"...and the skies shall be consumed in atomic fires and flesh burnt from bone.
His coming would be marked by war and fear and his dynasty would have been known for its savage cruelty...
...save for one lone warrior."

Doreh, Piter R. Tantalus, the Secret War. v. 1 p. 7,
Phobos Publishing Company, Phobos. August 3027 (reprinted with permission)

Operation Tantalus

2801 A.D.

It is seven years after the Cydonia Mensae incident.

When Dr. Nefarius Seth was found guilty of causing the deaths of an undisclosed number of his acolytes at The Face he swore he would destroy the civilization others had worked so hard to create and avowed to usher in a new era of chaos, with himself as absolute ruler. Seth's so-called 'Brotherhood of Chaos' was the last of the religious fanaticisms that dominanted Earth and Martian society for the last 200 years.

Seth was sentenced to permanent stasis on the penal asteroid, 54 Parcae. He never arrived. Four hours into the voyage, near the Brewster asteroid ring, the United Earth-Mars Space Council (UEMSC) penal transport ship was destroyed. Forensic Division attributed the blast to an imbalance in the fuel feed ratios. Despite repeated requests from the Forum of Science and Engineering (FSE) to confirm the death of Dr. Nefarius Seth, the case was quickly closed and Seth's death was accepted as fact.

Chief Security Justice Holmes, however, was not so easily convinced. Gravitmetric analysis of the debris confirmed that a significant amount of mass was not accounted for within the wreckage. Forensic scientists had attributed the discrepancy to gravitational scavenging of particles by nearby asteroids. Justice Holmes's fears were increased when a number of eminent scientists at the FSE and the Strauss Institute for Advanced Studies into Rampancy (SIASR) began to mysteriously disappear. Foremost among these was Dr. Hampden-Smith, Emeritus Professor at the FSE, who is most famous for the invention of the theoretical Heisenberg Teleporter.

It transpired that Dr. Nefarius Seth, prior to establishing the Brotherhood of Chaos, was in fact a brilliant chaos physicist at the FSE. His postulations on the Maximum Entropy Theory lead to the development of the so-called "Entropy Device ". Seth aspired to achieve the station of Pro-Consulate within the Forum yet his blatant arrogance and contempt for those less intelligent than himself resulted in his explusion from the Forum. Some observers at the time suggested that his removal had more to do with the nature of his research than his attitude. A subsequent fire at Seth's laboratory destroyed all his work.

Could Seth be alive?...

Everything regarding this matter was quickly dropped when an alien vessel was detected off the shoulder of Orion by a long range communication array. First contact was made near the Tannhäuser gate. The UEMSC Atropos, one of three ships sent to investigate the alien presence, was destroyed. The remaining UEMSC ships, Clotho and Lachesi, were crippled and left drifting in space. Taking advantage of the rout the ship quickly advanced on Mars. While the orbiting defenses proved useless against the attack the aliens were surprisingly no match for the military Mjlonir-Kodas Mark VI cyborgs on the ground. A number of M-K 6's also managed to board the orbiting ship before being destroyed. Eye witness reports suggest that the alien ship suffered considerable damage to its port hull during the M-K orbital assault. This apparently forced the aliens to retreat to the asteroid belt.

Currently, the aliens are being systematically eliminated from the asteroid belt, which is a painstakingly slow process. Our scouts have also found evidence of complete alien encampments vanishing, leaving very puzzling clues behind. Scouting parties report these camps being abandoned in a hastily fashion, sometimes with partially eaten corpse of cannibalized bodies left behind. This is completely different from sites discovered where aliens are present. On the rare occasion that they escape the extermination squads, they leave nothing behind. These reports went unexplained until a scout witnessed an entire alien encampment vanish before his eye's. He described what is now refered to as the Dericotte Mirage Effect. Similar to the TME, yet with a characteristic stretching of the space-time continuum.

An immediate assembly was called within the Forum of Science and Engineering. At the conclusion of the five minute long meeting, a report was sent to the Head councel of the UEMSC. In that report there is conclusive evidence showing the accident at The Face and the alien vanishings have something in common... Dr. Nefarius Seth!

to be continued...

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James Brewster
David Dericotte

Hamish Sinclair

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    Created Nov 21, 1995
    Last Modified Jan 28, 1997