Adventure Seed: SK-30 Network.

SK-30 Network – Google Docs

SK-30 Network


It is a little-known (read: ‘highly classified’) fact that Fermi’s Paradox was in fact solved in the 1970s; the answer to the classic question (“Where the Hell is everybody?”) turns out to be “They’re all dead.” Or, at least, they’re no longer capable of dealing with pre-starflight civilizations for the foreseeable future.  To be fair, they would have, if they weren’t dead: there was apparently a procedure in place to integrate new species into the Galactic scene.

And humanity did its part; the Apollo 16 mission quietly brought back an alien device from the Moon that seemed to be some sort of intelligence test.  The US government had it duly solved by 1975, and discovered that the Device doubled as a communications interface with the larger Galactic civilization.  After a short period of time to process the sheer magnitude of this event, the five permanent nations of the UN Security Council collectively began to reach out to the larger interstellar network.


And discovered, again, that all the aliens out there were all dead.


The actual details are maddeningly and terrifyingly vague.  Whatever happened, it happened quickly enough that very few details are available on those few automated databases that our species can currently access.  The event was definitely comprehensive and even more terrifyingly recent; the last non-automated entry that anyone could find on the SK-30 Network (the name is derived from a rather grim joke about dead radio operators) was a mere 300 years ago.  But what actually happened is unclear.  It might have been a war, or an invasion; or perhaps it was a plague or weird physics or Azathoth manifesting and eating everyone.  The Network’s automated systems can’t really say, and there aren’t any other sources to consult.


Yet.  Humanity has reached the limits of its current SK-30 Network access; further access and permissions are contingent on our species achieving transluminal travel.  According to the records, our species would have been assigned mentors to help us reach that goal; obviously that won’t happen, but simply knowing that FTL travel is possible (and, broadly, how to do it) has allowed researchers to throw together a prototype exploration vessel.  It doesn’t have to work for long; just enough to get a team of researchers to the nearest habitable planet, access the Network there, log our new status, and hopefully unlock more access.  Should be simple enough, if very creepy. After all, everybody on that planet will be dead, right?


Of course, that team of researchers will need bodyguards.  You know. Just in case.


  • Rockphed says:

    Some adventure seeds suggest things about the structure of the adventure and where it will go. This one…whooo boy. This one I can see all sorts of possibilities. Mutually exclusive possibilities even. Things from horror (something will attack the ship during FTL), to straightforward (FTL transit is fairly boring, local feral fauna on destination planet is not), to mystery (researchers keep turning up dead without explanation).
    I could also see writing a 90-120 minute screenplay with this as the premise.

  • nicklevi86 says:

    Whoops! Loos like someone triggered the Great Filter.

  • junior says:

    David Weber had a short (for him – there were “only” three books in it) series with this as one of the plot points. Our moon is really a starship left there by its crew, who were part of an interstellar empire made up of humans. The starship in question was supposed to be part of the empire’s system of tracking why Bad Things(tm) happened to the known galaxy every so often. Unfortunately, the time for the Bad Things(tm) to happen is nigh at hand, and the starship hasn’t been able to contact anyone from the empire…

    • Moe_Lane says:

      I loved that series! [SPOILERS] There was one point where a one scientist from the PRC (called something else) was being told by the new American space-Emperor-by-accident that the former’s work on the new defenses was so good the scientist was going to get a title in the new-old House of Lords (they had to set everything back up the way it used to be, to turn the automatic systems back on), and then I had to stop reading for a moment until I caught my breath because things had gotten hysterically surreal. Then another PRC scientist started calling the protagonist ‘Comrade Emperor’ and then I started laughing again.

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