The impossible – Seven Crusades under a single unified banner. The unthinkable – the advent of the Third Hyperspace Core. The End Time – a time of prophecy and great bloodshed. Wielding the power of the Ancients, the Vaygr warlord Makaan conquered all that dared stand against his might.

The Taiidan Republic, already weakened by decades of civil war, was among the first of the Council powers to fall. In a state of decay not dissimilar to the Empire of old, many corrupt politicians defected to the Warriors of the Fringe, taking with them star systems of strategic value. The few Taiidani loyal enough to remain would be mercilessly slaughtered at Makaan's hand.

The Bentusi would have survived this, but their numbers had never recovered from the Beast Exodus. They too fell, their tradeships overwhelmed by sheer superiority in numbers and, for the first terrifying time in their history, technology. The sole survivor of this holocaust would be their great Harbor Ship of Bentus – discoverer of the First Great Core.

Even the ones touched by Destiny's hand did not go unmolested by the fires of war. Karan fled, the Homeworld fell, and the Hiigarans became Exiles again.

But one hope remained.

Wielding the Second Core and the symbol of salvation, the Pride of Hiigara, Karan held Makaan's minions at bay while she led her people across the Galaxy. Secrets would be unlocked, truths be told, sacrifices made. In the climactic Battle of Balcora, Makaan fell and Karan became the Sajuuk Khar.

It was then that the Eye of Aaraan was discovered, uniting the Galaxy in peace as the First Core once did and heralding the arrival of the Age of Sjet. However, the Turanic Raiders have absorbed many Taiidani since the fall of the old Empire and the recent conquest of the Republic. No longer just a ragtag pirate force, they now constitute a high-level threat to Hiigara itself.

Having forseen this, Karan Sjet had hence given orders for the original Mothership, 01, to be given a massive overhaul. When complete, it would be in the same league as the Pride of Hiigara, ready to lead the Hiigarans to victory again.

In remembrance of the tragic Kharakian genocide, 01 would be dubbed the Legacy of Kharak.

And so the Exiles believed that peace was secured at last. Little did they know that more was yet to come…

"Sensor sweeps showing up nothing, as usual," came the bored reply, "This is an utter waste of time."

"Quit your complaining ensign," the voice of authority barked from somewhere in the dimly-lit bridge, "And don't you even think of skipping any sectors! If I find out…"

"Yeah yeah, charges and treason and brig and all that," the ensign muttered as he tapped away lazily on the sensors console, Strategic importance my ass – Bravo II's nothing but an old waste heap in the middle of Sajuuk knows where!

To an extent the junior crewman was right – Hiigaran inhibitor stations were sparsely equipped bases whose sole purpose was to restrict unauthorized jumps into Hiigaran space. Any lack of amenities was, in the words of High Command, "Unfortunate but optimum in terms of cost-benefit." Still, recent concerns in the Daiamid over maintaining high levels of troop morale had pushed High Command to grudgingly include recreation modules in the more recent station designs.

Bravo II unfortunately had none of these, being a first generation station that was more a set of command and hangar modules glued hastily onto an ageing inhibitor frame dating from the Imperial era.

Ah to hell with this – not like the old man's going to notice anything, the ensign thought to himself as he swiveled his seat around to face his ageing superior – a cranky old officer who had seen better days during the legendary Dust Wars of old, "All clear."

"You sure?"

"Even the asteroids are still in the bloody same place, if that's what you're asking," the ensign was rolling his eyes in exasperation now.

"…Very well then. Dismissed!" the commander snapped, taking a swig from his trusty bottle as he stared aimlessly at the twin stars of Coruc and Tel. Looking at them always made him feel strange – as though he were seeing hyperspace from the perspective of normal space. The medics would always dismiss it as a side effect of the prevalent quantum irregularities in the system.

Damned anomalies…

He took another mouthful and glanced up again, blinking when he saw the familiar metallic glint of a ship in the yellow glare of the stars.