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The Pale Wars was a global conflict fought between the Earth Military Coalition, the Votanis Collective, and other groups that began in 2023 and lasted for nine years, until 2032. The Battle of Defiance in San Francisco was a deciding factor in ending the wars. 


The Votans arrived at Earth in 2013, and, after a four-year introductory period, negotiated Votan colonization for six years. The negotiations went relatively smoothly, until March 2023, when a "humanity first" advocate, Avinash Singh, assassinated Onulu Toruku, the Votan Ambassador to the U.N. This event caused riots across the country, and ultimately led to the start of the Pale Wars. In the years that followed, conspiracy theories emerged as to whether his assassin, John Paul Bullock, was working alone, or if he was even human at all. It's possible that Bullock was an Indogene shapetaker (like astronaut Gordon McClintock, or Defiance's own Mayor Nicky, or the saboteurs who gave their lives to destroy the Omec fleet). One popular theory states that the Votans themselves started the war in the hopes of securing a purely Votan planet -- the same mission for which the Kaziri was originally built.[1]

By 2025, some believed that they were living in the end of days. Everywhere they looked, they saw war, famine, and pestilence walking among them —with death’s pale horse rounding the corner. Many began calling this worldwide conflict “The Pale Wars.”[2]

Portland fell victim to a singularity bomb in the early days of the Pale Wars. A singularity bomb creates a small, focused wormhole that consumes all matter in a predetermined radius. Hundreds of thousands of humans died in the explosion, along with a large number of Votans. In the wake of this devastation, the VC became reluctant to deploy such weapons of mass destruction again, or risk obliterating the very planet they sought to inhabit.[3]


Arrival of the Votan Arks.

The Pale Wars took a dramatic turn for the worse in January 2030, when the Votan Arks orbiting Earth were mysteriously destroyed,[4] leading to a rain of debris that fell to the planet's surface. Some of the Arks contained terraformers, which began to transform the planet by scorching the earth, opening up chasms and burying major cities. Some Ark debris managed to stay within Earth's orbit, forming the arkbelt.

Another major event that occurred during the Pale Wars was the revelation that the Volge had somehow stowed away on the Arks. It is not clear when during the Pale Wars they appeared (before or after the Arkfall), but their presence was highly unwelcome, even amongst the other Votans. 

After nine years of fighting, Votan and Human soldiers joined forces to save civilians during the Battle of Defiance. This act was mimicked by forces on both sides, forcing the Earth Military Coalition and the Votanis Collective to ratify the Pale Wars Armistice in April, 2031.


  • "Sutso" means blasphemer or infidel in Castithan. "Death to the Sutso!" became a popular battle cry during the Pale Wars among all the Votan races.[5]