Galactic Guide: Horus
The Horus System is best known for two things: its two jumps into the Xi’An Empire and Serling, a tidally locked planet with one of the most unique human habitations in the universe. For years, Horus’ connection to the Xi’An Empire made it a part of the Perry Line, a string of noman’s-land systems that provided a buffer between the species, a status that cut off any public access or private development to the system. Now those connections are its biggest asset, making the system an intriguing prospect for those interested in doing business with the Xi’An.
Horus was officially discovered in 2528 by a then-unknown navjumper named Marie Sante. Legend claims that the system was actually discovered several years earlier by the fourteen-year-old Sante after she stole a ship to flee her family in Gonn. If true, she must have spent the majority of the intervening years in the unclaimed system, alone on her ship, as extensive checks of UPE records and landing registries have failed to uncover her name anywhere during that period of time.
The UPE’s first official record of Sante was her application to register the discovery of the Horus System, which she, maybe tellingly, requested be named after her ship.
Included in her initial application were meticulous documents describing the system’s three planets and two asteroid belts. Apparently, Sante had spent years alone in the system exploring before she finally decided to share her find. This resulted in Horus being the only system to have been discovered and have all of its celestial bodies charted by the same person.
Sante’s single-minded interest in uncovering all Horus had to offer was both her greatest strength and her ultimate downfall. In 2530, only two years after Horus’ registration, Humanity first encountered the Xi’An, and tensions only escalated from there. Meanwhile, as public and private interests established operations in Horus, Sante stuck to its outer reaches, singularly focused on the areas she had yet to explore. In 2542, Sante discovered the jump from Horus to the Rihlah System. To this day, historians debate whether Sante understood how reporting Horus’ connection to Xi’An territory would drastically alter the system’s future.
At that time, the jump to Rihlah made Horus a security risk for the UPE. The government closed the system to non-military personnel, receiving little resistance from the small group of civilians that had begun to settle on the fledgling planet of Serling. Only Marie Sante defied the order. She hid in the system’s outer reaches and managed to remain undetected until a Navy pilot reported an unauthorized ship in his sector. A battle group was mobilized only to realize that the ship had been Sante’s. With the false alarm wasting many hours and credits, the military prioritized pushing Sante out of the system.
To this day, no one is certain of what fate befell Marie Sante. The last record of her comes from a recovered info-beacon containing her journals. The final entry was dated 10.1.2545. In it she expresses her belief that Horus had more secrets to uncover, which proved true with the discovery of a jump into the Xi’An controlled Kayfa System in 2617. Her final entry ended with “Horus is the only home I’ve ever had. I shared the world and they took it from me. Let’s just say I’ll never make that mistake again.” With those final words, Sante was never heard from or seen again.
To this day some believe Sante spent her remaining years hiding in the system. Everyone from novices to expert explorers, and even Spectrum show hosts, have tried to piece together clues from her journals to uncover her ultimate fate. A portion of Horus’, albeit small, tourism sector focuses on this mystery, with ‘history hunters’ eager to locate the remains of Sante’s lost ship.
Meanwhile, as the UPE was transitioning into the UEE, the military maintained control over the Horus System throughout the cold war. Assignments monitoring the system’s two jumps into Xi’An territory were both strategically essential and extremely dull. A lack of hospitable planetside locations meant military personnel spent their deployment in either their cockpit or a capital ship, which did not endear the system to starmen.
Once the cold war ended and the Perry Line was dissolved, the UEE decided to use the system for more than just military patrols and exercises. The public finally had another chance to put its stamp on the system. Unfortunately, inhospitable planetary conditions have kept the population down, and minimal natural resources have made heavy industry slow to develop in the system.
Yet, its connection to the Xi’An Empire, which once doomed it to isolation, may now be Horus’ strongest selling point. Businesses looking to capitalize on improved relations and increased trade pay ever-rising real estate prices on Serling to have an office only one jump away from the business-friendly Rihlah System. While the future may be bright, many within the UEE still considered Horus an afterthought, a system that has yet to exert enough political or economic force to earn recognition in the UEE Senate.
Horus I (Serling)
Maintaining the nickname Sante gave it in her original reports, this tidally locked planet contains one of Humanity’s most interesting habitats. With one side of the planet perpetually facing the system’s main sequence M-type star and the other shrouded in darkness, the majority of the planet is unfit for habitation. Yet Humans discovered that life was possible along the terminator line, the narrow strip dividing the light and dark side of the planet, running from pole to pole.
Visiting Serling is a must for anyone interested in truly unique vistas, but living under such conditions is not for the faint of heart. Serling is plagued by constant storms, a meteorological side effect of one side of the planet receiving all of the star’s heat. Photographers flock to Serling to snap a pictures of the system’s red star sitting upon the horizon amidst a severe storm. This majestic and surreal image has become emblematic of the entire system.
It has taken some ingenuity to make a manageable living in a place either constantly light or constantly dark (depending on which side of the terminator line one is on). In general, workplaces are zoned closer to the light side of the planet while residences are built near the dark side. This allows people the semblance of a normal day/ night cycle. A system of high-speed trains and transport ships constantly moves workers from one side to the other.
Since businesses on the light side, technically, never close, there is work aplenty for those who want it. Yet, some residents suffer psychological strain from the lack of a natural circadian rhythm similar to what many tourists feel upon arriving on a new world. Currently, the University of Aten, Serling’s most prominent educational institution, is conducting a lengthy study in an attempt to isolate the differences between people who flourish under these conditions (often those in families who have lived on the planet for generations) versus those who have trouble adjusting.
As in most places around the Empire, those with unlimited means make the most out of even these unusual conditions. The planet’s most expensive real estate lies in the middle of the terminator line, which provides a breathtaking permanent sunset view when facing the star. Stunning architectural homes, apartments and high-end hotels are programmed to rotate on a “daily” schedule, providing their residences with the semblance of a more normal day/night cycle.
A massive desert world located within the green band. Even though the planet lacks any natural bodies of water, UEE surveyors and scientists are seriously assessing the cost-benefits of a terraforming attempt. As xeno-economic relations continue to strengthen and improve, there has been considerable support from the business community to pursue settlement on this planet, simply because companies without a foothold on Serling would love to establish operations on a more traditional planet and enjoy easy access to the Xi’An Empire.
Horus III is one of the few Super Jupiters in UEE space. Its high-density atmosphere makes the planet many times more massive than most other gas giants. Separated from Horus’ inner two planets by two asteroid belts, Horus III sits in a long, lonely orbit far from anything else in the system.
Visitors are encouraged to track their time spent on either hemisphere of Serling, as the effects of too much or too little light have been linked with exhaustion, depression and other symptoms.
Heard in the Wind
“While we will never know for sure what drove her there, Sante’s journals make it clear that she truly loved two things in life: her ship and the system she discovered.”
– Kwame Jones, The Heart of Horus, 2678
“Before we sing the chorus, let us speak of Horus, a system sure to kill us, from boredom, not from war!”
– Guardians of the Jump, traditional Navy shanty, 27th Century