Setting Brief #1
The Interceptor™ game not only introduces a new starfighter miniatures game, but also the Aetherstream™ setting that we are debuting along with the boxed set.
In these Interceptor Setting Briefs, we will discuss aspects of the underlying Aetherstream setting, with introductions to the factions, the people, and the technology.
For this first Setting Brief, we start with the aetherstream and an introduction to the historical Terran Commonwealth.
The discovery of the aetherstream opened the stars to humanity, but what exactly is the aetherstream? Thousands of years since the first explorers went through, its true nature remains a matter of ongoing study and debate. What is known is that we can use the aetherstream’s unique properties to span the distance between stars in days, rather than years or centuries.
Early attempts at navigating the aetherstream in specially-constructed aetherships proved to be near impossible. The ever-changing nature of the stream, along with storms and other dangerous phenomena, meant the need to spend as little time as possible in the aetherstream. It became necessary to come up with a more reliable way of using it. The jump drive was created to envelop a ship in a protective field, allowing it to ‘brute force’ its way through the aetherstream, using stellar mass as guidance. With an effective range of about nine lightyears, the jump drive has allowed expansion and travel to grow in clusters around prime worlds.
Early explorers encountered the Sirius Anomaly — jumps to Sirius would consistently exit off-target at a point between Sirius-A and Sirius-B. Initial theories were based on the presence of a binary star system or stellar mass causing these problems, but it turned out to be a new phenomenon in the aetherstream. Using aetherships to explore the anomaly, a “river” was discovered that, when followed, led to a new world, a paradise that was named Eden. At first, the aether-river was only accessible by aetherships, but a gate was soon constructed to make it permanently available to any spacecraft.
Finally, the aetherships themselves, long ignored because of the difficulty of safely navigating them in the aetherstream, have gained popularity with aethernavigators, those who are able to sense, manipulate, and navigate through the aetherstream by manipulating essence. While aetherships remain small, an aethernavigator can travel between any star system, no matter the distance, though reliability remains a concern.
The Old Commonwealth
The Terran Commonwealth was formed by the governments and corporations of Earth to protect their interests in the new prime worlds and star systems constantly being discovered. The Commonwealth quickly grew to regulate travel through the gates, protect trade routes, and serve as the government for trillions of people. Far-flung colonies out on the fringe of known space might escape notice for a while, but eventually the Commonwealth would find them and bring them into the fold.
Prior to the Desolation Plague and the disappearance of Earth, the Commonwealth controlled most aspects of settlement. After the Plague, trade was disrupted, colonies struggled to survive, and the central leadership that remained — the Prime Governors and the Grand Marshals of the Fleets — struggled to restore order for their people. Out of practical need and human nature, the fringe colonies began declaring independence, forming their own governments to take their destinies into their own hands.
The Terran Commonwealth, no longer united and unable to quell internal and external rebellions, fractured under the pressure. Years of wars, skirmishes, and grabs for power led to the formation of new governments, some trying to carry on the old traditions, others forming new ones. Now, 164 years post-Disappearance, the control of gates and their prime worlds has stabilized, and diplomacy and trade replace war.
That is, until the discovery of New Terra …
Welcome to Aetherstream™. Welcome to Interceptor™!