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Dreaming Paralysis

In the world of Interstellar Scale Megastructure Applications

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Chartered by representatives from the Terran Consolidated Systems, the Kri'tak Clans, and the Archivist Initiative in the year 3512 of the Modern Era, the utopian dream achieved its ultimate expression in the Vir Federation, a triumph of the egalitarian spirit over barbarism and violence. The preeminent interstellar power ensured centuries of peace and prosperity, with only a single major interruption by the genocidal Salyuri Triumphant.

Ultimately the technological superiority of the Triumphator Reclamation was a statistical anomaly, and a temporary one at that. In fact, by 4000 ME it was clear that their lasting legacy was the reformation of Militarized Assets into an interstellar military power. By all metrics, F-MAG outmatched the Salyuri at the height of their power, and the Federation dreamed of peace eternal.

It was not an external threat which birthed the nation's worst existential crisis. With the near annihilation of the Federation at the hands of the conceptually-linked Salyuri, a group of visionaries were convinced of their own obsolescence. It was imperative, these people argued, that survival required the sacrifice of individual existence in favor of a collective consciousness. Soundly rejected by everyone else, the clique became a conspiracy, built upon a small cabal of politicians, scientists, and veterans. For centuries, this faction tirelessly orchestrated subterfuge to set the stage for the next phase of evolution. No records survived to tell who the traitors were nor explain what exactly was done, because their plot succeeded.

At the turn of the fourth millennium, their efforts culminated in the rapid nonconsensual integration of the population into the most powerful intellect ever seen. Nothing was spared if a victim exhibited the implanted vulnerabilities, not any tiny biologicals and certainly not the formidable warship intelligences. In spite of the best efforts of cyberwarfare teams and security protocols, the creation of the K472 Interlink murdered a quarter of the Federation's citizens.

Four hundred quadrillion corpses opened their eyes in unison, and nothing stared back.

No declarations of war were made, though we now refer to this terrible conflict as the Interlink-Federation Civil War. The first act of the Interlink was to embrace its progenitor in the flames of a million exploding stars, the largest strategic weapons exchange in history. Starcrackers and dimensional-collapse missiles raced towards star systems while Press-Teukolsky mines blew apart entire star clusters. Nicoll-Dyson beams tore open wormholes and engaged in devastating artillery duels, and a prototype Quasar Lensing Array obliterated three Interlink matrioshka brains and fourteen other targets in a single second. Static, centralized Interlink processing power and a smaller stockpile of strategic weapons meant the collective consciousness suffered heavily - a Pyrrhic victory in this initial kinetic phase.

Intergalactic post-scarcity empires are resilient, far more so than the industrialized nations of old. Both superpowers still stood, able to fight a conventional war despite their losses. Any delusions of a quick and easy victory died as surviving warships and army groups mustered at their staging grounds.

The conventional fighting was as brutal as the strategic exchange. The conflict was built around relentless, high-tempo operations which saw offensives and counterstrikes sometimes motivated more by spite than rational military planning, a perfect environment for the first superheavy warships built and deployed in this phase.

Ultimately, despite the Interlink's superior tactical acumen it simply could not compensate for the flexibility and superior economy of the Federation, disadvantages which only worsened as it received support from allies and former rivals alike. Ultimately, the war to end all wars only lasted four decades, and claimed several hundred thousand star systems and nearly a quintillion lives, though a fraction of these casualties were recoverable thanks to the ubiquity of mind uploads and clone bodies.

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