In the early days of pulling ships across the vast distances of space, there were some complications. While the Al’Ong had spread the technology to their colonies and allies, there were those who sought to gain access to this faster-than-light travel without fully understanding the science, or the consequences of doing it wrong. The fissure in space would open, the sensors thrum with the amplification of the gravitational waves and the ship would blink out of phase, but then noticeably fail to materialize on the receiving end. Many civilizations lost a ship or two this way, full of their more risk-taking adventurers, leaving no trace; not even a residual signature. It was as if these vessels had never existed. Over time, pulling became so ubiquitous and known to most space-faring planets in the near quadrant and further afield, so mishaps became uncommon, and you could respond to a pulling signal with every confidence you were heading to your destination, and not some unknown dimension.
Long after these lost ships had gone, their loved ones had died, and the various planets had written off the vessels as MIA, a fleet of strange spacecraft flew, in tight formation, into the orbit of a mining planet in human-controlled space. From visibly different planets, but transmitting the same unusual signatures, these ships had unknown or at least obsolete designs, but clearly had tech that was the equal of any of the Al’Ong or Tianzi fleets’ top specimens. The curious band of ships quickly made contact with the humans, peacefully seeking information and star charts. They could not say where they had come from, or how they had found this part of space, but only much talk of destiny and things being foretold. The inhabitants of all the ships were mixed species, some of whom were not known in the quadrant, and some also seemed to be hybrids. Their entire purpose, handed down to them from their ancestors, was to return “home”, a place or places which had become meaningless over the generations, and to heal the scars that the “void” had left on them.
Whatever or wherever this void was, though it had swallowed the lost travellers for aeons, it had kept many of them alive. It had even nurtured them in a cruel and unusual way; setting ships against each other in battle, with the punishment being instant obliteration for the loser, and upgrades and rewards for the winner. Nobody could report a direct communication with the intelligence that prowled the void, but its presence was always felt, and eventually the tales, handed down through the generations, of a space filled with stars, planets and wonders, inspired enough ships to combine their knowledge and power to make a rift in the void, and return to space.