By Gregg Giles
On The Trail To An Answer
To date, there have been seven major core expeditions organized and conducted by the Supreme Council. The first expedition was long under way even before the first Imperium reached its greatest size, and before the Terrans ever left their planet (by themselves) for space.
Each subsequent expedition has driven further and further into space. It wasnít uncommon for the voyages to last as long as 50 years, and many that set out on them would mature and grow old inside of a starship hull. One could effectively leave as an infant and return as an old man. Some didnít return at all, either because of choice or because their physical condition didnít permit it.
The sixth expedition reached out as far as the Sixth Rift and left behind several small settlements in the Shakl and Sixth Rift megasectors. The plan was to use these settlements as the base for the next expedition. When the seventh expedition did occur, it crossed the great Sixth Rift, but it then failed to cross a minor rift only 48 parsecs wide. The expedition armadaís command was split by a failing desire to traverse the rift completely. (The eighth expedition is different from the previous seven in that it has a single commander to make all final decisions, prohibiting any more expensive mistakes, such as the one of the seventh expedition).
Every expedition has left behind colonies and settlements, some which have failed, and some which still survive. The first two expeditions populated regions of the Zdiedeiant and Driasera sectors, which are now part of the Consulate. The further away from the supply of goods and materials that a colony is, the less likely it is to succeed (this is a fact that is all too familiar to military commanders and their forces. The will to conquer may be there, but without supplies, a will is useless). This is why expeditions can go 1,000 parsecs and only leave behind stable colonies within the first few hundred parsecs. There are, however, a few exceptions.