Jump pilots rejoiced when the news hit that TRI had reopened the launch facilities of every space station a couple of months ago. Hundreds of retired pilots rushed into the hangar bays looking for their ships, only to find access denied, customized ships all disassembled, personal storage wiped out, personal space stations vanished along with all their credits and TRI pensions, and even their earned ranks all reset to Recruit. The “Second Great Collapse” had struck.
But all was not lost. The will to fly had returned! The incredible drive to feel space under your feet had been reborn! The new era of Reconstruction had begun, and pilots were chomping at the proverbial bit to either make a new name for themselves or reestablish their old one as quickly as possible.
However, now that the newness is starting to wear off, some have begun to question what really happened. What was the cause of the Second Great Collapse? Was it a Conflux plot? Was it another Aftershock of the Great Collapse similar to the one back in 101AT (13 years ago) that initiated TRI’s greatest recruiting drive ever? Or was it something else entirely: truly a Second Great Collapse at a galactic scale?
In my private drop box, I received this communiqué from an anonymous source.
“It was a time of light. It was a time of darkness. It was a time of peace and the four systems had prospered greatly…then the Great Collapse! …chaos and confusion were all that remained. Civilization was plunged into a dark age for millennia. The ancient technologies were ineffective. The very laws of physics themselves were changed.”
These are the words that every school child in the past hundred years have memorized. Words that form part of the script of the TRI recruiting video itself. Compare what happened last year to that: the real Great Collapse. People were rubbing sticks together just to stay warm for a thousand years.
Consider that TRI and the factions have been nipping at each other for most of the past decade. The illustrious Honor Guard program was replaced with petty factional militaries in a system that punishes pilots for honing their combat skills in preparation for the eventual Conflux invasion. As if “factional warfare” has any meaning in the age of the escape pod, even if the factions ever did “go to war.” Pffft. Make no mistake. The introduction of Military Tags was a coup d’etat. No doubt about it. A coup, no a triple coup. TRI has lost so much power to the 3 factions, that its only remaining weapon was control over the launch tubes themselves. That and the TRI database where all the credits were stored…
Some dirtside scientists make a few predictions, and TRI locks down every station tighter than a drum for a year and a half and absorbs trillions of actual credits and station inventories. No physical damage is evident outside. You do the math. Then try to figure out what’s really going on.
UUNN will be following this story and the fallout from the Second Great Collapse, whatever it really was, very closely.