The Croatoan Incident took place sometime in the late 73rd Solar Century. It involved the Pathfinder Ship Pegasus, a star system that was believed to be the site of the ancient Commonwealth colony of Croatoan (but actually wasn't), and a polymorphic entity.
Pegasus departed for Croatoan after departing Fallon colony. Commander Keeler ordered the ship set on a course for Croatoan colony, whose coordinates had been determined using an ancient Navigational Core the ship's crew had found two years earlier. Instead, Navigator Eliza Jane Change surreptitiously guided the ship to an uncharted star system, in order that the ship would be on course for the Gethsemane system afterward. She felt an imperative to "save the children at Gethsemane," although she did not know at the time what that meant. Only two others on the ship were aware of the diversion; Lt. Navigator Atlantic and Flight CaptainMatthew Driver.
The system they arrived at was described as four barren rocky planets and a vast field of dust and debris, orbiting an ancient red dwarf star. According to astro-cartography, the star was over 11 billion years old, making it one of the oldest in the galaxy and possibly the universe.
What happened after they arrived is uncertain. What is known is that:
- Whatever it was was so humiliating or embarrassing to the crew that Commander Keeler ordered all records of the event purged from the ship's logs. (Book 11 - Charlemagne)
- The crew were loathe to even bring up the subject of what happened at Croatoan. (Book 11 - Charlemagne)
- It involved a polymorphic lifeform (Book 09 - Gethsemane)