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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.

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

    Admiral Lord Simms killed after a long and distinguished service to the Empire.

    The Imperial Services have intercepted and serious damaged several DEN ships on the way to the Empire’s home systems. Unfortunately during the action Admiral Lord Simms was injured and reports from the Viceroy indicate he has passed away, fighting the enemies of the Empire like any true Imperial Officer.

    The Viceroy has stated that the officers and crew of the DEN ships have been captured and are now awaiting trial at a secret IMP base.

    DEN continue to strike at the Empire

    Reports are coming in of multiple engagements between the Empire and the Dewiek Elder Nation over the last week. With several battles taking out Empire ships in the Heartland of the CIA.

    AFT turn to piracy

    The Association of Free Traders have, after a long history of neutrality, turned to piracy this week. AFT Drake boarded an IND ship in the Halo periphery, killing several of the crew in the process.
    Independent trader Jarlebanke Langhofdi immediately took to the public communication channel demanding an answer to why supposedly peaceful traders had killed his crew and taken his ship.

    The AFT remain silent over the attack.
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Combat Special Edition

    Since the DEN started shooting at those lovable FEL fluffballs things have certainly been heating up. So we through it would be prudent to bring you, gentle beings of the peripheries, a special edition in order to keep you updated with all the latest action in regards to who the DEN are shooting and who is shooting them.

    Felini strike back at Dewiek

    Reports have come in of the FEL striking back at the DEN in the Kallisan system. A huge FEL force supported by the IMP and CIA assaulted DEN positions taking both the platform and base called Lucien. There was much rejoicing in the FEL camp as the Felini proved they were not such lovable fluffballs after all!

    GTT get sucked into the war

    A passing fleet of GTT warships got caught in the fighting and this saw the GTT enter the war. When asked about this CEO Fox pointed out they are not warships at all, they are trade defence ships. So how they came to be in the DEN system of Kallisan is a mystery to us. But the GTT CEO was clear that they only engaged using support and defend orders to protect allies. Needless to say, the CEO commented “We found ourselves on the Dewiek Nation’s enemy lists pretty soon after.”

    Dewiek Nation attacks GTT positions in Orion Spur, breaking DOM system rules

    A fleet of DEN warships has engaged and destroyed a significant number of GTT cargo ships and escorts in the DOM system Monument. The GTT immediately took to the public channels to ask why the DOM were not doing something. In reply the DOM issued a statement to stop, which the DEN ignored.

    The DEN newssheet "The HOWL" published a completely unbiased review of the attack shortly after.

    DOM make a choice

    After the above incident and then further raiding by the DEN, taking out a few GTT cargo ships in the DOM system of Coptuv, the DOM seemed to have been faced with a choice of stopping drinking their tea and doing something or just hoping it would go away. Instead they seem to have decided to abandon the whole idea of being an active affiliation and we have since folded. The lengths some people will go to not to have their elevenses disturbed is truly staggering. We asked the DOM for a statement on their new system rules to share with our readers but have received no replies.

    DOM positions share out

    Just as we were going to press news has come in of various DOM assets being given to other affiliations or sold. Hopefully we will have more on this story in the next issue of your favorite factual newsheet. Yes, that's us at the SSS.

    *** Affiliations ***

    AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
    CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
    DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - DNA people
    DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
    DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - Urd
    DOM Dominion (57) – we believe the DOM are now inactive
    FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Bacran
    FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
    FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
    FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
    GRC Gracians (13) - HG1
    GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
    GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
    HEX Hexamon (23) - Ando
    IMP Imperial Services (51) - Jack Jones
    KRL Krell (30) - Namica
    KRT Krell of the Reverence Temple (37) - Kal Torak
    KST Kastor Kastorians (12) - Kastor
    MZC Mizuchi Combine (86) - Mizuchi
    MOH Mohache (73) - Listens
    MIC Mohache Independent Commune (76) - Sleeps with Dragons
    NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
    RIP Regularly Involved in Piracy - Githyanki
    RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
    SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
    USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oeipus Prime
    WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

    * Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
    ** Affiliation has no leader but this is the only known contact


    Inactive: ANT, BHD, COD, HVE, IDC, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

    Deceased: CAL

    *** Submission ***

    By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    New pirate threat rocks Corward Arm.

    Several large pirate ships have been spotted in outer rings of Corward systems. Reports forwarded to us at the SSS allow us to exclusively tell readers that traders should keep their wits about them when moving through these areas.

    No existing pirate menace has yet claimed ownership.

    In a possibly unrelated event one of the FET cartel members claimed nothing was happening in the outer ring of Coptov shortly afterwards. But it could be that they are still trying to catch Empire backed pirates and have nothing to do with the new sightings.
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    DEN continue to shoot innocents

    The Dewiek have made themselves busy shooting at the peaceful and innocent traders of the SSL. Leader of Solar Spices and Liquors Mr TOAD has been vocal pointing out that the Beast-DEN are being totally unfair. News of a go-fund-me appeal are yet to surface though.

    This office is sure that it must have provided the DEN light relief after picking on the equally defenceless Felini. Word is that the DEN faced such an uphill struggle in these recent actions they had to take up Felini inter-breeding to provide some entertainment as the battle reports were rather boring.

    Free Ship when you sign-up
    Complete missions for in game rewards
    Control everything, up to an entire empire
    Dedicated human moderators
    Player and Moderator driven plotlines
    Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
    Over 20 years of content development
    Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

    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).