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Posted by: UnLimiTeD
« on: October 02, 2010, 05:34:56 PM »

For dozens of years, Humanity had expanded into space.
New colonies were formed, new worlds conquered and exploited.
An age of prosperity minimized conflict, as there were no reasons to fight about what as available to everyone.

But as with every age, it will end in the history books; if there is anybody left to write them.

Conflict is a Stalker, it follows modern civilizations, and it rises at the smallest chance.
By the time the old Republic collapsed, it was far too spread out to result in a Galaxywide war or something equally theatrical.
It just ceased to exit, slowly, barely noticeable at the edge of space, and some colonies continued to pay their taxes to bank accounts that no one could access anymore.
In the following year, several planet states arose and waged war with their neighbors over the dwindling resources in the inner system.
Billions died, but measured in the total population, and given the vast distances with diminishing amounts of interstellar travel, the notice taken was improvable at best.

There was more to it than most would acknowledge, though, as no one can hope to be alone in space, as empty it might be.
It was probably a year late when news of the collapse and first rumors of a war on the other end of the galaxy reached Outworld, a colony so far out in space the name was quite fitting.
Originally it was planned as a small mining colony in a barely surveyed system, far off in the longest Jump point chain to Earth the Republic had to offer, but the position offered possibilities.
On several planets, originally interesting for their resources only, remnants of a vast alien civilization where found, and the stream of independent Scientists and archaeologists proved to be an enrichment of the colonies population.
With no reasonable technological advance to offer for the thriving Interstellar Republic, it was to private corporations to exploit the findings, and with the costs for a travel to the system exceeding those of the ship used for it, that was a questionable endeavor as well.
But the Colony had other uses.
Outworld became a staging ground for Colony ships that parked their frozen passengers there when for political reasons their destination wasn't available, and it became a good place for dissidents and political refugees.

With the news of the unstable nature of the Republic, that by then didn't even exist anymore, came millions of colonists, some miners being assigned to an assumed save project on the edge of space, others refugees of the wars that sparked everywhere. A few select told about an unimaginable horror that spread on the other edge of space and harvested entire planets in complete disregard for the population.
The System security was concerned at first, but the records never exceeded vague rumors, and the minds of those that seemed to know more were largely beyond repair.
It was to assume a psychic illness had befallen an outer system.

The stream of colonists, however, didn't cease, and their original destination was as unreachable as it was unkown.
When the Interstellar Disaster, what ever it was, finally broke out, it was but a single big boom the people in the Outworld actually noticed from it.
The boom that collapsed the Jump Point. Outworld was cut off.

It a rainy Monday Morning when Administrator Coy Jenkins, still a little bit sleepy, finally came around to judge the situation of the past months.
It was the 8 January of Year 25 after the founding of Outworld.
The people here where used to their own calendar, and nobody quite knew anymore what year it was on Earth, if there still was such a thing.
Within the last year, the population of the colony grew by nearly 150%, and now it was Coys Job to initiate the defreezing of another 50 million colonists and explain to them that they were cut off from home, their families, everyone they ever knew, on a Dirty Mining colony on the edge of known Space.
Also their living standard had probably just dropped by a century.
He didn't really look forward to it.

He organized a Meeting to talk about what was to be done.

The Meeting room was pretty dark, which concealed the fact that it had seen better days.
Half the colony was slowly disappearing under a crust of rust, an unexpected sideeffect of enriching the atmosphere with Oxygen.
The local flora was slowly replaced by terran plants that grew better in the changed environment, but it still managed to somehow hold ground, thanks to a remarkable mutation speed.
Coy wondered if if it was possible to breed some birds by now, he always loved them when he was ..

His mind snapped back into the Meeting room.

"Sir, you called us? Whats on the list?" a tall men to his left asked.

"Yes, Albert, ... Don't call me Sir.
There are urgent decisions to be made.
As you all have probably noticed by know, given it is hard to overlook it, we have a population problem.
Our colony has grown to over double the size within just a few months, and we lack shelter and work for over a 100 Million people right now.
And within the next month, we have to thaw another 50 million people, and they will already be unhappy about being here, let alone live in small cubes until we got the required infrastructure.

We are cut of from the republic, and for all we know, we might be better off that way.
I need a precise reassessment of our Situation.
I want everything, Economic Data, Information about our system, still existing Jump Points, technological Data, our available Military, and possible perspectives for the future."

Albert looked through the files quickly.
Looks like we currently have a total population of 583 Millions, including the 50 Millions still frozen."
The meeting room was filled with mildly shocked faces.
"Our economy is mostly based on Mining, but our production sector is strong enough to start a new economy on our own.
There is unrest within reason among the new colonists, nothing unexpected."

"Still unneeded. We have more urgent problems. Professor Wilken, how is our technical database? We weren't really supposed to create anything meaningful on ourselves."

"Well.." Wilken coughed "We could be worse. We got the technological base that's saved on every big colony, some weapon research, decent drives, blueprints for any economically important building...
Everything over ten years old, but we can do with it.
I still got my sensor research data, so were good on that."

No wonder he's so content, Coy thought to himself. We lost the last 20 years of technological advance, but as long as his files are still intact....

"Oh, and we also got decent armor, that might help in the future, who knows!"

"Yes, who knows.
Good point, Admiral Cocceji, what about our Navy? Do we even have any?"

"Well, well, well, we..."
"Listen, I know your not happy with the situation, but given our technological breakdown and the loss of any interstellar trade, you won't be seeing those battlecruisers anytime soon. What do we have NOW?"

"Sigh. We currently have the standard colony guard force" Cocceji replied, "Outdated Missile Cruisers and a single Valkyrie PDC. Which is sadly out of order, I might add, and with our remaining technology we can't reactivate it."
He seemed to remember something that lifted his mood a little.
"Well, I guess no need to hide it anymore. In compliance with your orders last year, we have started to build up a military Infrastructure. We currently have three military shipyards, and currently have a reasonably sized home defense fleet Comprising a Fleet HQ section, Missile Cruisers, and Escort ships. Sadly, the Security fund is used up, so further Fleet funding will have to come directly from the economy."

Everyone else in the meeting room was kinda stunned by the prospect that Coy had ordered a Military build up during the Republics collapse.
Shouts and mumbling was filling the room before a young woman finally rose up.
Sophie Golz was the Colonies most talented Xenoarchaeologist and stayed at Outworld after serving her duty in the Military corp to lead a small Company specialized in exploiting the local ruins. With the collapse, she took over the Planetwide organization of the digsites.

"What were you thinking to build a colony Military? Theres no threats anywhere in the system, quite the opposite, this provocation could have killed us if the central government had noticed. We're close to learning something important from this ruins, I know it. You could have ruined it for all of us!"

"Sophie" Coy answered, mildly upset at best, "We knew the Republic was dissolving a good year ago. I saw the rise of potential conflict. We quit paying taxes to the central Government 8 Months ago, and no one ever noticed. By then I made the decision together with Cocceji that we need a way to defend ourselves against the threat of invasion from another colony. We didn't have the population we have now, we were just a really profitable mining endeavor with the added bonus of potential ancient technology, completely undefended.
Speaking of which, I have to admit something more. The digsite that was confiscated by us recently contained exactly what you expected, working alien systems that could greatly help us in the future."

"You stole my discovery?!" Sophie was close to a fit of temper. "You told me it was destroyed by an automated defense system!"
Coy interrupted her before she could talk herself into rage how the administration that she now belonged to had always hindered her and her work and how the stupid populace never had any understanding for her work.
"Only it fits our current future, not the one you expected a year ago. Our Engineer Brigades recovered a giant Stockpile of ancient Missiles that far exceeds anything we can currently build ourselves. Which also explains the series of explosions that we took as an excuse to hide the operation.
Those Missiles have nearly 3 times the power per size than what we can currently build, they are actually better than anything the Republic ever had. So, now that you are actually in charge of the entire Archeology Ministry, would you, please, cool down a little and give us a Status report?"

Sophie was breathing heavily, but apologized and asked for a minute to scan her data. She was still relatively new in the group of people that steered things on the Planet and could sure use a lesson in organization.
"Ok, given our current capacity, I reckon we'll be able to completely exploit the ruins on our planet within the year. Theres unexplored ruins on our two neighboring Planets, so we'll probably be busy for at least half a decade."
She smiled at the thought, then suddenly seemed puzzled.
"That doesn't make any sense. Everything we found so far was civilian equipment, a few mines, early fusion power plants, a few sensor stations, and early TN equipment. And now your telling me there were huge Missilestockpiles in that strange bunker.
It doesn't fit. It doesn't fit the findings, the architecture, the tech level, anything."

"You think they were build by another race?" Albert Brunner asked.
"It is... possible. But that would mean there might be more to it than just a few missiles."
"Well, they had to die from something, after all, they ARE dead now." Coy threw into the discussion.

"Sophie, Albert, I want you to assemble a team with the best available Archaeologists.
The old republic had few to gain from those ruins, but we do. We need technology, we need Infrastructure, we need new factories. And I wouldn't be opposed to finding more of those weird missiles, as well. We're not in a position to turn any help down, as long is it's waiting on us under a cover of dirt.

The Meeting was productive enough for now.