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Azimuth: A Historical Perspective (Part Four)

28 JUN 3308

A look at the rivalry between Aegis and Salvation during the escalating war against the Thargoids.

Salvation’s success in purging the Thargoid presence from the Cornsar system had many repercussions, not least from the aliens themselves. Several inhabited nebulas were suddenly overrun with Thargoid vessels, leading some to believe they were reacting aggressively to the Guardian-based nature of the anti-xeno superweapon.

Aegis’s hands were tied by the ongoing public inquiry, but its chief military liaison Admiral Aden Tanner was convinced that the superweapon was designed to attract Thargoids as well as repel them. Claiming that evidence for this could be found at Hind Mine in the T Tauri system, he commanded the megaship Musashi to launch an assault.

This was a battle that Taurus Mining Ventures won with much support from independent pilots, showing how much faith was now placed in Salvation. Tanner was court martialled and the captured Musashi became the flagship of Salvation’s growing forces. Commodore Morag Halloran, formerly of the Alliance Defence Force, took command and became his military coordinator.

By December 3307, the Alliance, Empire and Federation had officially acknowledged that Salvation possessed the technology required to defeat the Thargoids. This assumption was then put to the test when the Delphi, Maia and Merope systems suffered simultaneous full-scale invasions.

Once again the Thargoids were routed following the detonation of three newly constructed superweapons, repeating Salvation’s success at Cornsar. His triumphant proclamations now verged on the messianic “I urge the peoples of the galaxy to unite behind my crusade. Aegis is finished. I am the only remaining defence for humanity. I am Salvation.”

By this point, public opinion toward Salvation was generally positive. Volunteers flocked to Taurus Mining Ventures to offer support, with naval crews from the superpowers defecting to take part in battling the Thargoids. Secondment to Salvation’s forces soon became officially authorised, showing an increasing acceptance of the anonymous scientist’s methods and results.

January 3308 saw a number of developments. Admiral Tanner’s court martial was interrupted by a statement from the renowned scientist Ram Tah, confirming the non-human origins of Salvation’s superweapon. Ram Tah theorised that it was based on a Guardian device found by Azimuth Biochemicals scientists at the Proteus site, which generated an electromagnetic pulse to disrupt the Thargoids’ biomechanical vessels.

But this justification of Tanner’s concerns was not enough to prevent the inevitable fall of Aegis. The Baumann Report delivered a damning indictment of the agency’s operations, concluding that it should be shut down. The three superpowers began using their own militaries to replace Aegis with separate anti-xeno taskforces.

A more surprising event that month was the discovery of debris from the missing megaship Alexandria, scattered across the planetary rings of Wregoe TC-X b29-0 AB 2 A. Captain Morales’s report revealed that the ship had emerged from hyperspace off course due to sabotage, before being raided by a quasi-military force which hijacked its cargo of Guardian artefacts. The surviving crew’s attempt to restart the damaged hyperdrive was the cause of the Alexandria’s destruction.

Morales also mentioned that the raiders were obeying orders from someone named ‘the Witch’. This detail was seized upon by Aegis’s remaining leaders, who matched it to abandoned research facilities found in August 3307 within the HIP 22460 and HIP 26176 systems. These were the sites of the mysterious Project Seraph, an attempt to install human pilots into a captured Thargoid scout. Both the Witch and Azimuth were referenced in its surviving logs.

Aegis’s warning was clear Azimuth Biochemicals, which was supposedly liquidated two centuries ago, had survived to the present day.

Azimuth A Historical Perspective (Part Three)

28 JUN 3308

An overview of how Aegis was impacted by the rise of Salvation as a competing anti-xeno force.

“For now I cannot provide you with my credentials. Suffice to say that I am a man of science, unconnected with modern politics. I am recruiting agents to investigate the work undertaken by Azimuth Biochemicals two hundred years ago, which I believe to be of enormous scientific importance. Much has been lost in that time, but our dedication will allow us to rewrite history.”

This was how the anonymous figure known only as Salvation introduced himself to Pilots’ Federation members in April 3307. Faceless and voiceless, he remains unseen to the present day. His messages characterised him as a dedicated scientist, one with enormous confidence in achieving his goal to destroy the Thargoids and “save all of humanity”.

It was clear that Salvation possessed detailed knowledge about Azimuth Biochemicals, without which the Hesperus would not have been discovered. He began recruiting independent pilots to undertake missions via the intermediary of Taurus Mining Ventures, a corporation based in the remote T Tauri system.

After locating the Proteus in June 3307, Salvation claimed exclusive rights to exploit the ancient Guardian-Thargoid battleground on Trapezium Sector YU-X c1-2 1a. This was contested by Aegis, but their initiative to gather Guardian artefacts from the site was eclipsed by Taurus Mining Ventures’s campaign. In a short time, Salvation successfully emerged as a rival to Aegis, claiming that the tri-superpower agency could not be trusted.

This was reinforced after the tragic loss of the Alexandria megaship. Due to its cargo of Guardian artefacts, Thargoids had relentlessly pursued the megaship before it vanished in hyperspace. An independent inquiry into the disaster ordered Aegis’s operations to be suspended, leaving an absence that Salvation was keen to exploit.

In September 3307, Salvation warned of an impending Thargoid attack in the Cornsar system, apparently detected by his version of Eagle Eye. Aegis and local factions dismissed this as highly unlikely, but nevertheless Thargoid vessels did swarm into the system.

Salvation again reached out to pilots and asked them to transport vital equipment from a Taurus Mining Ventures megaship to Cornsar, for a prototype weapon that he was constructing. A counter-initiative took place by Commanders who distrusted Salvation or supported Aegis, illustrating that each now had their supporters among the galactic community.

Four days later, the Thargoid invasion force unexpectedly vanished from Cornsar. Most withdrew into hyperspace, but crashed alien vessels remained on some planetary bodies. Salvation revealed he had developed an anti-xeno superweapon, capable of eliminating the Thargoid presence from an entire star system. “I have achieved what Aegis could not – an effective deterrent against the alien threat.”

The nature of this incredible new weapon remained unclear, but evidence of Guardian technology later found in Cornsar raised a disturbing possibility. Did Salvation really detect the approaching Thargoid fleet Or did he deliberately attract the Thargoids to Cornsar by stockpiling huge quantities of Guardian artefacts – as happened on the Alexandria – in order to test his prototype superweapon.

As a Vox Galactica report put it “Time will tell if Salvation’s ambition to replace Aegis is a noble goal, or if we are replacing the devil we know with a darker demon.”