A grouping of several systems and worlds into a loose confederation called the Glorious Twelve.
- It functioned as a supra-polity, helping to maintain an interstellar civilization during the Long Night.
- The Night fell quickly for The Empty Quarter: most of the Gushgusi worlds were already turned inward and away from the stars. (‘Gushgusi’ is the formal adjective for anything related to The Empty Quarter, derived from the old Vilani sector name.)
- Vargr raids rose in intensity: not a single world was spared, and several human and Bwap systems suffered losses of over 80% of their population.
- In A.D. 2750 (c. -1770 Imperial), twelve systems led the fight in resisting the rapacious Vargr, even after the Rule of Man had vanished.
The Glorious Twelve
The following systems and worlds are widely considered, although also widely disputed, to have been the founding members of the Glorious Twelve:
- Aeghzivik (Empty Quarter 0510) – then known as Madhi
- Arakaad (Empty Quarter 0833) - then known as Rakad
- Bravo (Empty Quarter Tokitre) – then known as Bravo Base
- Byegh Aengz (Empty Quarter 0601) - then known as Silkwood
- Dumkashga (Empty Quarter 1527)
- Gudina (Empty Quarter 0334)
- Iisdirrii (Empty Quarter 1937)
- Mikik (Empty Quarter 0228)
- Pamushgar (Empty Quarter 1537)
- Saeghvung (Empty Quarter Nisaga) – then known as Black Pearl
- Sibikliir (Empty Quarter 1430)
- Ssilnthis (Empty Quarter 1704)
- Udusis (Empty Quarter 1831)
Note: The observant reader will note that there are consistently thirteen listed systems as “the Glorious Twelve.” This is due to a great local historical dispute. Everyone swears that there were only twelve systems involved; noone agrees on which one should be excluded.
Ode to the Glorious Twelve
The Glorious Twelve! The Saga of the Free shall ring thru the ages! The Union of Man, The Perfection of Brotherhood! We Stand Together against the Terror of the Night, the Fury of the Beast. - Fourth Practor of Ikon Barcc Geach, A.D. 2754 (-1766 Imperial)
History & Background (Dossier)
However, the Glorious Twelve each fought the invaders on their own: due to the severe lack of starships, they were unable to materially aid each other. Information was spread by radio, crossing one parsec in a bit over three years. FTL starship couriers were sent only in the direst need, and often failed to return. A strong emphasis was placed on defensive battlestations and space-mining: active patrolling outside of the immediate vicinity of the homeworld was frowned upon.
- By A.D. 2770 (-1750 Imperial) the human population on Madhi, Silkwood, and Black Pearl, all front-line systems, were exterminated – typically by initial orbital bombardments, followed up by hunting parties. The worlds were resettled by Vargr and renamed Aeghzivik, Byegh Aengz and Rrekoth respectively.
- After repulsing numerous raids and invasions, Dumkashga suffered heavy bombardment of her high-tech industries in A.D. 2777 (-1743 Imperial), a wound that she never recovered from.
- Udusis had to bear a two-century long occupation, until the Vargr oppressor was finally smashed in a ferocious uprising in the -1500s, leaving only a tiny Vargr population surviving the purges.
- Rakadan culture fought so many simultaneous minor and mid-scale invasions, that by c. A.D. 2770 (c. -1750 Imperial) her culture was extensively militarized, reformed to maintain a permanent war footing, up to the present day – changing her name to Arakaad in the process.
- Mikik, the proudest and most unyielding of the Glorious Twelve, had her fleet slowly ground to dust between A.D. 2795 and 2820 (c. -1725 and -1700 Imperial), leaving her riches to be savaged by Vargr raiders throughout the Long Night.
- Ssilnthis was betrayed by treasonous leaders, leading to her piecemeal conquest in the A.D. 2780s (-1740s Imperial). Ikon, ‘Bulwark of Humaniti’, repulsed three major strike forces before finally falling to the Vargr in A.D. 2809 (-1711 Imperial).
- Sibikliir and her ‘twin’ Gimushi successfully repulsed two ground invasions (A.D. 2790, 2807 or - 1730, -1713 Imperial), but at great cost.
The Vargr leadership knew that they would never truly own the sector unless they took down the Twins of Heaven. Gimushi’s government, never part of the Golden Twelve, was willing to accept Vargr rule: but Sibikliir’s combative population never would kneel to the dogs. Therefore, the hunting and striker packs in the sector concentrated their forces into a single armada, strong enough to quickly take the world, and overawe remaining human resistance within the sector. However, Sibikliir had pushed her industrial capacity to the limit, bankrupting herself to create a large (if cheaply-built) jump-capable fleet, able to defend herself and her sister world of Gimushi.
The vague outlines of this building program was known to the Vargr thanks to human informants, but the corsairs, conquistadors and pirate lords underestimated both the scope and the speed of the project. In the Battle of Sibikliir (December 29, 2815 or 363- (-)1705 Imperial), the unexpected resistance successfully destroyed the troop transports of the invading Vargr, as well as most of the major capital ships. The numerous surviving Vargr were enraged, and retaliated by overwhelming Sibikliir’s defences with missile strikes: cobalt-tipped nukes were extensively used, poisoning the air, land, and water for thousands of years. Even as Sibikliir’s defenses were pushed to the breaking point, the Vargr ignored defending ships and focused on smashing every Sibikliir city they saw: when they ran out of missiles, they drove their small vessels into any untouched urban areas at maximum speed, extensively cratering the world. After the last Vargr ship died, the Sibikliir navy rescued as many people as they could, as quickly as they could, relocating them to Gimushi. The now-poisoned world of Sibikliir was abandoned. The battle marked the death of Sibikliir, but also ended the Vargr war against the Glorious Twelve. Moreover, the destruction of the local Vargr raiding fleets marked the end of the Pillaging in the rimward Empty Quarter, and the beginning of the end of the Pillaging across Charted Space.
Only three of the Glorious Twelve successfully defied the Vargr largely intact, without suffering heavy bombardment or occupation. Gudina & Bravo Base were both central to the Rule of Man’s administration within the sector, while Pamushgar was the industrial powerhouse. Gudina served as a central storage depot for Imperial records (and is still one today), but the Vargr saw no value in stealing mounds of paperwork. The ‘prestige’ of conquering such an insipid culture would actually damage the charisma of a would-be Vargr conqueror, to the extent that only token raids were ever launched against that world. Isolated, heavily-protected Bravo Base was one of the two major military installations for the Rule of Man within the sector. (Alpha Base was set on the Coreward capital world of Ikon, and was flooded and broken up during the final Vargr conquest of that world. Charlie Base, on Nulinad, was pounded to rubble during a local civil war in A.D. 2758 (-1762 Imperial.)) Pamushgar leveraged her industrial might to create a major source of war material, enabling her to keep up the fight and simply outlast the incessant attacks by the Vargr. However, local knowledge of jumpdrive construction was lost, neutering any ability to build her own pocket empire among the stars. Zukhisa was not involved in the wars against the Vargr: her population went into free-fall soon after the death of the Ziru Sirka, but her bitter population made Solomani immigration impossible. During the painful 29th century (-1700s Imperial), her planetary population numbered only 30 million, squatting in the ruins of a collapsed economy and a ruined ecosystem: a floor of a million pure-blooded Vilani was finally reached in the 36th century (-1000s Imperial). A slow but broad-based recovery, governed by a deeply reactionary & isolationistic government, finally got underway at that time. In the coreward Quarter, the end of the Pillaging in about -1700 left the Vargr in a clearly dominant position, relative to their human subjects. But in the rimward regions, the smaller number of colonists and the stronger positions of the humans led to violent anti-Vargr purges. Between the 26th and 28th centuries (c. -1700 and -1500 Imperial), the Vargr presence in the rimward quarter were either exterminated outright or reduced to a tiny minority; enslaved, declawed and otherwise maimed, and sterilized to some extent; hiding in the hard-tocleanse locations on a planet, or – in the very best of circumstances – stuffed into crowded city ghettos or dumped in desolate wilderness reservations. The surviving Vargr made a slow and laborious adjustment to their grim circumstances, often making a semi-conscious decision to regain.