There were only seven. More than massive colony ships, these were miniature, self-contained worlds. Almost like huge, interstellar organisms. They were to be the first of countless waves of colony ships, sent out into the universe to spread the seed of Thrawn, and the reach of the Thrawn empire outside of the local stellar system.
They were contracted by the Empire to the established interplanetary conglomerate, the "Dravpheim Corporation." Dravpheim was the acknowledged leader in large-scale arcologic habitat construction, having developed complete communities first on Chreaus, then on Seerae. After several hundred years in business, they held a virtual monopoly on the off-world dwelling market. But the micro-gravity mini-worlds of the asteroid belt proved to be their most profitable endeavor. These were inhabited by the descendants of handicapped pioneers that had left the restraints of the home world's gravity to mine the resources of the belt. The Belt-Capthraw abhorred life in gravity, and relished their free-floating lives. In time, they absobed and controlled the Dravpheim Corporation.
After close to 500 years off-planet, many Capthraw societies developed independently from the home world. Distance played a major role, as did the new local conditions. Squabbles and rivalries naturally occurred, but the Thrawn-based Empire held true. At first this was easy, since everything to maintain life came from Thrawn. Later as even the most remote outposts became self-sufficient, this was accomplished by psychological means. The mere fact that ALL the colonies had originated on the home world kept the political tensions in check.
But as new generations came into being that had never set foot on the home world, this hold became more tenuous. The Seven were designed as a political tool to re-establish Thrawn's place in the Empire. The seeds of Thrawn and the flowers of homeworld Capthrawnian culture would be transplanted in other star systems.
So it was that much of the Home World's resources, and more from off-planet went into the construction of the Seven. They were all identical in shape and size. They measured close to ten kilometers in length, with a diameter of three kilometers. They were, in effect, large rotating cylinders, that insured a "thrawn-normal" gravity artificially created by centrifugal forces. Each of the Seven was built to support a population of close to half a million souls.
They were all constructed simultaneously, to insure that they all would depart enmasse to their final destinations. The visual spectacle of seven star ships leaving the system at once was just the image the Empire wanted the colonies to see.
Seven likely star systems had been identified that had the requisite "Thrawn-like" planets. After hundreds of years, Capthrawnian space-based remote sensing had advanced to an exacting science. Thousands of potential systems had been discovered, but only seven were reasonably close: Within fifty light years.
Each ship was powered by a sophisticated matter/antimatter annihilation propulsion system that accelerated the spinning ships to close to a twentieth of light speed. This same energy was used to re-create the life-giving effects of Thrawn's sun, to maintain life for the hundreds of years required for the journey. That was "ship time." Owing to the effects of relativity, thousands of years would pass on Thrawn. Never the less, several generations would live and die before reaching the new system.
The actual construction was completed after over thirty years. Another five were required for the preparation of each new colony. They were eventually launched amid the expected fanfare and publicity. But it did not work as planned. Only months after the seven became nothing more than shrinking red stars in the sky, little had changed in the colonies. On the home world, resentment grew over what was seen as an obscene waste of resources that would benefit only a handful of future Capthraw not even hatched yet.
In the long run, most believed that the seven were lost, never to be heard from again. All the millions of Capthraw souls from the ships forever trapped between the stars. For a basic and ancient belief of the Capthraw was "Proximity Reincarnation," that the soul can only re-enter the life plane from where they left it in their previous incarnation; The physical location of one's death. So if one dies in interstellar space, the soul becomes trapped on the other side. It was mainly the fundamentalists that still held onto these old beliefs. But when the disenchanted populace turned on their leaders, the ancient ways again seemed more viable than the corrupt modern society that had banished their own children to spiritual suicide.
The religious flames were fanned by those who had much to gain in both power and wealth. The Dravpheim Corporation was soon able to leverage itself in the economic and social chaos to initiate a hostile take-over of the Empire. It became then the Dravpheim Syndicate. It was all very business-like and efficient. The resources earmarked for the next wave of star ships was redirected to the new seat of power in the Asteroid belt. Soon after, it was the home world of Thrawn that became the colony. Only the Seeraen colonies remained loyal to the old Empire, to their final detriment. Then the Great Shower occurred and cemented the belt's power base for the untold eons that followed.
As for the seven, they were never heard from again on Thrawn. Communications during the interstellar journey was rendered impossible by the glare of the propulsion systems. And after those that survived finally did arrive, no one was around to receive the first messages. The Syndicate, after tens of thousands of years cared not for the squeaks and squawks from tiny points of light in the black. They were more focused on the local material plane, and the control there of. Only the automated electronic ears put in place by the Seeraen Librarians were there to record those whispers from the stars. Whispers that went unanswered.
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