Ship Name: CFS Stellaris
Class: Pathfinder class deep space exploration vessel
Faction: Confed Navy
Commissioned: 13 December 2340. Refitted 29 November 2345.
Fate: Disappeared due to a Mis-Jump on 26 June 2346
- Length: 500 m
- Beam: 50 m
- Draft: 50 m
Decks: 12 (crew section)
Crew: 67 total: 10 officers, 42 enlisted, 15 civillians (scientists)
- 4 plasma thrusters, max 3 g normal thrust (max 10 g thrust with inertial dampening)
- 1 pulse drive, X 60 multiplier (modified acceleration of 180 g to 600 g)
FTL drive: 1 prototype Suntec X-970 enhanced Hyper-Light Warp Drive. Actual specs are classified. Rumored to be a Class A drive.
Power Plant: 3 fusion power plants. 2 active, one in reserve.
Armor: Double-layered 10 cm hull plating, anti-radiation shielding.
Energy Shields: Standard navigational and anti-radiation shielding.
Sensors: Advanced scientific sensor suite
Shuttles: 4 Confed long-range personnel shuttles (Warp capable), 6 short-range heavy cargo shuttles.
History: The Stellaris was one of 32 Pathfinder class deep exploration vessels that were commissioned by the Terran Confederation during the 2340's. A versatile spacecraft with a modular design, the Pathfinder class could be used for exploration, terraforming, or colonization. During its first five years of service, the Stellaris had explored the fringes of known space, scouting out new systems and surveying the worlds within, looking for likely candidates for mining as well as terraforming.
In 2345 the Stellaris was commissioned by the SunTec corporation to run a test of an experimental Warp Drive that they had been developing for the good part of a decade. The ship was taken to a space dock close to Osiris and refitted for the mission, and by early 2346 it was ready for the test.
Among the fifteen scientists recruited to test the Stellaris' Warp Drive was Rena Nevin Mounier, the owner of the Nepranexos space station and an expert on the high-powered fusion power plants that the ship would require to power the prototype drive.
The captain of the Stellaris during its final mission was Captain Jules Scheffield.
The Stellaris' mission was classified; none of the personnel involved in the test were permitted to say what they were working on, but that they were headed out to a corporate retreat that would keep them away for a few weeks.
On June 23, 2346 the Stellaris left its space dock and flew to the edge of the local solar system, out to a distance of 34 AU, and prepared to jump to warp speed, its destination being a system 150 light years away. Confed Warp Drives at the time generally took several days to make a journey that long; the Stellaris was expected to complete the trip in just under an hour, so this would have been an unprecedented achievement for a Terran ship. The ship Jumped on schedule, but did not arrive at its destination. A pair of Confed destroyers that were escorting the Stellaris prior to the Jump verified that the ship successfully warped away from its starting location, but the destroyers that were waiting at the intended destination reported that no ship arrived. A number of Confed ships scoured a broad swath of space within the immediate radius of the starting point and the destination, but no sign of the ship was found. No transmissions were received from the Stellaris in the weeks following the test. Investigators searching for the ship found the situation increasingly bleak as time went on. Even if the ship had completely broken down to the point where it could no longer Jump and no longer had communications, it still contained four Warp-capable shuttles that could have been used to evacuate the entire crew, or at least be sent out to get help.
After four months of searching the investigation was officially called off, and the first official statement was given to the press about the disappearance of the Stellaris. The official statement never made mention of the prototype Jump drive, but instead only said that the crew was working on a secret project on a deep space exploration vessel which vanished due to a catastrophic mis-jump. It was assumed that the ship had accidentally jumped inside of or too close to a star or planet and was destroyed, or bounced too deeply into hyperspace and was lost. It was another eight months after the official story was given that someone within the SunTec corporation leaked to the press that it was in testing an experimental Warp drive that the Stellaris vanished. Speculation ran wild about what could have happened to the ship, and many sightings of the Stellaris were reported thereafter, having become a popular ghost ship.
A number of sensational documentaries were made about the doomed ship, naturally leaving the viewers with more questions than answers. Public interest in the fate of the Stellaris peaked in the summer of 2348 when a movie about the ship's disappearance was released: The Stellaris Experiment. Featuring some big name actors from Earth, the movie purported to tell the truth about the fate of the Stellaris, but in the end the plot was a mess of themes involving aliens, time travel, dinosaurs, and a number of obligatory sex scenes. It was a commercial flop, and public interest in the ghost ship rapidly faded.
In February 2352 a number of listening stations on the fringes of Confed space alleged to have received a series of transmissions from a ship that identified itself as the Stellaris, but Confed authorities were quick to downplay the transmissions as a hoax perpetrated by a local pirate media organization, The Holy Cosmic Knights of Discordia, that was known for conducting elaborate pranks.
As far as the general public is concerned, the ship was never found and the fate of its crew is forever a mystery.