For hundreds of years humanity dreamed of first contact with another intelligent life. Books, videos, papers, were done on the subject and even policy established on how humanity would handle first contact if and when it occurred during travel. In the end first contact was reduced to a bloody and bitter war fought over ignorance to policy. In the end only the dreamers and policy maker’s hopes were dashed, life for humanity continued on in a larger theater.
After humanity was brought into citadel space future first contact fell to citadel representatives and their policies. Dreamers were left to their dreams and policy makers unemployed. Communications Specialist Oleg Karpinsky on the Agamemnon is one such dreamer. Young and idealistic he joined the Alliance Navy and requested assignment to the Citadel Defense Fleet, where most see the CDF as a place you are sent to watch your career die, Oleg saw it as an opportunity to interact with all of the species of the Citadel. If he was truly lucky he would be part of a welcoming fleet to greet a new species to the citadel. Instead he was there when the Reapers returned, their greeting being delivered in the form of fire, pain, and death.
After escaping the loss of the Citadel and watching his home world burn his hopes were further dashed when a second chance at first contact occurred. Meeting the Xan of Thess, a race enthralled to a lost sect of Asari who landed thousands of years before. Contact came this time in the form of crashing into their planet, being taken hostage, and then drafted to fight a civil war. Another first contact, another war. Now the Agamemnon and her new companion ship IV are heading back towards Citadel space, trekking through uncharted space with the potential of new first contacts, and given their track record, new conflicts. With the addition of the Xan to their crew the last first contact did leave them with new potential mates, not a total lost but a far cry from the dream.
Sitting on the bridge of the Agamemnon, Oleg would soon have another chance at his dream.
The Agamemnon is docked on the IV for a discharge cycle; giving the crew a chance to move supplies and personnel between the vessels while the electrical charge built up during sustained FTL flight is bleed into the larger mass of the IV. At his station, Oleg is running though his mid shift maintenance reports when the low band receiver begins to alert. After a few moments of tuning he narrows in on a limited frequency range of 50hz – 60hz, the first signal band most sentiments discover during the development of communication. The message itself is heavily distorted barely registering at all over the background radiation, but still present and audible.
“Admiral, we’re getting something on the low band ELF receiver! Patching it into the speakers.”
A static fills the bridge interspersed with a few unintelligible words.
“Intelligent life! This could be the first broadcast of a new species starting its journey towards the stars.”
Admiral Jeem looks over at her Com Specialist. “It sounds like indigestion. Turn that off.”
The static disappears from the bridge and returns to just Oleg’s headset.
“Now where is it coming from and could it be someone on the IV playing with your equipment?”
After a few moments and several calculations, “No sir. Based on degradation and radiation in this sector the signal is roughly 130 years old. As for its origin, best I can tell is Kepha Eros sector, the direction we are headed.”
“We’ll at least we know someone use to be home. Pass the signal information through the computer and have it start translation.”
“Sir, this could be one of many languages they speak or this language could have died off as their society evolved.”
“That’s nice; I pay you to figure these things out. Well arrive at BSART-579 in 6 days, I trust you will have it worked out by then.”
“Sir, what if the signal doesn’t originate in the system were headed to? Will we alter course and check out the signals origin?”
“We will cross that bridge if we have to. Our goal is home, Specialist, not sightseeing.”
Over the days prior to arriving in the system Oleg works around the clock capturing as many stray signals as his sensor can. A task offset by the dilation effect of FTL travel, signals degradation, radiation noise, and interference from signal shadow caused by solar bodies that passed by years ago. By the time the fleet arrives at the system Oleg has enough data to give the VI a chance for basic translation.
The fleet drops out of FTL at the edge of the system, just outside of the last orbital object. Oleg can barely contain his excitement “Sir, were picking up signals in the UHF and VHF ranges along with transmissions in the ELF ranges. However there’s not as many as we would have expected for a society that should be in the midst of its space expansion age.”
“While the signals are good to know, what do we have in the system?”
“Five planetary objects, assorted satellites in their orbits, an asteroid belt between 579-3 and 579-4, 579-2 is at AU .97 and is the source of the transmissions. Sir, based on these reading the planet is undergoing the start of an ice age. Scans indicate several small impact craters roughly 1km in size and a large one over 12km in width. There are also several ship analogies adrift between the asteroid belt and 579-2.”
“Helm, take us in. The IV will remain at the edge of the system. Gurlon keep the FTL spooled in case you need to run.”
The Agamemnon makes a short FTL jump to the asteroid belt emerging several kilometers from one of the ship analogies adrift between the rocks. “What can you tell me about the ship?”
“Steel hull, does not appear to have any barriers, thorium reactor, thruster based propulsion though I’m not detecting a main engine drive. The weapons systems appear to be based on chemical based projectiles though I’m not detecting any ammo. It looks like she’s been through the ringer as I’m detecting several breaches in the hull. There’s too much radiation to pick up any life signs, the reactor appears to have lost containment.”
“Is there any risk to us?”
“Negative, it’s just leaking radiation; the reaction chamber doesn’t appear to be damaged.”
“Sir, were receiving a signal from the vessel. Appears to be over VHF we limited audio and video, we won’t be able to respond with video but should be able to send an audio response over low band.”
On the view screen Oleg’s bring up a heavily distorted image, a lifeform leaning over the camera speaking quickly, their features hidden by a heavy mask. The translation software is able to catch most of the language, though the message is heavily distorted with static. “They… the shadows… run… we… help.”
Jeem leans over to Varkhan and whispers, “We’ll you do seem to find the most interesting places to take us.”
Leaning back, she motions to Oleg, “Open a channel to them. This is Admiral Jeem Leonheart of the CDF Agamemnon. We will be sending over team to provide aid. Respond with a list of your current status. We are detecting a leak in your reactor and several hull breaches.”
“Oleg, put that response on a loop and keep broadcasting. Let me know if when there is a change.”
Looking over at Varkhan, Jeem opens a com to engineering, “Engineer McLaren, gather a repair detail and meet Varkhan in the cargo bay. Full combat gear. Need to go take a look at our new friends ship and see what you can do.”
Jeem leans back over the Varkhan, “Keep them alive, everyone comes back this time.”
Over at his station, the dreamer hunches over his console, the dream still alive.
Citadel Defense Navy Personal
- 6 Command Staff
- Communications Specialist 4 – Oleg Karpinsky (Human)
- 3 Fire Control Technicians
- 2 Engineering Technicians
- 3 SeaBee
- 1 Ship Steward
- 2 Galley Personal
- DECEASED – Crewman – Chloe (Human)
Citadel Marine Corp
- First Sargent Asari Commandos – Lily (Asari)
- 8 Security Officers
- Corporal – Ed (Human)
- Private First Class – Cyphon (Xan)
- 46 Citadel Citizens
- 150 Xan