When the war broke out, Aggregate space fleets attacked August, landing ground forces to dislodge the colony’s defenders. Responding quickly, Proxima fleets arrived and scored a decisive victory against the aggregate, clearing the skies above August of all enemies. Most of the Aggregate’s ground forces were destroyed. But before all the invaders could be cleared, the Proxima fleet was forced to return to the core worlds where the Aggregate was attacking with its full force. This left August’s colonists to fend for themselves with only a handful of heavy military assets.
The first of the threats to the colony was the Shock Drove: A hardy and versatile soldier species that had landed during the initial invasion. Now, their remnant forces were quickly multiplying and staging ever escalating attacks on the colony city. Due to their lack of sophisticated military equipment, they did not pose an overwhelming threat at first. Then the mines came.
Arriving through jump portals, these “mines” took on many forms. Always artificially intelligent and autonomous, they ranged from highly powered weapons platforms, to animal like monstrosities. Sometimes they were shielded craft that took incredible amounts of firepower to take down. At other times they were small, evasive agents of terror, striking at the civilian population and disappearing before they could be destroyed.
The sheer unpredictability of the mine attacks, in both timing and form, eroded the colony’s morale. As the months dragged on, combined mine and Shock Drove attacks became an ever present threat to the population.
Most demoralizing and perplexing was the mystery of where the mines came from. For all their efforts, the colonists were not able to find where the mines originated. Jump portal technology is such that objects arriving via jump can usually be traced to their point of origin. The further away the jump’s origin, the larger the amount of energy required for the jump, the easier it is to trace. Likewise, the larger the object arriving via portal, the more energy required, the easier it is to trace. If a jump is sufficiently close, or the object sufficiently small (or a combination of both) the jump’s origin can avoid being traced.
The fact that the mines’ origin was impossible to pinpoint meant that they were arriving from a location that was reasonably near the planet or perhaps even on it.
This topic is continued in “The Mines (Part 2)“.