Name: Grey (Feld’s Apocalypse)
Location: Orbiting a red dwarf somewhere in the Sagittarius Arm
Atmosphere: None on the moon where the gate is; nitrogen/carbon dioxide mix on the planet it orbits, saturated with nanotechnology
Gravity: 0.09G (moon) | 0.87G (planet)
Body Type: Barren moon | Nanotech Apocalypse
Grey is the designated name for the planet that the moon the Pandora Gate is on orbits around, dubbed so for the mostly-uniform grey color of the planet, save for a nearly black circle that travels travels around the planet to remain in full sunlight. The nickname, Feld’s Apocalypse, came about as a result of one member of the first team to discover the gate setting launching a probe from the moon to the planet to see if ze could figure out why it was such a flat color.
The probe lasted roughly a minute after entering the atmosphere; as soon as it hit the stratosphere it began to experience failures as it hit clouds of disassembler nanites that tore it apart. Feld officially noted it down as a ‘maximum security risk grey goo disaster’, but the XP zir companions leaked plainly catch zir shouting “It’s a fucking grey goo apocalypse down there! Pack up, we’re out!”
Since then, only limited survey crews have come through the gate to this system, most of them simply setting up remote observation satellites and early warning systems set to destroy the moon and hopefully hurl the gate out of planetary orbit if the swarms show any signs of escaping the planet’s gravity well. More recently, nanoecologist groups, weapon development initiatives, and reclaimer organizations have booked gate time here.
The nanoecologists have placed a network of high-definition surveillance satellites in geostationary orbit around the globe, keeping watch for signs of change or evolution in the goo. So far, they have nothing solid, just vague hints that the goo has differentiated in unknown ways. They’ve kept a strict hands-off policy in their research, not wanting to impact the evolution of the machinery below. They were the ones who determined that the Great Black Spot is the nanite swarms reconfiguring into solar collectors as the sun nears zenith, then changing back into their regular state as it moves out of optimum alignment.
The weapon development groups tend to come in two flavors – ones who have long-range weaponry that they’re testing in hopes of getting something that might interest reclaimers and TITAN busters alike, and the ones who drop devices into the atmosphere to see if their designs survive to reach the surface and possibly do some damage. So far, neither type has had much success, to the relief of the nanoecologists, although there’s talk by one group of building a mass driver elsewhere to fire through the gate toward the planet. That one’s got pretty much everyone alarmed.
The reclaimer groups are the most alarming, or would be if anyone knew what they were up to. They’e brought samples of captured TITAN technology through the gate, disguised as other things, with plans to drop them into the grey goo to see if the goo can tear apart the TITAN devices; the logic of the reclaimer initiatives involved is that it’s better to have to reclaim the Earth from a sea of dumb goo than a sea of terrifyingly intelligent goo. They’re studiously ignoring that the TITAN tech may infect the grey goo below and set off another Fall event.
As to the source of the grey goo disaster… Well, that’s likely never going to be solved, since whoever caused the disaster likely got eaten by it.