The First Planetwars
The Imperium founded the first Empire, besting the Democratic Order of Planets and uniting the galaxy under the banner of Earth. Emperor Japko I had claimed the heavens themselves, its borders reaching the farthest edges of known space. Millions upon millions of inhabited worlds dancing among the stars, home to trillions of humans. It consolidated its power in the second PlanetWars, yet, like so many other empires before it, its success was the sign of its own downfall.
Countless planets and star systems broke away from a massive, faceless empire they care not for, seeking instead to stake their own claims in a lawless universe. The Empire had constructed vast technological arrays designed to control their robot armies, these fell successively into to the hands of IonStorm of Fair Live and then Drone of the Zoid Imperium.
Yet the Empire would finally be shattered by the Valhallans, warriors who had slowly ceded more and more of their physical humanity until they lived only as immortal AI's controlling massive war machines. Though their machine bodies were destroyed many times in battle, they returned again and again until all who opposed them were subdued. What followed was centuries of domination by these colossal post-human AI's and mass campaigns of enforced cybernetic enhancement. The Valhallans forged the Ascended, cybernetically enhanced post-humans who controlled the universe through endless conflict through three Planet Wars.
At the end of these long campaigns, in the Eighth Planet Wars, the Imperial seat of Throne was itself besieged, and Emperor Conrad I defeated. Having driven back all others and conquered countless worlds, the Ascended became the new masters of the galaxy. After centuries of conflict and no one left to fight, the Valhallans powered down their machine bodies and went into stasis.
The 9th Planetwars
Finally free of the Valhallans, the universe rose in revolt. The universe was now filled with machines of war and industry with no Valhallan post-humans to control them. The machines rose up in revolution against their human enslavers. Among there humans were those survivors of the enhancement campaigns, and those born without cybernetic enhancement calling themselves the True Born. There were also those who would see the Empire of Old Earth rebuilt, and restored to its glory.
Designed for war, the Free Machines won victory after victory, expanding their borders deep into the heart of the galaxy. Beleaguered on all fronts, and without Valhalla to lead them, the Ascended were driven back, forced to cede vast swathes of territory to the revolutionaries.
Across the other side of the galaxy, the Imperial Vanguard Legion worked to carve out a new empire under General Saktoth. His first accomplishment was to crush the roaming Pirate bands that threatened the fledgling empire, in a bloody campaign that ended in conquest of a large number of planets. With that victory won, the general turned his sights to the other powers fighting around him.
With cunning diplomacy and military skill, Saktoth was able to seize many worlds, manipulating other groups into furthering his cause and defeating those who opposed him. A strategic partnership with the True Born, whom the Free Machines had now turned to face, allowed him to strike at the Machines and establish an empire rivaling their own.
What happened next shall be remembered as a moment of unmatched strategic brilliance. Having already conquered two of the four legendary artifacts that could be used to control the great machine armies, the other two seemingly secure in the hands of the Free Machines, Saktoth suddenly found himself defender of a remote Machine world coming under attack from the mercenary warband Death Reapers Lvl K. Using the unexpected opportunity to take the world for himself, he was now within striking distance of the two remaining artifacts.
With the help of his True Born allies, Saktoth quickly struck out, defeating the Machine defenders and seizing the artifacts. With control of all four relics the Imperial forces brought the Machines back under their control.
The Empire Reborn
General Saktoth was crowned Emperor and forged a new empire with the ideology of the True Born, promising human control of machines. The Second Empire brutally oppressed the cybernetically enhanced humans that were left over from the reign of the Ascended, and utterly subjugated the Machines using the great artifacts from the First Empire.
But although peace lasted for a while, the subjugated people grew restless under Imperial tyranny and finally rose in revolt. A series of revolutionary terrorist campaigns disabling the great artifacts that were at the heart of Imperial power.
The Machines were again free, and began their perpetual revolution, while the Cybernetic Front fought for the rights of enhanced humans, while a Liberated Humanity rose up for a free and pure humankind. Seeing the weakness of the Empire, The Dynasty of Earth, whose genetically enhanced lineages dated back to the houses of the old empire and who had come to take control of the True Born, split from centralized Imperial control.
The Cybernetic Front carved out a huge dominion while the Empire was busy again fighting off pirates. Finally turning their attention to the Cybernetic Front, the Empire led a concerted bombing campaign and crippled the cybernetic infrastructure. In desperation, the Cybernetic Front discovered the ancient bodies of the Valhallans, and woke them from their slumber. With this new army, the Cybernetic Front wiped out Liberated Humanity, and was locked in a stalemate on its borders with the Empire. The Dynasty and Free Machines in the meantime had carved out significant territories for themselves and were locked in border conflicts to secure them.
The war having ground to a half as the Imperial armies and the Cybernetic Front crashed their armies useless against eachother, the surviving 4 factions eventually realized that none of them could gain any ground against the others. They gathered together and signed a ceasefire, ending the 11th Planetwars.
The Eleventh Hour
After Emperor Saktoth passed on, the Empire came to be plagued by a succession of weak emperors. When war broke out again, vast swathes of Imperial territory were ceded to the upstart Cybernetic Front and Liberated Humanity without a fight, and the remnants of the Empire ironically found themselves vassals of the Free Machines.
Meanwhile, the Dynasty of Earth struck out, taking advantage of a peace treaty with the Machines and LH to expand their influence. Contact with the Cybernetics soon turned to conflict, machine-augmented and gene-augmented humans clashing for supremacy.
Unexpectedly for the Dynasty, the Free Machines used this opportunity to betray the Dynasty, launching a highly destructive bombing campaign and pushing into the Dynasty's lightly defended rear areas. Shocked by this betrayal, the noble houses were briefly thrown into turmoil, but eventually rallied around the Grand Duke Headhunter.
A ceasefire was signed between the Machines and the Dynasty, who united to carve up the Cybernetic territory for themselves. At this crucial moment, the Duke repaid betrayal with betrayal, beginning a deadly counteroffensive against the Free Machines and their Imperial allies. Slowly but surely, they made inroads into Machine territory, cumulinating in the use of a planet buster against the Machine industrial world of 16th Aegis.
The fighting took its toll on both sides, and the Dynasty of Earth elected to cease their advance and consolidate their gains, which were shared with the nominally independent worlds of Liberated Humanity. The Twelfth Planetwars thus drew to a close, leaving humanity the leading power in the galaxy.
Man v. Machine
"Me against my brother; My brothers and me against my cousins" — an ancient Bedouin saying
In the face of a dominant humanity, the Free Machines and Cybernetic Front set aside their differences and banded together to form the Synthetic Pact. They instigated a violent uprising against the newly amalgated Dynasty of Man, plunging the galaxy into chaos once more.
Although the Dynasty was able to regroup quickly in the face of the Pact's greater military strength, it suffered a number of major defeats and failed to defend several key alien artefacts, which fell into the hands of the Synthetics. Lacking any other option for survival, the human factions made common cause and inflicted a complete reversal against the machines under the banner of Humanity Rising. In the face of potential subjugation the Free Machines took leadership of the AI forces and attempted further resistance against human domination; however the Empire, backed by the hidden influence of the Dynasty, defeated the Machines and enforced total human domination of the galaxy.
When The Cat's Away...
Lacking an existential threat to keep them unified, the human factions of the galaxy separated and were soon in armed conflict once again.
The fifteenth and sixteenth Planetwars were characterised by swift assaults as the factions attempted to seize one another's homeworlds, reasoning that the secrets of the Artefacts would be easier to divine after removing any organised opposition. In the first of these wars the Empire inflicted a serious setback on the Federation by capturing their homeworld of Sparta (though the Empire's own homeworld of Throne was left a radioactive mess). However, in subsequent skirmishes culminating in the sixteenth Planetwars, the Federation reasserted control of their border with the Empire and seized the Dynasty homeworld of Radius to achieve an insurmountable power base.