In the outer reaches of the UEE sits the Chronos System, which, since its discovery in 2863, has been shrouded in government secrecy and political controversy. Official government documentation list the Navy’s 18th Battle Fleet, then stationed in the Kellog System, as the first to make the journey into Chronos upon discovery of the jump point during a routine scan patrol. However, it is worth noting that a recent court case, Contraly vs the UEE, lays a counter claim that it was Contraly’s great-grandfather who discovered the system and reported it to the 18th, but was denied proper credit due to complications involving an outstanding warrant for poaching Orms on Xis. Expert historians have chimed in on both sides of the debate, and it as yet remains in the court’s hands to decide.
Either way, at the time of discovery, the system consisted of a G-type main sequence star, two uninhabitable planets huddled near the sun and nothing else. With its remote location and lack of resources and habitable locations, few thought the UEE would have any interest in the system, so observers were shocked when the UEE quickly claimed Chronos to be restricted for government use and development. When military ships started to frequently enter an empty system, curious members of the public questioned what was really going on in Chronos.
For years, theories ranged from the unimaginative (doomsday device) to the inspired (invisible space station). One dedicated conspiracy theorist supposedly even went so far as to stow away on a military vessel bound for the system. When she later claimed that there was nothing hidden there, her inability to uncover anything scandalous infuriated her fellow theorists and only fueled the fire of speculation. The claim was that the only way she would have found absolutely nothing is if there was something to hide and the government had again silenced the truth. Those who believed in the cover-up were even more certain that there had to be a reason the UEE wanted Chronos to themselves.
It wasn’t until 2872 that Imperator Corbyn Salehi stepped forward to formally announce what the government had been working on. Chronos would become the home of Project Archangel, commonly called “Synthworld,” a massive UEE initiative to build a planet. After centuries of rewriting planets with terraforming technology, Humanity now set its sights on creating one.
Many things about the Chronos System made it an ideal location for this ambitious project. The star’s similarity to Sol’s sun made it optimal for human habitation. Its two planets were desolate rocks, meaning that the massive undertaking would not inconvenience any inhabitants, nor would the decades of construction and experiments endanger anyone not associated with the project. The lack of planets outside of Bruder and Schwester allowed the Synthworld to be placed at the ideal orbital distance from the star. It had the added benefit of being a relatively remote system, which minimized the chances of unwanted visitors and prying eyes.
When the project was announced, it symbolized a future where Humanity could create habitable worlds without the risk of harming other species. Haulers made the long trek to take resources into the system even if profits margins were higher elsewhere. Scholars expounded at length what the success of Archangel could mean to the Empire’s future. And civilians in every system excitedly waited for a new world to be born.
Yet as the decades passed, the promise of the Synthworld seemed to wane along with the public’s interest. Despite billions of hours and credits spent, the planet seemed no closer to completion. The project became tainted with corruption scandals and cost overruns, leading some progressive Transitionalist to call it a “financial vampire” that was draining money and resources from more important projects. The Synthworld no longer symbolized the future; it was putting it in jeopardy.
Today, Chronos sees a minimal amount of traffic. Haulers still offload supplies at Archangel Station and some traverse the system along the designated travel lanes to access the Branaugh System. Past that, there are few other reason for people to find themselves in the Chronos System.
Though the Synthworld is in unrestricted space, all Synthworld business must go through Archangel Station. Anyone attempting to access the Synthworld directly will be met by members of 18th Battle Group and asked to divert course or face dire consequences.
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Chronos I (Bruder)
Sitting in a tight orbit around Chrono’s sun, Bruder experiences scalding surface temperatures. Metallic ores are present in the planet’s crust, but the intense heat has kept the UEE from mining the minerals for use in the Synthworld.
Chronos II (Schwester)
Schwester is known for its role in one of the most infamous political scandals in UEE history. In 2925, a Senate attache was tasked with creating a progress report for an independent auditing committee. She discovered that the harvesting and refining facilities that were supposed to have been built to collect the greenhouse gasses trapped by Schwester’s dense atmosphere had in fact never been constructed. It seemed a senior foreman on the project, Ellie Kanis, had been skimming from the vast project fund undetected for years.
Public outrage over the Kanis Caper only intensified as publications, like the Terra Gazette, quantified the amount taken in graphs splashed across the front page. For the first time, many in the public grasped exactly how much money the Synthworld construction cost the Empire. The Synthworld’s sluggish construction pace and the ballooning government deficit drove many within the Empire to question whether the project was still worth it.
Chronos III (Synthworld)
The defining feature of the Chronos System, Synthworld, also known as Project Archangel, is Humanity’s attempt to construct a planet from scratch. This ambitious idea originated with the Clarke Committee, a government task force assigned to envision a “more perfect future for Humanity” in light of the Massacre of Garron II. If the Empire could build its own worlds, there would no longer be a need for the risk of destroying fledging life that terraforming presented.
In the second half of the 29th century, the UEE was looking to redefine its status in the universe. The Messer regime had been overthrown almost a century earlier, but greed and corruption still festered within the government. Amidst this uncertainty, Corbyn Salehi rode a wave of reform into the Imperator’s office, campaigning on a platform of open, honest and ambitious government. Proving himself to be a man of action, not just words, Salehi latched onto the Clarke Committee’s most fantastic proposal – a man-made planet. He believed if Humanity rallied around an ambitious goal it could progress past the petty differences holding it back.
Salehi’s optimism was infectious, allowing him to garner the necessary public and political support. For decades, even after he no longer held the office of Imperator, Salehi and his vision sustained people’s faith in the project. Unfortunately, Salehi died in 2922 from unexpected complications with his artificial pancreas. Without his guiding force, the Synthworld effort has fallen on hard times.
Today, construction on the Synthworld continues. Updates on the project have become less frequently, but government scientists and engineers claim to be making progress. Many still hold hope that the bold face of Humanity’s future will yet emerge from Chronos. Whether Synthworld becomes one of Humanity’s greatest successes or failures is still to be decided.
This orbital station is the nerve center for Synthworld construction. Home to the project’s scientists and engineers, it is also the port of entry for supplies and resources needed to build the planet and keep the crew content.
With a steady amount of cargo moving through this sector, added to the sensitive nature of the project, the Navy’s 18th Battle Fleet calls Archangel Station home when not on patrol. Included in the 18th Battle Fleet is the 999th Test Squadron. Known as “The Wreckless,” this elite squadron is famous for testing experimental ships and components. The vast expanse beyond Archangel Station, with limited engagements there, has proven to be an ideal testing ground for potential tech the Navy hopes to incorporate into its arsenal. It seems fitting that the Navy’s most forward looking squadron calls the Empire’s most forward looking system home.