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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Prologue

Vilhelm

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Prologue: October 2199
titlecard.png

In her greenhouse, High Queen Hazel Faylinn removed her root-feet from the moist soil and stretched, allowing her chloroplasts to catch a few last rays of sunlight. As much as she loved to relax in the greenhouse, she knew today was far too busy for such relaxation. She made her way through the halls of the Royal Sanctum to the Great Balcony, flanked by a dozen chambermaids who tried to keep pace and tidy her up. From there, she would deliver the speech that would change the Dryaden species forever.

Even as she got to her podium and organized her notes, a sizable crowd had already gathered below her and craned their heads skywards towards their queen. As usual, it was a beautiful day, and Soari was brightly shining. Unwilling to wait any longer, Hazel tapped the microphone, playing the harsh feedback across the speakers.
“Citizens of the Communes,” she began, “today is perhaps the defining day in the history of our civilization. For centuries, we have pulled up our roots and dared to explore the vast forests of Vernus Aeterna, admiring the idyllic handiwork our Patrons have created for us. Today, we do so once more, only this time in the great vastness of space.
“Two years ago, the great scientist and my personal friend Elvin had a flash of insight and quickly devised a method to traverse the aether itself. She stumbled upon the gravitic lanes that connect all systems, Soari included, and may be used by voidships to travel faster than light. Today, after painstaking effort, we have finished the construction of Saori Station.” Behind her, a holoprojector on the palace wall showed an image of a large station, over a mile long, in orbit of the blue-white corona of Saori. “This will be the center of our burgeoning space program, capable of producing the voidships we will use to spread our peaceful influence to the stars, and whoever may be out there!” The crowd began erupting into jubilant cheers as the projection faded. “Today, the Patrons have shown us the way forward into the unknown! The stars themselves are finally within our grasp!”
intro.png

The cheering intensified as Hazel returned to her chambers, as eager as her subjects to explore the distant stars (hopefully) in peace and tranquility.

***
Welcome to my first AAR here on the forums! I’ve read plenty of excellent examples here and decided to start my own, with an empire combination I’ve had in the works for a while. This is a game I started some two months ago but finally got around to finish writing about. It’s my take on the classic “one-planet challenge” before 2.2/MegaCorp apparently makes it less viable; a drastic change from my usual wide playstyle of aggressive expansion and conquest. Instead, I will be focusing inwards, trying to generate lots of unity and hopefully psionically ascend as befitting a tall empire. As such, expect me to make mistakes, get roflstomped by Fanatical Purifiers, and/or complain about how nearby empires have great systems that I have no ability to conquer or even liberate. On that note, if we do indeed get exterminated, then so be it.

(ignore the continental world)
setup.png

I was actually going to go Xenophobe + Inward Perfection at first, but realized I would have a harder time banding with others for defense (the bio sort of reflects this). So I went Spiritualist instead.

IpG3TuJhE4ALNMUzfWmquAP3oRi_9rWnbWyuWByb1HW2e0eSzrPuhQCajNB7m0Ur_7vScuySR9b1VbxRD3SVkjS12WbS7sm8jqnlmHSQvb3xxBq9yH5PjlkbfsIcbkDtHGQn_G8g

wLWiTxC19VMjDP7w__T59o_KZ9S896TqB6mpcwvdUuds1WivO8d8sK8i3NE77CdyDxSx1SqmM_5IfYr75OypCw1B_SY5iFKpYvAr2WJlJVhHugLRp5xn1WJiDo1EKNqdEAdyAxKL

I boosted the amount of primitives because Planetary Diversity (see below) severely reduces how many spawn. Other than that, pretty much everything is what you might consider normal.
Also, I am playing with all DLC enabled, up to and including Distant Stars.

I have way too many mods installed to list, but I’ll just list some of the more notable ones. If you want, they’re all on the Steam Workshop, so just search for them:
  • Planetary Diversity (adds many new planet types)
  • Guaranteed Spawn: Reign of Mankind (forces the UNE and Commonwealth of Man to spawn for story reasons)
  • Guilli’s Planet Modifiers
  • Dryad Portraits
  • Nature Room Backgrounds
  • Immersive Galaxy (a large pack of planet texture and map changes)
  • More Frequent Observation Events
  • Stellaris Music Extension
  • Just More Flags
  • Just Name Lists
  • Dynamic Political Events
  • Banned! (lets you disband annoying 10% happiness factions)
  • Claims Decay
  • Hyperlane Generation
  • Astronomical Emblem Pack (historical and pop culture emblems)
  • Back to the Drawing Board (allows you to reset technology options 10 times without cheating)
  • Human Variety (more clothes for humans)
  • Larger Sector Names
  • War Name Variety
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Welcome to AAR writing. I hope you enjoy yourself.
 

Nikolai

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Welcome to AAR writing! And good luck!
 

Vilhelm

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Thank you all for your kind words. I hope to have the next part up shortly!
 
Chapter I, Part I

Vilhelm

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Chapter I: First Steps (2200-2205)
Part I: Leaving Home

Overview

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Vernus Aeterna is the third planet orbiting the binary stars of Soari[1], and is itself orbited by a mid-sized moon named Grianan Ailigh that regulates its tides and axis. It is a large, lush world known for its spacious skies, aquatic tree-like organisms, and vast forests. The plant-like Dryaden live in such forests, largely free of the choking urban sprawls other species inevitably develop. Instead, most lead pastoral lives with the nature around them, each taking great care to ensure that the flora and fauna around them remain unharmed from their activities. This has led to an aversion to violence and desire to remain peaceful at all times.

As the Dryaden advanced through the ages and studied their elysian homeworld, numerous inconsistencies began to arise. Landmarks were arranged in ley lines that could not be coincidental, and the lifeforms around them seemed cobbled together from other sources. It became obvious that some agency had meticulously created the idyll of Vernus Aeterna just for the Dryaden. Those responsible became known as the Patrons, and a church[2] worshiping them and their creation quickly spread among the Dryaden.

soari.png

Even Soari itself has been altered by the Patrons to ensure Vernus Aeterna can flourish. Deep within the star lies an energy projection device; believed to be carefully filtering much of the ultraviolet light emitted by the star and extending its lifespan to allow for multicellular life to evolve on the planet before Soari swells into a red giant. Its most apparent function, however, is altering the visible light output and causing it to have a distinctive “twinkle”.

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At the dawn of 2200, the Dryadens completed the last of the great starships to explore the wider galaxy. Leading these exploration efforts was the DVS (Dryaden Void Ship) Ashray, a prototype science vessel commanded by Dr. Rozalia, known especially for her good health and strenuous exercise. She knew for a fact this would add a good twenty years to an already long life expectancy of a century. Before she even left Soari on her first voyage, a second of the new Ashray-class science ships was already beginning construction in orbit of Vernus Aeterna, slated to be finished in two months.

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While not as prestigious as the Ashray, the DVS Grundel was another voidship that would be instrumental in the interstellar expansion of the Communes. Larger and significantly uglier than that ship, much of the Grundel’s bulk consisted of a colossal cargo bay filled with the raw materials and teleoperated drones necessary to build permanent installations in deep space. Its first assignment was to build a mining outpost around Slieve Gallion, a metal-rich frozen world at the outskirts of the Soari system.
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Although by nature a peaceful species, the Dryadens were aware that there could be intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic lurking in the darkness of space. To this end, the Dryaden Defense Group (DDG) was formed in 2190 to police the Soari system and defend against any alien incursions. Despite low funding from the High Queen and mockery from the rest of the Dryaden people, they nevertheless had managed to scrounge together the resources to launch three Sprite-class corvettes[3]: the DVS Harpy, Sylph, and Bluecap. Until a threat could present itself, the small fleet known as The Wild Hunt would remain moored at Soari Station, all the while facing derision from the rest of the fanatically peaceful population.

tech.png

Even with technology as remarkable as the hyperdrives, there was much more to research as the Dryadens made their way into the void. In late 2199, Hazel founded the Consolidated Dryaden Royal Science Institute to efficiently reseach new technologies. It was divided into three primary divisions, each set to work on different projects:

  • The Material/Immaterial Physics division, led by none other than Elvin herself, focused on energy field manipulation to improve the yield of Vernus Aeterna’s power grid. Their efforts were aided by a zero-g research station in orbit of the icy moon Mullachsee.

  • The Biology and Society division was led by Erline, an accomplished sociologists who had previously published papers on how to effectively colonize and even partially terraform any suitable worlds that might be found. However, Hazel had her work on completing a legacy long ago started by her predecessors: uniting the entirety of Vernus Aeterna and the Dryadens who inhabited it.

  • The Applied Engineering Division was led by Brucie, an expert on starship design theory. Her team was tasked with creating powered exoskeletons that could be mounted to an individual Dryaden, giving them highly increased strength. This would have numerous theoretical applications, including: improved mining yields, the ability for first responders to lift survivors from rubble during disasters, and (perhaps most controversially) a frame for heavy weapons for soldiers.
maeve.png

Two weeks after the Ashray left for the edges of the Soari system, Hazel’s seed-daughter Maeve blossomed into a young woman and was officially crowned as the Exalted Princess. During her education, she had taken an interest in off-world mineral extraction and had made several trips with her mother and tutors to the refinery in orbit of the small moon Cnoc Aine. She also was an outspoken member of the Group of Plenty, an ancient fertility cult dating back to pre-medieval times that had a special interest in purifying the soil. She regularly preached the cult’s methods to the masses and hoped to apply them to hydroponic growing techniques during her reign.

hazel.png

Her mother Hazel, on the other hand, had been an amateur architect and knew how to apply what she knew in that field to infrastructure development. She was also known for her liberal reforms and her championing of the commoners, keeping the populace united in harmony. She also had an interest in architecture, and often used her knowledge to more efficiently design new infrastructure without it looking too spartan.

Hazel was also determined to ensure an era of peace and prosperity by keeping the Communes economically stable. In addition to promoting job growth and industry on Vernus Aeterna, she also instituted practices to increase energy refinement efficiency and decided to prioritize mining energy-rich planets.

The First Jump: February 26, 2200

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On the overgrown bridge of the Ashray, Rozalia was overcome by a sudden sense of anxiety. For the past three months, she’d been fairly calm as her ship made its way to the edge of the Soari system. But traveling at sublight was fairly routine, whereas the hyperdrive had been untested on a full voidship before. The only travelers of the hyperlanes had been unmanned probes sent out to test the technology and chart the local routes. But tests with probes could only go so far.

Now the Ashray would be the first to carry living Dryadens to another system, and Rozalia wasn’t sure what would happen.

“Lane entry in one minute.” Her helmswoman Carling said from her post. A minute was a long time to ponder the bad things that could happen: perhaps the hyperdrive would overload and destroy the entire ship, taking its entire crew of three hundred with it.

“Thirty seconds.” Carling added.

Perhaps the ship would emerge in a system of hostile spaceborne entities who would blast it to bits in a split second.

“Fifteen seconds.”

Rozalia suddenly remembered the first hyperjump was being streamed to the entirety of Vernus Aeterna, and its populace would watch either in awe as the Ashray left the shackles of their home system or gasped as its fission core overloaded.

“Ten seconds...”

This was it, the moment that would decide Dryaden history once and for all.

“...nine…”

Would this be heralded as the start of a new golden age, or a financial and logistical disaster of epic proportions?

“...eight…”

Rozalia remembered seeing old sci-fi shows where experimental space propulsion systems met horrific ends.

“...seven…”

The fabric of space-time itself began to distort as the entry point was generated, sending the gravitational readings skyrocketing.

“...six…”

The gravitational readings continued to increase, and Rozalia began to be seriously concerned about the structural integrity of her ship.

“...five…”

Rozalia allowed herself a glance at the rest of her bridge officers, who were similarly anxious as Carling’s countdown continued.

“...four…”’

The grav-readings were going off the charts, to levels that could pose a legitimate threat to the ship.

“...three…”

She wondered how her forest-wives were doing back home on Vernus Aeterna, watching her either make history or die trying.

“...two…”

A gaping maw was forming in the aether itself, ready to swallow the ship whole and propel it to its destination.

“...one…”

Rozalia finally closed her eyes, bracing for the worst as--

“...engaging hyperjump!”

A thunderous noise shook the cabin as the ship darted through the entry point into the hyperlane, causing Rozalia to open her eyes. The first thing she noticed was that she was still alive, followed by the ethereal wisps of hyperspace outside the duraglass windows. Her crew began cheering in celebration of the first jump, but she knew they were only halfway done. Just because a ship could enter a hyperlane okay didn’t mean it could exit it…

***​
Two days later, Rozalia was firmly rooted and asleep in her flowerbed when the comms panel on her wall started beeping. She awoke from her slumber and trudged over to the panel to answer the transmission and stop the obnoxious noise. It was in fact an urgent transmission from her first officer Daphne.

“Sorry to disturb you, ma’am.” Daphne said. “We’ll be exiting hyperspace within the hour, and it would be a shame if our illustrious captain slept through such a grand moment in our history.”

“I’ll be on the bridge shortly.” Rozalia replied. She switched the panel off and reluctantly exited her quarters, making her way to the lift.

By the time Rozalia’s lift got to the bridge deck, she was far more awake and alert than she had been mere moments before. She sat in her chair just in time for a flash to engulf the bridge, followed by a view of normal space. They had exited hyperspace in the Urrom system, a single A-class star like Soari orbited by two rocky planets. Celebratory cheers spread across the bridge; for the first time in history, the Dryadens had left their home system and traveled to another within a lifetime.
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Pushing Back the Frontier
Once the celebrations ended, it was quickly time to get back to the business of scientific discovery and survey the Urrom system. While the scientists aboard and astronomers back on Vernus Aeterna were ecstatic at the prospect of exploring a new system, most were somewhat disappointed to find out after five months that the Urrom system contained little of interest. Both worlds were much too barren and hot to support any form of known life, and also did not contain any significant resource deposits worthy of orbital exploitation. At the very least, the Urrom star was active enough to allow energy credits to be refined from its corona.

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In March 2200, the Ashray’s sister ship, the Bean Nighe, was deemed spaceworthy and left Vernus Aeterna’s orbit. However, Hazel needed time to locate suitable candidates to take command and amass enough credits to sweeten the deal of recruiting them. The process took seven months, during which a skeleton crew performed tests and diagnostics.

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At the start of October, Hazel presented three candidates for command to the rest of her court: The first was Carling, a 34-year-old helmswoman on the Ashray. Though she had a fairly low-rank, Rozalia had taken note of her ability to learn extremely quickly. The second was Odelina, a 49-year-old prone to sudden bursts of inspiration and a commendable work ethic. Finally was Raedself, a 37-year-old who had previously worked as an industrial scientist in Fuming Dell, one of the few urbanized and industrial cities on the planet.

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Though the final choice was ultimately up to Hazel herself, her courtiers were quick to notice that Odelina was exceptionally intelligent (even among her fellow scientists) and that her quick inspiration allowed her to research quickly. Although Hazel had personally been considering Carling for the role, ultimately her friend Elvin was instrumental in swaying her to the others’ side. She was growing restless with the prospect of spending four years working on field modulation techniques, and was hoping for someone to finish it faster for her. She also announced her intention to personally command the Bean Nighe, thus it was about selecting a new physics researcher rather than ship commander. In the end, Hazel saw no reason not to employ Odelina’s genius intellect to finish the project ahead of schedule and allow Elvin to use her own invention to explore the stars. Elvin jumped at the opportunity and caught the first orbital shuttle to the Bean Nighe, while Odelina was brought up to speed on her predecessor’s work.

Pc1RDRA-IR6qOzKYD8-nqdHbCWPvCRk-KYOaDwrn3b9rjRGTHH-B76ePXtfj8bQJ-JxWas58_ojq9xO3n03nX7tfwcKS-QEqCrhgsnoxeBHcrVD0DZZUd4y5EODqW5dkeCQndEr8

Once aboard the Bean Nighe, Elvin knew exactly where she wanted to go. She had long been fascinated by the prospects of black holes for research, and there was one suspected to be lurking close to the Soari system (though thankfully not too close to present any major hazard). In December 2200, her ship arrived near the accretion disk of the P94-L Singularity, a mid-sized black hole quadruple the size of the great gas giant Cnoc Aine[4]. Around it was a small barren world, orbiting fairly far from the black hole’s event horizon.

For three months, Elvin and her team excitedly studied the black hole as it consumed the various gases, dust particles, and even chunks of its satellite world. Finally, they concluded that they could barely scratch the surface of its mysteries and decided to break their dangerous orbit to survey its satellite world. Just after breaking orbit, however, Elvin heard a distinctive pattern among the black hole’s clicks. She ordered her team to return and investigate the source, and confirm her suspicions that it was artificial.

first-anomaly.png

After four months, Elvin and her crew were confident enough in their collected data to present their findings. The interference was in fact a subspace broadcast of song based off of a complex mathematical equation. It was also a fairly catchy one at that, to the extent that Elvin would never truly get it out of her head and could often be caught humming it in her idle time.
The agency behind this transmission and their motivation remained unknown, though Elvin and her crew believed it was coming from a nearby galaxy. The “song signal”, as the media dubbed it, only raised further questions, though ultimately the technology used and its interactions with the black hole provided a healthy advancement to the sciences.

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News of the “song signal” quickly reached Vernus Aeterna, sending the Communes into an excited uproar. This was irrefutable confirmation that intelligent, spacefaring lifeforms existed elsewhere in the universe. Most Multiplists believed that the signal was in fact a last message from the Patrons who had created their idyllic homeworld, while Singularists believed that there was no religious significance to the message, citing that the Patron wouldn’t use something as humble as subspace radio to send a message to His followers. Whatever the case, both sides agreed that it was a remarkable moment in their history. Even if the Dryadens were the only race harmonious enough to make it to the stars and avoid nuclear self-destruction, clearly others had in the past.

remnants.png

Footnotes
[1] Soari B is a brown dwarf, a celestial body larger than a gas giant yet unable to initiate the fusion process and become a true star. This has led many astronomers to dispute Soari’s status as a binary star.

[2] The Church of Patronage, as the Dryaden religion is known, has two main opposing schools of thought: Singularity, believing in only one godlike Patron; and Multiplicity, which asserts that the Patrons are a group or race of individuals endowed with great powers. Multiplicity in its various forms is the most widely practiced, with 69.3% of the population identifying themselves as Multiplists. In earlier times, brief but bloody wars were fought over the issue; today, the only conflict comes in the form of heated theological conversations.

[3] The Sprite herself was the first pure military ship launched by the Dryadens, and among the most controversial pieces of technology in their long history (perhaps second only to the weapons she was fitted with). It was destroyed in 2192 following a fission core meltdown while engaged in tactical simulations in orbit of the small moon Cnoc Firinn.

[4] For comparison, Cnoc Aine is slightly smaller than Jupiter in the Sol system.
 
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stnylan

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The first small, yet very important steps.
 

Nikolai

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Can’t be long before they meet fellow spacefarers now.
 

Vilhelm

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Great update. I love the RP aspect and the naming convention you use for your ships.
Thank you! I just used the Dryad namelist that came with the portrait mod. I think it fits them quite well, even if I can't understand the Gaelic-esque names of their planets. :p
Also, RP is pretty much the sole reason I wrote this AAR in the first place, both because I wanted to flesh out the game's random events and the idea as playing as a race of fanatically peaceful plant-women seemed ripe (no pun intended) for good writing potential.

Can’t be long before they meet fellow spacefarers now.
Actually, that won't be for another decade

The first small, yet very important steps.
In my opinion, the early game of Stellaris is the best part, because you're exploring most of the galaxy and even a routine little thing feels like an accomplishment. That's why this whole chapter focuses on the small things such as the first jump to another system, choosing command of a new science ship, the first anomaly, the first habitable planet discovered, and the first outpost built, simply because they're first.
 
Status Update

Vilhelm

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So, a bit of status update on where this is going with the announcement of MegaCorp/2.2's release date:

I'm somewhat torn about the upcoming release of 2.2 and MegaCorp on December 6th. Don't get me wrong, I've been extremely hyped for the new features and the well-deserved reworking of planetary management, but the fact that I'm writing this AAR means I won't have enough time before then to wrap up this campaign in a satisfactory way. I've only played to about 2215 due to the fact that I lots of other games I regularly play, a busy life in college, and a lack of time to really get far into such games as these.
I'll try to see if I can find the time play up to 2250 or so and it all write down (helped by the fact that I'm trying to focus on the highlights rather than every little thing that happens) for this AAR, and I might do one for 2.2 once I've done a campaign to learn all the new mechanics.

UPDATE 11/30/18: From what the Paradox devs have said, it seems like playing a tall Life-Seeded empire will be a lot better and more interesting in 2.2. As such, I will be rebooting this AAR (likely on this thread for simplicity), but it might have to wait what with my busy life and the fact I have to learn all the new mechanics. Plus I want to play a MegaCorp first because it's cool and new. :p
 
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Nikolai

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Yes, I echo iain. :)
 

GregoryTheGreat

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intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic lurking in the darkness of space
I love the War of the Worlds reference.

Don't get me wrong, I've been extremely hyped for the new features and the well-deserved reworking of planetary management, but the fact that I'm writing this AAR means I won't have enough time before then to wrap up this campaign in a satisfactory way.
I can sympathize, though I'm lucky in that I've essentially already finished the play-through part of my AAR, but it's going to make getting screenshots and statistics difficult. On the bright side the changes to Agrarian Idyll will make it a much more distinctive and interesting play style, which could mesh nicely with a rebooted campaign if you do it again.

By the way, your countdown sequence is fantastic, a nicely gripping view into the thoughts running through Rozalia's mind in an event that most players take for granted, even though we really shouldn't.
 

Vilhelm

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I love the War of the Worlds reference.


I can sympathize, though I'm lucky in that I've essentially already finished the play-through part of my AAR, but it's going to make getting screenshots and statistics difficult. On the bright side the changes to Agrarian Idyll will make it a much more distinctive and interesting play style, which could mesh nicely with a rebooted campaign if you do it again.

By the way, your countdown sequence is fantastic, a nicely gripping view into the thoughts running through Rozalia's mind in an event that most players take for granted, even though we really shouldn't.

Thanks! I was inspired by the first wormhole jump sequence in the First Century AAR, though at a somewhat smaller scale. As I've pointed out previously, this portion focuses on small milestones we as players take for granted: the first hyperjump to another solar system, the first anomaly, the first extrasolar starbase, etc. and how they're actually big accomplishments for the Dryadens. It's actually pretty hard bending the spacetime continuum to go to a nearby star. :p
 
Chapter I, Part II

Vilhelm

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Part II: Further into the Unknown
MWh0Cko2qYVljdQK4ygCBCj5w1nMXoDByHxMLR8J_t7LMeNVxio4uJNWLBXhgnto4WmEWRSfMnr6yhfUkVxI2MA7rwrGB3fPHP6I7Ay0rt3_k_C_jTFbCcoecn3irYBdzG-ez1Hy
In March 2201, inspired by the anomaly her friend had discovered, Hazel issued the Royal Discovery Decree, a massive effort at increasing research funding and education to more efficiently discover the wonders of creation. The decree would be the first step in establishing a tradition of discovery among the Communes, humbly beginning with testing an experimental method of sensor sweeps to more easily spot anomalous readings.

Though some advisors doubted its effectiveness at first, it would pay off a year later in the Elthior system. While conducting a survey of the system’s second planet, a toxic world with a dense and corrosive atmosphere, one of Elvin’s junior officers noticed what almost looked like cities appearing on the cloud-penetrating radar. However, Elvin did not have the skill or spare time to investigate, especially since she was being pressured to investigate the first planet with best possible speed: Immediately upon entering the system in September 2201, their scanners had noticed what almost seemed like bio-signatures emanating from the planet. There were no malfunctions with the system, which could only mean one thing: the planet was potentially habitable. She decided to log the planet for future investigation and continue surveying the system, eventually making her way to the first planet.

Vaay82vTS3BqkY2ftQBhsTxvUC002rBp4NjnwYZLbQ8jRqPsHN14lAyt2TAPRStvTNSJVLIxYePu6Sg0P_hPG5XDp5E9Oj7n7xHBc0evfw7ei1voSOnnfSRQCcwP5T8q5cz_Dcbp

Elthior I: May 23, 2202
As her exploration shuttle came in for a landing, Elvin was immediately awed to find a forest below them. Though not nearly as lush or expansive on those on Vernus Aeterna, it nevertheless reminded her of the glen she had grown among, and she was suddenly starting to feel homesick. Before long, however, the shuttle’s pilot had found a clearing and landed with a gentle thud in the dirt.
“Let’s head out!” She told the assembled team of biologists. They immediately grabbed their scanners and began heading towards the door, and Elvin was about to join them when one of them in the back approached her.
“Wait, can we even breathe out there?” The young girl asked in panicked concern.
“The atmosphere is 77% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, and 1% argon.” Another replied. “A bit less than we’re used to, but I don’t think it’ll be enough for us to experience hypoxia.”

Without any better evidence to the contrary, Elvin opened the doors. They quickly braced for a cloud of toxic gas to enter, but no such cloud ever came. Instead, the air was perfectly breathable, and outside a group of small six-legged canine analogues had gathered around the shuttle. The creatures made no aggressive moves towards the science team (perhaps believing them to be moving trees) and didn’t seem too alarmed when a scientist began lightly stroking one of them. It was their first encounter with living things beyond Vernus Aeterna, even if it was a simple pack of space foxes.

After first contact was made with the locals, Elvin and her crew began surveying the planet from both the ground and orbit. Other than the orangish light of the local star, a set of faint gossamer rings in the sky, the temperate parts of the planet did indeed bear some resemblance to Vernus Aeterna’s forests. However, the science team reported that while the atmosphere was breathable, there was something just… impure about it that they couldn’t really put their fingers on. According to Elvin, there were far more microbes on Elthior I than Vernus Aeterna, many of which were potentially pathogenic.
Furthermore, the plant life on the planet was out of the control. Much of the northern hemisphere was cloaked in impenetrably dense and humid jungles, and the oceans were filled with algae and a species of toxic kelp. Finally, there was a pocket of southern hemisphere overrun by a four-legged horned mammalian dubbed the Hor-aighn[1] after one of them brutally dismembered one of Elvin’s aides. As a result of these factors, Elthior I was deemed to be unfit for Dryaden habitation, though study of tectonic activity could prove useful for the sciences.
elthior-i.png


At the dawn of September 2201, the Dryaden people were united by the promises of surveying space. To that end, Hazel capitalized on this by instituting the “Go Boldly” doctrine, which included regulations for maximizing sensor output to quickly survey planets and better identify threats to run away from.
boldly-go.png


Meanwhile in the Elthior system, Elvin had learned a lot from surveying Elthior I and the other planets, and was confident in her ability to research strange new worlds. She felt compelled to find out what was with the strange city-like structures on Elthior II one of her junior officers had spotted. In February 2203, after surveying the last body in the system, she returned to the toxic planet and began mapping it in more detail. Seven months later, they finally finished, and the picture wasn’t pretty: Long ago, the planet had been a pristine jewel of a habitable planet, with a civilization inhabiting it. Unfortunately, they had grown to be so industrialized that they pumped toxins and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, polluting their world and gradually killing all life.
Despite this, some evidence of them remained. An unmanned rover sent to the hellish surface quickly discoveredan ancient factory complex on a hill next to one of the cities. Not only was it less corroded than the surrounding structures, but it was also somewhat active and was host to rows upon rows of automatons. It was surrounded by military vehicles that were so corroded by the acidic environment that they disintegrated when the rover tried to grab a sample. The construction of this robot assembly plant, combined with Elthior I’s potential for plate tectonics studies, made the Elthior system extremely important for engineering sciences, and plans were immediately made to claim it to take advantage of this research.
-BdSzMWXNbeB4JBFZF0QFyKA47YCGVs16-uuPZCHxnxx6iIErsb1eoZWcTiHICwOe0Iji3xMMHRY-fEc2dFw-3PJjNvMaNgrKcBRFMQDAjWtnCLaqq9mW3MmTwl-9iLZqSU3trbT

However, the system was superseded by the P94-L Singularity. While Elvin had been investigating Elthior II, the Grundel had left the Soari system and began construction of the first deep-space outpost in Dryaden history. At the end of June 2203, the facility was deemed complete and a small crew moved in. Much smaller than the magnificent Soari station, its main goal was to coordinate and telemetry from a planned research station in orbit of the black hole. In the future, though, some hoped to upgrade the station to allow it to directly observe the Singularity as it consumed the surrounding accretion disk like an ancient, hungry beast.
7CQFdRtQRhytn1gEw5BNmu179IZbqzQ2QIHzU1MeUom46n49EfJ5tj_ZzNF-Yc7VMtaGASQtMfLTguwGq8cfEJ8nCtLFYen8nItbiDkxpmKlpqOHDUdLROxWrtnBynOby0P6x0ZR

Perhaps more importantly, the commissioning of the Singularity Station (as it came to be known) was a small but decisive leap forward in Dryaden history. It marked the first time a permanent presence was established beyond the Soari system, and the expansion of Dryaden borders into the wider galaxy.
border.png

The borders of the Airweb Dryaden Communes following the construction of the Singularity Station.

Footnotes:
[1] Roughly translates to "peace-violator".
 

Nikolai

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Habitability: 0%. So sad. Need more robots, fast. ;)
 

stnylan

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The first important claims in local space.