March 4th 2014
The star traveler’s guide to Tiber could best be summed up with a single word: don’t. The site of countless battles between Humans and the Vanduul, Tiber is a bleeding wound that shows no sign of healing.
Tiber was first charted by UNE long-range explorers associated with Project Far Star in 2474. Home to a standard K-type main sequence star orbited by two small planets, Tiber didn’t bear any exotic new resources or strategic jump lines, so the public were slow to populate the system. Smaller mining consortiums, eager for the cheaper permits and land rights, did trickle in.
The system existed mostly as a stopover point for travelers heading out to Orion until the 27th century, when Vanduul Clans began to attack Orion with increasing ferocity and consistency. Tiber became a secondary staging area for military forces who would fall back to recoup and repair before heading back to this new front.
After the Battle of Orion in 2712, the UEE abandoned the system to the Vanduul and reinforced Tiber as their next battlefront, expecting the Vanduul to come rolling in, but they didn’t. Vanduul Clans held onto Orion and began harvesting the planets for resources. They didn’t seem to know or care about the jump point to Tiber.
That changed in 2726 when a UEE Navy patrol encountered a lone Vanduul Blade in the system. The Blade managed to escape through a jump point into a then-unknown system. Within the year, a Clan began launching raids into the system.
War finally arrived in Tiber in 2732 in the form of a prolonged sustained military engagement that became known as the Siege of Tiber. Lasting four long years, the UEE desperately tried to dig in and make a stand against the encroaching Vanduul hordes. The military threw everything they had against the Vanduul, nearly losing the system several times over the years, until the line was finally cracked by the Vanduul in 2736.
The defeat was so swift and sudden that the military had not prepared for the loss. While forces were scrambling back to a safe UEE system, they weren’t able to effectively mount a defense in Virgil. Those who may have hoped that the Vanduul would once again stop at the jump point like they had done in Orion were sorely mistaken. The Vanduul flooded into Virgil after the Navy and within a year, claim that system as their own too.
It was this prolonged, bloody conflict that bore Tiber its real nickname:
To this day, the system bears the scars of war. Shattered stations, ships and debris litter the space and planets. The UEE military has declared the system to be under Vanduul control but in the ensuing years, no fewer than nineteen major initiatives have been made to try and push the Vanduul out of Tiber.
Massive fleet actions, attempts at global landings to hold Tiber II itself, and even “clean slate” operations designed to simply eliminate the ability of the system to sustain military occupation have all fallen flat. Millions have died in these attempts, and the ever-expanding fields of wreckage are now legendary. Countless civilians, seeing the deadly battlefield debris as potential for profit, have made the same leap with similar fatal results.
Today, the battle continues unabated. In addition to regular reconnaissance sorties (and occasional reconnaissance-in-force missions) the system is frequented by thousands of private spacecraft commanders each year. Whether they are attempting to prove themselves by engaging a Scythe in fighter combat or trying to profit from the system’s resources, their fate is nearly always the same: left as grist for Grinder.
Tiber I is a small, dense planet close to Tiber’s sun. The planet’s CO2 -heavy atmosphere is breathable, but the extreme heat from the nearby sun would make life here an unpleasant proposition, even without the constant combat. Tiber I’s orbit is nestled just inside an extraordinarily heavy asteroid belt, which makes exploration even more difficult.
UEE deep space photography stations have recorded an unusual movement of weather systems on the surface of Tiber I, which meteorologists believe would allow for periods of improved conditions once every four years.
An arid, desert world coated in nearly blood-red copper dust, Tomb represents more than anything else the unquenching maw of the Vanduul war machine. Much of the planet’s surface is coated with the wreckage of spacecraft and other former war machines. The remains of countless repelled UEE attacks, private vessels looking for profit from the unusual system, and destroyed Vanduul technology layer the planet.
Tomb is not a permanent graveyard, however: the wreckage which accumulates there is in turn devoured by massive Vanduul harvesters. These mechanical beasts ingest all forms of matter and convert them for use by the Vanduul war machine. The harvesters found on Tiber have an even more terrifying dual purpose: they seem to be the source for the newer harvesters that have been dropped onto Human colonies during raids. Everything from starship wrecks to the bones of fallen soldiers ultimately feed the very enemy they were attempting to defeat.
The world is also home to countless Vanduul war-camps, Spartan temporary base camps used by the Vanduul Clans constantly on the move through the system. While Humans would not find Tomb’s environment particularly welcoming, the Vanduul seem to thrive in the climate, and they pay little mind to the landscape of destroyed spacecraft around them. Attempting to visit one of these camps would be suicide for a Human being, but declassified records from attempted Marine landings have provided a great deal of knowledge about their usual layout.
While Tomb may seem an attractive target to hopeful salvage teams, be well warned that no one is known to have successfully landed on the planet to recover any of the priceless military hardware left there. Travelers are warned to avoid any such attempt. The UEE has never been able to establish a viable landing zone on Tomb, and unless you are part of an unlucky Marine detachment, you have little hope of even reaching the surface.
Do not under any circumstances transit to the Tiber System. Vanduul forces have established a permanent occupation.
“This is our time. The line has been drawn and for the first time, our enemy will feel our resolve in every battle. When they push, we will push back. They will learn that Humanity has stopped running.”
- Grand Admiral Tesca Halimeade, Commanding Officer of UEE Naval forces in Tiber, 2735 (killed in action)
“I’d never seen anything like it. These… machines… if you can call them that, chewing up bodies and ships. It was… it was horrifying. The sound they made, the gnashing of metal and whir of blades… you could feel it under your skin… I hope I never hear it again.”
- Anonymous miner arrested for ignoring a military order on his way back from Tiber. 2801