The Fermi Paradox

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Geisha Squad whiplashed out of the Gate aperture in a crash of reasserted space-time. Their hardsuits covered the faces, but the inevitable Gate-jump nausea showed in their momentary swaggers, drunken and unsteady.
//Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to exo-planet designate Kepler-102 b. A thoroughly uninteresting lump of carbon, heretofore claimed as property of the Columbus Star Consortium through first-in rights.
///LEGAL REMINDER: As paid contractors of Columbus Star Consortium, all first-in rights (such as planetary naming, colony establishment or sovereignty) have been ceded to CSC per the terms of your contract.
////SUB-CLAUSE: All rights and payments dependent on contractors determining Kepler-102 b is uninhabited.

"Hate this legal spiel." The squad leader waved the AR terms and conditions away and moved the squad to a securing perimeter around the Gate. Paced every ten feet, the crasher team surveyed the smooth, undulating hills they had emerged in. Half the crashers were carrying full mil-spec gear, including rail assault weapons, while the other half were deploying scientific equipment labelled with SCS branding. Soil samples, star mapping, atmospheric gas sampling. Drones propelled by cold-gas jets squirted off in cardinal directions to map the landscape for regular shapes and straight lines, topological signs of alien life.

The base camp module fully inflated around the Gate, priming a region of safe atmospheric content and pressure for further crashers to come through. As backups and researchers began to file through, word came back from the drone squadron. Contact, three clicks south-south-east.

As their first hopper crested the hill, the weak lavender starlight was spliced and cut through by jagged protrusions; like the clawed fingers of a great hand breaching the ancient regolith, five towers were all that remained of a city nestling in the palm of the valleys. Geisha Squad dove into the necropolis, the first intelligent life to walk those streets in geologic ages. Every footstep was recorded by HUD cams, every echo ringing down thoroughfares wholly absent of life.

In the deepest part of the gauntlet-city, they found what remained of the builders. A glassed bubble, a significant spike of background radiation, fringed all around with antediluvian bones barely holding themselves together. All of them realized what had happened, but none dared speculate the cause out loud. A race, a species, had gathered together around a nuclear device and induced their own extinction. They felt as if they stood on a floor atoms thin, as if any wrong step might plunge them all into the murky depths.

"The Filter got another one, lads." Squad Leader sighed. "Back through the Gate. This is just another empty nest for the archaeologists."

//Absence of intelligence of life confirmed. CSC confirms ownership of Kepler-102 b
//Your account has been credited with the agreed-upon amount. CSC thanks you for your hard work and your contribution.

The Colony Gates is a game about exploration, colonialism and expansionism. Following the discovery of the Gate network, a series of wormhole generators that appear to be of alien origin, humanity has been expanding their reach through the stars. Gate exploration is huge business, with many large corporations competing over ownership of the exo-planets accessed through Gate travel. Small bands of Gate explorers - commonly called Gatecrashers or simply crashers - are employed by these corporations to do the really dangerous part of the job. That is, going in first.

The fact is that the Gates are something humans don't fully understand yet, even after ten years of use and discovery. They are clearly alien artifacts, but rather than answering any questions about alien life these Gates have just caused us to ask even more. The mysteries surrounding alien life have only grown deeper. For no matter how many worlds we reach - indeed, the majority of exo-planets reached via gate travel have SOME form evidence of intelligent alien life - and yet every planet reached thus far is long dead. Or at least uninhabited.

In other words, while we know there WERE aliens we have no idea if there ARE aliens now. If there used to be so many aliens, where did all the aliens go? This is the form the Fermi Paradox takes in the modern age.

So, that's the idea for the game. Players will be members of the gate exploration industry - probably members of the same crasher crew/company but depending on interest it might be different competing teams or even members of an established exo-solar colony.

So, yeah, let me know what you think.
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