The Curious Voyage of the Maria Theresa

Perhaps the greatest galactic mystery is that of the Maria Theresa.

One of the legendary Imperial Starcruisers, the Maria Theresa was a passenger-and-cargo liner of unprecendented luxury. At an overall length of 8,000 meters and a width of nearly 500, the Starcruiser was a spaceborne city that could carry well over a million passengers. Each of the 25 Starcruisers endlessly plied the circumference of the Galaxy, making stops at each of the Provincial Capitals and completing a circuit in 11 days.

In TE 233, during a maintenance layover at the Tep Kecor shipyards, the presumed-empty Maria Theresa fired up her engines and, eluding pursuit, entered tachyon phase and was never seen or heard from again.

Lost along with the Starcruiser were her full complement of ancillary craft, including five fifty-meter liners, five twenty-meter cargo carriers, and one hundred ten-person escape boats. The liners and cargo carriers, respectable starships themselves, had FTL capability and limited weapons.

In TE 243, the Maria Theresa was replaced by a newly-constructed sister ship, the Maj Thovold.

Theories of the Maria Theresa’s fate include human or nonhuman pirates, other aliens, time-travelers, and unexplained behavior by the cruiser’s onboard AI software.

Find out more at the Scattered Worlds site Digg!


Did Nostradamus Predict the Sack of Terra?

(Newschannel Six, 18 Sep TE 381)

Nearly a thousand years ago, the Earth prognosticator Nostradamus may have foreseen last month's attack on Terra by Patalanian Union forces. Nostradamus — Michel de Nostradame — is believed by some to have predicted many great events in history, including the rise and fall of Napoleon and Hitler, the bombing of Hiroshima, the terraforming of Luna, and the destruction of Cambolinee.

It looks as if Nostradamus also knew that the Sack of Terra was coming.

In Quatrain 4,8, Nostradamus says:

The great city by prompt and sudden assault
Surprised at night, guards interrupted:
The guards and watches of Saint-Quentin
Slaughtered, guards and the portals broken.

Is there any doubt that this describes the Patalanian surprise attack on the Empire’s capital? The reference to “the guards and watches of Saint-Quentin” can only refer to San Quentin Orbital, Terra’s largest prison facility — during the attack, this facility was targeted by Patalanian missiles. Many guards were killed, and many prisoners escaped.

In Quatrain 4,12, Nostradamus predicts:

The greater army put to flight in disorder,
Scarcely further will it be pursued:
Army reassembled and the legion reduced,
Then it will be chased out completely from the Gauls.

Sure enough, the Imperial Navy was chased out of the Solar System (poetically called “the Gauls”), but was not pursued by Patalanian forces; the Navy was able to regroup at Laxus, 3.4 parsecs away.

Finally, in Quatrain 10,49 Nostradamus wrote:

Garden of the world near the new city,
In the path of the hollow mountains:
It will be seized and plunged into the Tub,
Forced to drink waters poisoned by sulfur.

This plainly predicts that the domes of New York (the “hollow mountains” of the “new city”) would be cracked in the attack, allowing water to flood the city. The waters of the East River do indeed contain high levels of sulfur and other contaminants.

So there you have it: nearly a thousand years ago, this humble pretech soothsayer saw the disaster, and tried to warn us.

Find out more in "Candelabra and Diamonds" by Don Sakers Digg!