1957 - First man made satellite in space, Sputnik 1 (USSR - 1 0 - USA)
1961 - First Human in space, Yuri Gagarin (USSR - 2 0 - USA)
1969 - First Human to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong (USSR - 2 1 - USA)
1973 - First permanent base on the Moon, Tranquility (USSR - 2 2 - USA)
1973 - First spacecraft launched from another celestial body, Moon Bus 1 (USSR - 2 3 - USA)
1978 - First Human to walk on Mars, Leon Parovsky (USSR - 3 3 - USA)
1980 - First multiple use spacecraft launched, Vostok VO-11 (USSR - 4 3 - USA)
1984 - First spacecraft constructed on Mars, Stargazer 1 (USSR - 4 4 - USA)
1988 - First spacecraft constructed in an orbital facility, Cosmos (USSR - 5 4 - USA)
1995 - First armed spacecraft, Stalwart Sentinel (USSR - 5 5 - USA)
2001 - First permanent civilian population on Mars, Cydonia City (USSR - 5 6 - USA)
2004 - Joint Martian terraforming project, Project Eden (USSR - 6 7 - USA)
2016 - First Olympics to contain zero gravity sports, Moscow Olympics (USSR - 7 7 - USA)
2022 - First space elevator, Gagarin Orbital Tether (USSR - 8 7 - USA)
2030 - Alien ruins discovered beneath USSR Mars colony, Promethei Planum (USSR - 10 7 - USA, Extraterrestrial Life bonus)
2031 - Joint Element Zero laboratory founded, Geneva (USSR - 11 8 - USA)
2039 - First faster than light spacecraft, Longsword 1 (USSR - 11 9 - USA)
2048 - Marie Shepard publicises thesis on hyper-relativity, revolutionises physics with the possibility of faster than light travel without the use of element zero (USSR - 11 10 - USA)
2055 - Children in Geneva begin to exhibit telekinetic abilities, traced back to low level element zero exposure at a large hospital. USSR founds Parovsky Biotic Reaearch Institute (USSR - 12 10 - USA)
2062 - First functional hyper-relativistic drive created. The Shepard drive quickly replaces Element Zero as the prime method of FTL travel. (USSR - 12 11 - USA)
2063 - Exploration frigate Longsword 14 makes first contact with Raachok species. Raachok Union signs a trade treaty with the USA. (USSR - 12 13 - USA, Extraterrestrial Life bonus)
2071 - A joint USA - Union research team create the first functional human AI, Alan (USSR - 12 14 - USA)
2075 - Exploration spacecraft Soyuz 44 makes first contact with Atavira and Seu'Seun species. Three of the four major Atavira nations sign a trade agreement with the USSR (USSR - 14 14 - USA, Extraterrestrial Life bonus)
2077 - Seu'Seun declare war on Atavira. USSR intervenes. First space battle ends in USSR victory (USSR - 15 14 - USA)
2084 - Seu'Seun invasion fleet targets Earth. Joint USA-USSR fleet defeats Seu'Seun but takes heavy losses. (USSR - 16 15 - USA)
2085 - USA, USSR, Raachok Union and the Atavira nations of Emaris, Haeli and Maraliu sign a military alliance in case of further Seu'Seun attacks. (USSR - 17 16 - USA)
2088 - Atavira nation of Kesla signs trade agreement with the USA and the Raachok Union (USSR - 17 17 - USA)
2093 - Brief war on the Atavira homeworld of Pau between Kesla and Haeli. Both USA and USSR refuse to intervene, resulting in the war being hastily resolved. Soviet diplomats draft the Non-Intervention Treaty stating that no species has the right to intervene in a purely domestic conflict. Treaty signed by all Atavira nations, the USSR, the USA and the Union. (USSR - 18 17 - USA)
2100 - Seu'Seun surprise attack on the Raachok homeworld of Tirfan precludes a major offensive. US naval forces scramble to bolster Union fleets. (USSR - 18 18 - USA)
2101 - USSR declares war on the Seu'Seun and comes to the aid of the beleaguered US and Union fleets. (USSR - 19 18 - USA)
2103 - Atavira nations of Emaris and Haeli declare war on Seu'Seun and send fleets to reinforce the defenders of Tirfan. USSR stealth cruisers destroy a major Seu'Seun shipyard orbiting the homeworld of Seu'Ikka, hindering the Seu'Seun war effort. (USSR - 20 18 - USA)
2109 - A concerted US offensive finally pushes the Seu'Seun out of the Raachok home system. (USSR - 20 19 - USA)
2112 - The CIA secretly supplies arms and equipment to Seu'Seun rebels, enabling them to conduct a coup. Thousands of Seu'Seun are killed during a week of fierce fighting but in the end the coup is successful. (USSR - 20 20 - USA)
2115 - New Seu'Seun Parliament collapses. Seu'Ikka descends into civil war. USA deploy a fleet to quarantine Seu'Ikka until the war is resolved. (USSR - 20 21 - USA)
2119 - USA legalises interspecies marriage. (USSR - 20 22 - USA)
2126 - USSR successfully tests proton beam weapon. The weapon proves to be far more effective than the usual electromagnetic projectile cannons. (USSR - 21 22 - USA)
2130 - USSR develops phased proton shielding that provides far greater protection than element zero shielding. (USSR - 22 22 - USA)
2135 - Old enemies Kesla and Haeli once again go to war on the Atavira homeworld of Pau. Sickening atrocities on the part of both nations lead to an overruling of the non-intervention treaty after massive public outcry in USA and USSR. Since the majority of the US fleet is tied up in the Seu'Ikka Quarantine, it falls to the USSR to deploy peacekeeping forces. Both nations surrender to the USSR fleet under Admiral Kerensky. Over 1400 Atavira from both nations sentenced to lethal injection for war crimes. (USSR - 23 22 - USA)
2142 - Exploration frigate Longsword 119 discovers enormous alien structures of unknown origin in the Arcturus system. (USSR - 23 23 - USA)
2144 - US prospectors on Charon discover that the moon is actually an alien structure encased in ice. The moon is thawed out and the structure is reactivated, proving to be a rapid link between Sol and Arcturus. (USSR - 23 24 - USA)
2147 - The Seu'Seun civil war finally ends. Seu'Ikka has been devastated by weapons of mass destruction. Surviving Seu'Seun are evacuated from Seu'Ikka and form a new Seu'Seun colony on a newly discovered planet christened Seu'Neue. The Seu'Neue government forms close political and economic ties with the USA. (USSR - 23 25 - USA)
2150 - The USSR launch their first Odessa-class dreadnought, the SSV (Soviet Space Vessel) Odessa. Heavily armed and shielded with phased proton technology, the Odessa revolutionises warship design philosophy. (USSR - 24 25 - USA)
2151 - The USA launch the USS Marie Shepard, an enormous dreadnought sized vessel loaded with fighters and bombers. This is their answer to the Odessa - the Shepard class supercarrier. (USSR - 24 26 - USA)
2153 - The USSR pass a resolution allowing non-Humans to apply for service in the military. (USSR - 25 26 - USA)
2154 - The USSR officially recognise the Seu'Neue colonial government as the sovereign state of the Seu'Seun, prompting several holdout outposts and colonies to unify with the Seu'Neue government. (USSR - 26 26 - USA)
2157 - A USSR scout flotilla heads to Relay 314 to protect a Union scientific expedition from raiders.
The Space Race in 2157 -
Since the start of the Space Race in 1957, the desire to reach for the stars has become the driving force behind mankind's development. Gone is the cold war, the state of barely contained devastation awaiting the planet, replaced by a friendly rivalry between the two superpowers as they each push harder and faster to have their people further out among the stars. Although both superpowers have constructed enormous engines of war they have never come to orbital conflict, instead using them to safeguard the entire human race, not just their half of the planet.
The Raachok are a race of enormous levo-amino reptile-mammal crosses, highly intelligent, powerfully built and very long lived, making them some of the best scientists and researchers in the galaxy. However their fertility levels are dropping as a result of multiple edits to their genome, with their birth rate slowly decreasing. For this reason large amoubts of the Union's capital are shunted into fertility research.
The Atavira are a race of dextro-amino mammalian humanoids, 99% of whom are female. They have three-digited hands and feet, long tails and human-like torsos and heads although their colorations are far more diverse than humans, especially their hair, which can naturally have three or even four tones. They have three sub-species, all of which are capable of interbreeding - Shar, Elloi and Auwl. Shar tend to be larger and more aggressive, Elloi are smaller and naturally submissive and Auwl, the rarest, are recognisable by the bony plating on their forearms and lower legs.
The Seu'Seun are a highly aggressive, militaristic race of insectoid warriors heavily augmented with cybernetic implants. They are twelve foot tall, bipedal, with powerful arms, four compound eyes, a long tail and powerful jaws as well as a double pair of wings. Their bodies are covered in a thick segmented layer of chitinous armour usually painted with their house's markings. They evolved on the high gravity greenhouse world Seu'Ikka, which has an atmospheric oxygen content of 38%, and so they need to wear breather masks when on other planets to avoid hypoxia.
2157 - The Beginning
Boe idly scratched at her neck, seemingly unconcerned by the mass relay looming in the distance as she kept her eyes fixed on her console and tried to ignore the leers of the rest of the bridge crew. Apparently among Human males it was considered a badge of honour to sleep with an Atavira female for some reason, and generally accepted consensus was that even among other Atavira females, Boe was hot. The funny thing was, by Atavira standards she wasn't all that attractive, but apparently for some bizarre reason Human males preferred large breasts.
She kept her focus on her console as the small squadron of Soviet ships, headed by the Vladivostok-class medium cruiser SSV Tamerov, babysat the scientists going googoo over the dormant relay. The Tamerov was a kilometre long, a flat, thin kite shape with the lateral corners stretched into wings, a slight bulge in the centre for the crew section with a long, tapering fin extending downwards with the three hyper-relativistic motors integrated, a small conning tower extending upwards to link to the fighter bay. Her lines were clean and elegant, smooth silver plating interrupted only by the hammer and sickle symbol displayed proudly on her bow next to her name. She was a good ship.
The four Kiev-class frigates accompanying them were built around similar lines, albeit with no fighter bay and one less hyper-relativistic motor. They weren't large enough for more than a single proton beam for their main gun, their eight turrets instead filled with element zero mass drivers. The oldest, the Serevsky, had the ancient electromagnetic railguns, little more than peashooters against anything with halfway decent kinetic barriers or proton shields. They didn't have any destroyers with them, but then again it's not like they would need the pursuit capability. Their job was just to scare off raiders or the odd Seu'Seun die-hard. Even the most insane of the bugs would think twice before going up against the Tamerov's squadron.
Captain Arminov turned to the sensor operator.
"Unidentified contacts closing. Looks like two medium cruisers, twelve frigates and a whole bunch of what look like patrol boats."
"Patrol boats? Those things aren't even big enough for a decent gun!"
"I know sir."
"Hmm. Okay then. Comms, try to hail them. Tactical, sound action stations."
Boe jabbed a couple of buttons on her control panel and red lights flashed throughout the ship, crewmen scrambling to their control uplinks.
"All weapon crews report ready, sir. Shielding at full power. Standing by to launch fighters."
The holographic avatar of the Tamerov's AI appeared on the bridge.
"What do you make of their AI?"
The avatar quirked an eyebrow as lines of code appeared in the air, streaming around Mel briefly before vanishing.
"They use a completely alien code language, so I can't quite be sure, but their AI's coding seems very simplistic. I can only conclude their code is far more compressible than ours."
"I see. What about the ships themselves?"
A hologram of a ship appeared between the avatar's hands briefly before winking out.
"Their tech seems about a hundred years behind ours. Element zero based weaponry, shielding and faster than light travel. It seems they rely on the substance far more than us. Even their life support is based on it."
"Could these be Protheans?"
"I do not believe so. The Prothean technology recovered from Promethei Planum shares no discernible design similarities with these ships."
The captain nodded and glanced at Boe.
"Miss Aylu, if it comes to blows, what is your assessment?"
Mel helpfully pinged the data on the unidentified ships to Boe's screen.
"I'd say one on one, our frigates and theirs are about evenly matched. The Tamerov is far superior to their cruisers, but with our frigates gone we'd be vulnerable. They could overwhelm us with sheer weight of numbers and fire."
"So what would be the result?"
"The squadron would be destroyed, but we'd take most of them with us."
The captain frowned into his beard, then turned to the comm officer.
"No sir. I've established a connection several times but they keep cutting it on their end. I'd say they're not interested in talking."
"Damn it. Alright everyone, looks like we've got a fight on our hands. Detach the Serevsky from formation, tell them to hang back with the scientists and charge their HR motors. If shots are fired, tell them to get the hell back to Shanxi and warn the colony, then get a message to the Kremlin."
"Copy that, Captain."
"Captain, one of the unknown cruisers is detaching from formation. It looks like they're falling back to stay with the ships at the relay."
Captain Arsenius Noridon leaned back in the command chair of the Pride of Macedyn, nodding to himself. The patrol cruiser commanded by Captain Flavus Kryik had been observing these aliens for two days now as they performed experiments on the Relay - a capital crime under Council law. They had a dreadnought and four cruisers, but surprisingly no frigates, a weakness he intended to exploit. With two dreadnoughts and twelve cruisers, as well as three frigate squadrons, he was confident in the battlegroup's ability to overwhelm the aliens.
"Gunnery Chief Vakarian?"
"All cannon at full readiness, Captain. Waiting for the word."
He nodded in satisfaction. Vakarian was a good kid. A good Turian. Took orders with no questions or hesitation, yet showed initiative in the absence of orders. Kid might have his own ship one day. He opened the fleet wide communication channel.
"Primacy squadron, commence initial barrage."
The entire ship shook as Vakarian's precious main gun started hurling its pointed metal missiles at the arrogant aliens. Teach them to mess with the Council.
"Captain! Reading an energy spike on the hostile's dreadnought!"
His mandibles gaped open in dumb disbelief as a brilliant mauve beam speared out from the point of the hostile dreadnought, slamming into one of his cruisers. The Talons of the Valluvians. A good ship, with a good crew. The kinetic barriers flared, then failed under the sustained beam, the purple streak of fire ripping through the ship, cleaving it clean in two lengthways, the two pieces spinning off in opposite directions, propelled by the drive core detonating.
"What in the Spirits was that!"
He frantically hit his comm.
"All ships, commence evasive manoeuvring! Frigate packs, swarm the dreadnought!"
His cruisers started jinking round in their course, messing up the targeting equipment as the frigates leaped forward.
"Helm, why aren't we evading?"
The helmsman turned round and snapped at him.
"You ever try evasive manoeuvres in a dreadnought, sir?"
Moments later he shook his head.
Arsenius chuckled and scratched his mandible.
"Apology accepted. Just do your best. I for one am not keen to be on the wrong end of that beam."
"Sir! The enemy ships are firing on the frigates!"
The captain watched in mute horror as smaller versions of the purple beams lanced out from the dreadnought, the barrage joined by the cruisers spitting torrents of golden metal shards as they ripped into the frigate packs. It took less than a minute for the three squadrons to be reduced to a few battered survivors falling back to hide with the rest of the fleet.
"Sir, the dreadnought is firing again!"
The purple beam scraped across the Pride's top layer, the power mitigated by the kinetic barriers but not entirely stopped. The entire ship shuddered and the alarms started blaring.
The damage control officer scrambled for a report.
"Minor hull breaches across the topmost deck. Atmosphere venting is now under control. They barely nicked our fringe, sir."
He breathed out a sigh of relief.
"Captain! Cruisers now firing beam weapons!"
All three of the beams converged on another one of his cruisers. The first one took the kinetic barriers down to fifty per cent. The second one knocked them out entirely. The third drilled a hole through the drive core, ripping the ship apart in a mass effect detonation that shattered and buckled the hull.
"We've lost two cruisers and eighty per cent of our frigates already! Vakarian, why are we not hitting anything!"
The gunnery chief is prompt to reply.
"We're too far away sir. The enemy ships are evading our shells. We need to close the range if we want to do any damage."
"Very well. Primacy squadron, all ahead. Close the range."
"Serevsky is away sir. The civilian ships are attempting to make their escape but they're using older models of HR motors. It'll take them a while to spin up."
"Alright. Looks like they want to close the range. Launch the Sickles."
Boe tapped the authentication into her console, opening the hangar bay and activating the element zero catapults that would fling the fighter-bombers into the battle. The squadron of twelve was hurled out of the hangar, main drives flaring up and accelerating them to some absurd velocity as they streaked across the gap between the two fleets. The enemy cruisers and frigates attempted to engage them using some form of directed light weaponry but the AI was clearly very sluggish, the vast majority of the shots missing. In return the fighters fired up their 'pee-beeps', the fighter jock nickname for their PBPs, or proton beam projectors. The brilliant purple beams were immediately followed by a swarm of anti-ship missiles, detonating against the kinetic barriers as the squadron, now ten strong thanks to the alien defensive fire, skittered away. Nuclear fire blossomed in the middle of the fleet, greatly weakening the barriers of the alien ships and scoring minor damage on several of the frigates.
"All ships, target the leftmost cruiser with main proton beams. Fire."
Barriers sapped by the nuclear detonations, the cruiser never stood a chance. The three frigates fired their proton beams first, obliterating what remained of the barriers, then the Tamerov's main cannon dealt the killer blow, shearing one of the wings off and making the heavily damaged ship veer off course, crippled. Secondary explosions lit up the cruiser's suddenly exposed flank as it fell out of formation, one of the hostile frigates having to swerve around it to avoid a collision.
"Lovely. Retarget ..."
That was as far as he got. In a sudden bout of fury a torrent of mass driver shells poured out of the hostile ships, focused on the Patrov. The ageing frigate never stood a chance. Four hits from the hostile frigates drained her proton shields, then a single shot from the cruiser smashed through her midsection, the power surge making the HR motors explode into a welter of exotic particles. No escape pods.
"Dammit! Get us in close range!"
The Tamerov's main drive lit off, another proton beam shot slashing through another frigate as her secondary proton turrets awoke, long triple barrels glaring with pent up energy and anger. The Makarev's shielding finally gave up the ghost, a triple impact from the frigates crushing her prow, then obliterating her bridge, then scoring a direct hit on the HR motors, once again vaporising the ship in a vortex of short lived exotic particles.
"Captain, we're taking fire! Shields holding steady."
The incoming kinetic projectiles were flashing into clouds of glowing purple gas around a hundred metres from the hull of the Tamerov, the cruiser ploughing through the gas clouds as it continued to charge the hostile fleet.
"Shields at eighty per cent!"
The Solanyov shuddered and bucked as a shell from the cruiser tore through its weakened proton shielding, hitting centre mass. Moments later the ship fell apart under its own G-forces, the HR motors and proton weapons self-destructing to stop the alien's getting their hands on the technology.
"Goddamnit! What are the fighters doing?"
His question was answered moments later by the flash of nuclear detonations as the squadron blindsided the aliens, two more frigates losing barriers, then being torn open by the proton beams. A thick web of defensive fire flicked out, obliterating the fighters as they tried to pull away.
The secondary proton beam turrets opened up, triple bursts of mauve lancing out at the hostile ships, another frigate gone before they even realised the Tamerov was firing. The proton beams came fast and furious, lashing out at the barriers, now focusing on the cruiser.
"Captain! Hostile frigate on collision course!"
The frigate struck the proton shield, half the vessel vaporised into a cloud of gas even as the proton shielding finally failed. The rear end of the frigate slammed into the HR motors, detonating them. The proton shields valiantly swirled around the main body, protecting it from the triple blast, then died for good.
"Everyone to the escape pods!"
Boe sprinted through the Tamerov, sliding herself into an escape shuttle and punching away from the wreck just as the cruiser smashed the Tamerov into shards of armour. These aliens just attacked the USSR. More than that, they attacked all of us.
And they will pay.