A/N: i'm sorry about this. I know it's boring, but it's necessary. the next chappys will be better, i promise!!

Prologue

"Well, it pretty much all started with the Colonial Council, which was the first of humanity's interstellar governments. Around five decades after Omata Welles created the hypergate network and the nearby systems were colonized, the various planets got together to form the Council.

"Then came the Saul-aa, or rather, then came the first new encounters with them. You see, the Saul-aa were descended from a group of telepathic humans who were forced to use their capabilities to leave Earth to avoid persecution thousands of years ago. In the intervening millennia, their capabilities and technology had increased dramatically, but they soon integrated with the Council and quickly became influential members.

"Next there were the Gadhya. Their society came out of an exploration drive organized by Kerell Gadhya. They colonized around 30 systems, and formed their own civilization in the 100-odd years they were out of contact with the Council. When contact was made, it ended in disaster. The Council's attack on the Gadhya was destroyed by the Saul-aa, but only after the Saul-aa withdrew from the Council in protest.

"Of course, things went from bad to worse when the Council turned around and attacked the Saul-aa, launching the fifty-year long Saul-aa War. While numerically few, the telepathic abilities of the Saul-aa proved devastating in the field of battle. The war finally ended when the leaders of the Saul-aa surrendered in an effort to stop the bloodshed, only to have their entire race enslaved using the countless anti-psi technologies that had cropped up during that time.

"Then, as a result of being ignored by the Colonial Council during the Saul-aa War, five outlying areas, led by a man named Vanadian Morhgen, declared their independence. Within a few years, the Council was at war with these " Morhgens", as they came to be called, and things just got nasty. Before long, both sides were terrorizing each other.

"Eventually one of the councilors, sick of having his advice against the war ignored, committed an act of epic betrayal and gave all of the security information for the Council hypergates to one of the many groups of terrorists that had sprung up. The Batuia, as this particular guerilla group was known, destroyed the Sol system's hypergate, causing an energy wave that destroyed the jump gates for nearly all human civilization. The only group left with hyperspatial capabilities was the Gadhya.

"Over a century passed before the Morhgens rediscovered how to build hyperspace-capable vessels, and they immediately went on the offensive in an attempt to take over the surrounding systems. They were successful for a time, but they began to encounter stiff resistance from neighboring systems that stole the hyperspace technology from them. Eventually, the whole situation settled down to five families: the Aspekt, the Aznjnar, the Verran, the Trajow, and the Liojan; that have continued sniping amongst themselves for over a century, their depredation spreading well beyond their ever-shifting borders.

"Then, scientists on Earth recreated hyperdrives by following ancient designs. The surrounding systems begged to join with the Terrans in order to keep the now war-like Morhgens from raiding in and around their homes. The Terrans agreed, and things became more settled in what used to be the core worlds of the old Council. That is, until a vengeful raid by the Terrans against the Morhgens inadvertently attacked a few systems held by one of the five settled enemies of the Morhgens.

"The response was swift and messy. The six non-Terran governments banded together, and launched a concentrated offensive against the Terran government. Only with the help of the Saul-aa slaves were the Terrans able to emerge victorious, but at an enormous cost. Upon returning with the remains of the defeated war fleet, the leaders of the five non-Morhgen families assassinated the Morhgen leaders, and created a new government, calling themselves the Morhgen Empire.

"After the economically draining Morhgen War, some of the systems rebelled at the dictatorial Terran government. With the Terran Navy still in a terrible state after its huge confrontation with the Morhgens, the politicians on Earth decided to allow those systems still under its control to have a hand in their own governance. In the space of a few short months, the Terran government was dissolved and the Federation was born.

"Over the next couple of centuries, the Morhgens and the Federation have sniped at each other almost continuously, and on one occasion, the Morhgens nearly destroyed the Federation utterly. On that occasion, it was only by cunningly attacking the forces belonging to three of the five Houses that form sub-governments within the Morhgen Empire, using the telepathic capabilities of the Saul-aa to aid them, that the Federation was able to survive. Without igniting the always-simmering tension between the five houses and causing internal strife, the Federation would have been wiped out utterly.

"Lacking the political courage to admit to their own shortcomings, the Federation leaders blamed their lack of success on the battlefield on a sophisticated Morhgen spy network. To counteract this alleged network, the Federation created the Agency of Internal Affairs. "The Agency," as it has become known, uses the psychic powers of Saul-aa as truth-detectors, trying those who fail as traitors and spies.

"Meanwhile, though stymied in Morhgen space, the Federation attempted to spread out in the direction of Gadhya space. The Gadhya, many centuries ahead of the Federation in technology, still value their solitude. When the Federation diplomats made contact they were told, in no uncertain terms, that the Gadhya would not tolerate being treated anything like the way the Federation has been treating the Morhgens.

"The Federation, curious to see just how advanced the Gadhya technology had become, sent a fleet against them, only to have it destroyed by the Gadhya so quickly they have no time to even send a message back to Earth. To them, the fleet seemed to have simply disappeared into Gadhya space.

"During this time, the five houses of the Morhgen Empire began to battle amongst themselves once more, stopping only when the Federation made an attempt to take advantage of their splintered alliance by sending in an invasion fleet. The houses united just long enough to chase off the Federation invaders.

"Rolling on after defeating the Federation fleet, the Morhgens invaded Gadhya space, and in retaliation the Gadhya launched a series of devastating attacks on the home worlds of five houses. Enraged by their easy defeat, the Morhgens once again invaded Federation space.

"Following the Gadhya example, the Federation also attacked their home worlds. Front lines blurred and chaos ensued as each army attacked the home worlds of their enemies. After a series of brutal battles, the war devolved into border raids and occasional shooting matches. This is where we are.

"The Morhgen Empire and the Federation are all but at war, and the five houses within the Morhgen Empire are nearly at war with each other. Then we have the mysterious and mighty Gadhya, seemingly intent upon enforcing their isolation. Even worse, the occasional ship still disappears, only to reappear some time later, with no sign of the crew or any damage. It's tough for a couple of boys like you to survive out there in the spacelanes."