The Collectiverse Backstory Edit
The Collectiverse is a multiverse - that is, a universe which, in turn, itself is comprised of countless universes, many of which resemble our own at various points in its history and future. The universes of the Collectiverse are constantly being born, collapsing, and dieing off; that some are merely moments old and others have existed for billions of years means that the life forms in different universes are in different stages of development. For the most part, the universes of the Collectiverse coexist without their inhabitants having the slightest idea of the existence of all the other universes. These universes are, in many cases (but not always), governed by their own deities.
The story that you are about to read takes place in two of the universes of the Collectiverse: the Uberverse, and the Archeverse.
In the Archeverse, the Equivalent to Earth (Archeworld) had, for thousands of years, been the focus of a battle between the deities of the shadow and the light. The battle between the pantheons of light and shadow - and the petty squabbles between the deities in each pantheon - had been played out in the empires of the Archeworld. Grand unions between the empires of shadow and light engaging in great wars were a common feature of this world of the Arches. In the laws of the Archeverse, there was a mutual dependency between its people and its deities: Archeworldian mythology held that the Archeuniverse's deities had originally conjured up its people, but they did so for their own survival: for without the support of people, the deities would die. The more support the various deities had, in turn, the more they could supply their adherents with new weapons, or supernatural powers.
The Uberverse is, in many regards, like an alternative version of our own universe. The largest difference being that their equivalent of Earth, Uberworld, had been over-run by a Fascist government. Day Zero is the day in which the Fascist Government took power on Uberworld. Had there been civilizations on Uberworld prior to this, their memory has been lost to a history which has been forbidden to retrieve, recreate, or reconstruct. Similarly, any deities in the Uberverse have long since forgotten; the political leadership have long since been deified and the worship of the political rulers is the sole State religion allowed in the Uberworld. The government of the Uberworld had subsequently began their quest into space, and had ramped up their weapons development program in order to conquer the alien worlds of the Uberverse.
For billions of years, the two universes coexisted in utter unawareness of each other's existence. That was until one day, when a freak accident with a new weapon in the Uberverse inadvertantly tore a hole in the fabric of the Collectiverse. In the short few weeks that the hole existed, soldiers and generals from the Uberverse poured into the Archeverse, and onto the battlefield in between the empires of the shadows and the light. By the time the hole in the Collectiverse had closed over, key generals, propogandists, scientists, and settlers from the Uberworld had colonized Archeworld, fighting both the shadow and the light empire of the Arches with the more advanced weapons of the Uberworld. The emergence of these outsiders created confusion in the empires of Archeworld: should these outsiders be greeted as supporters of the deities of light, or shadow? In truth, the Uberworlders were the supporters of neither.
The Uberworlders quickly began their hostile takeover of Archeworld. With the Arches divided in their loyalty between the shadow deities and the deities of the light, the Uberworlders quickly seized control. Under their control, Archeworld was quickly remade in the image of Uberworld. The Fascist government that emerged was constantly being challenged by the Archeworldian underground, which was still divided into the 'light' and 'shadow' factions.
In a bid to control this underground, Uberworldian scientists rapidly devised a DNA test, which worked by testing a subjects for a marker gene present in the DNA of the inhabitants of the Uberworld, but not in the DNA of the Archeworldians. The test allowed the fascist Uberworldian government to rapidly identify who would be at risk of developing Archeworldian nationalist tendencies, or be called towards the now-outlawed Archworldian deities of shadow or light. With the gateway to the Uberverse long since closed, the DNA was used to determine who would was a "Conformist" (i.e. an Uberworldian), and who was at risk of being a "non-Conformist" (i.e. an Archeworldian native), and would need a special re-education.
Meanwhile, while the Collectiverse had, more or less, stabilized after the accident, there were still occasionally shock waves which created opportunities for people to jump between universes. Out of one such rift, out stepped the ultimate in non-conformity: a rebellious teenage girl quite literally from another world (and another universe, to boot). This girl - Dana Brooks - had just read, in Robert Owen's immortal words, that "Men are, and ever will be, what they are and shall be made in infancy and childhood. The apparent exceptions to this law are the effects of... subsequent impressions, arising from the new circumstances in which the individuals... have been placed.”