|This article, Alpha Lacerta Alpha, was written by Spartan 501. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Alpha Lacerta Alpha, commonly known as Saros to its residents, is a swampy world that escaped glassing during the Great War.
Terrain and Biota
The terrain of Saros is primarily composed of bogs, swamps, and wetlands. Approximately 88% of the planet’s surface is covered in water to some degree, and most of its surface is flat and at or just above sea level. The planet does have some deep seas, but the majority of its surface is filled with shallow water and wetland island chains. The few settlements on Saros rely heavily on pumping equipment and levies to keep their ground dry, and life is fragile thanks to torrential rainstorms and hurricanes. The majority of the surface is underdeveloped.
The flora and fauna are well adapted to life in the swamps, and the ecosystem is relatively healthy. Some earthborn animals and plants have been introduced, but little else has been changed. There are several predators on Saros that are dangerous to humans, making wilderness trips dangerous, but automated defenses on all human settlements keep incursions to a minimum. Millions of species have been identified, and the limited scientist population on the planet project billions more.
Lifestyle of human colonists
The majority of the colonists on Saros live a rough rural lifestyle mixed with doses of modernization. A small percentage of the population pursue careers in science, engineering, and construction, but the lack of major mineral deposits and the scarcity of landing zones for spacecraft limit the economic advantages of this. Another, smaller group works as a militia/humanitarian force to defend territory from predators, respond to natural disasters, and carry out the governmental orders issued by Earth.
Scientists estimated that Saros was created at a relatively close time to Earth—perhaps as close as a half billion years. However, it was discovered in 2369 by a UNSC scout ship searching for potential colony worlds. A scientific expedition was sent in 2372 to investigate how habitable it was, but the deaths of the entire team by navigational complications and indigenous creatures put plans for colonization on the shelf.
Interest in Saros return in 2431, after almost sixty years of obscurity. A heavily armed team of marines escorted the scientists for this venture, and after staying on the world for six months, they concluded that the planet could support humans on a planetwide scale. In 2439, a Phoenix-class colony ship arrived in the system to deposit a group of 30,000 humans eager for a new home. They dropped to the surface and immediately set up pre-fab settlements, and within 8 months, had a fully functional colony.
Soon however, disasters, one after another, struck. The ship’s reactor, which had been taken from the colony ship to power the colony, detonated due to a crucial coolant pipe malfunction. The resulting explosion killed thousands in the closely packed community, and other effects, such as fires and toxic smoke, killed thousands more. Still, it was only a prelude to things to come. A vicious swarm of diseases raced through the human colony, and the death came quick and sure. Xenobiologists, scientists specializing in the new world’s biosphere, began a race against time to find cures for the plagues.
In 2440, they found them in native plants, bur for many, it came to late. The explosion had killed approximately 5,000, with all effects taken into account. By the end of what was simply called “the sickness” three times that many lay dead. The colony had lost two thirds of its population in the six months since the blast, and things were not yet over. Predator attacks, spontaneous hurricanes, and an icy winter killed many more. More hardships were forced on them with their small population, and famine made the colony unable to begin production of industrial supplies. In addition, with an extremely limited gene pool, reproduction had to be closely managed.
But life went on, and began to settle. As the colonists adapted to their new home and slowly overcame the challenges of living there, their population expanded and new colonists were shipped out to aid them. Life gradually became more livable, and the colonists became experts on their home. The settlements began to be built better, and defenses were designed to keep marauding predators away. A few major cities sprang up, and gradually, though still backwater and virtually dirt poor, the situation became less dire. With life stable, attention drifted away from the peaceful little colony,
Decades passed, and humanity forged ahead. Until, in 2525, it hit a road block: the Covenant. New of war quickly came to Saros, and it’s fledgling population watched through the years as the Great War raged, as planets were taken and glassed by the vile alien invaders. However, the war seemingly passed by Saros; not a single major or minor skirmish was fought nearby, and when peace accords were signed in 2553, many thought that Saros had been absurdly lucky and been passed by all together. This was not, however, the whole truth.
During the mid 2540s, a secretive rebel group originated inside the UNSC fold. Using funds siphoned off from the war effort, this group, which called themselves Triad, constructed a base far enough from the main settlement to be secretive, but close enough to hack into its net uplink for information about the war. Occasionally citizens would notice transports bringing in supplies or figures moving through the swamp, but they either ignored them or dismissed them as smugglers. The dangerous nature of the swamps made private investigation very dangerous.
Meanwhile, Triad gained possession of the medical documents used from the SPARTAN-II and III programs, through contacts inside ONI Sections III and I. They hired mercenaries and gangsters and augmented them in a crude approximation of the procedures used on the SPARTAN candidates, and though fatality rates were extreme and the candidates less than optimal, the large pool of candidates allowed for a small number to end up as fully functional soldiers. After this venture, which took Triad years, they began constructing armor based on Mjolnir designs. After years, construction on suits was finished, and the base was converted, as per Triad’s plan, into a training ground, in preparation for the final phase.
However, secrecy was difficult to maintain. The Section III contact had an attack of conscience, and doubled for ONI. Section 0, the secretive internal affairs office of ONI, was brought in to clean up the mess. They dispatched their private enforcer, SPARTAN-144, and he single-handedly laid waste to the base. Stories about the short battle were told among the citizens of Saros, which quickly became legend and evolved into a sort of folklore.
The events went unnoticed by the world outside Saros however, and the citizens themselves thought little of it. Life stayed steady for them, and they were glad to be forgotten. It continued to exist for many more years after the war, but never became large, and never became noticed.