Hooray, I got to write creatively again! Well, ok, I've been working on the novel some more, but still not as much as I hoped. Ugh. Still, I got this short piece done for my fiction class, having to tell a ghost story of some kind. So I decided to take it in a slightly different direction, and write about ghosts in a more metaphorical sense, i.e. the ghosts left behind by our passing, the sense of presence one might feel in an empty house that isn't theirs. Only this is on a galactic scale.
And yes, this is set in my universe, which my novel is. But written as a historical article. I've done a bunch of them for my game, and I'm sure this'll go up on the website there in some capacity at some point. Anyway, enjoy!
Though prior to the Judgment War, there were no confirmed encounters with sentient alien life, possible indicators of previously-existing sentient races have been found across known space. Numerous indigenous plant and animal races have been found on countless worlds, but none seemed to possess any truly sentient life.
Below are listed some of the more well-known discoveries made over the history of the Solar Alliance that have been popularized as “proof” of previously-existing alien races.
The Oblivion Gulf
This patch of space in the Perseus Arm was first discovered by remote observatories in 2816, and later formally explored in 2967. It took nearly a full century to map its extent. The Gulf is unique because it is empty. It is utterly devoid of anything larger than cosmic dust, and even this is in far lower proportions than elsewhere in the galaxy.
The Oblivion Gulf is nearly a hundred light-years in diameter, and a complete mapping of its shape has revealed it to be similarly shaped to a powerful explosion, albiet on a scale far greater than anything conceivable by man. Whatever happened in the past, it seems to have annihilated all matter within its reach, leaving a true vacuum for dust and matter to slowly fill back in.
Perhaps the Gulf was the result of a terrible weapon that annihilated all trace of its creator. Perhaps it was an exceptionally powerful hypernova that exploded aeons ago. There is, unfortunately, not even a scrap of matter, not even a trace of residual energy, to analyze and try to discern the truth.
The Ghosts of Iolchis
They say that on Iolchis, that barren world on the edge of the Devros sector, if you travel far from the cities, into the wastelands that cover much of the planet, and look out during an ion storm, you can see ghosts. But only if you have green eyes. Some quirk of genetics or something means only green eyes are sensitive to the energies that appear as dancing after-images and shadows of buildings long gone. The red sands disappear beneath ghostly echoes of greens, blues, and whites. You can walk among the ghosts, even walk through them. They don't seem to ever notice visitors.
No one's really sure what they are. Spirits of the dead? Spirits of the living temporally displaced ever so slightly? Are they future inhabitants of Iolchis, or all that's left of a long-dead race? As long as people have lived on Iolchis, the ghosts have appeared. How long have they been going about their shadowed lives before we came here? All attempts to communicate have failed; likewise with all attempts to figure out what they are or how they appear, beyond theories of the ion storms triggering a weakening in reality, pushing two points in time closer together. But other planets have ion storms, and no ghosts to go with them. Who can say what is special about this world. We can but go on our lives, and dream of ghosts.
The Van Graff Rift
Initially discovered by the SAS Constitution in 3514, the Rift was named for the science officer on duty that first noticed the subtle abnormalities in space near the vessel. From the outside, the rift appears to be a relatively normal patch of space in the void between solar systems, baring some unusual micro-fluctuations in gravity and radiation.
Entering the rift, however, is nearly akin to stepping into another universe. The outermost “shell” of the Rift is like a light-years wide stealth shield of some sort, hiding the contents of the Rift from outside observation.
Within, the physical laws of the universe begin to break down. Points in space light years apart are connected seemingly at random, hollow planets orbit black holes without being drawn in, and anti-matter exists without the volatile reactions it would normally have with regular matter.
All attempts at explaining the cause of the Rift have been equally confounded, and no solid answer has ever been accepted. The most popular theory, perhaps popular because it can NOT actually be confirmed, is that the Rift represents the “cosmic laboratory” of an ancient alien species, though what they were attempting to accomplish, and whether or not they succeeded, may never be known.
Given nothing else like the Rift has been discovered elsewhere in the galaxy, the likelihood of it being a naturally occurring phenomena seems low. Whatever species may have created it, no other trace of civilization has been discovered within any of the nearby solar systems.
Incident Report UE.67012.e423
Occurring in 3891, this obscure report was obtained and leaked by an unknown agency over a century later, and became especially widespread in the early days of the Judgment War, which began in 4006.
The report contains communication and sensor logs of a fleet of approximately thirty Solar Alliance vessels undergoing a long-range patrol in the Onias Sector. All activity was effectively normal until a surge of a previously-unknown kind of energy was detected. Visual reports claim seeing a brightly-burning light near the ships, from which extended gaseous tendrils towards the vessels at tremendous speeds. Ships caught within the tendrils reported powerful gravitational forces, rocking them violently, before all communication would suddenly be cut off, and the ships would effectively vanish without a trace.
Fearing for their safety, the remaining ships engaged emergency foldspace jumps, hurling them several light years away almost instantly. However, the unknown light quickly appeared again, and several more ships were drawn into its tendrils, leaving the remaining vessels to flee. Any attempts at attacking the light seemed to have no effect.
This process repeated, with emergency broadcasts being sent, until all thirty vessels had vanished. A force was dispatched to investigate, but found no trace of either the ships nor the unknown light. Despite this, the area was quarantined until well after the Judgment War was underway.
What caused the report to become popularized after the outbreak of the Judgment War were theories that the mysterious light and gaseous tendrils was some sort of “scouting move” by the Great Enemy; its first ventures into our reality from their own, seeking to assess the capabilities of the Solar Alliance before a proper invasion.
This theory is widely discredited, however, as it was never repeated by the Great Enemy, and the energy signatures of the light do not match anything ever used by them. It is generally accepted that the method of attack used by the light displayed signs of sentience, but no one has been able to conclusively prove the source of that sentience.