Bits of Megan's History

by Tsunogami

Much Later

Aboard I.S.S. Dominion, L 127 – 97 System, 9.3 ly from Fleet Command, year of the Empire 6327.

Sub Comdr. Megan Akiyama frowned at the three most prominent stars shining back at her through her bridge station’s tactical field in private consternation. The nearer one, a solitary red dwarf thirteen AU off the port bow glowed like a distant red ember against the blackness of space. It was the other two however that bothered her more deeply. Shining from an area roughly beyond her left leg lay a close pair of bright yellow points. It was these two stars that, though each more similar to the sun in the skies of home than the dim red eye of the star the ship she lived in now orbited, were the true source of the mystery the crew of the Dominion now faced. The- oddities, if she felt comfortable describing them as such, began nearly as long ago as the Empire was founded. For a long while none of the sightings had been taken seriously and were seen as nothing but the dark tails whispered between old trading captains who had never fully recovered from the horrors of the pre-imperial Andromec Wars they had experienced as youths. It had stayed that way for centuries until the day the ancient Imperial cruiser Algeron, while on a decades long survey mission to a pair of binary brown dwarfs had relayed a full recording of being swarmed and scanned by what could only be described as thousands of tiny balls of light that darted this way and that about the ship executing impossibly precise ninety degree turns at thousands of kilometers per hour. After several minutes of this bizarre display every last one of the lights had shot off into the depths of space leaving the ship’s crew utterly bewildered.
This first contact marked the beginning of a series of similarly strange, seemingly random encounters often separated in time by decades and in distance by light years, between various spacecraft and small flitting balls of light, or in rarer cases by dark geometrical shapes, which sensors, no matter how sophisticated, could never detect. On a few occasions it was rumored that some of those ships had been boarded or in some way accessed but the only evidence, if it could be called that, were minor discrepancies between the ship’s chronometers and the clocks that kept Imperial standard time along with brief failures of their communications arrays. It had taken millennia of slow steady expansion from one nearly uninhabitable star system to the next before a pattern began to emerge. It had begun to seem that the closer a colony or a ship was to that pair of yellow stars now less than two light years distant the more likely it was to experience such unexpected visits. To make things even worse, over the last three hundred years several vessels including more than one scientific research expedition had failed to report back, all of them within less than one light year of those same two stars.
This has been the state of things up until eighteen years ago when the constant stream of housekeeping and correspondence data constantly transmitted from the Arigose colony had quite abruptly and without any prior warning ceased. The very colony that had been constructed on the planet Commander Megan’s ship, the ISS Dominion, now orbited.