The Shattered Ring
Artifacts from Before
Although the ancestor civilisation known as The First is now vanished, their legacy is scattered throughout the cluster. Artefacts are often puzzling in nature, and can defy the laws of physics as currently understood.
Without doubt the most incredible monument to The First’s ambition and ability is the Sundered Ring, originally meant as an immense, solar-system spanning structure capable of supporting the population of a million worlds on its surface.
The ring now lies in shattered ruins, with only one fragment still retaining an atmosphere and functioning biosphere. No-one knows why or even how the Ring was broken, but it appears it was never finished in the first place.
Babylon is a beautiful garden world, but scattered everywhere on and under its surface are the cities of The First. Unlike most of the Sundered Ring, the cities appear fully functional, overgrown by the flora of Babylon but otherwise untouched by time.
However, only the most foolhardy or adventurous of explorers will venture into the crystal halls and palaces, because the cities are haunted. Scientists believe that unexplained machinery still works to keep the cities intact, and this explains the phenomena experienced by those who return. More poetic souls maintain that the ghosts of the dead First still guard their most beautiful creations.
Originally discovered by explorers from other worlds in the cluster, Turbine was colonised to exploit its reserves of metallic hydrogen fuel. This is only possible due to the tiny ships discovered in the gas giant’s atmosphere, ships that apparently defy gravity to hang in the upper atmosphere of Turbine and follow apparently meaningless courses through its layers.
Since their discovery entire cities have been built on these minuscule ships, who bear the additional weight without apparent effort. Access to the cores themselves is highly restricted, being controlled by a quasi-religious order called the Knowing, and so they are poorly studied by scholars and archaeologists.
The gas torus of Crescent is a dense pocket of breathable atmosphere situated between two large co-orbiting planets. Although no artefacts of The First have yet been found in the system, the chances of such a bizarre and unstable – yet habitable – place coming into existence naturally are thought to be millions to one against.
Tellingly Crescent seems to be an unstable system – there are indications that it will not be able to maintain it’s currently habitable state in the future unless intervention of some kind is undertaken.
Atlantis is a massive starship containing multiple bio-habitat domes that wanders it’s home system, seeking resources to keep the population supplied. No-one knows what controls it, but the ship’s systems are continually maintained by multiple robotic devices that simply ignore the people they encounter.
While having artificial gravity like the Prometheus Ring fragment, Atlantis otherwise seems to use more primitive technologies – in particular there is no indication of nanotechnology at work on board.