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214
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Artefacts

Artefacts

Artefacts are the result of unexpected events or ancient alien discoveries.


Artefacts as the name suggests are rare and sometimes unique items. Some may be ancient alien objects the true purpose of which is unknown such as the blanger flubolip ‘starship energy cannon’, found in the ruins of Randurial in the Transpiral Periphery. This has been described as a inter star-system messaging device, work of art, an alien joke or possibly an alien sex toy for gas giant behemoths. Artefacts may even be the result of improbable research blind-alleys that were abandoned due to inability to recreate the process or in favour of less impressive but infinitely more commercially viable alternatives.


Where the purpose is known or an obvious use is determined the artefact may be classed as another item type (as that generally defines how the game code handles the item).




Players always but always want to back-engineer them and mass produce them. We could simply make them a prototype and a 100,000 production cost each or something phenomenal representing the ridiculous efforts required to make one work no matter what. We could even make the mineral cost stupidly expensive representing completely unfeasible waste. Examples could be irradiation, doping, low neutrino capture or Z-space interactions. This though is probably not in the interests of the game because there is always somebody out there willing to go to extremes or even work out that our 'unfeasible' is orders of magnitude less than their 'unfeasible'.


Consider the mythical Z-ray Pulse Cannon. This is similar size to a Photon Cannon mkIV but significantly higher damage, however reproducing the components relies on neutrino capture rates to dope the materials according to the description in the associated investigations. This may be in excess of 100,000 production and be extremely wasteful of irradiated minerals due to failed attempts. Similar thing with maintenance bots. Each one requires such complicated components and neural networking development that the production cost is more than twenty years’ worth of work hours. In other words, production is not viable./P]
[P]Presenting it to the player as production and mineral costs however has historically returned the request to find ways to improve some part of the process and the more depth the GM has added in describing why the process is not viable the more strands the player has to try to wrangle down the production and mineral cost until it comes down to a battle of caveats and handwavium proposals between the player and GM.



We therefore intentionally state an artefact cannot be researched or reproduced for game purposes. This is simply a mechanic impediment used to represent inordinate amounts of time and effort required to build artefacts or we simply don’t want proliferation of the items into the game.


Why? The value of an artefact is in its scarcity. Having a flagship equipped with Z-ray Pulse Cannons is awesome, having the most powerful affiliation’s every ship equipped likewise is a potential game breaker while having every ship in the game with them would be the new norm and dull.


If you are lucky enough to discover an artefact in the game, enjoy it, use it, hoard it or sell it for an astronomical amount of stellars. If the item is described as unique, un-researchable or indecipherable alien, take the hint and don’t waste time looking at ways of duplicating it and attempting to gleam some new technology that will super-enhance your entire faction and let you ‘win’ the game.



Who’s Who Amongst the Ancients?
While most of the information regarding ancient aliens is hidden deep within affiliation data archives there are sufficient rumours and discoveries by explorers, along with a few encounters to generate a modest incomplete list of artefact sources.



Architects (ARC) – these living ships are everything from the bogeyman to demigods depending on which civilian faction is spoken to. They were originally thought to have created the stargate network but this is now looking decidedly doubtful. It is common knowledge that they fought a war with the TCA (see below) and the Dewiek Nation around half a millennium ago but are occasionally encountered even to this day.
Artefacts most commonly associated with them are their weapon systems though the occasional dead hulk is discovered.



Terran Colony Annihilators (TCA) – the name was given to the living ships when they were first encountered. It is certainly not their true identity and to date nobody has been able to determine what it actually is so TCA has now become the norm. It is believed that they were created by the ARC as a servitor species but eventually rebelled. The war it seems is ongoing but due to losses on both sides over the centuries, has reached stalemate.
They are more commonly associated with meklan though it is more likely that the meklan were created by the ARC. Meklan are not considered a distinctive species in their own right.
Artefacts associated with the TCA include meklan control units, weapon systems and like the ARC, dead hulks suitable for salvage.



Nautiloids – this species was most active across the Capellan Periphery prior to the arrival of the ARC according to what little evidence has found its way to Yank. They were responsible for tampering with the DNA of various organic species though for what purpose is debatable. It is possible that they were the only active advanced species present in the Periphery at the time and were experimenting, trying to uplift species, responsible for panspermia or simply messing around for their own whimsy.
It is presumed that they achieved sublimation* or regressed due to the loss of their home system or similar setback.

Boltzmann Brain – this is actually an artefact that existed in Straddle and was seemingly created by an unknown species, probably the Unknown (UNK) as a means of bending subspace in order to directly manipulate jump distances. Suffice to say, politics got messy and big red buttons were pressed resulting in Straddle leaping Peripheries.
Other than the single incident of the Brain (a self-aware non-organic entity capable of observing the universe and defining its qualities at a quantum level) and truly ancient ships mothballed in an asteroid, no other examples of the aliens’ technology have been reported.



Illuvatorians – this species fled an undocumented menace by splitting their population between numerous colony ships and heading out in all directions using obsolete inter-system sublight drives. As this technology relies on huge travel times lasting hundreds of years merely to reach the nearest star, the ships tended to be huge and reliant on cryostasis for one-way trips. The discovery of the first ship activated a subspace beacon that caused the occupants of the colony ships scattered across the Peripheries to awake.
Along with Phanali, a unusual items were recovered from some of the ships that had not survived the transit, the purpose and origin the Illuvatorians could not explain. It was surmised that the alien menace pursuing them was not completely unprovoked. To date, no sign of the alien menace has been detected.



Hive Diaspora – hive species have been around in various forms seemingly as long as the galaxy. They appear to share the same goal, create more hive and spread to a new world often by sublight methods. As these aliens are often subterranean and not overly reliant on biospheres, legacies of their failed colonisation attempts can occasionally be found on airless rocks.
A plethora of artefacts have been found associated with hive ruins the purpose of which is as much a mystery now as when they were first discovered.




Gate Builders – while it was originally thought that the ARC were responsible for the stargates, this has since been generally discounted due to age. Whichever species were responsible, like the Nautilloids, they have long since sublimed. The lack of artefacts beyond the stargate supports the presumption that they, like the ARC were living starships or at the very least, evolved in gas giants and had little to do with planetary surfaces.



Natives – many pre-uplift civilisations have oral histories describing alien visitors or believe they were brought to the world by aliens. Some even have treasured artefacts supporting the claim. In many cases explorers given access to the objects quickly identify them as dewiek, flagritz or hive in origin. This is not overly surprising as these three species have been the most active within the Peripheries over the past millennium though wars and the arrival of the Stellar Empire caused a shift in the balance. Even so, from time to time the origin of these artefacts cannot be determined and the aliens described by the natives bear no resemblance to known species active in the Peripheries.



*Sublimation is the end point of a civilisation due to reaching some form of technological or equivalent singularity. At this point the species effectively disappears from reality, possibly uplifting its collective consciousness to some alternative subspace dimension.







 
News
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  Star Date: 221.22.5

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RAGNAROK BECKONS

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Assault on End Game

The ancient Architects have declared war on the Dewiek Elder Nation. The first sign of the conflict was subspace transmissions in a remote system in the Pocket Periphery. This followed reports that the ancient Ragnarok shipyards on Beacon were malfunctioning. In response, the Wolf Mother sent urgent orders to several Dewiek scout ships to patrol the End Game system.

The Konungr Smidamadr was the first to encounter the gigantic, “Planet Killer” class ARC ships. Measuring in at thirty-two hundred heavy hulls and armed with a hundred ARC plasma weapons, the ship was more like a mobile armed platform. It is certainly the largest vessel ever recorded. The scout ship was vaporised instantly.

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ARC Planet Killer dwarves largest DEN warships

 
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  Star Date: 221.11.4

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Caste Apart

The Flagritz Republic is (very nearly) no more. In its place, a single Hexamon and Flagritz power has arisen. The new Collective has absorbed much of the Flagritz holdings with only a handful of Clique-caste Flagritz systems choosing instead to align with the other Elder species, the Dewiek.

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Flagritz and Hexamon Hybrids - A hope for the Future?

 
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  Star Date: 221.3.3

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Meklanmania

Meklan scout ships continue to be seen around the Orion Spur periphery. These cyborg creatures in service of hidden ancient masters appear to be terrorising the Wimble Nation in particular. Despite public lamentations against the hardship of defending themselves, the Wimble leadership have not yet responded to our request for comment.

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Artist's impression of a Meklanised Wimble

However, Xavier Fox, CEO of Galactic Transport and Trade, did give us the following statement:

“We have engaged several Meklan ships, although currently the source has not been identified. GTT Directors have been running patrols and have engaged and destroyed numerous ships that have attacked outlying outposts belonging to different affiliations. The pattern of ships encountered leads us to believe there is a central source, but until that is found we would suggest any affiliation with assets in the area provide adequate defences.”

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Doomsday On Pause

At the site of the Thete anomaly, the Dewiek Nation has sent media sensation Sharon Aleman to the scene. Aleman, whose cybernetic enhancements allow her to directly interface with her ship’s sensor array, led her hardened crew into a dive of the outermost “edge” of the anomaly. After spending several days collecting and analysing data (mere minutes to the rest of us outside the anomaly), Aleman reported her shocking discoveries.

 
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  Star Date: 220.50.5

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Veil Lifted on Flagritz Home Space

As the Hellcadium ISR field continues to fluctuate, one of the newly exposed systems is Junista inside the previously hidden and inaccessible home periphery of the Flagritz Republic.

Over the past few weeks Flagritz Republic patrols and platforms have dealt with a number of scout ships from the Human Empire as the IMP wasted no time in exploiting this opportunity to poke around in their old enemy’s backyard. It is understood that at least one of these unarmed scouts was destroyed with no one willing to estimate how many more might be buzzing around.

Coincidentally, suspected IMP lackey, SSL TOAD, has also been overheard showing an obsessive interest in the Flagritz periphery. However, we have received no reports of this being anything other than his usual drug-fueled, barely decipherable mutterings at this stage.

Either way, this sudden, uninvited interest in the Flagritz Periphery has left the FLZ leadership muttering darkly about appropriate measures being taken. Defensive fleets and supporting structures are being deployed in the Junista system and beyond in expectation of further uninvited guests.

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When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...

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Thete's Timey-Wimey Tease

Investigation into the Thete anomaly continued in the Dewiek Pocket Periphery. The anomaly was scanned from all angles by a number of the Dewiek Nation’s best sensor ships and officers. The data, collected over several weeks, was sent to one of the DEN’s most advanced scientific laboratories for analysis.

What they found will shock you!

 
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  Star Date: 220.45.1

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Perfidion Reached

Long speculated by theoretical Stellar Cartographers, Perfidion Reach finally opened in the last few weeks. Immediately, the Detinus Republic boldly staked a claim on the first accessible system, Hellcadium. Only time will tell the true value of this strategic move but their much-taunted bureaucracy may have finally proved its worth.

Early reports from scans of the system reveal a wildly fluctuating ISR field. Rumours suggest that at least one ship was destroyed as it was forced into an asteroid belt chasing a stable jump field attempting to exit the system. Casual travellers are warned away from the system at this time for their own safety. Leave it to skilled explorers and navigation officers.

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Mathematical model of Hellcadium ISR Field.

We spoke to Captain Zakiyah Ummahi via subspace link. Zakiyah led the first DEN expedition into the Perfidion Reach. "Spirits remain high but this is largely down to the extended R&R we were all forced to take immediately prior to jumping into this hole. Initial scouting reports show at least one planet with plenty of forests and grasslands which might help if we're going to be stuck here for Folkvar knows how long waiting for this damned ISR field to stabilise."

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Valhalla Stargate Reopens

Dewiek engineers and scientists have finally managed to re-enable Stargate Valgrind this week and the protective Exclusion Zone is to be lifted. If DEN investigators discovered who caused the gate to malfunction, or why, they were not willing to share it with us. Military sources, however, have announced a project to provide a significant boost to the already formidable defence platform in the stargate’s orbit.

 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***

Empire - DEN action grinds to a halt

After months of tension relations between the Empire and the Dewiek Nation, which rose to several large scale fleet actions ending in the DEN losing over 60 Direwolf warships in Solo, things appear to have moved from antagonistic to unfriendly. With the Solo system being a particular issue an agreement has been reached between the Wolf Mother of the DEN and Xavier Fox of the GTT. Since this things have become very quiet, not just because the shooting has stopped, but also because my reporters have been on their summer holidays.
 
News For Discerning Naplians!
---- Special Galactic Edition ----



(The Host sits at his desk as the studio lights dim, and a single spotlight bathes him in light. He looks straight into the camera and begins to speak: )

Host: Naambta!
Good Greetings, and welcome to the show.

This is News for Discerning Naplians, and i’m sure you are all showing much impatience to see this week’s Panel Discussion. We will be discussing religion with the Lady Ghadir of the Temple of Ya Zoon, renowned neo-naplian spiritualist Chairman TonTon, and a very special guest from our imperial neighbours, Bishop Samantha Porteus of the Brotherhood. But before we get to that...

(Looks demonstratively at his digital wrist watch. )

... it is time for a word from our sponsor.
 
******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe from our new home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,
 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***
  • DEN assault FEL base and get wiped out
  • CIA Trade fleet caught and destroyed by the DEN
  • Krell denounce worship of the True One

  •  
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Huge fleet skirmish at the London/Crossley wormhole

    A large fleet of over 700 DEN warships responded to the EMP action in Crossley, where a 4000 hull DEN platform was destroyed. Reports show the DEN ships caught a group of CIA ships napping and inflicted significant losses on the humans. IMP and GTT fleets moved to assist the CIA, matching DEN fleet numbers, but the arrival of over 1200 Hexamon ships seems to have tipped the battle in favour of the DEN-HEX alliance.

    The combined DEN-HEX force pushed through the wormhole into the Heartland area of human space and retaliated, attacking several CIA platforms in response. The outnumbered Empire fleets abandoned the area and fled, they are currently waiting for the larger alien force to make their next move from their hiding places.
     

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    I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

    Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
    -Zigic