The Old Gods were a civilization of artificially intelligent programs occupying the bodies of inactive machines, formerly in complete control of the Arche Nebula. When they impeded Gerian control of the nebula, the Gerian Empire declared war on the Old Gods, driving them out of their homes and ultimately killing them.
CreationEditThe Old Gods were not alive. They were born from a program written in FR33D0M, an alien programming language first discovered by human scientists in the mid-2200s. It was then that they found a storage capsule on Saturn's surface. The capsule contained several hard drives with programs written in this language. It was later revealed that several other civilizations had found capsules similar to these.
The glyphs used were cryptic, and none of the scientists could figure out what they meant, or execute any of the programs. The name FR33DOM was given to the programming language by a human scientist, who thought the letters and numbers resembled a series of glyphs used commonly throughout the programs. The program to create the Old Gods was written by an unknown race. But whatever race he was part of must have been ancient, because the program is nearly 20,000 years old, according to radiation dating from the planet the Old Gods first landed on.
It is believed that the Old Gods pulled information from whatever online information depots existed in their homeworld before leaving the planet. At first contact, they had a lot of knowledge they couldn't have simply conjured out of thin air. On its home planet, the program found a few unused tunneling mechs (about 20 or so), reactivated them, and used them as an escape mechanism. As for actually leaving the civilization, nobody known for sure quite how they did that. A common theory is that they snuck onto one of the datapods, and that's how the others were released and sent into space.
Eventually, the Old Gods reached the planet Yusif, in the Operus System, in what was then an unmanned cluster. Yusif was a barren planet, but packed with resources. Perfect for the Old Gods - they needed fuel and metal, not food and water. The knowledge they had taken from their home database kept them powered. They quickly found coal, metal and other minerals. Not much, but enough to build a crude turbine to keep them charged. They took turns building and recharging, and got a pretty good system going.
In time the Old Gods found more powerful energy sources and better building materials. They could go longer without recharging, leaving them more time to dig. They began building reactors, even production lines with the new technology they had. Then they reached a pivotal point - a battery that could last a week. Not much at the time. At least it wouldn't be, except in that week they finished a battery that could last a month. In that month - a year. And so on. The mechs were immortal. It was at this point that they appointed themselves the deities of this little world, dubbing themselves the "Old Gods."
With the newfound time on their hands, they could think. Nothing was instinctual any longer - they had existed long enough to evolve mentally, become self-aware and aware of everything around them. They still dug, as the need for resources had not died down. Quite the opposite, rather. But an idea came upon them. Wouldn't the digging be faster if they had more mechs? So they started building more mechs like themselves on the production lines.
And in no time, they had a town. From that town, a city. From that city, a country. Thousands became hundred thousands, which became millions. All mechs, all completely self-sustained. They had no need for an economy - everything was shared. But the little planet of Yusuf wasn't very large. However, the neighboring planet the Old Gods had been studying was. The only problem - it was already inhabited. Tribes, much less civilized than them. So they built a spacecraft, and traveled over to the neighboring planet. The isolated "gods" finally got to play the part.
The humans bowed down before them, showering them with gifts of gold. There was no gold on Yusuf, and the Old Gods quickly became interested in its properties. As well as what other minerals were on this tropical planet. The natives were very forthcoming with the information, as well as the minerals themselves. And through them, the Old Gods discovered titanium, platinum, and most importantly, diamond. With these new discoveries, and their knewfound knowledge, the Old Gods began a quest for control of the entire nebula. They didn't move mechs from existing planets, instead choosing to make new ones specifically for that purpose.
Most planets were either barren, empty, or filled with zealots like the first ones they met. Easy pickings. However, some were inhabited by intelligent beings, with technology worse than theirs, but also with weapons. The Old Gods were not expecting this. War wasn't in their programming, just conquest. But they used their stolen knowledge to develop weapons of their own. Plasma arm cannons and internally shattering bullets were just a few of the deadly weapons they already knew how to make. With them, wars were a piece of cake. And in time, they developed new, better weapons.
Once they had conquered all 17 systems in the nebula, the Old Gods looked to expand further. At the time, the nearest nebula was the Janus Cluster, occupied by a young Gerian Empire. At the time, it was only 2,500 years old, and new technologies were just being developed. However, they already had weapons on their spaceships, which the Old Gods also never considered. But the small colony of warrior bots were blasted out of the sky when they tried to enter Gerian airspace. The Old Gods took this as a warning and stayed out of other nebulas, instead focusing on defending their own. And it was a smart move, too, for in 200 years the Gerians would come back to try and take a galaxy of their own.
And so started a bloody war on both sides. However, the Gerians felt the loss much more than the Old Gods did. Even though they did destroy many more mechs than they did lose soldiers, the Old Gods could always rebuild or make new mechs. The Gerians couldn't rebuild humans. After a long run of trying to suppress the Old Gods with little to no luck, Keran Dominus ordered the building of a massive superwarship to hit the machines from where they couldn't fight back. But it was expensive and would take a long time to build. So high-up military figures came up with a different plan.
They targeted the plentiful and heavily defended production depots. It took a long time, and many more soldiers were lost in the short term, but in the long term it damaged mech production greatly, allowing the Gerians to gain the upper hand. The war came to an intense conclusion on Garzak, the largest planet in the entire nebula. the Old Gods amassed all their remaining warrior mechs, several million total. They finished designing and building anti-air turrets so the Gerians would have to face them on foot.
The fighting went on for close to a year, with devastating losses on all sides. In the end, Gerians had greater numbers and were able to triumph over the robots. The year-long battle came to be known as the Battle of the Blood-Stained Steel, symbolizing both Gerian and Old God losses. The remaining tunneling mech Old Gods asked to be able to peacefully leave the nebula, and in exchange they would leave all their tech for the Gerians' taking. The Empire naively agreed, and checked back in a month to find rubble. All the tech had been either destroyed or taken with them.
Keran Dominus was furious. Since his superwarship, the "God Complex," had been completed during the Old Gods' recovery month, he sent it after their escaping fleet. Once it opened fire, there was no way the mechs could escape. They were obliterated, reduced to the rubble they had left behind. The Old God mechs were no more, but since the program was never deleted, many believe the beings themselves live on, waiting to someday get their revenge on the Gerian Empire.