Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer
There is an unacknowledged transcript of the end of Twentieth Fleet. It surfaced a few years after the event that removed a small star system at the far edge of the Milky Way from existence in a flash of glorious colours and strange radiation.
We suspect that the lost system contained the origin planet of Homo sapiens, our predecessors, but as data transfer is notorious for inherent corruption, we cannot state with certainty from the records we have left.
Why exactly this transcript remains unacknowledged is a puzzling thing, because it hints at a starfaring race of immense antiquity and divergent technologies.
But I am not here to draw conclusions. I am here to disseminate the transcript so greater minds than mine can do that.
The last transmission of the Assault Cruiser Hyperdyne, as transcribed by the deadfall recording array in the quadrant monitoring station at Upervant:
“It looked like a short-handled sledgehammer!”
“Did it go through the Hyperdyne’s stellar drive before or after the enormous lupine entity appeared and ate your escorts?”
“After. The being named Azbragh who appeared did apologise – he had been aiming at the lupine entity, which he named a ‘Fenreer’. He set off after it when I told him our ship was doomed anyway.”
“That was when you long range sensors detected the silver missile with prismatic drive emissions?”
“No, that was when we saw a giant metallic serpent wrapping itself around a rainbow-hued freespace edifice of some kind.”
“Really? Very well. You moved to investigate, I presume?”
“No sir, we did not. There were too many freespace entities of types similar and dissimilar to Azbragh appearing and engaging in pitched battle with unknown energy technologies and primitive melee weapons.”
“In your opinion, were they similar to any previously encountered group, or even historical reports like those about the Olympus Theocracy?”
“I would agree a similarity between accounts of the Theocracy’s Guardforms and the Fenreer, sir. Apart from that, these beings seemed to be completely novel alien forms.”
“And this Azbragh being returned to warn you?”
“Yes. He looked to be badly wounded on his second visit.”
“And as you completed the withdrawal, the entire planetary system collapsed in upon itself?”
“Yes. There were some odd visual effects, like a great tree of lightning connecting the planets and such, but there were no adverse gravitational effects, which we expected from proximity to what we assumed to be a nascent black hole.”
“Your current status?”
“We appear to have suffered some unquantifiable irradiation, sir. Hallucinations and deliria are getting worse. I regretfully recommend that you write the Twentieth off and place this sector under ban.”
It is recorded that the Hyperdyne was lost to a ‘catastrophic stellar drive malfunction’; the aberrant drive field emitted by that moment inducing a detrimental resonance effect with the rest of Fleet Twenty’s stellar drives, causing them to detonate in a freakish chain reaction. No record of the Twentieth Fleet’s actual co-ordinates when this catastrophe occurred is available.
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