has again come to the Solar System.
years ago Sol's only jump node collapsed and mankind turned frightened
eyes to the unknown skies. As time passed with no new Shivan assault,
the fear turned inward. The face of the Alien Enemy slowly changed
from Shivan to Vasudan.
of the Vasudan Third and Fifth Fleets undergoing repair had been
trapped in Solar orbit and thousands of Vasudan support personnel
were on Earth and Mars. Nine years after the collapse, xenophobic
crowds destroyed the first few Vasudan surface compounds. Skirmishes
with alien-hating human captains caused the Vasudan commander, Admiral
Ptahaten, to move his ships to the outer system to avoid further
bloodshed. Eventually, the new United Terran System government allowed
the Vasudan fleet the exclusive use of Leonard Station (and its
construction yards) in geocentric Plutonian orbit. The remaining
Vasudans on Earth were required to relocate to protected camps or
to travel to Leonard.
Ptahaten not only offered a place to any Vasudan from the inner
worlds but also sanctuary to any dissident human who wished to distance
himself from the oppressive Terran government.
uneasy situation lasted until Admiral Natenalik succeeded Ptahaten
as commander of the Vasudan fleet. Admiral Natenalik considered
himself a Vasudan patriot and dreamed fiery dreams of a new Vasudan
homeworld. He made it clear to his captains that any Terran government
ship that ventured beyond Neptune was to be considered a target
of opportunity. He also restated Ptahaten's policy of accepting
like-minded humans into his fleet, but now he expected those humans
to arrive in control of a warship.
human-Vasudan battles remained inconsequential until Rear Admiral
Albert Hiller and three battered warships arrived with a Terran
task force in close pursuit. The Vasudans counter-attacked the government
ships and destroyed several before the Terrans broke off. Adm. Hiller,
charismatic and visionary, was warmly welcomed and soon became the
de facto leader of the pro-Vasudan humans.
And in Sol's photosphere two of the Starborn gracefully floated,
sending their thoughts to the very limits of the Solar System. The
next round of the Great Game was underway.