Survey after survey confirmed the same thing: virtually every planet with a certain environment had been colonized millions of years ago. The environment was Cytherean, hothouse planets similar to Venus, and it seemed to be pure chance that whatever beings had made the colonies had not found their way to Venus herself.

The ruins rapidly degraded in those atmospheres, of course, but they still stood out through their use of perfect circles and curves (never straight lines) and their young age, less than 100 million years old when the average Cytherean planet had a surface three times as old. The surveys rarely found any extraterrestrial life on these worlds, a few quasi-microbial organisms at best. But that was hardly the most curious thing about these corroded outposts.

They had all been destroyed, or abandoned, around the same time, approximately 47 million years ago. The destroyed sites appeared to have been wiped out by kinetic weapons fired from orbit, while the abandoned ones tended to be the most remote, the most distant–cut off and left to wither on the vine, as it were.

Someone, or something, attacked these ancient colonists and caused the disintegration of their civilization within a matter of centuries. These attackers have been dubbed the “Hyksos” by researchers, after the mysterious attackers and invaders of ancient Egypt that vanished suddenly from the historical record not long after they entered it.

Despite the incredible nature of the Cytherean colonists, attention focused primarily on the Hyksos–who they were, why they made war on the Cythereans, and–most importantly–if they might yet return.

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