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Appendice 6: The Gateworlds

The Koralon Incursion plucked from the heart of human space planets of critical strategic importance in five key systems; systems with powerful gravwells, the crossroads of man's galactic empire. Those worlds lie ruined now, cruelly treated by their alien overlords and partially assimilated by the mutanagenic coraline. After heavy fighting, four of the systems were reconquered - all save Arkadia - but every system touched by the incursion is a pit of potential conflict as the Great Powers squabble over access to resources and remunerative treaties, and carve out new spheres of influence on the blasted worlds. And, of course, the Koralon and their slaves remain behind on these supposedly liberated worlds.

The Actaeon System

The Actaeon System is a gateworld hub for the old colonies of the western inner sphere, many of which date back to the earliest days of galactic exploration. This high population and high traffic area was extremely vulnerable to a Koralon style jump attack, and was caught nearly unprepared. Perhaps because of this the Koralon fleet strength in this system was somewhat less than that present in others and this, coupled with the gateworld's cold oceans and general unsuitability, made this system the easiest to retake.

In little over a month a joint VASA-Viridian expedition shunted into the system and liberated it, deploying the Trojan device for the first time and inflicting massive casualties on the Koralon fleet before it withdrew. Though its infrastructure was thoroughly destroyed, the gateworld is only in the early stages of coraline-assimilation and can be saved, though colonies elsewhere is the system which relied upon artificial atmospheres suffered 100% fatalities. Actaeon, formerly independent, is now a Viridian Protectorate.

The Arkadia / Helios Binary System

Only now is the fate of Arkadia being decided. Kyklops, long a centre of trade, transport, and communication thanks to the enormously powerful Helios gravwell, has been thoroughly infested by the Koralon but, unlike the other gateworlds, the Koralon on Kyklops left much of the planetary surface intact. This is because they were able to move immediately into the planet's warm oceans, an ideal environment for the aliens, and begin rapid transformation of the planetary ecosystem.

The remnants of the Incursion fleet that defended Arkadia have been momentarily defeated and the planetary garrisons reinforced, but rumours of a pan-humanic civil war in the streets of Iskandria are rife.

The Eris System (Sovereign Hub)

The Eris system is primarily a VASA military harbour and routing point, being located along a chain of hub style shunt-lines approximately mid- way between the Viridia-Solaris System and the Rim. Algercon, Eris' primary inhabited world, is technically not a gateworld, rather the enormous artificial planetoid called Sovereign that overseas and services fleet traffic is the true gateworld.

VASA liberated Eris with the help of a coalition of affiliate colonies but, as with the other systems taken in the incursion, the reconquest is incomplete. Sovereign lies partially destroyed and virtually useless, and some 90% of its personnel died in the Koralon attack, and the rest seem to have been exposed to the coraline microbe, but it is impossible to say how this occurred. Algercon, a lush jungle planet, is thoroughly infected with coraline and a pernicious new breed of hybrid biota flourish on its increasingly hot surface. Expert viridian jungle fighters have been brought in to advise VASA on the best means of retaking the planet.

The Rzhova Trinary System

The Rzhova Trinary System (Rzhova Primus, Secundus, and Tertius) is, courtesy of its strangely potent but unpredictable 'tandem well,' a transportation centre for the twelve systems that comprise the Iron Circle, an area in the inner sphere rich in mineral wealth. The enormous ice world of Rzhova Planetia and its fifteen moons are the key to the system. Of all the systems taken by the Koralon, Rzhova's worlds are the least suitable to alien colonization, but its strategic importance not only as a hub and mining centre but also as the principal western access point to the systems dominated by the Arkadia-Helios shunt-lines made it a natural choice for invasion.

Rzhova is primarily a VASA holding, though Ironglass is a principal second because of its possession of numerous Rzhovan moons and sub- planetary bodies, as well as its ubiquitous presence in all of the systems that comprise the Iron Circle. The Syntha also have extensive holdings here, and are suspected to have secret bases throughout the region.

The reconquest of the Rzhova System was primarily a Junker affair under VASA auspices, but this coalition is dangerously close to breaking down as more evidence of Junker looting on Rzhova Planetia and outlying colonies is discovered.

The Yvetot System

The Yvetot System possesses numerous marginal but inhabitable worlds, most notably Yvetot Beta and Gamma, and one of the deepest gravwells in the eastern galaxy. Its position close to the Rim made it a key system in the war against the Koralon, and all of the Great Powers have some military presence here. The Koralon fleet that attacked Yvetot is believed to be the largest ever seen.

Yvetot was never completely lost to the aliens but was the site of a furious running battle as the Great Powers poured hundreds of ships into the system in an effort to preserve what they rightly regarded as the front line in the war against the Koralon. Even a syntha fleet was detected operating in defence of their naval outposts, though it refused any offers of assistance or coordination. After months of fighting the Koralon fleet eventually split up and warped out of the system, but both the sweltering marshlands of Yvetot Beta and the windswept deserts of its sister world, Yvetot Alpha, are heavily infected with coraline.