The Votanis System was the binary star system from which the Votan races originated.
The Votanis system was located in the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, while Earth is in the Orion Arm. The Orion Arm is actually a minor arm of the galaxy, located between the larger Perseus Arm and Saggitarius Arm - relative to the Orion Arm, the Sagittarius Arm is closer to the galactic core, while the Perseus arm is in the direction of the galactic rim.
In 3502 BCE, Indogene scientists discovered that an oncoming stellar collision would destroy their star system, and warned the other races to begin preparations for a massive exodus. The actual collision did not occur for another five centuries, during which time they had time to develop new technologies for interstellar travel and pour massive resources into construction of the Ark fleet. The exodus fleet departed in 3001 BCE, shortly before the stellar collision destroyed the Votanis system. The passengers of the Arks would stay in suspended animation for centuries as they made their long journey. Their destination was the planet Earth - selected because it seemed to be habitable to them, but at the time, they had no way of knowing it was already inhabited by pre-industrial humans. Their interstellar journey lasted 5,000 years, until their main fleet appeared over Earth's skies in 2013 - though several scout ships such as the Kaziri reached Earth centuries earlier.
- Daribo - orbiting Vysu. Possessed three moons, though two were irregular. Homeworld of the Castithans and the Indogenes.
- Irath - orbiting Vysu. Possessed two moons, one of which was habitable. Homeworld of the Irathients, Sensoth, and Liberata.
- Casti - orbiting Sulos. No moons. Terraformed by the Indogenes and colonized by the Castithans, who gave the planet its name.
- Gula - unknown orbit. Gas giant. Homeworld of the Gulanee.
- Omec - unknown orbit. Originally the homeworld of the Omecs, but they were later conquered by the Volge, a race from another star system.
The five core Votan species evolved on the two planets orbiting the star Vysu: Daribo and Irath. The Castithans and Indogenes evolved on Daribo, while the Irathients, Sensoth, and Liberata evolved in Irath. The Indogenes inhabited crystaline cave regions on Daribo, wile the Irathients evolved on the plains of Irath, and the Sensoth lived in Irath's forests.
It is rumored that the Omecs originally dominated the other races in the Votanis system, but when they were unexpectedly conquered by the Volge - a species that arrived from somewhere else in the galaxy - it broke their hold over the rest of the system.
The different races established relations between themselves but often came into conflict. Around 4,000 BCE, about one thousand years before the Votans left for Earth, the Castithans started conducting slaving raids against Irath, to take back the strong Sensoth as slave labor. The Irathients rose up and retaliated against them to defend their world-mates, but their relatively primitive weapons were no match for the Castithans. The event became known as the Great Diaspora, and during it the Castithans liberally used chlorine gas attacks against the Irathients.
Over the centuries the fiercely martial and tribal Irathients grew to strongly resist the Castithans. Meanwhile, the Liberata grew to be economically powerful, but their greed caused their economic base to collapse from within, after which they were also dominated by the Castithans. The Indogenes, despite sharing the same homeworld with the Castithans, apparently managed to resist being dominated by them, due in no small part to being by far the most technologically advanced Votan species.
In general, the Irathients, Sensoth, and Liberata all get along with each other because they shared the same homeworld. The Indogenes also get along fairly well with the other four races, due to their level-headed and rational outlook. In contrast, the Castithans constantly tried to dominate all of the other races, all of which have cold relations with them to varying degrees. Most of all, the Irathients bitterly resented the Castithans. The Indogenes viewed them aloofly - given that they shared the same homeworld but were never conquered by them, they didn't feel that the Castithans could claim to be superior to them. The Sensoths and Liberata somewhat resented the Castithans in general, though by the time they were living on Earth many relied upon the Castithans as their employers and protectors.
After discovering in 3502 BCE that an oncoming stellar collision would destroy the Votan system, the Indogenes warned the other races and began developing means of interstellar travel and planetary terraforming. Between 3362 BCE and 3317 BCE the Indogenes made several failed terraforming experiments on local moons, but by 3317 BCE they finally succeeded in terraforming the nearby planet orbiting Sulos - which the Castithans then colonized and named "Casti" after themselves. Casti was not inhabited for very long in the cosmic scale, as the exodus fleet later left the star system only three centuries later. In that time, however, the Castithans turned Casti into a custom-made home for their wealthiest and most powerful.
Meanwhile, the Indogenes explored the rest of their star system searching for new sources of materials and fuel to build the Ark fleet. In 3175 BCE, they discovered an indigenous, energy-based race inhabiting the neighboring gas giant Gula, the Gulanee. In return for the precious Gulanite resources from their world, the Indogenes agreed to let the Gulanee join the exodus fleet. The Gulanee were the most recently discovered Votan race, only even contacting the others under two centuries before the Ark fleet departed for Earth, and they remained enigmatic even to the other Votans.
Finally, by 3006 BCE, the Ark fleet made ready to depart for Earth. Due to limited space only a fraction of each race would be allowed to board, but each was left to determine its own selection process. The Indogenes, stoic and rational, sent their best and brightest scientists. The Irathients held rounds of tribal combat to determine who was the strongest among them, with the winners earning passage on the Arks. The Castithans disproportionately sent much of their wealthy and ruling castes, though many from the lower castes still managed to bribe their way on to the Arks through various means. The Ark fleet left the system in 3001 BCE.
The Volge were intentionally not included in the Ark fleet, making their reappearance on Earth 5,000 years later a mystery. It is suspected that their DNA was stored in the terraforming nanites and thus they were recreated during the catastrophic nanite release during Arkfall. Because no attempt was made to include the Volge in the exodus, the Omecs who remained conquered by them on their own planet were similarly left behind.