CA1497 was a Vacuity Pocket that was believed to have diverged in human prehistory, the product of an extremely advanced alien race, nicknamed the “Cardinals”.
Vacuity Pocket CA1497 was discovered by an attempted auszeit colonist expedition by the United Technocracies of Man in 2765. The colony fleet, led by the experimental battle-cruiser NU676F and captained by Admiral Fischer, arrived within the confines of the Vacuity pocket with only three-quarters of the expeditionary force remaining. The lost section of the fleet never arrived in the Vacuity pocket, the product of the many problems that coexist with auszeit travel. While the United Technocracies’ colonists had expected to arrive near Trueline Jupiter, they were instead dispersed dangerously close to a huge metallic artifact. Upon examination, the surviving colonists presumed it to be a giant, artificially constructed Ring (now known as Cardinal Ring Rho-5) rotating around Sol.
Instead of Sol and her cadre of planets as the expedition had expected, a large collection of Cardinal Rings orbit the star, determined later through luminosity and radiation output to be Sol herself. These rings house a wide variety of life, but the United Technocracies expeditionary force found no evidence of current sapient life at that time, and, after informing Trueline of this distinct turn of events, landed and began colonizing a section of what came to be known as Cardinal Ring Epsilon-7, which orbited conveniently about 1 AU from Sol, and had a roughly breathable atmosphere.
These Cardinal Rings were later determined to be over 500 in number, at differing orbits between .15 AU and 14 AU. Sol had bands of opaque mass orbiting around it at about .1 AU, providing a robust day-night cycle for the Cardinal Rings. The rings are composed of metallic substrates with superior strength and strain compared to Trueline manufacture, believed to be composed of the mass taken from every other star system in the Vacuity Pocket (there are no others remaining). Within the rings are believed to be vast energy generators that provide for the Cardinal Rings’ spin, and its atmosphere and weather conditions, among other things.
After landing on Epsilon-7, the United Technocracies’ expeditionary force set up camp and began colonization. They did not get very far. Within days of colonization, the colony received a short message burst in binary from a nearby Ring. After decoding it, they received a garbled video depicting a section of a Ring being decimated from space by an EMSEL barrage. The United Technocracies scientists considered this to be a warning from another sapient species, and the military contingent of the fleet, fearful of the amount of power these aliens must have to construct the Cardinal Rings, began to consider leaving. However, before preparations took effect, a small contingent of xenos’ ships accosted the NU676F¸ which was orbiting around Epsilon-7. Commander Fischer, fearful of the power of the xenos, shot first, firing a quick sonnecoil battery, backed up by a barrage of nuclear missiles, at the xenos. The cowardly xenos attempted to flee, but were decimated by the sonnecoil shots. United Technocracy scientists analyzed the recorded footage, and determined these xenos, since deemed the Chethroyaka (meaning cowardly in the Russo-Slavic tongue of Commander Fischer), were not the aliens that had created these monumental structures, for they did not even possess basic energy shielding.
After first contact with the Chethroyaka, the NU676F and a contingent of other expeditionary ships traveled to the origin of the original message (Epsilon-6), and began basic United Technocracy policy measures – orbital nuclear bombardment. However, the Ring itself destroyed these missiles in mid-flight as soon as the missiles reached the upper level of Epsilon-6’s atmosphere. The expeditionary force tried again, this time with a mixture of EMSEL and coil-gun batteries, with the same effect. Commander Fischer then launched a small battalion of his own armed troops. The NU676F watched anxiously to see what would happen. Instead of being blown up or displaced as soon as they entered the upper atmosphere, the battalion was unharmed and continued descending to Epsilon-6’s surface. Unfortunately, the battalion was slaughtered upon entering ~20 kilometers above ground level by a barrage of Chethroyakan EMSELs.
The NU676F signaled back to Trueline, explaining what had just happened, the last coherent message from the NU676F. The NU676F then fell under the control of a coup by the second-in-command, who, with a small force of sympathetic ensigns, captured the bridge of the NU676F, depressurized the cabin of Admiral Fischer, and commenced firing on the remaining ships in the contingent (destroying 31% of the fleet) before accelerating away. Although this turn of events was regrettable, the United Technocracies categorized this Vacuity pocket under Top-Secret Level Umbra, and began preparation to send in a mass fleet, believing the artifacts and their advanced technology to be the weapon they needed to prevail against the rest of Trueline.
- Vacuity Pocket CA1497 is based on Larry Niven's Ringworld series.