Thursday, February 13, 2014

Savage Worlds XIII: Terminus

Next up: a world-threatening Death Machine...

Terminus lands on Atlantis

Destroyer of Worlds, Machine Intellect of Destruction, The Cosmic Recycler. Terminus is all of these appelations. A vast machine, Terminus appears to be some sort of ancient war relic, possibly a direct indicator of the fate of the Coreward Expanse stellar civilization that perished four million years ago. The device is roughly the size of a small moon, and utilizes fold-space drive technology, a clear indicator that it is a relic of this lost civilization.

Terminus first appeared in 2679 when it dropped out of fold space into the Alphs Cygni system, a Earth colony world called Atlantis about two centuries old with a thriving population on a rich Earth-norm planet. Terminus laid waste to the modest local military and then proceeded to enter the planet's orbit, descending to the surface where it began a process somewhat akin to a terraforming/strip-mining process. In the course of the attack it released an airborne cloud of destructive nanites which systematically devasted the biological organisms of the planet's ecosystem, reducing them to a fine pulp; almost no one survived the attack.

By the time Comonwealth forces arrived, Terminus was gone, and only the survivors on the fringe of the system could relay what had happened; belters and other mining activities in the outer rim of the solar system, along with a handful of colonists working on terraforming the fifth planet in the system had recorded in as much detail as possible just what happened. As for Atlantis, the planet was dead, it's atmosphere tainted with a lethal nanovirus that destroyed organic tissue, and the Terminus appeared to have systematically destroyed each major city on the planet. In the course of the attack it appeared to have strip mined the world of specific resources, and it is speculated that it used those resources to fuel its own construction of both the nanovirus and other unknown needs of the machine.

Inability to track Terminus led to a decade of panic, but the destructive machine did not resurface until 2742 when it dropped in on the Procyon system, a heavily industrialized primeworld of the Commonwealth which also contained a major fleet shipyard. Procyon was already well-defended, so the appearance of Terminus near Procyon V led to a systematic and extreme space battle which appeared to damage Terminus, but at the cost of nearly 70% of the Procyon defense fleet; Earth fleets arrived within hours (Procyon is roughly 11 light years away) and engaged as well, followed by Fadelik warships which utilized direct nuclear and electromagnetic bombardment. Miraculously, Terminus was driven away....but it reappeared a week later in the Delta Rigonis system where a modest colony in the Tetragon Sector immediately fell and it completely devoured the resources and life forms of the planet with no resistance. This did not do much for Tetragon-Commonwealth relations at the time.

The victory at Procyon V emboldened the Federated Commonwealth into developing a strategy for fast-response protection of its core worlds to insure that Terminus, or things like it, could not pose a threat. In later years when the Tetragon Union formed, a similar strategy was taken, although intelligence leaks suggested the Terminus had fallen on seven more worlds in that region of space.

Today the Terminus remains a nebulous boogeyman of space with terrifying potential for destruction. The last known appearance of the machine was a decade ago, when it appeared near the moon colony at Tau-668 in the Tau Sigonis system and left nothing but an asteroid field in its wake. A special fleet of reserve ships called the Terminus Reactionary Force remains on call in the fifty light-year radius around the Sol System, utilizing the fastest state of the art Transitional Drives for quick response, armed with an array of the most powerful weaponry available to serve as a deterrent against Terminus incursion. The Aegis Division has a special branch in Research & Division dedicated to studying the fragments and bits of debris left behind by the machine from prior investigations to divine its secrets.

The Battle for Procyon V

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