Author Topic: Part 1: The Foundation of the Church  (Read 2878 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

  • Aurora Designer
  • Star Marshal
  • S
  • Posts: 10791
  • Thanked: 15208 times
Part 1: The Foundation of the Church
« on: April 26, 2020, 03:32:09 PM »
A History of the Holy Church of Sacred Terra

After the First Crusade captured Jerusalem in 1099, many European pilgrims travelled to visit what they referred to as the Holy Places. However, though the city of Jerusalem was under relatively secure control, the rest of the Crusader States were not. Bandits abounded, and pilgrims were routinely slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, as they attempted to make the journey from the coastline at Jaffa into the interior of Holy Land. In 1119, two veterans of the First Crusade, the French knight Hugues de Payens and his relative Godfrey de Saint-Omer, proposed the creation of a monastic order for the protection of the pilgrims. King Baldwin II of Jerusalem agreed to their request, and gave them space for a headquarters on the Temple Mount, in the captured Al Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount had a mystique, because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, and it was from this location that the Order took its name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights. The Order, with only nine knights, had few financial resources and relied on donations to survive. Their emblem was of two knights riding on a single horse, emphasizing the Order's poverty.

The Templars' impoverished status did not last long. They had a powerful advocate in Bernard of Clairvaux, a French abbot who was a nephew of André de Montbard, one of the founding knights. Bernard was a leading figure in the Church and primarily responsible for the founding of the Cistercian Order of monks. He spoke and wrote persuasively on behalf of the Templars and in 1129, at the Council of Troyes, the Order was officially endorsed by the Church. With this formal blessing, the Templars became a favoured charity across Europe, receiving money, land, businesses, and noble-born sons from families who were eager to help with the fight in the Holy Land. Another major benefit came in 1139, when Pope Innocent II's papal bull Omne Datum Optimum exempted the Order from obedience to local laws. This ruling meant that the Templars could pass freely through all borders, were not required to pay any taxes, and were exempt from all authority except that of the Pope.

With its clear mission and ample resources, the Order grew rapidly. Templars were often the advance force in key battles of the Crusades, as the knights on their heavily armed warhorses would set out to gallop full speed at the enemy, in an attempt to break opposition lines. One of their most famous victories was in 1177 during the Battle of Montgisard, where some 500 Templar knights helped to defeat Saladin's army of more than 26,000 soldiers.

Although the primary mission of the Order was military, relatively few members were combatants. The others acted in support positions to assist the knights and to manage the financial infrastructure. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman who was interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner across Europe and the Crusader States, the Order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received an encrypted document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds. This innovative arrangement may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques; it improved the safety of pilgrims by making them less attractive targets for thieves, and also contributed to the Templar coffers.

During this period, the Templars carried out extensive excavation beneath Solomon’s Temple in search of the fabled Solomon’s Treasure. What they discovered took the greatest minds of the Order almost two hundred years to completely understand and became the most closely guarded secret in the entire world. Within twenty years of the initial discovery, the Grand Master was finally persuaded that in the distant past a ship from another world had somehow travelled across the heavens and crashed on Earth. The ancient people of the time had covered up the ship with rock and earth creating what appeared to be a natural hill, upon which several different temples had been constructed over millennia. All the wealth of the Order was poured into extracting the secrets of the ship and with glacial slowness they began to learn. Fortunately, the ship retained some power and the scientists of the time were able to access computer terminals, determine their function and gradually begin to understand the alien language and the computer interface. Sometimes an entire year would pass without any advance in their knowledge but slowly and surely the expertise of the Templar scholars grew and the more they learned, the more the process of learning accelerated. Seventy years after the original excavation, the first new weapons were produced. Crusader knights armed with rifles and machine guns slaughtered their enemies and the Crusader States grew in size and power, led by the increasingly powerful Templar Knights.

In addition to the new technology, the Templars learned something of the wider universe. Initially the idea that Earth was not the centre of that universe was met with suspicion and hostility, but over years of study the reality of the situation was accepted. Most concerning was the evidence that alien races existed and that wars were fought between them. Even with the growing military capabilities of the Knights, they could not withstand an invasion from another world.

The first aircraft appeared in 1275, along with armoured vehicles, and the rate of expansion grew. The European Christian Kingdoms, aware of their complete helplessness, soon gave their allegiance to the Order. In 1290, with tanks parked in the gardens of the Lateran Palace, Pope Nicholas IV agreed to formally recognize the Knights Templar as the official military arm of the Church. Soon thereafter he stepped down, announcing that a new position of Patriarch would combine the duties of Pope and Grand Master. The first Patriarch was Guillaume de Beaujeu, previously the Grand Master of the Knights Templar. It was soon difficult to tell where the Church ended and the Knights began, as the military and religious lines became increasingly blurred. The new Church began to teach that grave dangers waited in the darkness of deep space and that demons would one day arrive to destroy the Earth, the sacred world created by God. In Latin, the language of the Church, Earth was known as Terra, so to reinforce the threat, the Church began to refer to Earth as Sacred Terra, a place that must remain inviolate.

With mobile rocket artillery and jet aircraft, the Church moved east and north-east, smashing the Mongol Empire within three years and moving into India and China. By 1325, the entire Eurasian landmass was under the control of the Church and all other religions had been eradicated or driven underground. Within a further five years, Africa and the recently discovered western continents were part of the global Church. For the first time in history, Humanity was united. In recognition of that historic achievement, the Church was formally renamed as the Holy Church of Sacred Terra, although in common, day-to-day usage it remained ‘The Church’.

The Church’s industrial and scientific strength was sufficient to make the breakthrough into an understanding of Trans-Aristotelian Physics in 1335. Industry was converted, impressive Research Facilities were created and several shipyards were built to produce advanced spacecraft while maintenance facilities were setup to maintain the space fleet being constructed in Earth orbit. Throughout this period, the warnings of demonic invasion had permeated the entire Church hierarchy and become the central tenet of the Church’s teaching. The greatest wish of every son or daughter of the Church was to serve God and his messenger on Earth, the Patriarch, in their fight against the demons, in whatever form they might appear. By 1350, the Church was ready to venture forth from Sacred Terra, to search out and destroy the demons, in whatever form they might be found, so that they would never threaten God’s greatest creation.

The population of Earth on January 1st 1350 was approximately one billion

Military Ranks
Grand Master
Knight Grand Commander
Knight Commander
Knight Templar

Starting Forces

The Sword of Sacred Terra
2x Cathedral class Jump Cruiser: Hagia Sophia, Notre Dame
6x Hugues de Payens class Strike Cruiser: André de Montbard, Bernard de Tremelay, Bertrand de Blanchefort, Everard des Barres, Hugues de Payens, Robert de Craon
6x Guardian class Destroyer: Barbican, Citadel, Guardian, Palisade, Sentinel, Shield Bearer

The Diocese of Exploration
6x Archangel class Survey Cruiser: Ariel, Azrael, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel

The Diocese of Transportation
4x Belvoir class Jump Tender: Ashkelon, Belmont, Belvoir, Montfort
5x Deacon class Freighter – 2x Cargo Hold
5x Exodus class Colony Ship – 100,000 Capacity
1x Jerusalem class Troop Transport – 20,000 ton capacity, Armoured and Drop Capable
4x Antioch class Troop Transport, 10,000 ton capacity
4x Pastor class Tug – 20 Size-60 Engines

The Diocese of Creation
5x Genesis class Terraformer – 3x Terraforming Module

The Diocese of Supply
4x Aragon class Replenishment Ship: Bérenger d'Avignon, Hugh of Rigaud, Pere de Rovira, Raymond Gaucebert
5x Bethsaida class Fuel Harvester – 34x Harvester Module
5x Cistercian class Orbital Miner – 16x Mining Module

Hugues de Payens class Strike Cruiser      15,999 tons       378 Crew       2,018.3 BP       TCS 320    TH 1,200    EM 0
3750 km/s      Armour 8-56       Shields 0-0       HTK 87      Sensors 5/5/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 50
Maint Life 1.99 Years     MSP 875    AFR 184%    IFR 2.6%    1YR 293    5YR 4,392    Max Repair 300 MSP
Magazine 652   
Knight Templar    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Destrier-600 War Engine (2)    Power 1200    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 600    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 701,000 Litres    Range 24.1 billion km (74 days at full power)

Avery-Dauvillier AD-5A Missile Launcher (10)     Missile Size: 5    Rate of Fire 25
Revelation REV-50F Missile Fire Control (2)     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
Longsword Anti-Ship Missile (130)    Speed: 18,000 km/s    Range: 34.1m km    WH: 9    Size: 5    TH: 60/36/18

Revelation REV-50S Active Sensor (1)     GPS 8640     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
Pendragon EM-5 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km
Pendragon TH-5 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

Cathedral class Jump Cruiser      15,999 tons       382 Crew       2,164.6 BP       TCS 320    TH 1,200    EM 0
3750 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 8-56       Shields 0-0       HTK 65      Sensors 30/30/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 0
Maint Life 1.46 Years     MSP 938    AFR 184%    IFR 2.6%    1YR 491    5YR 7,366    Max Repair 445.7 MSP
Knight Templar    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Arundel-Spencer AS-160 Military Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 16000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Destrier-600 War Engine (2)    Power 1200    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 600    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 741,000 Litres    Range 25.5 billion km (78 days at full power)

Revelation REV-100S Active Sensor (1)     GPS 31680     Range 101.1m km    Resolution 120
Pendragon EM-30 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 30     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  43.3m km
Pendragon TH-30 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 30     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  43.3m km

Guardian class Destroyer      8,000 tons       173 Crew       1,011.5 BP       TCS 160    TH 600    EM 0
3750 km/s      Armour 5-35       Shields 0-0       HTK 55      Sensors 1/1/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 15
Maint Life 2.27 Years     MSP 355    AFR 114%    IFR 1.6%    1YR 93    5YR 1,395    Max Repair 150 MSP
Magazine 479   
Knight Templar    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Destrier-300 War Engine (2)    Power 600    Fuel Use 46.19%    Signature 300    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 496,000 Litres    Range 24.2 billion km (74 days at full power)

Avery-Dauvillier AD-1A Missile Launcher (15)     Missile Size: 1    Rate of Fire 10
Revelation REV-10FM Missile Fire Control (3)     Range 10m km    Resolution 1
Dagger AMM (479)    Speed: 28,800 km/s    Range: 2.5m km    WH: 1    Size: 1.00    TH: 115/69/34

Revelation REV-20S Active Sensor (1)     GPS 1440     Range 21.6m km    Resolution 120
Revelation REV-10M Active Sensor (1)     GPS 60     Range 9.8m km    MCR 1.1m km    Resolution 1
Pendragon EM-1 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 1     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  7.9m km
Pendragon TH-1 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 1     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  7.9m km

Archangel class Survey Cruiser      8,000 tons       194 Crew       1,010.5 BP       TCS 160    TH 360    EM 0
2250 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 1-35       Shields 0-0       HTK 53      Sensors 1/5/2/2      DCR 9      PPV 0
Maint Life 5.89 Years     MSP 710    AFR 57%    IFR 0.8%    1YR 35    5YR 523    Max Repair 128 MSP
Knight Templar    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Morale Check Required   

Arundel-Spencer AS-80 Military Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 8000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Palfrey-180 Scout Engine (2)    Power 360.0    Fuel Use 25.16%    Signature 180.00    Explosion 7%
Fuel Capacity 1,407,000 Litres    Range 125.8 billion km (647 days at full power)

Revelation REV-20S Active Sensor (1)     GPS 1440     Range 21.6m km    Resolution 120
Pendragon EM-5 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km
Pendragon TH-1 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 1     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  7.9m km
Gravitational Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour
Geological Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour

Military Orders of the Church

The ground forces of the Church were organised into Orders, with each one comprising a mixture of armoured and infantry forces. The two Chapters of the Knights Templar were the most powerful, each with two armoured and two infantry regiments. The Teutonic Knights and the Knights Hospitaller each had one armoured regiment and three infantry regiments, while the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, founded in 1099 and therefore the oldest order, had two light cavalry regiments and two infantry regiments. The Monastic Orders of the Benedictines, Dominicans and Cistercians respectively took on responsibility for ground-based geological surveys, xenoarchaeological surveys and construction tasks.

« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 05:37:39 AM by Steve Walmsley »

Offline liveware

  • Bug Moderators
  • Commodore
  • ***
  • Posts: 742
  • Thanked: 84 times
Re: Part 1: The Foundation of the Church
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 06:53:34 PM »
Really interesting concepts all around.

I might recommend the Hyperion book series as a source of further brainstorming potential, if one is so inclined. Some of Neal Stephenson's work is also very interesting in similar ways, particularly 'Anathem'.
Open the pod-bay doors HAL...