CMDR Coehoorn has supplied a overview of the Azimuth Saga taken from Galnet
Beginning a multi-part overview of historical events surrounding Azimuth Biochemicals and its connection to the mysterious Salvation.
On the 29th of October 3306, an abandoned megaship named the Adamastor arrived in the Chukchan system, after travelling at sublight speeds for nearly 200 years. At the time, no one could have foreseen the wide-ranging consequences that would arise from unlocking the secrets of this ghost ship. Investigations revealed that it had been owned by a little-known and long-defunct corporation called Azimuth Biochemicals. The derelict’s journey was traced to the previously unexplored Coalsack Nebula, where the Adamastor had collected the survivors of a planetary survey team from the Musca Dark Region PJ-P b6-1 system.
Back in 3111, these geologists had encountered something terrifying and completely unknown: the first recorded instance of contact with the Thargoids. According to team leader Professor Carver, whose final log was discovered on HIP 69200 1 B, a recovered alien artefact caused equipment malfunctions and delusions among the crew. The damaged Adamastor was abandoned, to finally return home on autopilot two centuries later. Further exploration of the Coalsack Nebula uncovered nothing more, but did lead to the detection of new barnacle sites. The Alliance wasted no time in harvesting these for meta alloys, followed by a Sirius Corporation project to terraform ammonia worlds reported 10 DEC 3306.
A resurgence of attacks from Thargoid vessels followed, suggesting that the alien species was as territorial as ever. In April 3307, the Adamastor began receiving a long-range encrypted signal. A decryption key for this was provided by an anonymous source who identified himself only as ‘Salvation’. Tracking the signal led to the wreck of the Hesperus, the Adamastor’s sister ship. This had disappeared in 3113 and was now drifting in the Perseus Dark Region KC-V c2-2 system.
The distress call had been triggered by a dredger occupied by the nomadic Scriveners Clan, who had salvaged the Hesperus’s data drives. Messages leaked from the dredger revealed how the Hesperus had been taken over by sleeper agents from Pharmasapien, the corporate rivals of Azimuth Biochemicals. This resulted in the deaths of all except a scientific team, who had escaped aboard a secondary craft. Two months later, the enigmatic Salvation asked pilots to track down the Hesperus’s signal beacons to find those missing Azimuth crew members. The secondary craft, named Proteus, was subsequently discovered on a moon in the Trapezium Sector YU-X c1-2 system. Its crew had transformed it into a research facility, to study relics from a nearby ancient battleground between the Guardian and Thargoid races. The security officer’s log told of Azimuth’s real purpose: locate non-human technology and weaponise it for the military market. The scientists had conducted dangerous experiments on Guardian crystals, accidentally triggering a radiation surge which wiped them all out. It seemed that Azimuth’s story ended there, nearly 200 years ago. But the fate of the Proteus would have enormous repercussions for the future of the galaxy.
A summary of key events around the rise and fall of the tri-superpower organisation Aegis.
The Alliance, Empire and Federation created Aegis in 3303 to lead xenological research and coordinate defensive actions against the Thargoids. With fears that the alien species might one day overwhelm human-controlled space, Aegis’s role was to spearhead the resistance against a common enemy. There were concerns that Aegis might adopt the same unethical practices as its notorious predecessor INRA, which had been formed back in 3125 during the First Thargoid War. But the new agency was welcomed by most, providing intelligence on Thargoid activity as well as advanced weapons. Since capital ships were vulnerable to the Thargoid shutdown field, Aegis soon had no choice but to rely heavily on independent pilots to perform ship-to-ship combat. And despite its effectiveness at coordinating defence, it was criticised for having no strategy to actually defeat the alien threat.
By 3306, Aegis already showed signs of decline. Its Eagle Eye detection network had ceased to provide warnings about Thargoid attacks, and there were no new developments in anti-xeno weaponry. The rise of the NMLA had altered the political landscape, with funding for Aegis being redirected toward countering the terrorists and preparing for possible Federal-Imperial war. In March 3307, the Galactic Summit failed to ratify the Sirius Treaty, which would have united superpowers, corporations and independent systems against the Thargoids. Instead, Aegis was directed to undertake new research into the Guardians. Their extinct civilisation was thought to hold the key to outmatching the Thargoids’ biomechanical technology.
A successful initiative in May 3307 resulted in enormous quantities of Guardian artefacts being delivered to the Aegis megaship Alexandria. Thargoid vessels were drawn to this concentration of technology created by their ancient enemy, and pursued the Alexandria from system to system. When the megaship did not emerge from a hyperspace jump, it was assumed to have been intercepted and destroyed. An independent board of inquiry was established to investigate the loss of the Alexandria. So thorough was this investigation that most of Aegis’s activities were suspended, and many leading figures forced to resign. Public confidence in the agency was low, with a general sense that it was no longer fit for purpose. In November 3307, Aegis was brought further into disrepute when its chief military liaison went rogue. Admiral Aden Tanner led an unauthorised assault against Hind Mine in the T Tauri system, the headquarters of Salvation’s corporate ally Taurus Mining Ventures. Tanner was convinced that Salvation’s activities deliberately provoked the Thargoids and that the starport contained evidence of this. His actions would result in failure and court martial, accelerating Aegis’s fall from grace.
The Baumann Report, which published the inquiry’s findings in January 3308, exposed endemic weaknesses including negligence, poor management, and the treatment of pilots as disposable mercenaries. The casualties resulting from the Alexandria disaster and the Hind Mine attack were the final nails in the agency’s coffin. The Alliance, Empire and Federation announced that Aegis would be replaced by devolved anti-xeno taskforces. Its support megaships, still active during Thargoid incursions, were crewed by volunteers until the combat logistics corporation Frontline Solutions agreed to operate them. Even after the true fate of the Alexandria was discovered, along with data supporting Admiral Tanner’s suspicions, the collapse of Aegis was by now irreversible. For in recent months, Salvation had achieved impressive results on a scale that no military power could hope to match.
An overview of how Aegis was impacted by the rise of Salvation as a competing anti-xeno force.
For now I cannot provide you with my credentials. Suffice to say that I am a man of science, unconnected with modern politics. I am recruiting agents to investigate the work undertaken by Azimuth Biochemicals two hundred years ago, which I believe to be of enormous scientific importance. Much has been lost in that time, but our dedication will allow us to rewrite history.” This was how the anonymous figure known only as Salvation introduced himself to Pilots’ Federation members in April 3307. Faceless and voiceless, he remains unseen to the present day. His messages characterised him as a dedicated scientist, one with enormous confidence in achieving his goal to destroy the Thargoids and “save all of humanity”. It was clear that Salvation possessed detailed knowledge about Azimuth Biochemicals, without which the Hesperus would not have been discovered. He began recruiting independent pilots to undertake missions via the intermediary of Taurus Mining Ventures, a corporation based in the remote T Tauri system. After locating the Proteus in June 3307, Salvation claimed exclusive rights to exploit the ancient Guardian-Thargoid battleground on Trapezium Sector YU-X c1-2 1a. This was contested by Aegis, but their initiative to gather Guardian artefacts from the site was eclipsed by Taurus Mining Ventures’s campaign. In a short time, Salvation successfully emerged as a rival to Aegis, claiming that the tri-superpower agency could not be trusted. This was reinforced after the tragic loss of the Alexandria megaship. Due to its cargo of Guardian artefacts, Thargoids had relentlessly pursued the megaship before it vanished in hyperspace. An independent inquiry into the disaster ordered Aegis’s operations to be suspended, leaving an absence that Salvation was keen to exploit.
In September 3307, Salvation warned of an impending Thargoid attack in the Cornsar system, apparently detected by his version of Eagle Eye. Aegis and local factions dismissed this as highly unlikely, but nevertheless Thargoid vessels did swarm into the system. Salvation again reached out to pilots and asked them to transport vital equipment from a Taurus Mining Ventures megaship to Cornsar, for a prototype weapon that he was constructing. A counter-initiative took place by Commanders who distrusted Salvation or supported Aegis, illustrating that each now had their supporters among the galactic community. Four days later, the Thargoid invasion force unexpectedly vanished from Cornsar. Most withdrew into hyperspace, but crashed alien vessels remained on some planetary bodies. Salvation revealed he had developed an anti-xeno superweapon, capable of eliminating the Thargoid presence from an entire star system. “I have achieved what Aegis could not – an effective deterrent against the alien threat.” The nature of this incredible new weapon remained unclear, but evidence of Guardian technology later found in Cornsar raised a disturbing possibility: Did Salvation really detect the approaching Thargoid fleet – or did he deliberately attract the Thargoids to Cornsar by stockpiling huge quantities of Guardian artefacts – as happened on the Alexandria – in order to test his prototype superweapon? As a Vox Galactica report put it “Time will tell if Salvation’s ambition to replace Aegis is a noble goal, or if we are replacing the devil we know with a darker demon.”
A look at the rivalry between Aegis and Salvation during the escalating war against the Thargoids.
Salvation’s success in purging the Thargoid presence from the Cornsar system had many repercussions, not least from the aliens themselves. Several inhabited nebulas were suddenly overrun with Thargoid vessels, leading some to believe they were reacting aggressively to the Guardian-based nature of the anti-xeno superweapon. Aegis’s hands were tied by the ongoing public inquiry, but its chief military liaison Admiral Aden Tanner was convinced that the superweapon was designed to attract Thargoids as well as repel them. Claiming that evidence for this could be found at Hind Mine in the T Tauri system, he commanded the megaship Musashi to launch an assault. This was a battle that Taurus Mining Ventures won with much support from independent pilots, showing how much faith was now placed in Salvation. Tanner was court martialled and the captured Musashi became the flagship of Salvation’s growing forces. Commodore Morag Halloran, formerly of the Alliance Defence Force, took command and became his military coordinator.
By December 3307, the Alliance, Empire and Federation had officially acknowledged that Salvation possessed the technology required to defeat the Thargoids. This assumption was then put to the test when the Delphi, Maia and Merope systems suffered simultaneous full-scale invasions. Once again the Thargoids were routed following the detonation of three newly constructed superweapons, repeating Salvation’s success at Cornsar. His triumphant proclamations now verged on the messianic “I urge the peoples of the galaxy to unite behind my crusade. Aegis is finished. I am the only remaining defence for humanity. I am Salvation.” By this point, public opinion toward Salvation was generally positive. Volunteers flocked to Taurus Mining Ventures to offer support, with naval crews from the superpowers defecting to take part in battling the Thargoids. Secondment to Salvation’s forces soon became officially authorised, showing an increasing acceptance of the anonymous scientists methods and results.
January 3308 saw a number of developments. Admiral Tanner’s court martial was interrupted by a statement from the renowned scientist Ram Tah, confirming the non-human origins of Salvation’s superweapon. Ram Tah theorised that it was based on a Guardian device found by Azimuth Biochemicals scientists at the Proteus site, which generated an electromagnetic pulse to disrupt the Thargoids’ biomechanical vessels. But this justification of Tanner’s concerns was not enough to prevent the inevitable fall of Aegis. The Baumann Report delivered a damning indictment of the agency’s operations, concluding that it should be shut down. The three superpowers began using their own militaries to replace Aegis with separate anti-xeno taskforces. A more surprising event that month was the discovery of debris from the missing megaship Alexandria, scattered across the planetary rings of Wregoe TC-X b29-0 AB 2 A. Captain Morales’ report revealed that the ship had emerged from hyperspace off course due to sabotage, before being raided by a quasi-military force which hijacked its cargo of Guardian artefacts. The surviving crew’s attempt to restart the damaged hyperdrive was the cause of the Alexandria’s destruction. Morales also mentioned that the raiders were obeying orders from someone named ‘the Witch’. This detail was seized upon by Aegis’s remaining leaders, who matched it to abandoned research facilities found in August 3307 within the HIP 22460 and HIP 26176 systems. These were the sites of the mysterious Project Seraph, an attempt to install human pilots into a captured Thargoid scout. Both the Witch and Azimuth were referenced in its surviving logs. Aegis’s warning was clear Azimuth Biochemicals, which was supposedly liquidated two centuries ago, had survived to the present day.
The concluding article in this series examines events leading to the resurrection of Azimuth and Salvation’s plans for the future.
During February and March 3308, Aegis suffered a slow death as its operations were shut down by the superpowers. Its leaders continued calling for its reinstatement, not just to battle the Thargoids but also to oppose Azimuth Biochemicals. They claimed that this sinister corporation was still performing unlicensed xenological research and was responsible for thousands of deaths. Meanwhile, the number of Thargoid incursions was increasing, perhaps in response to Salvation’s Guardian-based superweapon. This culminated in a simultaneous invasion of the Didio, Novas and Sosong systems in April 3308. These were major population centres for the Alliance, Empire and Federation respectively, with over ten billion lives at risk. Salvation and the superpower militaries responded in concert. Allied, Imperial and Federal capital ships were deployed to coordinate system defences, and also host the construction of three new superweapons. Interviews with the admirals in charge of the anti-xeno taskforces provided an insight into how much they now relied on Salvation. The superweapons were successfully detonated in all three systems, but this time there were no wreckages left behind. It was unclear if these particular weapons were less effective, or if the Thargoids had anticipated their use and retreated before their vessels could be disrupted. This was nevertheless hailed as another victory for Salvation. He announced that he was working on the next generation of the devices, which would “deliver a truly overwhelming strike against the Thargoid species”. Increased amounts of personnel, supplies and equipment were provided to Taurus Mining Ventures to hasten development of the superweapon.
In May 3308 came a shocking revelation. Professor Alba Tesreau, former head of research at Aegis, received a tip-off leading to an abandoned outpost in the DG Canum Venaticorum system. This turned out to be a previously undiscovered base for INRA, the Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm, which was formed to combat the Thargoids during the 32nd and 33rd centuries. The base provided evidence that INRA had contracted Azimuth Biochemicals to aiddevelopment of the mycoid virus. This was a highly controversial bioweapon used in 3151 to infect the aliens’ mothership, and which helped bring about the end of the First Thargoid War. Logs recorded by Dr Caleb Wycherley, the corporation’s vice-president of research, explained how he gained the nickname ‘the Witch’ after being half-blinded by a live Thargoid specimen. He then vowed that under his guidance, Azimuth would devote itself to the destruction of the Thargoids “If I must be humanity’s salvation, then so be it.” The former leaders of Aegis claimed that this verified their theory Salvation and ‘the Witch’ were the same person, and Azimuth had been operating in the shadows for decades. Professor Tesreau later revealed that the tip-off came from Subject D-2, the only survivor of the Project Seraph experiments to create a human test pilot for Thargoid ships. Some believed Aegis had fabricated these logs, since Dr Wycherley would now be over 200 years old. But although Salvation did not overtly confirm his true identity, Aegis’s suspicions were validated when Taurus Mining Ventures rebranded itself as Azimuth Biotech. Salvation described how Azimuth’s research division had survived as an independent organisation under his control, focused exclusively on Thargoid research and preparing for inter-species conflict. There was a public outcry that the man claiming to be humanity’s saviour was also responsible for the mycoid bioweapon, Project Seraph, the attack on the Alexandria, and other illegal or unethical activities. And yet there was little reaction from the Alliance, Empire or Federation, whose militaries were now fully committed to working with Salvation to defeat the Thargoids.
In the past week, there have been signs that Azimuth Biotech is mobilising its forces and preparing for a large-scale operation of some kind. This may well tie in with Salvation’s promise to unveil a more powerful type of anti-xeno superweapon. We may soon learn if Azimuth can repeat history and deliver the decisive blow to end to the Second Thargoid War.