Reports from the Edge: Eager Shadow, 2228

The Excursori are a secretive society of explorers who brave the edges of space, exploring uncharted worlds and treading where few souls dare. Through many of their explorations in the last century and a half, they have aided greatly in expanding human understanding of the larger universe in which they find themselves in. Though the Stellar Graveyard has been declared off limits to Dominion forces, that hasn’t stopped these brave folks from going beyond the caution tape.

Though much of the Dominion sees the Excursori as folk heroes, these scouts operate in the dark without a net and are considered criminals. The Dominion Defense Services (DDS) and Dominion Space Forces (DSF) have created a joint task force dedicated to finding, capturing, and stopping these legendary explorers from encouraging more foolish behavior that could endanger billions of lives across Dominion Space. But that doesn’t stop eager corporations from dealing under the table with the Excursori to get information, technology, and biological samples that are considered illegal — just to get a leg up on their competition.

Often these brave men and women find themselves in a position where they are unable to return to the fold. In those cases, they do what they can to send messages in a bottle so nothing is truly lost beyond their lives. Truly, exploration means more to them than life itself. Their rallying cry is “Est Exploratio!” or “Exploration is all!”

Here is a recent dispatch received from agent Eager Shadow from the edges of space…

Excursori Dispatch: February 23, 2228

Planet of Origin: Skoria E4 in the Stellar Graveyard

This world was not as dead as we hoped. Initial survey revealed structures reaching deep underground. Discovered ancient atmospheric processing equipment that may have been used at one time to filter out high concentrations of sulfur being generated through active volcanic vents in the crust along key fault lines. Landed near one of these processing plants, donned envirosuit and headed in with a small group of drones flying overwatch. Inside the structure, sulfur content dropped significantly, but CO2 quantities remained too high to risk investigation without suit.

Lowest levels still had minimal power. Systems seemed geared for use by hearty creatures and remain largely intact. Suspect some level of operating solar energy collection elsewhere on surface, though it would definitely be compromised due to high sulfuric levels in atmosphere and simple age. These structures have been abandoned for several decades at least, if not longer.

Evidence of battle lay everywhere, from blade and claw marks to visible explosions damaging walls, ceilings, and floors. Though the drones do a fine job of mapping, I still managed to hit more than a few dead ends requiring me to backtrack. No remains found at any battle sites.

Alerts began ringing as soon as I got down to the 6th of an indeterminate number of levels. Semi-organic materials were sensed by the drone network. Sending them in further to investigate they were systematically destroyed by something unseen and off camera. Rather than risk my own exposure, I backed up all data to the ship and began working my way back up to the surface.

That was what they were planning on. They were waiting for me on the level above and I took heavy damage. Claws. Tails. Teeth. Three suit patches later and without a clear visual on any of my attackers, I finally made it out. My ship’s diagnostic systems let me no further than the airlock after a scan for any biological contamination. Short of incineration, the computer is not letting me on board my own ship. Guess those safety protocols put in place after what Young Arrow nearly brought home from Enerth were necessary after all. The Excursori base near Trappist-1 is still recovering from that.

Have secured all data on board and will send ship remotely back to relay information to the network prior to self destruct. Oxygen and ammunition running low. Waiting for night to fall to see which runs out first. Hope something in the data helps someone.

Godspeed. Est Exploratio!

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