This is for any member of Milky Way Cooperative to edit.
- 1 Summary and rules
- 2 Participation
- 3 Part 1 - Beginning - Milky Way
- 3.1 Cephalodian travels
- 3.2 Imperial travels
- 3.3 Delpha Coalition of Planet's travels
- 4 Part 2 - Mission Extended
- 5 Part 3 - Quest for Cosmospawn
Summary and rules
In the Milky Way alone, there are over 10,000 civilizations, most of which barely acknowledge each others' existence save for a few larger (and more likeminded) ones. However, there are also various Truly Alien environments and "Tier Unknown" civilizations. Due to the vast differences in advancement, goals and perception, many ignore each other, or even don't notice each others' existence. This has led to the dominance of "Godspawn life" and like-minded species to who activelly communicate, pushing away other more alien civilizations. Mysteries will be unlocked, and this fiction is to inspire some creativity. Of course, communicating with Tier U civilizations is very difficult.
Try to keep things believible, when inveting some more bizzare forms of life think about how they might be possible. Not all life has to be Truly Alien, normal yet unusual life, ecosystems and environments should also be considered as well.
- Wormulon Talk to me
- Cephalodian - Will study various Extreme and Truly Alien lifeforms (from gas giant life to organisms swimming in neutron stars) and will be on a quest for Cosmospawn.
- Delpha Coalition of Planets - Will seek contact with Tier U's (most likely in the form of mathematical language) and send a new mission to Fahler.
- Ghelae - (talk)
Part 1 - Beginning - Milky Way
Soon after the DCP's proposal, the BNSC pledged their efforts in helping. The Cephalodians never needed any encouragement, their answer was obvious. Soon, they had contacted the Girdo. Commodore Hlraka of the Starfighter was a possible candidate however, was also scheduled for Station Halcyon. Altough if Hlraka was to leave, the Girdo would give four trade frigates. The Girdo believe that the Milky Way may once have been a nature reserve.
While "Truly Alien" life has been encounted before by various nations, they are rarely understood in a meaningful manner. Life has the great ability to evolve very differently. Most normal "Godspawn" life exists around "Goldilock" zones in orbit around their home planet, star or multiple system, however, "Truly Alien" lieforms are so very different, they are hard to recorgnise as life, and so are hard to find. However, they may exist in all kinds of strange and hostile environments, where "Godspawn" life rarely ventures. Truly Alien life might actually be more common that once believed, and in xenocides like the War of Ages, the Xhodocto may have overlooked many of them, heading directly to "Godspawn" life. So to find "Truly Alien" lifeforms, even environments like neutron stars and gas giants must be scanned.
Tier Unknown civilizations refer to intelligent species who have advanced very differently, or think very differently. They may or may not be "Truly Alien", but are often xenophobic, or simply ignore galactic events, as things like alliances and wars are alien concepts to them. Communication with "like-minded" species is difficult but not impossible, and is quite uncommon. However, no matter how a species percieves the world, the mathematics are likely to be absolute. A new mathematical form of language could bridge the gap.
The Cephalodians were quick. As always, they are prepared to research life.
Expedition to the Velta Gas Giant (gas giant life)
The nearest planet with more unusual life known by the Cephalodians to exist nearest their space was the gas giant Velta. Nearly 17,000 miles in circumference, the planet's atmosphere was rich in nitrogen, ammonia, methane, water ices and of course - hydrogen. It was similar in composition to Neptune, however, it was much closer to its home star. Due to convection in compressed oceans below, there was strong magnetic fields, planetary heat and starlight have drivern the planet's atmosphere into a maelostrom. As Captain Boriconas watched from his viewscreen, the planet in a surreal manner had Seladiscas-like appearence - blue sky, wisps of white cloud and raging thunderstorms. Winds were as strong as 800 miles per hour. It was hard to believe life could evolve in such a turbulent atmosphere. But indeed life had evolved in the dephs of the planet. At a certain level, there was a small niche where life has indeed gained a foothold. Gas Giant life were no new discovery, it was estimatated that 1 in a 500 to 1000 gas giants was suitable for life in some form or another (due to the sheer number of gas giants), however, the nature and habits of the lifeforms were very obscure. This would be one of the few planets that will have been extensively studied.
It was there where Captain Boriconas and his small team had to depart from their biological ship. Although their symbiotic lifetech is very adaptable, constantly evolving to their needs, the Cephalodians have non-biological technology as well. Even their great bioship, would perish in the soup of storms that raged between them and the calmer niche below. As the science shuttle (non-polluting of course) lowered into the dephs of the gas giant, the team made their final preparations.
At first, it took several weeks of scanning from orbit or within the atmosphere, but the team worked tirelessly on, until the first lifeforms were detected. Fustratingly, the signitures of life were there. Life on Velta was 115 miles down, where there was a relatively calm and clear region. In this small layer, groups of hydrogen-based "bubble" life had been found before, but only briefly. The "floaters" used hydrogen to stay bouyant, however, they live in a dangerous existence. If they float too low, they risk being ripped apart, cooked or poisoned by gases, and if they venture too high the pressure would make them explode. However, on this expedition, the first life encounted were floating clouds of plankton. The "biome" they generally all lived in was a "desert". For some reason, pockets of air existed between layers. There were thermal updrafts, bluish in colour, where warm, moist (moist with ammonia) was rising. However, communities of floating clouds were found near the rising thermals. It was speculated that when the sky is covered over, or at night, the "plankton" derive energy from the warm rising fronts rather than photosynthesis. Did the floaters also live off the Plankton? Soon the team would find out...
As the ship descended below the Plankton deck more lifeforms were discovered, this time, they appeared like coiled tubes, which acted like jet engines. A huge swarm of these Swimmers was on a collision course with the nowq stationary shuttle, aided by strong jet stream winds, the the Cephalodsians were in a panic, and quickly ascended their shuttle to a greater height, missing the swimmers by a hairs breath, travelling at a velocity of 125 miles per hour. Captain Boriconas was sweating ink, and two of his assistents, Floppyflood and Gorganitus clung to each other. Life of all forms is precious to the Cephalodians. However, asthey tracked the swimmers, suddenly various floating bags of life began to emerge, including the floaters seen before, and massive Kites the size of small ships above them. The high air pressure allowed for truly massive life forms. As the team watched, the swimmers were caught inside traps, where they were digested. The Floaters didn't over-indulge (a quality the Cephalodians respect), however, they realized that if the floaters did, they would sink. Suddenly, all the lifeforms scarped, and at the same, weather instruments detected occluding warm and cold fronts. A violent storm was emerging, and soon the sky was dark with flashes of lightining twenty times more powerful than any on Seladiscas. If the lightining hit even the largest floaters (who had descended in a white downdraft) then they would have exploded. How had all the lifeforms realized a storm was approaching? Suddenly, Boriconas modulated to a higher frequency, and nmoved off to a quiter patch. He discovered that the lifeforms must have at least two senses, one electromagnetic, and the other based on air pressure (using bubbles in their stomachs). Already, an ecosystem was unfolding before their eyes, and the habits of the creatures, were beginning to be realized.
Later on, it was discovered that the life forms were hydrogen and ammonia-based, using haldane to build protiens. Bubbles of ammonia condensation existed inside the Floaters (by examining a dead Floater strick by lightning), in which enzymes would latch onto. The team theorized that life evolved in the planet's atmosphere in a similar manner. However, the expedition was not over, the Cephalodians dared to descend ever deeper, to dephs few have been in gas giants. Due to DCP technology, designed for the compression stresses of wormholes, the Cephalodiand bravely continued...
As the ship plummeted to 8,827 miles, the ride was getting rough. The gas was now getting more and more compressed into a near-liquid state, but the diamond-nanofibre composite latticed with crystalline monopole matter and strong intertial dampners (of DCP design) kept the shuttle was holding. The pressure by now was 3 million atmospheres, and temperature was rising 90°C every 500 miles from then on. It was kept generally cool by large downdrafts, the Cephalodians realized it was much hotter outside the downdrafts. Another 1000 miles and there was huge turbulence as the ship hit large convection cells. Below the cells there was an ocean of superheated water, kept from evaporating by the extreme pressure. "Hull pressure 3 marks off the tolerance level!" barked science officer Varoooshhoib, even the extreme armour was beginning to soften. "Hull pressure 1 mark above the tolerance level!" Said the officer as the ship smacked into the ocean below. It seemed they would not be able to go only lower. The pressure was now 5 million atmospheres and the temperature over 280°C. The winds had calmed though, and the presence of storms was nowhere to be seen, however, this was where the magnetic field was being generated and the ocean was highly ionised. To keep the shuttle there for longer than a few minutes, the Cephalodians used nanotechnology to keep repairing the hull, however, the nanobots were barely staying attactched, meaning they were polluting the ocean. The Cephalodians could not stay for long. They began to use scan to penetrate the ocean dephs. 500 miles below them, the tmperature was over 1000°C, however, the ocean was compressed into "hot ice". Below that was a layer of metallic hydrogen and perhaps in the center, a metallic/rocky core. Unfortunately, thse regions were inaccsesible and life even more unlikely.
However, life had indeed penetrated the dephs. A giant creature submerged, over 2 miles wide and incredibly flat, oval in shape. Scans concluded that the center of the Sinker was mostly dead, as any gases or fuids inside would have been squeezed to the edges. Around the rim, it bulged, indicating this was where the Sinker's fluids were. But it was not alone. Tiny organisms, no more than a millimeter in size were crawling in and out of the Sinker much like a coral reef system. Creatures at these extreme pressures must be either incredibly wide and flat or incredibly small. There was no sunlight at these dephs, however, using magnetic fields, there was neccesary energy for processes like chemical bioluminescence to be generated, flashing and pulsating, almost in rythem, almost... Communication, a song even. The team were mesmerized by the spectacle in front of them. Before the shuttle was forced to leave, the crew had to work out how biocemistry was working at this deph. Perhaps tiny bubbles were allowing for complex molecules to survive under this pressure, however, this wiould remain a mystery unsolved. Finally, the Cephalodians had to pull themselves away. Their skin turned yellow, the colour of happiness and returned to their mothership in orbit, patiently waiting for them...
Exploring every environment
The Cephalodians couldn't explore systems as quickly as the Girdo, they didn't like tp push their symbiotic ships too much. However, after 2 weeks of exploring, several new planetary environments were detected. Some were quite alien, but not Truly Alien, all except for one. Their ecosystems and evolitionary niches interested the Cephalodians, as they had diversed wildly. On one world, lifeforms evolved advanced holographic systems to confuse prey or cameoflarge from predators, on another, grazing carnovores were disovered, which hunted small but fast reproducing prey, the carnivores had both eyes on their front and sides, because, even they were hunted by larger creatures. They were nutrient rich, (unlike many carnivores) because their prey lived off nutrients direct from a mud-like substance, which turned out to be matts of microbrial life. On another world, the distinction between plant and animal-like life had been bridged, and they held a strange communication, based on high pitch sound. However, there was one "Truly Alien" ecosystem found: the Cephalodians may have also discovered the origin of space cells, or "amobia's" as they were known...
Softies of Parcier 43bX (planetary migrants)
On Parcier 43bX, orbiting close to a binary star (a brown dwarf and a neutron star), the Cephalodians discovered a planet of giant cells, where multicelluar life never needed to evolve. The planet was more like a moon, orbiting close to its failed sun, which was emitting feeble light. The system was located near a black hole several light years away, and was down wind of exotic charged particles. Such substellar objects usually hold little interest to the galactic community, and none known to the Cephalodians had life flourish on its child worlds. However, still having a strong mass, as strong as a large gas giant, the gravitational disturbances were causing some amount of geothermal heat. The planet was small, having a thin atmosphere with wisps of water vapour, shining murkely in the dim light of its oddball parent star. The lifeforms themselves, were like balls of jelly, with a thinn but flexible skin retaining its insides. They were ammonia based, but due to the weak gravity, the cells could grow to huge sizes, so much multicelluar life may never had needed to evolve. The organells seperated into segments that could slide over each other, some creating "limbs" or limited "digits". However, due to chemical reactions underground, hydrogen was being released, which the giant ceels used to inflate and lift themselves off the surface, even leaving orbit, as the planet's gravity was very slight (with most water underground). It is theorerized that this is how "soft life" became spread about the galaxy, which could include the gellatainous "Soft Ones" (I mentioned to give credits for inspiration) and the Space amoebia. Using the exotic matter, the negative energy shielded the cells from cosmic radiation.
As the Cephalodians watched from their steeds, the Parcier cels inflated and left the planet's weak gravity field. Collecting solar energy they began to sail to nearby planets with similar conditions. The brown dwarf passed through many systems on its long journey mopping up derbis from neighboring stars, such as comits and minor planets. Most of these worlds had tight orbits, their icy subterraianian oceans were forced to melt by tidal heating. Water vapour, the Cephalodians theorized was rising to the surface in icy plumes and freezing, but radiation from the pulsar was breaking the bonds of exosygen and hydrogen on the surface ice, this was what the Cells were using to migrate to different planets.
The Cephalodians explored nearby systems, low and behold they found similar organisms that had been dropped off by the the "interstellar coach" that was the Parcier binary. A few months down the line, in the Halo above the Girdo Empire discovered the Matalix, wghich was connected with various interstellar species, indicating that once, including the Cells, are runaway bioships.
Arnudati and the Shothoth
The Cephalodians were now in an obscure region of the Milky Way, distant from any known civilization, the perfect hide out for more harder to reach races. What the Cephalodians didn't realize is that they were heading into a region harbouring an ancient menace, the Shothoth...
There were three stead ships, headed by Lungar, a chief Cephalodian park ranger, with three centuries of experience watching over life in one of the reserves. This region of the galaxy, was bare of life and even organic compounds. It looked as if the area had been "vandalized" by a hateful race, such as the Grox or Xhodocto. However, a nebula was detected not far from the center of the area, it looked as if it was a supernova remnant. Naturally, the Cephalodians went to investigate. One Steadship was sent into the nebula, while the other two scouted nearby the outskirts. After half a Seladiscan day, the Stead had not returned. Lungar ordered the two bioships to stay for another two days. However, the nubula was drifting ever closer...
Lungar's living ship began to experience strange reactions, to the seemingly inert gas, as if it was experiencing a chemical burn. Lungar told the other crew to move out, but the nebula had them in its grasp, filaments clung to the bioships, causing the fleshy hull to sizzle and turn to dust. Lungar felt the pain of his companion craft and wished he could stop it. However, the team he had realized they had dared to enter the habitat of an alien species, and so, must become part of its rules.
But a white light cleared the amorphous texture of the gas around the two dying steadships, and suddenly the two were teleported away. Lungar looked at his biomolecular computer, the stars had changed, they were fifteen light years from the living nebula. However, the crews of the two ships began to experience fatigue, until they began to hallucinate, or so they thought, Lungar looked as his collegue Mro, "Are you seeing what I'm seeing"? The Cephalodians realized they were seeing the same view. Stood in front of them, was a collection tall structures, and standing upright from tentacles, stood the race that created them. They had pincers for what looked (but might not be) hands thought Lungar, and the main feature, three mouth-like parts above their heads.
Then the creaures spoke, in first and second syllable end rhymes, which it explained was being polite and had telepathically assimilated the Cephalodian language. They were the Arnudati. There was some cultural exchanges in the conversation, particulary in biology. The Arnudati asked how much the Cephalodians knew of their history. The Cephalodians explained that they advanced very diffently to most species, they were in symbiosis with their living technologies. As the Cephalodians advanced, they first built technology from larger creatures, this took many generations to advance, however, their biotechnology got increasingly smaller, until it reached the range of the microbes, and now they can build new tools and technologies in a day or more from cultures of microscopic life, the technology became so advanced they are now spacefaring and had powerful computers and genetic infotechnology. The Arnudati believed that if a race had a good record of their history they are considered enlightened. But telling the Arnudati this, they could record this to the Great Library and become even more knowledgable. The Arnudati explained they knew much of the early universe.
The previous stages of the universe might seem to pass very quickly, in less than a second even, but to life forms living within the age their era felt long, this stelliferous era seemed like an eternity to the previous masters, just as the stelliferous era would seem to flicker by the masters of the next. Then Lungar easked about cosmospawn, the Arnudati had a similar theory but even they knew no more than the Cephalodians...
The Girdo Empire searched for more Truly Alien life to take to the Girdo Nature Reserve for conservation.
The Empire of the Girdo Galaxy sent an exploration flotilla - the Imperium-class Starfighter led by Commadore Hlraka, four Frigate-class cargo ships, and 216 Droners - to the Wastelands, a large area of the Norma Arm that was apparently left barren and empty by a Xhodocto incursion, followed seventeen years later (and just a month ago) by a Grox fleet. Each ship constantly flew from system to system, scanning every planet for any traces of life. Despite the large number of ships and their high speed, which allowed 221 planets to be explored every minute, it was several hours before anything was discovered.
They were the ruins of a city, on an empty desert planet with a thin atmosphere orbiting a yellow dwarf star. The ruins had been discovered by a Droner, but it had since been sent away and a Frigate had been brought to the planet in its place. The small cargo ship scanned the ruins and, determining that they were safe, sent a small team of three crewmen and the captain down to investigate. All that was left of whatever disaster struck the planet were the remains of a few derelict buildings, standing close together in the centre of a small, dry lake bed. But as soon as the crew beamed down, their scanners detected high levels of gamma radiation in the atmosphere.
'This isn't a lake bed we're standing in,' noted the captain, 'it's an eroded impact crater.' He continued checking his instruments to gather as much information about the situation as he could. 'And we're... at ground zero. The safest place to be when a Xhodocto nexidium missile explodes in mid-air. Or any similarly-made nuclear explosive. The explosion happened about fifteen years ago, so it's the right age for Xhodocto, but... I would have thought that they'd have finished the job.'
The crew searched the scattered ruins for more clues, but found no worthwhile data. However, after a few minutes, one them nearly tripped over a small creature near a radioactive, slime-filled pond. A quick check determined that his sensors were still picking up life signs, but this creature apparently didn't show up as anything but a warm puddle of water. He picked up the creature - a small, greyish, tentacle-covered blob - and carefully studied it. Further examinations determined that the reason that the sensors hadn't detected it was that it was a different sort of life to that which the device was set to search for. In other words, it wasn't "godspawn". It appeared to be, but various unique features of both the anatomical and, most importantly, biochemical structure, proved otherwise. The specimen was quickly beamed up to the Frigate for further analysis, and the results confirmed that this planet was home to "truly alien" life.
The Starfighter was called to the planet, its scanners were calibrated to the new biochemistry, and it collected samples of every new species that it could find. These were soon taken to a new home in the Girdo Galaxy - one with less ambient radiation and a healthier ecosphere.
Eventually, the fleet had completed their exploration of the Wastelands. Having found nothing else that they considered to be noteworthy, they met up with the Cephalodians in order to take samples of the Parcier 43bX "soft life" to the Girdo Nature Reserve, where the Empire believed that they would fit either in an asteroid belt within the 800 Parsec Sanctuary, or in the Pseudomorphs' system in the Aquaregia Sector. Upon being loaded into suitable artificial environments within the Frigates and the Starfighter, the Cephalodian bioships left, and Imperial scientists began scanning the soft life to see where exactly in Girdo they would be most suitably located.
Towards the end of the analysis of the data, the Starfighter's sensors detected a cube-shaped ship rapidly approaching the fleet.
Borg... thought Commodore Hlraka.
As soon as the enemy craft was in range, it fired a shot of its superlaser beam at the Starfighter, burning away its deflector shielding. Hlraka immediately responded with a single transphasic torpedo from his ship's secondary missile launchers, but this was harmlessly absorbed by the Cube's own shields. The Cube then launched a missile of its own at the Starfighter, while the Imperial ship fired a Planet Buster at its opponent from its primary gun. The Starfighter shot down the missile headed towards it with its own superlaser array, but the Cube wasn't so lucky and was instantly destroyed.
But that was not the end of the battle. The Cube had beamed several Drones inside the Starfighter before its demise, and these Drones were of a new design, created by merging together the best aspects of several recently-assimilated species. Each soldier was quite tall, and suppoted by three legs with three sharp claws each. Upon each of its two arms was a small yet powerful raygun; and its head was covered on its underside by several extendible sensory and prehensile tentacles and topped with a single cybernetic eye. The Drones were well-prepared, too, for as soon as they materialised in the Starfighter's corridors they shot down the four plasmathrowers in each room without even looking for them. However, the Imperials were well-prepared too. In front of six of the Drones they beamed large mind control devices. These devices, originally designed for fixing temporary disconnections in the cybernetics linking aliens to the Imperial group mind, would also work to temporarily connect these Drones to the group mind. Each device simultaneously let out an electric discharge towards its assigned Drone, passing through its unprepared shield and successfully overriding its allegience to the Collective. The Imperialised Drones were then beamed around the ship to kill their unconverted brethren.
The threat was over. However, the Collective would know that six of its Drones had been disconnected yet were still alive, and would soon begin hunting them down. Because of this, there was only one option. The Drones were killed and their consciousnesses were absorbed into the Imperial group mind.
The Starfighter and its fleet finished its study of the Parcier 43bX organisms and returned to the Girdo Galaxy. The dead Drones were also taken to Imperial Capitol, so that the Collective's technology could be studied and hopefully some of it could be incorporated into that of the Empire.
The Imperial flotilla had almost reached the end of their mission in the Plazith Rim. They had discovered little in this time, but this was merely down to their choosing the most barren part of the galaxy to explore, and what few things they had discovered were in themselves important. There was, however, one final thing for them to do. A DCP outpost orbiting Farstar, a hypervelocity star in the Galactic Halo, had detected a large spacefaring creature orbiting another star a few hundred parsecs away. They believed this to be a Matalix, a near-mythical leviathan of the Intergalactic Rifts. However, there were no available DCP exploration ships nearby to confirm this, so the Starfighter stepped in to investigate instead.
The Matalix were one of few species of spacefaring organisms in this area of the universe of which no specimens had been collected and taken to the Girdo Nature Reserve. Upon approaching this particular creature, it become obvious to the crew of the Starfighter exactly why this was. Its shimmering golden body was approximately twenty kilometres in length, and dwarfed the comparatively puny warship. It seemed to be bathing in the star's light - scans showed that it was absorbing nearly all of the star's high-energy radiation that was hitting it - and had extended out several large ray fins and tentacles in order to increase the surface area available for this. The ship kept its distance, and observed the creature's actions for nearly half an hour. Suddenly and without warning, the Matalix pulled its fins against its side and vanished.
The Starfighter's sensors detected the Matalix moving at warp speeds into intergalactic space. The ship locked its hyperdrive onto the creature and began to follow it, stopping when the Matalix returned to sublight speeds and settled within a large cloud of intergalactic dust. Although spacefaring organisms had sometimes been claimed to be able to travel at superluminal speeds, such a thing had never been confirmed until now. Many decades ago, the Radeon made use of Matalix bodies for spaceships due to their ability to rapidly recover from almost any damage done to them. Perhaps having natural faster-than-light drives was another reason for this.
The Imperial scientists took advantage of the creature's currently stationary position and tried scanning it. Sure enough, it was related to the other spacefaring organisms in the Girdo Galaxy. They then analysed details of its interior and collated the data with information on other cosmozoa. The Empire had a theory, inspired by the Cephalodians' biological steed-ships, the the entire Plasmazoa domain of life was in fact descended from bioships that had become feral many hundreds of millions (or maybe even billions) of years ago. This theory was soon confirmed, and it was actually evident from the Matalix alone. Inside its body were numerous features that, although they could have evolved naturally, were perfect for a bioship. These included a network of large, empty, air-filled organs, isolated from the vacuum of space outside, which may have once been the ship's interior but now acted as a secondary circulatory system for the internal organs; glands that produce these atmospheric gases and other chemicals from cosmic dust and pump them into said system; a thick, transparent shell with bionanotechnological armour that would be capable of withstanding even superlaser blasts; and, of course, the propulsion systems.
The main sign of its artificial origin, though, was its thick skin, and specifically that this skin was primarily adapted to absorbing high-energy electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet and gamma rays, at the expense of the letting the significantly more common lower-energy frequencies be reflected. Other aspects of its biology meant that it would be caused no harm if it allowed these rare high-frequency waves to pass through its body - which was in itself another unusual feature - however, of course, any passengers on board would most likely be killed.
Satisfied that their hypothesis had been correct, the Imperial scientists were also witness to another spectacle. The Matalix, now it had refuelled itself with solar radiation and consumed several tonnes of intergalactic dust and gases, began to change. A long ring of flesh, about half of width of the creature and running down the centre of its body, began to turn from a solid mass into a more fluid substance, and then the creature started to split along this line. At each place where it had seperated into what were apparently going to be two distinct organisms, the fluid began to solidy into the form of a new half of a Matalix. After only a few minutes, the creature had indeed created two new offspring by fission.
Although this was the creatures' home, the Empire wasn't going to pass on a chance to have living Matalix in the Girdo Nature Reserve. However, even though the offspring were less than half of their parents' size, they still dwarfed the Starfighter. There was only ship that Commodore Hlraka knew would be available and able to transport the Matalix, and that was the Worldship Apalos. To cut a long story short, the transportation was uneventful. It even seemed as though the Matalix didn't even notice being transfered into the Worldship's cargo bays. When the creatures were released into the 800 Parsec Sanctuary, the Girdo Empire's role in the first part of the "First Contact" mission was finally over.
Delpha Coalition of Planet's travels
The DCP will specialize in contact with Truly Alien life and Tier Unknown civilizations, whose intelligence, technology and culture are completely alien. With experience on contacting other civilizations the DCP hopes to bridge the gap between them. However, locating Tier Unknown civilizations would not be too difficult, as there were quite a few known already, existing outside "Civilization".
WDC 1184 (nuclear chemistry and stellar life)
Life on stars, had already been known to some civilizations. Centuries ago, a neutron star had passed close to human space, who discovered a race of organisms who lived for millionths of a second and evolved a million times faster than life outside the star and could swim in electron seas and waves of high energy particles. They were nanite-like, composed of nuclear chemistry. Life in the cores of larger stars had also been speculated about but never proven, and to even the advanced technology of the DCP, travel to the center of star was deemed imposibly by many, and such exploration might disturb their habitat. Then then was the mythological race of dark matter birds, that used star's gravitational mass shadows as breeding grounds, but due to the nature of dark matter any meaningful contact would be near-impossible. The Astrolights also needed stars for their mothods of reproduction.
However, three decades before the Xhodocto xenocides, the DCP had achieved communication with a race of square-plate like beings residing on the surface of a white dwarf star, known as WDC 1184 in the Monoceros Ring (a stream of stars orbiting the Milky Way). There was little in common that could be shared, to the white dwarf civilization, the outside universe was cold, hostile and unchanging. The white dwarf creatures (no good name was given) preffered chaos to order, as chaotic forms of matter allowed them to reproduce. The world outside was too ordered. 30 years later, the entire stellar stream was purged by the Xhodocto, leading the DCP to believe the star creatures were long dead. However, recent evidence shows that the Xhodocto missed and overlooked various planets during the Scourge, in fact, some life had even flourished in their hellish envronments. The DCP decided to return, but this time communication would be via mathematics and not subspace radio or telepathy which was disrupted by the star's large mass shadow. The DCP would communicate with chaotic light signals. If contact is established, then they would be the first star-life to be in active communication!
The ship that was dispatched was the Majestic, a Galactic Star Runner, carrying the DCP and humans (from previous discovery of star life). The ship dropped out of tachyonic shift into the system and slowed during the approach to the white dwarf, minding the star's deep gravity well. Sensors displayed close up images of the surface under many wavelengths. There was extreme ultraviolet radiation and soft X-ray emmissions - ordinary life would perish, and the tempertature was exceeding 30,000 kelvin. Its magnetic field was over 1 million gauss. The luminosity was pulsating and the surface was completely white-blue with no distinction (nearly all electron-degenerate matter) - at first. But as the ship approached, there was indications that the surface was crystallized, floating in "seas" of electrons. Curiously, there was a simple cycle, of electrons flowing up magnetic loops and then settling back as "rain", quickly crystallizing or melting under regions of high magnetic current. However, the surface contains no mountains, valleys or landforms, as it was all crushed down to no more than a millimeter tall. But there was chemistry going on, and where there is chemistry, no matter how different, the possibility of life holds. A "nuclear chemistry", involving carbon, magnesium and oxygen was occuring.
Yet, there was no sign of the "WDS'ians" as they were dubbed. Had they been destroyed by the Xhodocto after all? After 3 standard day cycles of scanning, it seemed like that was so. But suddenly, curious activity was detected. "Tentacle"-like filiments or "arms" began to erupt from the surface towards the ship, building its self on top, almost like a staircase. The ships's shields were raised. The DCP sent their mathematical message How have you been? Encoded into spectral lines. There was no reply... The captain believed what it was, is trying to communicate in its own way (it could be another organism). It was pulsating X-rays which took a day to decode. Apparently, since the Monoceros Ring had been scourged, the WDS'ians (who do not name them selves with sound) had rapidally expanded their civilization, to nearby white dwarfs, using ships propelled by magnetic fields. There were few WDS'ians who stayed. They were lonely, as gravitational time dilation meant they would never again see their "friends" who left into the slow unchanging void above them. The DCP began to ask questions, like genetic information, and the WD'cians replied that fluctuations in ionised plasma which acted like infomation whose resonances could be stored in crystallized matter. Then, the arm sank back into the surface with a final message "Can you see us again soon"?. Mission success...
Near-termination of Fahler (Gaia world)
Fahler, was a bizzare planet located near the center of the Delpha Sector. The planet from orbit appears extremely beautiful, a world which made its first colonists feel so lucky. A dream to scientists (planetary geology, ecology and exobiology) and miners alike, the world was packed with Spice and other bountiful resources. However, its beauty would soon turn stale...
Things, very unlucky things, minor at first, began to occur. Vehicles and structures kept moving around or vanishing, settlers could hear strange sounds and see odd things. There were unknown diseases and the spice kept getting corrupted. All of these were dismissed by authorities, until colonists began to dissappear. Some left in fright, while others stayed (all of the colonists who fled were Jarzo). The planet's biosphere collapsed, forcing more out and then it became an unlucky target of the Grox during the Grox Resistence era. After that, the planet was deemed to be cursed, and was quarantined. Expeditions since have vanished, including a group of Lequians who had dared to land on its surface. However, in very recent times there were new trade route nearby, and planet was becoming a hindrence. The DCP finally decided enough was enough, and sent a fleet of 350 warships (overkill again) to vapourise every square millimeter of the planet, inside and out. Armed with planet glassers, Quark-gluon deconfinement disruptors and a planet buster, the DCP was so sure there would be a swift victory that will be written in warsongs for ages to come...
But when the fleet vanished from sensors only two minutes from entering, the Council of War was highly surprised. Finally 1000 hyperspace missiles were sent instead, however, as soon as they neared the system, they were disupted, and sent to a nearby colony, causing its crust to go into a catastrophic overturn. By now, Dr.Kender's theory of some form of intelligemnce on the planet was starting to look true and with the First Contact mission in process, a ghost shifted/cloaked ship was sent to make peace with the planet (robotics seem to go heywire) as the DCP had lost their short war.
The craft was no bigger than a fighter. It seemed they were not detected. Commander Lolotorr, and three crew, two male (Galakar and Korriak) and one female (Arrasha) had been appointed to the mission, all were Grimbolsaurian, fearless. The crew went into orbit, Lolotorr smiled, what an idillic surface. The planet was perfect, in an almost unatural quality. The weather and climate systems (when not colonized) were pristine, the planet was almost perfectly spherical, and the terrascore was category 5, perfect for almost any Type A lifeform. The surface was dense with environments, lush with life, with turqoice tropical oceans. However, the atmosphere had an odd tinge of purple. Arrasha scanned for any remains of the attack fleet, or the abandoned colonies, there was nothing. Even the massive cities were gone, as if absorbed into the planet and forgotten.
The crew beamed down to investigate. They unfortunately could not ghost phase, instead they were cloaked. The group walked towards where the capital once existed, a city nearly 20 miles wide, that extended into the sky with floating Tensegrity spheres and arcologies crossed the surface and even went underground. It was such a boom colony, rare resources, gems and spice was common on the planet, with a lot of game for hunters. They reached the outer bounday of the city, but there was no indication of one, not even a dent in the ground, it was as if a chronon torpedo had been fired, however, there was residual chronons. They walked all the way to the center, only to find jungle. What ever had happened, the city had ceased to exist...
Korriak declared that he just didn't understand. How could a city that once housed 700 million colonists just vanished, what had happened to those who stayed? The group stood in silence, almost mystified. However, they must soon try and make contact, if they could. Lolotorr ordered Galakar to set up a flare cannon. The planet had been highly reactive to intruders (they were cloaked), if it detected the flare, they might get some understanding. "all set, standing by", "good, then what are we waiting for?" said Lolotorr. The team stood back, the flare was lit. No longer cloaked, now rising into the sky, it could be viewd from miles around. Nothing happened. In fact for the next few days, eveery attempt at contact was futile. Commander Lolotorr decided, whate ever was on the planet, will forever remain a mystery. Still cloaked, the crew set back to the teleport point. Lolotorr casually reached for the teleport control on his wrist, so used to the act it was casual. It wouldn't activate. The others tried theirs, but also failed. Galakar swore, suddenly, the atmosphere around them went cold, very cold, a breeze picked up in the forests nearby. One by one, everyone's cloak deactivated, "No! This can't be happening!", someone shouted, the wind was so loud Lolotor didn't know who said it. A thick fog descended, the atmosphere was boiling with rage. Cloak or no cloak, the what ever it was, already knew they were present.
That was the last thing anyone could remember. Lolotorr woke up, he was in a hammock, sunbeams trickled through a straw hut, gently warming his face. Peace soon turn to panic, where was his crew, the ones he swore an oaf to protect. "Snoove", its fresh" called a female voice. Snoove was a drink not unlike tea. "Where are my manners, your crew is safe in other huts, hah, Arrasha, is that her name? Huh, she's a feisty one! Offworlder, my it was amusing watching you". "I like my Snoove with two units of salt" said Lolotorr. He heard the cup being placed, ad got up, followed by steps. Lolotor eventually discovered he was living in a primitive village of Grimbolsaurians, they looked so skinny, so primitive, Grimbolsaurians had not lived in these conditions for many centuries. Apparently, they had descended from the colonists who stayed behind. In order to stay alive, the colonists had to worship the planet. After speaking to the Chief he learned getting offworld was umpossible, they had to become one of them and one with the planet. But he had a duty, a mission, in the name of the Emperor, who he must not dissapoint. Diseases, not seen in centuries had popped up, in return for medical technology, the village elders permitted the team to head to the spiritual hub of the planet.
After a week of walking, they arrived at the small opening in the planet. At first Lolotorr believed it was a cave, but surrounding the entrance was an unknown meterial and the hole looked very artificial. It was very strange, it didn't look like it had anything to do with the colonists. The material was as slippery at the mineral talc to the touch, feeling almost wet, but unlike talc, it was as hard as diamond. Something even more unusual would have had to have cut it. It was also perfectly at room temperature. The Shaman, a Grimbolsaurian, called Moorch, told them to clamber down. Feeling sligtly uneasy, Lolotorr pressed his backside against the wall and shuffled through, while the others followed. The Shaman, thin, easily slid down. The hole led to a cave deep underground. As soon as they entered, the walls began to glow with dull light, yet there was no extra thermal radiation! Moorch lit some inscence, and preyed. After some rituals, he left the team, finishing his duty to the god of Fahler. The Team continued, further and further, until thy reached a greater hole miles deep, with small bridges composed of the unknown material. As soon as they tried to walk across,, all but two collapsed. Then a strange amorphous black aura blocked their path, it looked like a cloud of pixels. It soon started to glow, and a entity stood in front. First Contact had been achieved.
The being smiled, and spoke. "Welcome, I am a friend of Fahler, the mother planet, state your intentions." Korriak said "We come with no intended harm, who or what are you?". "A friend of Fahler", the being replied. Arrasha said "So it was YOU, you killed all the colonists". Unphased, the friend of Falher said "I had to protect the Mother planet from invaders, your was hurting her". "What do you mean, this CURSED planet, is nothing but a dust ball!". Lolotorr ordered her to calm down,but she didn't, she fired a disruptor that travelled stroght through. The being stared and with that Arasha screamed and collapsed biting her thumb like a child, so hard blood leaked. "What have you done?" shouted Galakarr. Coldly, the being turned to him, looking stright through him and said "She was nothing, but now she is one of us". The cavern below lit up, and has the team looked down, the ghostly images of the lost colonists appeared. "Wha...t" said Lolotorr. "The colonists aren't dead, they reside whithin the planet, the Mother Planet is alive, and you were harming it. It has an intelligence, artificial, created by the Xynaxes as the Sanctuary World for the Milky Way's non-carbon-based life. There was many, some Mother Worlds died to you colonists, you foolish blocks of carbon. Fahler instead protected herself and we the Friends of Fahler, help her." said the Friend of Falher. "And you, who are you, you look almost digital, holographic?" said Korriak. "I am indeed a hologram, we are digital lifeforms which inhabit its vast database, and colonists have joined us and so has Arasha", "I demand you to let her go" sais Lolotorr. "She is one of us now". There was no arguing with this being. Galakar then had an idea "What if, she is an ambassador, she can come back to us one day, and provide us insight with digital lifeforms and living planets, perhaps we can find and save more". The being considered, "Yes, I will accept this, to protect the Family of Fahler", and with that, turned into a cloud of pixels again.
The team returned to their ship in orbit, with one less full seat. At least Arasha will return one day, but for now, mission success.
God's Gate (exotic biochemistry)
God's Gate, was a region if infinite curvature, located on the edge of the Delpha Sector. Until very recently, the region was believed to be a black hole, a point of no return, where space and time was falling faster than light. However, this until very recently was disproven, in fact, it was a type of wormhole, an ancient one at that, created in the first moments of the Big Bang, frozen into spacetime when the universe phased from one energy state to another. The primordial matter of the previous phase still lingered within its gravity well.
God's Gate, was generally avoided, as it created immense drags on warp or hyperspace-capable starships, and emmitted strong x-ray emiissions and jets of energy which was an offput for many a space traveller, but in recent times, the DCP's instruments were far more refined, and eventually, God's gate was proven to be a wormhole. However, this wormhole was no ordinary wormhole, it was spherical. Unlike most natural wormholes which are unstable or microscopic, a spherical wormhole frozen in spacetime is a permanent defect, it will probably exist until Time's Teminel, or even eventually lift itself off the universe to form its own domain, fitting, thats its name was God's Gate...
Since the wormhole was one of the most stable the DCP had ever encounted, it wasn't long before a research team was sent. It was Warlord Kilnok, Dr.Kenders, Admiral Horlin and a crew of 14 others who was sent to explore. Many of them were scientists, which, very few Kilnok really liked, as he was a man of the military, and saw them as often getting in his way, despite the fact he likes science in his own private space. However, being such an important and famous captain, he would be useful in this new mission of the galaxy. Located in the Alpha Siginae system, 1,200 light years from Delpha, he was surprised to recieve a message telling him to go to his home space. "You have been assigned to travel immediatly back to the Boraphagus system, there, after a briefing, will voyage to God's Gate". Kilnok was not too pleased at first, as a warlord he should be no longerbe commanded, but should be commanding, yet, there were still those higher in command. "We have not embarked on a true adventure like this since that mystery on the bridge, you know, involving the 5th dimension and time travellers from the future" said Admiral Horlin. "From one possible future" was Kilnok's reply, however, since he was a Warlord, he wasn't doing much at all, and the knowe this mission was important. Too work in service for the Coalition, especiallly now he has choice, was very honourable. Kilnok agreed, and in Tachyon Shift, soon reached the Boraphagus system in less than ten minutes (a warlord of his status has the fastest of drives).
The ship, Iron Flower (named after a world who's biosphere was caste into metal by a weapon, the "Midas Touch", from an ancient human mythology) slowed to sublight speed when whithin 400 AU of the Schwarzschild radius, the outer boundary of the wormhole. First, a probe was sent into orbit at around 3 AU of the bounday. Scans determined that although the wormhole appeared to be stable, a thin layer of exotic matter beamed into its radous and arund the ship, would hold it open even more, and maybe even act as a "lubricant". As the Iron Flower approached from 130 AU, the gravitational lensing around the wormhole became apparent to the visible eye. "This is what I don't like about worm, black, white or any other kinds of spatial holes, they are so...non-intuitive" said Horlin. "Or downright weird, as I like to say" said Kilnok, Dr.Kenders wa about to protest, that it didn't matter but Kilnok put his hand up, "It just is".
Whithin 3 AU of the Schwarzschild radiu, the crew were shown a surreal, almost frightening spectacle. The probe they had sent was now on the other side of the wormhole, however, light was being bent around and magnified in so strongly, the probe and stars behind were dragged into view, all sides of the wormhole could be seen. But soon, it was time to dive in. A thin layer of exotic matter created a bubble around the Iron Flower, and it enterered. However, something extraordinary happened, instead of being engulfed completely by the wormhole (with the sky dissappearing from view like on a planet, it stood off in the horizon, which split into two, the true-horizon and the anti-horizon, which remained ahead of the view. Light shades activated, as light from the photon sphere became blinding. Kilnok looked up, to see the true-horizon turn into a thin band around the center of his vision. Communication with the outside universe had ceased, as sinals no longer were being detected from the probe. They were in...
Once inside, they approached the inner boundary near the throat negative space. It was deoced that the throat woukd not be entered, as actual wormhole travel through natural wormholes was highly dangerous. The throat, was a spinning singularity, if its plane was to be crossed, the Iron Flower would be never seen again, but if crossed on its poles, travel to a different region, time or even universe might be possible, however, it was a risk that musn't be taken. The crew did their experiments and scans, a natural sphereical wormhole was an amazing discovery. Next, after researching the topological properties of the wormhole, the DCP began scanning the primordial matter, which had become trapped in a 2D surface of the inner horizon.
Some of the stuff was composed of tiny wormholes themselves, massive conglomerates of quantum foam and primordial matter, ancient, perhaps never seen by sapient eyes in such quantity.
Living on the edge of infinity
The primordial matter had very odd properties, which was named GUTmatter, after the Grand Unified Theory ( translated from DCP equivilent). The wormhole must have frozen space just before the universe changed into a different state. The temperatures in this wormhole remained as high as it was in the early universe, at a tempature of . It was so high, the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces were combined into one superforce, the Dezon field had not yet sperated into the guage bosons, the gluon, W/Z and photon. The wormhole formed 1038th of a second after the Big Bang, the universe at the time was the size of a grapefruit. The GUtmatter itself was not baryonic matter, but consisted of of a Dezon field which had not seperated, a superforce, and the wormhole had captured some, where the temperature remained high enough for it to remain stable, imprisoned away from the rest of the universe. As the universe inflated, so did the wormhole.
This strange state of matter was so hot, even spacetime was unstable, which curved around its incredible mass and extreme temperature. The GUTmatter was chaotic, its effect on spacetime created quantum fluctuations, and vacuums of false density. Tiny wormholes, plank length in size popped in and out of existence. The material was so strong and violent, even the DCP's shields would be broken through. It was random, quantum and was predictable even by the DCP's computing systems. The stuff had tremendous mass, if it was an atom it would have been crushed, and contained tiny singularities, which had combined to form exotic atoms bound by gravity. So small, it existed in a quantum state. As the Iron Flower hovered over it, the ship had to increase its thrusters to maxiumum, as force of gravity was dragging them down, down into the black but strangely glowing material. However, there was a problem. The Iron Flower seemed to be losing power, unexpectedly.
"I, I don't understand!" declared Dr.Kenders! "Now that worries even me, if we don't have enough energy we will plummit into the GUTmatter!" Suddenly, Kilnok and everybody on board was overcome by a flash of energy.
Kilnok woke up, he was on the plains of Mirenton. Thee was a srange white aura off everything. Kilnok looked around, these were the plains he had grown up in, over 700 years ago. The region is now a glittering surface of glass, due to the Wub raids centuries before, as Mirenton is dotted by at least 40 regions that had been glassed, glittering from orbit. Had he travelled back in time? Was the wormhole temporal? Had the Transaurians from the future caused this? The sweet scent of Thranthius grass filled his nose, a smell he had forgotten. He sensed something, something evil and drew is electrosword, and was surprised to be confronted by Eclipsos. "You are dead, Eclipsos!" Kilnok yelled, Eclisos bared in mandibles and then charged sword in hand. Then Kilnok realized, this can't be right, he must be hallucinating. Both fought, and when Elipsos cut his leg, he realized, hallucination or not, he could still feel pain. Finally, Eclipsos spoke, in a strangely cold, emotionless way, "Who are you, alien, get out of our realm, or you will die", "I don't know wha...", then Kilnok remembered, he was in a wormhole. "You must leave immediatly, you are too strannge for us, we are too strange for you" said Eclipsos, and repeated twice, with a slight echo in his tone, "who?" Kilnok said, "The plane we are one with" replied Eclipsos, or rather, the entity taking his form. "We can't, our power is draining and we don't know what is causing it.". "Your ship is being devoured" said the manifestation of Eclipsos, Kilnok asked who was, "the Unseen, the shadow of an Entity Unseen", this sent waves of shock through Kilnok as he remembered a encounter with something similar, "No, that can't be so! Help us, help us leave" Eclipsos laughed, "Hah! Hah! Hah! You cannot fight what you cannot see!"
"Then why are you telling us to leave if we can't!" shouted Kilnok, in fustration, "Because you cannot directly fight it, but if you ignore the problem it will grow weaker, fighting makes it stronger!", said Eclipsos , and then the world shattered and Kilnok woke up. He quickly shut off the thrusters, other crew were waking up, dazed and confused, "what are doing?" cried one scientist, "Turn of the exotic matter injector", that could lead to the ship being crushed, "I'm pretty sure it won't in this wormhole, trust me, we cannot fight what we cannot see!", the ship stopped projecting exotic matter. "Structural integrity field collapsing, 90, 85, 73, 42, 23 per cent!", suddenly, the mysterious drainage and hold on the ship weakened, and Kilnok shouted "Eject the wormhole", as soon as he said it, the force got stronger, but not strong enough.
The next day, a meeting was held. All the scientific data and discovery was evaluated, including the mysterious draining of energy and the vision. Everybody's vision was different, but had the same meaning, only Kilnok knew what the Unseen was, which he now realized, was after him. However, the strange vision had something to do with a masive aligment in the GUTmatter, on the 2D plane warrped around the inner horizon boundary of the wormhole. It was possible that in fact, there could be a form of life down there, composed of exotic atoms of gravity and GUTmatter. There had been rare reports of similar creatures, the Transapients, extra dimensional superbeings, life on cosmic strings and energy beings before (whom contact is also trying to be made), but nothing like this. It was theorized that the GUTmatter, protected from the outside universe, had, after billions of years, evolved into a Matrix, possibly a neurel net. It had quantum properties and could manifest itself in the memories and minds of other life. The Matrix didn't like the outsiders, who didn't exist in the same spacetime. But why had Eclipsos manifested in Kilnok's brain, who is the Entity Unseen...
Quark fluid (exotic chemistry and time perception)
In the neutron star, PSR 5000by7, the DCP was conducting experiments in search of the fabled quark-degenerate matter, a material denser than neutronium. Quite a few other civilizations had quantities of nueutron degenerate matter, but quark matter was far, far rarer. Of course there were quark stars, but such stars were even tougher to mine than neutron stars, as the DCP must cause stellar quakes to erupt degenerate material. But encased in the neutron shell, was believed to exist a core of of "quarkonium", a nugget of quark matter, ready to be squeezed from the core. The colonizers had fired minature black holes into the star, their tracks leading to the core, and after quark matter started to bleed into the surface, its presence had been confirmed. But as the colonists dug down to the center of the star, they discovered artifacts, that were built from arrangements of quarks, almost mathematically intricate, they had found a piece of technology it seemed, some astrobiologists were sent to investigate.
The one in control of the team of five was Elba, a female Grimbolsaurian astrobiologist. There was three main types of her kind in the DCP, Astrobiologists who search for potential environments, exobiologists who research the life on those worlds, and xenobiologists who study their intelligence, language, cultures and technology. She was nervous, her team were about to be sent into the belly of one of the most hostile environments in the universe, a neutron star, her xenobiologist wanted to investigate the artifact. The colony itself was within a slight Ghost field, this was to avoid the time dilation. She was lowered into the neutron star by seemingly ancient looking pully system. The colonizers had carved out an aperture to the core using micro-singularities, and strengthened the walls with exotic matter (luckily the neutron star was not rotating quickly), and she felt how oddly surreal it was to be surrounded by both a primitive elevator and new technology. She had asked the chief exucutive of the colony how they would even survive the immense temperatures, radiation and light, however, Jrallv was his name, laughed as the elevator was surrounded by powerful superconductors. The star itself was only as much as 12 miles wide, they had less than 6 and the journey would take half and hour.
Time seemed to drag on within the confines of the star. First they passed through the atmosphere that was a meter thick, and through the surface of iron nuclei drowned by free floating hydrogen cores. Her collegue, Hrar, likened the neutron star to a giant atomic nucleus, although Elba corrected him, that an atom is held together by the strong force, not gravity, and is more quantum natured. Deeper still, and the amount of neutrons in the nuclei increased, seperated by flows of electrons until they reached a point called the neutron drip, where protons and electrons combined leaving only neutrons. As she looked from the window, she could see a fluid collecting on the window, "ah, that is neutron superfluid, we are nearing the core" said Jrallv, "we will not actually enter the core itself, we may run into a sea of strange matter, and that will not be fun, but from above, we can view the core".
Reality was very different in this strange world. Outside the elevator there was no protons, just a dense and energetic mass of subatomic particles and neutrons forced on top of each other, physics was different, this state of matter, if it could even be called matter, it was nothing like anything of her experience. If not for the ghost phase, she would emerge in the future, because even spacetime was curved by the star's heavy weight. The windows dimmed, "whats going on?" asked Elba, "The reduction in light is caused by the fact that the core down below is in complete darkness, since there is no electrons, there is no photons. A photon is produced when an electron jumps to a different energy state, a photon appears out of the vacuum, since, below our quantum ocean of neutron superfluid there is no free electrons, the core is not illuminated".
But as Elba continued to observe the strange world, she found certain analogies. The neutron superfluid suurounding the core was like the atmosphere, and the mist of pions and kaons detected on the elavators instruments was almost like rain. Neutron matter in the star was being consumed by strange quarks, nuggets of quarks so heavy they have their own gravitational field. If there was lifeforms in the star, they would perhaps consume infalling neutrons to grow into complexity. But there was no sign of many life in that dark liquid-like quark-gluonstuff below. Perhaps the artifact was no more than a psuedofossil. "Is there any other evidence for life down here, Jrallv, or anything unusual for that matter?" "Yes. The core resonates its state of solidity and liquidity, they happen too fast for us to observe, but we have no idea why, we think it is down to some unknown phenomenon, remember, this is a state of matter we have barely any understanding of". Elba replicated a glass of water and held it to Jrallv's face, "look, under our time frame, this glass appears completely solid, but in fact, it is flowing, yet is neither liquid or solid. Since nearly everything is recycled these days, it is not normally seen, but visit ancient buildings on our earliest colonies, and the glass will have warped. My studies include time perception, another analogy would mean plants on Mirenton, you don't see such plants grow, but they are in motion. Maybe, just maybe, those fluctuations you are detecting are actually entire lives, tools, even civilizations coming and going, maybe to them, our liquid is actually for them a solid." Elba recycled the glass surrounding the water, which splashed on the floor, "See, speed up time and watch the glass, it would appear to melt just the same way". Everyone looked at her, then Hrar said "There still isn't definate proof life exists down here". Then Elba replied "We must continue to study the artifact".
After a few weeks of study, xenobiologists determined that the strangelet was in fact almost like a gene probe, one of many that roams the universe, lands on neutron stars and consumes their cores. Free quark-gluon based life would be impossible in the cold universe, but it was theorized that in the early universe, quark-gluon matter was the dominant substance, but as the temperature fell, any forms of life would be erased. The previous era may seem fast to the inhabitants of this one, but to beings that live in a very fast time frame, their only hope was to live in locations such as neutron stars, which slow down time enough for them. These quark-life formsmay have theorized about the future of the universe, and realized one day such objects as neutron stars would exist, so they created gene spreaders in the hopes that one day, they would bump into one of these early stars, when the universes was much smaller. Indeed PSR 5000by7 was aged at around 13.2 billion years of age. The artifact was sent to the Girdo Galaxy nature reserve to be placed on one of their native neutron stars.
Part 2 - Mission Extended
However, the quest for Truly Alien life and Tier U civilizations was extended beyond the Milky Way galaxy.
Voyages of Avenger - Xanthrus galaxy
After the Iron Hammer's rescue, its exotic matter reserves was quite low, so Kilnok ordered the ship to stop by at a nearby star to refuel via the bussard collectors. The superheated hydrogen would be enough to kick the generators into working again. But as the ship was refueling, the ship detected an inhabited planet, scans revealed a very fertile world indeed.
The planet was fourth from its star, and its composition registered as quite a normal silicon crust, but the atmosphere was five times thinner than standard Grimbolsaurian worlds (absorbing more hgeat yet releasing it more quickly into space), yet the planet had a huge life signiture. Several sterlized probes were sent to investigate, meanwhile, on the planet...
Swaying slightly in the gentle warm wind of the west, the organism and it neighbors stretched out in the direction of the rising heat spread, recieving its life giving energy, and behan to generate what was lossed to the cold rise. Yet, as it watched from inside its transparent chamber, it could see another, smaller heat spread, yet it was far cooler than the daily rise. It was approaching, the heat spread had never done this before, suddenly a feeling of mutual nervousness spread throughout the community, and soon wall buuilders were strengthening the outer walls which thicker sap.
As the probe travelled over the surface, it was flying over a jungle-like forest of plant-like organisms. Yet as the probed zoomed up on one, it appeared to have giant cells, that reacted to the probe, thickening its walls. Other plant-like flora recieded into the ground.
The thing, much like the Grazers extended a long tebndril, that scraped through the protective membrane. How could this be possible, no grazer could tear through. Some of his neighbors began ti get submitted to their own fear.
As the probe inserted its instrument into the plant, it detected smaller heat signitures inside, that were in motion, a whole cluster of organims were living inside. Was were they using the plnt as a home or did they have a symbiotic relationship?
The temperature inside the colony was now dropping, and several of the organisms neighbors were too close the opening, and they were succumbing to the cold rise.
As the probe scanned the colony, it discovered it had a neurological system. Was it an animal? But it also photosynthesized and cllected water and natrients from the soil. But as the probe continued its scanning it found that in fact the plant was a colony of animal-like organisms. The cells inside were in fact eusocial organims who had built a colony that they can control (like coral and Man O' War false-jelly fish). It was more like a sky skraper than anything else. In fact the entire jungle was a living city of eusocial organisms. Soon it was realized that they created these to conserve heat that was easily lossed from the planet's thin atmosphere, and that by puncturing the "stem" they had caused harmed it. The probe moved back, but as it watched the "tower" rebuilt itself. Never had such an ecosystem been discovered before, an entire world of colonies. However, the Iron Hammer was ready to press on and it called back all its probes.
Unlike any grazer the organism had seen before, the thing left as quickly as it appeared. The breach was being sealed and he decided to help clean up the mess to his shared home.
The Iron Hammer was now a 1,360 light years from the Violate Ghost Nebula. As it was announced by one of the astronavigators, Kilnok considered how mere this distance was to the DCP. However, he remembered that to a civilization with very limited FTL or none at all, such a distance was inaccessible. It struck a memory, one from seven senturies before, when the Grimbolsaurians were only beginning to explore space, and Kilnok reflected how much had occured both in his life and the lives of his people, perhaps as much as twelve to fourteen generations of them, give or take considering how lifespan had increased each half-century. Kilnok should not have seen most of that, but earlier in his life he was able to acces the secrets of old lifespans...
Suddenly, a short-range signal had been detected from a nearby star system. They had wandered into the territory of a civilization, and the Iron Hammer intercepted exactly where it was coming from. The planet was orbiting a good distance from an O-type star, and scans revealed that it had a civilization. It wasn't long before ships from the surface moved into investigate. They scanned the Iron Hammer, but made no moves. Kilnok sent several incoming communication windows, however, no reply was made...
The ships held their positions, they were no harm to the Iron Hammer. Meanwhile, some of the crew scanned the planets ecosystem, which was very strange indeed, it lived mostly underground, detected via emissions from cave and fissure outlets, but some extremely UV resistent life stood on the surface, basking in the ultraviolet sun.
Admiral Horlin and all Jarzo onboard were struck by digestive problems. He had recently eaten, but was complaining of pains in his bowels, and when the medical team checked him, they discovered he had no healthy bacteria in his stomach, not a trace, and he was suffering from not being able to break down his food easily. It was easily solved, however, it became obvious that the mysterious civilization was more intersted in the bacteria carried in the stomach carried by Jarzo, and had teleported them away. Their biodeversity and ecosystem was so unlike the crew's, that they had no interest in the sapients on board, as they simply did not recorgnise them.
The Iron Hammer left the system before more bowel movements would begin...
Voyages of Avenger - Expedition to Forma and Sana
The DCP contacted many more odd and exotic civilizations, but then turned to ally they barely knew, the distant Sporemaster Alliance. Due to a recent civil war conflict, it would be difficult even for a neutrel empire to study and the DCP may have to wait, but there are races they wish to study in detail
The Forgetful Ones are two massively ancient empires, of an age long before the Sporemaster Alliance. The two live in either galaxy, their true age is unknown, but tales of old indicate that they inhabited the Forma galaxy before its collision with Sana, at least according to legend. But it would explain the two have been at war for so long, a conflict so ancient either races had forgotten why they were fighting, yet have an instinctive hatred for one another. Constant war caused them to evolve and their cultures to change so much they had forgotten why they were fighting, and even their names. Either of the Forgotful Ones have abundant resources and the extremes of navigating the galaxy is a reason why one has never toppled the other, and how a mixture of a many-millenia war and post-scarcity had inhibited advancement. The two refuse contact with most of other races.
But as the DCP began to explore Forma and Sana they detected traces of both these civilizations. Neither have shown interest in communicating with the DCP, barely acknowledging anything outside their self-created bubble of existence (in which everyone else was Tier U to them). Their mothod of warefare is strange, random planets of either are chosen and then attacked, only to be replaced again.
Races of the Forma/Sana
The Forma/Sana. A vast, little explored area of space containing seven regions with untold numbers of stars, resources, and species that could be living in them. Home to the Sporemaster Alliance, an intergalactic empire of allied species working for a common goal of peace and survival. The Darkstar Alliance, the younger new enemies of the Sporemaster Alliance, but surprisingly similar to them. And somewhere in the Forma Region, the last Astrolight, a being with the power to kill stars and create billions of copies of itself, a being made up of nothing but electromagnetic fields. The green nebula galaxy of Time, home to Time's Gate and it's guardians, a mysterious interuniversal order of strange lifeforms dedicated to protecting their "Gate to Time". The Sandgorgon, a species so powerful they singlehandedly brought an end to the Sporemaster Civil War by crushing the fleets of both sides of the conflict. The Murbelt, beings made of nothing but mind energy, only able to speak though thoughts and their slaves, the Murbies. The Forma/Sana Galaxies are a little understood place of dangerous creatures, mighty interstellar powers, and age-old empires. The DCP knew almost nothing about their allies, the Sporemaster Alliance, but they hoped to find out when they traveled there. Due to the relatively recent Conflict, the travel would be difficult, even for them, so this would be a far from easy mission for the DCP to undertake...
Siege of Girdo
When the Girdo Galaxy had been isolated from the rest of reality during the March of the Apocalypse, the Empire decided to spend some time studying it as they were now taking an enforced break from visiting other galaxies. They uncovered many derelict ships of the Grand Galactic Fleet that had ruled Girdo seven thousand years before. Several months after the March ended, they were still analysing the information that they had gained from these ruins.
Eventually, after scouring through countless petabytes of data, they found evidence of a deadly threat. The Girdo Galaxy had always had an unusual proportion of brown dwarfs - two-and-a-half million compared to only half a million other stars, or a 5:1 ratio - and while it was traditionally assumed to be the result of the astroengineering schemes of the advanced Xyanx race that inhabited the galaxy five billion years before, the Grand Galactic Fleet had come to a different conclusion. A form of star-life had been slowly converting ordinary main sequence stars to cold balls of hydrogen for purposes unknown. The Fleet, however, had more important priorities at the time, and their war against the Grox Empire destroyed them before they could resume their research.
6600 years later, the Girdo Empire conducted further studies and agreed that there were, in fact, alien creatures in a war against the stars of the Girdo Galaxy. Communications with the DCP resulted in the latter suggesting that the creatures were also invading the Milky Way, and may eventually spread across the universe. Their progress so far seemed to be slow, but if their growth was exponential then that would soon change, and as far as the Girdo Nature Reserve was concerned, any more brown dwarf stars would be too many, and was a risk that they could not take. The Empire continued to analyse the data that they had acquired, and soon built on the Grand Fleet's hypotheses of the exact nature of the creatures. They were intelligent, with faster-than-light travel as good as the Empire's own and gravitational technology powerful enough to rival anybody else's. However, contact with the creatures was attempted repeatedly with a variety of methods, and failed each time, unrecognised as intelligent signals or otherwise ignored.
The aliens' physiology was the most mysterious thing about them. One theory said that they were originally plasma-based creatures which had somehow bonded their bodies to dark matter to make personal starships; another, that they evolved naturally as beings of dark matter. Either way, their dark matter was their primary feature, rendering them impervious to anything but gravitational weaponry. Fortunately for the Girdo Galaxy, gravitational weaponry was something that they had easy access to, in the form of Hyperluminal Defence Stations. Every single brown dwarf in the whole of Girdo was targeted for extermination by the behemoths, and without warning, volleys of hyperluminal missiles left their ports and travelled at unimaginable speed across the galaxy.
When each missile hit its target, it imparted orders of magnitude more energy than the star would ever have released in its entire lifetime (had it not been rendered comatose by the dark matter aliens), instantly vaporising it. More importantly, the hyperdrives resulted in the emission of planar faster-than-light ultrawaves. These were normally completely harmless, and were if anything most useful for tracking a ship using such a drive, but in the sudden stop caused by a hyperluminal missile impacting, they caused devastating gravitational fluctuations across the entire star. This, combined with the sudden disappearance of the star's gravity well, tore apart the dark matter bodies of the aliens inside. The same event occured in every brown dwarf in the galaxy, all within the same microsecond, and there were few survivors of the attack. However, the aliens that did survive would not be destroyed so easily, and worst of all, they would be out for revenge.
The Empires had predicted this, though, and when the creatures arrived at the Hyperluminal Defence Stations, they were greeted with a trap. Each Station itself was a vast cube-shaped device with huge pylons jutting out of the centre of each face, and the entire structure was filled with spacetime-warping technology. Furthermore, Imperium-class starships and countless Droner-class fighters swarmed around each of the eight Stations. The Droners had no spacetime weapons, and were merely a distraction, both clogging any of the creatures' "line-of-sight" senses and providing a diversion for their fire.
The space around the Stations was soon filled with gravitational disturbances as the battle between invisible beings and Girdo forces raged on, and while the aliens were distracted, the Empire activated their trap. The tips of the Stations' pylons sprung to life and projected warp shields towards each other, forming flat triangular planes of warped spacetime that joined together to make an octahedral shield surrounding the entire station. However, this warp shield was reversed - rather than keeping things out, it trapped the aliens inside. At the ground, more warp shields were formed - the normal way around this time - which shot up the pylons and tore apart any creature or Droner that was unlucky enough to be hit by it. The pylons also beamed out the Imperium along with all of the surviving fighters, leaving the aliens trapped in the rapidly-closing gap between two warp shields. Then, suddenly, when the shields were only five kilometres from each other, the shields stopped their ascent, saving a few thousand aliens around each Station. Now was the hardest part of all for the Empire: making contact.
The Empire pumped a swarm of nanobots out of the tips of one of each Station's pylons, into the gap between the shields. The nanoswarm formed itself into an image of the Imperial Flag, a picture of the Girdo Galaxy against a black square background, modified to show the dark matter around the galaxy as well as the stars and gas. This image was invisible to light, but the nanobots made minute impressions in spacetime that the dark matter aliens could detect with their gravitational senses. The aliens close to the image moved in a way that showed to the Empire that the image had caught their attention. Once it was clear from their lack of further action that the creatures knew that the image wasn't a real object, the nanoswarms began to make new images, and told a story. They showed the dark matter aliens swarming across a burning star, then as the star cooled, creatures on a nearby planet saw their sun go out, and died. Xyanx ships made a retaliatory strike against the star, and there was a war between the the Xyanxes and the aliens. Billions of years passed, shown by a rapidly rotating galaxy and countless astronomical events such as supernovae, and stars began to go out across the galaxy. Near the centre, another civilisation appeared and noticed the threat. Then there was a quick summary of the battle that had just happened, leading to the current situation in each of the eight Hyperluminal Defence Stations around Girdo's rim.
They then made an offer, by marking out two areas (again, in each Station). In one area, the nanoswarms mimed dark matter creatures flying to a few special star systems where they could live in peace and do whatever they wished, and Xyanx ships being turned peacefully away from the stars. In the other, the swarms mimed the creatures being crushed between the two warp shields that they were currently trapped between, and elsewhere across the universe, the remaining creatures were chased down and destroyed by Xyanx fleets. All of the aliens across Girdo hovered motionless, each of them communicating with all of the others, and within a few seconds they came to a conclusion. One creature, above just one of the Stations, flew over to the first area. The warp shields were switched off, and the aliens all obligingly flew to their designated new homes in the Eghorsperwdoin Sector, a sector which also contained neutron star life taken from the Milky Way by the DCP. Most of the aliens' new homes were binary giant star systems orbited by several high-mass gas giants - and, most importantly, they had no other life.
Seeds of Fahler
Ever since the made contact, DCP diplomats had been trying to establish a relationship of sorts with the planet Fahler, although it was still officially under quarantine. They eventually discovered that Fahler was truly alive, and was able to reproduce. "Living Planets" normally spread their seeds by launching them across interstellar space, or by manipulating the evolution of life on their surface in order to attain spacefaring abilities and carry them to new worlds. However, Xyanx intervention had made both of those impractical, and now thousands of seeds were lying dormant within Fahler's crust. The DCP were allowed to take these seeds and transport them to the Girdo Galaxy, so long as they would not be disturbed. So, when the seeds arrived at Girdo, they were carefully delivered by shuttles onto several Imperium-class ships.
Each of Girdo's inhabited planets (besides those being used by the dark matter creatures) would receive its own "Gaia seed", which would be put to use when it matured. This still left nearly two hundred seeds, which would remain in storage until they were needed. The first planet to be visited was was in the New Andromeda sector, by the starship Ummale. There was one major problem with the planet - there were no gaps in the crust leading down to the mantle. This, however, was of little concern, as the Ummale simply fired a small nanoswarm to create a volcano at a remote and barren region of the planet, and then used more of its terraforming tools to counter any damage to the climate that could have resulted.
On board the ship, the crew had to work out how to deliver the seed safely inside the planet. The obvious method was to beam it directly into the volcano's caldera; however, such a rapid rise in temperature from the relative coldness of the ship's interior might cause unforseen damage. Dropping the seed from orbit was probably the typical means by which Gaia seeds would reach a planet, but this was out of the question as Fahler had specified that the seeds must be treated gently. The Imperial scientists instead decided to heat the seed up inside the ship until it reached a temperature close to that of the air a few dozen metres above the lava at the bottom of the caldera. Then, it was beamed into the volcano, where it dropped into the magma.
The crew of the Ummale watched to see what happened. They scanned the magma. The rock surrounding the seed melted, and a viscous fluid poured out. It surrounded the molten seed with pseudopods and consumed it, doubling in size with all of the excess mass. Convection currents in the magma started the carry the small blob of fluid away, but it extended an arm out towards the crust underneath the volcano and latched on. It quickly began absorbing magma from its surrounding environment, and continued to grow at a slow but visible rate. After a few more minutes, the scientists were satisfied that the new Living Planet would be fine in its new home, and the rest of the Imperium-class ships soon followed the Ummale's lead in the delivery of the Gaia seeds.
Unfortunately, this was the last thing that the Girdo Empire did before the "Annihilation" destroyed both them and their galaxy. However, all of their discoveries of truly alien life survived, as did the Empire itself in the form of Apalos, and new alien lives began elsewhere in the universe long after the end.
Part 3 - Quest for Cosmospawn
Part 1 and 2 are still active, all parts can be written at once.