Please note: this is a work in progress.
Origins of the Sevardin System
Our universe is thought to be approximately 13.7 billion (Earth) years in age. The solar system Earth inhabits was formed some 4.6 billion years ago. Astronomers have deduced the age of our galaxy to be approximately ten billion years, making it fairly old, as the oldest evidence for stars in the universe places them forming around one hundred million years after the Big Bang—with the “age of stars” starting closer to five to nine hundred million years afterward.
The Sevardin System’s creators evolved in a star system that formed soon after the Milky Way galaxy coalesced, some 7.5 billion years ago. A combination of an advantageous position near the edge of the Centaurus Arm and a confluence of recent cascading supernovae combined to produce a solar system with a single Population I star, approximately 1.03 times the mass of our Sun, and a planetary system of twelve major bodies and (eventually) two asteroid belts. Configuration of the planets was such that three fit within the confines of the “habitable zone” where water was liquid on the surface of a rocky planet and biological life could arise.
The names of the star system and its planets are lost to history—even the great map room in the Central Backup does not include labels—so “Sevardin” has come to be synonymous.
Recognizable biological life arose on all three planets located in the Habitable Zone of the Sevardin star. The Builders’ planet eventually gave rise to two sapient species, with each of the two other planets producing one. On the Builder’s planet, separation of two clusters of large island-continents allowed quite a bit of development before the sapient species met. Both were mutually incapable of breeding and largely relied on differing sources of nutrition, but eventually one species determined that it desired the entire planet and attacked the other. A war lasting over a century (Earth time) ensued and escalated to the point where the aggressor was finally wiped out when biological weapons designed to destroy the other species backfired and exterminated them instead. The remaining species had been driven nearly to the point of extinction and, over time, maintained the aggressor’s “home” island as a sterile shrine of remembrance to the horrors of war.
Sapient life on the outer of the three life-bearing planets developed nearly at pace with that of the Builders. In fact, radio communication between the two planets was established long in advance of either being capable of space flight—at one point, the outer species even attempted to play the role of mediator during the interspecies war on the Builders’ planet. The two worlds shared similar ecologies and, when space flight finally became a reality on the Builders’ world, they swiftly set out to meet the beings they largely considered their brethren.
Through happenstance, the Builders could move about openly on the farthermost planet, while those beings suffered some unknown corporeal plague that quickly killed the first ambassadors to set foot there. A mutually-safe space station was eventually built in orbit around the Builders’ world to supplement the thriving ambassadorial community of Builders and Farthers on the farthers’ planet. Centuries of mutual enrichment and learning raised each society to levels believed impossible prior to meeting. Indeed, both species were on the cusp of developing fusion-based spaceflight and had reached out to remotely investigate the sapients on the innermost planet when a disaster none had predicted came to pass.
The Builders’ and Farthers’ planets were nearly opposite each other, with several starliners traveling between, when an object of great mass slammed into the Farther world and shattered it. Word of the disaster—the loss of over three billion sapients, a rich ecosystem, and untold living creatures—reached the Builders’ world when liners en route the the Farthers’ world passed far enough around the orbit to detect the enormous glowing cloud of debris from the planet’s destruction.
It was at that time that the plans for the Sevardin Ring were first contemplated, though its original design was far less ambitious than the eventual result. The leader of the Builders’ society at the time was a great scientist named Rám Sevardin, and it was under his guidance that the Great Project—which would eventually consume all the resources of his solar system (and many more) and species—was begun.
The inner of the three life-bearing planets was larger than the other two and less well-endowed with metal deposits near the surface. As a result, sapient life there had barely developed to the point of nation-states by the time the Builders had developed space flight and endeavored to explore their solar system. By mutual agreement, the Builders and Farthers had kept a hands-off approach to the world, setting up remote reconnaissance stations in orbit around the Inner world in preparation for eventual first contact. All those plans came to an end, however, when debris from the destruction of the Farthers’ world came crashing down onto the Inners’ world. It was much closer to the ruined remains of the outermost planet when the destruction happened, with awful consequences. Several of the observing stations were vaporized by the incoming asteroids—some well over 20 km in diameter—but those that escaped bore witness to a cataclysm nearly as terrible as the annihilation of the Farthers’ world. By the time the falling debris tapered off (and the Builders recovered from their own bombardment and heroic efforts to reduce the damage to non-extermination levels), very little life remained on the innermost planet. No intelligent species was detected from that moment forward until the planet was harvested to help build the Sevardin Ring.