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The Titans


SOC-14 1K
This is more background than anything else. It's an adventure the way an ant watching builders bulldoze a basement and build a house on the lot next door is an adventure. I put it here because it deals with contact with a new system and civilization - in a way.

The first indication was an astronomical anomaly: the sudden appearance of an impossibly large infrared source in the Kuiper region of the system. The next were jump anomalies: outbound ships precipitating from space in the rough vicinity of the anomaly and reporting misjump before beginning the three-week run back to port. Outbound traffic was quickly rerouted, and a message sent to neighboring systems warning of the new navigational hazard, but it was several days before the disruption in traffic was resolved and weeks before the last affected ship was nursed into port. Gravitic studies suggested a small red dwarf, but there had never been a star there before and the thermal signature was dispersed and cool, as if the dwarf was 50 or 60 times as large as it should be.

Scouts sent to explore the anomaly reported finding an impossibly large construct, a sphere some 30 million kilometers in radius. Evaluated against it's energy output, it was deduced to be a Dyson sphere. Search of recent astronomical data revealed a distinctive jump flash prior to the appearance of the anomaly, initially discounted as a sensor or computer glitch of some sort but now accepted as evidence that the construct had, impossibly, jumped to its present location from elsewhere in space.

There was no obvious way in, but scouts reported that smaller ship-size constructs were coming and going from the huge sphere. Many were larger than Imperial dreadnoughts, many others too small to hold any conceivable living crew. Over time, it became clear that the constructs were corralling Kuiper asteroids in the vicinity of the construct and moving them toward the construct. Some of the asteroids were tens or hundreds of kilometers in diameter, pushed along at speeds that made it clear the construct intended to be in the area for decades.

Efforts to examine the hulls of the construct and its subsidiary craft proved fruitless. Their black hulls reflect no radar no light, nor even x-ray. They would be invisible except for their own thermal and neutrino output. They seem to take no notice of the scouts other than dancing impossibly around one when a more foolhardy scout attempts to block one; close examination of the scout's and alien craft's movements suggest the craft latched some sort of tractor/repulsor on the scout and then used the scout as an anchor, slinging itself around the scout as if the larger craft were only a tiny fraction of the scout's mass. And, indeed, their mass seems impossibly low; densitometers view the construct's subsidiary craft as almost ghostlike, providing virtually nothing in the way of an interior map other than some sort of core that seems to be the energy source.

Even the largest ships show no trace of neural activity, nor is any such activity found in the very limited scans of the construct's surface, though it could not be ruled out that any inhabitants within the construct might have simply been beyond the range of the scanner.

There is little to do but to study them until several years later, when the most distant gas giant in the system begins emitting a fusion torch, tiny on its scale but large enough to swallow a small moon, and very gradually begins altering its orbit outward.
Eater of worlds.

Always a nice doomsday scenario.

I'm going to guess you're either a fan of Silver Surfer/Fantastic Four or you've read Star Trek: Prime Directive.
Eater of worlds.

Always a nice doomsday scenario.

I'm going to guess you're either a fan of Silver Surfer/Fantastic Four or you've read Star Trek: Prime Directive.

Neither actually. More of a Greg-Bear-meets-Larry-Niven thing, Forge of God as done by someone far more advanced than the Puppeteer fleet. I'd had an idea some months back for a culture that lives in the deep space between stars, in asteroid habitats, raiding the neighboring stars for resources; they were a fairly conventional threat coming from an odd direction. Then during a discussion about jump mechanics it occurred to me that a wildly advanced society capable of building a Dyson sphere might also be capable of engineering it to jump. Then it became a question of why they are jumping and how it would appear to Imperial society.

What I like about this is it's a very, very slow doomsday scenario. This thing could play out over decades or centuries, the Imperials never certain if the populated worlds in the system were at risk until very late in the game. Should they try to stop these strangers from grabbing away their gas giants, or will the intruders treat them like pests and respond by eradicating all life in the system in order to put a stop to interference? Can they even affect beings capable of manipulating forces on this scale, or are they no more consequential than gnats? Depending on the ref's preference, the Imperials could be largely-to-totally unable to do a thing about it, at least at the current tech level.

There is some slight potential for player involvement here, in the vein of a dark Rendezvous with Rama or perhaps The Call of Cthulhu. The intriders might even show a scientific interest in the primitive vermin crawling about on the tiny water-bearing world and flitting through space in their primitive flyers; they might attempt subtle or not-so-subtle studies of the local carbon life, using tiny bots to observe and collect data, taking specimens for study, eventually introducing monitoring or control devices into the neuralware of select carboniforms to monitor interactions more effectively.
I really like this idea.

Consider it borrowed :)

There is definitely room IMTU for civilisations more advanced than the Imperium that pose a threat due to their superior technology rather than military intent.