By Sarah Terman, Amanda Stowers, and Matt Fisher
It is 2750, and humanity has spread out amongst the stars. At first the colonization of the Milky Way was a uniting force for the fractious children of Earth, a shared dream that captivated a species. But the peace was not to last. An ideological divide sundered humanity: on one side, the utopian Solarian Union, which encompasses the fertile worlds close to the galactic core; on the other, the ruggedly individualistic Coalition of Outer Worlds, a loose association of colonies scattered along the desolate arm of the galaxy.
As time went on, the rift between these two powers grew deeper, and now, they are on the verge of war. For now, they are held in check by the sheer distance between them – with current technology, it would take decades for a fleet to traverse the neutral zone and invade the outer fringes of the enemy’s territory. But tacticians on both sides know that, if the key to safely navigating the dangerous and unpredictable dimension known as warpspace could be found, ships would be able to travel between the empires at a fraction of the time. Many believe that the entire outcome of the war will hinge on which side is able to conquer warp and launch their invasion first.
In the midst of this turmoil, a strange anomaly appeared deep in a remote sector of unclaimed space. The anomaly radiates warp particles in organized patterns that are more stable than any previously recorded. Scientists have theorized that replicating the anomaly’s control over the warp might just be the long-sought answer to reliable warpspace travel. Both the Union and the Coalition, recognizing an opportunity, launched expeditions to investigate whatever is emitting the warp particles, and claim its secrets for their own.
But then disaster struck. The two ships arrived in the system simultaneously, in the midst of a warpstorm more severe than had ever been recorded before. Unable to control their trajectories in the wildly distorted space, the ships collided, and both were destroyed in the resulting explosion. A scant handful of survivors from each vessel managed to scramble to escape pods and launch into the dubious safety of space. As they drifted, however, each cluster of pods was unexpectedly hailed on frequencies that were antiquated but definitely human.
Some unknown group has already claimed the anomaly for their own.