2478 Big Raid in the Asteroid Belt.
Report of a police raid by Norden Esstisch, CO (commanding officer) SWAT CEA (Cloning Enforcement Agency), Iris City, 2478:
Our target was an old refueling station on asteroid 14387. The station had been abandoned 15 years ago if the available data is to be believed. At least that was the last recorded refueling. After that there have been no more registered visits. Statistical traffic analysis and other indirect evidence indicated that 14387 was operating as an illegal manufacturing facility. Investigations last year related to a final homicide at Vesta Prime were along the same lines. This particular operation came about after an illegal warehouse of bioroids was busted on Vesta Prime. The flight data acquired in the process contained indirect hints at the immediate vicinity of 14387.
We approached the target in the radar shadow of 56288. For the last light second we had to leave the shadow to advance to 14387. We spent three hours at 1.5 g until we reached target zero minus 2000 klicks. The trajectory was planned so that we would approach the target on the far side of the supposed base. For that we had reviewed the old backups of the operating company. Yet, the data did not tell us that new sensor platforms covered the sky of the asteroid almost completely with an effective normalized coverage of 3.5 pi. We didn't find that out until it was too late.
Anyway, at 100 klicks distance, we sent three short range reconnaissance probes. They moved into their orbits and began active operations three minutes before we arrived. Two of them were caught immediately. The third at least sent us a scan before it was neutralized. So we were warned. But so were they. It was also clear that they had had enough time to organize their defenses. No surprise effect then. But after brief consultation with the other section leaders, I decided to continue the mission anyway.
I ordered to fire at the defensive positions with targeting data based on the single orbital scan. This attack was conducted by the AKV offensive drones and the shuttles' launchers. Then we sent down a platoon of melee combat drones. Unfortunately, one of the two shuttles was shot down on approach. The second dropped its drones getting hit after takeoff. As the platoon met with strong resistance from automatic guns, we had to abandon it and neutralized the ground defenses with the AKV. Then three shuttles dropped a full company of our combat drones. The drones entered the complex under weak defensive fire, followed by nine contact specialists in battle armor from three directions. One of the SWAT teams picked up the only human in the complex. Her name was Alaiia Zucca. She killed herself before she could be immobilized. Zucca's brain was too badly damaged for ghosting, but our info-war guys were more successful. After the infiltrators gained us access, we were able to capture three AIs. One AI named Haratani Zindato-Vilmouth, who apparently was leading the operation, contained valuable information about the syndicate's structures and distribution networks. Zucca, the woman, was presumably only serving in a subordinate capacity.
We found production facilities for bioroids and also several drug synthesizers, mainly Pitchou and Darkstar derivatives. The bioroids were in various stages of production, from cell cultures of tissues, to full grown adults. Some were sitting in the programmers when the contact units entered. The whole thing looked like a production line running at full capacity. Unfortunately, 15 bioroids suffered explosive decompression when the second wave of drones broke open the access. We were able to rescue 22 bioroids. Of these, ten were for various service functions (see lab analysis), and the rest were apparently pleasure models.
Overall, the mission can be considered a success. The high drone losses are to be regretted. This was due to incomplete data. There were no serious personal injuries. We could capture several suspected rouge AIs in senior positions. The main objective, stopping illegal bioroid production was achieved.
Material used and personnel involved:
- Material: 3 personnel carriers, 5 transporters for equipment, 180 combat drones (1:3 Defender/Enforcer mix) in 2 companies, 4 Vestigo short range reconnaissance probes, 1 PointDev3K missile defense system, 2 AKV offensive units, 3 EM platforms, 6 shuttles (2 Tukker and 4 KQ3), 3 short-range missile launchers, 16 battle armor, 2 medbots, 1 autodoc.
- Personnel: mission command: 3, drone operator: 5, combat units crew: 6, armored contact personnel: 9 in 3 SWAT teams, medics: 2, info-penetration specialists: 2, info-analysts: 3.
- Equipment damage: Vestigo probes (total loss: 3), Shuttle (total loss: 2), Drones (total loss: 72, damaged: 12), battle armor (total loss: 2, damaged: 5).
- Personal injuries: 3 persons with minor injuries.
2493 Oumuamua was an Alien Artifact.
In 2017 an extrasolar comet passed through the solar system. It moved at such a high speed that it was bound to come from outside the solar system. Oumuamua, as it was named, was initially regarded as an interstellar asteroid. Later it was re-classified as a comet, because small changes in the trajectory indicated outgassing.
The really amazing thing about it was its shape. Astronomers of that time saw only see a small dot through their telescopes. But the dot was blinking. This led to the conclusion that Oumuamua was rotating fast. From the brightness curve, they be calculated that Oumuamua was at least 5 times as long as it was wide shaped like a cigar of about 250 x 50 meters. The fast rotation led to the conclusion that Oumuamua must be a solid body, for only solid bodies can withstand high centrifugal forces. Unfortunately, this theory could not be verified directly, because Oumuamua was much too fast for a rendezvous mission and there was no probe in the vicinity.
Spectroscopy showed a high metal content. Early on, there were suspicions that Oumuamua might be of artificial origin. When it was at its minimum distance of 33 million kilometers radio receivers would have detected transmissions of a tenth of a watt. But there were no active emissions.
Oumuamua quickly disappeared into the depths of space and fell into oblivion. Each year the distance grew by almost a light hour, for centuries.
In 2493 Oumuamua is almost 400 billion kilometers away. That is two light weeks or 2700 AU, 2700 times as far from the sun as the Earth, far out in the Oort cloud.
In 2493 however, experimental FTL drives can master such a distance. An expedition sets out to visit the old comet. Its vector is well known. Direction and speed have been precisely measured in the 21st century. And if the path has not been disturbed in the last 400 odd years, Oumuamua should be within a spatial volume of three cubic AU or 10 trillion trillion cubic kilometers. The difficulty is not to cover the distance to the comet, but to track it down in the target area.
The comet is not easily detectable, at least not visually. Out there, in the Oort cloud, it gets billions of times less light than the Earth and it is also quite dark. However, radar does the job. The research vessel deploys several strong radar transmitters in the target area and then waits for echoes. After repeating this procedure several times, they detect a signal at the edge of their search area. While the travel time over 2700 AU was only eight days, the search has taken 40 days.
The expedition approaches Oumuamua. Finally, they can really see the object. They must illuminate it with spotlights, because it is a dark thing in the blackness of space. The surface is very smooth. It is not cigar shaped, as was once thought. In fact, it is a cylinder. Oumuamua is clearly of artificial origin. It is a perfect cylinder, 300 meters long and 50 meters in diameter. At first glance it looks like an empty fuel tank. A close examination reveals residue water ice inside. This must have been the source of any outgassing supposed centuries ago. The surface has countless impact craters of micrometeorites and dust particles. A statistical analysis of the crater distribution indicates an age of 150 million years. That makes Oumuamua the oldest product of a technical civilization ever discovered.
The object has some minor bulges and mounts, but – apart from the meteorite craters – no obvious damage. It looks as if Oumuamua had been deliberately released and not blasted off by an accident. 150 million years ago it had been part of a larger structure, a space station, a ship, or a habitat. Oumuamua probably had served as a water tank. After the tank had been emptied, it was disconnected. Then it drifted away and has remained on its own trajectory ever since.
Oumuamua is moving away from the solar system at 26 kilometers per second. However, this is a similar orbit around the galactic center as our sun. The relative speed is small compared to the common speed around the center of the Milky Way at about 225 km/s. For comparison, the Sun itself is 20 km/s faster than the average speed of the stars in its vicinity.
The current relative velocity of Oumuamua with respect to the solar system does not mean that long ago a technical construction was moving at 26 km/s escape velocity. Perhaps it was almost at rest relative to its home system. Perhaps Oumuamua belonged to the inhabitants of an Oort object there. Since then, both Sol and Oumuamua have been travelling roughly two-thirds of a full circle around the galactic center. Time and again either has changed its direction slightly due to gravitational interactions with other stars. The current relative velocity is the consequence of many subtle vector changes. But they are both basically on a similar orbit around the galaxy.
Ultimately, Oumuamua is an ancient piece of junk that happened to pass through the solar system by chance. Astronomers in the 21st century could not but take it for a natural object. Anything else would have been considered science fiction or wishful thinking.
In the 21st century, people did not know how widespread technical civilizations actually are, how long they exist, and how gigantic their operations are compared to planetary societies. Modern technical civilizations have an industrial capacity a million times higher than the Earth of the 20th century. In hundreds of millions of years there were millions of such civilizations. Over time, all of them together have left behind many trillions of trillions of objects like Oumuamua. This is an order of magnitude that almost approaches the number of natural stray objects in the galaxy.
It was just a coincidence that the first interstellar visitor ever detected was a technical relic. Many other that later visited the Sol system were of natural origin.