May 6th 2014
If Spider is the face of piracy in the galaxy, Pyro is unquestionably the beating heart. A system ravaged by a flare star, Pyro is most notably the home of the shared pirate outpost of Ruin Station. Like Spider, Pyro is a case of pirates filling (and expanding upon) a void left when the system was abandoned by civilized developers; unlike Spider, Pyro’s station has not settled into an orderly system of black market commerce. Instead, opposing packs constantly struggle for control.
The Pyro System consists of six worlds that orbit a variable type-K main sequence star with unpredictable solar flares. This flare star has created strange environments on each of these planets and, in some cases, stranger life. Curious astrobiologists have examined the plants and animals that survive on the planets in Pyro’s fluctuating green band and have found that they possess high resistance to radiation and astonishing tolerance to temperature vacillations.
The system was first visited in 2493, twenty-four years after the first person suspected something was there. In 2469, the watch officer of the Roustabout, an Earth-flagged tanker ship moving through the Cano System, noted an anomaly thirty thousand kilometers off the transport’s port bow. A detailed report was sent to the ship’s corporate owners and eventual namesake, Pyrotechnic Amalgamated, but no action was taken. Twenty-four years later, when Pyrotechnic was seeking new mining territories, they began reviewing old scan records when it noted the original report from the Roustabout. They dispatched an exploration ship to the region that was able to formally discover Pyro. When the crew charted its environs, their survey noted the overall disarray of the planetary system, the effects of the unusual solar activity from the star on their equipment, and the unlikelihood that the company could afford to successfully terraform anything there. The board fiercely debated what to do with their discovery, but ultimately decided to deliver Pyro’s coordinates to the United Nations of Earth.
Once the system was in their hands, the UNE conducted a much more thorough analysis. While some of the findings seemed promising, such as the presence of potentially profitable mineral deposits on Pyro II, others indicated danger, especially concerning the possible consequences of living under a flare star. The UNE determined that it would sponsor a pilot program measuring the effects of solar flares on Humans before officially claiming the system, and opened Pyro up to commercial use in the meantime. If the results of the study proved positive, Pyro would be given the green light for colonization.
Over the next few decades, however, all plans for Pyro’s development would continually be stymied and the system would never be formally claimed. In 2499, the Magnus system was discovered, and the UNE suspended the Pyro program in favor of funding the terraformation of Magnus II and constructing a vast new shipyard there for the Navy. In 2516, when more funding from the UNE might have resurrected the pilot program, the discovery of the Terra system effectively derailed any possibility of government support. Pyrotechnic Amalgamated remained in the Pyro system after the UNE left, but their equipment faced continual damage from frequent solar flares. The company abandoned the system completely in 2563 when the cost of replacement and repair finally outstripped their profits. The space stations and planetary infrastructure they’d previously constructed to support their strip-mining operations remain scattered across the system to this day. Other corporations and research interests soon followed in Pyrotechnic Amalgamated’s footsteps. Left unguarded, Pyro became a haven for marauding gangs like the infamous Headhunters, 73R Vipers, and Fire Rats. By the early 27th century, the system had become a nexus of outlaw activity, and doing anything commercial with it seemed more trouble than it was worth.
In addition to its development as a center of organized piracy, Pyro is also a household name in the UEE today because it served as inspiration for one of Original Systems’ Arena Commander levels. While the “dying star” moniker given to the level is technically not accurate, the system’s dramatic solar flares are a memorable and ideal location for Arena Commander’s designers to show off how interesting 3D space combat can be!
Pyro I is a stormy planet that orbits very close to Pyro’s volatile star. Its high pressure atmosphere creates treacherous conditions that make landing difficult, to say nothing of its frequent lightning strikes. The space around Pyro I can be difficult to navigate without advanced shielding. Although it’s a dangerous place in more ways than one, some industrious outlaws have attempted to eke out a living on this harsh world.
During the system’s initial discovery, the coreless Monox, nicknamed for the toxic carbon monoxide in its part-oxygen atmosphere, was a major focus. The world’s seemingly significant mineral deposits led to a minor “metal rush” that saw Human trade ships quickly try to harvest what they could. The planet today bears the scars of these quick and dirty mining operations, with a sparse transient population who drift through hoping to find a vein that might have been overlooked during the initial boom.
This terrestrial world has a breathable atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen, but was never settled beyond staging sites, processing centers, and mining encampments that have since been claimed by outlaws and various squatters who have retrofitted the outposts into makeshift settlements. Icy landscapes give way to liquid bodies of saltwater in the temperate zones.
Pyro IV is a planet with a warped landscape that is dotted with water-and-ammonia lakes. Astronomers theorize that before Humans discovered the Pyro system, Pyro IV suffered a collision with a planet-sized mass that knocked it into the orbit of the gas giant Pyro V. Over time, this unstable orbit will decay, and Pyro IV will be completely subsumed by Pyro V.
A massive gas giant with six (arguably seven, if you count Pyro IV) moons, Pyro V is the largest planet in the Pyro system, and one of the most visually striking. Shades of green and yellow swirl together in its upper atmosphere, giving Pyro V the appearance of a mossy boulder surrounded by a glittering black sea.
The outermost world in the Pyro system, this very cold, barely-habitable planet is notable mainly for the fact that it is the home of Ruin Station. Originally commissioned by Pyrotechnic Amalgamated to serve as a hub for their operations in the system, it was only in use by the company for a short time before it was abandoned along with any hopes of earning a profit from the desolate system.
Once the system was generally vacated by corporate, research and mining interests, the dilapidated station fell into use as a meeting place for squatters, runaways, and black market deal-making. It was around this time that it earned the moniker Ruin Station, as many who traversed its crumbling halls did so with the risk of the station collapsing around them. Yet, despite the dangers, the hideaway’s popularity grew. It was only a matter of time until it followed the same path as Spider, with outlaws gradually adding to the station’s infrastructure and developing a unique subculture. However, where Spider’s culture centers around honor among thieves, Pyro is based more around whoever has the most guns wins.
Make no mistake: Ruin Station is not suitable for tourism, regular trade or even experienced bounty hunters seeking the thrill of combat. The outlaws that do crew the station are notorious for their use of violence. Recently released Advocacy reports list extremist group XenoThreat as the current pack in control of the station, but this may change at a moment’s notice.
A highlight of Pyro’s dimly lit halls is Corner Four, a sequence of former research labs converted into drug factories and no-questions-asked medical treatment facilities. Neutrality, the station’s requisite dive bar, is the only arguably safe place on the station.
Spacecraft traversing the system should be mindful of Pyro’s solar flares as they are particularly hazardous and have the potential to disrupt travel.
“If there are any doubts to Humanity’s ability to survive in adverse conditions, one only needs to look at the inhabitants of Pyro to understand that our species adaptability is something quite remarkable.”
- Conrad Hesler, Struggling to Survive: The Human Story, 2812.05.11
“Pyro’s potential has long been wasted on those who haven’t done anything to deserve it. It’s high time we retake it – not for ourselves, but for everyone who has ever dared to dream of a better, safer future.”
- Madge Hartford, minutes of a Citizens for Pyro meeting, 2952.03.13
“You hear ‘bout this group, whadda they call themselves… People for Pyro? Seem to think they’re gonna swipe the system out from under the people who’ve been squatting there for centuries. You scumbags listening right now better promise to send up a comm when they finally show, ‘cause I’m dying to watch ‘em try.”
- unauthorized signal, captured in the Nyx system on 2953.09.17 at 03:44:19 Earth Standard Time