For millennia, Ortus' only merits had been its tolerable atmosphere and lack of aggressive wildlife. Its position near a minor hyperlane led to the occasional smuggler or pirate taking refuge amongst its barren mountains, though not enough to attract political attention. This changed drastically with the discovery of extensive geothermal activity beneath the planet's frozen surface, along with the presence of various precious minerals. Mining corporations flocked to the planet's surface, and in 10 NE, colonists from the Talven Empire seized the opportunity to make use of the planet's resources.

Lucius Varius often regretted his decision to move to Cyrannus. Though the city of Hibernia had rapidly grown into a hub of trade between the Talva and native powers, it wasn't easy to deal with the poor maintenance and high costs of living. Netherless, as he returned home from a good day of work in a local magma refinery, Varius could easily forget about his difficulties. Speeding towards the mountains surrounding Hibernia, the transport offered a spectacular view of Ortus' frozen seas. Colossal waves hung in the air as far as Varius could see, as if trying to imitate the mountains beyond. Talva were often drawn to alpine worlds, most likely due to their origins on Aldar.

The transport landed quite close to Varius' apartment, so he took his time to stretch his legs. Making his way through a large plaza, he noticed a large crowd gathering around a hologram, evidently displaying a news report. He approached, trying to make out the announcement.

"...Attempting to reestablish communication. Several cruisers have already been deployed to... hold on, we're getting reports of some kind of attack. It appears..." The reporter's voice shook. "It appears that Mou'Cyran has been destroyed." The assembled Talva stood in absolute silence. "Along with the planet's inhabitants, casualties extend to the Repulic Navy and the Pax Infinitus Armada, including three of the Empire's own shipyards. An estimated total of over one million Talven civilians are presumed dead, while the New Republic-"

The reporter was interrupted by the sudden blaring of sirens. Within seconds, the hologram was replaced by an image of the Talven flag. "May all citizens head to the nearest shelter immediately. Please remain calm." Varius slowly turned around, not quite sure where he was going. The announcement repeated, and the crowd started to move, still stunned by the report. Varius let himself be taken away by the current. Three fighters flew overhead, and sirens could be heard in the distance. Picking up pace, he calmed himself down and focused on his surroundings.

To the north, several ships lifted out of the central spaceport. Varius' attention was drawn to one particular freighter, clearly trying to overtake the others through a series of risky manoeuvres. Shooting past a larger transport ship, it escaped the flow of traffic, only to charge straight into a passing military dropship. Time seemed to slow down as Varius became intensely aware of how quickly the freighter was diving towards him.

The crowd parted, screaming. Varius threw himself to the side just in time, staring at the ship as it unearthed a considerable portion of the plaza before finally coming to a halt. Two medical ships had already begun to land by the time that he pulled himself to his feet. Behind him, someone was screaming. Not in pain, but grief. Varius stumbled over to the source of the noise. Someone was kneeling over a mangled body, apparently run over by the freighter. Overcome with remorse, Varius raised an arm to reach out, to offer some kind of help of comfort.

The corpse began to reform. Torn skin pulled itself together. Bones regained their shape, and the body's chest started to rise and fall. Varius collapsed.


Further ReadingEdit

Treebeard's Fiction
Everything falls.
Science Fiction
The only thing you can truly count on is for your enemies to attack.
Enlightenment will be seized by the many.
Scientia potentia est.
We rise again.
Cyrannus Galaxy
Species · Database · Galactic Timeline · Cyrandia Cluster · Cyrandia Wildlife · Valin'uvalyë
All of this has happened before and all of it will happen again.
Galaxy Guide
The juggernaut of imperialist ambition, conqueror of galaxies, the Empire of might, stability and order.
The centre of peace and progress, a bright beacon of hope in the dark, a Republic greater than distance or time.
Factions and Figures
Galactic Chronicles
Each of these conflicts is but one tiny piece of a larger whole, a war endless and inestimably larger.
The galaxy of order and prosperity.
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