The Speed of Information
The lightspeed barrier may have been broken, thanks to the Bergenholm field, but the single greatest obstacle to any sort of coordinated, interstellar association is still communications. Without the Bergenholm, the lightspeed barrier remains a solid wall, and despite attempts and creating “Bergenholm tunnels,” no one has yet managed to move radiation faster than the speed of light.
There have been successful experiments with quantum entanglement communicators, but they are expensive, extremely limited—there are only two terminals possible, so communication must happen between two relatively fixed points—and extremely slow. Manipulating the linked particles in such a way to send a clear message is extremely difficult. The only viable method of communication using quantum entanglement is therefore to use relatively simple codes. Continue reading
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To Strike at the Enemy’s Heart
The M’tait are a mystery. The galaxy teems with peoples alien to each other, but the M’tait are an implacable, inscrutable force of destruction and terror. They do not communicate. They appear, they destroy, they take, and they vanish.
The Tyrus Cluster has become the latest target. Entire worlds are reeling from the violence. And so a young strategos of the Sparat system gathers a strike force. He believes he has located one of their logistics bases. And he wants to destroy it.
But even he is not ready for what awaits the strike force in the Trakan System. And the M’tait are not the only danger…
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An Enduring Legend
The Carvago has become one of the enduring mysteries of galactic history. Unlike most “ghost ship” stories, the Carvago’s sightings have been widespread enough that the ship’s story has spread across multiple arms of the galaxy. Given the distances involved, the persistence of the story lends it greater weight than many historians might otherwise give it.
The Carvago was a slowship, launched before the advent of the Bergenholm field. It was one of the biggest engineering projects in human history to that point. There had been other slowships built, many of them already decades into their long acceleration ramps and well past the Kuiper Belt. But the Carvago, the pet project of charismatic visionary Eugen Viniate, was to be the largest in history. Continue reading
The Confraternity is a relatively new Military Brotherhood, but it is also one of the fastest growing. Relatively poor as far as such organizations go, the brothers of the Confraternity are eager to make their mark. Given the Confraternity’s somewhat dubious origin, this has made a number of planets extremely wary of them, but they have acquitted themselves well, putting their past successfully behind them.
Unlike the Caractacan Brotherhood, the Confraternity has no one founder. The First Brothers were in fact a mercenary company working the Sobretan Circuit. The Circuit is perhaps misnamed; there is no formal agreement as to what systems comprise it, and many trouble spots that are considered parts of it are actually outside the Sobretan Sector. Many of the worlds on the Circuit are perpetual flashpoints, many of them jointly colonized by outsystem factions that then had a falling out. They are not necessarily always made up of different races, either. Some of the nastiest wars have been human on human, or forvak on forvak.
Some of the older members of Rheloman’s Company, a mix of humans, forvaks, gordoks, and sefkhit, were talking one day, and hatched on the plan to start their own Military Brotherhood. No one can be sure of their exact motivation. The Confraternity’s founding documents are full of high ideals and a story about the First Brothers’ weariness at the constant wars and corruption they had seen. Some of it is doubtless true. There are other tales told, however, that the Confraternity was an attempt by the First Brothers to win some greater legitimacy among higher-paying clientele. It could even have been conceived as a front to allow for quick smash-and-grab robberies of rich clients who let the Confraternity in out of trust. A Military Brotherhood is far more respectable than a Private Military Company, in many eyes. Continue reading
“Keder M’ell” was the name chosen by the mixed group of gordoks, feshen, and humans who fled the Kesterev System to the star designated 4477 Ravati. Proponents of a splinter cult from the Church of the Universe Manifest, they had reportedly begun experimenting with certain mind-altering drugs in an attempt to communicate directly with “The Universe.” Several of these drugs were banned by all three of the Kesterev governments, due to extremely dangerous—often lethal—side effects. This led to clashes between the cultists and all three governments, leading to an eventual split in the cult between insurgents and those who desired simply to leave to conduct their experiments elsewhere. The insurgents stayed. The more “peaceable” fraction boarded starships and fled to the red dwarf designated 4477 Ravati.
They could not have picked a more unlikely system to attempt to colonize. Red dwarf stars are notoriously unstable. Of two planetary bodies orbiting 4477 Ravati, one was a red giant of sufficient mass to almost be classified as a brown dwarf. The other, a terrestrial planet of 0.6 Earth masses which the cultists named Keder M’ell, was tidally locked to the red dwarf. Its atmosphere was mostly sulfur dioxide, lethally poisonous to all three races. But it was precisely that inhospitability that the cultists apparently found appealing.
For the first generation, Keder M’ell remained utterly unknown to anyone but the colonists, who huddled in their buried habs and attempted to find new ways to commune with the Universe. At least half of them died in the first ten thousand hours, both from drug poisoning and from accidents. None of them had truly been prepared for the rigors and dangers of their new home, and they paid the price for it. Continue reading