Guess what I did this evening! :D I wrote out the premise and breakdown of Odin's Children~ I am so ashamed that ALMOST NONE OF THIS made it through in the webcomic before it shut down. So much world-building. So much.
None of this is discussing what happens directly in the story, but it does bring us up to speed with where the story starts from. The backstory would obviously be released much more slowly in story, rather than info-dumping like this. In the same vein, I also did a run-through of stats and bios for a bunch of the mains who came to mind, but I'm debating posting that as backstory and in-depth personality breakdowns are somewhat spoilery by nature.
Earth, the near future.
There is an apocryphal story amongst conspiracy theorists that 30 years ago, a representative from an alien power infiltrated a NATO conference and announced that the Earth was soon to become part of an allegiance of planets, a vassal state beneath the power of a greater Empire. They likewise stated that the Earth would be given a short period of time to organize itself and declare a single government in power to swear fealty to the Empire, or the planet would be brought to order.
Adherents of this story strongly suspect but cannot prove that the outbreak of the previously-unknown Nile fever virus, which depopulated much of Northern Africa 20 years ago, was an act of these foreign parties. Whether it was an accident, a warning shot, or a sincere attack of biological warfare to test the Earth's defenses is under debate. Of course, most call this theory paranoid, and others attribute it to ill-will from closer to home.
What no one could fail to miss was that over the following years, there were increased unusual sightings and unexplained encounters, swiftly acted upon by local governments.
Truth can be stranger than fiction; the imperial representative was the opening volley in an uncoordinated barrage of extraterrestrial attention. The Nile fever erupted soon after a vehicle was brought down by militants in Libya. It was quietly acknowledged that these parties were almost entirely small-fry opportunists, looking to scavenge in unprotected territory, or establish illicit trade. Most weren't prepared to weather the almost universally hostile reception. Some departed, many were eventually shot down. Humanity promptly reversed the trend and began sending captured vehicles back to explore the ways they came. With limited success, and even more limited understanding.
What was immediately obvious was that the Empire's threat was not empty.
While arguments were made to make the truth public, those in power refused on the grounds that they would be laughed out of office. Until open warfare broke out, knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrials and the declaration of annexation would remain classified need to know only.
However, not everyone aware of the situation saw it as a threat. . . Some saw an opportunity.
To combat the incoming alien threat, concerned parties founded the only entity capable of operating on a truly global scale: a business corporation. Initially subsidized by many nations, Triquetra Tech quickly became independently wealthy marketing reverse-engineered alien technology. TriTech quietly became a forerunner in off-world research, using the best military personnel recruited from countless countries to staff its reconnaissance forces. Likewise, their labs became the premier place for the study of offworld biology and technology. Behind the screen of cutting-edge research and corporate interest, TriTech focused the forces of humanity's resistance.
One of the first realizations humankind had about encountering alien life was that alien technology could be stolen, reverse engineered and adapted for use. Alien biology was an entirely different matter. If humanity wanted to fight on level ground, humans needed to acquire the same abilities as other species. An arms race was on against the products of evolution on dozens of different planets.
Alongside stolen, bartered, and bought alien technology, biological samples were carefully acquired to develop a library of species with desirable traits. Ironically, the vector virus that made grafting alien DNA to humans possible was also alien in nature. The Nile Fever virus proved capable of attacking the human body in a holistic, tactical fashion that made wide-spread changes more likely to take.
The first serious attempt was made using two hundred volunteers, seventeen years ago. They thought they had taken all possible precautions over three years of planning, considering it was human experimentation. There was a miscalculation. The Nile Fever virus was still deadly, and complications arose both from the vector virus and deleterious mutations from implanted DNA. Of the experimental group, only four of the hundred total showed successful signs of transformation. Two committed suicide within the first week. One was declared insane. The one remaining, with a great deal of hardship, became humanity's secret weapon.
The second attempt took much, much longer to develop. They would get it right, and no one would die trying. All they needed this time was another batch of willing volunteers. . .
Triquetra Technology, a Fortune 500 company, offers competitive wages and comprehensive benefit package, alongside a chance to work at the forefront of tomorrow's technology!
In return for participation in our unique research study, Triquetra Tech offers placement in our exclusive four year paid internship program. Interns can choose to focus within a wide variety of disciplines, or cross-train until meeting their match! Learn hands-on, attend lectures by the top experts in their fields, gain experience and valuable skills! All interns will be provided with top-notch food and board for the duration of their studies. Upon completion, interns can choose to find employment with exciting opportunities within Triquetra Technology, take their globally marketable skills to other prestigious institutions, use the generous stipend and widely-accepted college credits to further their education, or go wherever their future waits!
(Meanwhile, it's been 30 years, and it's just about time for the Empire to check back in and see what, if anything, has shaken out in its absence. Schlagger is actually rather looking forward to this; humans are one of the least predictable species he's ever encountered. It certainly makes what should be a tedious job for his public persona more interesting.)