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History, A Long Long Time To Go.

::The world was not won with a bang, but with a wink and a smile::

2064: The world, our world…. Earth, had become soft, complacent. There were still a few who lived outside the major cities, maintaining the automated planting and harvesting equipment; but for the most part the major metro-plexes were where we were all found. People rarely left their homes. Foods and goods were auto-delivered. Social interaction mostly happened online. There were those that lived their whole lives never stepping more than 10 feet from their homes. Automated manufacturing handled most everything else. There was little innovation outside of a steady stream of software enhancements, all handily coming with a monthly fee. For work, people pushed data; no longer needing to move up the chain. They were mentally occupied at all times. Thinking was optional.

It was then that one of the world’s space agencies noticed activity outside of Saturn. There were strange objects moving about Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. It wasn’t long before we figured out these objects were ships, and they were building something. Every movie ever made had assumed people would panic at their first alien visitors, but we didn’t. Maybe it was the idea that those same movies always found the aliens peaceful, or more likely, it was because we had become a world of Voyeurs, watching everything happening around us like it was a show. The Earth was riveted.

We tried to organize a space mission to great our guests, but we had long since given up on space exploration, so coordinating anything of that scale was fruitless. Over the next 5 years, as we scrambled to cobble together a solution, the aliens had finished their device; a device we would later discover was an inter-galactic warp portal, allowing ships to travel vast distances in space in an instant.

The aliens arrived on Earth soon after to great fanfare. When their first ship landed they were greeted with smiles and embraces by our leaders. The visitors were tall, lean, and graceful. They, for the most part, looked human-like. The only thing that distinguished them was their porcelain white complexion that turned a slight pink on the edges; and double earlobes, one in front of the other. They had studied us for some time, they said, and spoke every Earthly language almost fluently, though they did have a tendency to add the word “the” before proper nouns. That was something we would learn was part of their own language’s speech patterns. They, like us, wanted peace.

They were far advanced in science and technology, and were open with sharing. Our new alien friends (they called themselves the Cratics), soon found themselves in high positions in government and the mega-corporations that ran most all business on earth. Then methodically, and patiently they slowly took everything over; and before we new it, they had control of our world.

Things moved quickly after this. More Cratic ships arrived, and our new alien leaders dropped the guise of friendship. Everything was in their control. Forced labor camps were created, resources were harvested, and palaces were built. The Cratic race controlled thousands of planets in hundreds of galaxies, and we just happened to be next.

::Freedom is an icy tomb::

2073: Space Freighter Mendralla BX1-09 comes out of the Titan Gate hot. The ship was running behind schedule, and fearing retribution, the Captain entered the portal at full speed to make up time, neglecting to get trajectory data from the Titan side. Exiting the portal, Mendrella’s course took the ship momentarily through Saturn’s rings, where it collided with an unnamed moonlet. The 120 meter wide ball of rock and ice, tore through the great vessel’s hull, igniting one of the fuel cells. The resulting explosion devastated the ship, killing hundreds of crew, and ripping the freighter in half.

Back in engineering, Chief Engineer Astrea Valentine, an Earthling, reacted quickly to the initial impact, locking down the engineering section which included the engines and the main reactor.

Recovering from the explosion that followed, Astrea found that a large portion of the rear of the ship had remained intact. Her team worked quickly to restore basic ship control to engineering, and were able to lock down/rig key systems to get them functioning as best they could.

The fragmented ship was still moving and spinning wildly. The team was able to fire the engines in a risky maneuver to crash land on the southern pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus and hope for rescue. As the result of divine providence, something unexpected happened. Instead of crashing on the moon’s surface, the ship careened into one of the vents of a polar plume, and embedded itself more than a mile under the icy surface of the planet.

Here lodged under the icy crust in Enceladus’ sub surface ocean, most would wait for death; but Astrea and her crew were crafty. Keeping the reactor running for heat, the team pushed piping from the ships crushed maw into the heated core of the liquid planet, where temperatures reached nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit. With this geothermal heating system in place, the crew went about checking seals and rebooting systems. Storage sections of the massive freighter were still intact, containing, food, equipment and tools.

Over time, the ship would become a self-sufficient small city. Robotic equipment would maintain and upgrade the exterior, while the crew worked on a bio-garden, and opening up access to the surface through the southern icy plumes.

::When pushed, sometimes you fall; but sometimes you stand::

2075: The Mendralla wreckage had served well as an improvised home, but was short on key resources. The in habitants were reluctant to re-join the Cratic Empire, having enjoyed freedom for so long. They had a new plan. Their new space dock was hidden within the icy plumes of the southern pole of Enceladus, and short voyages outside the dock proved invisible to Cratic sensor scans thanks to the fast moving ice from the plumes and the highly reflective surface of the moon itself. From this “invisible” location, they could attack Cratic transport vessels as they headed through the warp gates, grab the cargo, and escape back to their hidden city, they now called New Tortuga.

The first few ventures went exactly to plan. Their make-shift vessels were fast, excellent for smash and grab missions. The ships head heavy bulk-heads. They would swoop in at full speed, attach grapplers, and in one smooth move, literally “smash” into the side of the target ship. Astrea, the sailors, and robotic counterparts moved quickly, grabbing whatever cargo was at hand; and left moments later. This was a group of engineers after all. No time for daring heroics.

Then the unexpected started happening. Word of their exploits started to spread. The Cratic Empire was marginally annoyed by the outcomes, they had dealt with small scavengers before; but the denizens of a thousand worlds who had been subjugated by the empire, and were now living on the Earth colony, saw this small group as heroes. These space pirates were living outside of the oppressive thumb of the empire.

Now when the Pirates of New Tortuga attacked a vessel, aliens and humans alike were lined up to join the crew. At first Astrea was taken aback, but then quickly realized that adding more technical diversity to her crew would be an advantage. Plus these new recruits shared the same passions and drive. How could she turn them away.

::The winds are just right to release the Kraken::

2076: The Cratics had become reasonably annoyed by the pirate incursions, and had stepped up military escorts to the transport vessels in the Earth system. Pickings were getting slim for the pirates of New Tortuga, as they spent more time running to hide then picking up new cargo. They needed a new tact. Their expanding city could not be maintained without a regular influx of resources.

Lady luck was on their side. In desperation they attacked an unguarded maintenance convoy heading for the warp gate in hopes they might at least find some basic supplies. What they found instead was a very disgruntled / partially mad, but genius warp gate engineer from the Xelo 5 system named Pobo Nufari, who was more than happy to expound on the failings of the Cratic empire, their trade routes, and the “antiquated” technology in their warp gate system. In his words, “Let’s show them something new,” and then began to describe where they could stick this new thing.

Together Pobo and Astrea worked on the designs for the Hexapositioned Synchronous Intergalactic Rapid Release Tactical Transitory Warp Gate Missile Deployment System. Since the acronym for that is just horrible, they called it “The Kraken.” Pobo was truly a mad genius. When a ship fired the Kraken, 6 missiles would launch directly in front of the moving ship and explode. The explosion would create a short duration warp gate that would dissipate just as the ship passed through it at speed.

The Kraken worked perfectly. The ships could appear and disappear from any location in the universe. There was only one problem. It made the crew horribly ill and disoriented using it. This illness would last for hours at best, days at worst. Something had to be done.

As her engineering team worked on a new attack sloop with the goal of hopefully putting the Kraken to use, Astrea assembled a small group of chemists, that had joined the crew, to work on an anti-dote for warp-sickness. Once again providence was on their side. The few items the original crew had available to cultivate in their bio-garden turned out to be exactly what they needed: Orange, Ginger, and Guarana. When mixed together, it created a powerful elixir that eliminated the side-effect of a Kraken warp jump. Astrea added vanilla to the mix to smooth out the strong flavors and called it “WarpJack.”

With WarpJack in hand, the crew used their new ship the Matanza, to deploy the Kraken and start a new age of piracy against the Cratic Empire all across the galaxy. Centuries later, when the creation of the new Galactic Union would look back on the fall of the Cratic Empire, they would reflect on this series of events that had started it all. A small group of like-minded pirates looking for freedom somehow made the dream a reality for the whole galaxy.


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End Transmission.

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