Since 4610, after the return of the Signal, it only intensified. Gradually, this activity began to significantly interfere with most technological systems. Warp jumps over long distances have always been a risky business. Now even travel to neighboring systems has become unsafe. Over the next few years, scientists manage to make Signal ‘jammers’ using old Earth blueprints, allowing to reduce the risk of travel. However, even with the jammers ships enter the warp gate but never appear on the other side. Where they appear instead — is not yet clear. Rumor has it that someone managed to come back.
The first attacked sectors
Due to the portal storm, many trade and military routes are interrupted, some have to be re-plotted ‘the old fashioned way’ — from system to system. Pirates are getting more active everywhere, as well as the Cartel. Cybers appear in Jericho sectors — the dregs of society, fallen into dependence on cyber implants. Who or what provides them with warships is still unknown.
Local outbreaks of Liu virus are detected across the galaxy. Some planets are under quarantine. At the same time, the so-called biomorphs start their attacks. At the very beginning they are mistaken for Aliens. But then it becomes clear that they use reshaped human ships. They mutated under the influence of Liu virus. They appear on the battlefield suddenly and act like wild animals — hunting prey in packs. Any attempt to contact them are futile. Among scientists there are theories about their mode of communication. Many are inclined to believe that biomorphs have something akin to a swarm intelligence.
The way biomorphs travel is still not well understood. It is not clear how they manage to open portals in space without warp gates. Sometimes they attack Iridium mines or caravans. And sometimes they appear in sectors without any apparent purpose.
The appearance of Crystallids. Warden laboratory destruction
Soon Crystallids join Biomorph attacks. They are called this way because of visual similarity of their ships with crystals. After the first clashes, an Elite Warden Squad manages to capture one of the ships. To everyone's surprise, it turns out that it has no crew.
The captured ship is delivered to a secret laboratory for research. A few days later, it activates and establishes some sort of contact with the scientists. It becomes clear that Crystallids are ships that somehow became sentient. Crystallids manage to connect to the internal network of the lab, and then establish connection with several military factories of the Empire. Only with the help of a miracle, and self-destruction of the laboratories the link is interrupted.
Trilateral memorandum on Quarantine Zones
More than a dozen systems show traces of the Precursors. Liu virus rages across the galaxy. Frequent Alien attacks become the norm. Practice shows that Aliens are extremely territorial and reduce their activity if ‘left alone’. More and more worlds are quarantined by one faction or another.
Following the tragic events of the previous years, diplomats of the three sides of conflict gather to discuss important issues of Aliens? During the lengthy negotiations, they agree to sign a Memorandum on quarantine. According to the document, quarantined systems are completely blocked for flights. Each faction agrees not violate quarantine set by others.
Nothing else is achieved — the sides still do not trust each other and are not ready to unite even in the face of a common enemy.
In spite of the agreement on the Memorandum, everyone is interested in getting valuable resources, artifacts and data. Soon corporations and mercenaries allow flights inside the quarantine. Free captains hunt for Aliens and Precursor artifacts.
The war with Aliens and a major technological leap
The study of Crystallids and Biomorphs yields first results. New technologies appear, mainly in the military department. The greatest success in the study of Aliens is achieved by Jericho.
Empire, on the contrary, after the tragedy in the Warden laboratory, imposes a moratorium on the use of Alien technologies. Policies regarding the Precursor artifacts are clear: destroy and melt. Empire focuses on its own tech progress. Science budgets are inflated to astronomical values. But soon they prove their worth — new Empire developments are in no way inferior to Alien weapons.
Federation, as usual trying to balance between the two extremes, uses the technology of both parties and also pushes its own research.
Despite the fragile peace between the sides of conflict, a hidden arms race begins. Frequent minor military skirmishes blow up across the galaxy.
Aliens also increase their activity. More and more, they venture outside the quarantine areas. There are new types of Crystallids — larger and more dangerous than the previous ones. There is a theory that Aliens are attracted by ridium, and therefore any sufficiently large storage of this ore, whether a transport or a research laboratory may be under threat. There are few who doubt that humanity is on the brink of the largest war in history.
Rumors persist about the return of Revenants. After many centuries cultists are out of the shadows, but their motives are not yet clear. It is believed that the Revenants worship Precursors. Many claim that the cultists were behind the Cyber attacks.