The Hades system is a planetary system that consists of an F-type main sequence star, a mesoplanet, two terrestrial planets, and one broken terrestrial planet. First visited by Humans in 2531, it was immediately obvious that the system had once been home to a previously unknown spacefaring civilization that vanished after an interplanetary war. Although officially unclaimed, the Hades is loosely protected by a mixture of private security firms guarding academic expeditions and sparse United Empire of Earth (UEE) personnel protecting the trafficked shipping lane that runs through the system.PLANETARY SYSTEM
Hades, the system's star, is an F-type main sequence star roughly five billion years old. The closest planetary body to Hades is Hades I, a mesoplanet covered with impact craters. Two of its three terrestrial planets, Hades II and Hades III, are in the temperate zone of the system's green band. Hades IV, a terrestrial planet that was cracked in half by what historians believe was an ancient weapon, is located in the green band's frigid outer edge. There is evidence that at one point, most of the planets in the system were inhabited, including the dangerously hot Hades I.DISCOVERY
In 2515, the scanners of the tramp freighter Merry Crow picked up an anomaly in the Nexus system. After an investigation, the crew found that it was a previously undocumented jump point. At the time, they were in possession of several hundred freight units of stolen fusion drives, which they were smuggling to the Ellis system. The crew voted to keep the jump point's location to themselves and continue on their route rather than risk arrest by reporting the discovery. Although they planned to return to the jump point and navigate it to determine whether it connected to a known system or a new system, which would net them a much larger payout, circumstances prevented this. In 2529, the ship's navigator Jake Tapps became the only survivor of this crew when a deal went bad and the others were killed in a firefight. Tapps sold the logbooks of the Merry Crow to the Dynamo Corporation in 2531.
After navigating the jump point, the Dynamo Corporation realized they had discovered a new planetary system and dispatched a team to survey their find. Initial scans revealed remnants of a previously-unknown ancient civilization on most of its planets. One worker commented that the desolate ruins looked like cities of the dead, and the company began to call the system Hades after an ancient Human god of death and the underworld. At first, leadership of the company wanted to proceed with terraforming in spite of these ruins, but when it was confirmed that Hades II and Hades III could not be terraformed under the limits of then-current technology, they elected to turn the system over to the United Planets of Earth (UPE) government and the collect substantial reward money it offered for their discovery.HISTORY
The UPE claimed the new system in light of its historical significance. Early expeditions were extensive, and xenoarchaeologists excavated and documented a great deal of information. However, the advent of the First Tevarin War in 2541 led to the UPE retracting their protection of the system in favor of directing military resources to the ongoing conflict. When Imperator Ivar Messer I took power in 2546, the newly formed United Empire of Earth (UEE) government continued to leave the system unprotected, leaving it vulnerable to grave robbers. Researchers had to hire private security for protection against these outlaws, which slowed down any new expeditions to a trickle.
In 2647, the xenoarchaeological faculty of Astravin University at Cestulus (AUC) published a joint paper outlining their theory that an interplanetary war wiped out the Hadesian civilization. Imperator Corsen Messer V grew interested in the possibility that ancient weapons of mass destruction might still be in Hades, and ordered the UEE Marines to conduct a thorough search. Many building sites and artifacts were destroyed as a side effect of this unregulated hunt, erasing untold amounts of possible sources of information about the Hadesians and their way of life.
It wasn't until the fall of the Messers in 2792 that Humans began to consider claiming Hades again. Hundreds of academic institutions across the UEE signed a petition asking the government to take responsibility for the invaluable system and bring it under their protection. However, the UEE's ongoing conflict with the Vanduul took priority over the safety of an archaeological site, and the system remains unclaimed to this day despite ongoing petitions.HADESIAN CIVILIZATION
Most historians and archaeologists believe that the Hadesian civilization existed until sometime between 300,000 and 290,000 BCE. At that point, the Hadesians had colonized at least three of the four planets in the system. Hades II and Hades III were the most densely populated, and Hades I was home to a handful of settlements. It is not certain whether the civilization originated on Hades II or Hades III. Both planets have atmospheres that may once have supported life, evidence of ancient oceans and riverbeds, and are covered in the ruins of demolished cities. Fragments of writing recovered in the system are written in an identical language that has yet to be deciphered, suggesting that the planets were closely culturally related, and that there was trade and travel between them.
There is strong evidence that a devastating interplanetary war wiped out the once thriving civilization. The surface of each planet is covered in impact craters and the soil is contaminated by heavy metals and radioactivity. It is likely that the atmospheres of Hades II and Hades III were poisoned either through fallout from the conflict or via sabotage. If Hades I had an atmosphere at some point, as analysis of its surface has suggested, it was annihilated during the war. In these conditions, it is very unlikely that any form of life could survive. Additionally, the bifurcation of Hades IV implies that the Hadesians were in possession of a weapon capable of destroying entire planets, which may have been the ultimate instrument of their extinction.
Much of the artifacts of this civilization were lost thanks to the consequences of this war. Structures and goods that were not destroyed during the fighting were worn down by erosion, and any organic remains decayed into dust. On Hades II in some areas, a deep layer of ash lies on top of preserved buildings, offering the closest picture of daily life in the Hades system at the time of their disappearance.HADES CRYPTID
Since the system was open for travel, multiple people have reportedly seen a creature aboard their ships. It was first sighted in 2602 by navjumper Eli Thorn. According to Thorn, he caught something out of the corner of his eye as he was climbing down a ladder to middeck. He described it as a bipedal body with exposed musculature that was covered in blue veins. When he tried to get a direct look at it, the ship suddenly rocked, and it vanished.
Many such sightings have been reported since Thorn first shared his account, with several people claiming they believe the creature is one of the long lost Hadesians themselves or possibly a ghost of a deceased Hadesian. Descriptions vary; some say the creature has multiple, tentacle-like appendages, while others say it has two arms. Some report that the encounter filled them with a sense of dread, and others feel a sense of urgency, like the creature is trying to communicate with them. All agree that when they try to look directly at it, it disappears.