This image is a part of the Birrin project, the species seen here: abiogenisis.deviantart.com/art…
Born in an age of exceptional technological complexity and profligate resource exploitation, Spear was the first birrin attempt to send a vehicle of any kind to another solar system. Powered by nuclear fusion and cooled by banks of enormous radiators, the intelligent and self-sufficient machine even now represents the most costly and complex undertaking of any birrin age.
The extraordinary expense of the vehicle’s development was shouldered by a multi-national interhouse consortium so extensive that organisations from every continent found themselves contributing. Components were shipped and flown from all over the world to the equator, from where thunderous nuclear rockets catapulted them into orbit.
After half a century Spear, finally complete, undertook a long range shakedown tour of the solar system, flying deep into the realm of the outer planets.
As it slowly returned in-system, however, the scale of the exponentially ascending birrin civilisation began to terminally overtax the planet. Crop failures, famines and coastal flooding lead to regional wars and ethnic cleansing on a scale never before seen, and what little food remained was sequestered by the most able houses.
Meanwhile Spear, all this time arcing closer to home, was supposed to be captured, fueled, and sent on its mission to a nearby star. As the recovery team prepared to leave orbit, a coalition of minor houses left starving by the major powers launched a salvo of warheads. Bursting into clouds of metal spheres, they tore through the delicate vehicles and their crews at orbital speeds. As Spear fell past uncaptured, the response by the wealthy stakeholders was swift: Invading with full force, the punitive occupation quickly became culling, and birrin society rapidly degenerated into a war so total civilisation would not recover to a semblance of its former complexity for over a thousand years.
Through all this, Spear, pocked by minor impacts and long silent, swung through space in its vast and ever changing ellipse.
Now, with the dawn of a new era of birrin civilisation, Spear is returning once more to the inner system. The powers that be will have decide whether it should be refit and sent on its long delayed mission, or simply stripped for the few valuable parts and cast into the sun.
Seen here is the vehicle undergoing low-orbit trials soon after its completion, pre-fall birrin society still burgeoning beneath.