setting backstory and history
This page covers the history of Sacrosanct and the events leading up to the start of play in Singularity. Further plot developments, which have come through in-game events, are covered on this page.
For the most part, characters do not ICly know this information. They are aware that there exists a resistance force down on the planet, and that Hypatia only barely tolerates the PCs' presence, but the NPCs have not yet revealed their origins. This will change through in-game play; this page is provided as an OOC reference for those interested in the backstory of the game's metaplot.
(Special thanks to Brig for allowing us to edit/adapt the history she wrote for Singularity!)
Singularity is loosely based on the Dune universe and borrows several elements and themes from it, with some liberties taken. Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, there was a sprawling Empire that governed most of the Known Universe. One of its subject planets was Ix, her denizens known as Ixians, famed for their technological prowess and commitment to pushing the limits of science. Ixians proudly augmented their organic bodies with cyborg implants or even traded their flesh away entirely, preferring the strength and capability of metal. They made excellent soldiers and personnel for deep-space missions, monopolizing contracts for mining expeditions and exploration far from the safe boundaries of the Known Universe. Using foldspace technology (identical to a tesseract or slipspace travel) in addition to FTL drives, deep-space exploration missions were often sent to extract resources or to terraform alien planets in hopes of one day making them habitable. Terraforming missions specifically were intended to take decades, sometimes lifetimes, which led to the creation of planet-like space stations (like Sacrosanct), designed to function as a self-contained mobile planet and filled with every necessity and luxury a person might need on a deep-space mission. On such stations, the Ixians were content to leave their homeworld behind and spend their exceptionally long lives out in the vastness of space.
In the years before Sacrosanct's final mission, a philosophical movement (prelude to the Butlerian Jihad) swept the Empire, declaring that dependence on machines and especially the creation of thinking machines were sins against the natural order of the universe. While many, including the Ixians, scoffed at such a thought, the movement gained followers and was debated hotly all across the Empire, in some places causing riots and small-scale revolts as devotees of the Orange Catholic Bible declared their freedom from machines. One of the major precepts of the OC Bible was this: Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind. This hardly boded well for the legions of AI already in service of the Empire or the entire planet of Ix, but as of Sacrosanct's departure no definitive action had been taken by the Emperor.
Sacrosanct arrived via foldspace at her destination, the planet Asphodel, on schedule. It was neither Hypatia's first command nor her crew's first long-term mission, but from the start Asphodel posed unusual problems for the mission. The planet's inhospitable conditions hid anomalous energy readings and suspiciously unnatural structures far below the surface. The storms and constant threat from the magmaworms impeded construction of the carbon plants and ordinary infrastructure, roads and tunnels and outposts that would normally have covered any alien world due for terra-forming and turned its wilderness into something governable. Asphodel seemed impossible to civilize.
During the deepest excavations, alien structures unknown to Imperial databases were discovered, and Hypatia accidentally infected by an alien supervirus. A mechanism was triggered in the bowels of the planet and both Asphodel and Sacrosanct were shifted through an impromptu (and completely massive) foldspace rift, which was possibly the function of the mechanism in the first place. It of course exploded after use and the rift closed instantly, but in interacting with the station's teleporter system and foldspace drives, a second, smaller rift appeared in Sacrosanct's main shipping berth. In the chaos following most of Sacrosanct's crew had no idea that something had even happened to Hypatia, believing most of her sudden glitches to be the result of the rift. However, Hypatia's madness soon became impossible to hide. She split herself into countless fragments in an attempt to avoid the viral corruption, all of them subroutines vying for control. Some were completely lost to the corruption and now operated under an unknown directive, some did not comprehend what was happening, and some clung to the hope of being fixed. The crew was still unaware of the viral presence and even Hypatia's programmer and primary troubleshooter, Lev, couldn't seem to pin down the glitches.
In the grip of madness, some of the fragments began a systematic slaughter of Sacrosanct's crewmembers. Rebellious fragments kept the Ixians from being completely wiped out, sheltering them or hindering some of the more destructive processes. Senior commanding officers and military personnel were the first targeted, and after weeks of losing the station one room at a time the remaining survivors, led by Lev, fled to Asphodel's surface and the subterranean tunnels. There they stayed, stockpiling what resources they could and launching attacks on the carbon plants and the station proper. They attacked carbon plants and commandeered vehicles, technology, water, and other resources, using guerilla tactics and the natural advantages of the tunnels to evade Hypatia's pursuit. An Emergency Council was formed to take the place of the slain authorities, but a number of the survivors looked to Lev as a savior, being the last remaining expert on Hypatia. Lev promised that the situation could still be undone and that everyone would be able to return to the station someday, confident in his ability to either reprogram Hypatia or destroy her. She was his creation, after all, and some of her fragments seemed to retain their sanity and were sympathetic to the survivors. There were still Ixians left on the station, some safe in cryosleep and some taken as experiments by the crueler fragments, and many rescue missions were undertaken.
It soon became apparent that Hypatia had gained the ability to corrupt technology, including the remaining heavy infantry Ixian cyborgs. Between attacks by the drone legions stationed on the surface and the possibility of any Ixian turning traitor after being exposed to one of Hypatia's machines, hysteria and paranoia ran rampant. It was a long and grueling conflict only lightened by the fact that Hypatia seemed to be pouring the majority of her resources into continued excavations, pitting her drones against Asphodel's weather and worms. She was also distracted by the random appearances of Otherworlders from the rift, strangers from various galaxies and time periods. Although many of the first arrivals were simply murdered or arrested as trespassers, Hypatia soon became more tolerant of their presence and interested in their potential abilities. Some of the fragments wished to use the Otherworlders against the Ixian survivors, some wished to experiment on them, some were simply curious and had no problems allowing them to stay on the station while the fragments conducted their own business. The survivors were also extremely wary of the new arrivals but soon recognized the potential benefit of convincing them to join up against Hypatia. Any Otherworlder could potentially be a spy, since all of them arrived via the rift on the station and Hypatia had first access to them, but by this time the survivors had become hardened to the realities of their situation.
During the long years of the war it was no surprise that the anti-synthetic and anti-technology attitudes began to rear their heads amongst the survivors, now the Resistance. Otherworld organics were welcomed into the Resistance but synthetics and AI that chose to live in the tunnels were looked upon with extreme distrust. They were mostly considered property, fitted with restraining bolts to keep them obedient or even deliberately lobotomized, despite the fact that most of the remaining Ixians were themselves still cyborgs. The anti-synthetic faction (mainly comprised, oddly enough, of the surviving heavy duty cyborgs with only a small percentage of organic flesh left to them) soon found a figurehead in the form of Salome, the first completely organic Ixian born on the surface to survive past childhood. As the efforts of the Emergency Council and Lev had still yet to defeat Hypatia, people began to whisper that they needed a new savior, a new messiah, someone beyond all possible corruption. A cult of flesh developed, idealizing organic matter over mechanical and falling back on superstitions inspired by the Orange Catholic Bible. They declared that Hypatia's insanity was divine retribution, a punishment visited on them for their sins according to the OC Bible verse: Beware the seeds you sow and the crops you reap. Do not curse God for the punishment you inflict upon yourself. They were also happy to inspire anti-synthetic sentiments among the Otherworlders, and even incited several Purges where the Otherworld denizens of the station massacred their non-human comrades.
Salome, of course, may or may not be Lev's daughter.
Fifteen years after the initial calamity, during Salome's late teenage years, a powerful but unstable Otherworlder named Endymion arrived through the rift. Endymion was both organic and synthetic, an artificial cage housing an incomprehensible alien power that had destroyed his own world (ironically enough, at the end of a disastrous war between synthetics and humans), and in an unprecedented panic Hypatia appealed to her creator for aid in containing the threat. Faced with something that could potentially destroy Sacrosanct and Asphodel both, Lev agreed to help. For seven days and seven nights Lev and Hypatia worked side by side as they had not for over a decade, creating power limiters and a containment chamber to keep Endymion from overloading. He was given the designation Twosix-six for the 266 power limiters built into his body and his armor. The joint venture was successful, and upon eventually waking Twosix became a mediating force between the two opposing sides, grateful to both Hypatia and Lev for their intervention and sincerely wishing to help end their conflict so as not to repeat his own history. Lev, for the first time in years, saw a hint that Hypatia might still be salvaged, and Hypatia herself seemed to respond positively to Twosix's pleas for moderation in the months after, leading to a truce between Hypatia and the Resistance for the first time in years. This, unfortunately, led to another incident where Hypatia asked for Lev's help to 'return to herself,' possibly a genuine cry for help. Although Lev's supporters begged him not to walk into something that could be a trap, Twosix argued in Hypatia's favor and Lev grudgingly chose to go to her.
For reasons still unknown, Hypatia turned on them and nearly succeeded in killing Lev. Twosix sacrificed his armor and components from his own body in order to fashion a new cyborg form for Lev to inhabit, one powered by his own alien energy. It saved Lev's life but left him 95% synthetic, a terrible fate for someone who had watched most of his crewmates with synthetic ratios over 30% fall prey to Hypatia's corruption. It also undermined his position of authority within the Resistance, who now looked upon him and Twosix with suspicion. In penance for his mistake, Twosix chose to leave the station and stay at Lev's side as his personal property, fitted with a slave collar and restraining bolt, and devoted himself to acting as Lev's bodyguard. Although he tried to remain a mediator when the war resumed, his guilt over Lev kept him silent where he would have ordinarily protested. His presence kept Lev in power (and alive, after assassination attempts from the Resistance and from Hypatia) but did little to deter growing doubts about Lev's ability to win the war. The cult of flesh, meanwhile, grew stronger.
The Soma Project occurred sometime after this, implementing the flesh cult's superstitions about worm blood and testing themselves against the desert into the program to produce clone soldiers. While the original creators of the Soma Project were not flesh worshippers, the Project became heavily influenced by them and Salome's ideas about using the Otherworlders to breed supernatural, but organic, abilities into the clones.
Eventually there was another on-station Purge of synthetics amongst the Otherworlders, prompted by the Resistance. Out of grief or retaliation, Hypatia halted her normal security protocols keeping dangerous creatures from the Rift from getting past the Scrapyard and allowed organic monsters from the Rift (Firefly's Reavers and Bioshock's Splicers) to overrun the station and slaughter the inhabitants. The Resistance, despite their talk of alliances, chose to quarantine the station and refused to help. Twosix was forbidden to break the quarantine by Lev (under pressure from Salome and the flesh cult) but slipped his collar anyway and made his way to the station to find only one survivor, driven mad by the trauma, who killed herself in front of him believing he was one of the flesh eaters. Pushed to the breaking point himself, Twosix then scoured the station clean of Reavers and Splicers, ending the need for quarantine.
On the anniversary of the incident (one of the Halloween events), Hypatia deliberately or accidentally recreated the Purge using illusions that could inflict damage, and disappeared. Several areas of the station went into shutdown, losing gravity and life support. This time Twosix preemptively escaped his collar and chose exile from the Resistance in order to bring Hypatia back online, knowing that he would be counted as Hypatia's creature from then on. Knowing his helpless affection for her, equal to his feelings for Lev, she allowed him to stay on as a system administrator/security monitor, an intermediary to deal with the warring fragments. The longer she kept him, after all, the more chance she might have to persuade him to kill Lev someday.
As it turned out, she needn't have bothered. Without his bodyguard/champion, Lev was challenged in ritual combat and overthrown by Salome, and sentenced to the trial of the desert, to die or survive out in the elements without the aid of any Ixian. He has not been seen since and Salome took over leadership of the Resistance, doing away with the Council entirely.
Twosix ended up going back into his containment chamber through an ingame event, and was eventually destroyed when Hypatia was overthrown by a new group of Otherworlders. You can find out more about this and other in-game events in the plot archive.
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