Crossfire has a very complex story with many side plots that are told from various point of views. The main story is based on ten CHAPTERS. Each mod release of the past introduced one new chapter to the Crossfire storyline. They explain how the story of the mod evolved with each new mod version, but they only give a rough overview of the whole story. To get the big picture you also have to read the Crossfire SHORT STORIES, play the various side quests, follow the news and rumors on the bars, and of course play the Crossfire story campaign which starts right after the original Freelancer story campaign.

Story elements:

  • The Crossfire mod chapters: explain "what" did happen.
  • The Crossfire mod short stories: deal with the question of “why” did something happen.
  • The Crossfire in-game story quests and rumors explain "how" events did happen.

All three story elements are directly linked and are to be view as a whole.

Important warning about autosaves: please avoid use of these during SP Campaign play completely! It was repeatedly confirmed that use of them can corrupt all further saves including mission-saves!!!!


  • SWAT_OP-R8R (creator main story, creator story related quests)
  • Drakon (writer of the short stories for Crossfire based the main story layouts)
  • Centaurian (writer of the ingame story elements and rumours for Crossfire version 1.8)
  • Martind Forlon (writer of the short stories for CF based the main story layouts)
  • Balefire (writer of the short story for Crossfire version 2.0 based the side story layout)
  • Ajay (writer of the ingame rumours and other ingame texts for Crossfire version 2.0)
  • denne (writer of the ingame texts for Crossfire version 2.0)
  • Gearhead10 (grammar revisions for ingame texts for Crossfire version 2.0)


The Crossfire story was meant to show an epic view on the universe and the human race with its faults and strengths. While working on it the main objective was to keep it logical, interesting and based on the Freelancer/Starlancer storyline. Most developments which take place after the Trents adventures of the original game are result of a logical story string based on information that already exist in the original game and its prequel. Crossfire can be best described with "What would happen if we continue the story based on the existing information?"



The Crossfire mod chapters explain "what" did happen.

- Crossfire Chapter 1 -

Not long after the incident at the Dyson Sphere, a Rhineland explorer found a new jumpgate to a hidden system in Omicron Alpha. When the ship entered this system, the crew was shocked. It was the main reason for the rising Nomad activities in the whole Sirius sector. Containing one planet, its moon and over 20 Jumpgates to Liberty, Borderworld and many unknown systems, it is a major threat for all houses. Rhineland, Liberty, Kusari and Bretonia decided to send their fleets to get this system under their control.

But the Nomads were already waiting for them. Hundreds of ships were destroyed in the epic conflict now known as the Battle for X-3403. Capital ships engaged some of the most massive and powerful of the nomad fleet. The sky was lit with thousands of ships, both human and nomad firing missiles and all kinds of energy weapons at one another. Space was littered with the remains of cruisers, battleships and gunboats. Bodies floated endlessly into the vast regions of the universe.

During the battle, the Kusari fleet began to chase a group of Nomad capital ships through one of the uncharted gates. It is presumed they were destroyed in the system which they traveled as radio contact suddenly stopped. For days the battle ensued until the Nomad forces, diminished and exhausted retreated to the unknown, after destroying their underground base and with it the entire planet. The Battle for X-3403 was finally won. As a monument to the extreme chaos that was experienced in the battle, the remaining moon in this system was named Crossfire. However, with the Outcast home world just a few light years away, the system is still yet to be completely secure.


- Crossfire Chapter 2 -

One day several months after the Battle of X-3403, a pilot under the employ of Cryer Pharmaceuticals picked up an emergency broadcast near one of the still uncharted systems leading from X-3403: "This is Vice Admiral Daisuke of the Kusari Navy! We are under attack by Nomad *#$*ces... we need immediate reinforcements! Our position is 12.*)"§12*33 ... who ever can hear this please help us!" The rumors that the Kusari Fleet is still out there are now confirmed. The Fleets of Liberty and Rhineland, the two most combat ready fleets since the Battle of X-3403, enter the system now known as Death Valley, nearest where the broadcast was heard, to rescue the Kusari.

Meanwhile, in the Nephele System, a sleeper-ship wreck is discovered which looks similar to the old alliance sleeper-ships. Cambridge Research Scientists entered the wreck to explore it and to have a look at the ship database. "Russian language?!?! ... It's a few hundred years old Coalition_ship!" They returned to the University of Cambridge to present their findings to the Bretonian Magistrate. However, their report is officially rejected due to the lack of open-mindedness of the Bretonia government.


  • Crossfire Chapter 2 - Mission 17 - Kusari Fleet
  • Crossfire Chapter 2 - Mission 18 - Origins
  • Crossfire Chapter 2 - Mission 19 – Liberation

- Crossfire Chapter 3 -

The Nomad battle: Even with reinforcements coming to Death Valley the Kusari are not able to destroy the Nomad armada. Countless scores of lives are lost as the fight is nearing the 3-month mark. A single Kusari fighter blasted his way through the blockade in Death Valley and managed to deliver a data disk with invaluable information regarding the origins of the sleeper-ship found in Nephele. Local scientists analyzed the data-disk and the files confirm what the Cambridge scientists discovered.

The Sleeper-ship: Launched 150 Years after the Alliance left Earth and Sol for the Sirius Sector. The reason, still encrypted with outdated technology, is yet to be discovered. It is theorized that the resources of Earth and Sol were completely drained and the sleeper-ships embarked into unknown territory so that the remaining human population of Sol could find a place to call home.

Some of the inhabitants in nearby systems may have heard something about this, so it is worth it, my friends, to investigate these theories.


  • Crossfire Chapter 3 - Mission 20 - Nephele
  • Crossfire Chapter 3 - Mission 21 - Smuggler's Journey

- Crossfire Chapter 4 -

Jump Coordinates found on the data-disk on the Coalition Sleeper ship provided the information needed to built a jump-gate at the far edge of Dublin. Unbeknown to the first explorers to travel through the jump-gate, it was the link between Sol and Sirius through the system known as Hyperion, which had at last been found. But Earth was not like how the halo-archives depicted it. The surface was scorched as if nomads had been there; not a single human survivor remained on the former human home-world. There was no doubt that the nomads were responsible. Scientists are now arriving on Earth to decrypt the old science centers left behind by the Coalition and maybe... just maybe we can find out where the Coalition went and why they really left Earth.


  • Crossfire Chapter 4 - Mission 22 - Paradise Lost
  • Crossfire Chapter 4 - Mission 23 - The Order

- Crossfire Chapter 5 -

Finally, the Houses have found out where the Coalition disappeared to: another star cluster in the Altair Sector. Envoy's of peace formed by the re-established Alliance Star Fleet were turned away with gunfire. The Envoy fleet hovering in orbit above the Coalition home-world Murmansk was blasted into smithereens. It seems now, we are at war with the Coalition... again. War is why Nations are forged and destroyed. War is why Humans have prospered beyond Earth. War... war never changes, and the peace won by war never lasts long before some other threat appears in the distance. War it seems...never ends.


  • Crossfire Chapter 5 - Mission 24 - Coalition
  • Crossfire Chapter 5 - Mission 25 - Cease Fire

- Crossfire Chapter 6 -

During a skirmish in Vorkuta in the Altair Sector between Coalition and Alliance forces, a new threat unveiled itself on everyone's scanners. Dom'Kavash, the long forgotten race of beings who were once thought to inhabit the Sirius Sector returned. The skirmish was immediately terminated as the humans were destroyed almost instantly by superior firepower and technology. Facing a larger threat than Humanity has ever known since itself, there is now a larger political battle being fought. The Houses of the Alliance and Coalition must now decide if they can stand together, regardless of past differences, to fight the Dom'Kavash threat. Countless ships of Alliance and Coalition fleets were obliterated by bio-mechanical monsters of old. It was feared that the Coalition was nearing imminent destruction. no amount of firepower, it seemed, was effective enough.

Studies of the battles that ensued showed that for every Dom'Kavash fighter lost, 4 human ships were lost. For every Dom'Kavash Cruiser destroyed, 3 of our battleships were vaporized. These, and more similar statistics, led to the public release of military capital ships of all the houses, as well as the creation of more proto-type ships. Old schematics of proto-typed fighters were refreshed and the new ships mass produced and released to the public. Dom'Kavash fleets were on the warpath to Human genocide. The End was near.


  • Crossfire Chapter 6 - Mission 26 - Brennigan's Coordinates

- Crossfire Chapter 7 -

A massive fleet of Coalition ships were commissioned several months after the Dom'Kavash invasion. The people were firm in their belief that the new fleet's assault on the Dom'Kavash blockade would have been a cakewalk. Nevertheless, that optimism was soon dispelled shortly after the assault began. Than, a one in a million miracle happened. The fleet broke through the Dom'Kavash blockade, a miracle eerily reminiscent of when the Alliance left Sol. Soon after a hyper-gate was discovered. The fleet entered, but never returned.

Exploration ships followed later and reported that the coalition fleet had been destroyed by the inhabitants of the Inner Core systems. These inhabitants were hostile to any force that was not Dom'Kavash. Mother ships continued to attack humans in every way possible. A way through these systems is still being charted, but is highly dangerous and rarely ever successful. The Altair system was economically devastated, not only due to the expense of the commissioning of the huge fleet, but also from the toll of the wars with both the Alliance and Dom'Kavash. The Coalition faltered as their outer defense lines fell and the Dom'Kavash spread into Sirius. Dom'Kavash armies flooded the sector, attacking everyone, but it seems they gave special attention to House Capitals: New Berlin, New London and New Tokyo. The fight spread to Omicron Alpha and X-3403. The genocide of Humanity was only just beginning.


  • Crossfire Chapter 7 - Mission 27 - New Worlds
  • Crossfire Chapter 7 - Mission 28 - Hyperspace

- Crossfire Chapter 8 -

We vastly overestimated the forces that attacked Sirius. It was later discovered that the fleets that attacked New Berlin, New Tokyo, New London, X-3403 and Omicron Alpha were merely scouts, seemingly looking for something. A professor at University of New Tokyo, Dr. Itao Hamasaki, believes that nomads in the Dyson Sphere sent a distress call which in turn prompted the return of the Dom'Kavash. The Dom'Kavash were initially mistaken that it was humans who the nomads considered the threat and need eradication, but something far more evil and powerful was on the horizon_. Ruins, found in the far reaches of the Borderworld systems, hint at an ancient civilization who ruled over a large area long before Humans. Initial excavations of these ruins have yet to determine the name of this civilization, but they are commonly referred to as the Ancients. It is hypothesized by Doctor Hamasaki that whatever it is the Dom'Kavash are searching for, is in these ruins.


  • Crossfire Chapter 8 - Mission 29 - Utopia
  • Crossfire Chapter 8 - Mission 30 - Ancient World
  • Crossfire Chapter 8 - Mission 31 - Science Project
  • Crossfire Chapter 8 - Mission 32 - Inner Core

- Crossfire Chapter 9 -

The Gas Mining Guild poured billions of credits_ into research and development of a hyper-gate. Hyper-gates, until the completion of GMG's were those of the Kavash, so this was a huge leap for mankind. So large, that when a Research team went through the gate and never returned, this turn of events prompted a change in tactics for the Kavash. As it turned out, this hyper-gate led directly to the Inner Core of the Galaxy. As Edison Trent discovers, the Dom'Kavash are waging a seemingly eternal war with foreign species: The Dom'Setek, the Dom'Nepesh and the Dom'Razak. Cut off from their resources, vastly outnumbered, and despite their technology being the most potent anyone has ever seen, the Kavash Empire now turn to humans for aid.


  • Crossfire Chapter 9 - Mission 33 - The Kavash
  • Crossfire Chapter 9 - Mission 34 - Device

- Crossfire Chapter 10 -

At the edge of destruction, the Dom'Kavash for the first time in their history, have no choice but to create an alliance with a minor species, the humans. If this alliance fails, the last defense perimeters of the empire will crumble. The Kavash will face their extinction and humankind might well follow. However, humankind is at odds with each other and the alliance is at risk. The fate of the galaxy is in your hands.


  • Weapon construction
  • Battle strategies
  • The Black hole
  • Sacrifice


Short.png Stories.png

The Crossfire short stories deal with the question of “why” did something happen.

- Part I: Prologue -

First and foremost, let it be known to the reader that the Crossfire Introduction renders a logical interpretation of possible events bridging between Starlancer, Freelancer, and beyond. In the unofficial intro one may note a Nomad battleship destroying the solar system. This conflicts with Freelancer's plot, however, in the if the Nomads possessed such a super-weapon it would have used them to destroy the Houses of Sirius without the use of clandestine infiltration and certainly not held back in favor of limited, conventional warfare during their battles in the storyline. Changing that one detail, the unofficial intro has influenced Crossfire in ways only that are compatible with the official events of Freelancer. Entertain for a moment the possibility that the Coalition survived the initial attack, that they had the potential for interstellar colonization, and time enough to engage in at brief and bitter war before their defeat in Sol. With this mind, please read on and immerse yourself in the rich and colorful story that is the Crossfire plot.

- Part II: A matter of History -

It was the 23rd Century: mankind's darkest hour. The war had been raging for almost one hundred years. We had been fighting for so long no one could remember the reason why it all started in the first place. All we knew was that there were two sides, the Coalition and the Alliance. For decades millions died for the same piece of rock again and again. Finally, one side managed to gain he upper hand: the Coalition. In desperation, the Alliance launched five sleeper ships. The hope was for them to begin again far from the war and strife that had befallen Earth, to start free from the prejudices that had divided us for so long. Each sleeper ship was christened after its patron nation: the Bretonia, the Rheinland. the Hispania, the Kusari, the Liberty. Against all odds, the colony ships broke through the Coalition blockade and headed for the Sirius Sector.

The Coalition's failure at this decisive moment was not complete. For years spies had infiltrated the Alliance's ranks. Their plans were already known. Soon, a Coalition sleeper ship was completed: the Stalin. It gave chase to the colony ships, beginning its own voyage to Sirius. Meanwhile... the war continued on. One by one, the remaining Alliance bases were overrun until all that remained was Pluto. It was here that the Alliance forces prepared for one gallant, last stand. But then, something happened that no one could have ever imagined. They arrived. It was our first contact with another species and for a moment we forgot our differences. We just stood there - dumbfounded by its size and beauty. It was ironic that in those moments we were finally united as a people, but this revelation could be savored for only a few bitter seconds for these aliens had not come in peace.

From this massacre emerged few survivors. A new conflict had begun, and it could not be won. Coalition forces were driven back and slaughtered by the alien menace. With all now lost for Earth, the last of the sleeper ships were hastened to completion and prepared for launch. Unwilling to risk jeopardizing the safety of colonists in Sirius by leading the Nomads there, the crews of the Moscow and Minsk instead turned their eyes to the Alliance's fall-back destination: the Altair Sector. Amidst the chaos of battle, both vessels managed to escape the alien aggressors. For those left behind there was no hope for survival. In the days to come, they would suffer a dark and gruesome fate. That was 800 years ago, when we came here to rebuild our lives. We've come a long ways since then. We have grown, we have prospered, we have flourished but we will never forget.

- Part III: The Nomad Campaign in Sol -

Millions upon millions of year ago a vast, interstellar empire was established. It was ruled over by a race of beings known to us today as the Dom' Kavash. So immense was their realm that as a people they were spread too thinly to watch over it themselves. To solve this problem, they created an entirely new race of sentient, subservient creatures to patrol the stars in their stead. These beings were known as the Nomads. They dutifully reported all findings to their masters and sought out alien life. To ensure that no other species could ever rise up against the empire, the Nomads were ordered to exterminate any species that came to attain the capacity for interstellar flight. So it was. For a time the Nomads lurked in the shadows. They watched over Earth as its inhabitants engaged in endless, pitiful feuds. With the squabbling, however, human technology grew in its sophistication. A once primitive species came dangerously close to the threshold. Lingering there for only a brief moment, they then crossed it. There was no turning back. Having hurtled themselves forth from their system to settle others, the apes had suddenly become a threat.

Acting swiftly to contain this contagion within the empire, Nomad fleets converged upon Sol System and utterly annihilated its inhabitants. Some had been known to escape, while others did so without the Nomads' knowledge. In the centuries to come they would search for the Alliance sleeper ships that slipped from their grasp. One bastion of resistance was found in Sirius. Their efforts to destroy it came to the brink of success, but were thwarted in the end. The intellect and ingenuity of the humans was underestimated. As a people they were powerful when united behind a common cause. Raised from the ashes, they were capable of even fighting back against the Nomads. Repeated efforts to crush humanity appeared to be in vain. Yes. The contagion was growing relentlessly - spreading rapidly now and occupying dozens upon dozens of star systems. If this species could not be defeated outright their advance would need to be slowed. Expansion by the colonists of Sirius had to be contained. Holding the lines with all their might, the Nomads called to their masters, the Dom' Kavash, to warn them of this emerging danger.

- Part IV: Disappearance of the Dom' Kavash -

Where were these masters, do you ask? Where did they come from? The answers to these questions begin with understanding the history of an ancient race. It began with the Kavash. They were the first sentient inhabitants of our galaxy. Eons passed. Their achievements and glory knew no bounds. Free from harassment by other races, they eventually took to the stars and came to rule over a domain that spanned the great, celestial spiral from rim to core. For this reason, we have come to know them as the Dom' Kavash - for who could ever rival the glory of the only race to ever exercise Dominion over all that mankind has ever known? The overwhelming success of this alien species truly began after their migration from their home, far towards the edges of our galaxy, to the Inner Core. It is there in the dense patchwork of stars that they found resources nearly inexhaustible. So, too, did they harness the raw energy required to operate their crowning technological achievement: the hypergate. Equipped with a wide-reaching network of hypergates, the Dom' Kavash extended their imperial might to every corner of the Milky Way.

Building further upon this success they built three gates that were greater, still. These allowed exploration of neighboring galaxies for the first time. The Dom' Kavash were no longer alone. There were others. A race had risen to dominion in each of the galaxies, just as the Kavash had here. For many an age, the four races held goodwill for one another. They coexisted in peace and harmony. Then that came to a tumultuous end. Two of the races demanded of the Dom' Kavash much more than the free exchange of commodities alone. They had grown accustomed to the superior technology of the Dom' Kavash and, envious as they were, wanted it for themselves. War broke out. The third race reluctantly joined and abandoned its neutrality. They were unwilling to be left behind in the struggle for control of hypergate technology. The Dom' Kavash were by far the most powerful, but could not withstand the combined might of all three neighbors.

Withdrawing from the galactic rim during the first century of fighting allowed the Dom' Kavash to consolidate their people in the Inner Core. The war raged on. Hypergates were razed to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. Their seat of power became insecure. With the network in tatters, it seemed as though the empire was finally on the brink of collapse. More systems were lost, but the Dom' Kavash would never surrender. Invaders were crushed with seemingly unfathomable force. The Inner Core could not be ceded. For every life cheated of the defenders, four were taken in kind from their opponents. It did not matter. Their position as the years dragged on grew desperate. Then something unexpected occurred. A signal was received from Nomad sentries near their distant, beloved home world. To respond to the emergency, the Dom' Kavash created a gravimetric anomaly. It was a risky gambit. Using the anomaly as a slipshod hypergate, they jumped to a system near Sirius to better evaluate the situation. In doing so - in spite of all odds - they would inadvertently land upon the lap of an unbeknownst, expanding Coalition presence in Altair.

- Part V: Boon of the Colonies -

Back in Sirius spirits were high. Humanity had emerged victorious from the Nomad War. Tattered and in need of resources to rebuild, the Houses turned to the untamed frontiers of their sector. Debris fields were salvaged. Asteroids were strip mined. Gas clouds were harvested. Investigation of these remote and dangerous places yielded new jump holes to plot. Most colonists of the era were cagey and knew the risks of their use. They held back with patience. Eventually an intrepid Rheinlander exploring Omicron Alpha discovered a more stable, Nomad jump gate. It led to a strange, backwater system: X-3043. Deep in the tiered asteroid belts rich lodes were discovered by prospectors. An exodus occurred. Corporate titans vied mercilessly for claims. In their explorations of the system a large formation of jump gates were discovered. An entire Nomad network lay there at rest.

Researchers examined these gates, and thought them to have been dormant since war's end. This network connected X-3043 to every corner of Sirius, raising great alarm in the international community. After all that Sirius had been through, the Nomads could never be allowed to use these gates in another campaign. The Order officials agreed with this judgment. Acting swiftly, the Houses collaborated to assemble a great armada in the X-3043 System. Its purpose: to hold this strategic bottleneck at all costs. Mines were laid. Checkpoints were established. Monitoring stations were built to scan all arrivals and departures. The governments of Sirius established strong oversight over civilian activity. Ore from the asteroid belts was shipped constantly back to the Houses, usually through the Custodian System on its way to Planet Manhattan.

To improve security for these commercial interests, an additional military attaché was dispatched to Custodian and granted jurisdiction there. Frontier regions being frontier regions, society's most detestable characters found ways to bypass security and strike at the miners and their cohorts. Violence broke out. Measures were taken. Incidents occurred. The stronghold in Custodian was reviled by the criminals of Sirius, and they came to know it by the grizzly moniker of "Planet Blood". Priding themselves in their principles and dutiful service, the label was taken on as a badge honor. So it was that they became the Blood Guard. Dedicated military and police personnel like these fostered stability and flourishing commerce in X-3043. Men went from rags to riches. Life was adventurous and fruitful in the mining outfits. Alas, tragedy then struck and brought an abrupt pause to it all. Little did the colonists realize of the imminent danger, or the enormity of the ambush they had stumbled into.

The planet known casually as "X II" amongst the locals supported an undetected Nomad colony. Preparations were underway since the moment the first humans jumped into the system. They struck with resounding force. All at once their battleships dropped out of cloak and commenced the attack. Casualties were staggering. Hundreds of colonist ships were destroyed, crippled, or soon to go missing. The Houses mustered the remnants of their fleet and, with civilian support, hit back with all their might. During the historic battle that ensued, the Nomads would go down in a blaze of horrific self-immolation. Their planet was scuttled, reduced to little more than rubble, to deny colonists any acquisition of their technology. To this day the charred remnants lie scattered across the system. Indeed, without the heroism of the servicemen and women that day humanity could never have been delivered such a resounding victory. The human settlement on another planet survived bombardment. It was renamed Crossfire, and immediately built upon by the Houses as part of their spending package for reconstruction. It would go from dusty, arid wastes to metropolitan sprawl virtually overnight.

- Part VI: The Aftermath -

In the days leading up to the battle, scouts arrived in the Nephele System. They were investigating an SOS call from an allied, Red Hessian pilot. Instead they found in its final resting place the sleeper ship Stalin. Abandoned scaffolding and heavy equipment blanketed the adjacent asteroid. no survivors were found. All was desolation, with evidence of a gunfight discovered on site. The new owners, Bundschuh rebels exiled from Rheinland, proceeded to salvage the vessel. In doing so they came into acquisition of an impressive databank. It contained knowledge lost since the times of the Sol War. Of particular interest to them were the designs for several Alliance ships. Examination of the logs revealed that the Coalition had planned to manufacture them. They were meant to infiltrate colony space and be covertly supplied to rebels. Standing orders had been to topple all enemy establishments and await reinforcements. Unable to locate the Alliance colonies, the crew instead perished trying to establish their own. That was centuries ago.

The news spread. Nothing short of a technological revolution occurred once the data found its way back to the Houses. Defeating the Nomad threat would be easier now with possession of their ancestors' cutting-edge armaments. If only they had not arrived too late for the battle high over the skies of Crossfire. The smoldering hulks of stricken ships were still being towed to Crossfire Docks. A long salvage queue could take several months to clear. With the entire Kusari fleet missing, an exhaustive hunt was on to find it. Pockets of Nomad resistance were turned up but there were no signs of friendly vessels. It was in "Death Valley" that they took their stand, having pursued an alien battleship back to its base. There it was that the Kusari became bogged down in combat. Relentless waves of Nomad craft pounded their ranks and prevented couriers from breaking free of the system. Finally there came a lone, brave pilot who was able to break free and deliver a data-disk to X-3043. The pilot's saving grace allowed the floundering, Kusari fleet to receive desperately-needed relief and reinforcements before all was lost.

Meanwhile, with the Nomad planet literally turned inside out and prospects still viable in the belts, the population of Planet Crossfire grew exponentially. Eventually the system would be rendered sterile by miners. They had greedily raped and plundered its resources and now turned their attention to the neighboring systems. Plans to develop these by both public and private entities provoked the uninhibited wrath of the Outcasts. A regional war broke out. To the cursed descendants of the Hispania crew, to colonize a world more hospitable than their own was considered a birthright worth dying for. With the Houses weakened by their clash with the Nomads this was the opportune moment. Efforts to halt expansion were in vain. Planet Crossfire assumed its rightful place in Sirius as a major hub of commerce. Yet droves of pioneers who come to X-3043 are still met by the blazing guns of the maskers. The conflict will likely carry on for decades more.

- Part VII: ASF vs. CSF: A People Divided -

Infighting like that barely scratches the surface. Ever since the naval armada assembled in X-3043 there was growing resentment for the House establishment. Privateers, mistreated workers, smugglers, freedom fighters, and even entrepreneurs found the conditions they were in outrageous. Each had their unique concerns, causes, and ambition. More than anything the steep cost of battle had taken its toll. To them it was clear that the House governments were already overstepping their bounds and meddling too eagerly in their lives. The days of the cherished, freelancing spirit might soon be numbered. A single, united colony government could not be allowed to endanger their way of life. Setting aside their differences had carried the day in their battle beside the navies when the Nomads came. The same could be done to push back against the Houses. Ill-begotten earnings and talent were pooled. Cooperation was tentative, but work commenced on preparing a respectable flotilla for war. Using their new ships, the so-called Confederated Strike Force set out to shake loose from Sirius the chains of tyranny once and for all.

To the rest of Sirius this was intolerable. The state of affairs was hectic enough as it was. They had suffered only recently from Nomads, Outcasts, and the widespread panic over the possible return of the Coalition. How could a ragtag rabble be rallying dissidents against them at a time like this? House cooperation in the frontiers had proven successful in bringing relative peace and prosperity before. It would do so again. Beginning work on a new generation of naval forces, the colonies merged these high-tech assets into an Alliance Star Fleet. Integration of forces would take time... but ultimately benefit Sirius. Vows of militant action by the CSF were responded to decisively. Admirals were given their orders. It would be the criminal underworld next to be torn asunder by the clout of their guns. Funding was ample. Technology and able manpower were on hand. Their supremacy was unquestionable. The ASF was prepared to rise to the challenge. Their mission: unite the Houses, defend humanity from all threats foreign and domestic, and secure freedom and justice for every man, woman, and child in Sirius.

- Part VIII: Home Again at Last -

Fierce competition in X-3043 and the skirmishing between ASF and CSF forces hurt margins for several corporations. There were safer markets to tap. Surveys aimed at exploring mineral prospects far from established "pirate coves" were commenced. A region of space seldom plied was examined first, and led them to something truly astonishing: a way back to Sol. The cause of the phenomenon was at first unclear. Some accredited it to the work of Ageira, others to the Order or GMG. Rumors amongst Lane Hackers alleged that one of their own - a gifted quantum physicist - had "programmed" the warp anomaly. Maybe it was divine intervention, or perhaps a mere fluke of nature. Unfortunately for the expeditions, Sol had no vacancies. Nomads were on the prowl. It would take the Order's most rousing campaign yet to drive them back from the ruins of Earth. Following their success, a vanguard HQ was built in orbit around Mars. To their valor and sacrifice this station remains an enduring, evolving monument.

With the descendants of the Alliance returning home it was only a matter of time before the pieces to the puzzle fell into place. Wreckage turned to foundations. Cities were erected upon the ashes of their predecessors. Warp buoys were refurbished and put into service. At first Earth was exclusive - a destination of choice for society's uber-elite. The population there never did return to its former, all-time high. Despite humanity's best efforts, their home world could never again relive its former glory. Instead, long and arduous trade routes began to funnel treasures back to Sirius. These were lucrative (if not perilous) runs for the typical freighter and transport captains. Ancient "artifacts" went to those who could afford them in the Houses one way. Returning back, demand on Earth for exotic (often illicit) commodities was high. Most crews were no strangers to smuggling. This problem went unchecked by overburdened police authorities and the fledgling, Alliance fleet.

- Part IX: Jack Blinch's Revelation -

Unearthed records on Sol unanimously pointed to the Colation's complete and untimely demise. With the secrets of the dead well-hidden, few of the researchers on Earth realized the story of what had truly happened. One of the men who would come to learn of the events was Jack Blinch. He was a scoundrel, womanizer, bootlegger of data disks and a hero? Mr. Blinch was one of the best in his trade. Bothered by the nuisance of destroying cargo to avoid endangering himself or his clients when apprehended, Jack found an alternative. A hidden computer aboard his freighter used personal encryption keys to discretely store and retrieve information. In addition, he personally read disks prior to shipment. Conviction of treason if caught by the Bretonian Police Authority is never worth the credits. This covered his rosy cheeks in a satisfactory enough way.

An offer he took one day on Earth was from a scientist. The report being transported explained her elaborate and unorthodox theories - ideas unlike anything he had read before. Jack learned about the ANS Hispania, and how its damaged propulsion unit had conclusively spawned the warp anomaly connecting Sol to Hyperion in distant Sirius. The report compared the consistencies of that disturbance with another recently detected and misidentified by the Order. If her reasoning were correct, the Eastern Coalition had to have built at least two sleeper ships. While CNS Stalin featured a knock-off of the Alliance sleeper ship's propulsion design, this other vessel would have needed a uniquely powerful (yet faulty) alternative to produce the results observed. Blinch was intrigued by this revelation and saved a copy of the report before completing the contract. After departing Planet Cambridge it was difficult to go back to work as usual. His mind was racing in circles, scheming about how he might capitalize upon the scientist's findings. Determined to find proof before carrying out his impulses, he paid a visit to the Nephele.

Everything needed to convince him was there. The proof was well concealed. It may take years for somebody else to come across it if he were not to say a word. Time was not on Jacks side, however, and he was well aware of this. The knowledge was golden but only temporarily. What could be taken to the Coalition that would garner the greatest reward? The credits would be his and his alone. no cuts for wingmen. no bribes for crooked cops to look the other way. no strings attached. Most importantly of all: no warrants out for his arrest. Laying out a series of clues for his brother to find in three weeks time, Blinch paid a visit to one of his LSF contacts in California and hit him up for a job. Anything sensitive in need of "discrete transportation" and relating to government would do. Piloting his freighter back to Sol was no challenge. Constables in Bretonia do not even patrol the jump holes anymore. The rest of his story is now a legend many know. Only days after Jack's departure from Sol it would be Peter Abbot Blinch, a 28 year-old paralegal turned Orbital Spa & Cruise guide in Edinburgh, who came forward with what he knew and left Sirius completely dumbfounded.

- Part X: Reunion -

After so much passage of time it is surprising to find how little diplomacy had changed. Expeditions sent by Rheinland and later the BAF were never heard from again. Ships operated by the Order spent four days investigating Altair and returned only with grim tidings. Hostility between the Coalition and colonists in Sirius was not welcomed, but still worked to the benefit of the House governments. With the specter of yet another enemy dangling over the people, support steadily dwindled for the CSF. This culminated in the establishment of a unified, Alliance government on Planet Crossfire. Opposition continued in earnest sector-wide. Minor raids sporadically demanded Alliance response, but media coverage was often exaggerating the events taking place. With a real war effort at hand, temporary reconciliation between the factions was likely. They would fight side by side as brothers and sisters should conditions ever call for it.

Alliance fighters arriving at the Coalition's front door were torn apart by seasoned interceptor squadrons and gigantic, station-mounted ion cannons. Raiders sent to Sol by the Coalition were easily dispatched by anti-Nomad picket lines set up by the Order. The alien presence dividing the rival factions was a force of considerable attrition. Enduring offensives involving any full-hearted campaign by one against the other was practically impossible. Combat became even less proficient as Nomad skirmishing returned in earnest with Dom' Kavash support following right on their heels. Their gunboats and fighters were terrors in dogfights, decimating Alliance and Coalition squadrons alike. Soft spots in their defenses started to buckle and give way. Alien formations swooped in, seemingly out of thin air, to ravage civilian targets throughout Sirius. They also struck at the military heart of the Coalition in Vorkuta. The Nomad arsenal now featured armored space carriers, lethal bombers, and even shielded interceptors.

Victory on so many fronts could not be attained. Summits held on Planets Curacao and Murmansk drew up terms for a ceasefire and the formation of a military pact against the Nomads and Dom' Kavash, respectfully. They would regret not having done so months earlier. Outcast raids on X-3043 tapered off as Dom' Kavash marauders brought war to the Omicrons. Fighter swarms advanced to Planet Crossfire, where only the most determined of resistances made it possible to repel them. In Altair, the situation was direr. Warships flooding in through Gurm were being held at bay less than six hours flight from the Coalition's capital. To hold the lines not a single warship could be allowed to falter in their completion of tasking. Sharing assets and intelligence improved survival rates for active-duty personnel significantly, but it would be months before they would know whether or not the tides of war could be turned in favor of humanity.

- Part XI: The Patriotic Duty -

The war dragged on. Conditions deteriorated. To have any hope of success the source of Dom' Kavash support for their servants needed to be singled out and eradicated. This called for a dangerous reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines. Joint operations could not go ahead without first locating three Rheinlander scouts gone missing weeks before. The task was deemed worthy of the Workers' 31st: the Coalition's last surviving wing of Basilisks featuring cloak capability. Use of this cloak technology would allow easily circumvention of alien defenses on this mission. Due to the prohibitively rare and expensive nature of the needed energy crystals, the devices must be used sparingly. Even then there will be only enough of the crystals remaining for this one mission. Without those black boxes, scouts would need to chart the region all over again. The window of opportunity is too brief to allow for that. Everything is at stake. The objective must be accomplished.

Flights of four take off from a carrier in Hieron. They split up to cover as much space as possible. Danger lays in wait at every turn. Of the forty that left only thirteen return. Shortages of energy crystals, nanobots, fuel, and flares threatened to be the undoing of them all. The fallen pilots sacrificed themselves by transferring much needed supplies to their compatriots. Once unable to cloak, a slow and unwieldy fighter like the Basilisk is no match for its alien counterparts. Despite these losses, the mission was a triumph. One black box was destroyed in Lemnos when the ship carrying it was downed, but a young lieutenant pulled through as the unlikely hero of the day. Comrade Fyodor Kovalevski returned with the other two black boxes in addition to coordinates for a Dom' Kavash hypergate located in the Menton System. Armed with priceless knowledge like this the Coalition could finally go ahead with its plans for a counteroffensive.

The Coalition's fleet smashes through the blockade in Gurm. Overwhelming numbers play to their advantage. Escorts peel off and create numerous diversions. For the main elements of the force the objective is clear. They have come for the hypergate. The Dom' Kavash are caught largely unawares. Mobilizing slowly costs them dearly; the absence of defenders at the chokepoints en-route rolls the red carpet out for the Coalition. The gate itself has formidable defenses. It bristles with potent turrets. Coalition officers are flummoxed when the missile salvos they order are stopped cold in their tracks by the returning hail of fire. Fighters are launched from the carriers. Enemy warships, more organic than mechanical, emerge from hyperspace. They are met with a volley of torpedoes. The fleet moves ahead to engage as more jump in. All the while, the fighter pilots struggle to disable the gate. Raptors are fired into its flanks but can hardly dent the thick, armor plating. Alien fighters arrive and effortlessly rip through Coalition formations. To escape their pursuers some of the pilots activate the hypergate. Once on the other side they never return. The fleet closes in and brings its turrets to bear.

- Part XII: The GMG Breakthrough -

Without the support of its allies in Sirius, the Coalition will fall by year's end. Senior Alliance officials are concerned for their own security, too. Civilian causalities are mounting higher by the day. Enemy operations branch aggressively from the Omicrons, their squadrons blasting away at stations in both adjacent Houses. While the Dom' Kavash have not yet fielded their most powerful ship designs, it is only a matter of time before they are sighted in Sirius. To do its part in the war effort, GMG sends fighters to the front. In addition, it has increased H-fuel production and sunk tens of billions of credits into their R&D division to facilitate the advancement of human knowledge. Undisclosed locales were selected for the construction of several research facilities. Pilots contracted by the guild to find those sites also charted previously unexplored systems in the process. Other crews were hired for salvage operations in patches of space hazardous enough to warrant triple pay. The GMG went to great lengths to obtain their most desired, "fresh" specimens. Examination of Nomad hardware led directly to technical improvements and a couple of entirely novel innovations.

One of the guild's laboratories got involved with inquiries of a more archeological nature. From the ground of a virgin planet months before remains were uncovered during exploratory drilling. What turned up would prove to be much more valuable to than hydrocarbons. Researchers arrived and started to learn more about the bodies. Riddles were solved. Others were posed. It was not long before the teams, working in conjunction with prestigious universities, did a bit of digging and stumbled upon an entire lost civilization. Reports from the site found these bodies skeletal traits to be remarkably humanoid. Though the teams definitively ruled out any kinship with humanity, early references to the beings as "ancients" stuck. With time more would be learned about these Ancients. It was revealed through artifacts that they had been caught in the web weaved by Nomads eons ago. The Ancients had gotten wiped out of existence. Fragments of their tools remained. These were recovered from the dig sites and pieced together again with mixed success. Based on initial findings, the beings seemed to possess technology slightly more advanced than that in use by the Alliance.

The guild's curiosity was piqued. They dug deeper. Week after week something exciting was exposed. The finds even had tangible applications. One thing resulted in another. Flash-forward nearly to the present. By then the breakthrough had been made. With human knowledge supplemented with that of the Ancients, the GMG hurriedly pulled together a lineup of other corporations and contracted them. An exceptionally special project was in the workings. An imposing, sprawling space station had already been assembled on site and security was more than adequate. Construction started at once with a sense of urgency. What would be conceived there in due course was a masterpiece - if not a milestone - of human achievement. Fate would have it, you see, that the Gas Miners Guild would emerge late in the war equipped with a functional, prototype hypergate. Given adequate power supply, it could safely deliver a spacecraft to the galaxy's Inner Core. With no way to send the necessary labor and physical capital to construct a return gate on the far side, it is understood that whoever went through may become stranded.

- Part XIII: Friend or Foe? -

The pilot selected for the one-way trip dons their gear and begins the arduous journey. The gate is activated, instantaneously transporting the ship and its occupant nearly 25.000 light-years away from the GMG complex. Once dropped out of hyperspace, the most obvious difference is the stars. So many stars that the sum of their splendor stuns the beholder. It was as though all of space were a glimmer. Despite the heavenly impressions left by the core it is an environment of truly hellish perils. Gravimetric anomalies riddle the system, each capable of tearing the ship to shreds if given insufficient berth. Scanners pick up a massive black hole in the vicinity. Its immense gravity tugs at the ship, coaxing it out of rest. Patrols of oblivious, alien craft pass by. None bear the least semblance to the Nomads or Dom' Kavash. Questions spring to mind but there are no answers. The shields are raised and thrusters brought online. Only the utmost in navigational skill and courage will allow the hand-picked pilot to escape from this place and live to tell the tale.

A fighter emerges on the scanners. It is poorly-equipped and gone adrift from spent fuel cells. The design does not match up with any of the usual culprits. This poses an irritating delay, but only a few moments pass before the brain of the Kraken can identify its target. With the outlook so bleak, it is increasingly rare for an encounter not to be hostile. The Dom' Kavash are a race now well-traveled down the path to defeat. Within a matter of a few decades, in fact, their empire may have fully crumbled. Progress has been made more aggressively by their foes than ever before. Positions thought to be impenetrable have been lost entirely. With options few and dwindling, perhaps the ancient ways have failed. The humans were supposed to be a primitive people. How could they possibly have reached the Inner Core to add to that threat? Were the Nomads mistaken in their evaluation of this species?

Cross-referencing records, the Kraken updates itself on the progress of the suppression measures underway in the rim-ward sectors. The fleets appear to be positioning themselves to begin another campaign. Enemy positions are largely on the verge of being overrun, but force depletion estimates are not good. Too many valuable resources are being wasted on the apes. Battles may be won, but the enemy has put up a spirited fight and dealt their fair share of blows. The human culture is primitive, but with hypergates perhaps they are not such a backwards lot as they appeared to be at first glance. To win the war, the Dom' Kavash cannot afford the luxury of choosing their allies. A race like this would far more valuable to the empire alive and as allies than dead as foes. Yes. For both races, survival may rely on cooperation with the other. The rest of the Dom' Kavash are made aware of this latest development. Then, rather than opening fire, the cruiser opens up a channel with the ape-creature's craft and attempts to hail it.

- Part XIV: Ancient Days -

The Scientific colony on the planet Lyr in the Dervon system celebrated. Research of a wormhole found in the asteroid field, that has lasted nearly a century, is finally at an end; only one last step remains. Recent scientific advances in FTL technology enabled specific measurements which clearly showed that the entry point is highly stable. Naa'syll, the Chief Scientist, announced today that the Scientific Council decided to send two automated drone ships equipped with the new FTL engines through the wormhole. Using drones has an immense advantage in that they have almost unlimited operating radius. They may return, in theory, even if they cannot use a wormhole for the return journey.

Drones 001 and 002 are ready to enter the wormhole. The last maneuvering commands were successful and soon after both ships in close formation entered the wormhole. Measuring equipment onboard immediately began to record new data. Drone 001 had just sent a picture of the Sun's cluster when communications suddenly interrupted. The last data received indicated that it appeared the wormhole output changed the coordinates. Something is definitely going wrong! The energy output readings from the wormhole shows abnormal values being recorded, seemingly indicating that the other side of the wormhole is solid matter. The device tracking the curvature of hyperspace in the wormhole entry suddenly explodes. Fuses, which should have prevented this, completely failed. Naa'syll left the control center deep in thought. He feared that they had just tried to open a door that should never be opened.

A shock wave spreading through hyperspace, reached a giant Hypergate control station once used by the Dom'Kavash. Coordinates for the location where the disruption occurred in hyperspace were calculated. There shouldn’t have been anyone except them trying to study the hyperspace! Who or what is this unknown threat? The orders to their servants (Nomads) are crystal clear, the unknown threat must be eliminated as soon as possible!

- Part XV: Journey with no return -

The Tactical holo-display in the middle of the Command Center at Milky Way Galaxy may very well depend on the success of this operation. The last show of force which revealed the unknown alien race standing behind the Nomads, displayed very clearly the gap that exists between theirs and human technology. It was a mystery why this unknown race, despite having overwhelming qualitative superiority, suddenly and inexplicably withdrew from the fight. For the Human side it was an "rescue at the last moment" event, but on the other hand it opened up a number of questions and some of the possible answers were chilling. The small fleet parked around the secret space station and its experimental jumpgate is perhaps the only way to get these answers. Sensor readings from an unknown alien hypergate in Altair that leads to the Inner core of the Milky Way, that were obtained by one of the scout ships from the Coalition expedition fleet which miraculously returned, helped set the jump frequencies for the first human prototype hyper-gate, which GMG built according to plans supplied by the Order.

Human forces must reach the Inner core Systems in the Milky Way at all costs and find out what is going on there! This information is perhaps our only hope on how to survive as a race in the distant future. Endless months of preparation and planning is over. Strategies on how to proceed after the jump were prepared and special equipment for repair in deep space have been loaded onboard ships belonging to the Reconnaissance fleet. Everything is ready, only a few minutes left ... The rings on the experimental hyper-gate were activated and the pathway into the unknown is opened. The reconnaissance fleet ships, with thrusters active are heading into the entry point. One ship after another disappears on the way to the unknown. The chances are that most of them if not all, will not return. But the hope still lives; mankind many times in the past, has proved their ability to survive and adapt. The future will soon show whether that remains true this time too ...

- Part XVI: Inner Core Logs -

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 1:

All ships have completed the jump successfully, a way back, as expected, is not possible. The first scan shows a significantly greater effect of gravity than it is at the edges of the Milky Way. In the central sector of the first system a black hole was detected with three artificial objects symmetrically positioned around it. Two scout ships sent to survey returned severely damaged by the increasing gravity of a black hole. Further exploration of the objects was canceled, sensor data shows that all of these objects draw energy directly of the black hole. It is possible that they are a specific gateway, their function and purpose remains a mystery.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 2:

We discovered a gate that is organic in structure leading to the next system. The structure of the gate has a 98% match with the measured data of the structure of the unknown race ships that are directing the Nomads. The symbols on the gate have been translated as "Venn". The first survey of the area beyond the gate brought surprising findings in the form of a dense asteroid field of red crystals. These crystals were tested as a possible power source for the cloaking devices and the results were amazing - the energy content was more than a hundred times greater than the capacity of crystals found in the sector of Sirius. It looks like a good sign ...

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 3:

The first losses. One of the exploration ships encountered new ships of an unknown race, which immediately attacked. Four of the small attacking ships were destroyed at the cost of two of ours. It was decided to move away from the gate and build the first repair unit.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 4:

We discovered two more jumpgates that are identical in structure as the first. Other results of the survey however were unfavorable. In the Venn system we identified at least six large space stations with significantly different architecture. The differences are so distinct that the possibility that there are three different races present in this system must be seriously considered. The bad news is that our presence was discovered and we have observed significantly higher activity of unknown patrol ships ... not only small fighters, but also large battleships. Our scouts are forced to use their cloaking device all the time.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 5:

The situation in the system has become critical, three of the five scouts equipped with cloaking devices have not returned. It was decided to move to the gate marked with the symbols "Jormdar". The main group was again attacked, we lost three more ships. On the way to the unknown gate we released several repair stations according to our original plans. The enemy has attacked again just before gate, not all of our ships were able to make the jump. We lost another five ships. It is possible that if some of them survived, they will try to use the second gate marked as “Celldra”. All attempts to establish contact with our lost ships have failed.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 6:

Minefields! One ship was destroyed and two others damaged; it seems entering this system is like entering a death trap. The activated repair station was fully utilized. A brief survey of the area revealed the presence of a giant space station rather reminiscent of a medium-sized moon. Unfortunately the bad news is that the sensor system of the station is several orders of magnitude better than anything we have seen so far; one of our cloaked scouts was almost hit by a weapon emitting a green beam similar to the beams emitted by tachyon weapons. The technology used suggests a very technically advanced race. It will be necessary to be extremely careful as we continue the survey of this system.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 7:

The flagship was heavily damaged in the fight with a group of unidentified large ships. Damage Control Technicians worked on numerous repairs for several hours, but in the end it was decided that the ship is no longer capable of sustained operations. The Fleet log, including all sensor data, has been copied and uploaded to the central computers of the all remaining ships in the hopes that at least one will survive. The Flagship was abandoned and the self-destruct system is activated. The remainder of the fleet will continue on, past a central sun towards the newly detected gate.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 8:

"* && ^% $ # @ *% ^ y *** record damaged *** &) * Y ^ (* &% # ^% @." Backup record has been made by Cmdr. Wolf: "The Fleet was just attacked during the jump to a system marked as "Mepther." The Fleet Commanding Officer, Admiral Forst and his crew were lost when they engaged the attackers with their battleship to draw the enemy away from the jumpgate so that the rest of the fleet would have more time to escape. The fleet lost almost all of the supply ships, including one of two ships that were carrying a very abundant supply of energy crystals. The situation continues to deteriorate; the unknown races are apparently collaborating. In the latest battle there were at least three different species’ ships involved. Fleet strength has been reduced to less than 40%. Of the original fleet only two battleships, three cruisers, three gunboats, eight fighters (scouts) and three supply ships are remaining."

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 9:

Three more repair units were placed symmetrically around the center of the system which were tested and are fully functional. The survey has revealed two diverse types of bases, but they surprisingly have some common architectural designs. Enemy activity is gradually increasing. There are reports of the presence of giant ships that remotely resemble a spider in design. The fleet was discovered, but due to early warning from one of the scouts, managed to escape without losses. The supply of energy crystals continues to decline, and another energy crystal field has not yet been found. There were two more gates discovered marked as Pyrddra and Ryssk. It was decided to continue on using the gateway leading to Pyrddra.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 10:

Three repair stations were released in Pyrddra and activated successfully. When we were releasing the fourth one we were discovered again by the aliens and since then we have been only able to run. The cloaking device for the last repair station failed to activate and rear sensors recorded a huge explosion. It is safe to presume that the station was destroyed. Damage to our ships is constantly increasing; one of the battleships and two cruisers have been abandoned due to most of internal systems were no longer able to support life and the engines so severely damaged that they are beyond repair. We also lost two more scouts. The remaining ships of the fleet returned to Mepther and will instead continue on to Ryssk.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 11:

A survey of Ryssk was started. For almost half a day we detected no enemy ships. We only found bases with similar architectural features as the bases in Mepther. The sudden lack of enemy activity seems to point to something about to happen. It was decided to leave the remaining two heavy ships and freighters hidden in the nebula and send out all the scouts.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 12:

The reason for the absence of enemy units was found! In sector F3 the scouts sensors recorded a huge battle. It was a struggle between hundreds of heavy ships; one of the forces involved was clearly identified as the Nomad's masters. The fight lasted for more than ten hours without decreased intensity. It's just a speculation, but what we saw now may very well be the reason why the Nomad's masters so suddenly withdrew from the sectors of Altair and Sirius.

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 13:

The battle has ended. Sensors are not detecting any activity in the target area. The fleet is ordered to make best speed to the place of battle where we will salvage as much of the debris we can and then retreat back into the nebula. Another journal entry will be made after completion of the operation. ...

Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 14: "^% ^ & * (! _) * &) *** Propulsion destroyed! *** & ^ (* & ^ (* &) *** Life support off-line *** ^% * $% & ..." Ensign Hiro: "I'm probably the last living member of a reconnaissance fleet. My ship, class Dragon, codename Katana, is badly damaged, propulsion and navigation systems are destroyed. The operations to salvage debris ended in disaster. The unidentified aliens must have detected us; anticipated we would explore the debris field of the battle and hid their small units among the debris after the battle. Along with their attack came battleships which had the whole area surrounded. We were given orders to separate and make our best attempt to escape on our own. From what I saw, there is almost no chance that anyone else escaped as my ship was the last one able to use a cloaking device. The last area scan showed another gate right in middle of battle area. I wish I would have had enough time to jump through ..." "*** Energy below 2% ... system is shutting down *** &) * @ &) (*…………. "

- Part XVII: New discoveries in the Sol system? -

By Balefire

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish bad luck from good.

On his way to a new assignment in Sol System, very junior Order Lieutenant Nico Slate had flown his brand-new Horizon from Liberty space through Bretonia without serious incident. A few encounters along the way had resulted in criminal pilots either retreating after a brief exchange of gunfire or sheering off before engaging. Lt. Slate suspected that his sleek very heavy fighter, bristling with weapons, was just too intimidating to present a desirable target for them. Being young, however, he told himself that his piloting skills were the source of his successes. Pleased with both his new ship and with his good luck—no, skill—he was smiling and humming a cheerful tune right up through the Hyperion System and nearly to the Warp Anomaly. It was there that both his ship and his luck went awry.

Forewarned, he had avoided the weapon platform orbiting Sylvin, and was making his final approach to the Warp Anomaly when a wing of Xenos fighters swooped down on him, unleashing a barrage of gunfire and missiles, overwhelming his shields, setting off hull and equipment damage alarms across his console. Wise despite his youth, Lt. Slate chose discretion over valor. At the best speed he could coax from his power plant, struggling to control his damaged ship, he entered the Warp Anomaly.

He arrived in Sol System somewhat rattled, and although his on-board repair systems and shield batteries sufficed to make his ship flyable, his guidance, communications, and maneuvering systems were well below optimum levels. Several times in his long journey he was forced to reorient his ship from unusual vectors, realigning himself and calculating better trajectories. During one of these stops in Sol asteroid belt close to Mercury, his long-range-scanner registered an anomaly, but it soon disappeared. He saw it—or one very like it--again later, at extreme range, but once again it disappeared. It was a puzzle, but Lt. Slate had no time to investigate puzzles: he was intent on surviving the rigors of a long journey through Sol System, including the debris of many battles and the obstacles presented by the asteroid belt.

When he finally arrived safely at Order Military HQ and reported for duty, the “possible anomaly sighting, possibly unstable” was recorded in the records of his debriefing. His superiors decided against immediate investigation; resources were spread thinly as it was, the lieutenant's ship had damaged and unreliable systems, and nobody else had reported any unknown anomalies, unstable or otherwise. Perhaps someday when conditions were more settled and more ships and pilots were available, a search could be mounted. Meanwhile there were many more urgent priorities with which to deal, and the report was essentially forgotten.

Lt. Slate helped to deal with those more urgent issues, in his subsequent career flying many patrols and engaging in many successful sorties. He had neither the time nor the inclination to look for the anomaly or anomalies, although he mentioned the sightings whenever he told his story to appreciative bartenders or squadron mates. It was a good story, with both good and bad luck, fraught with danger and hardship, but with a happy ending. The phantom_ anomaly sighting was merely a mysterious detail, much like a tale of undiscovered treasure, and like many such tales it became a persistent rumor.

Sometimes, investigating rumors results in surprising - and even lucrative - discoveries. Whether one or more uncharted anomalies exist in Sol System, and where they might lead, has yet to be determined by some intrepid explorer.

Note: in-game hint: read here.