Scholar III

The Scholar III is a spaceship with a unique and varied history, which left what could arguably be the largest impact on the star systems it visited than any other. It went through several names during the course of its life, the last being Scholar III. Originally a Chetanica warship, it was commandeered by the Niglaone; they used it as a warship, an exploration ship, a warship again, and finally for scientific research.   Notability   The ship, under its various names, is known for being the first manned Niglaone vessel to venture beyond their solar system; for its discovery of the Oaschi people and zarkyst on Earth which led to the Ocean War; and ethically unsound DNA harvesting before being abandoned in a volcano on Earth.   However the ship left its left its biggest mark on the universe millenia after its final flight, when it fell into the hands of the Solar Triad: a human organisation that used the ship’s resources to create the Zartriites and Zartrizoas.   History   Origins   The ships original name was Royal Tongue, its purpose planetary conquest by the Chetanica. It carried their queen, and would be one of the first to arrive on a new planet. During the Chetanica's invasion of Nephiglo, the Royal Tongue was captured by the Niglaone and turned against its owners, helping to drive them off the planet. The Niglaone renamed it Liberty.   First Visit to Earth   After the dust had settled, the Liberty was recommissioned for exploration. Its first mission was to the nearest planet outside their own system known to contain life, which would in later years be named "Earth" by its people. The Liberty's brief was to only observe, not interact with the planet's known sapient species, humans and Oaschi. But then the crew made a discovery which changed everything: zarkyst, a magic mineral unique to Earth's oceans.   After reporting this, the Liberty was instructed to make contact with the Oaschi and discuss taking some back to their home planet. At first, the Oaschi welcomed the Niglaone and happily accommodated their request. However, the Liberty was not a mining ship, so they contacted home, requesting one. A dozen mining ships were sent instead, with instructions to harvest all the zarkyst they could carry.   The Ocean War   The first phase of mining caused severe ecological damage and polluted the Oaschi's nearby settlements. Their authorities withdrew their permission to mine and demanded the ships leave. Nephiglo's official response was refusal, and war was quickly declared.   The crew of the Liberty were caught in the middle, torn between their own people and the victims in the scenario; they chose to side with the Oaschi. The war was short but devastating, ending in a standoff. The Oaschi agreed to let the Niglaone go in peace as long as their allies were spared.   Final Mission   Shortly after returning to Nephiglo, the Liberty was renamed Scholar III, and a new crew was tasked specifically with biological exploration--to gather samples from life from every reachable planet. The initial goal was purely scientific study; however Animate Industries funded and re-focused the mission for their own purposes.   The Scholar III left Nephiglo one last time, equipped with the best genetic engineering technology that money could buy and staffed with brilliant minds. They visited every life-supported planet in four different star systems, taking biological samples from every person and creature they could find. Along the way, they analysed the DNA components and created hypothetical blueprints of new species.   The last planet the Scholar III visited was Earth, undetected by human and Oaschi alike. When they were departing the planet, they encountered an Alpazoi ship, which had been following them from Azpal and accused them violating interplanetary law.   Abandonment   The resulting skirmish ended with the Scholar III's crew under arrest, and the ship falling into an active volcano as a result of a navigational glitch. Its shields meant it was undamaged by the lava that swallowed it, but it could not be retrieved. The ship was abandoned, undamaged but sealed in volcanic rock for about four thousand years.   Living Legacy   In 2062 AD, the Scholar III was unearthed by three humans who went on to form the Solar Triad. Despite its long period of disuse, the equipment and materials were perfectly preserved, and the Triad worked out how to use them.   The Solar Triad used the ship's resources to create dragons, sphinxes, merpeople and many other species, known as Zartrizoas and Zartriites. Their final experiment resulted in the zombie semi-apocalypse.   Time-traveller Hugh Larsson took control of the Scholar III and the Triad's creations. After settling the species in safe habitats in the Bronze Age, he attempted to destroy the ship and its contents, but was unable to figure out how.   Myths   Hugh took the ship back in time and hid it in the Namib Desert, right next to the sphinx settlement which would later be called Naminx. The mountain outcrop and the cavern above the ship's hiding place both came to feature prominently in sphinx mythology, especially that of their own creation.

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