Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
Earthmen first encountered the Sprites in 2384. The Sprites were fist sized glowing spheres that emitted a pulsating white light. However, the light defied known physics. Normally, a prism would refract white light into a colorful spectrum, but not the white light from the Sprites. When passed through a spectrum, the light simply vanished, but would reappear as white light if passed through a second prism.
It was originally assumed that the Sprites were a natural phenomenon, like ball lightening. But as scientists attempted to collect them, it became crystal clear that the Sprites were both evasive and intelligent. All attempts to capture the Sprites were fruitless. Eventually, it was concluded that they were a harmless interstellar life form, so they were permitted to roam freely among the stars.
Initially, the apparently harmless Sprites began following small recreational spaceships, similar to the way pilot fish swim alongside sharks and stingrays. Among the élite, Sprites became a type of status symbol. The more Sprites you had attending you spaceship, the better. Over the years, the sprites also began attending interstellar passenger liners and large cargo ships. Since the Sprites didn’t interfere with ship operations, most captains tended to ignore them. Eventually, crews became accustomed to their presence, and even felt apprehensive when signing onto ships without Sprites. Sprites were considered good luck omens, and by the end of the century, they were attending all non-military space faring vessels.
However, when the war broke out with the Epsilon Reticuli Empire, Sprites became a strategic military asset when it was discovered that their normally white light turned crimson whenever a Reticulian warship approached within a light year. As the war ramped up, military vessels actively sought Sprites as early warning devices. The potential military value of the Sprites even prompted the Earth Alliance President to issue an executive order requiring citizens to surrender their Sprites to the Government. At the height of the war, the bulk of the Earth Alliance Fleet, including sixteen Battlecruisers, thirty-two Destroyers, were poised to engage the Reticulian fleet in a pivotal battlefront along the outskirts of the Denebola System. As the opposing forces aligned their starships in preparation for battle, the Sprites glowed bright red. As if fearing the Reticulian forces, the Sprites began to nestle closer to their Alliance ships in an apparent effort to seek protection. Then, in rapid fire succession, the Sprites blew themselves up, severely damaging the propulsion and weapons systems of their host ships. On cue, the Reticulian warships swooped in and finished off the helpless and bewildered ships of the once powerful Earth Alliance.
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