Doing a bit of work this week for the Sword of the Stars franchise, laying out some text and illustrations for a new source book called Black Section: The Complete Files. Black Section is a compendium of all of the hazards of space travel in the SotSverse, and most of the entries are about alien death machines, pirates, artifacts and strange phenomena left behind by godlike Elder Races. There is a nice section at the beginning about the founding of Black Section, however, which includes an account of the first “Black Section” mission (to recover corpses from the first Hiver ships to attack the Earth).
This is “Black Two”, a Hiver worker recovered from the wreckage of a ship destroyed by nuclear warheads. Because all of the fleet personnel of the attack fleet were related by blood to Obsidian Crown, they all had very dark chitin. “Black One, Black Two and Black Three” were literally given their designations because they were black Hivers; based on their physiology, it was initially assumed that all Hivers would have a similar appearance, and “Black Section” was formed as a special operations team to recover as much information about the enemy as possible.
In years to come, the Black Section team would assemble files on many alien species and a wide variety of ships and artifacts from multiple races. The unit was led by Otomi until 2436, and command was passed to her protege Cai Rui thereafter. Some of my readers may remember Cai Rui, as he was the protagonist of my novel The Deacon’s Tale.
As it turned out, Homo sapiens was not alone in the universe. In fact, the local galaxy was crowded with sentient life, much of it hostile.
Black Section will always be first to confront the unknown.