|This article, Oceanus, was written by Dragonclaws. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "Oceanus cannot be owned; it can only be visited. Let us be polite guests."
- ―Maraĵa Eller
Oceanus was a small human colony world in the Groombridge system, first planet from the star and smallest in the system. It was notable for 90% of its surface being water. Its few landmasses are a collection of archipelagos. It was terraformed in 2368 for use as an agriculture world. Upon discovery of indigenous life and evidence of past alien civilization, however, the planet was declared a nature preserve. Strict laws were put in place to keep corporations from polluting the world, damaging the Oceanus farm and fishing industry, which gave rise to resentment toward the United Earth Government. Oceanus almost played part in the Insurrection through a mass revolt against the local government, but this was narrowly averted due to changing social conditions, though the planet was host to some Insurrectionist forces. The planet became a haven for xenoarcheologists and followers of the religion Bela seeking spiritual enlightenment. In 2532, the planet was attacked by the Covenant Empire in the Battle of Oceanus, resulting in the planet's eventual glassing.
The Latinized word Oceanus comes from the Greek Okeanos. In Greek mythology, Okeanos was a primeval god, one of the basic components of the universe that emerged at its creation. The source of all fresh water, Okeanos was the personification of a great river believed to surround the world. The planet was named after this figure because of its vast ocean.
The planet was originally settled on by the Neev species, who built several structures on the island landmasses. There is no evidence that they altered the planet's atmosphere to closer resemble their homeworld, suggesting that pre-terraformed Oceanus was suitable for their physiology or that they wore environment suits. They left during a series of violent volcanic eruptions, abandoning their settlements to the elements. What became of the Neev is unknown; however, it is speculated by some that they encountered the Covenant and were among the many victims of the Covenant's genocidal Prophets.
The planet was among the first candidates of extrasolar terraformation after its discovery in 2147 as an ocean planet by the Canadian Space Agency's Space Interferometry Mission, but it was not until 2335 that terraformation was undertaken. Because of the lack of suitable landmasses to supporting terraformation machines, the UNSC commissioned Diana Lindle to develop aerial atmospheric processors. Automated processors capable of spaceflight were sent from Reach to Oceanus, where they descended into the atmosphere and converted its gasses into Earth standard. Following the introduction of a breathable atmosphere, the Oceanus archipelagos were settled by humanity.
The civilization of Oceanus was motivated by the farm and fishing industry. Corporations such as EFAL and Slazak Co. saw Oceanus as a great investment and sent workers to the planet to seed the ocean. The companies' presence encouraged population growth. This was halted, however, when it was discovered that Oceanus had its own ecosystem with millions of diverse species in the depths of the ocean. Not wanting the introduced Earth animals to disrupt the Oceanus ecosystem, the UEG passed laws restricting farms to within 10km of the islands. Upon discovery of Neev remains, further laws were passed to restrict development of island cities. The big corporations that once drove the Oceanus economy decided that the endeavor was becoming too costly and pulled out. The Oceanus citizens adapted to the change, however, and created new wealth out of the tourism industry that rose up after news of the Neev became widely publicized. What was once a society built around agriculture transformed into one built around study of the Neev.
A century later, interest in the Neev started to wane and the tourist industry went with it. While scientific institutions continued to study the Neev, the decline of the tourist market negatively impacted their effectiveness. The local capitalists tried to revitalize the industry by changing their focus from the Neev to the natural wonders of Oceanus, such as by offering submarine rides through the schools of indigenous fish and other wildlife. Though hurt, the Oceanus economy began to recover.
When the Insurrection took place in 2494, however, the economy crashed. No one wanted to travel to a far-off destination for tourism when suicide bombers were cropping up everywhere. The Oceanus society became stricken with poverty. Everyone who could afford it left Oceanus in hope of finding work elsewhere, leaving only the poorest citizens to work the kelp farms. With the farms being the main source of income, the restrictive farming laws laid in place over a century ago to limit big business became a noose to choke the citizens of Oceanus. From this emerged a trend of pro-Insurrectionist thought. Blame was placed on the UEG for restricting the growth of Oceanus, and discussion of where the loyalties of the Oceanus people truly lay began to be openly debated. Fearing an armed revolt, the Colonial Administration Authority contacted the Colonial Military Administration to come and restore order. The sight of military forces on their islands did not intimidate the Oceanus people into submission, however, and served only to heighten the tension. Before open hostilities were initiated, the people were calmed by the emergence of a new religion called Bela, from the Esperanto word bela for beauty.
Oceanus native Maraĵa Eller, the first to practice Bela, published her autobiography in 2502. In it, she described her spiritual beliefs, which she believed to be a discovery rather than a creation. From these writings came the new religion Bela. While Eller described a feminine god at the heart of her belief system, she left the god's role vague enough that many felt comfortable adapting Bela to their previously held spiritual beliefs in a masculine god, many gods, or none at all. A versatile religion, Bela inspired hope and love among the weary people of Oceanus, keeping the peace for many decades despite persisting pro-Insurrectionist thought.
When first contact with an alien civilization occurred in 2525 and humanity became enemies with the Covenant Empire, interest in the Neev renewed. People began to question if the Neev were a part of the Covenant; if so, could learning about their defeat assist the United Nations Space Command? If the Neev were not Covenant and perhaps were killed off by them, could we learn from their failure? The Office of Naval Intelligence went to Oceanus and constructed new, advanced xenoarcheology centers to study the Neev artifacts. ONI hired the locals to help build and maintain their facilities, stimulating the Oceanus economy.
The renewed interest in Oceanus attracted the attention of tycoon Lawrence Groshong, who found the seas of Oceanus highly appealing. He brought his yacht to Oceanus while on holiday, and became intrigued by the locals' adoration of the planet's natural beauty. He became annoyed by the prevalent attitude that private enterprise could only be harmful to the environment, and by extent that he must therefore be anti-environmentalist, and sought to prove his dedication to environmentalism. In 2527, he started building Proteus, a self-sufficient floating city that would produce no pollution. The project provided hundreds of new jobs, which elevated Groshong in the eyes of some of the natives, while others described his expensive project as a shameful display of pointless spending for no other purpose than to cater to his bourgeoisie fantasy. Nevertheless, in 2529, Proteus was launched into the open ocean with a full host of citizens including Groshong himself. Proteus was supposed to only be gone a year; however, an Insurrectionist uprising on Proteus caused the city to veer off course and evade detection from the UNSC. Proteus did not reemerge until the Battle of Oceanus occurred in 2532.
Battle of Oceanus
- See also Battle of Oceanus
The Battle of Oceanus began with the ONI discovery of a Neev strongbox inscribed with symbols thought to represent the Neev making war with the Covenant. Bolstered with the possibility of uncovering a weapon the Neev were developing, ONI opened the box. Inside were alien artifacts not of Neev design, now understood to be Forerunner. Believing the devices to be Covenant weaponry, ONI activated them for testing purposes. Unfortunately, this attracted the attention of nearby Covenant while transiting through Slipstream space.
Mere hours before the attack, a probe sent ONI a digital file showing the Covenant exiting Slipspace beside Groombridge II and making a beeline for Oceanus. Some citizens attempted to escape, but most joined the UNSC in the defense of their home. In a rare move from the Insurrection, combat-ready Insurrectionists announced their presence to the UNSC and fought alongside them against the common enemy of the Covenant.
When the Covenant acquired the Forerunner artifacts, they began to glass the islands of Oceanus. Realizing that it was fear of damaging the artifacts that kept the Covenant from using their most powerful weapons, the Insurrectionists captured one of the artifacts and brought it to Proteus. The Insurrectionists then sent out a broadcast to tell the Covenant they had the artifact, inviting them to claim it back. Proteus lured the Covenant away from the islands to buy the UNSC as much time as they could and then detonated an atomic device within the city. The device, made from a jury-rigged Shaw-Fujikawa drive, critically damaged two Covenant battlecruisers in addition to vaporizing Proteus and and the Forerunner device with it.
The UNSC used the time to evacuate the Oceanus citizens and go for help after making a series of intermediate jumps to random destinations in accordance with the Cole Protocol. The UNSC From Earth to Heaven summoned help from the nearby stronghold Reach. Reach sent a flotilla of ships to engage the enemy in combat. The Covenant ships were still grouped from their Siege of Proteus, and the UNSC engaged them in a two-pronged formation. The result was a UNSC victory with heavy casualties and two Covenant ships escaping. The UNSC rounded up all available resources from the Oceanus islands, and then abandoned Oceanus as a strategic sacrifice.
The Covenant returned with a force four times greater. Over the course of twelve weeks, the Covenant bombarded the planet with plasma in an organized grid pattern (i.e. "glassing") to eliminate its further use by humanity. The plasma boiled the oceans and effectively destroyed the remaining human presence. It is estimated that 98% of the planet's indigenous life was killed in the attack.
Oceanus has no true continents. Instead, it has over 70,000 volcanic islands, separated into two major archipelagos of the northern and southern hemispheres.
Oceanus has a warm climate with temperatures averaging 300K. Oceanus orbits Groombridge 1618 at a radius of approximately 0.5 AU, placing it relatively close to the star. Its proximity allows Groombridge to heat Oceanus to a greater degree than Sol with Earth. Oceanus' water rarely becomes cool enough to solidify into ice, except at the regions closest to the poles. During its years as a human colony, Oceanus was prone to tropical cyclones in its summertime.
Until its glassing at the hands of the Covenant, Oceanus had a diverse range of indigenous plant and wildlife. Studies suggest that it had over 7 million unique species of animal, including the Oceanus dragon, the violet worm, the badger shark, and the Oceanus whale.
In 2530, the planet of Oceanus had approximately 5.2 million inhabitants. Life expectancy in 2529 was estimated to be at 84.3 years. The most common reason for death in 2530 was heart problems.
In a study performed in 2530, it was estimated that most inhabitants (85-92%) of Oceanus practiced Bela, the animist religion founded by Oceanus native Maraĵa Eller. Christianity and Buddhism also influenced Oceanus customs and beliefs. As many as 20% of Bela believers may have also followed Christianity or Buddhism in a syncretism. Approximately 3% of Oceanus citizens were Muslim.
Oceanus did not have an official language; however, the planned language Esperanto functioned as a planetary language. In 2530, 95% of the Oceanus people spoke Esperanto as their first language. It is a constructed language based off of western Indo-European languages. It was introduced to Oceanus via the EFAL corporation, which taught it to its workers as a means of aiding communication. Of the remaining population, an estimated 4% learned English and 1% learned Chinese as their first language. English was taught as a mandatory class in public and private schools.
Oceanus in Popular Culture
Oceanus is a popular subject in fiction, primarily for its once diverse wildlife. The planet has long been used as a symbol of the natural world. The 2378 Martian holofilm Icon, which became the highest-grossing holofilm of all time after its release, featured Oceanus as a romanticized untamed territory populated by reimagined native Neev who fought off a demonized version of humanity. In contrast, the 2387 holofilm Blue Water, Red Blood depicted the Neev as devil-like monsters fought off by Oceanus gods of nature. While the role of the Neev has been subject to change, the planet itself has consistently been depicted as a benign symbol of nature.