The Porrima incident
Image from Keith Wigdor

Also know as Gamma Virginis, Porrima, 29 Virginis, and Postvarta, this system's primaries are two F-Class stars of approximately equal luminosity, each five times as bright as Sol and orbiting each other at a distance of 44 AU. It is famous as the place where the first high technology non-Terragen artifact — a derelict alien starship — was discovered in 1752 by the Virginis Combine ship Fra Angelico. The Fra Angelico, on a mission from Pacifica in the nearby Beta Virginis system, discovered a derelict vessel orbiting the brighter star of the pair.

The first Terragens known to have been killed by alien technology were the 186 people on the exploring antimatter-drive Virginis Combine ship Fra Angelico which approached an ancient, derelict alien starship of unknown origin orbiting the double star Porrima in 1752. Apparently the alien ship had a still-functional auto-defense system which signaled the Fra Angelico with an incomprehensible message, then fired a super-dense object (possibly a tiny black hole) through her hull, puncturing the crew module and distorting the ship's superstructure so much that the airtight hatches could not be sealed. Then the alien ship self-destructed and collapsed in on itself, although whether by design or because of a malfunction in the weapon used on the Fra Angelico is unclear. The Fra Angelico had been driven into a highly eccentric orbit by the artifact, and the ship and its cargo of corpses was not found until 1827.

Over the next few centuries the Virginis Combine Institute of Exoarcheology flowered, studying the remnants of the alien ship and the Fra Angelico. Of especial interest were the technological implications - the alien technology hinted at a possible way of creating a black hole. Until that time the only known method of creating such an object was an artificial collision between massive objects in deep space. If a black hole could be created using this xenotechnology this would be a great leap forward for space-time engineering.

A habitat in the Porrima system was established to study it, but despite extensive searches nothing was found beyond the shipwrecks. The new xenotechnology was never developed. As more artefacts were found elsewhere the Institute just became a part of the University of Thomas Jefferson.

The Porrima system is currently a Solar Dominion protectorate inhabited by a number of bioid and cyborg clades. There is a small but well-equipped Exoarcheology Institute, and a nanoaccurate reconstruction of the Fra Angelico, along with a superficial reconstruction of the artifact, is a popular tourist attraction.

Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 19 December 2001.