E.Y. 2743-11-12

This, she thought to herself, was becoming a problem.

Look for no trouble and you won’t find it here, was her policy, and it had served her and her customers well for a long time. Besides the occasional troublemaker looking to prove something, there was little out here in the way of fighting. God knew how even the most gung-ho and bloodthirsty of mercs tired of conflict from time to time, and her establishment was meant to be a place away from all of that.

There had been some unrest, lately, when a foreign peacekeeping unit decided to hunker down in their small port town. Ostensibly, they’d only been passing through, but as the days stretched on with no signs of their leaving, their week-long stay at the inn north of the city center said otherwise—they were here on the hunt. But nobody knew what they were hunting, so everyone who had a working brain (or brain-adjacent) between their ears had been on edge (well, more than usual, that is); a low-level thrum of tension colored every conversation, hands never straying far from concealed weaponry.

On this particular day, she discovered an unpleasant gift: trouble had arrived at her doorstep. As always, the troubles of men had inevitably spilled over like slow-moving molasses oozing city streets, leaving not even this sector unsullied, a shadow darkening the brow of an otherwise unremarkable and sunny afternoon.

This particular problem took the shape of a factory-standard sim slumped against the tavern’s disposal bin, near the back entrance. It was alive—for a given definition of the word—but with no signs of consciousness—also for a given definition of the word—returning anytime soon, battered as it was. This particular problem’s markings suggested prison break, or illegal indentureship, or one of many other nasty insinuations. She’d bet a lot of money that the peacekeepers were looking for this particular problem, and that spelled trouble for her.

As if just to prove her right, her portable comm unit crackled, and the tinny voices of the peacekeepers filtered through: they were on the move. And as if just to prove her wrong, the sim also chose this moment to stir, something that should have been nigh impossible for a sim this damaged. Even if it blocked all sensory input, self-preservation protocols should have shunted its systems into recovery shutdown. Nevertheless, it was definitely awake now, and dully staring at her, though it made no attempt to prop itself up or speak. Probably couldn’t, anyway, given its limbs and the lack thereof. And the concerningly dented cranial casing. It blinked at her.

“Oh, bother,” she said, and holstered her gun. If she handed them over to the peacekeepers, there was a good chance they’d implicate her anyway, and that would mean a definite end to the fragile peace she’d carved out for herself out here. There wasn’t a real decision to be made. She was not in the habit of picking up strays, she told herself firmly as she hauled them up. Her bleeding heart wouldn’t let her do anything less, and the annoying thing she picked up called morals would nag her about it to no end. In an unwelcome wash of déjà vu, she dragged the thing in behind her, kicked closed the back door, and set it on a stool in the storage room. It blinked at her again, and remained mum. Right. She’ll just keep the sim out of the way until the danger’s passed, and then send them on their merry way, somewhere preferably far from this sector. 

(In the back of her mind, a soundless voice laughed at her.)


icwr@t001:~$ cd CC213/AAR/2743/11

icwr@t001:~$ ls

icwr@t001:~$ AAR_5E02-001.log


Report ID:   	 #3039532209
Date Reported:   2743-11-04
Reported By:   	 Richard Brinley RB7830 - CC213

Report Summary
This report details the events and results of Operation 5E02, also known as the Ociys Offensive. The purpose of the operation was to ensure KSA control of interstellar ports within KHEPRI-3 local space. 

KSA control was successfully maintained in the sector, but not without significant losses: three KSA Horizon starships were destroyed or deemed otherwise unsalvageable, and an estimated additional 930 personnel were lost in the subsequent creation of an uncontrolled artificial black hole within local space. HIC forces suffered similar losses: two Horizon starships and an estimated additional 2,300 personnel were lost. 

Observations made by surviving personnel in several post-action reports, debriefs, and individual concerns raised indicated that the black hole appeared to [CORRUPTED]



icwr@t001:~$ AAR_5E02-001-A.jpeg
OPENING FILE AAR_5E02-001-A.jpeg
Fig. A: thermal image transmitted from KSA Station Delta on KHEPRI-3a, shortly before loss of communication and assumed total destruction of the Station.


Of becoming aware in bits and pieces—not a violent awakening, like so many others, nor an abrupt transition from nothing into existence, but a gradual recognition: of the dappled sunlight on soil under leaf-laden boughs; of how the rain patters and plinks on the shed’s tin roof; of the songbirds that visit the tiny, overgrown garden amidst gold-white sprays of marigolds and gardenias, singing, effervescent. Like children watching the sun, the moon, watching both as they tread the same paths across the blue sky, the ubiquitous sky, the knowing and the not knowing of how it all happens, distilled into a warm cup of tea. Of one day waking up and saying hello.


The surface of KHEPRI-3c‘s moon, photographed one month after the Battle of Acheron. An artificial black hole hangs over the horizon, the product of the collision of several black hole-powered starships lost in battle. The moon’s iron-rich crust causes its rivers to run a ghastly crimson.

Battle of Acheron (EY 2743)


The Battle of Acheron, also known as the Ociys Offensive, was part of the HIC-led campaign of the second Interstellar Wars.[1] The battle spanned within the KHEPRI-3 system for approximately ten Earth days,[3] ending in a narrow Pyrrhic victory for the KS Alliance forces and a catastrophic loss of personnel, supplies, and vehicles for all involved parties.[2] Most notable was the loss of five Horizon starships, whose collisions and subsequent cascading failures compromised the shielding of their black hole-propelled warp drives and led to the creation of a new black hole within the star system. The new black hole, colloquially named Acheron after the river in Greek mythology, is predicted to slowly destabilize the orbits of KHEPRI-3 and its planets.[5][6]


Images of FNC 0061, or the Tango Nebula, in the optical spectrum (top), radio (middle), and ultraviolet (bottom). Credit: Wakefield Space Institute

FNC 0061, also known as the Tango Nebula, is an H II[1] emission nebula located approximately  7,200 light-years (2200 parsecs)[2] away from KHEPRI-1.  It is one of the largest and most luminous nebulae observed from KHEPRI-1[2], and is visible to the naked eye from KHEPRI-1b. It contains several young and active star-forming regions, emitting and reflecting large amounts of infrared and ultraviolet light. The name “Tango Nebula” was introduced due to the impression of two people dancing in the brightest regions in the nebula, in reference to the partner tango dance.[3]




Exhibit B.

These are two of many cylindrical pods found in the laboratory space of the abandoned research station Delta Red [see Incident Report KHP #2104-0103 for further information]. Unusual for its location, the pods lack obious signage and symbols, but chemical residuals suggest that their purpose involved energy synthesis involving biological material.