Stars Edge Redux
Beyond Neptune lie only dwarf planets and icy asteroids waiting to become comets, roughly divided into two regions: the Kuiper Belt, from 30 to 55 AU from the Sun, and the Scattered Disk, which extends from 55 AU out to the Oort Cloud. Pluto, its binary object Charon, and Eris have compositions similar to Triton. A few small habitats orbit Pluto and Charon, eking out a living by prospecting for volatiles. A number of other dwarf planets orbit in the Kuiper belt and the Disk, including Orcus, Senda, and 2000 OO67. Of these, only Eris harbors a substantial population.
Located at 55 AU from the sun at the edge of the Scattered Disk, Eris is the largest dwarf planet in the system and the site of a grim struggle between two of transhumanity’s most militant factions: ultimates and exhumans. The focal point of the struggle is Discord Gate, the most remote of the system’s publicly-known Pandora Gates, located in an icy labyrinth half a kilometer beneath the surface of Eris.
The brief history of the gate is bloody. Go-nin Group troops violently wrested control of the gate from the Ilmarinen anarchists who discovered it. Titan and several anarchist and brinker groups both tried to dislodge Go-nin, but these attempts failed, at great cost in lives and ships. Go-nin’s control of the gate seemed ensured until the hypercorp apparently tampered too heavily with the gate’s black box controls. A devastating explosion ensued, all but wiping out the gate and Go-nin base. The gate, however, restructured itself over the course of several days, though its location has now shifted to the bottom of a melted crater.
In the short period it took the Go-nin Group to hire a group of ultimate mercenaries to retake the gate, a hitherto unknown force of exhumans had seized the area. The ultimates succeeded, but a group of exhumans escaped through the gate. Go-nin now has nominal control of the Discord Gate through the ultimates, who maintain a heavily militarized base on Eris’s moon, Dysnomia. However, in recent years the gate facility has suffered several attacks by exhumans eager to infiltrate the gate—and according to rumors, at least one of those attacks originated from the gate itself.
The location of this habitat, a major stronghold of the argonauts, is a closely guarded secret. Attempts to search it out have revealed only decoys or lifeless rocks. Though a great deal of information is available about the habitat’s specs, operations, areas of research, and informational resources, only highly placed members of the argonauts may travel here. By all accounts, the habitat is a windowless beehive, designed to be virtually emissionless. Speculated locations include Pluto’s moon Hydra, the deep Kuiper Belt, and even the Oort Cloud.