So signing up with AFAD (Alliances Forces and Discovery) came pretty natural to me. After the standard 9 month training and schooling, I took my Aptitude Tests and the result was very surprising. I expected to end up like 90% of the bunch, become an Alliance cadet and be stationed on an outpost or on a spaceship, serving your 3 years after which you discharge, or pursue a career after you test again, branching off into one of the many paths one can take serving in AFAD, serving on a Alliance vessel or in one of the new colonies.
But not me. I was qualified to go into AICO, where I'd train to become an intelligence operative. Basically it means I gather intelligence on new planets and star systems not yet explored, make first contact with discovered life, investigate off world crimes and piracy or settle colonial disputes. It's been some time since new sentient beings have been discovered and the colonies are organized trough the AGA (Alliance Governing Agency), featuring members of all the races, so usually it will be private companies fighting over a claim of planetary resources and development. Piracy and off world crimes are still widespread, and there's still countless planets and systems to survey, so I would be keeping busy with that mostly.
It was during my standard training that I met him. We hit it off, but after 9 months, it seemed over, we got separated. I started my AICO training on A-12, or Alliance-12, a space station on the edge of the Theta Cluster. He went to serve on the AV-Aurora (Alliance Vessel), a frigate in the alliance fleet. We promised each other to keep in touch, keep track of our first steps into the big void of space. As months went by, we both dropped the frequency of our messages, eventually losing track of each other. But fate decided differently.
After AICO-training, I did a couple assignments after which I was sent to a spice colony on Ziffa 3, where pirates were hijacking the spice cargo leaving the planet. I was asked to link up with the AV-Aurora, where he made it to first lieutenant. We picked up where we left off, and after we rounded up the pirates, I put in a reassignment form, to become the AICO Officer on the Aurora. It would take time, the current AICO Officer still had a couple months left to serve, so we shortly parted again, but with plans to take leave together on earth. We both felt weird being back on earth and actually be somebody, and we enjoyed our short time together. But, as we both realised, Alliance comes first, and I had to ship off to the Thetas Cluster, back to where I started my training. We planned on meeting up as soon as possible, and said our goodbyes, promising each other we'd be together soon.
Arriving at A-12, I got briefed quickly. A distress signal from a space freighter had reached the station, and I was ordered to investigate. Arriving at the location where the signal originated from, there was no sign of the freighter. Nothing on our active scanners, nor loose debris floating about. We entered orbit around Graxol, an enormous planet nearby, a big uninhabitable jungle world. Wreckage popped up that resembled the lost freighter and we set off to the surface. When we arrived, our reconstruction scans of the wreckage showed a breach in the side of the ship's hull. Accessing the chip's logs, we found an entry saying something hit the broadside of the freighter breaching the hull, but the on board scanners couldn't make out what it was. But that's also the last entry that was made.
Looking around the area of the impact hole, for debris or leftover from the meteor, again, we found nothing. We split up in 2 teams, to search the ship for survivors or bodies of the crew, but to no avail. Because of all the wildlife on the planet, using long range scanners to pick up life forms wasn't an option. We contacted AICO-Command, advising on how to proceed. They told us to report back to the A-12, leaving a couple operatives behind to establish a base camp, in case the surviving crew fled in into the jungle, and would return to the ship. At A-12, in our initial reports we found it unlikely to be pirates or raiders. Damaging the ship like that risking the cargo would be stupid. They would target the the engines, disable it and then board the ship, overpowering the crew to make of with the cargo. A meteor or space debris would have been an option if it weren't for the fact that there was no trace evidence to support that.