Name: Europa Nova
Location: Unknown; dense stellar cluster presumed to be in the local arm of the Milky Way
Atmosphere: Highly saline water
Body Type: Ice-crusted oceanic moon
The Pandora Gate on Europa Nova is lodged at the bottom of a subsurface ocean on a moon orbiting a Jovian-scale gas giant; the planet itself orbits a F-type star that sits close to being considered an A-type, still young enough that ragged wisps of the nursery nebula can be seen tattered in nearby space. It’s hard to get an accurate fix on where the system is due to the density of the stars in local space; nearly two dozen crowd the area, their ambient noise on various spectra drowning out quieter signals from outside.
Only a few people are trying to get a fix on the system’s location, anyway. Most of the explorers and would-be colonists from Europa Nova are much more interested in the ocean the Gate is in than the space beyond the crust. A biosphere of sorts exists, but in such a young state that xenobiologists are frantic to get access and study the beginning of life on an alien world. Little more than simple chemosynthetic cells have been found, mostly in thick mats around the volcanic fissures in the rocky crust, with a few mutant free-floating clusters that strain nutrients from the water and burn them in oxides reactions.
Of somewhat greater interest to transhumanity at large are the sizable deposits of rare elements, including uranium and other radioactives. As such, there’s a strong segment of the hypercorps that wants to get access to Europa Nova to mine it bare, something that alarms the scientific community immensely. Thus far, the hypercorps are held at bay by the fact that only the original Pandora Gate seems to have access to the system. As it is, there’s an effort to fortify the Europa Nova Gate against potential invasions, with time and resources donated from various members of the @-rep community.
So far there’s not much interest from the conspiracies that weave through humanity, but the Factors seem to have taken a keen interest in news about Europa Nova, although they don’t go out of their way to advertise it. Still, it’s a fair bet that if you offer information about the moon that they haven’t heard in a negotiation, they’ll come back with a more favorable offer than you might expect otherwise. Just don’t try to bluff them; one negotiator was returned as just a cortical stack, with ‘offensive behavior’ cited as the reason the morph was missing. He had to be reinstantiated from backup, as the ego in the stack had apparently been engulfed and digested alive.
As to what the Factors are interested in… Some think the Factor home system is somewhere in space near it, or that the moon’s primitive ecosystem has something in common with the Factors themselves. Rumors abound among those aware of Europa Nova and the alien interest, and none of it can be substantiated. One thing that’s certain is that they’re very interested in biological data from the early life; one particular rumor suggests that they’ve anonymously donated a fairly significant amount of resources to the effort to fortify the Gate there.
No one, so far, has asked why a Pandora Gate is on such a young moon, underneath the ice and apparently just fetched up in the initial ravine where it was found.