Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dark Nebula: Accelera, Research Unit #72, and origin of the Dark Nebula

How did the Dark Nebula Event come into being? The answer is in the waning years of the Rule of Man, when paradoxically, science developed in a feverish, accelerated pace. This was the Accelerando - a blossoming of a hundred strange flowers of weird science while interstellar society crumbled around them.

This had several reasons. Chief among them was lax - often non-existent - government ethical oversight. Any kind of research was possible, including the most bizarre and inhuman experiments. Another was the rampant corruption and inefficiency of the late Rule of Man. Local officials - often junior naval officers in their origin - had unchecked power and little experience in politics. The well-connected or manipulative scientist could often convince the official (or "Noble") in charge to dedicate vast sums to research which will "save the Imperium". Simpler graft and embezzlement were also common. With little or no regulation and easy access to ill-gotten funding, science could take roads never thought of in the past. Cybernetics, machine intelligence, human gengineering, trans-dimensional travel, psionics - all were on the table.

One such group was Research Unit #72. In the early 28th century, they set up shop on the extreme Spinward frontier, near a young colony named Maadin. They chose five stars within a nebula as their abode, far from the prying eyes of whatever remaining Imperial authorities. There, they tried to develop technologies which will - so they claimed - save the ailing Rule of Man from its inevitable collapse - artificial intelligence, cybernetics, genetic engineering, and, especially, new technologies for interstellar travel and, theoretically speaking, communications.

The latter technology reached a place that even the great scientists of the much later 3rd Imperium were unable to replicate, but at a price. On November 3rd, 2747 AD (-1771 Imperial), The Event occurred. Experimental stationary jump-transmission coils on the world known today as N3 fired as part of a planned experiment. But they caused an unexpected effect. In an instant, all five star-systems of the Dark Nebula were torn from their place in the Space-Time Continuum, and hurled, through space and time. For a whole year, local time, these systems were in limbo - disconnected from our universe. But then they burst back into Real Space - 145 years later in Real Space dates after their disappearance. For that time, the Nebula was a dead zone - an area of space where no solid bodies could be seen, and where anomalies in the Space-Time Continuum endangered any ship entering that space.

In August 2892 AD (-1626 Imperial), suddenly the N4 star of the Dark Nebula appeared on the horizons of Taida Na, re-lighting the old cloud. By 2900 AD, these stars appeared in the skies of Osa, Salia, and Kov as well. Soon enough, rumors have reached both Solomani and Aslan ears that the worlds of the Nebula, hinted upon in legend, are back. And now, their technological treasures are ripe to the plucking, though still ripe with Space-Time Continuum anomalies, mutated animals, crazed survivors and a mad, mad AI.

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