|“|| Orion System|
Got a hot tip from Kyle Ben who’s braving the frontier in Vanduul territory. He saw a clan-ship on a bearing toward UEE territory. Obviously, it’s way too early to tell whether they’re on the hunt, but just a heads up. Thanks for the tip Kyle, stay safe out there.
The Orion System was first charted by a long-range UEE destroyer squadron in 2650. Low on fuel, the squadron made the transit to Orion in the hopes of collecting space-borne hydrogen off the shoals of the system’s gas giant, Orion VII. The unit ended up spending three weeks in system and producing in-depth star maps of the region.
The system was found to contain a single habitable planet (Orion III, named Armitage by the explorers), few exploitable natural resources, and no additional strategic jump points. Locating nothing out of the ordinary, the UEE gave little thought to the system for the next two decades.
Following the upheavals of the 2660s, a strong colonial movement surged through the human homeworlds as politicians began to extol the virtues of once again “reaching out for the galaxy.” Despite lacking a strong selling point, Orion was chosen for one of the dozen-odd colony programs established during that period. Ostensibly a corporate project, the UEE-backed “Project FarStar” aimed to build the most distant human colony ever established; a record for the history books rather than any sort of practical settlement. Within five years, Armitage was a bustling, if unnecessary colony. However, colonists discovered a profitable lode of precious metals (chiefly gold and platinum) in the system’s asteroid belt and began to exploit that with some success. Modular farm construction began in earnest with the goal of someday providing food for nearby systems as FarStar expanded coreward.
This all ended on August 9, 2681, when mankind’s greatest menace made their entrance: a heavily armed Vanduul raiding party struck the main post on Armitage and slaughtered the colonists there to the last man (one citizen, a farmer, remains unaccounted for). The UEE was truly taken by surprise: there had been absolutely no indication of an aggressor species in the region, and intelligence from spy networks among the Banu and the Xi’an had failed to mention the Vanduul raids those races had recently suffered. Violence on Armitage was on a scale unprecedented in recent history and it immediately captured the attention of humanity’s home worlds.
The UEE deployed research assets to the region to study the threat, ultimately determining that the Vanduul considered Armitage to be a “feeding world.” Vanduul warrior hordes seem to travel nomadically, occasionally revisiting past areas that they have identified as reservoirs of natural resources. As such, though they considered Armitage ‘their’ world, they had only set foot on it once in the previous century. They were either nonplused at finding a working human settlement on territory they used for supply … or they were overjoyed at finding a new species of prey.
Vanduul attacks continued with some frequency: in six months, outposts throughout the Orion system had been raided fifteen times and casualties among the colonists were unsustainable. Although in public, politicians were out for blood and promised an eradication of the Vanduul threat, the truth was that deploying sufficient naval units to Orion would have been a logistical nightmare. The system was too far away to extend the existing supply chain and the reward was symbolic in nature. In two years, as the public furor subsided, Armitage was officially abandoned as a human colony world. The image of UEE fighters escorting a lengthy chain of transport ships away from the system remains ingrained in many memories.
Currently, little is known about the planets Orion I and Orion II.
Orion III: Armitage
The only habitable planet in the system.
The colony on Orion III (Armitage) began life in a celebrated fashion; it was the end goal of Project Farstar, a UEE initiative aimed at expanding mankind’s reach by establishing increasingly distant colonies. To this day it remains the single farthest human world ever colonized. Earth’s most distant colony evolved peacefully for six years… until the first attack.
Armitage was, it would later be established, an occasional Vanduul feeding world. Passing clans had marked the planet as a source of fresh livestock and would occasionally return for slaughter. The violent first contact incident occured in the system and it was followed almost immediately by raids against the colony. It isn’t clear whether the Vanduul were angered by the human presence in ”their” system or if they were simply eager for new victims… but raids began immediately and only increased in frequency and ferocity. Within six months, Orion had been raided fifteen times; casualties among the colonists were atrocious.
The UEE was faced with a difficult decision: deploying the Navy to such a distant star would have been difficult and expensive without an established supply chain. Ultimately, Orion was abandoned as a formal human colony, with refugees abandoning their homes and possessions for a long transport ride back to the Empire.
Today, Orion III is a destroyed world. Shattered human settlements and the remains of occasional Vanduul encampments remain on the surface, but it has been largely depopulated and defoliated. The planet’s surface, once largely inhabitable plains, is now pockmarked with impact craters and antimatter bombardment scorching.
Orion III consists of bleak, windswept plains pockmarked with the after-affects of Vanduul antimatter bombardment weaponry: blast craters and radioactive zones. Ironically, the ferocity of their attacks completely eliminated the new-gnu herds they once hunted on the planet … which, in turn, reduced the frequency of subsequent Vanduul visits to the system. A few abandoned farm modules still stand and the skeletons of several human cities still exist in the form of wreckage overtaken by natural vegetation. Occasional Vanduul settlement sites can also be found, although there is little of interest beyond the curiosity implicit in standing where one of mankind’s deadliest enemies once cooked dinner.
Currently, little is known about the planets Orion IV, V and VI
Gas giant containing hydrogen.
There are few reasons to visit Orion today; the system is still in the distant reaches of space and offers no export… thrill seekers and anyone hoping to test their mettle against the Vanduul only.
Why visit Orion? The simplest answer is that there is absolutely no practical reason to visit the Orion system or land on Armitage itself. The planet is home to a small settlement of humans. Living underground, they are the descendants of colonists who refused to leave when the UEE vacated. A hardy people, they are extremely insular and self-sufficient; they have little regard for the Empire and almost no interest in trading.
Often forgotten is the fact that Orion is also the abandoned doorstep to the galaxy beyond known space. Astrophysicists predict that there are at least two unexplored jump points in the system and they believe that these in turn snake core-ward to regions now abandoned as human expansion has waned. As it is impossible to qualify the unknown, there is no way to promise that lucrative jump points or interesting galactic features lie beyond Orion … but if they’re anywhere, it is certainly one of the best places to start. With the proviso, that is, that a jump point on the far side of the Orion System is just as likely to lead you to more Vanduul forces as it is to unearth untold treasures.
Since the planet is abandoned, there is little to no economic interest in the Orion system.
It is possible to sell basic substance items, but without a great deal of markup. Luxury goods are worthless here and nothing is available for sale. Deposits of gold and platinum can still be located in the asteroid belt, but prospecting them is time consuming and transporting goods so far from the core worlds is a daunting logistical task.