This article was submitted to the Starbase 118 FNS. Here is what we have so far. The article, as posted on FNS, has more images:

If more get posted, I’ll update this post. – SK.

Me, from the *future*: Hey, it all got posted  Mostly. – SK

The Maiden of the Stars

By: Kiyaini Ri’zella
There is a legend on Emperion IV, of the “Maiden of the Stars”, a nameless solider who defeated their attackers from beyond the stars, and brought to them the power of spaceflight. We know this civilization today as the Electorate of Emperion, a multi-stellar government that borders the Federation to the galactic northwest.
With a lot of the Emperion economy based around tourism, a new company has announced a unusual starcruise. With the advent of civilian slipstream travel, it has announced a new package around following her footsteps, of the rise of the nameless solider to deified patron. And, of course, I took the cruise.

First Stop: Emperion IV, Al’kharian Highlands, Sitovaze

This city, destroyed in the Terran year 1997, was one of the last strongholds of the Emperian Army against the stellar invaders. The only warning had been the destruction of the early Information Age satellite network, and orbital bombardment of the then barely unified government’s armies. For years, the badly outnumbered and out-equipped army had resorted to asymmetric warfare, and was still losing.
Sitovaze, formerly a retreat for the religious and wise – known as the City of Mountaintop Wisdom, was one of the cities initially spared. However, you can clearly see the bombardment craters from orbital kinetic interdiction, and the scores of disruptor and railgun fire. The tour starts at a ruined college, where you can see a rail embedding a shattered lectern in a large electronic board; the remains of hurriedly abandoned learning materials; destroyed power armor and vehicles everywhere. While the original remains of the fallen have been removed, many replicas have been put up, and as I followed the guide, I could not help but feel that this memorial was an macabre elegy of all that was lost.
The centerpiece of this stop is a crashed ship – where we learnt the name of the invaders. It is a name familiar to those of us who have studied our early history, the Dalarians. It is also the ship that the remainder of the forces commandeered.. and on to the next location.

Second Stop: Emperion XVI, low orbit.

The Emperion system, a binary star system, is one of the rare star systems with over 15 planets. This planet, a cold icy dwarf on the outskirts of the dimmer star, was where they first retreated to as they tried to understand the ship, and hide from the two ships in orbit. Here, you can see some rusted remains of their attempts to understand the ship, and most importantly, a rifle and sword monument on the northern continent, where the survivors vowed they would find a way to save their homeworld.
The trip here was on sublight engines, and one thing you get to see is Emperion IX, a gas giant with a spectacular ring system. It also contains it’s own habitable moon, one of the first colonies of the Emperion Electorate. The cruise times it just right so you get to see the dual sunrise through the rings, setting it alight in glittering red and violet fire before the moon’s atmosphere shows up in a brilliant halo of light – a sight I will never forget.

Third Stop: Kavis III.

Located a half-day away at slipstream, this was the depo that the Dalarians had in the region at the time. Now, it’s naught more than wreckage and the remains of distruptor fire from ships firing on it, preserved by the Luna-class atmosphere of the barren world. Just disruptor-lanced wreckage and imprints of fallen sentients.
While the Emperians were at a disadvantage initially, they were aided by another race – the Tarainians – who saw them as as way to strike at the Dalarians indirectly. It is said that her speech was so eloquent that they were moved to aid her out of just the pathos alone, but modern historians disclaim this as revisionist romanticism.
“While they might have sympathized and admired someone so driven to save her world,” Kaliona Tarsonis said, a history professor at the Dauntless Academy on Saniat IV, when reached to provide perspective on this, “the Tarainians would have seen this as a way to cheaply bog down the Dalarians expansion of this time and potentially gain an ally.”
Indeed, the visitor’s center has holodramas there to represent both the speech and the scientific advisors teaching the soldiers how to repair and operate their ship. Here, one is reminded of one of the oddities of the legend.
The name and face of the solider are unknown, and she is shown only as a brilliant silhouette. Only her gender is known to historians, and us who attempt to follow her footsteps.

Fourth Stop: Dantilas VI

The Dantilas system is now a bustling colony world of the Dalarians, but four hundred years earlier it was a outpost, and one of the first acts of this ship was to raid it for ships and supplies. Also, to short stop any more supplies going being sent to aid the invaders on their homeworld.
A beautiful sapphire blue-amethyst world (in fact, the Dantilas system is often called ‘The Nine Brilliant Gems of Space’), the colony today has a memorial museum to the victims of the various invasions done by the government of that era. It is considered by modern political analysts, however, to be a pure piece of apologetica for the acts. However, as a member world of the Federation, relations have been normalized such that an Emperian company can travel.
The results of this raid were said to be the best possible outcome – two attack ships were added to the fleet, and the attack base was destroyed. With the small fleet, they sought out to continue their campaign to add allies and degrade their enemies ability to fight back. However, they learnt of a reinforcing fleet, leading to

The Final Stop: Emperion IV, Memorial Station

It is said that the two fleets clashed in an all or nothing battle, with the Dalarian forces too little to hold the planet should they fall, and almost certain doom should the Emperion forces fall. The conflict, with primitive rail guns and missiles, raged for two days, but ended with the Dalarian forces destroyed, and the Emperion fleet still standing.. but at the cost of the death of their leader.
It was here, that the Emperion stellar nation began, but it was with the one who led them to this new era killed in combat. Within months, a deliberate movement to erase her identity took place, to make her not of one of the preinvasion nations, or any ethnicity – but a daughter of the planet. Even today, she is always depicted as an aspirational figure. While there are several candidates, no one candidate can be said to be the Maiden of Stars for sure, and it is a rite of passage for many to go to Memorial Station, and pray and reflect on her life and the lessons it has given the Emperions.
And perhaps, the legacy that would come to mar the coming century before the Federation brokered peace between the two civilizations. Even now, when the region is largely at peace, her memory is invoked by the two dominant political factions, and used in various fields, such as the exploration initiatives to denote one who never gave up, never surrendered.
A legacy that applies to many, not just the few.