January 2325: A Fresh Perspective
Despite the fact peace has been declared with the Cirecidus the Brotherhood Ferrum knew what a simple mistake could cost them. There were more aliens out there and one couldn't help but wonder how they would react when encountered. More to the point, how would we react?
The Brotherhood traded the romantic hopes of peace the Imperium had for the reality of possible conflict. A secure location was needed to observe and prepare for future interactions with aliens.
Director Stanic requested permission to launch several recon missions deeper into Vigilem hoping to find a location worthy of a new secure Ferrum base.
June 2325: A Likely Candidate
After several months of searching, a system designated E-219 is flagged. It has five planets, the third being habitable. A garden world with a breathable atmosphere and lush with flora and fauna. Surveys indicate the planet would be ideal for colonization and is named Elysium for its exotic beauty.
However the features that makes Elysium perfect for the needs of the Brotherhood is the presence of two asteroid belts. One, the Palisade Belt, a massive field surrounding the outer edge of the solar system. And the other, Hephaestus Belt, a dense field between the orbits of the third and fourth planets. Both contained numerous minable resources. Resources that could be processed into building material for stations and outposts without need for outside help that would potentially revealing the planets location.
The system also had random shifting pockets of colorful unidentified gases concentrated in the area of the Heph Belt.This in itself was not notable, however the phenomena cause interference that obscured the planet from long range scanning technologies. It also, along with it's colorful planets, earned the system the name Calico.
December 2330: The Start
With a basic asteroid mining operation running, construction begins on an outpost in the Hephaestus asteroid belt. Meanwhile an analysis of the plant samples on Elysium reveal something exciting. One particular plant has curative properties that was a promising treatment to a epidemic among Blue Star colonies throughout the Draco Tao Galaxy. The Lumus Scientia operatives petition the Ferrum to allow them to set up a sister base in the Calico system for further study of the plant.
The initial request was denied, fearing an additional base would increase traffic undermining its secrecy. Over six months of negotiating a deal is finally reached. The Lumus Scientia and Brotherhood agree to construct a joint base of which the Brotherhood would maintain operational control and the Scientia would have areas designated for medical and scientific research. Designated Gateway Station, newly appointed Rook Officer, Rich Lombardia is given the honor of overseeing the station as his first Command.
January 2335: The First Beam is Laid
With resource mining and processing in full swing and a number of outposts established, construction of Vanguard Station begins in orbit around Elysium. This would be the base of operations for the Brotherhood Fleet in this sector. There was only one issue. While the odd properties of the Callico System hid everything inside the Heph Belt from prying eyes it also prevented LEAP out of Elysiums orbit.
Being that ships could only LEAP from the far side of the Hephaestus Belt, a method was needed to transit ships through the belt. Ferrum and Scientia scientists on Gateway Station devise a brilliant solution. Using modified BHEAMR (Broadcast High Energy Amplified Momentum Ray) technology they created massive energy pillars. By placing six of these BHEAMR pillars it was possible to create a void in the belt large enough to allow battle ships to pass through. The gate became known as the Gateway Nexus.
May 2342: Vanguard Station Goes Online
Vanguard Station goes on-line under the Command of the Director Marium Mason and the Brotherhood's 8th Expeditionary Force had a new place to call home. The Lumus Scientia as well stations it's 2nd Medical Corps on a new outpost on Elysium to handle harvesting and manufacturing of the healing plant into a usable pharmaceutical.
The Imperium intercedes and demands to have a presence the system protect Imperium interests and try and bolster their waning influence in the Vigilem galaxy. The Scientia begrudgingly agree as long as they have full control over the Science and Medical facilities. The Ferrum also accepts Imperium officer Lucas Varro, reminding everyone that Cailco is ultimately under control of the Brotherhood Command.
April 2345: A Major Breakthrough
The importance of the Epensia plant was in its use as a treatment for Barros disease, a deadly neurological condition that had become an epidemic in many colonized systems. A compound in the Epensia plant exactly mimicked Acetoxy-tri-methyle-thana-minium, the neurotransmitter affected by Barros. Called ACE, the treatment greatly slowed the progression of Barros and was believed, with more research, could potentially cure the disease.
Sorting through the Epensia plants more than 4500 chromosomes to isolate the specific compounds needed proved to be extremely challenging. To make it more difficult, any efforts made to sustain the plant in the lab failed. Even when soil from Elysium was used and atmospheric conditions were precisely mimicked. The plant required the very specific conditions of its native environment.
February 2346: New arrivals
The cargo vessel Bright Horizon arrives in the Calico system. The ship belongs to Reginald P. Mertaugh Esquire, owner of the Independent Miner's Coalition and known for having Pirate clan associations. Mertaugh swears that they stumbled upon Calico during routine expedition runs and requests an audience with Director Mason.
Mertaugh proposes that his crew could more effectively mine the Palisade Belt and, in exchange for resource rights, he would provide Mason with all the raw materials needed build an additional three stations and shipyard planned. This would free up hundreds of Ferrum personnel currently assigned to mining.
Director Mason reluctantly accepts the offer knowing that, short of killing Mertaugh and his crew, there was no way to keep Elysium a secret. The ability to accelerate operations was a poor trade off but it was at least something. The Bright Horizon entered orbit around the fifth planet Fria to begin setting up mining operations in the Palisade Belt.
February 2351: Addictive Accident
Scientists experimenting with new ways to produce ACE inadvertently create a highly effective stimulate. The substance produced an incredible increase in energy and awareness over the course of 3 hours topping off with a feeling of complete euphoria as it metabolized in the users system. There did not appear to be any side effects, however do to the extremely rare nature of the Epensia plant, the research was set locked away. However not before the formula found it's way to Mertaugh and his Clan associates.
A synthetic version of the powerful drug was soon produced, this variation have very serious side effects. Called Maxout, when the bluish powder and inhaled there is a burst of energy and euphoria followed up with the user being in a near vegetative state for fifteen minutes to an hour. The drug is pushed toward Belt miners wanting to work longer and harder. It quickly becomes a favorite of anyone working long hours including engineers and soldiers and is referred to as "getting dusted”.
All attempts to crack down on the drug in the Calico system fail. It begins to be such an issue that Director Mason is forced to mandate harsher punishments for anyone found using or dealing Maxout and tasks Rook Lombardia with rooting out the source of Maxout.
January 2388: Retaliation
Maxout had spread beyond Calico and was quickly becoming a problem in other systems. Having had enough, Director Mason, orders the forced evacuation of Mertaugh's ship, Bright Horizon. He then destroys the ship as a warning to Mertaugh to cease Maxout production. Needless to say Mertaugh is more than a little upset.
Two days later Director Mason is found dead in his quarters. His head severed and placed on a table in a pile of Maxout. Rook Lombardia made acting Director 1st Class and put in charge of the 8th.
December 2390: Ripe for the Taking
After the murder of his predecessor Director Lombardia did not ease up on Mertaugh, and Mertaugh did not roll over. Conflicts steadily escalated and Mertaugh began hitting back where it would hurt most. He began ordering raids on the Epensia fields and reasearch outposts on Elysium. With Mertaugh backed by the Pirate Clans, Lombardia quickly found himself in a small war in his own system.
January 2393: A Ghost Among the Stars
Several Brotherhood patrols report aberrant sensor contacts. All equipment checks are green however upon arrival to the location nothing can be found. No ships, no stellar anomalies, no trace signals. Director Lombardia knew something was out there shadowing their patrols but, because of the distraction of Mertaugh and the Clans, there weren't enough resources available to deal with it. Nor was there enough evidence to justify to Ferrum Command violating Article 8 and taking a more heavy fisted sponse to Clan activity, or to convince Scientia leaders that the defense of the Epensia plant was second priority. He just had to wait and see.
April 2396: Missing in Action
Over the course of the next three years a number of 8th Squadron patrols are destroyed. It is assumed to be the actions of Clan activity in the area despite there is no evidence specifically pointing to that being a fact. Then a break.
A SAR (Search And Rescue) group investigating the area around the most recent attack finds the wreckage of an alien craft. Roughly the same size as a Brotherhood Grendel fighter the ship was not registered in the database of known races provided by the Cysti. This was was enough evidence to get clearance from Ferrum Command to bypass Article 8.
- Article 8 is part of the agreement established between the Brotherhood of Sol, Lumus, and Pirate Clans after the Clan Wars. It limited of any military response against humans by the Brotherhood in any localized conflict.
With Imperium, Scientia, and Ferrum Command approval, Lombardia and the 8th unleash hell in Calico. Within days Mertaugh and the Clan were in retreat and Lombardia could begin to focus on real threats.
May 2397: First Look at the Alien Threat
The alien wreckage recovered revealed some clues as to the new alien threat. The body of the alien pilots had reptilian characteristics and were heavily augmented with cybernetics. The ship itself had traces of an element they had never encountered before but it seemed to be found in both the ship and cybernetics. The data on the craft is sent to Command and within hours Lombardia received a response. Vanguard Station and Calico operations were to be put on High Alert and prepare for a visit from the Cysti.
36 hours later an envoy of the Cysti arrived at Vanguard. Based on the reports sent back to the Brotherhood and Imperium, the Cysti had determined the aliens were the Aevitan, a highly isolationist and combative species. There was no way of knowing specifically why the Aevitan were attacking 8th patrols as there were very little diplomatic communications between them and any other species. It was possible they sought the Epensia plant on Elysium. Regardless of the reason, the situation was potentially extremely volatile.
The Cysti warn that this was not a threat that humanity was prepared for nor was it one that they could be protected. It was strongly urge the Brotherhood and Lumus to yield the system to the Aevitan. There was, of course, no chance that this was going to happen.
June 2403: The Devil At The Door
Six years pass and skirmishes with the Aevitan increase steadily. It was clear that they were biding their time and testing the Brotherhood defenses. Then on June 1st 2403 a group of Aevitan ships gather on the edge of the Calico system outside the Palisade Belt. Lombardia scrambles three squadrons into defensive positions. The Aevitan make no move, in fact many of the alien ships power down and go dark and just sit there as if to say they don't see the Brotherhood as a threat.
Dec 2408: The First Dance
Patrols monitoring the Aevitan ships sitting silently on the edge of the system had become routine and mundane. Many even speculated that the ships had been abandoned as scans could not detect any life signs. That is until they awoke.
The Brotherhood Squadrons in the area barely had time to respond as the Aevitan ships powered up and cut through them with little effort. The ships then moved through the Palisade asteroid belt and accelerated towards Elysium.
Within days the Aevitan arrive at the Heph belt and are met by the 8th. One attempt to communicate was made by Director Lombardia before the first Aevitan ship opened fire.
Lombardia realized quickly that the Cysti warnings were not overly cautious. The battle could have easily been over in a matter of hours if not for the protection of the Hephaestus Belt. The Brotherhood forces very effectively used the asteroid field and the Gateway Nexus to hold the battle for weeks before the Aevitan decided to leave. Lombardia was very clear in his report. The aliens did NOT retreat, they just left.
March 2410: The Grand Ball
Over the next several years Lombardia and the 8th have many encounters with Aevitan forces. The aliens initially had a clear advantage and seemed to be toying with the Brotherhood but their arrogance was short lived as the 8th learned and began to inflict serious losses.
In March of 2412 it appeared the Aevitan had revised their impression of the Brotherhood from plaything to threat. A fleet of alien ships descend upon Calico and Lombardia sets the 8th loose.
The battle is beyond brutal, testing the skill and resolve of the Brotherhood and Imperium forces. The Brotherhood could not hold position and losses were mounting rapidly. Lombardia had to do something drastic. He ordered his forces to draw the alien fleet closer to the Gateway Nexus and he ordered the evacuation of Vanguard Station. As the Aevitan fleet moved into position Lombardia ordered the Vanguard destroyed.
The detonation of the stations QS reactors rippled through the asteroid belt turning it into an unstoppable weapon. Asteroids ripped through the Aevitan fleet tear it to shreds. Lombardia watched from his ship rock and fire did more effectively what their most advanced weapons could not.
June 2412: Aevitan Pacified
After the conflict in Calico the Imperium make a desperate move to prevent further confrontations with the Aevitan. Knowing that it is nearly impossible to open diplomatic relations with the highly isolationist species they approach the Illuminated. It was known that the Illuminated a alliances with a technologically advanced alien race for over a decade, it was only now that the connection to the Aevitan was made.
The plan worked but the Brotherhood Ferrum was furious over the Imperium move. Ultimately the Imperium had no control over the Illuminated and while they were now negotiating to the benefit of humanity, there was no guarantee they would always do so. The Brotherhood felt that the Imperium had just put themselves in a position of weakness with the Illuminated who was now known to be allied with an incredibly powerful military force.
2413: Present Day
The new Vanguard station goes online and Lombardia is promoted to Director 2nd Class and receives a commendation of honor for his tactical achievement against the Aevitan. The Scientia 2nd Medical Corps reclaim the base on Elysium and continue their work unlocking the potential of the Epensia plant and manufacturing a treatment for Barrows disease.
For now the Aevitan threat was dormant and Lombardia is directed to represent the Brotherhood in a bold move by the Imperium to reconnect with the long lost human colonies Milkyway. The concern being that reentering the home galaxy of mankind my spark a war with the Children of Gaia.