Chapter 8: First Contact

Business As Usual

Following the conclusion of the Clan War in 2270 it was back to business as usual in Draco-Tao. The Lumus enthusiastically continued their colonization, and the Brotherhood set to the task of bolstering defense. Towards the end of 2285, 30% of Draco-Tao was effectively mapped, a sizeable feat. In general colonization and populations were steadily on the rise.

In late 2286 a Lumus long distance freighter is attacked and its cargo of decommissioned LEAP gates stolen. LEAP technology cannot be transported via LEAP because of the residual Nueon charge left over after extended use, so gates and reactors were some of a few things that still had to be transported by ship. The theft of the gates was followed a few weeks later by another highjacking, this time of a transport carrying food stores. Over the next year hijackings increased to the point that the trade guilds began demanding military escorts. Based on descriptions of the hostile ships involved it appeared that the Pirate Clans were making a resurgence.

It was unfeasible of course to task military resources to protect every shipment through the galaxy, and with the Illuminated adhering fixedly to their noninterference policies, tracking down the Pirate activity proved difficult. Clan attacks steadily increased as did their boldness. Armed engagements were inevitable.

In July of 2295 Clan insurgents occupy the Three Graces colony. The 15 day occupation of the large densely populated capital city of Tethys proved difficult for Arma forces not used to ground assaults or the Clans guerrilla tactics. Before the city could be secured more than 25 thousand colonists died in the conflict.

Five years later in 2299 Clan forces seize control of the Arma military shipyard in the remote Plath system. The Plath shipyard was built in the middle of an asteroid field, and the entire system itself was littered with asteroid debris. The asteroids provided an abundance of raw materials that made Plath a highly productive shipyard as well as making it impossible to LEAP into, or even navigate larger ships through. For this reason the facility was very lightly guarded making it easy for the Pirates to gain control. It’s also why the conflict to drive them out dragged on for over a year resulting in the Clans acquiring hundreds of Arma ships. Ships that allowed them to grab more power.

The mining outpost orbiting the gas giant Thelon was the primary source for Pewon 121, an extremely rare noble gas used for Plasma weapons. Normally only available and refined in small amounts, Thelon’s lower atmosphere contained huge quantities of it. The Clans knew Thelon was critical and either wanted to take it, or destroy it. The five year long war for control of the region ended in 2313 when Ferrum forces located and destroyed the Clan shipyards hidden in the Cascades nebula deep in uncharted Draco space. The loss of the shipyards seriously crippled the Clan’s cause, but did not stop them. They were in Draco-Tao to stay this time.

Vigilem Expansion

Despite conflicts with the Pirate Clans Lumus expansion in Draco-Tao moved along at a healthy pace, the population soon approaching 250 billion. This didn’t mean that the Lumus weren’t still looking for other intelligent life in the Universe. On May 12th 2358 a long distance research probe returns flyby data on a planet located in the NGC-1291 galaxy more than 10 million light years from Draco-Tao. Images of the planet showed the ruins of a vast ancient alien city. Many Scientia researchers had been focused on the area as a likely location for alien life due to the prevalence of structured radio signals coming from the galaxy. With this new evidence the Lumus Imperium sanctioned extended exploration of Vigilem.

This new expansion was met with the usual opposition and conservative calls for caution from the Brotherhood. Ultimately they knew there was no stopping the insatiable curiosity of the Lumus and committed a Ferrum fleet and 13,000 Ferrum soldiers to the expedition. The initial push into Vigilem included 150 thousand people that would be tasked with finding a new home world and begin laying the infrastructure required for a permanent colony and eventual expansion point.

With 180 years of colonization under humanities belt a prime planet was located in no time. The new world was lush with an ecosystem that fell in the desired Humable range, meaning diverse enough to withstand the introduction of a new species, and balanced in such a way that humans were the top predator. This new world was called Pilam and was the 5th planet in the binary star system Leto.

First Contact

October 5th 2361 3:34 AM – Ferrum fighters scramble to intercept a vessel approaching Pilam. Every station in orbit around the planet is on full alert and anyone not frantically rushing to their duty station, is either staring slack jawed out of a view port or at a monitor. The ship doesn’t seem to be in any hurry, approaching the planet at a leisurely and steady pace with no deviation in its course even as Ferrum Grendel fighters flank it. Scientia scientists aboard the Planck Space Station bicker over procedure while barking conflicting orders at the communications crew.

For nearly 200 years since the discovery of the Hollow Moon in the Milky Way galaxy mankind has known they were not alone and sought out intelligent life. The entire motivation and purpose of journeying to Vigilem was to realize this desire, and for all the speculation and planning and dreaming, now with intelligent life on our doorstep no one could agree on how to say Hi. The chaos is finally broken by a comms officer by the name of Kalie Usagi, unable to get anyone’s attention puts the broadcast she is monitoring on the stations open channel and everyone falls silent as they hear the first words ever spoken by a non-human. “Open hands┬áto be received in kind.”

We’d made first contact.

Chapter 9: The Cysti

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