- The Omega Dig
The world classified as Egaria Omega is one of seventy-two catalogued stellar bodies in the Egaria Abundus/12 system. The system’s star is old, its light weak and its biosphere extends only half an Astronomical Unit. The system hosts six main bodies—two barren rocks, two gas giants and two that are little more than large chunks of ice. The first five bodies from the star have no satellites at all, but Egaria Abundus/12f, the outermost world, has an incredible sixty-six, leading astronomers to posit that Abundus/12f ’s gravity captured the satellites blown from the orbit of their original hosts in some ancient stellar upheaval.
Not all of these satellites orbit 12f itself; many are secondary bodies orbiting the world’s own satellites, creating a complex sub-system out on the system’s edge. Moons orbit moons in an incredibly complex stellar ballet, making passage between them unpredictable and dangerous as tidal forces radically re-align with the ever-shifting configurations of the satellites. While 12f itself is uninhabitable, at least five its moons are thought to harbour a breathable atmosphere. The remainder have too weak a gravity to sustain their own atmospheres, and any gases exuded from these bodies are soon stolen away by their larger siblings.
The sheer unpredictable nature of this system-within-a system is one of the main reasons its bodies remain all but unknown. Capital vessels are in danger if they linger too long within the Abundus/12f sub-system, meaning that expeditions to any of the satellites must be conducted by long-range reconnaissance in smaller, more nimble vessels. It is unknown how many ships have floundered amongst the complex tides of Abundus/12f, for a vessel can be becalmed in an instant as it is locked in the gravity neutral “Lagrange point” between several bodies, and then expelled violently the next as another mass exerts its capricious influence.
Egaria Omega is the only world within the system known to have been the target of sustained exploration, possibly because it is the largest of 12f ’s unruly children and has a breathable atmosphere. In common with most of the dead worlds of the Egarian Dominion, Egaria Omega is an arid, windswept planet, the majority of its surface dominated by wind-scoured plains and twisted mountain ranges. The skies are choked with airborne dust, which gathers in vast storms that make much of the surface perilous to explore at best, and impossible to survive in without a sturdy survival suit at worst. With so many bodies soaring through its skies, there is no easily predicted day/night cycle on Egaria Omega. Even when the system’s star is high in the sky, it is eclipsed several times a day, and when it is not, its light reflects from dozens of the smaller bodies, casting moving shadows across the moonlit night.
The world falls under the Writ of Claim of the Winterscale domains, but that has not stopped numerous parties attempting to exploit the riches that many claim lays waiting beneath its wastes to be taken by those bold enough to penetrate its dangers.
Over the centuries, countless adventurers have lost their lives on Egaria Omega, drawn there by the lure of the Cold Trade. Few have ever returned, and those that have rant and rave about voices on the storm, their every waking moment haunted by the dreams of a long dead xenos race. Very few descriptions of the world are to be found, and certainly none of them are reliable, meaning that any expedition seeking to gain a foothold on Egaria Omega will be forced to rely upon its own resources, or else heed the words of madmen.
Aside from the sheer danger of the place, the only thing that accounts seem to agree upon is the fact that an Egarian maze city is to be found upon the world, situated atop a wide, tall plateau that straddles Egaria Omega’s equator. Descriptions of this place tell of gleaming white slabs of an unknown rock rearing from the dust clouds, with but a single entrance leading inside. Of the city’s interior, no reliable accounts exist at all, for those few to have emerged from that portal have been blasted of their sanity.