Celeste Space Probe
The Celeste Space Probe is the deep space probe that discovered Arkadia and The Signal that finally lead us to leave to the planet. It is mentioned in 2 of the chapters of the storyline:
|1.1 Toán's Exile|
The excitement in the signal analyst’s voice caught Commodore Toán Harvir’s attention immediately. The ITRDU processed hundreds of transmissions daily, ranging from routine reports from the colonies to classified military communications. Only very rarely were they from any of the dozens of exploration probes that had been sent out into the galaxy. Celeste was one such probe. For the life of him Harvir could not remember seeing reference to it previously. He still struggled to come to grips with which probes had been sent out by the government over the years, even after the three years he’d been left to rot in this unit. For a moment his eyes lost focus as he once again heard the voice that had haunted his dreams - the cold, hard voice of the judge at his court martial, reading a verdict that found him guilty of insubordination. He had risked his entire battle group by lingering to recover wounded troops during a frenzied withdrawal from a battle against robots closing on human controlled space. Stripped of his command and removed from frontline service, he was effectively banished with little hope of redemption to this windowless room in the Navy’s Headquarters on Vigilant.
Realising he hadn’t been paying attention, Harvir quickly accessed the Unit’s archives, scanning the available information on Celeste. The probe had been sent towards a planet that scientists speculated held the potential for life or would at the very least be suitable for colonisation. It was one of the first such probes launched, after wormhole technology had been perfected, and had thus travelled a lot further than most probes previously launched. Fitted with an older communications system still limited to light speed, its initial transmission was only just reaching Earth.
It took Harvir a few moments to absorb these facts before he returned his attention to the recorded data from Celeste. Images swam into focus, giving him his first look at the planet. Even from thousands of kilometres away the planet looked stunning, with large oceans separating several huge continents. Clouds of various shades were spread across the planet. Dense patches of lush vegetation threatened to hide entire areas of the continents completely. The view of the planet slowly enlarged as Celeste travelled closer and the probe’s scanners began to record further details. It had a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere at levels very similar to Earth’s. Surely in the nursery of the stars, Harvir mused, this planet had been born Earth’s sister.
Spectroscopic emissions from dust clouds in the atmosphere hinted encouragingly at both known and unknown minerals. Harvir knew that large quantities of the basic minerals would be extremely helpful, ensuring this planet would kick start its own industrial economy and quickly be independent of substantial Federal Imperial aid. An added bonus was the presence of unique minerals that were sure to excite mining corporations throughout human controlled space, especially if discovered in abundance on the surface. Yes, Harvir thought to himself, definitely a promising prospect for colonisation.
‘Sir, could you take a look at this? There appears to be a large field of debris orbiting the planet. Some of it is made up of composites unknown to our databases.’
Harvir shifted his gaze away from the planet itself and looked at what the analyst was scrutinising. The excitement of seeing images of the planet had caused them to overlook the outer atmosphere. At first glance it looked like a normal planetary debris field, though at an unusually low orbit. From Celeste’s current range it resembled nothing more than a dust cloud, but as the view closed in he got some perspective on how big some of these pieces were. His first thought was that it would be hell flying a ship through it all. The debris ranged in size from space dust up to large pieces that would easily rival the size of the Navy’s smaller warships. The analysis of the debris field indicated that some of it consisted of regular asteroids. The rest, however, appeared to be a series of unusual metallic compounds that the data banks informed him could not form naturally. Harvir frowned and carefully studied the entire mess again. His attention was arrested by something that looked alarmingly familiar.
‘Focus on that section there’ he said.
The analyst zoomed in on the object indicated. Harvir could only stare for long seconds as his brain flew through multitudes of possibilities. He’d spent thirty years of service in the Navy, including five years commanding his own battle group, but he had seen nothing like this. It didn’t seem possible; his mind was already flashing through the implications of what it could mean. The object looked like a section of a destroyed ship but the design was unusual. Foreign. The piece was barely recognizable but too symmetrical and linear to be natural. Its composition was all wrong. Even without consulting the Unit’s database, he was sure that no human or robot built ships like that. He quickly turned to the duty watch keeper.
‘Notify the Fleet Admiral’s Office immediately and forward a copy of everything this probe transmits up the chain of command. Tell her it appears that we have found a derelict ship of unknown origin.’ Harvir ordered, before turning back to his analyst. ‘Focus your scan on the planet’s surface immediately. Look for any indication of sentient life. We need to know what we’re looking at here. Something must have created this mess.’
Harvir cast his eyes over the whole field of rocks and wreckage again. He sent a query to the network, to confirm what he already suspected: the unknown compounds in the wrecked ship he’d been studying were present throughout the entire debris field. He realised there must have been hundreds of wrecked ships around the planet. He wasn’t an easily worried man. He’d stood in the frontlines against robot assaults and commanded fleet actions, but the sheer size of what he was looking at made him nervous. Had they been robot ships, he wasn’t sure the entire Navy could have stood against them. He allowed a wry smile to play across his lips and he thought, maybe, just maybe this is my ticket back to the front lines, command and my troops.
Suddenly an alarm sounded, deafening and urgent, Harvir’s head whipped round.
‘What’s happening?’ he demanded.
‘Sir, it’s the unauthorised communication alarm.’
‘I know THAT! Tell me why is it sounding?’
‘Something is transmitting a signal. A signal to Celeste! Its signature doesn’t match human or robot…. Sir it’s…. It’s alien Sir?’
|2.6 Report from Arkadia|
Date: 15 JAN 3008
Source: Transmitted from Arkadia
From: Commodore Harvir, Officer Commanding, Liberation Fleet, Arkadia.
10) Patrols have so far encountered two native creatures which they have had to destroy when attacked. Xenobiologists have studied and named these animals, which are reported to be both highly territorial and aggressive. The Kamaldon has armour plating as strong as steel protecting its head, a single large horn and a spiked tail. The Kiana resembles a large Earth tiger. Swift and silent when it moves, it is a creature built to kill with efficiency. Due to the threat that these and other creatures may pose to individuals, as well as ongoing attacks from hostile forces, it is highly recommended that the colonists of Fleet Arkadia are trained in survival and self defence skills prior to their arrival.
Liberation Fleet Arkadia
Area of Operations
for the full storyline look here: Planet_Arkadia_Storyline/English