Sector: Rimward Expansion Zone (a.k.a. The Free Colonies)
At first glace, Gorgon-3 would seem to be an unremarkable rocky moon orbiting the gas giant Gorgon at the edge of the area of space loosely claimed by the Free Colonies. However, underneath its barren, airless surface is a system of tunnels carved out nearly half a million years ago by a long-dead (it’s assumed) alien race. The species was obviously in the process of strip-mining a number of precious resources when, for reasons unknown, they vanished.
Humans have taken over where the species only known as the Diggers left off. The mines produce beryl and neutronium, which can usually only be found, theoretically, in the heart of neutron stars. Gorgon-3, though only about 2,170 miles in diameter, has a mass of slightly more than the earth. One of the current scientific theories is that Gorgon-3 formed from material created by a neutron star and was later captured by the gas giant as it wandered through the universe. The material creating the moon is not native to the rest of the Muspellheim solar system, and contains many substances not known to exist anywhere else (though most are not as useful as neutronium).
Gorgon-3 was originally noted for the unusual amount of pull it exerted on Gorgon, and further investigations led to the discovery of the old mines. A special type of gem forms from the beryl and neutronium which has very unique properties that make it exceptionally useful for laser weapons and communications. These “harmonic resonance crystals” and the neutronium in Gorgon-3’s crust have led to the small moon becoming a major player in the affairs of the Free Colonies, and mankind as a whole.
The planet is run by the Gorgon-3 Mining Guild, which distributes mining contracts. The Guildmasters are rich beyond imagining, both from the materials mined from the moon, and from ancient artifacts discovered in its surface. However, they struggle to control piracy and smuggling of materials from the moon, and rely heavily on the Guardsman Interstellar Security Service for off-world law enforcement. Their own planetside Mining Magistrates are somewhat ruthless law enforcement officials that struggle with corruption and are used nearly as frequently to keep dissatisfied miners in line as they are to protect against criminal activity.
The planet is also home to the
second largest branch of the Pre-Human Extraterrestrial Research Institute
(PHERI), which is based on
The population is concentrated into cities built in four massive underground chasms. Most residents are miners who are heavily overworked. Gorgon-3 is always looking for more miners, and has become a magnet for those who are down on their luck and who don’t mind the prospect of grueling work. Smart miners do a rotation or two (one mining rotation is two years) and then save their money to purchase a small business, ship or homestead elsewhere and chase their dreams. The hard work can pay off in the long run, with retired miners able to live pretty well in many cases. However, to entertain the miners, the planet has gambling establishments, bars and vices aplenty, and many miners who intend to save never seem to get out of the financial hole they dig themselves into.
Several attempts to completely automate the mining process have failed, but the miners are the best-equipped in known space.
Population: 17 million
Controlling Clans: Order of Voltaire and the Proletarans
Diameter: 2,174 miles (3,500 km)
Atmosphere: None. Large atmospheric and pressure generators originally built by the Diggers maintain an earth-like environment in the moon’s tunnels.
Gravity: 1.22 G
Calendar: Almost meaningless here. The moon rotates completely once every 103 hours, and completes an orbit around Gorgon once every four months. About six weeks of that time period it is completely blocked from the system’s primary. However, since the entire operation is underground, the moon runs on Human Standard Time (based on Zulu or Greenwich Mean Time from planet earth, meaning Gorgon-3 operates as though it has a 24-hour day).
Satellites: None except a few small communications satellites and a small servicing station for mining ships (think of a big “truck stop” in space for star freighters) known as “Aphrodite.” The station processes Helium-3 harvested from Gorgon for fuel and is an independent operation.
Defense Assets: The GISS has assigned two Stalwart Heavy Cruisers,
two Accipiter Patrol Frigates and four Holstein Pinnaces to the Muspellheim
star system, which has four other planets (three lifeless rocky terrestrial
worlds and one large blue gas giant, similar to
Note: Gorgon has five other moons, but only two are of significant size. None are remarkable.