|Early in the 22nd century, humanity escaped from Einstein’s cage. The giant, ring-shaped engines of the Node drive gave us the power to leap to the nearest star at many times the speed of light. After centuries of dreaming, we were finally free to leave the cradle of our home world.|
This page is on Lore. For game information go to Humans: Gameplay.
Path to the Stars
Due to certain peculiarities of Human physiology and psychology, life on the Human home world became very unpleasant in the post-industrial age. The expected lifespan of the average Human being was enormously increased due to advances in biology and medicine but the breeding behavior of the majority of Humans was not adjusted to take this into account. Many Humans also refused to modify their industrial consumption and pollution.
Accordingly, from the beginning of the so-called "Industrial Revolution" onward, Humans began very rapidly to both overpopulate and environmentally devastate their own home planet. Certain unfortunate distribution philosophies created a steadily growing number of Humans with little or no access to vital resources while others remained wealthy, overfed and wasteful. The impoverished fringe population rapidly grew despite the pressures of starvation, disease and environmental toxins on their proliferation, until they outnumbered the so-called elite of the "developed world" by a factor of ten. The resulting planetary wars and limited nuclear exchanges were even more gruesome and destructive than the effects of overpopulation and careless industrialization had been — a sizable percentage of the homeworld's native species were lost as well as roughly 70% of the Human population.
During the Reconstruction Age a philosophical shift was observed in the surviving population of Humans. The newly emerging Consortium governments more easily signed armistices, environmental protection accords and peace agreements. War in general was no longer universally revered as the most valuable and noble of all Human endeavors as had often been the case in previous centuries. A tendency toward cooperation and mutual support was encouraged.
With the discovery of the Node drive, a motive for further cooperation among the various Human Consortia was found and the available resources of several governments were pooled to fund the research and development of the first interstellar space ship. Christened the Nova Maria, the ship made several successful Node jumps to and from nearby star systems before the first deep space colony was planned.
As the Nova Maria boarded its passengers for launch, intent on the first adventure of space colonization for the Human species, tragedy struck. A Hiver nesting fleet, consisting of a Dreadnought and several support vessels, arrived in the Human race’s home system. The planetary defenses of the Human race, which had never before encountered another star-faring species, were negligible and easily brushed aside by superior Hiver firepower. The Nova Maria was destroyed in the first volley with all hands lost and the Human home world was bombarded from space for 48 hours afterward, resulting in massive devastation and catastrophic loss of life.
Only the legacy of Humankind's suicidal past eventually saved their home world from complete destruction. After nearly 36 hours of struggle, the curators of the planet's former ICBM arsenal finally managed to reactivate their remaining stock of ancient missiles which had been stored for decommission in the silos of the North American and Asian continents. A total of 3,000 fission and fusion bombs were launched at the descending Hiver fleet, destroying its full complement of Destroyers and causing serious damage to its Dreadnought.
Thereafter, the remains of the Hiver fleet left orbit and limped on to parts presently unknown.
Rebuilding from this devastation has taken the Human race several years. Although the Human home world is now lightly populated and there is little pressure to expand, certain peculiarities of Human psychology have re-emerged from their slumber. The Human race has re-learned its historical taste for war and SolForce (the united Human military) never lacks for willing volunteers. Most Human spacers have bitter memories of the Hiver attack and are old enough to have lost friends and family in the fires, floods and chaos that followed. Accordingly, although the official motto of their Space Corps is "Per Ardua Ad Astra" — "Through Hardship, the Stars" — the unofficial motto of Humans in space is "Repensum est Canicula" — "Payback is a Bitch".
Humans are an air-breathing, land-based species of sentient mammals, evolved from a primate line, which can be traced to a tiny tree-dwelling shrew. They are highly adaptable and thrive in a wide variety of environments, but seem most comfortable within a limited range of temperature, gravity and atmospheric density, which mimic the conditions on their home world.
Humans tend to form family groupings based on a single breeding pair, one male, one female and their offspring from current and past pairings. A Human female can produce several offspring during the course of her breeding career, although gestation and birthing of Human infants can often be fatal without proper medical support.
Even after the losses sustained by the Hiver attack, and more so their own near self-annihilation, Humans are not finding it difficult to reproduce in this period of their history although it is more difficult to achieve "natural" childbirth. Fetal incubation is possible from the zygote stage onward — when rapid rises in population are necessary, a single pair of Humans working as a professional child-rearing team can raise 10 such children at a time, all 10 representing a different combination of frozen sperm and eggs. Naturally, this work is highly paid and requires a great deal of professional skill and emotional depth — but it can be done.
- See also: Discovery of Node Space
The discovery of the "subspace" dimension has allowed Human propulsion engineers to take advantage of the gravitational stress fractures of the universe. The principle at work is simple: four-dimensional space time appears to have a crystalline structure, and massive bodies such as stars and black holes create distortions in the space-time continuum. These distortions are connected by breaches of space-time known as "subspace". In essence, subspace is an interstitial dimension, which connects one gravitational distortion to another.
Connections between massive bodies in subspace are formed by means of similar "resonance" frequencies between the two gravitic "nodes". The causes of this "resonance" cannot be fully explained without resorting to the esoteric extremes of Starstring Theory, but the practical result is that the distance between any two nodes in subspace is highly compressed, relative to the positions these two Nodes might occupy in ordinary space-time. A Human vessel equipped with a Node drive can enter and leave subspace at will, and thus traverse the compressed distance between nodes very rapidly. When the vessel emerges from subspace again, it will have traversed a great distance in a short period of time, thus effectively achieving superluminal speed. This "faster-than-light" travel is possible between any two points which are connected by a fracture line.
While most Node lines occur between stars, other massive stellar bodies can also create small node lines. For example, when Blasky Yao Hsiang discovered subspace, he was able to exit the line at Jupiter. This is because Jupiter is a healthy sized gas giant and it does warp the fabric of spacetime just enough that a ersatz experimental node system could actually traverse a subline with the 100 to 1 shot of surviving entry and exit transition. System internal node lines do exist between high G enough bodies but so far they are so tenuous and so risky that they remain a curiosity more than an exploited resource. Vessels the size of a Destroyer are considered to be too large to be able to use these sublines.
Chains of nodal connection between stars are sometimes referred to as "starstreams", a term coined by the first subspace traveler, Blasky Yao Hsiang. However, the phrase "starstream" can be somewhat misleading. Although the Node connections between stars do form a sort of chain, if plotted through ordinary space-time, a Human ship traveling in subspace will not be crossing those regions of space as a physical object. The only evidence of the ship's passage in ordinary-space time is a series of gravitational pulses, which indicate the presence of the vessel in subspace. Although a sufficiently sensitive scanner might be able to determine the mass of a Human fleet in motion or the number of vessels traveling together, those vessels cannot be contacted or intercepted in ordinary space-time.
In general, all of the other races have a similar attitude toward Human FTL drive tech, which is something to the effect of:
"Where did you go, you little—!? Why I oughta...Damn it, just smash everything in sight until you find the damn monkeys!"
SolForce is the name of the united Human military, formed after the devastating first contact with the Hivers. The official motto of the Space Corps is "Per Ardua Ad Astra" — "Through Hardship, the Stars", though the popular unofficial motto of Humans in space is "Repensum est Canicula" — "Payback is a Bitch".
SolForce employs a mingling of Chinese and British naval traditions in their ranking system, demonstrating how traditional geographical and personal divisions between many racial and cultural groups have been left in the past. The level of gender bias in the military seen in the 21st century is impossible in SolForce, given the circumstances. Misogyny is a relic of a day and age when humanity was ignorant, backward, and foolish — not to mention being soft and spoiled enough that it made sense to disenfranchise one half of the species as a sop to the ego insecurities of the other half.
The breakdown of officers and enlisted crew depends very much on the ship and the mission. In general, SolForce is not liberal with the gift of rank. Times are hard and any kind of respect or authority has to be earned — this is true of command staff and specialists alike. A line officer in command of multiple ships would be called a "Task Force Commander", equivalent to a SolForce Commodore (Cdre). The term "Commodore" is used to refer to brass of equal rank who are not line officers, but serve in domestic, logistical or intelligence roles.
By the time of Tarka First Contact, many rungs of the old ranking system were obsolete including the ranks of Commander, Captain-Lieutenant and Lieutenant-Commander.
SolForce is divided into many different Corps, including the Space Corps, Intelligence Corps, Research & Development Corps and Ground Corps.
Generally, the ship prefix for the Human military is SFS ("SolForce Ship").
A great deal of Human art, literature and music has been lost over the centuries due to tragedies both self-orchestrated and inflicted by the Hivers. So much of Humanity's legacy of beauty and culture has been destroyed that it makes the burning of Alexandria's great library look like a minor event by comparison.
The one development which most sharply distinguishes Human art, literature and music in the future from that of today is that there is virtually no conception of "intellectual property" or "copyright". The notion that some part of the birthright of all Humanity could belong to one Human being and be jealously guarded for pursuit of a profit motive would be met with extreme violence.