The year 2023 is directly tied to the year 2623 in the Galia Expanse, the part of the galaxy where the events of Star Atlas lore unfold.
This year (2023/2623) marks the 100th anniversary of peace between the three major factions, the MUD, the ONI, and the Ustur.
Exactly 100 years ago (2523), representatives of each of these three factions came together to sign the Treaty of Peace. This peace has brought prosperity and understanding to the galaxy and provided the foundation for the Council of Peace, an organization created by the three factions to ensure peaceful coexistence and protection from detrimental outside influences.
To commemorate this milestone, we asked the Star Atlas community to write short stories (between 800 and 1200 words), to illustrate what this peace has brought to the galaxy. In particular, we asked them to describe a celebration of, or an anecdote made possible only due to, the peaceful coexistence of the COP factions within the Galia Expanse. You can read more about this competition and the prizes in our dedicated article.
The plan originally was to narrow down the winners over two rounds. But as the total number of submissions is below the threshold of 16 stories, these stories are all directly sent to Jose, the loremaster of ATMTA, the company behind Star Atlas. He and his team will judge the stories over the coming weeks, with the winners being announced during the Community Week in February 2024.
For now, we hope these provide some nice holiday reading for all Star Atlas enthusiasts out there! To that end, we added all 12 submissions in the post below! If this is too much, feel free to use the links (where available) to jump to the website the participants used to publish their stories.
Note: The links are not internal links. These instead go to external websites where the various authors published their stories.
- The Princess Without a Name – Z
- Single Shot. Cpt Jax “Wolf” Hunter. – FusionRenner
- Entry #3 – eddyout
- The Radiance of Forgotten Peace – Grob
- The Safe Harbour – Krigs
- Entry #6 – O2lord
- Misjudged Situations – Trebel
- Outpost 39 Trio – MrBakisha
- Peace, Mixed and Different – Boen
- Boheme Chronicles – Book One – Chapter Two – phantasee
- Peace of Art – Kenny Dovahkiin
- Entry #12 – DarthJerriko
– by Z – 866 words
“The peace and Christmas spirit is something that had not reached all the corners of Galia” — anonymous
One hundred years had passed since Bekalu, Armi.eldr, and Charon Gotti signed the peace treaty after the terrible Convergence War. This treaty marked the end of a dark era and the prosperity of societies and cultures around Galia. It was a magical time, and the Christmas spirit was more present than ever. Sogmians were wrapping gifts, families were preparing feasts, communities of different races were exchanging greetings and wishing each other happy holidays, businesses were helping each other, safe places and beings showing good vibes wherever you went… It was a challenging time to overcome because two major events coincided, marking an unforgettable day for all beings in the galaxy. Nevertheless, as expected, every story has its ‘chaotic’ event.
In the Volstagia system, three colleagues argued about the best Christmas tree for their space station, disrupting the serenity that pervaded everywhere. Roger insisted they had to go to the Coral Nebula to create the most extravagant and original Christmas tree in the universe. However, Mikaela reproached him for traveling so far for what she considered a weird thing and demanded they change course to the Old Grove, where she claimed to know a place with the most perfect trees. Lucky.bob was pulling at the cables; they were on the planet Damarah, as agreed weeks ago, and they faced a beautiful forest of Mantrah trees. As a botany expert and the group’s safety officer, he reprimanded them for not knowing what they were doing; time was running out, and such trips could be very dangerous. The discussion heated up, and they began to raise their voices, drawing the attention and complaints of the locals.
Suddenly, a loud scream left our protagonists in shock, leaving a trail of silence across the entire planet. They looked down and found a Punaab frowning. He scolded them, having overheard the entire conversation, and told them to each get their respective Christmas trees and decide what to do on their space station. After all, it was no time for fights, and the tranquility in the square they were in had turned into a stupid competition of egos. Ashamed of what had happened, but mostly blinded by their pride, they concluded that it was a good idea and would also stop bothering the neighbors. Each set out on their journey as quickly as they could.
Roger, after spending his salary on fuel, reached the Coral Nebula and obtained the most splendid coral he could find. His return journey was quite peaceful because he took an old route he knew and had no problems. He was the first to land at the station. Upon arrival, he placed it and began to decorate it in a very original way with gemstones he had stored in his bedroom, imagining the faces his friends would make upon seeing his masterpiece. Unfortunately, it dried up shortly before his companions arrived; he forgot the most important thing for a coral, water.
Lucky.bob was about to send a laughing audio when he realized he had taken such a large tree that he couldn’t even transport it in his spaceship. While contemplating whether to go for a smaller one or ask for help, COP agents appeared and, very angry, fined him heavily for cutting down something that was Vostalgia’s heritage. On the other hand, Mikaela, the most delayed due to saving fuel, was almost reaching the station when she was attacked by ECOS pirates, causing her to lose both the tree and all the resources in the cargo hold. They had followed her from the moment she took off and waited for the right moment to act with their Fimbul ECOS greenader.
A few hours later, once all three were at the station, they looked at each other very bitter. They were disappointed in themselves, sad, subdued, and with nothing to lift their spirits. They were formidable captains with an impeccable career who had lost a lot in a very short time due to a simple argument and poor planning, and they did not exchange a word among themselves. They set the table for dinner by the fireplace, and just as they were about to sit down, messages from their teammates appeared on their communication devices. What could have happened? All their teammates asked why they were not with them at the annual team gathering they organized and urged them to hurry, asking if they had heard the news. Apparently, the clan had managed to win one of the big prizes at the Golden Carnival, and they were going to share the winnings. They could not believe it; not only could they recover what they had lost, but they were going to have holidays like they had never imagined after everything that had happened. A stroke of luck; perhaps too much luck and coincidence. What is certain is that our three protagonists were on cloud nine, both in the sense of being distracted and living a dream. The cosmic currents of Iris made them pay more attention to what truly matters. Families, loved ones, friends ,teams, communities, societies, cultures… never let go of what keeps us together. Love, peace, respect and solidarity are the best gifts you can give and receive.
From “The Convergence Diaries” recorded by Aephia Mining & Construction.
– by FusionRenner – 1164 words
Briefing Room. MUD Air-to-Space Tactical. The 99th Red Tail Fox Enforcers. 1 day before signing of the peace Treaty
“We are going into the eye of the conflict, gentlemen.”
“Close, we will be on the outskirts. Long range sensors have picked up increased Tufa activity.”
“What is our primary?”
“A fledgling mining and construction company, Aephia, has requested military escort for their goods due to the up-tick.”
“Be advised we strongly suspect the ONI and Ustur are mobilizing the bulk of their assets in proximity, and we are prepared to as well. Aephia picked the wrong time and place to do their run. Remember, stay frosty out there and `Manifest Ultima Destiny`!”
The members of the 99th chanted in response, “Manus Ultima Divina!” and they shuffled out of the briefing room, except for one man leaning casually against the wall with a toothpick in his mouth who neither chanted nor shuffled.
ATS Tarmac. Pre-launch
Captain Jax “Wolf” Hunter and his co-pilot Lin approached the massive capital gun mounted on their Calico ATS Enforcer. The front wheel used to support the cannon towered above them. Lin made his way apprehensively to the loading gantry.
“Wolf, what do you think will happen?”
Wolf nonchalantly takes the toothpick from his mouth and flicks it on the ground and says, “Shit…It always happens.”.
Shortly after boarding they finish their pre-flight check. The deafening roar of the engines abruptly breaks the silence as Wolf kicks them on. The ship quakes with power waiting to be unleashed.
“Relax kid”, he yells over the engines. And without fanfare the infamous Enforcer of the 99th begins careening down the runway oblivious to the fate that awaits them.
Aephia Mining-Run Rendezvous. Risk level high.
Lin was near passing out from the Gs as he weakly yelled “Wolf” over the encrypted comms. “Whoops”, replied Wolf. “I forgot to kick in the inertial compensator”. He flipped a switch and laughed.
“Whoops?!”, shouts Lin incredulously. “You are going to get us killed.”
An Alcubierre Bubble forms and they flash from existence towards the outskirts of the Iris. A few hours later the Red-Tailed Wolf ATS9, the only wolf in the fox squadron, pops into existence at the requested coordinates.
“Alpha niner, this is Fish-Fleet Bravo confirming escort through the MZ. We have a contingent of miners and transports in desperate need of safe passage. ”
“We read you loud and clear Fish-Fleet Bravo. I am preparing the handshake of our IFF now”, replies Lin.
“Thank you gentlemen. We got caught with our pants down as things began to escalate.”
Lin was about to respond, but Wolf’s prediction came true and “shit” was all he actually managed to say. His scope lit up like a Christmas Tree with innumerable contacts popping in from warp.
One Shot. One Kill.
Seeing the scale of all of the assets in one place astounded Lin. It was breathtaking. It was also unnerving. There was enough ATLAS represented by the mobilized forces to cause the entire verse to quake. The might of 3 factions in one place was bad enough, but a Titan suddenly came lumbering out of warp. “Oh dear sweet Gotti-Ahr”, cursed Lin. “The BLS just dropped out of warp. We are doomed.”
Busan The Last Stand mk I popped into existence like an egg emerging from the womb of space. It began to unfurl its deadly arms of justice and revenge.It was prepared to attack. Lin knew this would be their last stand and they would be obliterated much like the countless Sogmians were before them. “Wolf, we are being painted”, said Lin somberly as he felt the pit of stomach sink.
Captain Jax “Wolf” Hunter stood in the crosshairs of certain death and he was unimpressed. Then all hell broke loose.
Lin’s training took over and he said over the encrypted comms, “We have multiple large class contacts emerging from the Titan.
“They have gone weapons hot and based upon signatures coming from one of the capital class missile bays they have tuned to our IFF.”
“We are sitting ducks. I don’t think we can correct our position in time. “
“I have signals coming from all sides and comms are littered with chatter from everywhere.”
“Oh Ahr, Wolf. All factions are mirroring.”, said Lin burying his face in his hands.
Red and green numbers zigged and zagged across their monitors. There seemed to be no end to the ECM feeding frenzy in anticipation of the action to come.
“You were not wrong. Oh Ahr. You were not wrong and we are going to die.”
“Hold my beer”, says Wolf and hands Lin a can.
“You brought beer!? Wait, what are you doing?!”
“I am going to hit the emergency air brakes and fish-tail our gun to their nose,” said Wolf calmly.
“Air brakes? Fish-tail? This is space you idiot. It is a vacuum.”
Wolf deftly grabs the stick and flips a few important looking buttons. Suddenly the Enforcer impossibly and triumphantly spins around to face Goliath.
Lin exclaims, “What the..? How is that even possible?”.
“It’s called skill, son”.
Unbeknownst to the Red-tailed Wolf crew their comms and holo had been compromised. The next few moments that played out were broadcast to everyone. They were enraptured in that brief moment as Wolf touched his finger to his tongue and put it in the air as if to read the wind.
“What are you doing now”, said Lin beyond panic.
“I am lining up the shot”, he replied stoically.
“There is NO WIND in space!”
Wolf raises his eyebrow and responds, “You want me to use some ancient mystical force that surrounds all living things?”
“No, use your targeting computer.”
At that very moment with all eyes glued to the ludicrous event of a lone Enforcer lining up a single shot against a Goliath of a ship, a wind of bundled photons that had already been traveling for several days from the center of the Iris came into contact with Wolf’s finger. It converged in such a way that it sent a tingle though his body as he had located the weak point of his target.
A moment of collective silence filled the void as all personnel from all factions watched the outcome of an impossible single shot. A single shot that somehow ushered in an era of peace.
“Impact confirmation?”, asked Wolf.
“Of the BLS?”, responded Lin.
“No, the asteroid.”
Two things happened that by themselves could not have ended the conflict. The damage and casualty projections were completed with a high degree of confidence during the briefest of delays from the holo. The loss was too great to fathom. Also, the asteroid outside the Tufa’s sphere of influence hit by the Red-tailed Wolf’s capital mount broke off a piece of rock that contained a small but valuable resource that had gone previously overlooked. The mineral was quickly depleted, but it helped usher in an era of peace that will never be forgotten.
– by eddyout – 985 words
In the heart of MUD territory, within the comforting walls of an old house, an aged grandfather, his face weathered like a map of distant galaxies, settled into a well-worn armchair. On the floor, buzzing with youthful energy, sat his grandson, a young boy whose eyes sparkled with the promise of untold stories.
“Tell me a space adventure, Grandpa!” the boy exclaimed, his voice echoing with excitement.
The old man’s eyes gleamed, reflecting starlit memories. “Well, kiddo, let me take you back to a time when the Cosmic Carnival of Galia brought together unlikely heroes…”
The boy interrupted, “But you always say it started with a big argument, right?”
The grandfather nodded, smiling. “Yes, indeed. I was Captain Lysander back then, a young MUD hotshot. The festival was a dazzle of colors, a mingling of MUD, ONI, and Ustur. But amidst the celebration, there was tension, like charged particles before a storm.”
“We all had our notions of each other, but this celebration was a diplomatic mission of sorts, so we all played nice.”
“Grandpa, didn’t you tell me once that you and Commander Yuna couldn’t stand each other at first?” the boy asked, a mischievous glint in his eyes.
Laughing, the grandfather replied, “That’s right. Commander Yuna from ONI was as tough as they come, all sharp edges and suspicion. I didn’t like her one bit – wound too tight, that one. But I made nice and dished out some small talk.”
“And then there was Ilex, an Ustur engineer, more machine than emotion. We were like mismatched pieces of a puzzle, forced together by decorum. Such an awkward fellow, I don’t know how they managed to get him away from a terminal.”
“But Grandpa, you said Ilex turned out to be the bravest of all, didn’t you?” the boy interjected.
The grandfather nodded, “Indeed, I did. When the distress call came from a Ustur outpost – colonists in danger, threatened by a rogue AI – it was Ilex who surprised us the most.”
My old ship, the Star Dancer, was fueled and ready to go – because that’s what a good pilot does.”
“Our journey wasn’t just a trip through space. It was a rocky road of clashing personalities. I was headstrong, Yuna was skeptical of MUD’s intentions, and Ilex… well, he was a riddle wrapped in a mystery.”
He described the perilous journey, their ship darting through the asteroid belt of Zantheus. “Each close call with those spinning giants was a lesson in trust. I flew the ship on guts and instinct, Yuna’s strategies guiding us through, while Ilex’s technical genius kept the old bird flying.”
“I started to think differently about them then. There’s something about trusting your life to someone else that cuts out all the social noise. I began to respect their skills in what they did. They might not be amazing at flying, like me, but they knew their craft.”
The grandfather’s tale took on a new intensity as he delved into the crucial part of their journey. “Now, as we neared the outpost, the situation was dire. The rogue AI had taken control, and it was a fortress bristling with automated defenses.”
The boy leaned in, his eyes wide with anticipation. “But Grandpa, wasn’t it Ilex who did something really brave?”
Smiling, the grandfather nodded. “Indeed, it was. You see, Ilex, despite his stoic and machine-like demeanor, held within him a courage that none of us anticipated. As the Star Dancer approached the outpost, we found ourselves trapped in a deadly web of laser fire and defense drones.”
He paused, recalling the moment vividly. “There we were, ducking and weaving through a storm of blaster fire. I was piloting like a madman, Yuna was firing back with precision, but we were outnumbered. It was Ilex who changed the game.”
“How did he do it, Grandpa?” the boy asked, completely engrossed.
The grandfather leaned in, lowering his voice as if sharing a secret. “In a moment of sheer bravery, Ilex volunteered to go on a spacewalk. He planned to manually hack into the outpost’s external control panel. It was a dangerous mission; one wrong move and he’d be lost in space, or worse, hit by the crossfire.”
The boy gasped, “That sounds scary!”
“It was, but Ilex was determined. So, out he went, tethered to the ship, maneuvering through the chaos. We covered him as best as we could. There he was, floating in the vastness of space, with laser beams and drones all around him.”
“And then what happened?” the boy urged.
“With steady hands, Ilex worked his magic on the control panel. He was exposed and vulnerable, but his focus was unbreakable. And then, just when we thought all was lost, the outpost’s defenses powered down. Ilex had done it! He had disabled the rogue AI’s control over the defenses.”
The boy jumped up, punching the air. “He saved the day!”
The grandfather chuckled. “Yes, he did. And that day, Ilex taught us all a valuable lesson. True bravery isn’t about being fearless; it’s about facing your fears and doing what needs to be done, despite the risks.”
Leaning back, the grandfather concluded, “That’s how Ilex, the quiet Ustur engineer, became the bravest among us, and how we turned from a ragtag group into a team, a family bound by respect and trust.”
The boy, quiet and pensive, finally spoke. “I want to explore the stars too, Grandpa, and find friends in faraway places!”
The old man’s laughter echoed around the room, a melody of adventure and hope. “And so you shall, my little explorer. The galaxy is vast, but it’s filled with friendships waiting to be discovered.”
As the night wrapped its starry cloak around the world, the room basked in the warm glow of shared stories and dreams, a testament to the enduring power of tales told under the watchful gaze of the cosmos.
– by Grob – 844 words
The Peace Treaty. Yes, it’s been a hundred years since illustrious members of each faction signed a peace treaty. But what peace are we talking about? For a hundred years, the universe has been shaken by Jorvick attacks and the violent actions of the ECOS. Only the strongholds of the SRZ offer some peace to beings scarred by centuries of conflict. Each faction is entrenched in its comfort zone, far from the movements of the depths of Galia. Intermediate systems? Pseudo-democracies, if not dictatorships or slavers…
As the operation in MRZ begins, and the peace council decides to bring ITS peace, most living beings in Galia still can’t imagine what this “golden era” will look like. History will repeat itself, other ships will depart and vie for the resources of the universe. Peace? Yes, but not for everyone.
Yet, far from the comfort of the CSS, far from the turmoil of space, far from political and territorial issues, on remote planets, traditions have nothing to envy to cosmic currents and Iris aspects. Where news from the front does not reach, at the edge, no one has heard of the peace council and the signing of the treaty.
That’s what’s happening in MRZ-9. The mysterious Bluvael system, at the edges of the MUD zone. There is very little information about this sector. Some say these worlds are hostile; others see the cosmic lights of Iris enveloping the stars. However, I read the words of an explorer who returned, and those words will not be found in the Lumikir Scriptorium!
There, he tells us, peace is what everyone gives themselves in return.
The descendants of MUD miners and settlers who inhabit this sector have perpetuated a spirit that everyone shared centuries ago. Life is tough on these ungrateful planets, but the harder the effort, the greater the reward. That’s why, when the planet completes a cycle, every family gathers to share the result of their efforts. This period, more than any other, gives strength and hope to those who lack it, and our explorer badly needed it.
The controls of his Ogrika Niruch were not responding. Probably a fuel failure! Thanks to his extraordinary piloting skills, he managed to land with minimal damage. Under a scorching sun, sand-covered, he thought he had landed on a deserted planet. His Mierese instinct commanded him to repair and leave as soon as possible. But without help, he would be condemned to perish slowly and alone in this desert.
The heat and the gentle breezes that caressed his tentacular growths carried curious sounds. He heard what sounded like songs. But the impact was too violent; he lost consciousness.
On this planet, ancient first-generation ships deposited the first MUD colonists to realize the utopia that could not happen on Earth. This lost land lives in harmony with nature, with a little technology but mostly a deep connection with their land. Culture and the transformation of biomass and carbon are the main activities. No more implants, cloning, and augmentations; these lands harbor “humans.”
Here, animosities between species are non-existent; in fact, no one has ever seen another species than those present on the planet. A stroke of luck for our Mierese! A small group of MUD observed the explorer with curiosity. They did not speak the common language.
The Mierese, waking up, did not understand a word. At first, a feeling of fear inhabited him; his instinct and fascinating memory reminded him of violent clashes between a Pearce armada and the Busan rearguard. However, he quickly realized that these beings were neither armed nor warlike and had nothing to do with the MUD against whom his peers fought. They casually played with his tail, laughing, and observed his ship.
They helped him kindly and set off, in the twilight, leaving the Niruch in the sand. At the turn of a rocky crest, some houses were nestled against the hill. Luminous spheres dotted the path to the dwellings. It’s the end of the planet’s cycle; the inhabitants are celebrating.
The explorer only thought of finding a solution to leave. But seeing the tables being set up and the party starting, he couldn’t resist the invitation of the inhabitants. Happy to share their lives with the unknown, a feeling of peace crossed all beings present at that moment. In this bubble, the peace that comes from below, the peace of bodies and souls, seemed more real than that at the end of the signatories’ pen of the treaty.
With smiles and gestures, the Mierese and the humans shared food and drink. The explorer even tells us of a curious custom where each receives a present from others, meticulously wrapped.
Late into the night, the stranger even had the pleasure of tasting an ice cream!
Yet, the call of the vastness was stronger than this fullness for our explorer. He did not understand how this group of humans could stay here in ignorance of the universe.
What we know is that he returned to tell his adventure!
How he did it? That’s another story!
– by Krigs – 1198 words
The children of Safe Harbour woke to the sound of light bells and the strum of a melodic harp. Morning rise time was always peaceful, but the festive holiday seemed to make the harmony resonating throughout the sleeping room all the sweeter.
There was great excitement and anticipation from the children that morning as they rose from slumber. That evening, they were to perform a reenactment of The Signing of the Peace Treaty in front of the Council of Peace Grand Assembly.
The children had been practicing and rehearsing for weeks, eager for their moment to shine as all children do. Their eager faces and bright sleepy smiles, however, hid a gimmer reality.
It had been less than two years since the Signing of the Peace Treaty. The children of Safe Harbour had all arrived after the war had ended and all of them were parentless or without a family unit. The devastation of The Convergence War and subsequent reconstruction period left worlds shattered, but to the children, their personal worlds had already been long shattered.
Upon opening her eyes, Jaraya, a young MUD girl around the standard age of 9, rushed to the windows of the sleeping room. Mesmerizing tufts of white cotton were lightly falling outside. Jaraya had no words for what she saw. On her home world, rain itself was a rare phenomenon. Their rocky desert planet supported sparse settlements and while the settlements were sustainable, they were no match for the advancing Sogmian armada at the edge of MUD territory. Her parents died defending their village and Jaraya only managed to escape by hiding in nearby caves.
Jaraya, who was set to play Charon Gotti during that evening’s play, beckoned over to Tali, a Sogmian boy slightly younger. Tali was one of Jaraya’s counterparts, playing the role of Bekalu.
“Tali, what’s happening? What is going on outside?” Jaraya asked with a hint of excitement mixed with curiosity.
“It’s so cold outside that water particles have become frozen as the fall from condensed moisture groupings in the air. I believe the word is ‘snow’ in your language” replied Tali.
“Snow”, Jaraya mused.
Tali’s parents had been Sogmian scientists researching artic fauna in Denubla, stationed there by the Oni military. Their research outpost had been hit during a deep strike attack by Ustur forces in the region. The outpost’s deep space radar warning system barely picked up the Ustur long-range missile barrage, giving Tali’s parents mere moments to shove him into the emergency bunker beneath the outpost before missiles reduced the outpost to rubble. It would be a week in a dark solitary emergency habitat before Oni rescue forces arrived and dug him out.
A soft metallic voice soon joined the trio. With a wave of his hand, tiny colorful bulb of light began dancing across the ceiling and windows.
Glo.lrnr bemused, “Ah, much better.” Glo.lrnr was much older than Jaraya and Tali by standard conventions, but still an adolescent in Ustur society. Glo had the distinct honor of playing Armi.eldr that evening.
Glo’s family unit did their best to abstain from the Convergence War. As firm believers in peace, Glo’s family unit were part of a spiritual sect of Usturs that sought greater enlightenment. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to them, their temple-settlement was located on planet in the Hanging Gardens. As resources quickly dwindled during the war and military supply lines cut, a bold MUD corporation made a daring attempt to capture the sector’s unclaimed resources. With little consideration for the planet’s inhabitants, the corporation sought the quickest method towards prosperity…extermination. Glo had been out across the mountain range when the hostile corporation landed. He watched in shock and terror as paid corporate contractors razed his family’s temple to the ground. Glo fled on his single pilot transport and never looked back.
As the three gathered near the window, a company of other children rose from their respective beds, Punaabs, Mierese, Humans, and Ustur children alike quickly scrambled to dress and prepare for the day’s activities. Although the reenactment was later that evening, there was much to prepare in advance.
Once the children had dressed, they gathered outside of Safe Harbour in the main courtyard. Since their arrival, the children had been amazed by the pageantry of their second home. Many of them had never experienced such splendor on their home worlds. With each passing day, the nightmares these children endured during the Convergence War seemed to fade, aided by the comfort of the orphanage.
Beside the main archway that led from the street to the courtyard was a humble but important fixture.
Founded 2523 by charitable donation
In thanks to Chior.eldr
Out of the ashes of our past grow the seeds of our future
That evening, the children of Safe Harbour took the stage to the thunderous applause of the Grand Assembly. Gathered were the leaders of the three factions, its councilors, diplomats, statesmen and delegates. In the upper terraces sat thousands of onlookers, races and species intermingled throughout the viewing stands.
As the children took their places on stage, Bekalu provided a warm introductory speech.
“We gather here today to pay solemn remembrance to the history that unites us. These children here before you represent our future, in the hopes that the tragedies of our past may never be repeated.”
Bekalu took his seat and the children began their reenactment. Thanks to their dedicated practice over the past few weeks, Jaraya, Tali, Glo.lrnr, and the other children performed to perfection. As the play entered its final moments with the signing of the Peace Treaty, Jaraya, Tali and Glo acted with such dignity, grace, and serenity that the hall was moved with emotion. Many of the play’s spectators had borne witness to the real event itself and could even further recall the despair that preceded it. As Jaraya, Tali, and Glo each signed the Peace Treaty, the hall erupted in thunderous applause.
Despite the deafening sound, Jaraya, Tali, and Glo looked excitedly to each other.
“That was amazing” yelled Jaraya
“They love us” screamed Tali
“I hope we get to do it again next…”.
But before Glo could finish his sentence, he was cut off by silence. Bekalu had risen from his seat.
“Thank you, children,” he started, “We are fortunate that Safe Harbour has brought you all together. We are even more fortunate, and I am pleased to inform you, that every one of you have been adopted into families seated here in this very front row.”
The children gasped and screamed with joy, many with tears running down their faces.
“I want to welcome you to your new…” Bekalu tried to finish, but by then the children had already rushed from the stage into the arms of their new parents.
Since that day, the orphanage has performed the reenactment of The Signing of the Peace treaty every annual festival holiday, with every child meeting their new parents at the end of the evening every year. As time went on, the orphans continued to come to Safe Harbour, but no longer were they the children of war. To this day, Safe Harbour stands as a testament to the unity of peace.
– by O2lord – 1000 words
Our ancestors once offered prayers to the stars for miracles and held belief that we were the only advanced species in existence, they believed that the stars were home to the gods and where our souls would journey after death. However, just like the human life has a beginning and an end, so too are the resources finite on our ancestral home “Earth”. With the increasing population, dwindling resources and the fear of extinction we once again turned towards the stars for answers, this time not in form of prayers but by embarking on a voyage into unknown territories and we scavenge every last resource we could from our home planet earth to set off on the journey.
Decades pass and humanity was able to set up outposts on several other planets while gathering resources which was used to propel our journey further into the vast space. Along the way, we encountered both advanced sentient beings as well as those who had yet to evolve fully. As someone who was not born on Earth myself, I have heard stories about how beautiful it used to be before humanity began its quest for survival among the stars. I dream of going back one day just so that I can witness this beauty firsthand. Mankind was once again flourishing, we made more advancement in technology, healthcare, prolonged our lifespan. We continued to journey even deeper into the universe and everything was looking promising until we came across the rogue planet “Iris” which was full of invaluable resources and thought that we have hit the jackpot but then our sensor picked up foreign ships on our radar which do not belong to our flite, this was the first time we had a face to face encounter with the ONI and USTUR whose technology are of match to our own.
Everyone wanted to lay a claim on the resources and take tax from the others in order for them to explore the richness of planet “iris” and this greed was what lead to the intergalactic war. I was born in the year 1998, 24 years before the war I enlisted into the defence frontier and was a young lieutenant during the intergalactic war….. while that’s a story for another day
LOVE IN AN UNUSUAL PLACE
War is never a good thing and the different factions MUD, ONI, USTUR were all equally matched and no one was winning, resources were further expanded which fuel an even greater internal conflict amongst the different factions and lives were lost with no end in sight. Eventually the leaders all agreed that it was now time for a truce to bring an end to the suffering, I was a captain assigned to the MUD ambassador for the treaty and that was the first time I saw Sella who was also a captain assigned to the ONI ambassador. With the signing of the treaty and establishment of the Council of Peace (COP), new military forces created designed specifically around enforcing guidelines concerning mining expeditions & exploration protocols implemented henceforth ensuring peaceful coexistence between different groups operating within shared spaces beyond known borders separating each entity’s respective territories.
I was stationed at planet Unkus and by some work of fate, so also was Sella. We worked alongside each other and were tasked with the responsibility of maintaining peace and order on the planet. Unkus served as a neutral ground where the different faction (MUD, ONI, USTUR) came to settle, they were still some echoes of the intergalactic war and this brought internal divisions amongst the settlers which leads to occasional riots and conflict, a curfew had to be imposed on the planet to maintain peace until a lasting solution was reached. We do patrols at night and the daytime we relax and leisure activities, for most of the troubles happen at night.
As time progressed and we work more closely together, I got to find out that beneath all that tough independent woman act Sella was a kind and beautiful soul she was empathetic to the plight of the people and the children loved her. My interest in her grew and I began to fell in love, but I couldn’t muster the courage to ask her out, kept my admiration at a distance.
I was the shy type and haven’t really asked any girl out before due to the fear of being rejected, but the feeling inside me grew and I couldn’t keep it in anymore. 2 days before our departure for the annual break I gather the courage to ask her out for an evening date/stroll. I was scared that she was going to say NO, but I kept saying to myself “oh well this is the last time I was going to see her and if she refuses then I’ll just change basecamp during my next deployment”. To my surprise her answer was YES, “she would love for us to hang out outside of workplace and talk about things not relating to work”.
We fix the date at a local café not too far from the headquarter and on that day, we talked and laughed, found out we had a lot in common like our love for exploration, pursuit of knowledge and the longing to go back to our home planet. Despite being from different planets located far apart at the ends of the galaxy our emotions are not that different and fate has brought us together. After the dinner we took a stroll down the street and for the first time I saw the true beauty of the planet from the perspective of the people and not from view of our patrol vehicle, I wished the night was not going to end but sadly the alarm for the curfew started blaring and we had to call it a night. I walked her to her place of resident and from there we exchanged contacts and promised to stay in touch, also to Seek for redeployment to the planet…
A Star Atlas Christmas Story
– by Trebel – 1200 words
After abruptly leaving 20 years ago, successful Sogmian science officer Aeshia returns to her small-town home comet and is surprised by what and who she finds.
Writers: [AEP] Trebel
Producers: Funcracker, TomQH
Production Company: Aephia Entertainment
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Runtime: 94 minutes — 1197 words
Release date: MUD Christmas Day, 2623
Filming locations: Commet X24A in Freehold, New Amsterdam in Freehold
She can’t believe it has been almost 20 years since her mother took her away from this place. And now she’s back. Would anyone recognize her? Probably not. She has changed so much over the years; she was only 15 when she left. And maybe that would be for the best because would anyone accept her? Her mother broke her personal rule as a Sogmian, which meant the end of their social standing. Instead of living in shame, her mother decided to flee and take her with her.
20 years. Would her father still be alive? Would he still own that little comet? She has fond memories of growing up with the guests. Strange, she realizes, that people from such different backgrounds and even factions would holiday together at Gregor’s Rock. But it was also beautiful. Who could have thought it possible a mere 100 years ago!
With the skills of an expert pilot, she lands her ship “Exinade — It’s what inside that counts” on the space dock. She’s nervous, she realizes. But it’s also good to come home. She needs time to reflect on all the chaos of her work. With a few bouncy steps she reaches the main biodome.
Cycling through the airlock, her second heart skips a beat. There he is, that is her father. Older, but definitely her father. And he recognizes her!
“Aeshia?’, he asks, “Is that really you? What are you doing here? Are you supposed to be here?”
– “Hey, Dad,” is the only thing she manages to say before he pulls her in for a warm embrace.
“Where are you staying? Does anyone know you are coming?”, he continues, “Why don’t you stay in your old room, that might be best?”
– “Oh, okay! Yes, I would like that actually.”
“I really have to get to work, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you were coming. But are you open for dinner tonight?”
– “Yes! Yes, I see you then”.
After bringing her bags to her old room she decides to go for a walk. There is this beautiful path next to the glass dome with a perfect view of the gas giant.
Sitting on a large rock, she soaks in the starlight. “Be careful,” she suddenly hears behind her, “these rocks can be treacherous here with the low gravity,” the voice continues. Like she doesn’t know that. She grew up here! She puts up her favorite smirk and tilts her head around. Oh, he’s actually kind of cute. For a MUD!
But her glare does not have the right effect on him. His left eyebrow tilts up, and he starts to smile. “You don’t remember me, do you?” the MUD continues, “James, I used to holiday here?”.
Annoyed, she tries to stand up and slips. Dammit, this was not supposed to happen! She tries to compensate but isn’t used to the lower gravity yet and only worsens it. Ouch, that hurt. Luckily, James grabs her hand and pulls her back in. “I thought you grew up here?” he laughs. “Just leave me alone..” she grunts and stomps back to her cabin. Her pride is hurt more than her head.
She had a massive crush on James 20 years ago. He was a few years older than her and was already allowed outside. They even almost kissed once after a party at her father’s biodome. But when her mother broke her personal rule, he refused to acknowledge her, just like anyone else. He really broke her young heart.
Coming back to her lodge, she looks in the mirror and sees a nasty gash on her head. She starts looking for some antiseptic to clean the wound when she hears a soft knock on her door. Expecting her father to check in on her, she is surprised to see James standing at her door.
“Hey there, again”, James starts, “I wanted to check up on you. I even brought my first-aid kit!”. With a big smile, he holds up a small bag and enters the room. “These lodges have no proper bandages, and we don’t want that to scar, of course.” With a sigh she sits down and surrenders. It really does hurt.
“This might sting a bit,” James continues, “and what about you buy me a coffee when we are done here to pay me back?”. She really doesn’t want to, but her personal rule is to be always open to love, and she still likes James, she realizes. “Fine… let’s go!”.
Arriving at the coffee shop, she orders two coffees, and they sit down near the window. Before she even has a chance to thank James, his communicator chimes in, and he says he has to take the call. He walks up to the shopkeeper, says something while looking at her, and walks out the door. The shopkeeper keeps looking at her, and suddenly, his expression changes into anger.
“Is that you, Aeshia?” the shopkeeper asks, “Aeshia Gregorchild? Daughter of Captain Keira? What are you doing here! You and your mother are no longer welcome, you know that! Leave, leave my shop now!”. Heads are turning, and she suddenly realizes that she might have wholly misjudged the small-comet mindset. She thought she would be welcome, that the sins of her mother would not be her own, but no… Even after 20 years, they still hate her! Tears well up behind her eyes, and she quickly stands up, bumping her coffee off the table, which loudly crashes to the ground. She runs out in tears and flees back to her lodge, where she quickly packs her bags and rushes to the airlock, back to the safety of her ship.
Back at her modern apartment on the 245th floor in Nieuw Amsterdam, Aesiha opens a bottle of wine. She pours a glass and sits down at her bar to drink it. Alone. Even after the long trip home, she is still shaken about what happened at Gregor’s Rock.
When the doorbell rings, she slowly gets up to see James standing in the camera view. She picks opens the mic and asks, “What are you doing here, James? Haven’t you done enough? Come to gloat? Why did you tell the shopkeeper who I was!”.
– “What do you mean? I walked up to the guy to say I would pay for the coffee and left to take that call! Coming back I learned what happened and you were already gone when I got to your lodge.”.
“But 20 years ago you dropped me like everybody else when my mother broke her rule, why should I believe now is any different?”.
– “I was a shy 17-year-old Aeshia, not knowing how to behave towards the girl I liked so much. I should have done things differently; that is why I’m here. Your father told me where you live. He has always kept tabs on you and is very proud. But your mother forbade him to risk his reputation by ever contacting you. Can you forgive me, can you forgive the both of us?”
She might have greatly misjudged the situation after all and slowly opens the door to reach down for their first real kiss.
– by MrBakisha – 1064 words
On the very edges of the explored galaxy rests an outpost, not known to every soul, yet familiar to each of the factions. This celestial body, equally shared by all, slowly drifts in the infinite void, bearing its countless secrets yet to be explored.
Outpost 39 was born from the ashes of a tragic exploration mission. The number 39, rooted in the scars of the outpost origin, became a reminder to the 39 fallen comrades during the descent on this mysterious rock. Due to the landing engine malfunction, the smaller ship “Voyager” spiraled out of control, losing its trajectory and colliding with “Stellar Pioneer” in a ferocious impact. All 39 members aboard both ships lost their lives. In their memory lies the Outpost 39.
Outpost 39 Trio
The outpost stands as a modest yet inviting place. The size of multi-purpose buildings enables prolonged stays of many months. That is usually the time explorers would stay, but not the three of them.
A small canteen, located in the heart of Outpost 39, was your ordinary place to eat, with very unordinary hosts. Over the years, it has become more than just a place to satisfy one’s hunger. It became a melting pot of factions, rightfully so. Although officially not owned by anyone, everyone knew that Chef was the one in charge.
Chef Kira, a culinary expert by profession, and an artist by heart, belonged to Oni faction. Kira’s creativity knew no boundaries. On special occasions, such as Christmas Eve which was very much celebrated by Fabian from the Mud faction, the entire canteen was transformed with close guidance from Kira. Kira had a special gift to make the entire experience unique. Some might say she was wasting her talents on a faraway rock like Outpost 39. But no one dared telling her that.
Fabian, a young diligent kitchen helper, with immense enthusiasm and positivity, was bursting with joy as Christmas was approaching. His every single movement had an extra bounce, a smile, a special flair in his eyes. It would be little to say that he was the main promoter of the planned festivities in their canteen. Often, he even sent invites to faraway travelers, to deviate their journey, and cross paths with Outpost 39 just so they could come and unite for this truly jolly day of the year.
For Fabian, Christmas was not only a culinary event but a celebration of togetherness. Although no other faction celebrated this event, for Fabian this didn’t matter. He felt honored to be in a position to unite them all under his roof and replenish their energy with warm food and fresh drinks.
These two extraordinary individuals, from completely different factions, worked harmoniously. It seemed that nothing could interrupt their energy, their focus, and their desire to deliver to their customers the best meal ever like it was their last.
Until he would enter the room…Gheon. A skilled merchant known for his remarkable ability to navigate the vast cosmic marketplace. He is the go-to guy whenever the most extraordinary ingredients are required. Gheon either has them or knows who does. Many believe that, due to his Ustur origin, he has a clear advantage in storing huge quantities of memory in that thick head of his. Memorizing each place, each merchant, and each route, Gheon is an indispensable member of Outpost 39, and many claim that he is the main reason in the first place why Kira is so successful as a chef.
As he bursts through the door, he is closely accompanied by his loud voice. His clothes are often covered with dust and dirt, not caring about his appearance whatsoever.
Gheon: “Where are my chefs at? I have returned you smelly worms!”
Fabian:”Gheon!!! You are back! Not yet a chef dear Gheon, but thank you for the kind words.”
Gheon:”Do you use a knife to cut vegetables? Yes? Well, you are a chef per my book, boy!”
Kira:”Quiet you two! We have guests eating. Gheon, go behind the kitchen and clean yourself. And stop yelling!”
Once cleaned and washed, Gheon joined them. He slammed his bag on the kitchen counter with a wide smile on his face. His rusty fingers danced over the bag, unlocking it and taking out a shiny metal container. Kira and Fabian were impatient to identify the content within. Gheon opened it and carefully taken out a true Earth delicacy — a white truffle! Fabian actually never visited Earth, he was unaware of the origin of this super rare ingredient, its purpose, aroma, taste.
Fabian:”What is it? A white rock?”
Kira:”No. It’s white gold! So expensive! Where on Earth did you find it Gheon?”
Gheon:”Exactly there, on Earth! I thought bringing a sprinkle of true magic would be appreciated and elevate your boring dishes, ahahahaha“.
Inspired by this new igredient, Kira decided to prepare a very unique feast for passing merchants in their sector, offering it freely as a gesture of unity and goodwill.
With her Oni finesse, she immediately started chopping and mixing and inventing wide range of dishes.
At the light of speed, news of this Christmas feast spread like stardust through the sector. Merchants, travelers, and beings that were caught nearby were drawn by the promise of a free, never experienced meal.
The trio, working seamlessly together, greeted each guest with genuine smiles. All the factional differences were put aside. The Outpost 39 transformed itself into the true galactic peace station, exactly what was envisioned by the Treaty. And at the center of it was the canteen, bonding all differences, with a hot meal at the table.
The three protagonists witnessed the power of unity. All guests started sharing their food, drinks, and stories. The aroma of unity was very potent in the air, blending with the festive melodies playing softly in the background.
Finally, a common ground was discovered — a shared love for tasty food and warm company was all it was needed. No politics, no armies, no hunger for conquest. Back to basics was the key. It always is.
As the Christmas feast unfolded, Kira, Fabian and Gheon stood side by side, enjoying the harmony they had cultivated.
And so, in a very distant outpost, on the very edge of the galaxy, not owned by anyone, the Treaty of Peace lived on.
Kira:”You did bring the cake I ordered, right?”
Gheon:”Oh sh*t! Coming right back…”
– by Boen – 1075 words
The little puri purred sleepily as Jodnik scratched his head and tugged gently on his ears. Jodnik looked at her little friend, wondering about the biological pairing that must have occurred to create such a strange and unique pet. In her class that morning, the teacher had begun to talk about genetics and mutations and evolution and what it meant for a species to have been ‘naturally created’ versus one that had been artificially created. It was a complex subject for such a young girl as Jodnik, but it was mandatory education begun at a young age. The COP’s mandate imparted the necessity to have a civilized and educated population base, individuals that could conceptualize and think for themselves, and to strive to never again let the public be swayed by manipulation and mistruths, vectored to potent levels of disinformation and evilness by black cloak groups intent on social discord and of which many today believe helped fuel the atrocities of the The Convergence Wars. “Education is the antidote to ignorance, fear and xenophobia” the billboards displayed. It was common this time of year to start frequently seeing this message on the plethora of 3D message screens spread around the Oni CSS, but especially during this year, the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace.
Celebration was everywhere, in the energy of the inhabitants, in the paired excitement felt by their companion animals, in the colors on the trees tinged with little bulbs that were the strange gift of culture from the MUD human minority that also lived now on the Oni station with their Oni and Ustur compatriots.
Jodnik loved the light displays and endeavored every year to get her father to hang more and more on the house until it began to look like an overly decorated cookie. But she also thought it criminal that anyone would suggest a cookie could ever possibly be overly decorated.
A century earlier, Jodnik would have been a crime. Rather, her existence would have been a crime. And depending on how fate and luck had determined her place of birth, she either would have been immediately ejected out of a pressure lock, her parents forced to watch, or subjected to years of public humiliation and avoidance in the more ‘forgiving’ of social circles. As for her parents, well they would have likely lived the rest of their days in the miserable conditions of the subterranean penal colonies on the ice planet, Boreas.
The solar system’s sun, Helios, now hung in the early afternoon and warmed and soaked the greenish blue skin of young Jodnik as she and her puri lay on the grass in front of their home. It was a quaint house, nestled deep in the Tier 1 section of abodes on what was called the ‘black hole’ side of the station because of the gargantuan gravity well two light years away that broadc21ast an open invitation for new visitors.
The puri purred and her father’s Lowbie purred as it cooled after a long morning on the local racetrack. Dad had kicked butt apparently and was now in the house celebrating a bit as he chronicled the story to his patient wife of his racetrack brilliance and she nodded and smiled as she tugged at one of the long protuberances from her head and tried to feign interest while instead feeling rather preoccupied with how to get him out of the house again in order to set up his fully immersive gimbaled couch game system so that he wouldn’t be risking his health and vehicle on the tracks but rather in a meta experience.
Jodnik smirked as she listened to her father’s excited repartee. A large shadow approached her, and she looked up at the sky, setting her eyes on a C9 as it drifted serenely across her field of vision, its imposing bulk disappearing behind her father’s pepto bismol pink lowbie. That color seemed to be all the rage these days. The joke was, if you saw a Lowbie you’d also see a human sitting behind the wheel with a dumb wide grin spreading across their face as they gleefully gunned the throttle and shook the neighborhood with a voluminous reverberation. Her mother’s car was much more sophisticated, the Niruch’s sleek lines and sharpness suggesting a deadliness to its visage that seemed so counter to her mother’s charming and loveable demeanor.
Jodnik had always loved the look of the Calico Scud, and when she was old enough she was going to get one she reflected thoughtfully. She felt that if you took a Lowbie and paired it with a Niruch, you would get a Scud. Powerful, but sleek. But she often thought of things that way, how they would be if mixed, because she was a mix, a result of a Human and Oni love and only possible because of the xenoalien genetic engineering developed before the start of The Convergence War. In some ways, the technology that had allowed for her existence was also the symbolic fountainhead of so much hate and fear that had led to the war. Onis, Usturs, MUD alike were all afraid of losing their heritage, their cultural identity, perhaps the ‘strength of their homogeneity’, if one could call it that, or what they believed to be that strength, in the face of the intangible threat becoming ‘mixed and different’ insinuated. Two simple and yet such uncomfortable words for groups comfortable in their monochromatic history, it seemed. For these words suggested a lack of uniformity and threatened social norms that had been guiding principles for generations. But staleness within a society often leads to frailty and failure, as the three threatened societies leading up to The Convergence Wars had personified. And although only a hundred years had passed since the signing for peace, one could feel the vibrancy that ‘mixed and different’ now created.
Jodnik looked at her little puri and felt a wide grin emerge. “What an adorable creature you are” she thought, “so much more pleasant than an annoying Tigu, constantly shedding its colored hair all over the white carpets and purring incessantly for attention.” The little puri farted peacefully in its approval and Jodnik laughed as they both lay back on the grass and watched the panoply of ships float across the sky, most of them visitors from surrounding systems, here to celebrate the festivities for the 100th anniversary in the name of Peace, Mixed and Different.
– by phantasee – 1199 words
Greetings and Salutation Gallians, My name is Phantasee. My submission is actually the second, albeit smaller, chapter of an online book I have just started. It is, of course, set in the Star Atlas World. What are the Boheme Chronicles? The Boheme Chronicles is an online sci-fi publication which posts weekly and fortnightly content to free and paid subscribers. It follows the adventures of Cillian O’Tuathail and his crew of Bohemian companions as they traverse and explore the metaverse of Star Atlas.
As Cillian drifted off to sleep, a dream coalesced before his mind’s eye. The objects of the dream world materialised below his disembodied awareness, the shapes gradually coming into sharp focus. He found he was looking down at a large showroom filled with ships and bustling crowds.
His awareness descended closer to the ground and honed in on a group of four individuals standing before a ship. Two MUD humans appeared to be engaged in a lively debate with a Mierese, whilst an impassive Ustur watched on. Cillian recognised two of the human figures; the dream projection of himself and his friend Toal.
“Are you insane?” yelled Cillian. “You want six thousand Atlas for this pile of junk? I’ve seen Jorvik Pirate ships with fewer holes in them.” Cillian gestured towards the rather battered Fimbul Mamba that was parked behind the Mierese trader.
“Take it or leave it,” said Miisel in a bored tone of voice. Miisel was a Mierese ship trader and Cillian had been haggling with her for the past five minutes. “It’s a good ship, never seen battle before. It’s a steal at this price.”
“It certainly is stealing. Stealing of our money,” growled Toal. He crossed his burly arms across his chest and sneered at Miisel. “That rust bucket excuse for a ship wouldn’t even be able to achieve warp speed without being torn apart. Cillian, I am going over for a closer inspection.”
Toal left the small group and headed towards the ship.
“We live in a time of peace, my friend,” said Miisel as she rested a hand upon Cillian’s arm in a reassuring manner. Cillian could see she was switching tactics. “And as a result of this long period of peace, this ship has never seen battle. Not even a skirmish.” But her unctuous smile and suddenly sycophantic behaviour was betrayed by the light of greed that shone within her eyes.
“What nonsense,” scoffed Cillian as he disengaged his arm from hers. “How do you explain all the blast marks on the side panels? Or the countless tiny indentations in the hull from bullet strafing? Or the —“
“Okay, okay,” snapped Miisel. “So it has seen a bit of fighting in its time. Fine! I will take it down to five thousand eight hundred Atlas on account of that. But,” and she lifted a finger up in the air to reinforce her point, “it is structurally and mechanically sound, even if it has some superficial damage.”
“Well, we will see about that. But the price is still too high,” said Cillian as he unstoppered a hit flask he had produced from a back pocket. He took a quick swig from it. “You see, I have very little money and can only afford to pay… three thousand Atlas at the most.” Cillian smiled widely, his white teeth shining brilliantly.
“Three thousand Atlas?” cried Miisel in mock offence. “Oh no, I can’t possibly sell such a fine ship for so little.” She turned to her Ustur companion. “Eugene.eldr, how much does a second-hand Fimbul Mamba in good condition typically sell for on the Galactic Marketplace?”
Eugene.eldr quickly referred to a handheld device before responding in a deadpan tone of voice. “Approximately three thousand Atlas.”
Miisel’s light purple skin paled, and her enormous eyes widened in alarm. “You fool! We discussed this already,” shrieked Miisel shrilly. “You were supposed to say six thousand Atlas.”
“I apologise. I thought you were requesting a factual response to your question.” Eugene.eldr then turned towards Cillian before saying, “Whilst the market value of this ship is in fact only three thousand Atlas, I must advise you that this ship is being sold for six thousand Atlas.”
Miisel let out a groan.
“Fantastic,” said Cillian. “So we are all agreed upon three thousand Atlas? Absolutely splendid. It looks as if my colleague has just now completed his inspection of the ship’s exterior.”
Miisel opened her mouth to respond, but Cillian had already departed towards the open hatch of the ship.
As Cillian neared the boarding ramp, Toal put out a hand to stop him.
“It’s done,” whispered Toal excitedly as he gave his overall pockets a shake. Cillian could hear the jingling sounds of metal bolts clinking against each other.
Moments later Miisel caught up with Cillian and rushed past him, her boots clanging loudly as she ascended the boarding ramp. Mid-way up her ascent, the boarding ramp groaned ominously before suddenly giving way entirely, and the metal platform came crashing down to the showroom floor in a shower of sparks.
“Hmm… maybe we need to re-negotiate the price,” said Toal as he stroked his braided beard. “Doesn’t look to me like the ship is structurally sound after all.”
A dazed Miisel looked up at the two MUD humans. She had lost her footing during the fall and was presently sitting on her backside.
“This is truly an anomalous occurrence,” interjected Eugen.eldr. “I conducted a thorough inspection of this ship only the day before yesterday and found no issues with the boarding ramp. For such a catastrophic failure to occur can only mean one thing, someone has tampered with —“ but Eugen.eldr got no further as Toal cut them off mid sentence.
“Well now,” said Toal loudly. “This is very disappointing. I wonder what other structural issues we will find.”
By this stage, a small crowd of people had gathered around the ship, no doubt attracted by the deafening sound of the collapsing boarding ramp. Toal strolled over to the left landing strut and give it a kick. A metal panel fell off.
“Oh my,” said Cillian. “This ship is literally falling apart.” He was now speaking to the crowd. “What shameful business practices is this deceitful Mierese ship trader involved in? No, I think three thousand Atlas is far too much. What do you all think?”
“Far too much,” said a Punaab from the crowd. “You should be ashamed of yourself, Miisel.”
“Indeed, she should,” said Cillian as he walked over to the flabbergasted Miisel. “Mmm… I think I will take this ship off your hands for two thousand Atlas. And you should be grateful, because I guarantee no one else will buy this ship after what was witnessed today. So, we have a deal?” As Cillian said this, he extended out his hand in what looked like a gesture to help Miisel to her feet. Miisel reflexively took his outstretched hand without thinking, but before she could even begin to stand, Cillian had already begun to vigorously shake her hand.
“Fantastic. Well, now that we have shaken on it,” said Cillian as he continued to shake her hand. “And all here are witnesses of said handshake, then our business dealings are now concluded. Two thousand Atlas have now been transferred to your account. I have enjoyed this trade thoroughly.”
Miisel simply sat there with a stupid look on her face. It was universally accepted that a handshake was tantamount to an official approval of a business deal. She had been beaten, and she knew it.
Cillian breathed in deeply and smiled before saying, “I love living in this time of peace, don’t you?”
Miisel glared daggers at Cillian.
– by Kenny Dovahkiin – 1193 words
The ceremony started on time, Goldie and Nancy, who just turned 21, stood next to each other on the podium. Thanks to Goldie’s mother, Lucille and her good genes, they looked more like twins than mother and daughter. Both had worked hard to organize this magnificent art exhibition for the grand opening of the station, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Signing of the Treaty of Peace. Hundreds of people have showed up from all over the Galia Expanse, representing almost all species and races of all 3 factions. There was no sign of self-segregation, which wasn’t the case for decades after the Council of Peace was established. Seeing the variety and homogeneity of the crowd pleased Goldie’s eyes, while she was giving her opening speech.
She told the tale of her beloved mother, Lucille, who fought hard against MIRAP, when the station was discovered by a passing fleet of pilgrim Heralds of Vignus deep within the HRZ in 2578, towed to a safe harbor and all the relics were extracted by astroarchaeologists. Her claim was strong as she knew a lot of top-secret details about the artifacts no one else did, yet the inspectors in the Ministry of Interstellar Relic and Art Protection were stubborn and hard to convince about her priority rights. The moment when Manute, the head of the committee broke was when Lucille showed them the Rainbow Arc replica she inherited from her grandmother. The prestigious Sogmian astroarchaeologist professor, member of the house Busan called for a private hearing, where Lucille told him everything she knew.
Back in time around 2520, during an epic space battle between MUD and USTUR, involving circa 100 ships in various classes on each side, a MUD hunter started to chase an USTUR fighter after it was damaged and lost its navigator. The crew of the MUD fighter was quite young and unexperienced, though its pilot was full of anger, hatred and confidence, which led them far beyond their assigned combat territory, despite the navigator, Nancy Callahan’s advice.
The USTUR pilot, Marv.doer on the other hand was a veteran with hundreds of hours of combat experience and after nearly an hour of daring dogfight, the tide began to turn. All sudden a dark shadow appeared in front of the two fighters, an abandoned old space station drifting fast in open space. Marv.doer used the given opportunity and not only managed to gain some air to breathe, but also the enemy fighter’s pilot lost control of the ship, resulting in a collision with the space station and leading to his death.
Although Nancy was injured, she survived the accident, entered the object, patched herself up and started to search for anything that supports her survival. The air was confined, but breathable and luckily the emergency lights were still functioning. Marv.doer knew for a while that there was no going back for him due to the leaking fuel tank and destroyed comms system. Nevertheless, after losing his tail, he tried to dock his ship at the station, which ended up in rather a gentle crash, preventing the ship from flying again.
Both castaways were heading to the communication hubs first, somewhere in the central part of the station. As they were closing in from different directions, the environment started to change in an unusual way for an uninhabited place. Order, cleanness, vegetation, fresh air and… art.
As they entered the central hall, paintings started to appear on the walls and statues on the desks, chairs, even on the floor, mainly about all kinds of spaceships. All works of art shared three commonalities:
- The high level of details, which filled the pieces with life and made them think that the replicas are a result of some kind of unknown miniaturization process.
- The intense and vivid, yet calming colors, which assembled in perfect harmony, creating an unusually serene vibe.
- A logo or sign, which seemed to appear on every piece: “Béke” /bAYkeh/. It reminded them of a word in the so-called common language, which was created before the war to make communication across factions easier. “Baekeh” = “Peace”
Suddenly a door opened in the far corner and the incoming light revealed Nancy and Marv.doer to each other. Before they could holster their weapons, they found themselves in some kind of force field trap, preventing them from any movement. Their host stepped through the door and introduced himself as a member of the House Akalma from MRZ-12. That’s how they met Arzulgan.
Nancy and Marv.doer agreed to put their conflict aside until the Sogmian explains the situation, and so he did. He told the full story, about being always a fan of colors, paintings and handcrafting as a child, becoming a famous artist and the feeling of success within his society. Then he continued with sad part, the banishment of his house to MRZ-12, followed by Bekalu’s revenge and his imprisonment, which was the consequence of being a freedom fighter during the war and using his art to launch a revolution against the howling injustice.
Although some Akalma fleets managed to retreat to the HRZ, he was captured and instead of execution, he was locked away into that abandoned space station and launched into the high-risk zone on a carefully planned orbit, so no one ever would find him. The station was stripped of all communication devices, escape pods, and anything that could have allowed a prison break, nevertheless the cargo was filled with enough food to last for years. His personal rule “Never give up” prevented him from taking his own life, so he chose to do what he loved the best…art.
The word “Béke” = “Peace” in his work was referring to his inner peace that he found over the months, and that he accepts his faith to die on this station, but the two passengers in need reminded him the Du Pra and gave him a new purpose, saving them. Eventually after weeks of crafting they only managed to put together a MUD coffin size pod, ready for open space. Before Nancy was released, Arzulgan gave her the Rainbow Arc replica as proof and she received a short distance signaling device from Marv.doer, what he removed from his own body. Nancy promised she’d do everything to find the station and save them.
Lucille’s eyes welled up with tears, so did Goldie’s 45 years later. Both knew the painful truth; the station was lost for the following 58 years. Beyond the endless research, Nancy used the “Béke” sign to propagate peace, which soon became a symbol among the common people in the whole galaxy.
After Lucille’s claim for the ownership of the space station and all the relics was approved, it took almost 50 years to find investors from all over the Galia Expanse, raise the necessary funds and refurbish the station. All that work in the name of Art and Peace.
At the end of her speech Goldie looked at her daughter, Nancy, signaling that it is time for her line:
“Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Punaabs and Sogmians, the Ustur and every member of the Galia Expanse! Welcome to Galia Art Station!”
– by DarthJerriko – 1069 words
In the late afternoon on a lonely planet, two boys are heard playing explorers or pirates depending on whom you were listening to, in a junkyard just outside of the city. The game’s intent was to find treasure. The boys were 11 years old now and had been scavenging in the junkyard for around 2 years now. The junkyard owner, who goes by Neeko.doer. befriended the two boys and their mothers a few years ago, after both mothers came to this planet after they had lost both their husbands suddenly.
Dorain’s father Xander had been part of the Herald’s of Vignus. After sitting down with a small-time mob boss, named Illruk and delivering what seemed to be a harmless and very generic prophecy of wealth and prosperity. It turned very sour. A larger mob boss, Josiah moved into the neighborhood taking up territories from Illruk, and eventually forcing Illruk off planet. Illruk returned a few months later with a large group himself to enact revenge and take back what was his, but the first thing he did was murder the man who gave him such prophecy. Xander was no match and died after being beaten to death in front of Dorain and his mother.
Tulek.bod’s father Korell.tchr, was a scientist and an explorer. He ventured the Galia looking for scientific breakthroughs through old ruins and derelict ships. Tulek.bod’s father was a lead scientist on the last expedition to Soletud’s abandoned derelict commander class ship. After Korell.tchr’s success on Soletud he travelled to Outpost 39. There he and his entire crew went missing. After two years of waiting Tulek.bod’s mother moved them here.
Both families were relocated to this planet by the Council of Peace, to bring different cultures together. This neighborhood was an amalgamation of different cultures from USTUR, to Punaab. From Mierese and Mud ,and many more. All living together under a banner of peace. Although living conditions were harsh and most of the families live in poverty, it was still better than being homeless, or on the run from gangs, pirates, and thieves.
After playing for a few more hours and not finding anything other than an old collector’s ALF plushie the two boys are called home for supper. The next morning after breakfast and kissing and hugging their mother’s goodbye, they head once again head out to junkyard. As they arrived, they see Neeko.doer. doer standing in front of the gate. He joyfully greets them, “You know what today is?” he asks. “No” the boys respond in harmony. “Today is the day that you and your mothers first arrived. The day we all become neighbors and friends.” Explained Neeko.doer. Dorain responds with “Oh yeah, I totally forgot.” Tulek.bod just nods in agreement and acceptance. Neeko.doer .ldr starts leading them down a small path between huge stacks, probably a hundred feet tall of ship parts, old furniture, and broken Armstrong mining and manufacturing equipment. Neeko.doer takes them to a place the boys had never seen before, a part of the junkyard that had been off limits to the boys previously. This place was where all the true “treasure” was. A small garage but filled with old Ogrika engines and in a glass case a small weapon from the convergence war. Neeko.doer removes a blanket and underneath was a fimbul airbike shell. Neeko.doer turned to the boys and said” this is for you, happy anniversary.” “Now you guys can play something other than pirates and explorers.” The boys jumped with excitement; they had never seen such a magnificent prize. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” screamed Tulek.bod.
After trying to bring the airbike home both mothers refused to let that old thing in their house. The boys were left to take the bike back to the junkyard; in defeat they asked if they could leave it with Neeko.doer. He agreed. In the coming months the boys worked on the airbike. They scavenged, bartered and even purchased the parts that they needed, by picking up some odd jobs around the neighborhood.
It took the boys nearly a year to finish the bike. The day the airbike started up it ran for about twenty minutes before it ran out of fuel. The boys were filled with joy. They sprinted into Neeko.doer ’s office and again started to barter with Neeko.doer to do some odd jobs and cleaning for a ration of fuel for the airbike. Then the time came for one of them to ride it. The boys played a fun game like ro-sham-bo to see who got to ride it first. After Tulek.bod won the first three times Dorian finally let his friend put on the makeshift helmet they had fashioned out of some old lowbie headlights. They took the airbike out to an old racetrack that was part of an abandoned school. He jumped on and started it up. With a rush of wind blew Dorian’s hair back and the bike coughed to a low consistent rumble as the engines warmed up. Dorian squeezed the throttle and VROOOM the aribike took off. Two hours had gone by, and the boys had been switching off, racing their airbike around the track. Neeko.doer had let their mothers know and they were both in what was left of the stands cheering on their boys.
That was almost 12 years ago. Now the boys have become men. Tulek.bod is an amateur racer. He has won almost every back-alley race on their planet. Dorian has become a racing engineer and a one-man pit crew. As a team they have been unstoppable in their sector. But now comes the biggest challenge of their career. They have received an invitation to the 100th anniversary of the Signature of the Treaty of Peace race extravaganza. The race is sponsored by the Council of Peace to bring Galia closer together under the flag of friendly competition. All the top teams from Calico, Fimbul, Vzus, and Opal will be there. This team of two will be going up against the biggest names in racing in Galia, and they couldn’t be more focused and unphased by odds against them.
As they arrive at the stadium, wearing nothing more than a generic racing uniform with one name on the back they read, Neeko.doer ’s Junk Services. They stand tall and wave at the crowd as their names are announced and the crowd that loves an underdog roar for the twosome.