The Sins of a Solar Empire – Prologue

Author's Note: Hello! Welcome to my first attempt at a fanfiction! To be honest I've had the idea for this brewing around in my head for a while now, ever since I imagined a story line based on the intro scenes of the Sins of a Solar Empire games (go check them out, they're amazing), but I've only just been motivated into writing it down. So without further ado, I present to you: "The Sins of a Solar Empire"!

Disclaimer: As you may have guessed, I don't own Sins of a Solar Empire (as much as I want to :( ); that honor goes to Ironclad Games. All original characters are mine, though.

We were such fools.

It was all very sudden. At the time our glorious empire was thriving as it always had been. The Dark Fleet brought more worlds into our fold, rewarding us with slaves, resources, and room for our people. Our mastery of phase space, which allowed for extremely rapid faster-than-light travel, among other things, was only improving with time. Nanites continued to astonish us with the rate with which colonies could be erected on desolate worlds, as well as the efficiency with which they rooted out and purged disease.

But then, in but a single moment, everything was lost.

It started when our central phase communications hub reported an anomaly. According to the overseer involved, the head of the primary phase space research facility of Tul'var, an Inner Empire world, had failed to submit its daily report. Dismissing it as a simple rebellion of the indigenous population on the world, we sent a small detachment of the Dark Fleet to crush the usurpers, and reclaim the facility.

Except we never heard from the detachment afterwards. With commendable initiative, the head overseer of the hub reported to the Internal Council, informed them of the current situation, and was discussing further details regarding the anomaly and the disappearance of the detachment when they were called in to investigate another anomaly – three, in fact.

Thrice again, worlds in the Inner Empire had fallen silent, without warning. A short search into the empire's records showed that they were the worlds directly connected via phase lane to Tul'var, and that they had all ceased communications at roughly the same time.

Growing concerned, the head overseer contacted the Council directly, and was shocked to learn that they had already heard of the communications failure, and were already amassing the local defense fleet. Ordered to discuss the likely cause of the communications failures with Internal Intelligence, the main espionage branch of the empire, and come up with a solution, the situation was left otherwise unchecked until a conclusion was finally reached and the overseer made to report to the Internal Council.

Except in the short amount of time it had taken to prepare a solution, several more adjacent inner worlds had fallen silent – including our ancient home-world, Vadrinmar.

At that point we were in a state of near-panic. Long ago abandoning the notion that a simple rebellion was the cause for this decay, the entire Dark Armada was amassed and sent to the Inner Empire in a desperate attempt to stop the expansion of what came to be known as the Unknown Enemy.

Much later, at the border world of Tenzeksa, an unmistakably military vessel, quite literally falling apart, was identified emerging from phase space. After the vassal of the colony attempted and failed to make communications with the derelict, a rescue ship was dispatched with a fabricator to salvage the remains. Given the not-too-long-ago announcement that the Dark Armada was deployed to secure the Inner Empire, the crews were left assuming the worst. After all, what would a Dark Armada vessel be doing so far from its objective, so badly damaged, and with its crew apparently so alarmed as to flee from their mission?

It was so much worse than any of us had realized.

Immediately upon entering the vessel, the rescue team was bombarded by the desperate pleas of the surviving Vasari crewmen, who had visibly been reduced to complete madness. Scouring the vessel swiftly proved to be a waste of time, as all other surviving crew on board had been left in the same state. Alarmed by the implications regarding such an enemy, the vassal convened with the other vassals of nearby star systems and, in an unheard-of display of autonomy, did what any sensible being would do, Vasari or not.

We packed up, rendezvoused at the nearest phase lane, and fled for our lives.

This process continued for the next 10,000 years. Every so often, the fleeing Vasari populace, referring to themselves now as the Exodus Fleet, would stop in a region of space for some important reason – restocking of resources, boosting the population, kidnapping slave laborers – deploy a beacon, and keep going.

The beacons served a purpose, and one that had instilled us to maintain our philosophy; Evacuate, Siphon, and Run. Emitting a signal through phase space, they warned any sentient races in the sectors of space we traveled through of the threat chasing after us, and our communications overseers monitored the progress of the Unknown Enemy by keeping notice of the beacons deployed by the Fleet – as well as tracking which ones fell silent, chalked up to the seemingly-impregnable advance of the Unknown Enemy, by this point referred to as "The Pursuer".

Never resting, we kept running, never staying for too long in a sector of space before moving on, always monitoring The Pursuer's advance. Given how events have turned since then, this is unlikely to change; the best case scenario now is that this equilibrium will remain constant until the end of time. That being said, no one seems willing to consider the possibility of being caught up to by The Pursuer, shuddering to think of what fate would await us.

All we can do now is run – Evacuate, Siphon, and Run. Such is the consequence of our folly, our ridiculous degree of standing to which we held ourselves.

Such is the punishment for the sin of a solar empire.