Yet another pixel animation. I find making these short looped GIFs quite relaxing and fun - they allow me to concentrate on tiny details and small events in ways that are not possible with "static" art.
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The Human Space
extends approximately one thousand light-years in all directions from Sol and contains millions of star systems - and yet less than a hundred and fifty have permanent human settlement. Several thousand more have temporary visitors in the form of traders, miners and researchers. However, the vast majority are permanently uninhabited and completely or almost completely unexplored. Sometimes these nameless star systems have been nominally surveyed by torchship
scouts or Outsider
exploration fleets, but most are just numbers and - at most - a few lines of basic information in star charts, based on long-range observations by telescopes hundreds of light-years away.
Research Outpost Sigma-5, operated by the Aurelian Technocracy
, is the only human settlement in a 30-light-year radius. It has been constructed in an otherwise uninhabited and undeveloped star system in the middle regions of the Human Space, consisting of a few barren planets in orbit around an F-type main-sequence star. What makes this system interesting enough to justify the construction of an outpost can be found on the second moon of an icy superterrestrial planet. A decade ago an independent surveyor sold the Aurelian Technocracy information on the system which revealed that under the moon's arctic regions is an ancient subterranean complex, apparently constructed by the eschatologists
, an extinct alien species that inhabited this region of space over 18 million years ago. While never particularly advanced by human standards, the eschatologists were around for hundreds of thousands of years and slowly built an interstellar empire significantly larger than the current Human Space - before suddenly committing a species-wide mass suicide for unknown reasons. What makes this subterranean complex particularly interesting is that it appears to have remained operational for up to 500 years after the main eschatologist civilization had terminated itself.
The excavations have only just begun, and so far the xenoarchaeologists living in the outpost have managed to chart just a few percent of the labyrinthine outer chambers of the underground complex. It is as of yet unknown whether the complex was actually inhabited by a population of eschatologists who somehow managed to survive the massacre or if it contained only particularly resilient automated systems. In either case, the Aurelians hope to uncover records that might shed light on the reasons why he eschatologists felt compelled to end themselves. Solving this mystery would almost certainly be one of the most significant events of the 35th century and bring the Aurelian Technocracy much fame and recognition.