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Edge of the Miasma — Part 7— Valentina and the Echoes of Empire

November 18, 2021
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The Miasma cut a swath across a host of stars and clusters throughout the galaxy, and the edge of space near the Miasma was always nerve-wracking. In the old days it would ebb and flow like a massive ocean tide, swallowing whole planets like it was nothing at all.

Part 7 — Edge of the Miasma

No one knew what exactly the Miasma was, or if they did, they were playing it close to the chest. It was a massive and terrifying force that constantly threatened to absorb worlds with a single wave of expansion. It was a wall, a boundary that separated the inhabited parts of the galaxy from the unknown void of deep space. It was energy, and though no one had discovered how to harness its power, many scientists claimed they were close. For some time now, and most curiously, the Miasma had stopped expanding and instead it was retreating. Throughout the galaxy, people were watching, waiting to see what new mysteries would be revealed and hoping the Miasma would continue to retreat. Its unpredictable nature made it more disturbing for everyone, especially those brave enough to live in these newly uncovered territories. Valentina didn’t have cause to work in these parts very often, but once in a rare while, she’d cut through on the way to anyplace else.

None of the three Factions liked to come out this far. They were all busy with their strange little standoff, a cold war with each Faction just waiting to see who would fire the first shots. Personally, Valentina didn’t care which they picked. It wasn’t her problem or her business, as long as she effectively avoided all of them.

Sigis Station was supposedly named for an old emperor, but Valentina had no idea which one. The Imperial style station was old, and until recently, wholly subsumed by the miasma. As soon as it was revealed, the rough and tumble sort moved in and got to work redistributing all this old wealth. The scavengers weren’t bothering anyone; whoever was around when the Miasma hit was long gone.

It must have been glorious in its heyday, Valentina thought to herself as she walked through the thinning crowds of this rediscovered old port and ducked down an alleyway. Her Sigis Station map wasn’t exactly reliable, but those coordinates were leading her steadily down, into the lower (and darker) levels of the massive station. She hoped whatever was at the end would be worth something.

Salvage crews thinned out. As Valentina walked, cautious of rubble, she discovered small lights that brightened as she drew near and faded away when she passed. There were signs here and there, but they were ancient and she couldn’t make out the old Imperial script.

It had been a gamble to steal these coordinates from Mateo, but he hadn’t noticed. Anyway, it wasn’t like she actually took his chip. She just copied the data off it and left the original there. He could still do whatever he wanted with it and there was certainly plenty of salvage to go around.

As the corridors closed in around her, increasingly decrepit and damaged, Valentina examined the hallway and checked her wrist-map.

“This doesn’t look right,” Valentina grumbled to herself, turning around as another corridor suddenly lit up all at once, as if the station itself was beckoning her into to its deepest secret. “Well that’s not ominous or anything. Okay, let’s see what’s down here.”

The corridor led deeper into the ruins of the old station. Valentina blessed the wrist-map that remembered her path, and the exo-suit that ensured she was surrounded by breathable air. Running into a patch of bad air (or no air) in these situations could easily ruin a job or end a life. Everything seemed to be holding pressure well enough, but good external air pressure wouldn’t do a thing about an internal gas leak, and these pipes were ancient.

The lights guided her down into what looked like an old control room. It must have been evacuated in a hurry. Broken plasti-glass was everywhere. There were a few old consoles that had been torn apart. Valentina pulled her blaster and hoped whatever wrecked the room wasn’t still around. With nothing but a waste high railing and a bank of old Mark 1 compuservers between her and the hallway, It would be a bad place for a fight.

A glint of bright metal caught her eye. Valentina knelt, her blaster in one hand, and cautiously brushed away the thick grime.

The bright metal turned out to be a smooth metal box. It was heavy for its size, and engraved all over with constellations. No, not constellations. It was an old-style star map. She had only ever seen them in museums. A smile crept over her face as she realized the potential value of her find.

Just then, Valentina’s helmet-comm crackled and a voice echoed in her ear. She was picking up a transmission nearby. Quickly deciding discretion was the better part of valor, she took the star map box and slowly slipped back through the way she came.

Part 1 — Kepler’s Remnant

Part 2 — Sovereign Protectorate

Part 3 — Lightspire

Part 4 — Shepherd’s Void

Part 5 — Celestious Nox

Part 6 — The Crucible

The next cluster of the CELESTIAL CLAIM LAND PRESALE will be available soon in the Gala Games store! Keep watch over Valentina’s adventures, because you never know when she may need your help!

The next star Cluster (The Pale), will be sold in increasing price tiers, so the earlier you secure your Claim, the cheaper it will be! Sign up for the latest updates at the ECHOES OF EMPIRE WEBSITE!

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