Named after the Human primordial deity from Greek mythology representing the heavens, the HCS (Hyperspace Colony Ship) Aether is the Horizons Initiative's flagship and best chance at colonizing the Andromeda Galaxy.
The Aether is capable of accommodating 1,000 passengers from each Assembly race in cryostasis.
Before the Horizons Initiative was even a fleeting thought in the back of Mike Trainer's mind, the Aether was well under construction by the United Nations to serve as deep-space research outpost capable of complete self reliance for years at a time. Yet, when the Ubiar Invasion began, the project was deemed far too remote to aid the war effort, so it was promptly abandoned.
Weeks passed as the unfinished station aimlessly floated through the void, far away from the conflict that quickly began engulfing the Milky Way. It was not until Initiative founder Mike Trainer found mention of the defunct space station on the Extranet that he set off to salvage the project.
This discovery turned the Horizons Initiative from some cowardly, last-ditch effort by the United Nations into an incredibly viable second chance, completely shifting Bushrak and even Human public opinion.. Considerable work still had to be done to install a hyperdrive, thousands of cryo pods, and all the equipment and supplies they would need in Andromeda. But now, they had a real chance.
The Aether was right on schedule throughout its entire construction, leading to its timely launch as part of the first wave on October 15, 2180.
See Also: Aether Map
- Administrative Ward
- Conclave Chamber - Rather spacious, yet restricted area with six offices for the Initiative's leaders and a meeting room for the Initiative Conclave to convene.
- Trailblazer Hub - Opens with a lounge for the Initiative's explorers, leads into a meeting room fit with a holotable and several chairs, and ends with Colonial Dispatch.
- Colonial Dispatch - Directs Trailblazers and coordinates with colonies to accommodate their needs on a case by case basis.
- Tech Lab - Research and development. Large enough several scientists to work simultaneously.
- Militia Office - Office for coordinating the volunteer militia. Fit with a restricted armory and center for planning future missions.
- Security Office - Smaller office adjacent to the militia office that coordinates the station's security. Most security officers are among the highest ranks of the militia.
- Training Office - Spacious office connected to the militia office for training both combat and exploratory personnel for the unknown. Capable of full augmented reality simulations and zero-g training.
- Medical Ward - Fully equipped hospital with a trauma center and medical droids.
- Common Ward
- Robinson Park - Busy, yet beautiful park surrounding the Cultural Center at the heart of the Common Ward. Large enough for those looking for tranquil relaxation to not be bothered by others participating in more disruptive activities like garnball.
- Cultural Center - Archives containing the combined history of the numerous Milky Way races and can assist newly-encountered races in learning about the colonists' origins.
- Hydroponic Gardens - Crucial to the station's operation, but also open to the public looking for quiet contemplation and beautiful scenery.
- Nimoy Lounge - The local bar for off-duty indulgences. On certain days, it is transformed into a nightclub to help promote general wellness and morale.
- Booker Detective Agency - Small office far from most foot traffic. It was largely given to its owner because of its terrible location and cramped layout.
- Commerce - Several miscellaneous shops to help facilitate the station's rather minute economy.
- Residential Blocks- Two identical blocks comprised of thousands of temporary living quarters for the colonists until the Trailblazers have secured habitable colonies. Each residential block is separated into four eighteen-story sub-blocks that include twenty apartments per story.
- The Initiative Conclave have their own apartments that are up to four times as large as the normal apartment on the restricted nineteenth floor of building A-3.
- Exploratory Leads also have their own specialized apartments in a section of the eighteen floor in building B-1.
- Bridge - The station's administrative personnel operate out of the bridge to coordinate traffic on the station and pilot the Haven should it need to be moved.
- Docking Bay - Incoming ships dock here to exchange supplies, information, resources, and people. Any inbound colonists must pass through quarantine and security.
Designed to be reminiscent of the colonists' home galaxy, the Aether features a completely self regulated atmosphere and housing for upwards of five thousand colonists. While some sections of the station provide a glimpse at the void outside, the station's exterior walls project a lifelike recreation of Earth's surroundings.
The air feels just as nearly as fresh as it would on any other colony, though there is a hint to superficiality behind it all as the station lacks any true day-night cycle, seasons, or weather.
Living aboard the station could quite easily be confused with the Human homeworld at first glance.