Source: r/HFY
Author: u/OC
Title: Last Humans

Let me tell you what we found at the end of the trail of
destruction. It was a small system, 10 or so planets around a
medium sized yellow dwarf star. Around the third planet we found
the remains of the swarm. Millions of their ships floated in
burning roiling chaos around this charred rock. As far as we could
tell it had been a garden world. Despite our best efforts we could
not get close. Our scans told enough though. The swarm had been
drawn here like moths to a candle. They did that, back then, when
they encountered a particular bit of resistance. Pour enough ships
and lives in and eventually they would break even the strongest

It had worked for them so far. A quarter of the galaxy lay desolate
behind their advance. Our fiercest warrior species and most
coordinated hive-races were even no match for them. That was, until
they had begun to focus on this one planet above all else. Legions
of ships would break orbits and leave their scrapping of suns to
come here. At the time we were not even aware of intelligent life
in this region. Certainly no species near the Hyperspace Threshold.
You can imagine our surprise and shock coming onto that scene in a
supposedly uninhabited system.

Of course, we now know of the Humans. Only the youngest emerging
species have yet to hear of them. When we finally found the
remnants of their race orbiting the nearest star, we learned the
price they had paid. You see, the swarm had found them like
countless before. But Humans are a painfully violent and stubborn
species. They have been trying to kill each other off for most of
their history. Yes... you could probably call it insanity. But it
forged an iron hard species. A species that was also armed to the
fangs and making technological breakthroughs at an unheard of rate.
They had even made rudimentary steps into hyperspace technology by
the time the swarm descended. And they fought back.

How they fought. Hundreds of thousands of fission bombs were built
and used... actually used! They reverse engineered the swarm's
gravity simulators and weaponized them. Weaponized gravity!
Millions of ships crushed or flung apart or shorn in half by Human
ingenuity and a bit of physics. They fought like this all the way
to the ground. There are tales of Humans going hand to hide with
the swarm. Have you ever seen a Human fight in person? They may not
be the biggest or most intimidating species, but they never...
ever... ever give up. From the void of space to the depths of their
world, they came screaming back at the invaders.

At some point the humans learned the rest of secrets of the
Hyperspace Windows. Probably pried it out a smoking hive ship and
made it speak its secrets through sheer force of will. And then, as
Humans do, they weaponized them. Now, they also discovered as most
species do, that if you open a hyperspace window at the bottom of a
gravity well it causes significant problems. Besides a cataclysmic
release of energy, the subspace tends to... tear, in a way. In deep
space these tend to heal up swiftly. But down in heavy gravity they
linger. As far as we know they will last until the end of time
itself. Of course the humans used this. Thousands of satellites
were launched. Powered by the engines of downed swarm ships of all
things. And on every satellite were dozens of basic hyperspace
generators. Good for maybe one use. The equipment was just basic
enough to open a window hardly larger than a Human hand.

You see... they used them like mines. Once a swarm ship was
detected a generator would peel away from the rest. At a safe
distance a tiny hyperspace window would open into the depths of the
swarm ship. The explosion caused by doing that in a gravity well
was probably enough to kill a ship. But add in the effect of
running a ship through a window? A moving ship keeps right on
going, and that window slices a neat little hole all the way to the
hull. So now you have an explosion and you are venting atmosphere.

This went on for a long time. Down there near Earth the void
shimmers with tears in subspace. Hundreds of thousands of tears,
waiting to shred a ship into a million ribbons before you know what
is happening. That is why we could not get close to Earth. The
space around it is a death sentence. But the Humans had one last
weapon to fight with. In the end, they made the swarm kill itself.

From downed ships they learned the deepest secrets of the swarm.
They learned how to call for help. Humanity built an immense
transmitter. They called it the Laurentian Candle. Carved into a
huge expanse of stone, it calls to the stars. With it they summoned
the swarm to them by sending the call of a swarm Empress in
distress. That is what finally brought millions of ships to die
there, sliced to ribbons above a burning planet. By this point
there were only an estimated 60,000 Humans left alive. So they
built a ship. Right there on the ground. Thousands upon thousands
of cryo capsules in massive clusters. And they left. That was what
cracked the planet in two finally, that massive hyperspace window
slamming shut.

With that final goodbye to their only home, they saved the galaxy.
It is impossible to shut off the signal from the Candle, and the
swarm plunged in to their deaths. When we found them and learned
what they had done, word spread like light in the void. These
remnants were offered shelter, moons, planets, entire star systems
in the oldest civilizations. Yet they declined every offer. Instead
they asked for ships. Thousands of ships, enough to carry their
entire population into the void. So now they wander, searching for
something. They offer trade of technology or goods for information.
Always information. Maps, charts, scans, rumors... they take it
all. These respected people wander, always welcome wherever they
pause, but never pausing for long. Always on to the next planet or
system. Searching. Yearning. Hunting. For something they lost or
sent out long ago when the swarm was surrounding them and hope was

Something called an "Ark."

Reviewer's note: this message seems to be a piece of creative
artistic work rather than actual report, although due to the nature
of QEC-based communication, it is impossible to determine if that's
actually case or not.