Continuing our series on significant episodes from human history, noted historian Sima Kalhana discusses the Thargoids.
"Are we alone in the universe? It's a question we've been asking for millennia. Even before we expanded into space, we wondered about the possibility of non-human intelligence."
"Of course, for some, the question has already been answered. We have seen the aliens and we have given them a name: the Thargoids. But accounts of Thargoid encounters are shrouded in so much ambiguity, it is hard to accept them as proof of extraterrestrial intelligence. Furthermore, there have been no credible reports of Thargoid sightings for hundreds of years."
"The first reported Thargoid encounters date from 3125, when accounts surfaced that pilots had been pulled from witch-space and attacked by mysterious octagonal starships. Witnesses asserted that the strange vessels were exceptionally fast and remarkably manoeuvrable. Pilots who survived these experiences were convinced they had encountered extraterrestrials, and named the aliens 'Thargoids'."
"As news of these encounters spread, rumours surfaced that the interdictions might be a response to an earlier human attack. Leaked Federal intelligence indicated that colonists in the Veliaze system had encountered and assaulted an extraterrestrial deputation shortly before the Thargoid interdictions began. Suggestions that the Thargoid attacks were a reaction to this attack carried more than a hint of plausibility."
"Not long after, reports of Thargoid encounters came to an abrupt halt. In the decades that followed, not one credible account of a Thargoid encounter was reported. For some, this was proof that the original reports were groundless – 'the fantasies of lonely pilots, looking for attention', as Arvan Corto of the Imperial Navy said at the time."
"But public opinion shifted in 3250 when reports emerged that the disappearance of the Thargoids might have been a direct consequence of a covert anti-Thargoid operation. An anonymous message, delivered to a number of media outlets, claimed that an organisation known as the Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm had developed a chemical weapon specifically designed to target Thargoid technology. This chemical – known as the mycoid virus – was designed to attack plastic polymers, which were believed to be present in Thargoid hyperdrive systems. The fact that the virus also appeared to harm the Thargoids led to speculation that the aliens' bodies might contain some kind of polymer-like material. The report was dismissed by many leading political figures as a conspiracy theory, but some asserted that it contained enough plausible detail be believable."
"Since then, very little credible information has emerged. The original accounts from 3125 report that Thargoid ships can execute huge hyperspace jumps, while information purportedly from INRA documents indicates that the Thargoids originate from an ammonia-based world. There are even rumours that the Thargoids have a collective consciousness or 'hive mind'. Some of the less outlandish theories include the suggestion that electronic countermeasure technology was reverse-engineered from captured Thargoid vessels."
"And what of the barnacles, Unknown Artefacts and Unknown Probes? Many believe these objects are of non-human origin, which has led to speculation that they were created by the Thargoids. Unfortunately, however, analysis of these objects has not yielded any concrete information about their origin or purpose."
"Are the Thargoids real? Frankly, I don't know. But if they are, their true nature can only be guessed at."
The Daramo system is currently under Federal control, but recent reports indicate that both Imperial and independent forces – the latter under the rule of Pirate King Archon Delaine – are attempting to wrest power from the Federation.
The Federation is evidently not about to capitulate. In a statement, Admiral Yorke of the Federal Navy said:
"The Daramo system is of considerable strategic value to the Federation, and we will not surrender it without a fight. We have issued an emergency call to all Federation-aligned pilots – you are needed in Daramo!"
The Empire, predictably, has responded in kind. Captain Danvers of the Imperial Navy said:
"In the interest of the wellbeing of the citizens of Daramo, it is imperative that Imperial law be instated as soon as possible. If the Federation is allowed to retain control of the system, the people of Daramo will be sure to suffer."
The Independents of Daramo have stepped in to coordinate operations on behalf of the Federation, while the Vaka Citizens of Tradition have been authorised to oversee the Imperial campaign. Both factions have set out week-long operations to take control of the system, which will begin on the 23rd of June 3302.
The construction of a Majestic-class Interdictor in the Mundjiga system requires generous quantities of tantalum, gallium and indium. Threats of piracy and violent protest have already reached the system.
To counter these threats, a collective of former security contractors known as the Praetorians have committed their forces to defending Mundjiga and the traders operating there. Loren's Legion, an extension of the Prism defence force, will operate jointly with the Praetorians, protecting traders sourcing tantalum from Prism.
Duke Alden Rowe, leader of the Praetorians, gave the following statement to the press:
"Loyal members of the Imperial Navy Auxiliary, we cannot permit interference with the construction of this critical asset. We must enforce Imperial law and the will of Admiral Patreus by protecting vessels delivering cargo to Sagan Port. We will be a shield for this new Interdictor until it is ready to be a shield for the Empire."
Commander Corrigendum, Loren's Legion
Admiral Denton Patreus has announced plans to expand the Imperial Navy with a new Majestic-Class Interdictor. The formidable vessel will boast a range of imposing weaponry, including an array of modular interceptor guns.
Lieutenant Severin, who is overseeing the ship's construction, issued a statement to the media:
"I know there are some who would question the need for this vessel. To those individuals, I say this: just how safe do you feel? We live in an age in which even Emperors can be murdered. An age in which our enemies' faces are not known to us, and betrayal and deceit are encountered at every turn. The need for a strong, battle-ready navy has never been greater."
"In order to complete production as swiftly as possible, we have placed an open order for supplies, and have authorised the Mundjiga Patrons of Law to reward pilots who deliver materials to our base of operations at Sagan Port. I implore all those who are loyal to the Empire to support this operation."
The campaign begins on the 21st of April 3302 and will run for one week. If the final target is met earlier than planned, the campaign will end immediately.
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has announced that Senator Denton Patreus is to be promoted to Admiral of the Fleet following his triumph over the insurgent organisation Emperor's Dawn. In a statement, the Emperor praised Patreus' recent military success:
"Denton Patreus exhibited remarkable resolve in the campaign against Emperor's Dawn, and demonstrated his ability to act with conviction in the face of an often unpredictable enemy. I can think of no more appropriate person to assume command of the Imperial Navy. It is with great pride that I confer upon him the title of Admiral of the Fleet."
The senator is expected to assume his new role next week following a formal inauguration ceremony on Capitol.
Imperial forces have begun their offensive against the Cayutorme Syndicate and its illegal fleet. Large clashes have occurred over the past few days, and major victories have been won by the forces of the Imperial Navy and its auxiliary force of Commanders.
The Cayutorme Syndicate fleet has put up a good fight, but it has been met with overwhelming force. At the time of writing the fight is in a bit of a lull, with only minor skirmishes going on, as the Syndicate begins to deploy reinforcements. If things continue as they have, the Syndicate fleet may have to surrender or face total destruction at the hands of the Imperial Navy.
Commander Jack Hilding
Last week, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval invited galactic citizens to deliver gifts in honour of her forthcoming coronation. The response was enthusiastic, resulting in hundreds of pilots flocking to the Achenar system to deliver slaves to Dawes Hub. In a statement, the Emperor expressed her gratitude to those who responded to the request:
"I am delighted with the reaction to my appeal. The fact that pilots affiliated with the Federation and Alliance responded to my request fills me with hope for a future of peaceful exchange and cooperation."
Pilots who took part in the event were offered discounts on Imperial ships, as well as being granted access to vessels that would ordinarily require a rank in the Imperial Navy.
On Sunday, Arissa Lavigny-Duval will be crowned Emperor. Preparations for the coronation are almost complete, and the population of Capitol is eagerly awaiting the inauguration of the Empire's first female ruler. To mark this prestigious occasion, the future Emperor has invited galactic citizens to bring her gifts in exchange for certain incentives. In a statement, Lavigny-Duval said:
"It has long been a tradition for Imperial citizens to bestow gifts upon their new ruler. For the first time, and in keeping with the inclusive philosophy I intend to cultivate, I am extending this invitation to all galactic citizens. Anyone who wishes to do so may deliver coronation gifts, in the form of slaves, to Achenar."
The request for slaves is likely to invoke the ire of anti-slavery groups, but the Empire has underscored the fact that all slaves – not only Imperial slaves – will be accepted. This means that any non-Imperial slaves brought to Achenar will be reclassified as Imperial slaves, which will almost certainly improve their quality of life.
Pilots who respond to the request will be offered discounts on Imperial ships, as well as being granted access to vessels that would ordinarily require a rank in the Imperial Navy. The permit restrictions on Achenar have also been temporarily lifted to allow pilots to deliver gifts to the future Emperor.
Gutamaya Shipyards' latest vessel, the Imperial Eagle, is now available for purchase for any pilot holding the appropriate rank in the Imperial Navy, and positive consumer feedback is already flooding in.
Commander Corrigendum, operating in the Prism system, said: "The Imperial Eagle is a blast to fly. It handles beautifully and has looks to match. I was able to stick on the tail of an Imperial Courier during combat exercises. It's a great addition to the Gutamaya portfolio." Commander Stateira 'Starcloak' Eleshenar added: "I love my Eagle, so I was curious to see if Gutamaya could improve on Core Dynamics' classic design. Now I've taken it out a few times, I'm happy to say it retains all the sublime responsiveness of the Eagle, and packs a harder punch in combat."
When asked about the secret of Gutamaya Shipyards' success, lead engineer Ines Allende responded: "Elegance in simplicity. We kept the core design that made the Eagle Mk II great and simply tinkered with a few key elements."
Commander Stateira "Starcloak" Eleshenar
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Reports continue to pour in from the Amitrite system of pirates targeting refugees fleeing the war-torn Pegasi sector. The refugee transports have been stopping in Amitrite to refuel while travelling to a resettlement centre in the Munshin system, leaving them open to attack.
In an effort to protect the refugees, the Imperial Navy and the Defence Force of Amitrite have issued bounties on the pirates, hoping this will encourage independent pilots to help to alleviate the problem. For those with combat experience, there is money to be made in Amitrite.