Dr. Tiafosa Grainger is the modern day poster girl for Xenoarcheology, but it wasn’t always that way. The third child of Martian colonists, Tiafosa was a precocious girl who tricked her way onto a deep space freighter at the age of 14, desperate to see the stars. She was eventually kicked off on one of the new human colonies at Illias IV and found work as a labourer at one of the archeological dig sites surrounding the main city. This odd job started her obsession with all things alien.
She graduated from dogsbody to working in the digs themselves, under a fusty old Professor from Earth. Despite growing up in the brawn-building gravity of Mars, Tia had a gentle touch and soon became the professor’s go-to person for brush work before graduating to become his assistant. This arrangement lasted for four years, at which point the 20-year old apprentice helped discover the largest building of ancient design yet buried beneath a landslide.
Annoyed by this young upstart – who was pretty enough to have gained the attention of other experts in the field – Tia’s professor cut her off, using his influence to kick her off the dig site and sully the name she’d made for herself. Unperturbed, young Grainger used her saved funds to buy a trip back to Sol and entry to a fine University.
The venerable Universities had yet to embrace Xenoarchaeology as a subject, but the new and ambitious academy on Deimos decided gave her a place on their accelerated development programme. She studied and worked and lectured for ten years, publishing excerpts of her experience and her interpretations. Her views and insights went against convention, causing many of the established authorities to shun her as at best naive and at worst a con artist. Passionate by nature, Tia used her remaining funding to charter a ship to go out and claim her evidence.
She gambled on a vital piece of information: an interpretation of an ancient text which she believed pointed to a binary star bordering on Vonn space. Her old professor had profusely disagreed with her interpretation and she had told noone else. She sunk her life savings into a trip to reach this binary system, at which point the live link she kept up with her university went dead.
The establishment scoffed at her death, her proponents mourned her passing. Six months later her mission was all but forgotten. So when a contact with no IFF approached Mars orbit she was the last person the Navy expected to step out of the battered old freighter. It transpires that the unique orbits of the binary star she’d headed too and scrambled their systems, forcing them to make an emergency landing on the nearest planet. Where she had found a giant alien building, in tact and preserved by layers of ice. She spent the months it took the make the ship spaceworthy again cataloguing the scripture adorning the structures walls and floors. When revealed to the world at large, it was enough to prove that her interpretation was valid and not only rescue her reputation but shift the paradigm of the entire discipline, too.