Twilight of the Gods’

The dim red star at the center of this system is named Argyran.  This establishes something of a theme; the system as a whole, being planetless, is also named Argyran – or Argyran Depository, after the corporation which owns it lock stock and barrel; Argyran Depository, ICC.  And the drift which orbits just within its single belt, in a slight change to the nomenclaturical theme, is Depository Station.

The lack of imagination given to the naming of these things was almost certainly a product of the system population, which rarely exceeded a few hundred at its height, none permanent.  The Argyran system had been sold shortly after its discovery to a storage corporation, attracted by the quiet star and sparse belt that made its local space conveniently low in particulates and radiation.  The surplus materials, stored goods, time capsules, archives and cryonauts, each in their specialized packages, that orbited thus undisturbed required very few sophonts to tend them, or even to secure them.

The lesser of the two groups of these drifted at the fringe of the system, pacing Depository Cluster C9-1447 out in the cold orbits.  The interdictor cruiser, CS Blitz of Liir, was not a corporate ship; rather an IN vessel assigned to guard this specific cluster due to the high risk – despite the crew’s boredom – of “unauthorized reclamation”.

The first of C9-1447’s drifting packages, its fractal sponge structure visible through the enswathing nanosheathing, was a ktelaki faction-hive, surely ancient enough to predate their emergence into space.

The second, tumbling next to it, a pair of antique stone obelisks, their carvings almost worn to invisibility beneath the sheen left by the thousands of hands that had touched the stone.

The third, and the largest in the cluster, a vast cylinder half the length of the entire cruiser, a perfect core of earth taken from a planetary surface along with the temple that stood upon it, snatched up as one piece; the Liirian Holiest of Holies.

And more. The oil-globed machine that had been the focus of a cult on Plavad Minor.  The mad clone-prophet of Pevelisk, frozen in cryostasis.  The diamond-encased reliquary whose container was woven through with quantum security mesh to demonstrate that, despite their captivity, the sacred relics remained unseen by sophont eyes.  And yet more, the holy sites and artifacts of a dozen worlds, taken, secured, and left to drift on a long slow journey to nowhere at the fringe of Argyran Depository.

When their owners learn to play nicely with others, then they can have their toys back.