We stood on the precipice of greatness, having defeated the limitations of the gravity well and looking to the system for our future. While we were fractious and in constant conflict with one another, we drove onward into the great expanse of space. The Journeyers believed it was time to find the Alpha’s who brought them to Terra millennia ago, the Progressive seeing these as the steps that would eventually establish them in the stars.
As Terra’s resources were exhausted the belt became the first place we expanded to. As is our nature, this created new fractures in our society. Those who worked the belt, mining and processing ore for the much needed mineral resources to drive the species forward, and those who stayed in the gravity well of Terra but controlled the life sustaining resources need to continue life in the Belt. As is our nature Belters and Wellers would find them in conflict throwing their lives away over perceived differences. The species though, we continued, only barely staying our own extinction by keeping radicals in check. Those that would see the end as a beginning now had access to power and technology to send asteroids from the belt down the well. As a species we could ban together long enough to restrain these radicals. Hex would not show the same restraint.
When Hex first arrived the various Belter factions assumed they were part of another faction looking to expand their operating territory. As is our nature the first thing we did when colonizing the belt for exploitation was lay flags on poles and declare regions in the name of one thing or another. In the beginning there was no way those borders could be enforced but that would not stop the expansionist nature. Skirmishes would erupt and lives lost as the flags were moved back and forth. Eventually equilibrium was established between the factions and borders established. Cooperation between factions expanded power bases while old wounds would fester and threaten to reignite conflicts.
Hex first took to the outer asteroids that had little mineral value and started its growth there. To the Belter factions it was seen as an small independent operation on the outskirts, too small to have a border enforcement patrol remove them. Over the months the operation expanded as the mineral resources were exhausted and Hex’s numbers grew. The excursion into Belter territory and ensuing conflict was unavoidable. Hex eventually moved onto Asteroid 7519 a major body under the Raven Technology Conglomeration. RTC response was swift, their patrol craft hunting down Hex’s mining operation and opening fire without declaration. Their victory was swift and decisive as Hex was completely destroyed without a single casualty. This would be the last bloodless victory in the confrontation.
Hex returned days later, this time their incursion was not a mining operation but military. The RTC patrol crafts sent to turn them away were gunned down by Hex, being vastly outgunned. The tactics that the Belters had developed over the years in their conflict with each other had little effect on Hex. Flesh and blood can only reside in a narrow band of environmental parameters and can only sustain a small range of forces before expiring. A lifetime of tactics designed around causing damage to vent environmental and destroy directional thrusters failed against Hex who resides in the void of space and can sustain extreme forces before cracking. RTC’s fleet was quickly destroyed and their operation overrun by Hex. The rest of the Belt looked on as the battle unfolded, each assuming this new threat part of another faction’s expansion.
Hex quickly absorbed the former RTC operation and began its expansion once more. With the Belt watching and no one faction taking credit for the fall of RTC the strongest factions banned together against future aggression of Hex. Hex responded to the newest threat in kind, building up its forces as it expanded further into the resource rich asteroids of the Belt. Hex quickly overran neighboring asteroids swallowing up the smaller factions, each skirmish ending with a Belter faction in retreat and Hex having expanded its understanding of the Belters. The Unified Belter Fleet looked on, debating where to make their stand and curb Hex’s expansion. As is our nature it takes the possibility of great loss to ban us together. The Wellers Fleet combined with the Belters to make its stand. But also as is our nature we could not void the conflict within ourselves. Hex would take advantage of our discord.
Emerging from the Belt Hex’s fleet struck at the Unified Terran Fleet, we were caught off guard squabbling amongst ourselves on how to contain the threat of Hex. In the first hour a quarter of our fleet was lost in confusion. Eventually a leader emerged from the chaos and banded the fleet together into a true unified front. While Hex had superior aiming, it could not compensate for the chaotic nature of a flesh and blood pilot. While we could not focus on any one ship for an extended period of time, Captain Valleron was able to get us fighting skirmish around the bulk of Hex. Slowly its fleet was whittled away as Hex was unable to bring its superior forces to bear on any one ship, though for each ship Hex lost we would lose two more. The victory would come but at a terrible cost.
Down the Well, Terrans of all factions and beliefs watched as the future of their world unfolded. A missed shot 380,000 KM away would take minutes to travel the span of space between the fleets and Terra. Smaller rounds from anti-missile defenses would be caught in the gravity well and burn up creating an amazing light show that could be seen from anywhere on the sun side of the planet. The larger guns from both fleets misses though created far more than a light show. 7 minutes 42 seconds after the start of the battle the first 820kg round that was fired from a Belter ship and missed entered Terra’s atmosphere. 20 seconds later it met the surface of Terra with an explosive force of a small nuclear detonation. The population of Terra watched as their apocalypse unfolded. Over the course of the next several hours 163 more stray shots would make their way through the atmosphere and spell death and destruction for the helpless population below.
Captains and pilots in the fleets engaging with Hex were unaware of the destruction being wrought down the Well. A missed shot in the battle was forgotten as a threat remained that still aimed to destroy you. Hex eventually began to withdraw from the battle its superior tactics and ships being defeated by the random nature of organics. The damage being inflicted on these beings world in the backdrop to great to sustain. While the loss of the battle guaranteed Hex could still prevent the next. Hex sent several of its ships into a small nearby asteroid and detonated them, imparting enough force to send the object towards the Terran fleet. They would be forced to disperse and give Hex the time it needed to withdraw into the Belt and regroup. Chaotic decisions though were Hex’s weakness. The unified Terran fleet opened fire at the asteroid, expecting a surprise attack of some sort. Instead their aggressive attack sent the asteroid down into the Well. With the mass of the asteroid that was caught in the well Terra would certainly be destroyed, all life lost. Captain Valleron could see the outcome and only one solution. Directing his cruiser near the asteroid he detonated the 4 thorium reactors in his ship, sacrificing himself and his crew of 79 souls. The blast was enough to break the asteroid into 3 pieces, two of which were caught in a sling shot trajectory around Terra and sent back out to space. The final piece though was still caught in the Well and struck Terra with 500 megatons of force. While Terra survived the impact the Ice Age was ensured and the future of the species shattered.
In the aftermath of the battle hundreds of thousands of rounds were fired by both fleets, ranging from small caliber to main ant-armor battery weapons. Thousands of lives were lost in the expanse between the Belt and Well that day however it was the 164 shots that escaped the battle and would forever leave their mark on the species. We will have to determine what our future will be now, not as Belters or Wellers; Journeyers or Progressive, but as Terrans.
Terra is dying and our homes in the Belt lost but we are still here. If there is one thing history has taught us though it is strife has only made us stronger, but only if we directed it. Will we now choose to quietly fade into the history of this system, slowly killing ourselves where Hex left off, or will we move forward and rebuild what has been lost and reclaim what has been taken?
–Unnamed Terran – Open Broadcast
Citadel Defense Navy Personal
- 6 Command Staff
- Communications Specialist 4 – Oleg Karpinsky (Human)
- Engineering Ensign – McLaren (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