The repetitive malfunction of auto-pilots aboard various ships traveling within the Luyten 97-12 system(1,-2,0) lead to an investigation by Federal authorities.
Inquisitive astro-physical scientists discovered the source of the auto- pilot malfunctions could be traced to strange waves of temporal displacement radiating through the L97-12 system and centered on planet number eight (P8).
Attempts to land on and explore P8 (a frozen Earth-sized world with a thin but dense atmosphere) proved both dangerous and mysterious. Dangerous - since many ships trying to land, crashed and exploded (P8's gravity seemingly way out of spec. with its mass). The few that somehow made it down (by slick maneuvers of the main motors) became marooned on the surface after landing rough... there comm-links and radar-mapped life signs going dead within hours of touch down.
What proved exceedingly mysterious was that some ships headed for the planet simply disappeared off the scanner. Gone. At first, scientists suspected perhaps the existence of a black hole of some sort - but that was not the case. Then word came through the GCC (the Galactic Communications Consortium), that the disappeared and presumed lost ships were sending messages utilizing their FDL computers with the TSST (Temporal Sub Space Transceiver) active.
The GCC was receiving these transmissions from within sub-space with no exit carrier vector. Indeed, the signals were being generated totally from within sub-space, meaning that somehow - these vessels had crossed over into a type of extra-dimensional reality. The pilots reported being on a strange "P8-like" frozen world, but also quite different. For example, P8's surface from this reality seems rather smooth with only an occasional crater and mountain. Yet, in their reality, P8 has an odd ice-crystal faceted look. While their ships were undamaged, they found they could no longer achieve orbital speeds or even take-off in the traditional vertical fashion.
Federal officials, now assembled at Fort Schmidt in the L97-12 system, dispatched a rescue mission to P8 comprising of several Lynx bulk carriers packed with many automated drone lifter ships fitted out with temporal sub space inter-plexing beacons. By launching a series of the drones towards P8 they were able to discover the location and timing of the extra-dimensional gateway, thus gaining access. It was also ascertained that this new reality was in fact located in a phased component of the temporal continium once called "witch-space" - a stabilized sector of hyperspace, in the past used by Thargoid attack crusiers.
Next, several voluntarily manned supply and support vessels were sent through the gateway to fortify and sustain those individuals on P8 in its alternate reality. More transmissions continued to be received by the GCC that told of happenings on "New P8". A base has been established and exploration of the world has commenced. Pilots reported that they have had to retro-modify their craft back to older style "Elite Plus" type helm controls to achieve controlled flight above the strange world; altering their engines and flight envelopes to perform "Planetside" ...as they coined the term; meaning similar to how standard aircraft respond in dense planetary atmospheres.
In the coming weeks, survey teams on New P8 began to report the detection of naturally occurring ultra high energy mineral deposits of a previously unknown elemental and molecular composition. Geologists and engineers were sent through the gateway to evaluate the material. It was found that with little processing, the crystalline mineral (named Zatinite - after Cmdr. Zat Solo, the leader of the first survey team to detect the substance) contained approximately 5000 times more energy per weight, than an equal amount of standard military fuel. This discovery changed everything...
A spacecraft using such a fuel would have much more hull space for cargo, shields, and weapons. Indeed, large ships and military class vessels could perhaps carry banks of large plasma accelerators - a truly frightening thought.
Soon, spies in the Federal government leaked word of new fuel source to Imperial leaders on Achenar. A variety of corporations also got the "heads-up" on Zatinite. To date, several illegal entries through the extra-dimensional gateway at L97-12(8) have already been logged by Federal authorities. The race is on for the development and control of New P8... and exploitation of a mineral that could change the balance of power in the known galaxy - and beyond.