Thousands of years ago, Earth was part of a great galactic alliance of worlds. The galaxy was at peace, everything was pretty kool. Everyone was happy beyond belief. Naturally, that had to change.
Eventually there came along this group of radicals from various worlds in the Alliance, who'd had a sort of secret society going for God knows how long, centuries probably. They were tired of the state of affairs in the galaxy. You'll have to remember, at this point, there was already lots of history. Thousands of years of development on each planet in the Alliance, and then a thousand years or so since the Alliance was founded. In those thousand years, the Alliance grew and grew, until finally most of the galaxy had been explored, and pretty much any habitable planets had joined the Alliance or been colonized by the Alliance. By then, there hadn't been any war or undue suffering or anything, anywhere in the galaxy, for hundreds of years.
However, these radicals saw a down side. They called themselves the Sac'tra. That's a word from an alien language you won't have heard of. Rather hard to adequately translate into Terran English; but roughly, it more or less means "those who sacrifice Paradise for the sake of art, history, chaos, and some other kool stuff." Although in recent centuries, the slang translation is more like "group of nuts who almost seem to have some kind of vaguely understandable point about something or other, but who go about explaining it in what's almost certainly entirely the wrong fashion, take themselves way too seriously, and can't seem to distinguish the proper line between theory and practice."
Their chief points were these:
A: You must take the bad with the good. There were any number of reasons for this, one being that if there was no bad, you'd start to take the good for granted. A reason they count as different from, but which many casual modern students of their theories tend to think of as much akin to something Butt-head once said: "If nothing sucked, how would you know if something was kool?" (...Or words to that general effect....)
B: Misery and oppression and war and suffering and all that adds great depth to art. A point which is not widely debated, other than to point out that whole "line between theory and practice" thing.
They took several books to try to explain these points, and the rest of their theory, in great depth; the books were best-sellers across the galaxy. Everyone thought it was, for the most part, utter rot. Well, no, actually. They pretty much more or less believed it, after a fashion. But they still weren't quite so fond of the theory as the Sac'tra were. And they certainly thought it worked far better, as I've mentioned, in theory than in practice, and were very much glad that that sort of history was long over with. But the books and related things made the Sac'tra a rather rich organization, and famous, too. They got more members, and eventually they tried to form a political party. It didn't quite work out. More successful were the philosophy classes they taught at some of the galaxy's universities. If they didn't sway a great many minds, they at least got their ideas out there, made a little extra money; the classes were generally popular with philosophy students, sort of like Marxism or Communism would be someday far in the future (our own present and recent past, that is). Any rate, the group survived for quite a while. And continued to grow.
Funny, how they always seemed such a public, vocal group. But it later turned out that the bulk of their activities were actually quite secretive. One little clandestine project of theirs was terraforming uninhabitable worlds that had long since been deemed by the Alliance as not worth the effort of terraforming and colonizing. So they actually made themselves their own interstellar alliance of worlds, and managed to keep it a secret for a surprisingly long time. And they started their own industries on their worlds. They became entirely self sufficient. They even had their own military, their own government, their own shipyards and weapons manufacturing plants. They prepared for a war.
Still, they knew they couldn't possibly hope to win a war fought through conventional methods. Not that the Alliance had much of a military. They didn't really need one. Oh, they kept one around, just in case. History taught them never to let their guard down. You never know what might happen, in a place as big as the galaxy. Then too, you never know when someone might show up from another galaxy. Hopefully they'll be friendly, but they might not be. So the Alliance did have a military, and they had the potential for building a bigger and better military fairly quickly, if need be. So the Sac'tra refrained from starting a war. They just kept building, and kept their building from being discovered.
In time, they developed a new superweapon. One shot with this thing could plunge a world into an ice age, and do unimaginable damage. Destroy an entire civilization within weeks, even days. They tested it on one of the Outer-Rim planets of the galaxy. Pretty damn great place it was, too. Major cultural center, one of the most artistically advanced places in the Alliance. Had a good-size defense station too. If there were any such thing as an important military target in the Alliance, I suppose this world would have qualified as one. But mainly it was a place to go to universities, to take vacations, to create and enjoy art, and just basically have lots of fun. The people there were, for the most part, pretty kool.
Terra, the place was called. Went by a few other names, like Urth (in millennia to come, it would be misspelled "Earth," and that would eventually become the new proper spelling- so that's the one we'll use) and Gaia, etc.
So one day this perfectly innocent-seeming Sac'tra ship approached the planet. No problem there. At the time, everyone thought the Sac'tra were just a bunch of mildly eccentric extremists without much chance of winning any seats on the Galactic Council, but at least their work was somewhat interesting, as a philosophy course at university. And since Earth was a major university planet, it was natural for a Sac'tra ship to show up. Plenty had before without causing any trouble. But this time, they used the new superweapon.
The ship was destroyed by Earth's defenses, but it was too late. Within a week, there was almost no trace of an interstellar civilization ever having been there. Research teams were dispatched by the Alliance, who found no hope for fixing things. So they just went about getting rid of any remaining evidence of advanced civilization, and issued a general quarantine warning. No one was allowed on Earth.
Of course, some Terrans had been away, elsewhere in the galaxy at the time, so humanity survived. Similarly, of course, some aliens had been on Earth at the time. Most of them died along with the Terrans. But, some Terrans survived on Earth, as did a very few aliens. The Alliance was quite unaware of this. And the survivors couldn't contact anyone, because there was no technology left to be found. So anyone left behind had to start over as primitives. And so, Earth was set back thousands of years.
Anyway, that naturally kicked off a major war between the Alliance and the Sac'tra, and the Alliance sure was surprised to find out about some of the secrets the Sac'tra had been keeping. They managed to use their weapon on a few more worlds after Earth, but by then, the Alliance was better prepared, and most people managed to survive those attacks. Eventually, the Alliance developed a device which could counteract the effects of the superweapon, when used defensively at the time a world was attacked. And so, the superweapon was abandoned, and the war was waged in more conventional ways. It's continued off and on for the past several thousand years, with occasional truces which last anywhere from a few years to a thousand years.
Until a couple centuries ago, there hadn't been war for a thousand years. The most recent war has been more or less what you might call an interstellar cold war, waged in large part here on Earth. ...But I'm getting ahead of myself.
...Earth was on its own. The few people who were left behind had to rebuild from scratch. There was a bit over ten thousand years between the level the rest of the galaxy was at, and the last time the Earth had been at the level it had now been reduced to. This wasn't something the survivors much liked thinking about. So they saved the coming generations the trouble, by not telling them about their real past. Still, maybe it wouldn't take quite so long this time. After all, they retained and passed on some basic knowledge. Things like wheels and fire and incredibly primitive tools and weapons weren't so hard to make. Of course, they'd some of them been to other planets, but they could no more build a starship than the average person today could build a car (especially with scratch to work from).
Anyway, they survived. Succeeding generations survived, without knowledge of their ancestors' past. After almost a century, the ice age ended. Things got a bit better after that. New civilizations could start to spring up around the world. 'Course, the ice age had pretty much wiped out some of the species that were once common on Earth and later came to be thought of as myths. Maybe a few survived in small numbers, but most of those were hunted into extinction. Things like dragons and unicorns and whatnot.
Lots of new legends sprang up not only based on beings that no longer existed on Earth, but some which still did. Some of these were aliens left behind. I mentioned that, I suppose. Various intelligent creatures you'd think of as monsters are actually descendants of aliens, though they wouldn't remember their past any more than humans do. Vampyres and Werewolves and so on and so forth. And non-monsters.... Some things about them changed a bit because of the effects of the ice age, and of constant exposure to and isolation on the Earth. Some of them actually developed some monstrous inclinations due to such problems. If they hadn't, they would've died out. I'm sure it'll be most beneficial to them to get back to their true homeworlds, although things may not work out for them quite the same as it does for those of their races who were born on their homeworlds. Lots of complex medical questions to be answered, and I don't know much about all that. Should be interesting, someday.
There are also plenty of aliens who we've never seen anything of on Earth since the ice age. There are roughly three thousand worlds in the galaxy which produced indigenous intelligent life. Some such beings from different worlds were surprisingly similar to one another, some quite different.
Anyway, there were those who broke the rules and visited us over the millennia. Lots of history and culture and all kinds of kool stuff has been largely the work of visitors. There have been agents of the Sac'tra here often enough, and occasionally the Alliance has broken its own rule and come here, but mainly to counteract specific Sac'tra plans they've found out about. Then too, there've been plenty of people who've come out on their own initiative, for various reasons. Sometimes to check things out, out of curiosity. Sometimes to help humanity out, maybe guide us a bit toward the future. Maybe see what they could do about reducing the wait until Earth would be ready to rejoin the Alliance. Some people, of course, just saw ways of making profit; others just thought it'd be fun to see if they could become legends or whatever. Of course, some people just stopped in briefly to preserve bits of history for posterity. I expect a lot of people here would be very interested, for example, in seeing a holorecording of the Crucifixion. But it would also cause a hell of a lot of controversy and stir up lots of trouble, I think. We don't need that.
Also, a lot of people saw the rebuilding of Earth as a good chance to study primitive cultures from a sort of retrospective perspective, but still first-hand... the exact term for such studies eludes me at the moment, but I'm not sure it has a very apt contemporary Terran translation, anyway...
As I was saying, there were always lots of visitors from various worlds, of various affiliations or no affiliation at all. Some of them helped humanity out a bit, helped guide us. Some did quite the opposite. ...I guess you could make guesses about things like the pyramids and stonehenge and whatnot. Aliens did help a bit with that sort of stuff. Although, when I say aliens, sometimes that includes people of Terran descent, whose ancestors were offplanet at the time Earth was attacked. Hmmm. Oh, places like Atlantis, Shangri-la, et al., of course were remnants of the pre-ice age civilization.
And then, there's a certain sort of classification of animals which wasn't discovered until the Alliance was formed, because it's a truly weird sort of thing where the different species in this classification, which is not really at all like traditional sort of animal classification... where was I? Oh yes. Each species of this classification is from a different planet. Each planet has one species of this classification, which couldn't have been known until contact was made between various planets. On Earth, the species was dogs. Any sort of dogs, really... technically, it includes different sort of dog species, and of course different breeds. Anything you might ever consider calling a dog. Wolves, coyotes, jackals, hyenas, whatever. You get the idea.
Now, I should also mention that the Alliance includes all the intelligent races of the galaxy. And that the Sac'tra also includes all the intelligent races of the galaxy, although there haven't been that many humans of Terran descent in the group since the war started, for obvious reasons. But there are some.
One planet in the Alliance is called Grelan (pronounced "Gray-laan"). You'll of course be somewhat vaguely familiar with the Grelani, who coincidentally enough in Earth's modern popular culture are commonly referred to as 'Greys.' Thousands of years ago, they brought cats to Earth, as cats came from their homeworld. Cats- any sort of cats, including wildcats- were their planet's species of the classification I was talking about. Different species of the classification... my goodness, how could I have possibly forgotten to tell you what they call this odd classification? It's called Intara'a, which is a word that only exists, technically speaking, in Alliance Standard. Standard is spoken by pretty much everybody in the galaxy, although most also speak at least one language from their homeworld, and sometimes languages from other worlds.
Anyway, thousands of years ago, some Grelani in the Sac'tra brought cats to Earth. They had been genetically engineered somewhat, and implanted with certain advanced technology and stuff... Basically, the Sac'tra used them to spy on humans. They were often given as gifts to various human leaders the Sac'tra were working with. The Sac'tra would help the leaders out in various ways- sometimes posing as angels or gods and telling people the leaders had divine right to rule, among other tricks- and in exchange, the leaders would usually do whatever the Sac'tra asked of them. So they managed to guide humanity's history somewhat. The Sac'tra made a big deal out of cats, to make sure they'd be in good positions for spying. This whole thing worked best with the Pharaohs, I'd say. But eventually, there were cats everywhere, so they could spy on just about everyone.
Still, it wasn't all that many generations before certain traits were bred out of them, and of course they weren't born with implants (luckily, the Sac'tra didn't have nanotech back then). So cats haven't been spies for a hell of a long time- as far as I know. Still, they've never mixed well with dogs, as this planet by all rights belongs to dogs, as far as Intara'a go. But the species seem to be getting along better these days, which I think is a fair indication that intelligent races from Earth and elsewhere are probably also ready to get along. But maybe that's just me.
...As I said before, there has been a war on since the Earth was attacked thousands of years ago... I guess it was about seven thousand years ago. You know, there's an awful lot of stuff scientists assume about the world that they're wrong about, particularly things involving age. Part of that is because of the effects of the artificial ice age the planet was subjected to, part of it was because of the efforts of various groups, including both the Alliance and the Sac'tra, to hide certain truths they felt humanity wouldn't be ready for, wouldn't understand. So, lots of geological, paleontological, and other -ological evidence has been faked and/or changed. And certain histories, whether written or oral, have been changed- most of that was done very early on, to leave less trace of such meddling. Oh, everyone was quite thorough. Although, they had the foresight to leave some clues behind, or at least aberrations, things that couldn't quite be explained, things which wouldn't fit in properly with the way most evidence seemed to paint things.
Again, there was always a war going on, although there were occasional periods of peace. Never real peace, just truces, even if the most recent truce lasted nearly a thousand years. You see, the Sac'tra had always had a master plan for guiding Earth's new destiny, at least since it was discovered that life had survived and new civilizations were developing. And around Charlemagne's time, they started adjusting their plans. They sort of stopped dabbling. They got serious about controlling Earth's future, and worked out far more complex plans. They worked on their plans for centuries. They did have some occasional influence on Earth in that time, but less than they had in previous millennia. Mostly they just sat tight on their colony worlds, making little or no trouble for the Alliance, and worked on their secret plans.
Naturally, the Alliance suspected this was what they were doing, and worked on their own plans. In the meanwhile, they worked harder than ever in guiding Earth- while the Sac'tra cats, so to speak, were away. Things went fairly well for the time being. The Alliance managed to get Earth working toward becoming the sort of place it had once been, what with art and education and philosophy and religion and science and all. It was great.
Then sometime shortly after, or maybe right around, the time that the Alliance managed to get the Industrial Revolution going, the Sac'tra returned to set their plans into motion. Of course, they'd been watching Earth and how the Alliance was guiding it all that time. And they'd been working such information into their plans. So then this really great cold war started up, very complex stuff, full of espionage and counter-espionage and all sorts of elaborate plots and plans.
Now, it had been several thousand years since the Alliance had worked with any Earth-born Terrans, or revealed any large truths to them. Not quite as long for the Sac'tra, but it'd still been quite a while for them, too. But in the 1800s, it started afresh, involving us. Both sides. And several other nonaligned groups and individuals got themselves involved, as always. But mainly it was the Alliance and the Sac'tra.
Not to negate Humanity's involvement in our own development. Terrans had a lot to do with everything. Obviously. Whether witting or unwitting. The most part of human history has to do largely with humans. Many of the greatest events in history, outsiders had a hand in, but it was still mostly humanity.
Anyway, various alliances were struck up between various Terran groups and various alien groups. One such alliance involved the organization I'd most specifically refer to as the ISC, although I often use that term to refer to any similar group, of whatever affiliation. But the group in question dealt mainly with the Alliance. They've had dealings with other aliens, Sac'tra among them, as well as rival Terran groups.
Actually, they call themselves the IERO, International Extra-terrestrial Research Organization, not ISC. The group was created in the mid-19th century. (They started out investigating paranormal phenomenon, and it was a while before they got hip to anything that was really going on, what it was all about. There were a few bad, misinformed run-ins with aliens whose motives they didn't understand, including Alliance, Sac'tra, and independents. I'll try to tell you more about the IERO's early days, sometime.) But once they eventually learned the truth, they wanted to help the Alliance guide humanity to what it had once been, to what they believed it could and should be again. But it was a very great task. They had some learning to do about such things. Oh, humanity had always been very good at making very complicated plans and plots, but this was a far larger scale. They had to guide humanity, but also had to counteract the plots of the Sac'tra, keep humanity at large from learning the truth before they were ready, and subtly and slowly prepare humanity for the truth. The invention of 'scientifiction' was certainly a great step in that direction. The 20th century was a very fertile playground for all sides of the war. Very fun. And things started speeding up bigtime. Things got very complicated.
In the middle of the 20th century, the IERO was taken over from within, redirected. They had a new agenda. (One of the people who spearheaded this was one Colonel Roswell, an incredibly vain chap who chose the site of a key event in the takeover of the organization. Maybe I'll tell you more about that someday.) ...There were still some around who did things to keep the old objective alive, but the new order of the ISC had different goals. They wanted to control Earth and its destiny themselves (ancient alien allegiances be damned), but a lot of that was just for kicks. They thought of themselves as superior because they knew the truth, but while originally the ISC wanted to gradually leak the truth, and develop people's mindsets so that eventually they would be ready for the truth... the new order was more interested in hiding the truth, spreading lies, taking over the world, and just generally being pretty darn evil.
The new order also liked spreading disinformation. One way they'd do that (and at the same time fight internal enemies) would be to allow science fiction to be made which had characters based on old-order loyalists in the ISC, but painted them as the evil ones. There were definitely plenty of people in the real ISC who were very like some fictionalized characters in mythologies such as the X-Files. Of course, certain series like that were actually part of the plans of the people in the ISC who still held with the original objective. That sort of thing was intended to prepare people for the truth. But both sides took some part in such things.
Eventually the ISC was cleaned up, returned to the old order. The main part of this took place in the 1990s, and the old-order folks expect to finished it in the mid-Aughts. And it very well may be.
I'm tired. That's all I can think to say for now. Anyway, it's a general over-view. There are many little stories to relate (or not to relate), covering all of history, especially the last couple centuries. But while I don't entirely agree with even the old-order ISC (and especially not the new order), I do believe some things are better left as secrets, at least for now. And of course, there are countless things I don't even know. ...Yet.