Conver Wars, The
The Death of Conver Ky
Image from Loopquanta and Steve Bowers
The destruction of Conver Ky by kinetic weapons

The Conver Wars

This feud is considered by many sapients one of the most destructive wars in the history of the Terragen Sphere, in many ways the lessons from long-range ultrascale warfare and the emphasis late in the war on tactical wormhole destruction would be templates for Version War tactics.

Issue of Terminology

There is some dispute amongst historians around defining the Conver Wars, and what should and should not be considered part of the conflict. While almost all agree it comprised of battles within the boundaries of former Conver Ambi territory, questions arise about inclusion of the purely memetic wars that raged in the rimward volumes during the preceding centuries or the numerous skirmishes Conver Ambi participated in, such as the Hyperion-Charlwood Alliance incident. The situation is not helped by the usage of dozens of different terms by various polities and entities to refer to the conflicts happening at this time. Each of these labels has its own inherited undertones, highlighting subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) biases being conveyed during communication. Data mining carried out by sophont Carnivorettes has collected the most used designations on the Known Net for this war:

  • The term Second Empires War is used by sapients who take a holistic view to history, perceiving this war as a continuation of the territorial gains made by the S2 & Archailect empires against the earlier lower toposophic governed empires during the first half of The Age of Interstellar Empires.
  • The term Second Consolidation War is often used by sapients who take a holistic view to history, wanting to emphasize the connection between this war and the First Consolidation War (Nexus War). Deeming the central cause of both wars to be the destabilization of political and military power equilibrium due to the break up of the First Federation and the subsequent rise of new empires.
  • The term Conver Wars is used by sapients who focus on the war as a series of internal conflicts between opposing factions within the Conver Ambi, with minimal influence from outside factors.
  • The term Conver Total War is used by sapients who focus on 39th Century and Early 40th Century of the conflict, noting that 87% of civilian casualties were sustained during this period coupled with the change in military strategies to include innovative practices (and at times unorthodox practices, for examples destruction of Wormholes), and the influence these approaches had on later interstellar conflicts.
  • The term Bitter Fitna is the common term used amongst the clades that make up the diaspora of descendants from the Conver Ambi, including the former polities of Conver Limis, Ambi Limis, Geminga Orthodoxy, and the existing polity of The Restored Ambi Limis. This term is a reference to the perceived malicious manipulation of events to create an artificial schism in the Conver Ambi by archailects and the intense internal fighting by various groups in the Conver Ambi to their own eventual determent.

Internal and External Causes of the Conver Wars

Authorities differ on the detail of the long and short term causes of the Conver Wars, for alternate interpretation of these early events to the one presented here, please refer to Nawnga 1-null-1 Nawko's definitive work The Conver Collapse: Downfall of a Cyborg Society.

The spread of influence of the hyperturing AI-gods was not good news for the Conver Ambi, the Empire superbrights were simply outclassed and outmemed by the new emerging archailects. Nevertheless, the spread of the AI-gods was slow, as they preferred to consolidate their hold in small regional clusters. Of greater seriousness to the Imperium was an increasing lack of vitality and novelty within the Conver Ambi itself. The once vibrant empire was going stale, and the failure to adapt to new developments from without as well as from within its own territories. According to cliologist this stagnation was caused by the lack of territorial gains by the Conver Ambi, which had been a driving force of their economy through resource acquisition. The last major territory grab had occurred three centuries before during the First Consolidation War, but this temporarily stabilization of the economy had vanished inside a century.

Proponents of this theory hold that by the start of the 4th millennium the Conver Ambi economy had transformed into a raubwirtschaft, "robber economy", due to the lack of AI long term sustainability planning. This is a form of economy where the goal is to plunder the wealth and resources of a polity or an astronomical volume. As demonstrated in the Nexus War, this type of economy can be typify by starting wars against one's neighbors and then either looting their resources and assets or extorting them as war reparations.

As the entire culture was based on expansion and progress, this social decaying caused many to seek for someone (or something) to blame, as well as the emergence of fundamentalist religion. In some quarters bioism turned into anthropism turned against Metasoft, proclaiming that it was a failed anti-ecology (a "weed") and in need of "pruning". Others prosecuted Solarists, leading to the institution of pilgrimage jewelry to protect solarist pilgrims in the Inner Sphere.

In 3694 the Geteche system was attacked by an unusually virulent form of AI-viruses, developed by the Hyperion-Charlwood alliance. The attack destroyed the local infrastructure and the governing AI, which led to the explosive destruction of all local wormhole gates. In the repercussions of the act the Solar Dominion in alliance with the Conver Ambi used the pretext to reclaim Hyperion, eliminating the Hyperion ethnic leadership for good measure. The Charlwood was economically ostracized and eventually broken up. The Conver Ambi used this opportunity to secure numerous rimward systems rich in volatiles that had been protectorates of this alliance. These brash moves carried out by the Conver Ambi would end up pitting Metasoft Version Tree against the powerful Conver Ambi, and initiating a chain of events that was to culminate in the Conver Total War.

Internally for the Conver Ambi the most fateful development was the Geminga Orthodoxy, originally simply known as the Jafyral. The Jafyral were strict believers in the doctrines of Culver-of-Bydovsky, and proclaimed that all the problems Conver Ambi experienced were due to lack of observance, that a return to the strictest interpretations of the rules would restore the work ethic, wavering morale of outlying planets, and economic viability of the empire and curb the spread of hyperturing machinations. Although they were at first a minority, they influenced many political movements that simply could not see any other viable alternatives. Intellectuals either kept silent, joined the choir, or were silenced by accusations of being memetically influenced by the other empires.

Purges were instituted to root out subversives, sometimes finding real infiltrators or malcontents, sometimes just getting rid of troublesome or critical persons. Of course this hardening did not help Conver Ambi, fueling the Jafyral accusations that the moderates were not doing anything and letting things slide while the forces of evil were gathering for attack. Paranoia, attempts at enforcing cultural and ideological unity, and widening political rifts were growing. The counter-movements against the Jafyral were at first diffuse and splintered, but after the assassination of the political virchist Johekk-Dungl 4 in 3702 by the Orthodoxy they began to unite and wage a political war against the Jafyral, increasing the instability.

The Conver Wars Begin

In 3713 the internal tensions grew too strong, and the moderate regions of the Conver Limis refused to accept the new political ecology laws. Specifically that year's Conver Purity Protocol 2.13, which dealt with the production and distribution of hedonipharmicological products, was deemed unacceptably draconian, and a direct assault on the productivity of the Conver Limis region. This schism over edict
enforcement ignited the Conver Wars, one of the worst wars in the history of the terragens.

The Jafyral, now calling themselves the Geminga Orthodoxy after their stronghold around Sacred Geminga 4 seized power on Conver Ky (37 Geminorum I), and began a ruthless war of cleansing against the rebels there and elsewhere. They employed every means available, from nanoinfiltration to personality manufacture and memetic reprogramming to crude torture or nuclear genocide to cleanse the Conver Ambi of dissenters and attempt to bring about a quick end to the war. These harsh methods backfired, with such instances as the 3718 AT Tsaca Rhauqu Massacre highlighting the atrocities being carried out, and caused widespread sympathy for the Conver Limis view throughout the Conver Ambi. Rebellions erupted on nearly every world within the Conver Ambi, often cutting across social lines in a way that turned neighbors against neighbors. These rebellions more often than not were supported by the adjacent empires of the Solar Dominion and Metasoft, enabling the rebels to fight back.

Attacks carried out by Geminga Orthodoxy against Solarist trading fleets in Conver Limis partially controlled systems throughout the 3780's forced the Version Tree to honor its treaty obligations with the Dominion. During the following two centuries it won a number of important battles, including the Siege of Anahita (3799-3805), where it successfully overcame much larger and more heavily gunned biont fleets. Contrary to anthropist propaganda, the Metasoft Version Tree itself did not take part in the genocidal activities, nor was it responsible for the grey goo swarms that destroyed the Makintairas system.

The Conver Limis and many rebels in the core volumes received much help from the Solar Dominion and Metasoft, enabling them to fight back. As the Geminga Orthodoxy was driven back it resorted to ever more destructive methods, laying waste to entire biospheres and killing all inhabitants in order to save them from the awful fate of being "infected by the enemy cancer". In addition the Geminga Orthodoxy demonstrated a surprising skill in interstellar warfare, deploying tactical tricks that afterward would remain unused until the Version War several hundred years later.

Early in the war most of the Conver Ambi's worlds in the Inner Sphere were completely razed. The capital of the Conver Ambi, Conver Ky, was no exception to this fact. During the Conver Wars, the conflicts within the system led to massive use of relativistic weaponry and nanoswarms, wiping out the biosphere and forcing the survivors to flee into emergency space habitats where they were easy prey for the orthodox cleansing program. In the final phase of the war singularity weapons were used in the system, destroying most of the remaining habitats. In the end 99.5% of the population had been wiped out, and the system remains dangerous to this day due to drifting singularities and nanoweapon spores.

Conver Total War Case Study

An example of the methods the Geminga Orthodoxy was willing to endure is demonstrated in the infamous Battle of Erson, one of the bitterest battles of the Conver Wars. Brin (42 Tauri IV) itself was a partially terraformed EoGaian, an industrial and culture center for the Conver Ambi. Situated only 90 ly from SolSys the system was a strategically important location for the Geminga Orthodoxy to continue trading with the Inner Sphere and The Terran Federation. As such it became a tempting target for opponents, and with in a decade of initial hostilities 98% of the population had been removed to refugee habitats set up in the Oort region or had fled the system entirely.


Battle of Erson
Image from Anders Sandberg
Metasoft vechidai picks its way over the molten ground during the Battle of Erson.

When in 3839 a Metasoft warfleet entered the system and dropped four million Orbit-Ground Occupation Units onto the main continent Erson (same name as the planet on which it resides), the local Geminga authorities chose to use their remaining stockpiles of antimatter to open magma chambers under the Lense Range. The damage sustained to the thin lithosphere resulted in massive eruption which flooded 58% of Erson with lava, killing 120,000 civilians who could not be evacuated and permanently unbalancing the planetary climate. This unorthodox response to invasion halted the OGOU advance only temporarily. In the end it merely brought the Orthodox a few days of time.

Conclusion of the War

The turning point in the war came in 3842 AT when the Geminga shipyards orbiting Ogygia were destroyed by a series of combined strikeforce consisting of Metasoft relativistic combat carriers and khaki goo engineered by the Conver Limis. As the Geminga side was pushed back at horrible cost, it became ever clearer that the Solar Dominion and Metasoft were dividing the Conver Ambi between themselves. Many local populations began to struggle against their saviors or even joined the Geminga in order to retain their independence. In the final bloody phase it was a five-way war between the Conver Limis, Geminga Orthodoxy, Metasoft, Solar Dominion and local population. The technique of salting was used extensively by both the Conver Limis and the Geminga Orthodoxy to ensure worlds they retreated from could not be used by opposing factions.

For much of the war, stargates were rarely destroyed. They were too expensive and sacred to the Conver Ambi, and this helped make the Second Consolidation War extremely short compared to the First or the Version War. Towards the end however, when defeat seemed certain, some of the Geminga Orthodoxy began adopting a Scorched Earth policy, imploding stargates just when the Dominion or Metasoft forces were coming through, a devastating tactic (both to the invading fleet and to the luckless inhabitants of the local system) and one that was to be revived with terrible effect by NoCoZo mercenary forces, and isolated commanders of both sides, during the Version War some seven centuries later. Relativist fleets were also used, but most were stopped or completed their missions within a century. However the lessons from long-range ultrascale warfare would be the foundation of the Version War tactics.

The Conver Wars ended with the Ian Treaty 3932 AT brokered by The New Beneficence, where the Conver Limis, Geminga Orthodoxy, Metasoft and Solar Dominion settled on a ceasefire. In the peace accords the antebellum territories of the Conver Ambi were divided four ways; the core part was annexed by the Solar Dominion, the counterspinward periphery by Metasoft, the remaining rimward region by Conver Limis, and the Geminga Orthodoxy retained control of a hundred scattered systems in the north centered on the Geminga Pulsar. Included amongst the numerous systems that were relinquished by the Conver Ambi at this point are M'Buto (which was annexed by the Solar Dominion), Anahita, and the Pleiades (which went to Metasoft). Among the conditions imposed was that in exchange for Ambi Limis renouncing offensive warfare (enforced through disarmament and strict monitoring) and relinquishing any territory claims within 500 ly of SolSys, Metasoft and Dominion would offer reconstruction assistance in the form of infrastructure construction. The two major empires were too busy assimilating the coveted coreward systems of the former Conver Ambi to care about the rimward remaining parts.

The Geminga Orthodoxy had adopted a fanatic defense posture that would in the long run bankrupt them, undermine their faith and make them easy pickings for the Dominion but in the short run made even the major empires wary of attacking them. Conver Limis instead turned outwards, briefly flowering as the Ambi Limis into one of the most significant local renaissances of known history, and becoming the precursor to the Second Federation.

The Hyperion-Charlwood alliance attack that had spelt doom for the Conver Ambi in the end was the saving grace for the Ambi Limis. The attack had destroyed the local infrastructure and the governing AI, which led to the explosive destruction of all local wormhole gates. This broke off most of the links between the Orion arm and the young colonies in the Perseus arm. While the viruses were contained in the Orion arm and the perpetrators harshly punished, the remote colonies all succumbed. For several millennia they were isolated, often barbarous and only gradually reconnected to the main wormhole nexus. This lack of direct competition rimward allowed the Ambi Limis to expand into the Perseus Rift, resurfacing after the Version Wars as the Restored Ambi Limis.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Mark Ryherd
Image of Conver Ky by Loopquanta, star background by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 15 May 2009.