Contrary to the news sources that fed the scattered colonies of the Oligarchy, space was not full of cosmic wonders. The images of solar storms and glowing nebulae that spanned light years was good for exciting the public and encouraging the new policy of service by colonization, but the actuality was much more barren. 231 trillion people need a lot of room and food to survive and history had shown the Oligarchy that population control was a lousy way to limit growth.
Mankind was and is a self-obsessed species and had proved unwilling to sacrifice anything for its betterment unless the benefit was immediate. The human population could not be limited, only guided, and interstellar colonization was determined to be the best method of guidance available.
This reason above all others was why the Terraform Fleet was formed. Massive ships filled with all manner of automated life-creation equipment were sent throughout the galaxy with the mission to find and process planets that could support human life. All biomes were to be considered; anything from icy dwarves to worlds akin to Earth Eternal. Still, even after the initial wave of explorers had left and returned; only thirty-five acceptable planets had been identified, nowhere near enough space needed to distribute the population equitably.
And so a new fleet was created, they called us "Colonizers" and it was the job of the fleet to find any and all habitable worlds and terraform them; regardless of any species (sentient or otherwise) that might be encountered. Our ship was one of many that were now headed out on a multi-generational mission to forcibly colonize any suitable planet.
The sensors on our ship had picked out the habitable world from among two hundred systems we had been assigned to survey and co-opt for the use of mankind. I brought up a detailed dimensional rendering on my command sphere. It was a green and blue world, perfect in every way except for one detail: it was inhabited. I watched the world spin and saw the tiny dots of machinery orbiting the world; this species had already taken its first few steps into space and might even have the technology available to detect the monstrous craft that had appeared in their system.
Not that I was worried that the aliens could actually do anything to stop us. The ship that I currently commanded was the most advanced piece of equipment ever seen in the galaxy. It was a 125 kilometer long arrow-head shaped craft that carried weapons capable of destroying a world in seconds. The ship was controlled by a Cy-Comp; a synthetically grown, biological mind that processed and governed every action the ship took. The twenty-two thousand crew and family on the ship served primarily as a comforting reminder of humanity's reach to the masses back home. It was this Cy-Comp that would scan systems for suitable worlds and mark them for my attention.
The days of ship-to-ship engagement were long over; advances in technology had allowed human vessels to engage any potential enemy from light years away if necessary. Bullets, lasers, missiles, even the vaunted dimensional shifter had all been rendered obsolete in the newest wave of human weapon technology. The bio-tech signal allowed a human vessel capable of rendering any foreign construct inoperable in a matter of seconds. Official Oligarchy protocol, however, dictated that any engagement should be initiated inside the same system in order to allow a ship's Cy-Comp to record the event as accurately as possible.
Besides, humanity had only ever encountered one alien race that had been a military threat and that had been dealt with once the major pre-Oligarchy civilization of the time had discovered the power of dimensional shifting. According to the records of that era, the entire race had been simply shunted into another phase of reality, never to be seen again and leaving the galactic arm ripe for human expansion.
It was ironic that our pre-historic ancestors had spent so much effort to prove that they were not alone in the universe only to have their descendants work just as hard to ensure that humanity was the only sentient life left.
I motioned to my second in command who immediately used his mind-link with the ship to spin up the terraformers. On the outside of the craft three, kilometer-long drones detached from the ship and headed towards the planet our Cy-Comp had officially cataloged as Gemini-03e. Gemini was (of course) the name of the ship while the 03e referred to the type and number of the world recorded. In this case, the planet was found by the Gemini and was the third Eden class world ever found.
I watched on the command sphere as the drones began to unleash their payloads onto the impotent forces of the planet's native race. Each drone began by broadcasting a living digital infection that would destroy any type of advanced device that could possibly exist. As I watched the sphere I could see the web of lights that indicated cities slowly disappear. The drones then began dispensing millions of tiny canisters that held the a viral agent that would break down all biological matter into a "soup" before forcing it to evolve into an Earth-like ecosystem.
As of 1421 Earth standard time, the native species of Gemini-03e ceased to exist. The images beamed back by the drones showed a melting landscape wracked by super storms caused by the massive ecological trauma the world was undergoing. Once the storms subsided, the virus would begin the decade long process of transforming into a planet suitable for colonization.
Aside from the marker drone left in orbit to guide in colony ships, no further action was needed. I turned back to the sphere and brought the image out to encompass the survey area I had been assigned; the Cy-Comp had already designated two other potential systems for terraforming. I directed the ship to the nearest world then spent a brief moment examining the latest population density updates from the Oligarchy command net; 235 trillion people needed a home.