The Anomalies Discovery

2644. Mankind made great discoveries, and one of them allowed people to travel huge cosmic distances and build a network of connections between faraway solar systems. The only thing that people have not yet been able to overcome is death.

One day, while exploring one of the distant planets Zaolara in the Umion 2B1 system, a research ship discovers a strange anomaly that emits a huge amount of energy. The Citadel, the most influential government organization in the galaxy, became the first to occupy this planet and launch an anomaly research program in search of a new way to extract energy, which in turn leads to the activation of the alien mechanism of this anomaly and its other analogues throughout the universe. This moment in history is the starting point for the discovery of alien civilizations that have left these anomalies as their legacy.

Following the activation of the anomalies, researchers found that it was actually a portal leading to an unknown dimension or galaxy, too far from the area studied by humans. All further work with the anomaly was immediately classified, and the very fact of the portal is kept in the strictest confidence by the Citadel. Nevertheless, the Citadel’s actions did not go unnoticed, and The Obsidian Order, a rebel group fighting for the rights of the people in the universe to live free from the Citadel’s influence, begins to take an interest in the Citadel’s suspicious activity on those uninhabited planets.

The Invention of CyberShells

A few years later, one of the Citadel-run corporations announces its discovery. Using their technology, humans will be able to cheat death by moving the mind into another artificially created shell of the physical body called the CyberShell (cShell). The corporation says it is willing to provide technology to anyone, but in fact, very few can afford to pay for this service. The Obsidian Order offers the corporation a good price for the right to gain access to the shells but is denied.

Over the years, the technology has remained rare and expensive, making it impossible for most people to gain access to it and extend (almost indefinitely) their lives. Additionally, all information about the shells was kept secret, causing the indignation of the galaxy’s inhabitants.

The Obsidian Order Uprise

As time passed, The Obsidian Order grew in power and influence, and finally, an assault group of rebels took hostage one of the owners of the «CyberShell», who found himself in an area poorly defended by the Citadel’s troops. The Order begins to study how the created technology works and discovers that the shell can’t live on its own, it feeds on a special mineral, which the owner of the shell calls «Layerite». According to him, Layerite is supplied to every customer of the corporation in very small quantities necessary to maintain life.

This information is rapidly spreading around the world, and the unrest among the people is greatly intensified by the Citadel’s policy, which doesn’t want to share with them the ability to avoid death and any information about the shell or Layerite. The situation escalates sharply when one of the military bases on the planet where the anomaly is present is attacked by members of The Obsidian Order, who have taken over the planet and gained control of the portal. The citadel throws all its strength into an attempt to drive the rebels from the planet, as a result of which it loses control over other discovered anomalies (especially over the most distant ones) and soon ceases to fight for these planets so as not to completely lose control.

Beginning of the Interlayer Warfare

The rebels now begin to study the anomalies and discover a portal. Several desperate members of the Order, who were the first to go to the other side, didn’t return, but finally, one of the groups manages to get Layerite and make it back safely. This starts the clandestine mining of Layerite. The members of The Obsidian Order took into account the Citadel’s mistakes and authorized anyone to go to the other side in search of Layerite, and take whatever they find, giving the Order only 10% of the loot. Thus, a black market for the sale of CyberShells and Layerite appears. Those who illegally (from The Citadel’s point of view) go to the other side to extract Layerite are called The Stalkers, by analogy with desperate bounty hunters from the past.

Stalkers who have visited the other side several times and tell their story, mention creatures that have never been in our Universe, and active portals that don’t coincide with the location of the portals on our side. The Obsidian Order approached the Citadel with a proposal to join forces in studying the other side and was once again strongly refused, after which it declared war on the Citadel in both worlds.