Captain Athema cursed for the n-th time. It had been a bad day. Worse it had been a bad last deca-orbit.
"Main Fusion Reactors are going to fail in about a half tenth circle," she heard Lieutenant Sorda say," We need to get out of jump space before they do."
Athema nodded. All because of those blasted Vorlons and Shadows. All they could think of was their little 'dispute' how to deal with the younger races. The Vorlons thought that they had to be brought into some sort of rigid order, while the Shadows wanted to spread wars between them. Her own race, the Ancients, had always cooperated with the younger races, helped them now and then and had very good relations to them.
While the other First Ones left for the Rim, the Vorlons and Shadows had been left behind because of their 'dispute', while the Ancients remained behind on their own, wanting to watch over them to prevent them from doing something they would regret later.
And than, about a deca-orbit ago, Vorlons and Shadows had come to one agreement. The Ancients were in their way and needed to be exterminated or chased out to beyond the Rim, with all their allies, five of the younger races.
"Prepare for Jump to normal space," she said," any systems in range?"
"A yellow dwarf, eight planets and two asteroid rings, nothing of interest there. Through the third planet is sustaining life."
"Yes, but even if we can get to the planet, we won't survive a drop to the planet itself. We would break apart in the atmosphere."
About a day ago a Joint Vorlon-Shadow force had ambushed a refugee convoy that was on its way from the core worlds to a staging area near the Rim. The convoy had consisted of more than fifty ships transporting about 250.000 refugees, Ancients and members of the five allied younger races, in stasis chambers.
Only seven ships had survived the ambush due to playing dead and they all had been heavily damaged. All they could do was docking and try to get to the staging area with the power of the two surviving engine sections. And now the last backup fusion reactor would fail to work and only a few low power Zero Point Modules would power a few chosen systems, like the stasis chambers, the computers and some others.
"We need to get as close to the third planet as possible and settle in a high orbit."
Sorda nodded again.
"And what will we do than?"
"Wait. It's the only thing we can do. We get into stasis and hope that the planet had intelligent life and will help us in the foreseeable future."
"Well, the data records don't show anything that could be intelligent life on the planet. But those records are about two hundred kilo-orbits old. Maybe there is intelligent life now."
"Lets hope for the best," Athema said," We should program a sequence that activates when the receivers detect radio signals coming from the planet."
"Yes, lets hope for the best. I'll inform the crews."
With that a conglomerate of seven cylindric ships went into high orbit around a planet that would be called 'Earth' by its inhabitants in about two million orbits of the planet. It sat in high orbit for about two hundred thousand orbits, before being caught by the planets large natural satellite and descending towards its surface.
Mankind grow up with a huge scar marring the Mare Imbrium, called the 'Great Trench'. For millions of years it was just another feature to the moons face.
Galileo Galilei used his telescope on the moon and spotted something that looked artificial at one end of the Great Trench.
When the first low power EM transmissions came from Earth, the ancient systems of the downed ship started to flash an intense light from the end of the Great Trench, signaling that something was there.
In 1928 the EM transmission from Earth had reached a sufficient complexity that another program started to run in the ancient systems, broadcasting a complicated radio signal, repeating it every 24 hours and being heard all over the world with the right receivers.
While very odd, it was enough like one of HG Wells' early stories (about a ship crash landing on the moon, the survivors starving to death while looking at potential salvation in the skies above them) to capture the imagination of most of the world.
The major problem was the language barrier.
As a British scientist named Hawking decided to check the neighboring band of the Moon Signal, he discovered a lot of signals, resulting in another level of transmissions. This had the effect that the worldwide Depression was so what moved from the front pages as everyone already knew that nothing could be done other than telling people what they already knew. But news from the Moon on the other hand was something people could focus on during this time.
The really great news came in 1932, when television was invented and someone got the idea of trying to route the Moon Signal into a television. One of the sub bands of the Signal contained pictured needed to get to other new discoveries about the Signal.
A great number of the pictures coming from the Moon, thought the language needed to translate the information in the other signals, while other pictures showed things that didn't need translations.
Beautiful women in space, an ancient war involving spider-crab and squid like ships, the pictures of rows and rows of tubes with bodies in stasis hoping to wake up in a new home. Really heavy stuff.
Technical information in the pictures gave engineers new ideas and a worldwide need to help the beings in the downed ship. The age of new scientific breakthroughs began in 1933.
But it wasn't all good after 1932.
Adolf Hitler came into power and the Nazi propaganda claimed that the women shown in the pictures from the Moon were the Arian ancestors and that the non-human beings shown in the pictures were alien servant races. The thing was, Adolf believed it himself and when he heard of a group of rocket enthusiasts near Berlin, trying to build a rocket that could reach the Moon, he leaped in and started to fund their research.
Neville Chamberlain on the other side came back from Germany, convinced that reason and diplomacy had worked and now everyone could get back to the Space Race without having to worry about that funny little man from Berlin. No problem.
Germany wasn't really hindered by the Treaty of Versailles in their development of Rockets and so they could go and use them also as weapons.
Of cause Goebbels made use of this in propaganda and the launch of the 'Reichsfunktrabant 1' using a A9/A4 combinations into a 400km orbit in 1938 was a wakeup call for the rest of the world.
Even more so was the invasion of Poland, where hundreds and thousands of A4 and A9 rained down on Poland military installations. The Wehrmacht only needed a week to take over Poland.
This forced the Soviets, Americans and Britons to deploy their less effective rockets too early. Than Hitler moved into the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, using the same combination of rocket based long range bombardment with A-4 and A-9, close air support and fast moving tanks.
But another development, aided by the radio signals from the Visitor made it hard for Hitler to move onto Britain, semiconductors. They were developed by the Jewisch scientist David Goldstein in the Bell Labs 1935, using Germanium and Silicon. Combined with the development of Radar, the Britons were able to field radar systems able to track down A-4 and A-9 rockets during their whole flight. They even managed to build a radar aided flak system capable of intercepting a German missile and taking it out of the air. Stationed around the preferred targets of German rocket bombings, they were able to destroy 80 percent of the missiles that reached airspace over Britain.
But in the end, it wasn't the Allies who stopped Hitlers plans. It was a group of Generals around Graf von Staufenberg, who was later killed by the SS after a successful assassination of Hitler. The Generals baking him up reacted very fast and before Hitlers substitute could come into power. They brought Marshall Rommel into power and as the SS tried to assassinate Rommel in August 1944, they routed them out, destroying the still Hitler loyal SS with units of the Wehrmacht. The SA followed soon after.
Rommel was able to get a peace treaty with the Allies, withdrawing to the French and Soviet border. As he heard about the KZs, he visited one of them, before ordering to end the 'Endlösung', freeing the Jews and handing the people responsible for it over to the Allies.
It needed years for Germany to become a true Democratic country and a respected member of the newly founded NATO.
In the Pacific the war heated up after the end of the War in Europe. But the Japanese weren't quite able to come to a good end, not after America entered the War 1941. America was much too powerful and they were able to field a powerful new weapon, missile destroyers. They were much more effective than the Japanese aircraft carriers, at least until the Japanese managed to get their hands on a German Jet engine in December 1942 and fielded the first Jet Fighters in July 1943, a good two years after their introduction into the European War theater.
Technology made leaps and bounds. The Britons introduced the first supersonic Fighter, into the Pacific in 1944, after the end of the War in Europe. It had been designed to be a counter to a proclaimed German supersonic fighter, able to fly 1000 miles an hour. Later it turned out that it had been a translation error, and that the information had spoken of the Me-262 with a speed of 1000 kilometer per hour.
The War in the Pacific dragged until 1946, when an American long range rocket was started from Guam, destroying Kagoshima with a 10 kt nuclear warhead. Another missile from Guam destroyed Okinawa.
A rocket of the same type that destroyed two Japanese cities deployed the first Explorer satellite about two month after Okinawa.
Peace was finally achieved, but it didn't last as the Soviets detonated a nuclear device in 1947, resulting in the beginning of the Cold War. In response to the threat of the Soviet Bomb, the western Allies founded the NATO in 1949. Germany became a full member of the NATO in 1949, after detonating their own nuclear device in the Southern Atlantic. Hundreds of bases of NATO countries were build along the German-Soviet border, outfitted with missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons deep into the Soviet Union.
In 1950 Britain started their first satellite, followed by the first man in space a month later. Everything after that came fast. People were put into orbit and all NATO countries build the first space station together, based on a design of Werner Von Braun. Stalin did the same. In 1954 the NATO and the USSR had a station in orbit.
In 1950 another war started in Korea and the NATO started to enter this war. American Missile Destroyers, started to systematically destroy anything of military value in northern Korea, while the ground troops were annihilated by NATO ground troops. The war ended just 18 month after it began, with the NATO as victor.
On the technology front, Bell Labs developed the first integrated circuits in 1948 and IBM and the Konrad Zuse Elektronik GmbH developed the first electronic computers in 1951. This made it possible to find the digital signals hidden in the 'static noise' of the Visitor's signal. It made another boost of technology possible.
Anti-gravity devices were build in 1953, followed by a formula that made it possible to live longer. While the first anti-gravity vehicles went into civil service, Albert Einstein received the first life prolong injection, reducing his physical age to that of a 40 year old man. In less than two years everyone could get the life prolong injection.
In 1954 the first space ships with anti-gravity devices entered service, reducing the cost of getting into space greatly.
1955 was the year of the first warm portion of the Cold War, when Stalin launched the first nuclear drop satellite, able to drop more than twenty nuclear devices to any place on the world. As a result, the NATO countries came closer together and launched their own NDS until NATO and USSR were able to annihilate each other without launching a missile.
But the Cold War became warmer as the two antagonists put their point of view towards the Moon. In 1958 it was the NATO space ship Enterprise landing near the Visitor first, followed by the Soviet ship Ziolkowski a week later. But neither side wanted to leave the Visitor to the other and the first War in space began, lasting about two month, with the NATO being the victor again, but the Soviets were able to get themselves the backup database of the ship, leaving the NATO with the original and having the same information. But with their access to the Visitor, the NATO had a greater advantage.
Following the defeat on the Moon, Stalin set himself two new targets. One was dominance in space when he wasn't able to get it on the Moon and getting more space on Earth. In 1960, the USSR nuked Beijing and took over China as a whole in only two month. As a direct result, Japan, India and Australia entered the NATO.
Optical Computers were the development of the year 1961, the year as the NATO became a single nation to counter the USSR. The years 1962 brought the first neural implants, three dimensional TV and the first large USSR base in HEO, when the USSR put a large 30 kilometer asteroid into orbit.
In 1961 there was a short interruption in Vietnam as the Vietkong attacked the French Army, but the NATO response was hard and swift, but the Vietkong became a problem thanks to covert Soviet help. The Vietnam conflict dragged over years, resulting in Vietkong MiG-17 interceptors destroying two NATO space stations.
The year 1969 brought the first NATO NEO base orbiting around L5 and the beginning of the largest construction in human history, the O'Neill Type 5 colony New Maine, finished in 1975 and colonized until 1976. Orbit around Earth became colonized an urbanized. The USSR and the life prolonged Stalin countered by building their own O'Neill colonies in L4 and L3. Large portions of NATO and USSR population were send into space to colonize the O'Neill stations.
In 1971 the colony on the Moon, grew to over thirty million people becoming their own state of the NATO. In the same year, the crew of the Visitor was found in an unexplored section of the Visitor. They weren't awaken until 1976.
The Cold War continued to be cold as a USSR mission launched towards Mars, followed by a NATO mission two month later. Mankind reached further into outer space in the following years, reaching Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter became a large fuel deposit, as more and more fusion rectors were build by USSR and NATO and ships went from primitive anti-gravity assigned electronic engines to powerful mirror coil fusion engines, AM beam engines and lately to Impulse engines.
NATO and USSR forces put large bases and tankers into service to salvage the large volumes of Deuterium, Tritium and Helium-3.
The first large space ships were put into service and the Cold War became even more cold as both sides hid from each other in the vastness of the Solar System. Stalin had found that the vastness of space was even better for expansion and troop building than the space on Earth he had.
The Cold War continued and in 1979, Masamune Shirow developed the first Cybrain, followed by its total acceptance in 1984, when everyone in the NATO had a Cybrain.
Nearly simultaneous, the NATO and the USSR came onto a special piece of information in their Visitor data banks, leading to the common knowledge of large Interstellar Wars and that Earth and the Solar System were only a small piece of space, compared to the large Empires from four million years ago. So they started to build up their space based fleets, based on the latest technologies from the Visitor.
In 1983 a USSR and a NATO ship entered Jump Space independently from each other. But neither NATO nor USSR wanted to leave the Solar System yet, not with their 'small' fleets and their competitor. The Cold War slowly heated up again.
1997 Earth technology had long since raised to the standards of the Visitor, some even exceeding the Visitor's technology. Large Space Fleets waited in their bases or cruised through the System. More 2 billion people were living in the extra terrestrial colonies and 6 billion on Earth.
Earth was ready to appear on the Galactic Stage, but the NATO and the USSR didn't believe themselves to be ready, especially Stalin, who had live through several dozen assassination attempts.
But the decision was taken from the NATO and the USSR, when a lone space ship appeared out of FTL a little outside the Earth gravity well near NATO Side 2 an area of O'Neill Type 5 colonies orbiting L5.