Gatecrasher’s Almanac #15

Name: Haboob

Location: 6500 ly edgeward of Sol

Atmosphere: Anoxic nitrogen mix with high amount of greenhouse gas

Gravity: 1.05G

Body Type: Terrestrial

Haboob is a world that, not long ago, was likely a comfortable planet well worth considering for colonization; now, however, the planet’s temperature have soared enough that huge stretches of the available land are becoming desert, with frequent massive dust storms that have given the planet its name. Several groups have established research bases around the original gate, while TerraGenesis hold sole control over the second gate found a few months after arrival.

Haboob is a planet that has become a victim of oceanic overturn; events in the last few hundred years disturbed buried reserves of methane clathrates, causing their release into the ocean and, from there, into the atmosphere. The result has been an atmosphere depleted of oxygen and enriched with large amounts of greenhouse gas, baking the planet in a sudden oven. The original ecology has experienced a massive die-off, with some of the original species clinging to life near the poles and mountain peaks, but even the most generous estimates put the extinction rate at 95% or higher.

As such, most of the research teams on Haboob are funded by reclaimers and nanoecologists, with the terraforming hypercorps fielding their own private teams. Roughly a dozen small research bases have been set up within a five-kilometer radius of the first gate, which connect to Sol by way of Portal; the second gate, located a little over a thousand kilometers away at the base of some upthrust mountains, is firmly in the hands of TerraGenesis and connects to both the Vulcan and Martian gates.

Most of the groups are focused on experiments to engineer the dried-out and dusty soil to make it more arable again, modifying both the remaining native plantlife and genetics lines from Earth to tolerate the conditions, and projects to reduce the greenhouse gas levels and bump up the oxygen in the atmosphere to make it more habitable. Each group would greatly prefer if the others went away and quit skewing their results, and at least two – a group funded by anarchist-capitalist reclaimers and a team from a small genetic engineering hypercorp – are quietly looking for people back at Portal willing to act as ecoterrorists and saboteurs for them.

Unknown to the groups at either gate, there’s a third gate location, currently in the hands of Project Ozma and extremely well-guarded by what appear to be Oversight personnel, located halfway around the planet and hidden inside an artificial mountain. The Ozma team has been here nearly a year longer than anyone else, and has been using their base of operations to conduct studies in several pieces of exotic technology found in other systems; the arrival of other transhumans has forced them to curtail some of their more extravagant studies. This included the wholesale scorched-earth removal of a fifty-kilometer-wide area where an alien artifact had been allowed to begin producing high-yield solar collection arrays to feed itself power.

Firewall remains unaware of Ozma’s involvement on Haboob, and at present is only monitoring the research that comes from the teams present; the proxy the planet is assigned to is looking into slipping sentinels into the saboteur recruitment teams in case something does come up. The discovery of the remnants of Ozma’s cleanup actions would certainly warrant something coming up, as glassy craters generally don’t form naturally.

Unknown to anyone, even Ozma, is the presence of benthic colony ruins along the ocean floor; shattered during the upheaval that unleashed the clathrates into the atmosphere, little enough remains of them to investigate save for the presence of skeletal remains similar to those found on Niflheim. Unfortunately, the corrosive effect of the ocean water and the previously sealed and sterile state of the domes makes it difficult for anyone wanting to determine how old the ruins are. What remains, however, is enough to help start filling in the culture and technology of this strange race and will certainly allow for massive rewards of both credits and rep for anyone who can find and recover relics.

The two moons of Haboob have no signs of occupation or modification, but both are captured bodies fairly rich with radioactive elements that might be worth setting up a mining base to acquire; the difficulty of getting the refined products down and safely through the gates is the main hurdle here.

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Gatecrasher’s Almanac #15

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