This thread at times will brutal and graphic because it is about a very very bloody war. Although not all posts contain graphic description, some of them do. You have been warned.
Klendin was an ice giant of the Cornucopia system. Far away from the metropolitan Stoinian world booming with trade and commerce. However during a recent probe survey to locate new resources on Klendin’s first moon, strange subspace readings were recorded in orbit of the moon. These readings weren’t discovered during the early charting of the Cornucopia system and appeared to come from nowhere. The scientists couldn’t make heads or tails from probe’s readings. It was like nothing they had seen before. The corporate higher ups wanted answers and so invested in a scientific mission to answer their uncertainties. They hired top scientists from Cornucopian Planetary University and set them on a mission to reveal the mystery of the probe’s data. The Hoffman was a small scientific vessel, an AriesCorp Corporate-class cruiser, equipped with sensors for their mission.
The Captain of the ship was Cosmin Leonard, a veteran freighter captain for Smith Mining Corporation. This mission was nothing like his normal job, but the pay was good and that was good enough for him. He sat in his captain’s chair and smoked a cigar to counter his impatience with these higher folk who called themselves professors.
- “Professor Middleton, do your fancy instruments pick up anything yet?”
Professor Lynn Middleton was amongst the most praised astrophysicists of Cornucopia. She had jumped on the chance to get some more fieldwork and leave the halls of her university for once.
- “Perhaps if you studied them more you’d know it yourself.”
- “Lady, we both know that’s above my paygrade.”
- “A pity. Science really is a fascinating subject.”
Cosmin rolled his eyes. He was set out to make a simple living for himself not some sort of grand understanding of the universe. He wanted to make it clear to the professor, but he knew it wouldn’t matter much and so continued to puff from his cigar.
- “Hold on… Preliminary data is coming in… These are strange readings indeed. It seems that the initial space-time distortion has increased. But how?”
Cosmin continued to puff from his cigar. The professor and her team were working on the data and disturbing them wouldn’t result in a productive working environment. As far as he was concerned, this was a easy job. Collect and come back, nothing more, nothing less. However after half an hour of scientific debate, the professor’s team had come to a consensus. They would need to arrange the deflector to emit a large magneton pulse towards the distortion.
- “Captain, I believe we may have stumbled unto a wormhole. We’d need to rearrange the deflector to emit a large magneton pulse to open the wormhole. When can we expect it to be ready?”
Cosmin blew out the last of his smoke towards the professor. She didn’t like the gesture, but was in no position to comment on it.
- “I’m sure the crew can handle it in an hour. Hell, I’ll even let you join in on the fun as well. Coordinate with Chief Ugarte.”
- “Thank you Captain.”
With that the scientist worked together with the ship’s engineers and modified the deflector to emit a magneton pulse. When it was ready, the science team fired the magneton pulse. It was in that moment that something magnificent opened up the wormhole. It was magnificent to look at, as if it were a reverse black hole. The science team reviewed their data and they couldn’t believe it. The wormhole was stable and there were no severe subspace fluctuations. The science team cheered and laughed as they realized the scope of their findings. This was unprecedented, a gateway to another part of the galaxy with near instantaneous travel! Surely they would eventually find a way to artificially create it and make Warp Field Drive obsolete.
The wormhole opening after the magneton pulse.
- “Professor, did we just find the gates towards heaven or what?”
Cosmin was dumbstruck about what just happened and hypnotized by the beauty of the wormhole. If he knew about this, he would have dropped the pay for this job, for the beauty was deserving enough.
- “No Captain, it appears to be the first stable wormhole. This is completely unprecedented, we have to prepare to go inside of it.”
The professor was ecstatic, but the Captain didn’t share her enthusiasm.
- “That’s out of the question! We don’t know what lies beyond there. Perhaps it was closed for a reason.”
“Captain, you don’t understand the scientific importance of this discovery. It shows that many of our theories were in fact ri…”
The Captain interrupted her.
- “Mrs Middleton! For all we know on the other side await dozens of Velutarians. We won’t proceed until we have support from the military. We can’t risk another first contact war.”
The Captain had made his point. Perhaps she was blinded by the scientific miracle that had just happened and the Captain saw things more realistically. Regardless of what she thought, the Captain was right. They alerted military authorities and within three hours a squadron was there to escort them. They then proceeded to go through the wormhole. They were taken away by beauty of the inside. It was indeed otherworldly and no Stoinians could have imagined it before. A weird congregation of blueish clouds formed the subspace tunnel. After three hours of travel in the wormhole they had exited the other end of the wormhole. This was uncharted space. The professor was already dreaming of missions of exploration and scientific experiments on the wormhole. Her plans were cut short as the military squadron forced them to return.
A ban on solitary travel was also enforced, military escorts were required for any travel through the wormhole and exploratory mission were put on a halt for now. The scientific community was outraged, but the military wanted to ensure their safety for a first contact situation wasn’t ruled out. High Command decided that the exploration of the other end of the wormhole would fall to Grand Admiral Corvousier and initiate first contact with whomever was on the other end. The Joint Stoino-Treecuu Exploratory Fleet had embarked to uncharted space. For now the task would be up to the Old Dreadnought.
One week later,
HMS Pillar of Perseverance
Grand Admiral Corvousier had finally arrived from Saint Alexis. It had taken him a while to prepare this operation and took the whole 65th Fleet with him. As five hundred ships made their final calibrations for a smooth ride through the wormhole, the Grand Admiral was visited by professor Middleton. He sat on his chair in his ready room as the door chimed.
The eager and young professor entered the room. Corvousier wasn’t too impressed by her and continued to smoke from his pipe.
- “Please have a seat.”
- “Thank you, Mr Corvousier.”
- “Pleasure is mine, Mrs Middleton. Now tell me, you wanted to install some new sensors to the Pillar of Perseverance?”
- “Yes, these instruments will help us identify the properties of the wormhole. That way we can triangulate where the wormhole leads exactly. From the star density we gathered when we first entered it, it should be around the same distance from the galactic core as we are. As of yet that is our only clue. Our mapping systems are affected by the wormhole in some manner and we hope to eliminate the interference to finally gather the exact location of the wormhole entry points.”
- “I see, how long will these sensors take to install?”
- “Oh about an hour, we took the liberty of calibrating it beforehand.”
The Grand Admiral looked sternly at her, she began to stress as her face became redder. He wanted to test her for a bit, though he figured he had made her uncomfortable enough. However he smiled as he had good news for her.
- “Very well Mrs Middleton. You may proceed. It will be a while before the fleet will be ready and I’m sure we can work in the interest of science in the meantime.”
The professor was overjoyed and gasped a breath of happiness.
- “Thank you Mr Corvousier. This means so much to us. I can’t tha…”
- “On one condition.”
The professor was surprised. Had she spoken too soon?
- “You and your crew will leave the ship before we leave for the wormhole. We’re going into potential hostile territory and I don’t want to unnecessary civilian casualties. Our ships operate with skeleton crews as is. Am I clear?”
- “Yes, Grand Admiral. As you wish.”
- “Good, hopefully we will get the results you’re looking for.”
- “We all do Sir.”
The following three hours might have been the longest of Corvousier’s life. He felt a certain uneasiness about this mission and by now he had learned to trust his instinct. It was because of them that he was able to survive the Velutarian War for so long. Awaiting the final moments of the preparations he made a promise to himself. Whatever we find on the other side. I won’t allow another war. With those words he entered the wormhole with his fleet. The Cornucopian Defence Fleet was also alerted of the situation and forces were ready for anything. The instruments of professor Middleton proved to work as intended and the mapping systems of the Pillar of Perseverance weren’t affected by wormhole radiations. Finally after the long ride they had arrived in uncharted territory and he set out an audio-visual message on an open subspace channel for all to hear.
- “This is Grand Admiral Corvousier of the Stoinian Star Kingdom. We have travelled here through a wormhole and we come in peace. We wish you no harm and come here to open diplomatic relations. We will remain here in this position for the coming week, that should be long enough time for anyone to respond to our calls. If we don’t receive any messages by then we will start to explore this uncharted space. I repeat we come in peace. Corvousier out.”
The Stoinian fleet then took a dispersed defensive formation surrounding the Grand Admiral’s superdreadnought. Whatever would happen next, they would be ready for it. Unbeknownst to them, they had just entered Venterran space and their actions would influence to course of history.
Azmersk’s Grave, Wako System
Azmersk’s Grave (formerly known as Azmersk IX) was a dead world, a reminder of the Venterran Federation’s greatest failure in the last millennia and a warning to the Terrans within “Venterran space”. The debris field of the dead world orbited a dormant Quantum rift that had formed as a result of the Anti-Piracy mission that later became known as the Wako Incident. The System was abandoned after the Venterran navy left hidden surveillance probes to monitor the dormant rift. The Venterran High command believed that the rift would never be opened and that outside of a handful of ships all hands were lost in the incident. However, to the surprise of the High Command the probes began to relay strange readings…
Wako Monitoring Station, Avdullah System
The Crew of the Wako Monitoring Station (WMS) were in shock. They had just watched one of their probes witness the Rift stabilize into a wormhole as a squadron of unknown vessels entered the system briefly before returning to the void. The station was abuzz with rumors as the crew wondered aloud if these unknown ships were crewed by the pirates’ descendants or a new unknown threat. The commander of the Station, Azma Kahn, replayed the footage of the unknown vessels in his office and shook his head.
- “SAI Hjelm,” He said calling out to the station’s AI, “Dispatch an encrypted message to both the Ceres Council and Venterran High Command, and request for further instructions.” The AI’s voice could be heard briefly responding, “understood sir, dispatching now…”
From: Wako Monitoring Station (WMS)
To: Federation High Command (VFHC) & Ceres Council (CC)
WMS probes detected activity from the dormant Quantum rift in Azmersk’s Grave.
WMS probes conclude that the Rift has stabilized into a Wormhole
WMS probes have observed unknown vessels leave and enter the Wormhole.
Preliminary analysis by Crew and Station AI, Hjelm, are inconclusive but believe that the unknown vessels will return.
WMS formally requests VFHC and CC for instructions regarding the situation.
The commander then turned on the PA system and spoke, “Attention all hands of the WMS. I understand that there are many of you who are worried, but today we witness history. A birth of a new wormhole and a possible first contact with a new civilization. However, despite these joyous news, the system they originate from is concerning. Wako! The greatest thorn in our side. Home to a Terran colony that was glassed 11,000 years ago. Home of the old pirates that harassed our fleets, and the site of our greatest failure in recent history. We have done our duty to observe the system so that it may not threaten us. Now it is time for the Federation Fleet to do its job and deal with this unknown. Together we will continue to our duty and record the events that will unfold before us.” The commander then signed off as the crew’s morale slowly rose with a flurry of activity to ensure that the Federation wouldn’t be caught unaware again.
One Week Later, Fleet of Merciful Restraint, (82nd Venterran Strike Fleet)
The news of a potential resurgent threat from the Wako spooked the Ceres Council and the Venterran Federation after 400 years of relative peace. Though the Federation didn’t believe in borders the possible threat to their member planets was enough for the council to place their authority with the VFHC and Federation Navy whose ruthless military doctrine ensured that none within their corner of the galaxy would threaten their hegemony. The VFHC, bolstered by the continued intelligence from the WMS dispatched the Fleet of Merciful Restraint, led by Fleet Admiral Ix Mayfeld to the WMS, where it would jump directly to the Wako system as soon as the probes would detect activity from the new Wormhole. They didn’t wait long as WMS detected 500 ships leave the Wormhole. Mayfeld grinned as the order came down to intercept the unknown fleet.
- “It’s about time.” He said before activating the comms to speak to the fleet, “Comrades, We are go for interception. Vanguard Vessels prepare to jump on my mark, on 3…2…1… Go!Go!Go!”
- The Fleet of Merciful Restraint’s vanguard of “500” Dreadnaughts lurched forward into slip space as the main Fleet remained behind as a reserve force.
1 hour later
The space 100 kilometers away from the Stoinian crackled to life. The distortion was barely noticeable in the inky black void as it continued to crackle and shift matter forming a small sphere the size of a baseball. The small sphere then seemingly collapsed in on itself before it released a violent shockwave expanding at an incredible rate before stabilizing as a large sphere. This phenomenon repeated itself several hundred times simultaneously as Massive warships slowly materialized into real space.
Fleet Admiral Mayfeld listened to the Stoinian message as his Flagship, the Hand of Mercy, took its position in the center of the dreadnaught formation. As the message finished Mayfeld could feel his hearts beat faster as he recognized the language spoken by the Stoinians, one taught by the Venterran Military as a dead language of an enemy, the Terrans.
- “Stoinians? They look rather familiar… Are they another humanoid species like the True Venterrans, Adopted Venterrans, or were they Terran Mimics? Ai, open Audio Channels only. I don’t know how these Stoinians will react to the presence of Venterrans*.”
- “Understood Admiral, opening audio channels.” replied Ai.
The Admiral sighed as he brushed up on his knowledge of the language and spoke.
- “Attention. Grand Admiral Corvousier and Stoinian Kingdom Vessels. This is the Venterran Federation Fleet of Merciful Restraint. You are trespassing In Venterran space. Return back into the void and we shall not harm you. This is your only warning.”
HMS Pillar of Perseverance
The waiting lasted mere hours before a response arrived. Tensions quickly rose as the slipspace ruptures revealed themselves. Panic raged across the many bridges of the Stoinian ships as they recognized the readings. They were nearly identical to Velutarian FTL and the most experienced crews knew those readings all too well. Corvousier was taken by surprise as even the Pillar of Perseverance was taken into red alert as. His display showed the enemy fleet as well and he recognized those readings. From his command room he opened a channel to the bridge and the whole fleet.
- “Captain Carneiro and the entire fleet, stand down. We haven’t yet identified if they are indeed Velutarian. Their ships have different configurations and we can’t presume they are Velutarian.”
- “Sir, audio-visual message coming through.”
The fleet stood down, though the energy surge of charging their weapons would certainly be detected by the enemy forces. Due to Corvousier’s quick reactions the surge only lasted until the message came through. Corvousier couldn’t believe his eyes. There were other Terrans out here? Why would they be so militant towards us?
- “Com, open a channel.”
- “Open, Sir.”
- “This is Grand Admiral Corvousier to Venterran Fleet. We have no intention to trespass your territory, but we would like to open diplomatic relations. Given the nature that we now are neighbours to the wormhole, the Stoinian government would like to initiate first contact protocols with your government. It’s also good to see fellow Terrans out here. Corvousier out.”
The Stoinian fleet maintained its vigilant formation and their close proximity to the wormhole meant they had an easy escape route if things went sour. Corvousier hoped for the best, but the Stoinian crew remained ready for battle at yellow alert. All ranks were now sweating for what was to happen next. Would there be war or not…
Wako System, Fleet of Merciful Restraint Vanguard
Fleet Admiral Ix Mayfeld sighed as he replayed the message from the Stoinian fleet.
- “Terrans… So… They’ve finally returned from the grave…” muttered the Admiral.
The bridge crew looked up at their Admiral with concern as his face darkened. Mayfeld looked at his AI assistant, Jun, and spoke firmly.
- “Launch all Fighters and inform the fleet that they are free to engage the Terran threat.” Jun responded, “Understood sir, the Fleet has been authorized to engage the Terrans.”
The Fleet of Merciful Restraint’s Vanguard fighters left their hangars screaming into the void towards the Stoinian Warships. The Fleet’s capital ships opened fire with their railguns and plasma cannons towards the ships closest to Wormhole as the fleet of Merciful Restraint moved to engage the Stoinians.
As the First volley was fired, Admiral Mayfeld calmly ordered the fleet to, “Cut off their escape routes and do not allow them to call for reinforcements. We will secure this Wormhole for the protection of the Federation.”
HMS Pillar of Perseverance
God damn it! What in God’s name are these Venterrans doing?
The Stoinian vessels returned fire as well. Though confusingly enough they used the same weaponry they did. It became clear that the large railguns targeted the smaller Stoinian destroyers as they were in a dispersed formation. Corvousier was quick to react to and commanded the fleet.
- “All ships withhold fighters. Regroup we’re going back into the wormhole. Pillar of Perseverance maintain position and provide cover. Launch corvettes as well. Fleet Sections Alpha and Gamma provide anti-fighter support for the retreating vessel.”
With those orders, the Stoinian formation began to tighten and vessels started the head towards the wormhole. The retreating ships from the centre had reached the wormhole and began their evacuation. Destroyers from the outer formations were cut to pieces and even cruisers were starting to take a beating. As the Venterran fighters arrived the Fleet Sections designated to fight them held the line. But as the Venterran fleet now fired their railguns on the protective Fleet Sections it became clear they couldn’t stand for much longer. The Pillar of Perseverance had launched its complement of corvettes which helped with the protection against the Venterran fighters and progressed to the wormhole as well. The 5 km long superdreadnought was now taking the brunt of the Venterran fire as it covered the retreating vessels. Its shields went down, but the hard materials and sturdy Stoinian engineering allowed it to leave the wormhole as the last Stoinian ship. Now the Stoinian had time to catch their breath. Grand Admiral Corvousier opened his channel toward the War Council.
- “Hostile nation known as the Venterran Federation has engaged us. Inhabitants seemed Terran in origin and are highly territorial. Pending their next move to see if they follow us through the wormhole.”
Wako System, Fleet of Merciful Restraint Vanguard
Mayfeld grimaced as he watched the Stoinian fleet retreat back into Wormhole. The bridge crew paying no mind to their Admirals foul mood cheering the triumphantly returning fighters.
- “Jun, deploy the long range probes into the wormhole. I want to know what these Terrans are capable of.”
- “Yes sir” she replied as an audible ‘thwunk’ could be heard as several probes were launched into the wormhole.
- “Bridge crew deploy corvettes to scan for life signs and boarding parties to the disabled vessels. They are to capture the survivors if possible, but they are free to kill some of the Terrans when they resist. We have time before the rest of the fleet arrives and we move on to secure the other side…”
As the Merciful Restraint’s Vanguard awaited its reinforcements. The sounds of a struggle could be heard from the console as the Venterran Boarding parties entered the enemy vessels trapped on this side of the Wormhole displaying their actions for the Admiral to see.
Soon they will understand the enemy. Soon they will breach the void and send the terrans back to the grave.