Celeste Space Probe

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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

Chapter 1.1.jpg

‘Sir, initial transmission from Celeste Space Probe is coming online. Images will be up in 45 seconds.’

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?’

Some people have made translations for these stories, click on a language to see the translation:

French - German - Polish - Dutch

2.6 Report from Arkadia

Date: 15 JAN 3008

Time: 0049hrs

Source: Transmitted from Arkadia

To: Admiral’s Office, Federal Imperial Navy Headquarters, Space Station Vigilant

From: Commodore Harvir, Officer Commanding, Liberation Fleet, Arkadia.

Situation Report of Liberation Fleet, Planet Arkadia.

1) Establishment of a main base, named Celeste Harbour in honour of Celeste Space Probe, has gone according to plan. Construction of all facilities remains on schedule. A large hydro turbine bank has been built on the waterway adjacent to the base. This will provide the base with all its power requirements. The Fleet HQ building is completed and operational, and all military staff involved in the planning of ground based missions have been relocated to this central building. Initial civilian complexes are currently under construction. The Archaeological Society’s HQ has been completed, as well as a museum for early discoveries of artifacts. Further civilian buildings are under construction.

2) Liberation Fleet ground forces have experienced a series of conflicts with a hostile species since making planetfall. Upon initial contact with the species, our forces were attacked and forced to respond with lethal force. On each subsequent contact, these beings have not responded to any form of communication and have attacked without provocation on every occasion. We have taken minor casualties but, despite the aggression, our forces have not been seriously threatened by these attacks. There is nothing to suggest that our forces are in significant danger as long as current security measures are maintained.

3) All attacks to date have been easily repelled due to the poor tactics used by the hostile forces. They rarely attack when they have the advantage and, when they do, it appears to be coincidental. Groups of these beings range from a single squad to a half platoon in size. Their weapons are marginally inferior to our own, reflecting a technology substantially inferior to that used to create The Signal. Although our scientists are yet to finish examining the entire range of captured technologies, early results indicate that these hostile beings are either no longer capable, or have never been capable, of developing such advanced technology.

4) A number of actions have been implemented in response to the sporadic assaults from hostile forces. As well as patrols and troops positioned to defend key strategic military points, rapid-deployment Forward Operating Bases are under construction to serve as firebases. Two of these have been completed: Resolute Firebase and Relentless Firebase, which guard the main approach to Celeste Harbour. A significant effort has been made to establish defences for all areas, particularly those that will be used primarily by civilians, such as archaeological Digs and mining camps.

5) On this continent, Sentosa, twelve ruins of interest have been identified by the archaeologists accompanying Liberation Fleet. It is planned that each of these will have an archaeological Dig nearby, with six already established and construction at the remaining sites progressing. The members of the Archaeological Society, most notably Dr Sundari Zhen, have been conducting an exploration of the remnants of Arkadian society, searching for any clues that could help us understand what happened to the race that once inhabited the planet. The first established Dig, named Mamba Dig by Dr Zhen, is the site where several artifacts were discovered. It is understood that these are already highly sought after by a number of different parties with vested interests. At this stage the only civilian site to have been attacked is Kestrel Dig, in the south west. Contact reports from the platoon stationed there indicate that the automated defences easily held off the assault with no human casualties.

6) Due to the limited number of archaeologists who accompanied Liberation Fleet, the progress of learning about the Arkadian people has been slow. There are further indications that the Arkadians were humanoid and likely led a more tranquil life then either Humanity or the race that invaded their planet. Unfortunately, so far there has been less technology discovered than expected. Even if the Arkadians were defeated by the race identified as Oratan by The Signal, there should be more technology remaining. This has created speculation that the ruins on the planet are much older than first thought. By extension, how many years have passed since the war between the two races was underestimated. Any remaining artifacts may well remain hidden or buried, waiting to be discovered. It is recommended that assistance for the Archaeological Society be recruited from among the colonists aboard Fleet Arkadia.

7) A significant area of land has been allocated on the west coast for mining with a major camp established by the various mining companies in the mountain range at this location. The area was chosen due to the incredible abundance of minerals in the region, with some of the richest mineral veins discovered anywhere throughout human controlled space. The camp, called 8 Coins, is rapidly developing into a small township. The mining in this region represents a significant step forward in the development of the planet as the materials from these shafts will aid in the construction of cities, forts and other infrastructure all over the planet. As such, a large proportion of the miners that accompanied Liberation Fleet have chosen to set up at this facility, with the remaining miners spread amongst several other promising sites across Sentosa.

8) The location of 8 Coins is surrounded by high mountains, which is challenging as transportation of minerals is a logistical problem. It is not advisable to transport large quantities through the recently constructed teleporter as this may cause overloading of the network. The mountain highlands are a harsh landscape, restricting the use of heavily laden ground vehicles and leaving air transportation as the only effective option. However, as of this date, it is the best area for mining on Sentosa. The 8 Coins development will remain under the administrative control of the mining consortiums, but a full company of troops has been deployed to guard the facility. The difficult land approaches make for an easily defendable position against ground attacks.

9) A second area of land has been claimed on an island off the north coast of Sentosa by a private group, who are responsible for creating a settlement they call Sanctuary Cove. This has been established entirely without military aid, providing their own security force for the protection of the people there. The effectiveness of this protection has so far proven satisfactory, perhaps because the only threat is from native creatures. At this point the true nature of the island is unknown, as it has not been thoroughly explored and there seems to be no explanation for the absence of hostile forces. The intentions of the individuals at Sanctuary Cove remain unknown to IFNS HQ on Arkadia and they are being monitored by Fleet Intelligence. The island is quickly attracting others who wish to be free of the restrictions placed by the military.

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.

11) Despite the dangers stated above, the progress of development on Arkadia indicates a likely successful conclusion to this operation. Development of the planet is exceeding expectations and the continuation of the operation is warranted. It is suspected now that the Arkadian peoples who called for help did not survive the Oratan invasion and so it is believed that Humanity is free to colonise Planet Arkadia.

Original Signed by: Commodore Toán Harvir

Officer Commanding

Liberation Fleet Arkadia

Area of Operations

for the full storyline look here: Planet_Arkadia_Storyline/English