|This article, Andromeda Galaxy (K4 and §yzygy), was written by K4 and §yzygy. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.|
The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. It is the nearest spiral galaxy to our own, the Milky Way. As it is visible as a faint smudge on a moonless night, it is one of the farthest objects visible to the naked eye, and can be seen with binoculars even in urban areas.
Andromeda is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which consists of the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 30 other smaller galaxies. Although the largest, it may not be the most massive, as recent findings suggest that the Milky Way contains more dark matter and may be the most massive in the grouping. However, recent observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope revealed that M31(the official name for the Andromeda Galaxy) contains one trillion (1012) stars, greatly exceeding the number of stars in our own galaxy. Estimates put the mass of the Milky Way to be ~80% of the mass of Andromeda, which is estimated to be 7.1x1011 solar masses.
At an apparent magnitude of 4.4, the Andromeda Galaxy is notable for being one of the brightest Messier objects, making it easily visible to the naked eye even when viewed from areas with moderate light pollution. It appears quite small without a telescope because only the central part is bright enough to be visible, but the full angular diameter of the galaxy is seven times that of the full moon.
In //CLASSIFIED//, the UNSC, Sangheili Union, and various other races discovered a gateway to the Andromeda Galaxy called a Quakegate(translated from ancient writings on the structure) near the edge of the Orion Arm of the milky Way Galaxy. This Quakegate allowed near instantaneous travel to Andromeda, opening up a whole new area of exploration for the Milky way residents.
However, what the Milky Way races didn't know is that a resident race, called the Vitika, had visited the Milky Way during the Golden Age of the Forerunners, and contruscted the Quakegate in their territory. The Vitika were Teir 0, transgalactic, nearly omnipitent. However, they unknowingly brought back a sample of the Flood supercell during their short stay, and soon after, that cell spread, contaminating a ship, then a fleet, then a planet, a system, and so on. During the last 65,826 years, the Vitika and the Andromeda Galaxies various races have been fighting an Eternal War against the perpetually-growing Flood, who has absorbed the majority of the Vitika's once massive territory. Many other races have either fallen to the Flood entirely or have been severely depleted as a result of fighting them, leaving much of the Andromeda Galaxy's once tight-packed borders open for claim.
One enity in the Andromeda Galaxy, The Intelligence, has been regularly communicating with the UNSC, giving them updates and information, and questioning them into their encounters with the Flood. It's speculated that the Intelligence is attempting to ally with Humanity so as to recruit them to help fight the Flood with it.