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001: The Phoebus Intercept

For 6 months the Glaup class drone had been making deep level scans of the three most obvious candidates. Every metric collected, every byte of information relayed back to the base ships which had been in Rip orbit for the past 9 months.

Of the three, two were acceptable. But if they were going to spend hundreds of millions to set up shop, ‘acceptable’ was not really good enough.

There was one candidate though they had not looked at.

When asked why, an uncomfortable silence and a lot of sheepish looks materialised around the table. It was the closest to them after all. So the Glaup, finally on its way back, was redirected. Everything needed to be looked at and reporting they had not looked at the closest candidate, well….

When the reports started streaming in, the looks became sheepish, squared. A class one atmosphere and a temperature that was almost perfect, if not a little warm. The surface was smooth, almost flat, with only outcrop features;  the place was old, weathered to a nub. The weather patterns though seemed to keep the heat such a surface would create in check – it rained, hard. Yet, oddly, there were no oceans.

And then there were those ore levels. The sheepish looks vanished as it was all eyes on the data; data telling them everything was off the scale. If what was coming in was only fifty percent right, this place was the mother lode.

Anomalies in the data logic though could not be ignored. The readings didn’t make sense. There were obvious questions, without answers. But oh the data that did add up; anomalies and unanswered questions did not matter to those in charge, regardless of the increasingly nervous looks amongst the analysts.

The decision from high up came quick. Too quick. Yes, the candidate was exactly what they had been looking, hoping, for; the numbers alone exceeded all expectations. So within thirtysix months, the first operations ships had jumped and crews were breaking ground planetfall.

Over time, the crews made their own names for N322, not one of them good.

Officially it became known as Pheobus…

The Pheobus Intercept - Gerard Thomas Illustration

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