The Forbidden Stars Earth is Dead. The dawn of the 23nd century was a bright one for humanity, and promised an even brighter future after the dark 22nd century. The belter rebels had finally been brought to the diplomatic table, and the martian greening projects were allowing a first generation of Martian children to live under the open sky. AI citizens walked next to Natural born humans and next to uplifts of a half a dozen species. And, then, the Xiao-Alquadir drive opened the stars to humanity. Within fifty years nearly a dozen alien worlds had been colonized, though no other intelligent life had been discovered. Humanity knew that the skies were empty, and belonged to them. This was Hubris. The first sighting of an alien ship initiated a week long celebration across the Solar Confederacy’s space. That celebration turned to despair when the aliens, shocked and horrified by Solar Confederation AI crew members, fired upon the human diplomatic team. The confederation quickly mobilized. Starfleet was confident, at first, that the aliens were a peer power and could be fought to a standstill. Starfleet was confident that a peace could be bought at to the negotiation table. That hope was shattered when New Petersburg was burned to the ground, and Horizon glassed with no surrender offer. Despite that, Starfleet fought on, and the battle lines stalled. For almost two years, the confederation lost little, though it gained even less. It was not to last. Captured aliens revealed that the enemy was vast, impossibly vast, and that the fleets that the Confederation had fought were obsolete ships, almost a millenia out of date, a border fleet in the pacified hinterlands of the Principality. The aliens were confident to a man that Earth would fall soon. As soon as the the Principality redirected one of its incredibly powerful Leviathans, captained by the Princips, the alien leaders of the highly stratified principality. Evidence aboard captured ships agreed with these threats. Starfleet kept this quiet, but quietly made plans, shuttling supplies and equipment and colonists to a newly discovered planet in the depths of the Albion rifts, before erasing all records from earth’s systems. Bastion would be humanity’s last hope. That was 300 years ago. Earth fell long ago, the last news brought by a badly burnt and beaten courier ship that had managed to slip through the Principality’s lines. The harrowing images of New York glassed, of the massive Venice II keelyards broken and falling out of orbit, of the very atmosphere aflame, left little doubt as to the aliens’ plans for humanity. Bastion had breathing room, though. The Albion rifts are not easily navigated, one of those isolated regions of space discoverable only by accident, where travel in and out is difficult and treacherous, if not impossible, and most spacers avoid these region. Or, at least that’s what Starfleet’s scientists determined, and it’s why Bastion was chosen as Earth’s fallback point. In the centuries since the refuge was established not a single alien ship has been seen. Not a whisper of the enemy that brought earth low. Not even rumors by drunken sailors. The Rifts are secure. Still, the Bastion Refuge Authority, the military hegemony that rules Bastion, and, officially, all of human space, warns that all it would take is one mistake, one ship out of place, and the end of humanity would be at hand. 300 years later, though, those warnings are beginning to ring hollow, especially to some belters and to some of the more remote colonies, nestled in the space-folds of the rifts. For humanity has exploded in the years since its first, haggard, haunted refugees emerged from their colony ships. It is in this atmosphere of growing tension that important decisions are being made in closed rooms on the BRA Keelyard Rampart in orbit of Bastion, in hidden rooms at the back of asteroid-saloons, in government halls on Chrysanthemum and Atlantis, in the State Rooms of warships bristling with hellish weaponries. You, though, are not privy to those decisions. You are a ship captain, licensed, or not, by the BRA to operate in deep space. Maybe you are a Sky-trader, with your cargo ship supplying and trading with the asteroid colonies, maybe you are a retired military type, once captaining a ship for the Defense fleet and now a mercenary. Maybe you are a Clone Trooper, distilled and perfected from the genelines of one of the great heroes of Bastion. Maybe you are something entirely different. You tell me. The only important thing is that tensions are rising, and you, your ship, and your crew might make all the difference. Please note that these rules are stolen almost entirely from Decamper’s game, Go Boldly.