Galactic Guide: Banshee System
Human history is a story of exploration and expansion, written by brave individuals willing to set sail across an uncharted sea or enter an unknown jump point, each driven by the curiosity of what exists just over the horizon. Not asking if they should go there, but only if they could. The Banshee System exemplifies Humanity’s ability to overcome nature’s obstacles. At its center sits a pulsar, spewing enough radiation to make the system’s green zone planetary surfaces inhospitable. Many commonplace activities, like EVAing outside of a ship to perform repairs, can be deadly. Yet Humanity has found a way to call the system home. Maybe not because it should, but because it could.
Banshee’s pulsar is a rapidly rotating blue-white neutron star. Though there are many pulsars in the universe, Banshee’s is the only one discovered so far with jump points connected to it. This fact has led some scientists to hypothesize that the jump points’ proximity to a pulsar could eventually lead to their collapse and cut off the system from the wider universe. This fear permeates popular culture, despite the fact that the 2943 discovery of the Banshee-Tamsa jump has made the system one of the most connected in the UEE; only Terra and Hadrian are currently linked to more systems.
Still, danger and the Banshee System have been synonymous since its discovery in 2317. At the time, the Fora System was crawling with contractors brought in to terraform Hyperion. Spearheaded by Adaliz Dayan, a number of adventurous individuals decided to spend their free time exploring the system. The group dubbed themselves the Immram Association and exploration became a popular way for workers to enjoy their free time between shifts. One day, Dayan’s scans picked up a mysterious pocket of radiation in the middle of space. She sent a comm to her fellow IA members to investigate the anomaly. By the time others arrived, Dayan was gone.
IA members assumed Dayan had found a new jump point, but were unable to locate it themselves; when she didn’t re-emerge, they soon grew concerned and contacted the government. Eventually, a military pathfinder unit was dispatched to her coordinates to begin a search. When they finally discovered the jump point, what would come to be known as the Banshee System and its radiation spewing pulsar waited on the other side.
Sadly, Adaliz Dayan and her ship were never found. It is assumed she perished due to a pulsar flare and that her ship still drifts through space. Conscious of her sacrifice, Dayan was credited with discovering the system, and the Immram Association allowed to name it. They settled on the nickname Dayan earned during her college Sataball days and the system formally became Banshee — a doubly fitting title as the association with the ancient creature of myth served well to warn people of the system’s inherent dangers.
Wary of the hazards the Banshee System and its pulsar posed to the public, the government didn’t herald its discovery. They even passed a bill making it illegal for unauthorized ships to enter the system. Tensions came to a head in the early 26th century as Earth’s overcrowding reached cataclysmic levels. A legal argument erupted over whether the government had the right to ban people from a system. Many worried a future government could abuse this power to hide valuable land and/or minerals.
This led to the landmark Minto vs UPE court case that nullified the government’s permanent ban. The decision opened the Banshee System to all, and is also the reason the UEE cannot legally keep people from venturing into Vanduul space.
Curious members of the public, and numerous private interests, entered the system and quickly saw they weren’t missing much. Though massive deposits of raw materials existed on Lorona (Banshee III) no one could figure out how to safely extract them. Until, as has been the case numerous times in Human history, war catapulted technology to a new frontier.
During the First Tevarin War, Persei-based UPARQ developed massive magnetic coils designed to weaponize solar electromagnetic radiation. Though the project failed, UPARQ realized the coils could be an ideal method to collect power in the Banshee System. It wasn’t long before autonomous drilling rigs, powered by panels of these connected coils, bored into Lorona’s surface and allowed Humanity a place to hide from the pulsar’s effects. Today Lorona’s landing zones are lined with these iconic coils that power the vast settlements and mining operations beneath the planet’s surface.
Refuel and run a complete system diagnosis on your ship prior to entering the Banshee System. Due to the extremely harsh conditions and pulsar fluctuations, rescue and repair operations can be exceedingly risky.
This small dwarf planet contains small pockets of mineral resources. However, its proximity to the pulsar makes extracting them a deadly proposition.
A terrestrial planet with an iron core. Documents released during the Historical Truth Act of 2941 revealed that a secret Messer era operation removed a number of specific swaths of the planet’s heavily irradiated surface. The intention of the operation, or what was done with the extracted sections, was not found within the documentation and remains unknown to this day.
BANSHEE III (LORONA)
Were it not for the vast resources of Lorona, many say the UEE would never have claimed the Banshee System. Today, it’s an essential and irreplaceable part of the universal supply chain. Extensive mining operations extract everything from precious metals to short carbon for the diamond laminate in cockpit glass.
The planet’s riches and inhospitable surface have driven Humanity to create a vast system of underground settlements connected by tunnels, a network that continues to expand to this day. When mining operations begin drilling and excavating new areas, the previous dig sites frequently become home to settlements of workers and their families. Some of these encampments want to trade with outsiders, while others prefer to be left alone. To avoid any confusion, we recommend not venturing into the tunnel system without a local guide.
Once deep enough underground to not have to wear radiation suits, or “Below the Line” in local slang, visitors spend most of their time in Kesseli, the capital and one of the largest subterranean cities in the universe. Though still a mining settlement at its core, the amount a valuable resources moving through the city have brought a measure of wealth to the inhabitants.
Under a ubiquitous layer of dust, numerous Empire-wide franchises have a presence here to supply locals, traders and visitors alike. One can even find high-end restaurants servicing well-paid mining executives. Lorona’s local culinary treasure is undoubtedly the Beutrempe, a sweet or savory puff pastry that uses a yeast strain native to the world to give a uniquely tangy taste. These delicious delicacies are on the menus of most restaurants, but can more easily be found baked in stalls set up near the most trafficked tunnels.
In the 27th century, the Cenote Concern undertook an ambitious business plan to turn this distantly orbiting ice giant into an industrial source of heavy water. The plan famously failed and subsequently drove the company out of business.
HEARD IN THE WIND
"Haulers take heed or the death for which this Banshee keens will be your own."
Old Folk Saying
"Take the worst, most awful place in the ’verse, and you can be damn sure there’s not only someone who wants to live there, but who will think you’re crazy for wanting to live anywhere else. These are my people."
Senator Junger Ries, Lorona, address to constituent dinner, 2943