no longer an issue of immediate concern. The mass accelerated CIWS emplacements were the only reasonable step forward.

From a demographic and geographic point of view, the Twelve Colonies began to expand outwards on new habitable planets discovered along the way. The discovery of a mass relay in the Panora Epsilon System opened the gates to the galaxy and many habitable planets. The discovery of a mass relay caused more unrest in the Cyrannus System. Many of the religious, especially Sagittarons and Gemenese, would be very upset when the government announced they'd make use of the relay once it was discovered how it worked and what it did. The superstitious ones even claimed that it was heresy to colonize planets on the other side of the relay. The Lords of Kobol, though angry at us during the Exodus from Kobol, did bless and guide us to the Cyrannus System. It is a statistical improbability to find twelve garden worlds concentrated in four stellar systems that are in the astronomical backyard as it happened here. One can be excused when he claims it as divine intervention.

Regardless, the Twelve Colonies went ahead with colonization efforts. Humanity would not pass the opportunity to expand. Besides the obvious benefits that come with using the relay network, the colonization effort was also energetically backed by the Colonial Fleet. You see, the new colonies were also a backup in case the Cyrannus System fell to a Cylon attack. The Admiralty knew that the very nature of these mass relays turned them into immense chokepoints they could easily defend against Cylon invasion, since it would be relatively impractical to travel via conventional FTL between two primary mass relays, be it mass effect FTL or traditional FTL.

The colonization of newly discovered planets was not as straightforward as you might believe. Each Colony would push for colonization rights and they'd be granted by the Colonial Government. Many of these new colonies would be settled by people from more than one Colony from back home. On Elysium you will find people predominantly from Tauron, Gemenon, Sagittaron and Canceron, although every Colony was given colonization rights to the planet. Then, there was the case of colonization rights over a planet being granted to a single Colony. Such was the case of Ismara, colonized only by Librans. It was a very delicate process, the management of colonization rights.

The newly founded colonies were not given separate seats in the Quorum of Twelve, the upper house of the Quorum, since they were still under the jurisdiction of their parent Colony in the Cyrannus System. They were given voting rights in every possible field, and they were represented in the newly established House of Planets, the lower house of the Quorum. This compartmentalization of the Quorum was meant to satisfy the colonists and prevent power abuse within the Quorum of Twelve, as they'd have too much in their hands. This way, they're being monitored and anything suspicious can be reported.

By the year 2157, the Twelve Colonies had just over 150 colonized garden worlds, or tier 1 planets, and 70 more tier 2 planets under its jurisdiction. The difference between the two is that tier 1 planets are planets habitable by humans without any terraforming, and tier 2 planets require some terraforming or special conditions must be met – like living in a domed structure, or wearing special suits when going outside the house. The term domed structure may not be the best one since you'd think of glass domes, but that was not the case. Many settlements had powerful mass effect field generators that trapped human friendly atmosphere inside, while other settlements truly had a material roof built over them.

The total population the Twelve Colonies would go at war with was 51 billion. Many of them would, unfortunately, not survive to see the end of it. They would all die a violent death in some ruined city, in a trench, in some alien forests, on foreign mountain ranges, or in the cold of space. Die killed by a bullet, by a bomb, by fire, by disease, by starvation, by dehydration, by orbital bombardments, or by nuclear fire! All fighting a stupid war!

But can you truly blame the Twelve Colonies for thinking how they did when it comes to aliens? For their attitude 'us versus them' that escalated the conflict into what we know today? Many of you will argue that it was us at fault for it all. But can you truly blame our forefathers? Can you truly blame them when you consider how we have been greeted by the galactic community? When man first met alien, they pointed their guns at us and fired.

I'm going to wrap it all here. Join us next time as we discuss the Citadel Council and its affiliated associate species, and their governments!

Important author notes

Greetings, people! Welcome to my new story! It was in the works for a while now. It replaced the old story, War of the Worlds, that I started to write for Shingeki no Kyojin. The story was reposted and is being continued by UN Peacekeeper. I'm eager to see where he will take it.

As you have noticed, the story will be told from the perspective of someone presenting a historical show. The format is actually inspired by the YouTube show The Great War, featuring Indy Neidell. I did not want to make one of those same old stories again, you know TIHoM is pretty much like many others, so I resorted to this. It will also remind you of Battlefield: Wars of the Systems Alliance story that's being run by GreaterGoodIreland. Fantastic stories he has, you should definitely check them out (including the Dragon Age story Outlander)!

Updates will be slow since my main focus will be on The Iron Heart of Man. I will have to update The Lost Civilization too. But, as said in the latest TIHoM chapter, I will start end of semester exams shortly. This will kill my writing time even more. I hope you will understand and keep an eye out for updates.

For the timeline, I have adopted a different timeline than canon to Battlestar Galactica. I am making this change for the sake of easier story telling and a more easy to understand timeline. The years are counted since the Exodus from Kobol.

Oh, but you must be thinking: how will I tackle the issue of Kobol? How will I tackle the issue to Cylons? What about Colonial military strength? Or what about Earth? Our Earth. Wait and see, my friends. Or, to be frank, the Systems Alliance do not exist here. Neither will we be tackling the issue of the Reapers in this story. That's another matter entirely.

Anyway, don't forget to leave your feedback, either in PMs or reviews! See you soon!