The war for Pontakus IX would shake the Caractacan Brotherhood to its core, and the horrors that happened on that world would have far-reaching consequences in galactic history.
Pontakus IX was a strange world to begin with. Orbiting the A-type star Pontakus at five AU, it had no axial tilt at all, resulting in permanent climate zones. There were those who insisted that life should not have existed on the planet at all, given the radiation levels and the permanent climatic stasis. And yet it did. It wasn’t complex, and it was generally tough and poisonous, but it was life.
The colonists who landed there were desperate. The surviving elites of the Eurasian Cooperation Sphere had fled the Sol system ahead of the vengeance of the Nipponese Resurgence in the east and the Novgorodian Republic in the west. They had seized one of the earliest Bergenholm-equipped ships and fled the system. Only a few of them were military personnel, and fewer still were pilots. They relied on the flight computer for their course, almost to their permanent loss.
By the time they were able to go inert and determine their location, they had fled clear out of the Orion Arm and into the Crux Arm. Frightened and desperate, they sought out the nearest world they could find with an oxygen atmosphere, which happened to be Pontakus IX.
Faced with the harshness of the environment, the fledgling colony nearly died. Most of the Eurasians had been bureaucrats or simply political leaders and their families. They had few useful skills when trying to survive in an environment inimical to human life. The handful of military leaders took over, and through brutal discipline, managed to stabilize the colony and ensure its survival. Continue reading
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
“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
A Flawed Edifice
The Triamic Hegemony might have seemed strangely monolithic to outsiders, particularly in a galaxy where a government that even encompassed an entire planet was rare. But beneath the surface, the unprecedented edifice of the Hegemony had deeper cracks than any aliens realized.
The Hegemony was ultimately built upon a stratified alliance of triamic packs. It was the result of centuries of wars for territory and dominance, out of which the order of precedence of the packs within the Hegemony slowly and painfully emerged. To some of the more idealistic aliens, the Hegemony seemed to be a dream come true, a truly interstellar civilization of a high order of technology and sociological sophistication. But it was built upon a foundation of hundreds of triamic years of ferocious bloodshed. And, as it turned out, that foundation was far shakier than believed, even by most of the triamic. Continue reading
The Elbianian Nebula
The Elbian Nebula lies near the rimward end of the Orion Arm. The remnant of a relatively minor nova, it is small as such stellar objects go, only about three light years across. It would be completely unremarkable, if not for the cult that arose in connection with it, and the carnage that they wreaked. The name of the Elbianian Nebula would become synonymous in galactic history for fanaticism, atrocity, and unprovoked aggression. Continue reading