(30a) Addendum to (30)

The Regency Campaign (36/1573 Nakege)

Black Holes and Silver Ships

    Kalida has given this report to Misha and Shark to vet before handing it over to Self-Preservation. If they OK it, it's good to go.

The Silver Ship Incident occurred at Adabicci on 155-1123. Several events led up to it, so I'll start with them.

096-1123 - Jumpspace

I went into what I call a trance for lack of any better description. It's a state of mind where I see the universe as a web of connections between people, places, and events. At the time, I was concerned particularly with people and events on Adabicci, so I turned my attention to that area. However, it was at first almost as if I ran into a wall that blocked me. In previous trances, I had never experienced such a thing. There was an area around Adabicci that completely blocked me out. I couldn't see any connections into or out of it. To myself, I called it the black hole. Not because it's remotely like an astronomical black hole, but because if felt like a hole and it was black.

I tried to work around it, but it sort of sucked me in. I tried very hard not to fall into it, but eventually I had to give up. I fell into it, and it was the most awful thing imaginable. Within, there was nothing. No connections to anything within or without.

Outside of that trance, the experience triggered some sort of psionic event where anything not mailed down went flying and I generally trashed the room. I also technically died, though those who were watching me revived me immediately.

Other Minor Events

A couple of times after that, I went into a trance, but restricted myself to looking for very specific connections, and did not fool with the black hole again. Everything was normal and quiet during those, although I did skirt Adabicci in both.

150-1123 - Mora subsector

The next significant trance occurred when I went looking for the black hole purposely. And in fact, as soon as I entered the trance, I was inside the black hole. Nothing felt right, and I was pulled out of the trance quickly by those who watch over me. Again, I had thrown things all over the room. However, we were about to jump to Adabicci, and I had the oddest feeling that we -- the ship and all -- were already within the black hole somehow. It doesn't really make sense, and I cannot explain it.

At any rate, we jumped to Adabicci, and that's when and where the Silver Ship Incident took place.

155-1123 - Adabicci

We emerged from jump normally, and all seemed well. But I was worried about the black hole, and I had gotten everyone else worried as well. And so I went into a trance.

Again, I was in the black hole as soon as I entered my trance. The feeling of not just being unconnected, but of there simply being no connections, is very unsettling. However, it wasn't novel this time, and so I endured it and started feeling my way around a bit. Imagine being blind in an unfamiliar room of unknown dimensions. I couldn't feel the edges from inside. It felt like the black hole was all there was, ever had been, and ever would be.

But I also felt like there was something else in there with me. I tried to find it, like a game of blind man's buff.

Those who watched me let me go on as long as they dared, but by that time I'd trashed the room again, and was screaming, so they pulled me back out again. They reviewed the psionic sensors, looking at the spikes of psionic activity I caused, and saw an additional spike, from outside the ship.

Eventually I returned to consciousness, and we shared our various bits of information. Without knowing what was happening, we continued with our plans and moved in towards the mainworld.

As we came close, all hell broke loose. The Nightshade spontaneously came out of stealth, our shields went up, and alerts sounded all over the ship. The targeting system was homing on something emerging from the ocean. This is what we are calling the silver ship.

It hurtled at us from the ocean at about 30g, which is considerably faster than we can manage. There were Imperial ships in its way, and several were destroyed, simply disappearing in enormous fireballs.

I am the Nightshade's gunner, so I readied myself to use the weapon system for what it was apparently engineered for. It was really a matter of split-second timing, which only one of us would survive at most.

I set off the full complement of missiles, and watched them home in on the silver ship, even as it continued approaching us at 30g. As it came close, it fired bursts of something small at us, which were taken care of by our point defenses. Then it fired something large at us, pulling at least 40g and evading our defenses. As it came near, I fired the lasers at it, but it was shielded.

With defense useless, I ignored the missile, letting the rest of the crew deal with it through successful evasion. I waited for that split second I would have to fire the expander. Finally, I took the shot. Enough missiles got through to bring down its shields.

The silver ship fired some green energy thing at us at the same time. Miraculously, our pilot evaded and jumped in time, just as we saw the silver ship destroyed by the expander.

In jump, we analyzed what we had. The silver ship was faster than we, but not quite as maneuverable. It appeared to be about 1000 tons, so it was a bit smaller as well. The large missile was very fast, and was either controlled by a person who was not very good, or a decent AI. The silver ship had a ton of power available, and its defense system was not recognizable. The final object fired at us very fast, and flew in a straight line. We believe that, had it hit us, it would have produced a 2-meter circular hole in the hull.

While in jump, I went into my trance again, to see if I could determine if the silver ship was still there.

The back hole was still there, and I was still in it, but I could no longer feel the silver ship. However, the black hole did not feel as strong as it had before. I was pulled out before I produced much of anything more than rustling paper.

When we emerged from jump, we discovered the havoc the silver ship had wrought. The capital had been entirely replaced by a crater. The planet is now uninhabitable. Countless lives have been lost, although the emergency evacuation went very well indeed. The last green energy missile, having lost its target, moved to its secondary target and took it out.

I went into the trance once more before we emerged from jump, and felt the black hole was definitely weakening. I do not know what state it's in now. I haven't turned my attention to Adabicci in a trance since then.