123 year old Fan-tal Sep once dreamed of graduating from university and getting a government-funded science job so she could explore the stars.
But today she’s a generic sociologist in a basic science lab on Bhiranna. The government no longer runs any space exploration operations - because the entire galaxy was surveyed before she was born.
“I just wanted to have my own science ship”, said Fan-tal Sep looking wistfully at an old, incomplete, galaxy hyperlane map. “I wanted to make my empire proud, cracking anomalies and uncovering new worlds to colonise. But these days… I guess there’s nothing for us.”
Some 200,000 scientists will graduate from Khell’Zen Academies this year, but formal space exploration is now out of reach for all of them. A select few will go on to run the prestigious Science Academies, even fewer will commandeer Science Ships to assist planetary research. The remainder will work in science labs, or switch careers.
“The scientists… they have no hope,” said Yinlu-up Dem, a faction leader in Khell’Zen. “Space exploration was the single coolest thing about being a scientist. You never knew what was going to happen, you could encounter a Dimensional Horror, or accidentally unleash Grey Goo. Now they’re just stuck planet-side, adding numbers to research statistics. It’s no life.”
Khell’Zen’s government has refused to comment on the situation. In the absence of official support, some 10,000 Khell’Zen scientists have poured into neighbouring Hesukar Dominion, a younger xenophobic space-nation who hasn’t fully explored the galaxy. Citizenship restrictions mean the majority are not recognised however, causing most to be enslaved and purged.
For Fan-tal Sep, it looks like her dreams won't be realised any time soon.