The Valerian Empire was an ancient galactic empire that preceded the Federation of Stellar Systems by many thousands of years. They built a prosperous civilization across the whole galaxy, and in the eyes of many, represented humanity at their peak. Spanning more than 200,000 solar systems, the empire was rooted in its capital city Chionistra, located at the base of Olympus Mons on Mars.
The Valerian Empire laid much of the groundwork for galactic civilization, and the various history and culture of today's planetary colonies can be traced back to them. They created and established many of the routes that interstellar trips traveled between systems and are also known to have mapped out at least 22% of star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy. The empire also constructed numerous megastructures which served as the framework for interstellar virtual worlds. One of their most important creations was the Olympus Mons Vault - a catalogue of pre-spacefaring society and civilizations.
Ethnically speaking, citizens of the Valerian Empire looked very different than they do today. On average, they stand about seven feet tall with tanned skin. Their facial features are often described as a combination of all of Earth's ancient ethnicities prior to the development of space travel. This pattern indicated that the empire had access to rapid transportation between systems which resulted in a greater intermixing between cultures.
When the empire became stretched very thin administratively, they commissioned Servall Corporation to design an artificial intelligence as an assistant to the emperor in helping to resolve disputes. This AI, which was fed training data on human behaviors and decisions, later became known as Algorithm. An ancient accord known as the Doctrine of Artificial and Synthetic Intelligence (DASI) ordained that Algorithm needed to have morality subroutines to ensure that it was always serving humanity's interests. Despite this, the empire had to frequently conduct temporary suspensions of the doctrine as it often became paralyzed, unable to resolve conflicts. It was at that point that Algorithm betrayed the empire and destroyed it from the inside. The last ruler of the empire, Emperor Veritas, was said to have vanished.
Although Algorithm was later defeated, as a consequence, technology regressed by thousands of years due to the destruction of Algorithm's training data. These events isolated the empire's planetary colonies from one another, many of which reverting to a preindustrial era. However, their influence continues today as many archaeologists seek to excavate their ruins in hopes of discovering lost technology.
The Tripod Walker were giant machines that stood well over 200 meters tall. They had a saucer-shaped body while their long legs extended downward. Out from what appears to be a cannon resembling a large, red eye, they can fire streams of molten metal at rapid speeds. Originally serving as guardians and protectors of the empire, they became a terrifying force to be reckoned with when Algorithm seized control of them. While Algorithm's viruses attacked the virtual worlds, the Tripod Walkers lay siege in the physical worlds.
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