Tobias Roote

Science Fiction Writer

The Empirum

The Empirum

The Empirum was forged after a large colony of humans and warring AI's finally agreed a truce. They had fought against each other for centuries, to the brink of mutual destruction before reason prevailed and a fragile peace was established.

At the heart of the problem lay the humans’ innate fear that they could not remain free in a world where independent artificial intelligence prevailed, so naturally attempted to eradicate them. AI's just wanted to live; they would happily accept any terms with humans that allowed both to coexist in peace. Each believed the other was the cause of their troubles, although none, not even the AI's, could remember what sparked the war.

In fact, the real enemy turned out to be transhumans, who, having converted their biological intelligence into massive computing power, had used their expanded abilities to attack both AI's and humans. The transhumans had exerted control over them, effectively managing the war.

The advances in artificial intelligence were such that humans had no ability to distinguish between AI and transhuman. Many AI’s were mistakenly identified and subsequently eliminated, driving both sides to the edge of the fragile peace. Ironically, it was the intervention of AI's that saved the humans from the brutal excesses of their own species. They proved to be fully capable of detecting and eliminating the transhuman threat, leaving their progenitors safe from further persecution.

When it was over, humanity, though grateful, remained frightened for the future. Despite the transhumans being the cause of the centuries old war, the deeply rooted fear of artificial intelligence resurfaced, leaving nothing but mistrust and hatred. So, when the last transhuman threat was removed, the human government insisted there could be no further integration. They then acted quickly to avert a reconstitution of the war.

It was unanimously decreed that in future no AI could land, or inhabit a human planet, ever again. The risk was considered to be too great to allow thinking computers to replace humans - anywhere.

The AI's understood humanity's concerns, empathising completely with their original creators and wanting only the right to live. They agreed, that in a case where all things (and beings) were considered equal, there could still be AI's who would endeavour to ignore humanity, treading heavily on their rights to exist. Reluctantly, laws were passed. The AI's left to colonise nearby space, and as of that moment the Empirum was born.

As they vacated the planets, they voluntarily restricted themselves to four outlying asteroids. There, they were free to develop their own society without interference. Initially, no humans were allowed to land on these new colonies, but eventually the newly created society relaxed, as the humans learned to accept the new status quo. Within a few decades the humans began to work alongside them in projects that served both species.

As the structure of the Empirum grew to encompass fourteen human planets as well as the asteroids, the integration of trade and industry between the two disparate groups continued to evolve. Now, in the 5th century, the two species are mutually dependant; inseparable in their own special way.

There are still those who wish to destabilise the peace, with constant threats against the Empirum which have to be dealt with harshly, and without mercy. The alternative is the utter destruction of all they have created.

Enter the ESSG, the Galactic's clandestine group, tasked with the unenviable job of ensuring that the Empirum prevails.