75,000 years ago, the first human technical civilization arose, achieving vast technical heights. The major breakthrough was in a field best called psychophysics, but most similar to magic. This allowed a limited breakage of normal physical laws, and a drastic multiplication of personal power. Paranormals.
Society crashed. Drastic wars were fought, even as the first colonization steps off the planet were taken. Eventually, a stable society was reached -- a strong social status system, with opportunities for advancement. Technological advancement slowed to a near standstill. All that could be discovered had been discovered. With personal power available to those who wished it, ambition tended to center on the self, not the environment.
Paranormals breed true (those that can breed) by the maternal line. By direction, a stock of base humans were left alone on Earth, while the paranormals went to the stars.
45,000 years ago, the second human technical civilization arose on Earth. They found the paranaturals in space, and war broke out. They stole paranormal creation technology, and new forms of power were born -- technology advanced. But the First were victorious -- the Second, in stealing fire from the heavens, stole its curse as well -- a strong society is necessary for dealing with the paranatural. In fighting, they had become the First, and the War was over.
15,000 years ago, the third human technical civilization arose on Earth. They too encountered fire in the heavens, and they too fell to the curse of power. Technology improved, and new shapes of power were born. The Third too became the First.
300 years ago, the First, always expanding, yet static beyond even our limited cultures (for had not everything worth discovering been discovered, and it was not yet time for the Fourth to struggle, and discover the true Way), made a terrible discovery. Internal wars had long been happening within the First (fought by rule and honor) -- for the first time, they faced a nonhuman threat.
The Githyan were horrible -- ahuman, yet capable of absorbing humanity. They fought without honor, without rules, and worse, better than the First. True, they had no Empire, (yet), but they expanded, and the Border was established, constant fighting, fed by expanding population on each side.
The First had a place for renegades. Those who stepped outside the normal social structure could win great face, but risked all. The Fourth were needed, so that the First could grow stronger. Renegade First, from assorted castes, broke the Ban secretly (since no-one but a renegade would break a Ban, there was no need for guards...) and boosted Earth culture. After the Dark Ages, there was Light.
Now, Earth's first vehicle passed the limits of the System. Earth's population surpassed 5 billion, and there were men in space. It was time for the Fourth to meet the First, and this time, fire would spread on the ground first, having been given to man by the fallen gods...
Last modified: August 19, 1996The Other Gretchen <firstname.lastname@example.org>