TROPOS (The Ocean Moon)
33 Degrees Celcius (no polar regions)|
Unsalinated Ocean, Silicates
Nitrogen, Oxygen (breatheable)
Tropos is Rym's huge ocean moon. Nearly a quarter of the size of the planet it orbits, Tropos was in the process of being terraformed when the Twilight War began. Even as Rym smothered under the dark cloud of armageddon, the great Jovian fans and atmospheric converters continued their mindless tasks, turning the once-icy ball of rock into a warm, humid world covered in shallow oceans. Unfortunately, with no one to maintain or monitor their operation, the huge terraforming generators overdid what was originally a thirty-year undertaking, carrying on the warming process for another eighty years before being drowned out by the very water they had furnished. The lower gravity only compounds this problem, generating enormous cloud systems and terrible storms. Water here seems to move in slow motion.
Tropos' heavy atmosphere spawns frequent hurricanes, the largest of which can actually be seen from Rym on clear nights. These circular storm patterns can last for a week or more, churning across the pale blue surface and glittering with tiny pinpricks of lightning clearly visible from the surface during the moon's dark phase. The lower gravity and high winds can create waves hundreds of feet high, like watery solar flares, making travel by boat nearly impossible. Other faintly visible surface features include the Ready Beacon, a single point atop one of the colossal, rusted generators that still flashes its bright transmitter strobe once every few seconds. Beneath the waves lie the submerged Creator bases, many of which have been completely flooded due to damage caused by temperature inversion. Thousands of the hapless mortals perished here as supplies and breathable air dwindled down to nothing, and in those bases still unbreached by water there are signs of terrible desperation, murder, and madness, all faded and ancient, but otherwise untouched.
The main terraforming complex is shown here, now partially submerged and overgrown with bizarre hydrogen coral. The ruins have been covered in a green carpet of lichens and mosses, which may have escaped the ancient hydroponics pods into a world that had been intended for more complex beings. The main colony ring is nearly fifty miles in diameter, build around a titanic particle accelerator that once furnished it with power. The same awesome energy source also created a forcefield dome over the entire inner ring, projected from three opalescent globes called Airbinders. The dome once protected the coloists from the airless environment of the former ice moon, though it has long-since failed. Other features of the ruined colony are...
The Skygate: This matter-transit system was developed to overcome the need for supply craft, allowing both colonists and innert matter to transfer to and from the surface of Rym. It links to the Tropos Skygate complex in northern Haun, and can still be activated by a Creator code card when the two complexes come into alignment. The Tropos gate complex is an immense cylindrical structure not unlike a hangar, with a platform of honeycombed glass tiles sealed with golden mortar. The hangar is the scene of a terrible battle, a tableau of conflict now frozen in time. Numerous dead, corroded Machines surround the platform, most of them anti-personel U-frames. They all face outward, weapons drawn, surrounded by masses of moldy Creator skeletons armed with improved weapons (mostly tools). There are some twenty inert Machines and sixty skeletons, none of which have endured the humid climate intact. The rest of the hangar is a plain, dusty vault, thirty feet high and three hundred in diameter.
The Still Sea: Filling the deep crater in which the colony was built is a buffer zone of still, shallow water. For reasons unknown, this small circular sea remains relatively calm even during the storm seasons, protecting the complex to some extent. The shallow, crystal-clear water is eerily calm, hence the name, and contains a small number of organisms which have begun to evolve from the spilled organics around the colony. These include a variety of delicate neon corals which fluoresce at night, feeding off the rich hydrogen emissions that surround the massive terraforming towers, and other simple-yet-colorful aquatic plantlife. There doesn't appear to be anything sentient. For the time being. The Still Sea is also littered with enormous bright orange construction Machines, mostly thirty foot tall humanoid assemblers. These corroded, lichen-encrusted goliaths are all inert, their inner workings long-since destroyed by the intense humidity. Now they just make convenient look-out towers, most less than half-submerged in the shallow water.
The Great Vents: These catalytic terraformers once spewed forth incalculable quantities of gaseous elements, composing an atmosphere out of the ice that once covered the surface. This thawing process also produced great quantities of hydrogen, which the Creators used to power the vents themselves. Each distributed a different component, thus each was unique in its internal workings, though little remains after thousands of years of being submerged and smothered in moss. Each vent is surrounded by a perimeter sea wall and eight huge, drowned catalyst towers. The vent itself is twice as tall, four hundred feet above sea level, crumbling and moss-covered. Each contains its own hydrogen reactor, and an air shaft half a mile in diameter. The scaffold fans which once turned within these shafts have all collapsed into ruin, now lying in pieces at the bottom, just below water level. The towers can be climbed by means of numerous rung ladders, and furnish quite a view of the otherwise flat blue landscape of Tropos.
The Coral Beds: Having evolved from the hardier organisms that survived the death of the colony, these colorful formations of calcified matter seem to flourish around the terraforming towers. The organisms that go into their construction feed on leaking (possibly radioactive) hydrogen emissions from the ruined reactors, and each of the three colonies has a slightly different fluorescent hue, which becomes visible at night. The coral regions are somewhat dangerous, akin to submerged, radioactive briar patches, and have used both the towers and a scattering of dead construction Machines as anchoring points, causing even more damage than the humidity. It is far safer to travel by boat over these regions, though the hard coral can pose a sinking hazard to fragile hulls.
The Crater Ring: One of the few points in which the natural surface of the moon rises above the water level, this small ring of islands has become the foothold of slightly more complex plantlife that emerged from the shattered colony in the form of spores. The humid, oxygen-rich environment and low gravity changed this flora considerably, and most of the islands in the ring are now covered in strange patches of globe-spore stalks and proto ferns. Most are relatively small and simple, though there are colonies of considerable size. Most of the plantlife is actually hybrid, combining floral and fungal qualities, which seems to flourish in the greenhouse environment of the ocean moon.
The Ocean Wastes: The vast majority of Tropos is covered in lifeless ocean, a sort of watery desert. The silicate sands beneath its surface shift much like dunes under the storm currents, constantly changing the face of the massive moon. Most of the ocean wastes are quite shallow, though there are deep craters in many places, changing the surface from burning aquamarine to deep cerulean blue. The water is actually drinkable, though it has a slightly unpleasant mineral edge to it. For most of the year, this vast blue expanse is quite calm, though gravity from Rym churns the surface into a raging maeltrom every two months, at the moon's closest point of orbit.