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40px-Terminal.png This article, Circumstance, was written by Sev40. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.
40px-Writer_share.png This article, Circumstance, was written by Sev40, but may be used freely by other users even without the author's explicit permission.
80px-Halopediaicon-gradient.png This is a fanon expansion of a canon element. To see the original canon article, follow the link to Halopedia: Circumstance.
Circumstance
Circumstance
Astrographical information
Region

Inner Colonies, Human Space

Sector

FLEETCOM Sector One

System

Epsilon Eridiani

Star(s)

1

Moon(s)

None

Satellite(s)

Hundreds of artificial satellites

Rotation Period

23.3 Hours

Orbital Period

46 AU (292 years)

Physical information
Diameter

10,985 Kilometres (6,826 Miles)

Terrain
  • Tundra Plains, Archipelago
  • Extensive urban mega-centres
Gravity

0.829 G

Surface Temperature

-45°C to 25°C (-49°F to 77°F)

Climate

3 Seasons:

  • Hot Summers
  • Long, cold Winters
  • Warm Springs
Atmosphere

1.0

  • 76% N2
  • 19% O2
  • 3% CO2
  • >1% Other Gases
Societal information
Species

Humans

Technology Tier

Tier 3

Government

Democratic Elective Government

Population

2550 Census: 9,461,535

Demonym

Circumstancian

Continents

9 Continents

Major Cities
Major Industries
  • Entertainment
  • Law & Order
  • Mining
Affiliation
  [Source]


"Contact with the entire Epsilon Eridiani System has been lost. We have been given confirmation that the military centres on Reach have been glassed from orbit, and our defense group on Circumstance have failed to complete Operation: LAST STRAW. By 1740 today, all communications from Circumstance, Tantalus and Tribute have ceased, likely due to those colonies being glassed by the enemy fleet from Reach."
―A prowler report from the ONI Lark, reporting on the destruction of all human colonies in the Epsilon Eridiani System in late 2552.

Before its loss in August in 2552, the Epsilon Eridiani System was one of the most important systems to the UNSC's war effort - it was, after all, home to their headquarters on Reach, and provided a navigational gateway to the Sol System system where humanity's homeworld of Earth laid. Yet while it is an undeniable fact that Reach was the most notable and important planet of the system, it is completely inaccurate to say that the other colonies had little to no significance besides to house human colonists. Circumstance, the centre of law and justice in human space, was another example of how central the system was to the functioning of the UEG.

The furthest planet from the body of which the system is named after, Circumstance was naturally one of the hardest planets to tame in the earliest period of humanity's colonial efforts. When it was discovered, it had a far thinner atmosphere than its size suggested, an extremely cold climate which rarely circulated because of its frozen oceans and an inactive lithosphere which meant its soil was extremely poor in nutrients. Yet despite these extremes, the initial colonial efforts prospered, stabilising the atmosphere with millions of tonnes of Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen and Oxygen to make it even vaguely habitable. Once these measures succeeded, Circumstance's advantages, both due to its makeup and its position, were good enough to establish a profitable business in both mining and politics, though its judicial and later entertainment industry lasted far longer than the ill-managed mining efforts would. As the seat of power for the respected High Court of the Inner Colonies and the meeting place for the Inner Colony Co-operation Meeting (ICCM) which occurs every five to ten years, it's defense drew a large sum of the UNSC's resources when the planet was attacked and glassed in 2552.

History

Formation and Pre-colonial history

The world that would be known as 'Circumstance' is an unusual case for the Epsilon Eridiani System. While the condensing rock of debris would normally collide together and fuse into the future planets of Reach, Tantalus and Tribute, Circumstance was an unusual case because it's an exoplanet captured by Eridani's gravity. Because of this, pin-pointing its origins is extremely difficult. It appears as though that, because of its highly varied mountainous terrain and how its internal layers only slightly differ in chemical make-up, Circumstance is believed to have been constructed outside of any solar bodies over the course of nine billion years through low-heat meteorites. Given its size, however, it's impossible to be sure what the planet's origins actually are.

Whatever the case, once it was captured by the star it suffered extensive bombardment over the millions of years of being pulled through the debris disk of Epsilon Eridiani. It slowly disrupted the disk, forming a large hole in the disk which resulted in its brilliant rings. The bombardments ultimately slowed down to a crawl once its rings formed, and its magnetic field weakened over billions of years of cooling, resulting in it receiving higher-than-average levels of radiation from its star - enough to grant it the possibility to be sufficiently habitable.

Proposed discovery

With the advancements of telescopic technology throughout the 2000's and the 2100's, humanity could finally look at the most likely system which can house a number of human colonies. Dozens of previously-unknown planets were discovered. A vast majority were detected not by the Hubble, but by its successor the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which searched the galaxy for emissions of infrared radiation which can suggest a habitable planet. Of particular note was the discovery of the cause of the system's debris disk 'hole' - unlike what previous simulations stated, the hole was caused from not one, but two planets roughly 40 AU from the star, detected only by the trace amounts of infrared radiation that the JWST was designed to detect. Even more exciting was that one of these new planets had the size required to generate enough gravity to safely maintain a human colony. These new bodies - of which three were discovered - were named Epsilon Eridiani D, E and F, respective of their discovered order.

Circumstance artist impression
An artist's impression of Epsilon Eridiani F, circa 2246.

In those years, probes were sent to attempt to discover these systems - most of which took hundreds of years to arrive, despite its close proximity to Sol. Though early on battery life was a problem, once that was resolved - often by reducing battery usage where necessary - the scientist fever was running wild. While most were aimed at the planets within the habitable zone, one was sent to Epsilon Eridiani C and F to assess their resource deposits, mostly driven by the possibility to mine the gas giant. The project director in charge when it arrived to Eridiani F, Robert G. Loss senior, was often credited for pushing the possibility of colonising Eridiani F. Without his status in the scientific community and the data he received, Circumstance might not have become a colony at all.

Colonisation

Colonisation of Eridiani F went in a somewhat unusual way. Around two years after the arrival of the MSV Odyssey to Reach, the Chinese sponsored a mineral resource exploration of the outer rim of the Eridiani system, targeting the material potential of the rings which circled the outer two planets. If sufficient resources existed, the Chinese would tag it for themselves and establish a more permanent series of orbital stations later on. With some backing, they built the sensor ship Home Star[1] which, unlike the other ships before it, was not designed for colonising new worlds and utilised cheap-and-cheerful technology to keep costs down.

Eve primae 01
Stranded in deep space, the Home Star was the first ship to attempt to 'colonise' Circumstance.

After spending three months identifying, surveying and exporting samples from the nearby Gas Giant, now named Forecast[2], it arrived in orbit of Eridiani F on the 21st December 2312 for a six-month scientific and industrial examination. While the survey of Forecast was a simple testing of the asteroid ring's make-up, Eridiani F was a full-scale scale and evaluation of the planet itself, including its potential for colonisation and its orbit on top of the mineral reports. However, two months into its mission, the ship lost contact with command on both the newly-acquired Reach and Earth. For several months, the exploration crew would rely heavily on their ship's damaged rations and nuclear reactor to keep them warm and alive while they awaited rescue, and on later occasions even perform cannibalism their fallen comrades to fulfill their sole goal to survive.

While they were desperate for much-needed resources and ground to move and sustain their massive population, China was somewhat skeptical of sending a rescue party to Eridiani F, and turned their focus to Forecast and the second Asteroid Belt. Instead, a small group of traders embarked on a rescue attempt to locate them. They were funded by many of the relatives of the missing scientists, who only just received word that the Home Star was missing and 'lost with all hands'. A combination of travel times, hazardous piloting and independent searching of the planet meant that it took a great deal of months to find the crashed ship or even the planet. It was only in July 2387 did the crew finally rediscover Eridiani F, with the wreckage discovered a month later. They were too late for many of the crew, and of the 3,500 to leave Earth on the Star, only a mere 124 remained to be rescued. Perhaps to the ego of the crew and captain, or a nod to the good fortune of what happened, the crew logged the name of the planet after the name of their humble trading vessel-turned-hospital ship, the Circumstance.

Ice Planet
A picture of Circumstance's icy surface, prior to being fully terraformed.

Despite this, Circumstance would not be settled until nearly fifteen years after the initial voyage, when in late 2327 a group of mining companies would sponsor and loan one of their mining ships to fully establish a civilian presence on Circumstance. With a mixed background of colonists mainly from Europe willing to leave the harsh lifestyle at home, not to mention scarce numbers of Asian-born willing to retry initial attempts, Circumstance was fully colonised by the Legend of Castillo in 2370. It founded two main settlements: the cheaper and more populated New Beijing base near the Home Star's largely intact and salvageable wreckage, and a more expensive settlement near the Equator originally called New Sydney, but later renamed to Mira.

A Pirate's Dream

Over the next hundred years of its colonisation, Circumstance would slowly expand and be terraformed into a much more temperate planet, with its dry ice surface being melted to release thousands of tonnes of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. Though the surface settlements grew very slowly over this early period, the orbital infrastructure was in a stage of supergrowth. Orbital elevators, trade processing stations and orbital refineries were all constructed in their hundreds over a very short period of time. This could be contributed to its orbit - most of its long orbit could be used as a temporary link between differing systems, the most prominent being a direct gateway to the Sol System when it was colonised. This single advantage of its placement ensured it rose to become a major trading world in the earliest period of colonisation, its cheap refineries supplementing newer infrastructure on newly-colonised planets.

Despite its economic importance, many in Human Space saw it as a backwater world because of its low colonist population. The isolation from other Eridiani colonies, as well as its relative close distance to the second Asteroid Belt, meant that the constant trade routes were a goldmine for less-legitimate 'businessmen' - those being criminals and pirates. The low amounts of military patrols led to pirates making secret bases on and around Circumstance, launching quick attacks on victims and making off with more than enough before disappearing altogether. Even in these early times, turf wars were not uncommon, and the lawlessness of the situation meant rising to any sort of 'fame' was an incredibly difficult task.

Chris Lou
A leading geologist, the chaos Lou witnessed on the Star had far-reaching consequences on his later career.

One of the most famous of these raiders was also one of the original colonists who survived the wreckage of the Home Star, scarred forever when he was forced to eat his childhood friend alive. Bachelor Chris Lou's experience was so traumatic that he openly refused to be taken back to his family, to the point he almost launched himself from one of the Circumstance's twelve V-9 Eight Person Ejection Pods back towards Circumstance - almost. He somehow came back to Circumstance to operate as a privateer; a cover which looted those he supposedly protected. By the time anyone began to be suspicious of him, thirteen ships had already disappeared under his 'protection'. Branded a criminal, he operated as a gun-for-hire on board the frigate Another Chance, then participating in no less than ten bold raids against the orbital refineries before finally establishing his own pirate faction that worked exclusively on Circumstance. With such a number of suspected crimes, the mining corporations put out a huge bounty on his head to bring him in, dead or alive.

The UNSC, more accurately the CMA, were obviously attracted by this 'payout', and launched an operation to pacify the region. Mockingly called by its participating personnel as "Operation: GET RICH", two battlegroups, Battlegroup Reach and Battlegroup Sydney, were pulled into the system under the cover of refitting new technologies onto the ships' hull. Once the battlegroups were ready, a large unguarded convoy was sent out to Circumstance to assist in expanding the established settlements. It didn't take long for word to get out that hundreds of tonnes of technical supplies, atmospheric generators and unrefined minerals were on their way, and Lou was among those who arrived there to 'guide' them to the far side of Circumstance. While he was suspicious of the convoy's size, he did not see the far-ranged trap. As soon as he boarded the first ship, both Battlegroups slipped in to begin their ambush. Though the maneuver was a failure - only the CMA Sydney and her escort frigate Saturday Night were able to arrive within 500 km of the convoy - the mission turned out to be a success, with nearly all participating pirates captured and interrogated. Although bringing their engines offline caused the pirate ships to quickly surrender, Lou managed to evade custody and escape. To this day, his body has never been found, but given the fact that he was obsessed with remaining on Circumstance and his pirate base had never been found, he was believed to have hidden there for the rest of his days. There are still rumours of an immense vault of unimaginable riches, hidden somewhere on its surface - obviously an evolution of Lou's hideout.

Political Rivalry

Times Start to Change

Battle of Circumstance

Relations

UNSC/UEG

Sangheili

Kig-Yar

Culture

Demographics

Military Groups

Industry

Notable Companies and Organisations

Geography

Surface

When it was discovered, Circumstance appeared precisely like a ball of ice. The only liquid that covered any part of its surface was the seven small oceans of liquid Nitrogen and liquid Oxygen which existed in the thin tropical zone which guaranteed its temperatures rose high enough. Large ice sheets of a variety of substances, primarily Carbon Dioxide and at places Nitrogen, can measure kilometres at their thickest points. Because of these, very few areas save the salty Great Inland Canyon have exposed rock.

Nowdays, at least before its glassing in 2552, the surface is far more pleasant. Although its temperature is quite warm compared to other colonies, ice still exists further than 50o despite consistently retreating further towards the poles. Between these barriers is a vast ocean dotted with islands of various sizes, highly ranging in depth from less than a hundred metres above undersea plateaus to almost fourteen kilometres in Whicker's Trench. Many islands are actually the peaks of craters and form the circular rings of land characteristic of the planet, although these naturally support only a small population of people because they rarely exceed one kilometre in thickness and consist of a hilly terrain. There is a single continental landmass however. Doggerland[3], named after its coastline's resemblance to the head of a canine, is several thousand kilometres in length and width and is rather flat thanks to the numerous glaciers which previously plowed their way down south. Its still rather uneven, something expressed with it being home to over ninety mountain peaks in four separate ranges; the Trans-Doggerland Range,. The largest of these, measuring a staggering 36,208 metres above sea level, is Mount Titanic, which is rather thin when compared to other mountains - something reflected in its local name, "Thin Tin".

Climate & Weather Patterns

Prior to its colonisation, Circumstance's atmosphere was too thin to power a weather and climate cycle. Its vast distance from its star meant that it rarely received sufficient heat to ensure its temperature very rarely rose above freezing. Because of this, any gases which could make up an early atmosphere froze into more rigid forms, such as 'dry-ice' and vast lakes of liquid Nitrogen. Circulation of temperature was non-existence, and the steep tilt ensured that where temperatures were rising would quickly be sent far away from the star's rays. Because of this, while within the first hundred years of colonisation most of the settled colonies in Epsilon Eridiani were fully terraformed, Circumstance was still undergoing a long period of global warming to make its temperature more comfortable for colonists.

Around the time it was glassed, Circumstance had far more comfortable temperatures. Unlike many planets, its tropical zone was very small, rarely exceeding 100 kilometres in places. While they don't always receive equal amounts of sunlight and darkness, on an average it still maintains a much higher temperature, making it the most heavily populated region on the planet. Thanks to its larger-than-average polar regions, temperatures rise sharply on the way to the poles. Climates are often very different in very short distances, though precipitation still tends to regulate the temperatures near the coasts. Unlike its natural state, Circumstance had rather warm winters, as it lost little heat during this period thanks to its potent greenhouse layer, and snow was only witnessed in a thin period stretching from a few weeks before the end of Winter and a month after Spring has begun.

With its passing, Circumstance now has a very similar atmosphere to other human colonies which were discovered by the Covenant - uneven temperature increases that are slowly leveling off. The uneven orbital bombing by Covenant warships have resulted in permanent high and low areas which move across the surface, drifting to and from the equator. These regions are different enough to generate strong 'glass-storms' - similar to sandstorms, but are composed exclusively of razor-sharp shards of glass - that can sweep across large areas of the planet for weeks before depositing the glass. With the uneven cooling of its atmosphere and the recent glassing of its surface, Circumstance has one of the highest frequencies of these storms, enough that all settlements are required to fit themselves with level-two glass protection and filtering measures or risk blinding their occupants.

Biosphere

Notable Geographical Formations

Notable residents

40px-Super_optimal.png The author, Sev40 urges and gives permission for any user who references this unit or vessel, Circumstance, to add their article to the "Known" list below.

Notes

  1. Officially labelled 家在星 in traditional Chinese.
  2. The original name for the gas giant, 風暴之海 or "Sea of Storms", was rejected by the CAA and the UEG, something which frustrated both the crew and the Chinese space community.
  3. Temporary name until I can think of something better
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