We are tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.
Humanity’s pursuit of knowledge was unquenchable after having declared the ‘No Political Zone’ around the Ark in 280. Now that the UEE, Xi’An, Banu, and Tevarin had a safe place to store and share knowledge the next challenge arose: how to collect more.
It wouldn’t be until some twenty years later on May 2nd 2820 that the UEE Senate would approve the creation of an Exploration Division. At the time the Senate still wouldn’t see eye to eye with the Imperator Marshell Leon. Tensions ran high, with much of the human leadership untrusting of alien races. Some still believed interspecies collaboration made us weak, and if the UEE was to survive then we needed to focus on military expansion and not understanding.
The scientific community lobbied hard, requesting a new division be created and devoted purely to exploration and research. Imperator Leon staunchly supported the proposal and the Senate had no choice but to yield. The measure was begrudgingly passed, promising a leading edge ship and experienced commander and crew. Naming rights for the new division were granted to some of the leading scientific minds of the time, and so Infinity^2 was born, representing the boundless hope and mysteries to be found in the vast unknowns of the universe.
Alas, the victory was short-lived. The Senate delivered on its promise of a state of the art ship with the recommissioning of the Destinee, an ancient and battered Midway Class Heavy Carrier, too outdated to even be scrapped for parts. Next came the naming of an experienced commander for the vessel. The Senate appointed career desk Officer Monte Gale, whose greatest battle to date had occurred when he poured hot coffee on his dress uniform.
Entrenched in bureaucratic battles, the repairs to the Destinee were drawn out, with the Senate using the delays to quietly redirect funds away from the project and into other budgets. The ill-fated vessel was then stocked with substandard research and medical equipment and staffed with a skeleton crew of freshly graduated, inexperienced civilian scientists. At last, on a cold November morning in 2825 the Destinee was declared ready her reborn maiden voyage.
The INF Destinee blasted off on her first assignment near the Orion System, tasked with charting the local planets and moons and collecting samples of alien flora and fauna. While en route, the ship suffered from multiple system failures, ending in a catastrophic malfunction of the warp drive core. The warp tunnel suddenly collapsed without notice as the warp engine exploded, sending the Destinee careening into a deadly spiral towards the nearby Oberon Star. The vessel was whipped around the star, slowing slightly as it flew uncontrolled back in its original direction. Quick thinking and action by First Officer Staci Sydnie, managed to finally bring the tumbling ship to a standstill and remaining the remaining crew began the painstaking and timely task of repairing the warp engine, patching the hull, and preparing to continue their journey.
After a couple years of travel, the Destinee and her crew at last arrived on the outskirts of the Orion System, but there was no opportunity for congratulations or rest. Disaster struck once more as the ship was besieged by the Vanduul. The Destinee managed to escape total destruction by jumping to the nearby Nul system, but not before losing another half of its remaining over-worked and haggard crew. After successfully evading its enemies, the surviving crew managed enough repairs to limp back to Earth where they would file their report.
While delving into the ship’s logs, numerous discrepancies were found regarding the failed mission. Due to what appeared like system corruption, the crew logs contradict each other on nearly every aspect of the battle. Some logs stated that the Vanduul seemed to be waiting to ambush the humans in the Orion System, while others cited that it had been the Destinee that instigated violence. Furthermore, in many instances large hull breaches were cited as primary cause of the crew’s casualties, but breaches of such severity should easily have been prevented by the ship’s oversized shield generator. Even analyzing the black box data revealed nothing, as it appeared to have not logged anything since leaving Earth.
The inexperienced and now shamed Commander Gale was met with all new hostility upon making his report to the Senate. He was scorned for the inconsistent and unreliable accounts of what had happened to the vessel under his command. Career politicians goaded him with the high cost of human life and “an absolute magnificent failure in leadership.” Gale noted in his personal files that, while he fully accepted responsibility for the disastrous voyage and had therefore expected the Senate’s admonishment, what he encountered instead seemed to be disappointment, even anger, that the Destinee had managed to return at all.
Despite their scrutiny and denunciation of the Commander and his mission, and much to the surprise of Gale himself, the Senate approved funding to fix the major issues with the Destinee, equip her with a new special shield generator, and send it out on another mission. A new shield Generator was installed, built specifically for the harsh environments and acid atmospheres the ship would encounter. They would this time be flying out to the already charted Hades System to investigate the sudden extinction of a localized civilization.
After once again slogging through delays and funding disputes, the ship Destinee again departed from Earth on May 22nd 2830. Accounts of what happened next are questionable at best. Some trading vessels claim to have seen the Destinee engage her warp drive towards Hades. But accounts much later in 2890 provided evidence that show her last known communication, an SOS, was way off course near the Vector System. Destinee and her crew were never seen or heard from again.
This time, no investigation or search was ever performed. Citing the incompetence of Commander Gale as an assurance of the ship’s doom and a lack of available resources for search and rescue, the Senate was quick to brush the phantom ship under the rug as the UEE focused on other projects. The Destinee and her crew were lost and forgotten until 2938 when the UEE Senate, now heavily staffed with ancestors of the lost Infinity^2 crew, wanted to relaunch the Infinity^2 Exploration Division, with hopes that it could bring valuable exploration, research, and closure to the families of the lost Division Crew.
Although the notion to revive the Exploration Division was widely supported, the UEE could offer little monetary backing after the financial collapse 2920. With that in mind it was decided to provide enough money for an advanced state-of-the-art ship and some basic supplies, after which the crew would need to secure their own source of income to continue operations, as they would be away from home for extended periods of time and the UEE could offer no assurances of long term financial support. The new Exploration Division would have to become entirely self-sufficient. And it would need to happen quickly.
Determined to give the team its best chance, despite a cursed past and challenged future, the Senators were determined that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes as their predecessors. It was of upmost importance that they pick someone with exceptional experience in intense situations and leadership to captain the new ship. In 2940, after two long years of combing the UEE Military Personnel files searching for a suitable Commander, they came across a young and very capable Cory Falcian. Even at a young age Cory, had proven himself time and time again in combat leading the UEE 27th Squadron, where he quickly rose through the ranks. Now the twenty-seven year old First Lieutenant was the Senate’s favored pick to lead the Division’s resurrection.
The Senators passed the rebirth of the Division unanimously and on May 27th 2941, the freshly promoted Captain Falcian was summoned to appear before the Senate where he was briefed over the assignment and objectives for his new ship and crew. The primary objective was to travel into previously unexplored start systems, discover new worlds, and chart new locations. The second was to assemble a small team of researchers for the collection of flora and fauna, catalog the findings, then bring them to the Ark for storage. And the final objective, if at all possible, was to find the lost Infinity^2 Crew, solve the mystery of their disappearance, and perhaps bring some long-awaited closure to the families left behind.
You know those parts of space where people have gone to never to come back? That’s where we are heading. We will map out the Unexplored and bring back data of our findings. New systems, worlds, flora and fauna, all mysteries to be unlocked and woven into our ever-expanding tapestry of knowledge.