These are interesting times in the scientific community. Alien life has been popping up in different parts of the galaxy, and we now know for sure that we humans are not alone in the universe. In this article, your correspondent will explore the recent scientific endeavours, and how they might relate to our new project in Colonia.
Over the past months, groups of scientists, led by the Canonn Interstellar Research Group, have been attempting to explain a variety of alien encounters. Your correspondent has been embedded with the scientific community during their investigations, and, currently enroute to Colonia, hopes to continue doing so at Jaques.
It began with the discovery of strange, alien growths, colloquially known as barnacles, appearing on several planets in the Pleiades sector. These growths, seen pictured here, seem to be organic. But their nature, or purpose, has thus far eluded us. Nevertheless, unusual materials, meta-alloys, may be harvested from them- more on these later.
In addition, two further alien structures, this time space-faring in nature, have been discovered. They are termed Unknown Probes, and Unknown Artefacts, based on certain derived assumptions about their functions.
The artifacts, which have a rough, organic sphere as a ‘head’ and a handful of canister-like appendages attached to its ‘tail’, are known to take a scan of any ship which approaches it, and then transmit that scan. When they do this, they align themselves to the Merope system. This has caused the investigations to focus on Merope for as long as your correspondent has been involved.
The other structure, the Probe, consists of two attached spheres, similar in appearance to the artifact. Until recently, they have been a tightly guarded secret of the Federation. While a number of these probes were captured by independent scientists from Federation Convoys, it was not known until approximately one week ago where the Federation were finding them. Recently, however, they have been found orbiting ammonia worlds in the Pleiades Nebula, reigniting the excitement in the scientific community.
The Probe scanned
These two alien devices can cause difficulties, however. When carried, they slowly degrade your ship’s cargo hold, making holding on to them difficult. In order to protect your hold from this damage, special cargo racks with built-in resistance to this corrosion are needed. Those may be purchased only from the mysterious Professor Palin, and reaching this man is, in itself, something of a trial. Needless to say, they are not available for purchase in Colonia. I have equipped one before leaving, and other scientists may be recommended to do the same, in case we should encounter similar technology near the core.
The Unknown Probe can also disrupt a ship’s sytems. When scanned, a ship’s computer glitches, before being pushed violently to one side by a release of energy, in the form of an electromagnetic pulse, from the probe. This energy is picked up by the ship’s communication device and produces a strange, garbled noise. When analysed spectogramatically, this produces a clear, mysterious image. Scientists have been working hard to understand its meaning, but it has yet to be deciphered correctly.
Naturally, we know next to nothing about these alien objects. What are they? Who made them? Where did they come from? These questions are slowly being answered. We do know that Jacques was carrying artifacts with him, which caused his drive to malfunction, thus stranding him in the nebula we are hoping to call home.
Was it a coincidence that left the station where it is? Or could there be more alien technology nearby? This question remains unanswered, and is one of the key things the scientific community will be examining. The Colonia Nebula Project will make the hunt for alien life a part of its mandate, and, though there is no guarantee there is something to be found out here, we must nevertheless be prepared for Colonia to be the point of first contact with that new life. If that honour does, indeed, fall to us, we will be defined by our response. It falls to us to be prepared, to be vigilant, and, above all, to stay curious.
~ CMDR Julian Winter