Child's Crusade

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The Child's Crusade was an expedition into the heart of the Wandering Husk-Child by a coalition of superluminal individuals and organizations. It's fate is unknown.

Organization

The expedition was headed by Mx Ardos Kiyoko, a direct ancestor of renowned stellar explorer Hai-Lee Kiyoko. Ardos was fascinated by the seemingly impenetrable membrane surrounding the WHC and desperately wanted the opportunity to study the interior of the Child in detail.

Correctly anticipating that superluminal travel within the membrane would not be possible, Ardos envisioned that this expedition would be the life's work of all who embarked upon it. In order to entice successful scientists and explorers to make such an extensive commitment, Ardos proposed a massive convoy - a complete civilization traveling in an interstellar convoy, all to support the ultimate goal of studying the WHC.

No university endowment was sufficient to fund the necessary vessels and personnel for Ardos' expedition, so they accepted financial and other support from anywhere that it was offered. The result was, unsurprisingly, a hodge podge fleet crewed by a mix of different species and organizations, all tenuously held together by the charisma and enthusiasm of Mx Kiyoko.

Participants

The Watchers Council did not sanction the Child's Crusade but seven privately owned ships registered to member civilizations did made up the heart of the crusader fleet. These vessels were mostly military signals inteligence vessels that were decommissioned by their respective navies, sold into private hands, and retrofitted for scientific work by the crusaders. That is to say they were largely obsolete before the crusade even began.

Two ships registered to The Society for Counterfactual Empiricism participated in the Child's Crusade, although the historical record is not completely clear on how this came to be. The SCEV Third Eye was provably assigned to the crusade by the proper chain of command, but it is believed that the Leptera-class SCEV Conestoga's deployment orders may in fact have been fabricated by Ardos and transmitted fraudulently in the days immediately prior to launch.

The recently restored Jolibrii Worldship Solace and Contemplation was a noteworthy member of the expedition. The worldship housed more than 90% of the biological life forms that set out on the crusade. In order to protect those onboard from the radiation of the WHC's outer membrane, most of the exterior view-ports were retrofitted with rad-hard shielding buffers.

12 other ships of various makes agreed to join the expedition for one reason or another. Most brought only a skeleton crew and were staffed by diverse crews made up of the many individuals desperate or idealistic enough to sign on to Ardos' vision.

Launch

The fleet officially commenced its operations when the 22 crusader ships executed a simultaneous hyperlight transfer to a position 3 light minutes behind the Wandering Husk Child. There they erected a Gravity Pump relay station intended to relay energy from stellar reactors back home to the crusader ships.

After that the crusaders activated conventional propulsion and headed into the membrane, never to be heard from again. The relay station continued recieving demand signal for roughly 30 years, although the signal degraded over time, with significant single-event decreases during the 2nd and 17th year that are believed to correspond to the destruction of the Conestoga and the Solace and Contemplation, respectively.

It is not known what ultimately happened to Ardos or the rest of the crusaders. Subsequent exploration of the Wandering Husk Child has not revealed evidence of their ships, although it is widely accepted that passage through the Blowhole's matter stream would have obliterated any such evidence long ago, just as it obliterates any civilization that has developed in the WHC.