ASTRONAUTS / THE STELLA MARIS EXPEDITION
The EXO-989 "Stella Maris" expedition to find a new habitable world took off in the fall of 2033, after the second pass of the comet Kali, as the signs of a coming apocalypse amassed and international tensions increased.
It was spearheaded by a european coalition along with russian scientists, determined to find a new habitable world, and with a very probable target in sight: Gliese 832 C . Scans showed that this could very well be a paradise for humans with very little terraforming required, all the numbers checked out.
EXO-989 was sent out as a scouting party, consisting of 10 highly trained crew members and one exploratory/combat/language robot.
They found paradise. A blooming world, very similar to earth, with steaming jungles and sunny beaches, oceans and lakes, trees that reached incredible heights and edible plants. After exploring this incredible planet for what seemed like two very short years, the expedition prepared to return to earth in triumph.
However, due do the time dilation involved in near-lightspeed-travel, what had been a four-year roundtrip for the crew was 100 years on planet Earth, and when the ship returned, none of the communication satellites answered their hails, or returned the necessary navigational data. Entering the atmosphere without the required coordinates spelled disaster for the ship, and it broke up on entry.
Some of the crew reached the EDP (emergency drop pod) units and managed to eject, but they got scattered, and has since wandered the wasteland in search of eachother and a way to return to paradise...
Captain Benjamin Behnken found Stråssa when the space bacteria dropped, and immediatly traveled there to investigate this phenomenon, and see if it could be a lead to some ancient space technology. His research led him only to despise the current state of humanity more though, and what more, conclude that they are all infected by space bacteria...
After the final battle, he fled the scene, but going north, he not only heard rumours that caused him to consider returning, but heard those rumours from old friends... survivors from his expedition, found at last!
Captain Benjamin Behnken, Commander (SSC, SWE): Captain Behnken has wandered the wasteland alone for ten years, going mad and hostile as his hope for finding his crew or a way to return to G832C felt more and more distant. Convinced that intelligence on earth has made a sharp drop since he left, he has utter contempt for the inhabitants of the wasteland, and feels that he is above all the petty squabbles that they dedicate themselves to.
Karl Hausser, Payload Specialist (ESA, GER): Responsible for IT and communications systems, aswell as the AI tuning for the Robot.
Knut Eriksson-Ericsson, Psychologist (SSC, SWE): The expedition shrink
The Robot (RUS, RKA): A sturdy robot built by russian scientists for diverse tasks such as translation, exploration and exofauna defense.