“It has been 30 years… 30 years since the people of Halrad learned that there are other sentient beings in the galaxy, and that they were anything but friendly…
For thousands of years the population of the planet of Halrad lived in blissful ignorance that they were the only sentient beings dwelling around the stars. As naturally proud beings they basked in their achievements, subduing the planet’s resources to their own needs. After 2.000 years of constant technological progress, they finally invented technology that would help them travel between stars. The planet of Halrad and its 4 continents prospered in peace, unmolested by the predations who lurked beyond their reach… It was only after the seventh expedition returned from the neighboring planet of Galit, that they brought with it what they were now referring to as “The Curse of the Gods”.
It was a piece of unknown technology that allowed the people of Halrad to improve their space-faring vessels, to achieve near impossible speeds, and cover distances with the span of light years in mere months. The new possibilities unlocked the ambitions of the Conclave of the Nine, the ruling body of the planetary alliance. Yet, using the unknown technology was not without a price. The ships that used the “The Curse of the Gods” acted as beacons for the things that lurked between the stars.
Awful things, beasts of unknown origin, whose only drive was to devour all living matter. But they weren’t the only ones that set their sights on the planet of Halrad. Other entities noticed the rising interplanetary empire, and sought to destroy it for their own ends. For the people of the fledgling empire, life was full of hope, possibilities and great fortunes. They slept at night and dreamt of new lands, new resources, new possibilities, unaware of the forces that were converging on the planet with each day cycle. Only after 160 years of interplanetary expansion, within the edges of what they called ‘The sector of the Core Worlds’, an interstellar sector comprising 4 stars, 20 habitable planets, and spanning some 25 light years, the doom came to Halrad. The orbital traffic relays they have built to coordinate their interplanetary traffic, alarmed of hundreds and hundreds unknown vessel signatures that weren’t using standard Halradan ID protocols nor responded to the hails of the communication stations.
Halrad’s leaders, believing that they are the only sentient beings in the galaxy, didn’t worry much about building orbital defense platforms, having lived in peace ever since the first Halradans built the first settlements on the western continent of Ghalduk. The tide of beasts swept across the whole sector racing towards the heart of the Halradan Empire where the ancient space-travel tech was stored, on the continent of Ghalduk, deep in the vaults of the capital Deartol. The beasts descended on the planet in wretched cocoons that were capable of withstanding the heat of atmospheric re-entry and when the vile cocoons made planet fall, unspeakable creatures emerged from them. They looked like some of the insects inhabiting Halrad, just thousandfold in size, and with hideous looking claw-like appendages and fangs as sharp as the plasma cutters they used to extract minerals with. Immediately, they descended on the most populated areas of the planet and started butchering and devouring the population. As unprepared as the Halradians were for this menace, what followed was most unexpected.
Suddenly, out of nowhere great lights appeared on the night side of Halrad, and massive ships, easily 20 times the size of the Halradan vessels emerged from the blackness of space, apparently using similar type of travel to that of the ancient space-travel tech they themselves used. But unlike theirs, these vessels were mounted with weapons that fired energy beams the size of city blocks. They, too opened up on the western continent of Ghalduk, quickly scouring the surface of the continent with great fires, and soon afterward the skies were enveloped with clouds of thick smoke, and the atmosphere was rendered inhospitable. This did not seem to bother the new enemies, as they made planet fall with what seemed like hundreds of specialized crafts which to the people of Deartol, looked like the ships themselves were weeping tears, for the heaven that was lost. In the aftermath of the orbital bombardment, only the capital was left unscathed. At first, its citizens were confused and thanked their Gods for their deliverance but the purpose of this soon became apparent. The creatures that emerged from the drop craft, not unlike themselves were clad in some technologically superior armor, unlike anything they have ever seen, thought of, or indeed, needed.
The ensuing spree, and the relentless search for the piece of tech that had brought these malevolent entities to Halrad, became known as the “Maiden’s Doom” in the later years by the few thousand surviving natives that were left upon the surface of Ghalduk. To this day, thirty years later those who had witnessed it are hunted by nightmares. Those creatures, took the “Curse” with them, and left the fledgling empire to writhe in its death throes… And it would take the natives of Halrad, many decades to rebuild what was lost on that dreadful day when the Gods deserted them.
Photo by PhotoVision