A vast human Empire dominates the planet, its marvels of architecture, science, art and wisdom is matched only by its ability for warfare and repression of heretics and dissidents.
In the depths of an Imperial laboratory, a young brilliant researcher and alchemist take the first steps toward events that will echo through millennia - the quest of opening the Doors of Dark Matter, the keys to time and space itself. Their goal is the red planet Mars, to expand the empire throughout the universe.
A portal-device is built, its mechanics built into the very walls, streets and spires of the city, a giant spiderweb of a single, true purpose. On a storm-ridden night, where lightning strikes relentlessly at the golden spires of the capital city, the research, planning, sacrifice, work and efforts finally align with the massive energy flashes from the sky. Through a lightning crack that echoes through an age, the portal device sparks to life through the streets, a dark pulsating void emerging at the device’s core - the portal to Mars is finally open. The chosen few of the Travellers enter the void-portal, carrying a piece of the portal device with them.
The arrival on Mars
In a journey of darkness, shattered sanities and turmoil, the Travellers travel through the spacetime and emerge torn and battered upon the face of Mars. Some dead, some insane but with a few survivors that remain determined to establish the portal on the new world. A small outpost is built, the portal is secured and on a thin thread between life and death, a colonization begins.
Below the storm ridden, rocky grounds dwellings are being built, and so are the fungi caves first discovered. Deep below the ground, in huge cave systems, vast forests of giant fungi are growing - emitting a faint red light and a misty haze of spores.
The fungi’s spores are examined to be both flammable with potent chemicals inside, but is also hallucinogenic. This discovery is quickly put into use, with refineries and fungal farms being used to extract a new type of fuel.
The hallucinogenic effects are quickly adopted into the occult practices of the old religion, but also spawns new visions and ideas, the human mind interacting with a brand new alien breed of toxins and psychotropics.
The awakening of the Eye
Colonization spreads over Mars through the centuries and eventually the capital city of Bahb-Elon is being excavated inside a vast towering mountain, reaching thousands of meters into the storm ridden skies. Like a massive ant hill, the formerly human population grows and thrives, driven by new technologies built upon the spores and a myriad of cults emerge from the hallucinogenic dreams of shamans and priests. On a day lost in the haze of history, the mountain started to crumble at its peak, sending massive rock slabs down its slopes, devastating the outer parts of the city, killing thousands. From the shattered mountain top, a huge, demonic eye appears, snapping the minds of those unlucky enough to bear witness.
Devastation ends, and silence returns to the city, now transformed into a temple, a demonic altar inhabited by millions. A period of turmoil begins, where the sane and the insane are hard to tell apart. Cults shatter or pledge new allegiance to the holy eye that remains silent but ever watchful.
United in fear and awe, the city finds new strength through order, law and an Inquisition that enforces the orders of the Eye. Under the demonic entity, a golden age begins that will last for millennia. The scientific marvels reach new levels and spreads the empire of Bahb-Elon all over the planet. The mines are dug deeper, the fungal farms are cultivated beyond anything seen before and the arts, philosophy and culture explore the very boundaries of the mind. An endless stream of resources and technology are shipped through the portal to the Old Empire back on Earth.
But progress also brings division. The ruling elite, descendants of Old Earth with their bloodlines being prolonged through fine-tuned spore chemicals, rule from the spires of Bahb-Elon while generations of slave miners and farm workers toil in the caves and fields, never seeing anything beyond the next gruesome shift or the next hit of spore-waste drugs. Under the ever watching gaze of the Eye, through the foul stench of the spore-refineries and fungi fields, a voice is heard by millions of slaves. The voice of The Huntress, the horned goddess of the wastes, promising life and liberty beyond the shackles of their masters.
On Earth, the old empire is now outmatched by its Martian offspring. The glories of old no longer hold when the colony now has grown past it. Voices are heard that the Lords of Mars need to be disciplined and put in line - tensions arise with the clash of arms looming on the horizon.
The Lords of Earth challenge the Lords of Mars with an ultimatum of resources and power - met only by scorn and a rallying of a war machine never seen before. Diplomacy is quickly lost in the thunder of cannon fire and the war begins. The portal on Mars, being since long seized by agents of Old Earth, spews forward vast armies as huge battleships emerge from the dark space, raining fire upon the traitors of the new world. Hidden cannon batteries on Mars fire destruction into the skies, sending broken and airless warships into dark space as empty husks. On the surface, ground warfare ignites the planet into bloody conflict, death and suffering while the Eye watches from above.
While the official Soviet space program battled with the USA for space dominance in the 50’s and 60’s, meaning the moon and the orbit around Earth, there was another far more secret space program. Buried in the Ural mountains, as well as buried under a colossus of top-secret bureaucracy, an unnamed science enclave conducted its research under the supervision of the secretive Special Advisor. Their technology was decades and perhaps centuries ahead of its struggling, pathetic counterpart in the official space program. At the heart of the secret mountain facility was a chamber containing the Coil, a legend-ridden technological artifact that even only a few of the initiated scientists and researchers ever saw.
In 1971 the highly trained agent and astrophysicist Nadia Sopolova and her co-pilot ascended from the secret mountain base, disguised as a regular test launch within the USSR. Shortly thereafter the craft was reported as having an accident in space, Nadia and her co-pilot presumed dead.
But the explosion was a decoy, to erase any loose ends back on Earth. With their spacecraft equipped by the Coil technology, the vessel made a spacetime jump for Mars. On April 8th 1971, the spacecraft entered the orbit of Mars. During the descent, something happened that crashed the vessel into the red sand, killing the co-pilot and leaving Nadia alone on a presumably dead planet.