Galactic Guide: Pyro

Pyro System

“Yo ho ho, there’s a place I know,
The slam’s all clean and the wenches glow,
Yo ho ho, a-Ruin I’ll go,
Mark my jump off to Pyro.” – Traditional Space Shanty

If Spider is the face of piracy in the galaxy, Pyro is unquestionably the beating heart. An otherwise desolate, lifeless star system crippled by a prolonged nova phase, Pyro is most notably the home of the shared pirate outpost of RuinStation. Like Spider, Pyro is a case of pirates filling (and expanding upon) a void left when the system was abandoned by civilized developers; unlike Spider, Pyro’s station has not settled into an orderly system of black market commerce equivalent to that founded for proper traders on standard worlds. Here, opposing packs constantly struggle to own the station and all of the nearby action.

Background & Discovery

Any prospect of developed life in the Pyro system vanished several million years ago, when the system’s star began to go nova. Astrobiologists who have examined the remains of its theoretical green-band planets have found little evidence that higher life forms would have been likely in the first place; nothing but algae-like fossils have ever been discovered. The system consists of six ruined worlds circling a bright, but ultimately dying, star. Were it not for the fact that jump points from two inhabitable systems have been discovered linking to Pyro, the system would likely never have been settled at all.

The system was ostensibly discovered in 2401 by the Roustabout, an Earth-flagged tanker ship moving through the Taranis System on the safe-route alternative to Kellar’s Run. The ship’s watch officer noted a gravitic anomaly thirty thousand kilometres off the transport’s port bow and left it at that. It was not for another forty-four years that the ship’s corporate owners, seeking new mining territories, dispatched an explorer to the region and formally charted Pyro and its environs. This survey simply noted the overall disarray of the planetary system, the difficulty of finding transportable resources and the unlikelihood of terraforming anything there successfully.

In addition to its development as a center of organized piracy, Pyro is also a household name in the UEE today because it served as the backdrop for one of Original Systems’ Arena Commander’s first levels. The icy blue nova and the frozen hellscape of planets slowly moving towards their destruction seemed an ideal location for Arena Commander’s designers to show off how interesting 3D space combat can be!

Pyro I

Pyro I is a charred black rock that is slowly discorporating into Pyro proper. There is little of interest here; the space around Pyro I is difficult to navigate with anything but the highest quality shields and no significant mineral deposits have been located on the planet’s surface to make ever landing here worthwhile.

Pyro II

Pyro II is a coreless planet that will, in time, also fall into the star. During the system’s initial discovery, Pyro II was a major focus: the planet held seemingly significant deposits of cadmium, titanium and gravity-forged gemstones. A minor “metal rush” saw human tradeships quickly deplete these deposits; within five years, for all practical purposes the world had become an empty husk.

Pyro III

The third planet in the system is the only one believed to have once existed in the green band, pre-nova; this is where tiny algae-like fossils have been discovered. For this reason, it was the initial focus of non-profit research efforts during Pyro’s initial exploration. Making life more difficult for researchers, the nova process has rendered Pyro III a largely magna world. With little left to discover, the scientific community quickly grew tired of Pyro III and the system in general. Pyro III is technically listed as a potential terraforming candidate by the UEE, although taming a magma world would be extremely difficult and no interest in this project has ever developed.

Pyro IV & V

The combination of Pyro IV, a rocky Mercury-like protoplanet, and Pyro V, a massive yellow and green gas giant, is one of the more striking stellar landscapes yet discovered in known space. Arguably a single entity now, Pyro IV and V are the result of a massive meteor strike which altered the orbit of the former into the latter. Pyro V now appears to be subsuming Pyro IV in slow motion, a visual difficult to top anywhere else in the galaxy. Pyro V is considered a low-quality refuelling point because of the poor hydrogen mix present in the upper atmosphere.

Pyro VI & Ruin Station

The outermost planet in the Pyro system, this subdwarf would be unremarkable if it were not the home of Ruin Station, populated by Pyro’s only permanent inhabitants. Though the station’s lineage was originally unclear (and is today often referred to as being secretive or conspiratorial), it is now known that it began life as a Gold Horizon terraforming base but was abandoned when it became clear that there was no reasonable terraformation to be had in Pyro or at nearby star systems.

Once the original settlers abandoned the prefab station, Pyro quickly fell into use as a meeting place for black market dealmaking. From there, it was only a matter of time until it followed the same path as Spider, with active pirate construction and the development of a unique subculture. However, where Spider’s culture centers around honor among thieves, Pyro is based more around the men with the most guns winning.

Make no mistake: Ruin Station is the home of unrepentant pirates and no one else. It is not suitable for tourism, regular trade or even experienced bounty hunters seeking the thrill of combat. The pirates that do crew the station are the best of the best, constantly ready to stab each other in the back for a bigger piece of the action. Xeno Threat is the current pack in control of the station, although this can change at a moment’s notice.

Gun combat on Ruin Station is so common that shop owners have actually installed a series of armored doors; when infighting erupts, local shops and facilities automatically seal themselves off. A highlight of Pyro’s dimly lit halls is Corner Four, a sequence of former research labs converted into drug factories and no-questions-asked medical treatment facilities. Neutrality, the station’s requisite dive bar, is the only arguably safe place on the station: armoured toughs called the Cousins keep the peace here, at least in so much as they are needed to protect the bar’s staff and facilities.

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