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"What has this conflict come to? An eternal bloodbath laying the groundwork for our demise. For thousands of years we have prospered as a species, yet this conflict highlights us at our most dreadful state. Trillions of innocents have deceased and I fear many more will follow suit." - Kenth Pellian commenting on the state of war during its third year.

The Ether War, commonly known as the Great War, was a large-scale interstellar conflict that spanned from 973 to 980 TF. Most of the Terran bubble of Nilus was involved in the war. The democratic United Terran Federation and the Dictatorship of Tyvus, a major dictatorial civilization, were the two opposing sides in the Ether War. The Ether War, widely regarded as humanity's deadliest conflict in the Terran Bubble's history, claimed the lives of twenty five trillion individuals in combat, with an additional thirty five trillion civilians dying as a result of the war's side effects, such as widespread hunger, planetary destruction, or subjugation. From orbit, many worlds were blasted into ruins. Indar, the most populated planet of the federation, would be one of them, though its destruction would be localized to a single area of the planet. The war was declared on 973 TF, as a result of various small-scale attacks by the Dictatorship of Tyvus in the Terran Federation's Outskirts. The United Terran Federation was strongly opposed to dictatorships and saw this as an ideal opportunity to attack and eliminate the nation once and for all. Other human nations would remain neutral during the war since they were reliant on the Dictatorship for trade, and they would not turn against the Terran Federation out of terror.

Many conflicts were fought on the Federation's outer borders during the first phase. Most of the battles were won by the dictatorship, enabling them to penetrate into civilized space. Many violent conflicts erupted and concluded. Thousands of worlds were wrecked, and billions of people died in the ashes of great destruction. Shortly thereafter, Valkyrie Drones were deployed, culminating in the subjugation of countless planets. After that, the dictatorship had seized control of over a thousand of Federation's worlds. Because of the war's corruption, the dictatorship erected various concentration camps for those who aligned with the Federation. Many of the detainees were unsuspecting civilians who were compelled to assemble different combat equipment in exchange for the smallest quantity of food necessary to survive. Many perished of starvation, although the majority were executed for revolting. For fear of death, no one would dare contemplate fleeing in the years to come.

The cruelty of the second phase vastly outweighed the first, as the battle began to spread farther into the United Terran Federation's civilized domain. The conflict looked to have settled down in the second, with only minor clashes between the rivaling nations. The dictatorship interrupted this period of comparative tranquility by deploying hundreds of thousands of Valkyrie Drones into peaceful Federation space. The Federation was severely shaken by this unexpected onslaught, losing over half its force in less than two months. The United Terran Federation established the first partnerships, inviting many independent organizations to fight for their cause.

Biological weaponry also had a significant appearance in the war, causing billions of deaths and hundreds of worlds to be contaminated. As biological weaponry was heavily illegal in the Federation, it was only utilized by the dictatorship. Several artificial and natural viruses and infections were used to severely cripple the Federation, allowing the dictatorship to launch several offenses. Innumerable disturbing experiments had to take place for the development of these biological weapons. The most deadly of these would be Stygian Death, a horrifying and agonizing viral disease which took control over one's brain and body. A thousand worlds were fully contaminated and quarantined by Stygian Death alone, with several hundred more by additional less deadly diseases.

Biological weaponry played a crucial role in the conflict, resulting in billions of deaths and the contamination of thousands of worlds. As biological weaponry was strictly strictly prohibited in the Federation, it was exclusively employed by the dictatorship. The Federation was badly crippled by a variety of manmade and natural diseases and infections, allowing the dictatorship to launch many offensives. The development of these biological weapons necessitated a slew of disturbing experiments. Stygian Death, a terrifying and agonizing viral sickness that takes possession of one's brain and body, was the most lethal of these. Stygian Death alone contaminated a thousand worlds, which had to be quarantined, with other, less lethal viruses contaminating hundreds more.

When focusing on the positive aspects of the battle, humanity's technical level skyrocketed. During the war, numerous innovative and distinctive technologies were developed, many of which are heavily in use nowadays. One of these is Eutherium shielding, which was developed by the Dictatorship of Tyvus in the first period of the war. Eutherium shielding operates by altering space-time in such a way that solid matter is unable to pass through it. Essentially, they act as a sort of "forcefield". These shields are still exceptionally scarce, as they are only used by huge military or governmental vessels. The Valkyrie Drones, which were exceptionally durable and stealthy assault drones primarily deployed by the Dictatorship of Tyvus, were another notable technology.

Background

A Fragile Relationship

The Great Dictatorship

Unique Technologies

Valkyrie Drones

A Valkyrie Drone seen in flight over a city

Valkyrie Drones were remote-controlled assault spacecraft utilized extensively by the Dictatorship of Tyvus during the Great War. Valkyrie Drones were reverse-engineered from technologies left behind by an ancient precursor race, and they have powers that are yet unknown. These battle machines conquered several worlds, resulting in the deaths of billions. Only two million of the were made due to the scarcity of the extraterrestrial technology used and their extravagant price. For the Federation, reverse-engineering the same extraterrestrial technology has proven impossible. As a result, it's possible that the Dictatorship received external assistance.

Valkyrie Drones are integrated with a variety of stealth mechanisms hidden deep beneath their armored shell. These devices can block all electromagnetic radiation from reaching the Valkyrie Drone, rendering it undetectable to the naked eye and to sensors alike. As a result, Valkyrie Drones were the single most important reason the Dictatorship had any hope of standing up to the Federation and its enormous armies of uncountable ships and orbital defenses.

Employing what are termed as Mass Dilation Drives, Valkyrie Drones may achieve superluminal velocities. These experimental otherworldly devices exploit reverse time dilation to achieve speeds of up to a hundred light-years per second while really traveling at slower speeds than light. These FTL drives were only used by unmanned vessels since manned trips would be far too dangerous. Even if cryogenic hibernation were to be used, it would be difficult to keep such a demanding apparatus in perfect operating order for millions, if not billions, of years.

Valkyrie Drones have a formidable arsenal, which includes both energetic and kinetic weaponry. Two sets of plasma-based projectile cannons are stationed at the front, mostly for wiping out soldiers or civilians. A larger plasma-based railgun is mounted close by and is used to annihilate lesser vehicles and spacecraft. The Valkyrie Drones' main firepower comes from two retractable missile launchers on the bottom, which allow them to take down even the greatest of spacecraft over time.

Venators

TFR Lux Infinitum, one of the last Venators fabricated by the Terran Federation

Venators are colossal humanoid mechs which saw heavy use by the Terran Military during the second phase of the Ether War. Venators were the pinnacle of Terran warfare technology at the time. Venators, which were reverse-engineered from extraterrestrial technology unearthed on Luur, were thought to be indestructible and formidable enough to dominate entire worlds. Only 673 Venators were ever built regarding the resources and time required to produce a single Venator at the time. Due to the small quantity of Venators, they were primarily used on key frontlines.

While rising hundreds of meters in height, Venators can only be operated by a single person. Venators operate by linking an individual's neurons to the mainframe of a Venator with sophisticated neural transmitters, allowing the pilot to command the mech only with their thoughts. This would prove too much for the brain of an individual, and as such, only the best of the best are to be considered for a Venator pilot role. To become a Venator pilot, one would have to go through a rigorous training program, which most individuals failed.

Venators feature super sophisticated armaments which outperform most military craft. Usually Venators are equipped with a plasma-based energy cannon or a massive gatling cannon with either explosive or corrosive shells as their primary weapon. While the primary weapon supplies the majority of a Venator's firepower, lesser weapons such as guided missiles and railguns can be distributed all through the Venator's chassis. A retractable jetpack fueled with Xentax and a set of wings come standard on all Venators. These enable a Venator to function in both air and space, the latter of which being a common tactic used during the Ether War to bring down enemy warships.

Shadow-Fusion Missiles

Mass-Driver Relays

First Phase (0-2 Years)

The Dawn of Conflict

War Breaks out in the Outskirts

First Battle of Eternity

Civilized Borders Breached

Operation Sparrow

Dictatorship's Great Defense

Parlexian Push

Second Phase (2-5 Years)

Bloodbath of Cervia

Formation of Alliances

Genesis of Biological Warfare

Stygian Death

The secret base on Kalika, which held thousands of deadly viral bombs

Stygian Death was the deadliest biological weapon developed by the dictatorship during the Great War. Discovered by Vero Agows on a far-away moon, the natural form of Stygian Death was considered safer. Only after specially modifying it in a special laboratory, Stygian Death, a lethal brain-controlling virus with no viable cure, became weaponized as a swiftly-spreading airborne strain. Thousands of large viral bombs were constructed by the dictatorship as well, and hidden below the secretive Outpost 74 on the remote wasteland moon of Kalika.

Stygian Death was a type of airborne virus that could infiltrate one's body and induce horrible symptoms while the immune system sought to battle the disease. Stygian Death would gradually obtain minimal control over a person's neurons, substantially decreasing intelligence and reasoning capacity, as well as producing emotional and mental instability. The immune system was then totally shut down, allowing multiple diseases to attack the body at the same time. The infected would die a horrific and torturous death after several days of agony. Intense headaches, vomiting, paralysis and uncontrollable violence were among the most common signs and symptoms of the virus as well.

The means of formulating the most lethal form of Stygian Death took months of effort and thousands of casualties. To achieve this, the virus would be genetically altered, however this resulted in multiple epidemics on the dictatorship's territory. The effects of Stygian Death would be tested on Federation captured soldiers to ensure ultimate security. Because the Stygian Death requires a living, completely conscious host to survive, the seized soldiers would be confined in virus-infected water tanks. The average specimen lived for a day or two and was in excruciating pain during that time while the Stygian Death gained control of the specimen's brain and organism. Stygian Death was soon modified so that it no longer required a living host to survive. Individuals afflicted with newest strain of Stygian Death died more slowly, yet the virus remained after they died. The specimen would be so deformed around a week after death that it would be difficult to imagine it was once a human being. Over the weeks it took to develop strain Omega, the virus's most destructive form, tens of thousands of captive soldiers would be sacrificed. For months following that, the dictatorship began mass-producing this strain.

The outpost on Kalika was discovered and obliterated from orbit several weeks after the mass-production of Strain Omega began, as it had no viable fortifications and was relying on its secrecy for survival. Despite this, the viral bombs were only discovered a few days after the outpost was destroyed. Several troops were discovered protecting one of the massive bunkers upon the planet's second arrival. Fearing that the infection would propagate, the Federation dispatched an attack force to the bunkers to secure them. On Lexan 7th, 976 TF, an assault group led by Kenth Pellian, an Outskirts lieutenant, was launched, and after several casualties and offenses, they were able to secure a massive cryogenic chamber containing samples of the deadly virus in stasis. Upon further investigation of the chamber, numerous cells housing unconscious and infected test subjects were discovered, which were later identified as captured soldiers.

After a week of torment, the attack team would die, though the first symptoms didn't manifest for three days after the infection. The member of the team had been aboard several capital ships, military bases, and worlds during that time, allowing the virus to spread to thousands of people and tens of worlds. As a result, the Federation was significantly crippled during that time, allowing the dictatorship to move ahead in relative safety. A total of a thousand worlds that were heavily populated became completely contaminated as the remaining undiscovered bombs were dropped on them. As a result, the worlds had to be quarantined, with no individual being allowed to leave or enter. Even tourists who came on the planet would either take their own lives or face a painful death. This area became known as the Great Quarantine Zone, with remote-controlled weaponry discouraging any travelers to go near the contaminated worlds. A small minority of humans are thought to have been immune and have begun to rebuild their society on these worlds, albeit no communication has yet been established.

Second Battle of Eternity

First Battle of Theras

Third Phase (5-7 Years)

Second Battle of Theras

The Mass Retreat

A Fragile Pushback

Hades' Conflict

Aftermath

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