Captain Vaam and his Gagarin-class ship the Ecteeneec were part of the Joint Stoinian-Treecuu Exploration Fleet. Operation Farsight had the goal to assess any new star-faring civilizations. Unlike most Treecuu officers, Vaam was more diplomatically minded and has his personal doubts about some of the more recent annexations of the Star Empire. So when the opportunity arose to engage in a more meaningful way with new civilizations, he was among the first officers to join the mission of the Joint Fleet. The 3rd Exploratory Fleet Division was sent to explore the eastern most tip of Treecuu space above the Veentuu Badlands. What Vaam didn’t know is that he had struck gold when the Ecteeneec entered the orbit of a star system’s gas giant. Upon preliminary scans, they revealed something peculiar.
“Captain… We might have something interesting.” The Stoinian sensor officer said.
Vaam walked in a precise military manner towards her and looked at her station.
“What is it, Lieutenant?”
“Sir… I think we have large artificial structures on the third planet.”
Vaam stepped closer to examine the scans more closely.
“You mean there’s a possible civilization there?”
He was quite ecstatic to hear the news, but he maintained a very stern and professional look on the outside. Finally, he would put his own beliefs to the test and prove to himself that there’s indeed an other alternative to the Treecuu motto “Peace through order. Order through domination. Domination through expansion.” Would it work with this civilization like fate had granted the Kihi to the Stoinian Prince, or will this unleash a new Great Calamity to the Star Empire. There was only one way to find out.
“Comms, inform Commodore Custer of our findings through the encrypted channels. Helm set course for the third planet, 85% impulse.”
On Erebus D in the Erebus System,
System Supervision Center
17/07/2890 UVT (a bit more than one year ago)
System Supervisor Lara Wilson, one of the 50 system supervisors on Erebus D, was monitoring the outer parts of the system. Her left eye squinted slightly. She adjusted her contact lenses, she hadn’t undergone ocular corrective surgery yet. Her work tended to be boring, as the system supervisors rarely encountered anything strange within their systems, an oddly-shaped asteroid from the Outer Erebus Belt or an outpost updating their data was typically the most curious event of the week. The Viridian Cadets of the Space Academy aren’t the only ones aware of the existence of other spacefaring civilizations. However, ever since “The Great Error” isolationism has become the doctrine of the Viridian Republic.
The integrated AI monitoring system sprang to life. A red flashing light appeared on the monitor of Lara’s workstation. This wasn’t normal, and it didn’t happen often enough for her to ignore it. She tapped at the console to activate the comm system, an alert sounded across the command center.
“System Supervisor Lara Wilson reporting,” she said into the intercom.
A familiar voice answered her. “This is General Vereen.”
Lara Wilson recalled who General Vereen was instantly, he was one of the leading figures in the military division of the Erebus System. “Sir, I’m detecting an anomaly, something out in the system. Something that shouldn’t exist.”
General Vereen replied, “Very well, please inform me when you have more information.”
She nodded, then activated the comm again. “I’ve detected a distinct signal orbiting the fifth planet of the Erebus System, Sir.”
He responded, “What?”
“It seems to be a signal from another civilization, it certainly isn’t Viridian.”
There was silence on the line for a moment, then, “Are you sure?”
Lara Wilson said, “Yes sir, we’re picking up a signature, it’s too different from what we would generate, there is no doubt.”
“Alright, follow the isolation protocol. Do not draw attention to our planet.”
Lara Wilson turned off the comm and clicked around her workstation. The Viridian Republic maintained strict protocols regarding contact with other civilizations. The Viridian Republic presumed intelligent life to be inherently expansionist and hostile. Their policy was to isolate themselves from all possible interactions. They restricted trade to their own planets, their own star systems, and anything beyond was forbidden. It has been this ways since the Great Error, during which the Viridian Republic attempted to share a planet with another sentient and sapient species, the Oras terribilis. Peace did not last, the Oras terribilis launched attacks on the Viridian colonies. The Viridians were able to neutralize the threat, but not without losses. Oras E has been transformed into a barren wasteland and won’t be habitable for another 10 000 UVT years.
The monitor at Lara Wilson’s workstation flashed red again. The system supervisor double-checked its readout and activated the comm again. “Sir, the signal has left the orbit of Erebus F.”
“What?” He replied.
“Yes Sir, it is headed towards Erebus D.”
“Are you certain?”
“Yes Sir, unfortunately I am.”
“This is a Code Vermillion.”
“Code Vermillion. It is the emergency protocol we must follow if we notice any civilization within our systems. We will need to prepare for any contingency. Alert the Viridian government to arrange for diplomats. Simultaneously, we must prepare our defenses.”
“But how can we defend against something we’ve never seen before?”
“We must prepare for the worst-case scenario. We can’t let this be the beginning the of the fall of the Viridian Republic. I want you to continue monitoring the object.”
Captain Vaam wasn’t sure what would happen, but there was only one way to try this.
“Comms, send our entire linguistics translation packages on an open frequency. It might take us months to finally get in contact with them, but it’s worth trying. Hopefully they can do the same and have our linguists on it as well.”
“Affirmative, Sir. Message sent.”
“Now we’ll have to play the waiting game. Security, make the necessary preparations for a potential cyber attack. They might try to outwit us. Weapons, lower the power settings on all of our weapons, in case we need them, we don’t want to give our full potential away. Sensors, I want to see any clues as to any sort of non verbal communication.” Replied Vaam thinking several steps ahead, thinking of any small detail that might be turned into an advantage against them. He wouldn’t allow his ship and his crew be trapped in this system. Right now it would take a day or so to reach the inhabited planet, uncertain how they might react.