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CREATION OF THE BOUNDARY, OR THE THIRD EXPANSION

 

After the formation of the Red Empire of Mars, with the True Emperor – at that time, known simply as the Red Emperor – firmly in control of the entire population, a period of relative peace settled. It was during this time that the Red Emperor announced a period of heavy colonisation, throwing money and resources into creating new colonies and new Houses for those He viewed loyal to him during the wars.

 

The push was controlled and precise, the Third Expansion carefully managed. The human race spread to the galactic east and west in greater numbers, evening out the sphere of human territory. There was also sustained colonisation to the north and the south. The target was always to enlarge the “Frontier”, the narrow strip that marked the outermost band of landholdings.

 

The Third Expansion saw the foundation of purely humanist and purely borgite Houses. Although the True Emperor was decidedly anti-humanist, he had enough wisdom not to fracture his young and explosively expanding Empire by promoting such anti-humanist policies, at least to begin with. As he matured, he would come to change his views on this subject, but it is the legacy of his foresight that many of the new colonies were allowed to chose what particular stance on the humanist vs borgite debate they would take.

 

As ever, it was war that was to bring to a halt the Third Expansion, and for many decades afterwards colonisation was forbidden by Imperial Law. With the outbreak of humanist and borgite armed hatred, the Red Emperor once again found himself facing war on an interstellar scale. This series of civil wars, which ended the Third Expansion, was to become known as the Unification Wars.

 

When the Third Expansion and the Unification Wars were ended, the Red Emperor was weary and the economy was suffering, leading to the Decades of Restriction. The experience had convinced him to forbid even controlled colonisation beyond the solar systems already colonised, but also led to his first overtly anti-humanist and pro-borgite rules. As the Third Expansion ended, the Red Empire took a darker turn, one that was to end with the fall of the True Emperor and the rise of the aggressively anti-humanist False Emperor. It was prior to this however, that for the first time since first setting foot in space, the end of the Third Expansion marked the complete cessation of colonisation and expansion for nearly a century. The Decades of Restriction which marked the end of the Third Expansion would collapse into the First Pogrom, where humanists were actively purged from all positions of authority, and entire planets were burned.

 

The line beyond which the Imperial Edict forbade further expansion was the furthest extent of the Boundary, a line already known as the Frontier, now marked forever in stellarcartographical charts. The Boundary was the area of outermost colonised space, and internal colonisation in this region was forbidden. As the Red Empire forbade further colonisation, ceasing colonisation, it was to come to destroy its own worlds in the First Pogrom, reversing three great expansions and the longest sustained period of colonisation in human history.