Planets and Locations
The Heleus Cluster contains many habitable worlds and other points of interest for the Pathfinder to explore.
The planet known as Habitat 7 was one of the 'golden worlds' selected by the Andromeda Initiative for early settlement. Signs pointed to a lush and biologically diverse tropical region that could easily support an outpost.
With no communications from the Nexus or sister arks upon arrival in the Heleus Cluster, the Hyperion approached Habitat 7 to begin survey and settlement operations as soon as possible, but even visual assessments showed that the planet was no longer viable. Habitat 7 is now a storm-wracked world with an unbreathable argon-nitrogen atmosphere. Intense magnetic activity in unknown metallic elements interacts with the storms, causing interesting but highly destructive electrical phenomena.
The investigating Pathfinder team encountered hostile alien life and strange technology on the surface. Reactivating this technology caused a noticeable change in the conditions on Habitat 7. However, the planet is still unsuitable for settlement, and the resulting activation ultimately claimed the life of Alec Ryder, the human Pathfinder.
Elaaden is the scorching desert moon of a gas giant. Identified on Initiative charts as Habitat 2, Elaaden was considered a •golden world,' despite its harsh conditions, because of the moon's vast mineral wealth. Tidal gravitational effects cause plumes of sodium silicate to erupt from Elaaden's core, depositing unusually pure silicon sand across the surface—invaluable for manufacturing high-performance computer hardware.
Orbital surveys show that contrary to projections, Elaaden is almost devoid of water vapor, making long-term settlement or mining efforts unlikely. Those who live on Elaaden face a constant struggle for survival. Able to thrive in environments that would kill most organic species in days, the krogan who departed the Nexus have established a colony on Elaaden and defend their sovereignty fiercely. The Nexus advises travelers to avoid Elaaden if possible.
The activated Remnant vault has increased the presence of cloud-forming particulates in Elaaden's sky. Though the moon is still brutally hot, moisture levels have noticeably risen, increasing ambient humidity and the likelihood of rain. The Nexus scientists advise that the inhabitants of Elaaden, once starved for water, should prepare for flash floods.
As Jaal explains, Havarl is considered the ancestral home of the angara. The ruins of angaran cities are a draw for researchers and angara who defy the kett to make pilgrimage. The planets history also makes it a symbolic staging ground for the ruthlessly xenophobic Roekaar.
Long-range surveys by the Andromeda Initiative indicated Havarl was a garden world of lush green jungles and abundant liquid water. The planet was considered a 'golden world,' and given the label Habitat 3.
Our observations today show Havarl is unrecognizable. The jungles now dominate much of the planet's surface, demonstrating bizarre growth patterns. Samples show grotesque mutations and hormonal changes in the (Text missing)
The Scourge is the colloquial term for a huge and extremely dangerous interstellar phenomenon sighted across much of the Heleus Cluster. It appears to be a cloud spreading in 'tendrils' that affect planets and surrounding space, destroying starships that attempt to pass through or near it.
Observations and data from the Nexus now show the Scourge's 'tendrils' are composed of radioactive, element zero-rich dust and debris. Within these tendrils thousands of microscopic and unstable warps in space-time are constantly erupting.
These unpredictable distortions build up a charge in the eezo, causing uncontrolled mass effects that alter gravity and can rip a starship apart without warning. The Scourge's presence also affects nearby planets, raining down radioactive fallout and debris, or even altering the orbit of worlds that pass through or near it.
The Scourge is aggressively drawn to Remnant structures on planets though the cause of the attraction is not yet fully understood. This manifests as further 'tendrils' of dust and radioactive particulates that cling to the surface of Remnant technology and interfere with its operations. Either this matter was left behind after the planet in question passed through the Scourge itself, or even distant interactions with Remnant technology can cause the Scourge to coalesce spontaneously. In either case. even this minor manifestation of the Scourge demands additional caution when approaching Remnant sites.
No long-range data showed any sign of the Scourge before departure to the Heleus Cluster. Nexus scientists suggest it must have appeared in the intervening centuries while the arks traveled to Andromeda.
One of the Scourge's more interesting characteristics that it appears artificial. Its origin point is yet to be determined, but the pattern of the 'tendrils' and the composition of the cloud could not have been caused by any celestial event known to astrophysics. Investigations are ongoing, though slowed by the deadly conditions created by the Scourge.
Aya is an anomaly in the Heleus Cluster, a lush planet where a Remnant site appears to be active. It is a sanctuary for the angara, the only known sentient species local to Heleus, and guarded fiercely against outsiders. This is helped by Aya's position relative to Heleus' black hole, whose gravitational lensing effect makes Aya harder to detect. The Scourge also makes the approach to Aya extremely dangerous for untrained pilots. Scans indicate numerous kett wrecks lost in the Scourge nearby, picked clean by angaran salvagers.
Aya is also the headquarters of the Angaran Resistance movement against the kett whose leaders advise Aya's planetary governor, Paaran Shie. Director Tann has ordered that Aya is not only to be considered sovereign territory, but a military power. While the Tempest and its crew were allowed to visit peacefully, the Nexus is advising extreme caution to other potential visitors, and ordering the distribution of •early contact' guidelines.
With relations warming between the Initiative and the angara, diplomatic overtures continue. The Initiative is opening an embassy on Aya with Paaran Shie's approval, while extending invitations to angaran diplomats and scientists to tour the Nexus. Our Cultural Exchange is beginning several cooperative programs intended to foster better understanding between the various Milky Way species and the angara.
The Andromeda GalaxyEdit
Located 2.5 million light years from the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy is the largest galaxy in the Local Group. Also categorized as M31, Andromeda is a spiral galaxy roughly 220,000 light years in diameter, containing approximately 1 trillion stars (compared to the Milky Way's 300 billion). The Heleus Cluster is a large star cluster located on the outer fringe.
Andromeda has roughly I4 satellite galaxies which orbit the galactic disk. Evidence shows a disturbance where one of these companion galaxies, M32. passed through Andromeda's spiral arms several million years ago. Andromeda itself is also accelerating towards the Milky Way at roughly 100km/s In roughly 4 billion years, the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies will collide and merge, forming a new galactic disk.
Evidence in the Aya vault shows the network of Remnant vaults across the Heleus Cluster is controlled from a central point known as 'Meridian.' When properly connected to Meridian, the vaults function as designed, terraforming and maintaining planetary conditions to make planets suitable for life. When disconnected, the vaults appear to either go into standby—as seen on Eos— or malfunction—as may have happened on Habitat 7— with disastrous consequences for their planet.
This proves Meridian's central importance to Remnant vaults and the planets of the Heleus Cluster. Whoever controls it can theoretically affect vault function, meaning they could control—or disrupt—the ecology of entire worlds.
According to Moshae Sjefa, the Archon is aware of Meridian's location but has been unable to make use of it. This offers a new urgency to solving Meridian's mysteries.
This small planet was of particular interest to the turian contingent of the Andromeda Initiative. Long-distance studies suggested H-047c was a "golden world," eminently suitable for dextro-protein species like turians, earning it the designation Habitat 5. The turian ark Natanus set course for H-047c to ensure they would have a viable settlement site on arrival.
In the intervening centuries, astronomical studies show H-047c was pulverized by debris from the erupting Scourge. The dark energy of the phenomenon increased the mass of this debris to the point that the impact shattered the planet, leaving it uninhabitable.
With its magnetic field drastically weakened and much of its atmosphere lost, what remains intact of H-047c's surface is vulnerable to cosmic radiation. This has rendered the soil unable to support life, though it is a potential source of valuable helium-3.
Eos, designated Habitat 1, was the earliest 'golden world' identified for outpost placement. Named for the Greek goddess of dawn by Jien Garson personally, Eos embodied the hope of the Andromeda Initiative for a new start.
On arrival. the Nexus discovered that a world projected to be arid but comfortably habitable was now ravaged by radioactive fallout from the Scourge. The planet's atmosphere is wracked by storms that have spread the radiation across continents, periodic 130km/hr winds strip equipment and damage shuttles.
Reports from the Nexus include a sanitized account of two attempts to colonize the planet, both of which ended in failure and an unacceptable loss of life. There also a significant kett presence on Eos, apparently investigating mysterious signals on the surface. Eos is now off-limits to unauthorized Nexus personnel, as the Nexus leadership believe it's no longer viable.
Activating the vault discovered below Eos' surface has had a dramatic and immediate effect. Radioactive particles are being stripped from the atmosphere by unknown means, and the resulting temperature changes are calming Eos' high winds. The planets moisture levels are already showing improvement.
Prodromos, the first Pathfinder-established outpost, has been founded in Fairwinds Basin, with Mayor August Bradley in charge. The Nexus broadcasting footage of departing colonists and the new conditions on Eos across all communication channels.
Black Hole: H012 “Ketos”Edit
At the center of the Heleus Cluster is a black hole, a huge star that has collapsed into a region of space-time with gravitational effects so powerful that even light cannot escape. This example is believed to be a Kerr black hole approximately 12 stellar masses in size, and appears to have absorbed additional mass from nearby systems. Our scientists believe that the radiation released from the creation of the black hole may explain the abundant element zero found in Heleus.
In the Milky Way, study of black holes was still in its infancy. The forces around the event horizon typically destroy probes before they can transmit their data. This black hole presents a unique opportunity for study even at a remove.
From the Milky Way, the Initiative identified Voeld as Habitat 6, a 'golden world' projected to be a life- sustaining and temperate garden world. This is confirmed by angaran historians. Voeld was once a heavily populated and thriving angaran colony.
During the Scourge event. gravitational distortions affected orbit. Models from the Nexus tech labs show how this triggered a minor ice age. The angara were forced to withdraw to a few urban centers, with the rest of Voeld's population scattered in smaller settlements.
Voeld is therefore both culturally and strategically important to the angara, and has drawn the attention of the kett. Reports suggest a significant military presence on both sides, as the Angaran Resistance fight to defend Voeld's population and protect the ice-encased remains of their world.