Epsilon Eridani

Former member of the Eridanus League, currently part of the EpEri Combine.

Epsilion Eridani system
Image from Aaron Hamilton
The worlds of the Epsilon Eridani system

Epsilon Eridani Data Panel

StarEpsilon Eridani
TypeK2V
Distance from Sol10.5ly
Luminosity0.28 x Sol
PlanetsOne Cytherian type world: Semimajor Axis 0.35 AU
Two EoArean subtype world: Semimajor Axis 0.54 AU
Three Eccentric Jovian type world : Semimajor Axis 3.4 AU
Four Cryojovian subtype world, : Semimajor Axis 40 AU
SummaryHere the River of Stars Charter was first announced, after having been agreed upon by the three nations on E Eridani II: New Elysium (southern hemisphere, founded by Mars Interstellar Inc.); the Allied Domestates (west of Entente Ridge, founded by Kelkemesh Ventures); and Eridan Home (equatorial and northern Plains of Steam, founded by Eridani Vision Inc.). Also joining early on were the Jain 'Starclad' colony on E Eri IV-B; over two-thirds of the Independent Accretion-Belt Mining colonies; and the Ronin Net. Other colonies declined to join including the Eternal I-ho-Chuan and the fringe-Christian Watchtower Base. The first, and most controversial, military action by the League was the destruction of the space dome 'Nome Crater City' on E Eri I with an antimatter torpedo after a blue-resistant nanoswarm outbreak there.

Epsilon Eridani remained the most important system in the Eridanus League for most of the League's existence.

The First Probe Fails

The Epsilon Eridani system, 10.5 ly from Sol, was colonized by a number of separate small missions before the Great Expulsion, and the population increased rapidly afterwards as refugees flooded into the system. Fortunately the initial conflicts between the settlers were resolved quite efficiently, forming the basis for the great experiment in interstellar cooperation and compromise, the Eridanus League.

After much debate and controversy among the early settlers, the four planets in the Epsilon Eridani system have been named simply One, Two, Three and Four in order of distance from the local star. The fact that Epsilon Eridani is a young system, and the unusually active nature of the star, made the system relatively inhospitable. Comets were frequent in the inner system as were impacts on the two terrestrial worlds, and particle storms are common.

Although a thick residue of prebiotic organic macromolecules were found in the cloudtops of One, (distance AU 0.35 - mass 1.2 Earths), the world itself had a thick reducing atmosphere, extreme volcanism (often triggered by impacts), and was caught in a greenhouse effect. Surface temperature was around 650 - 700 K. making it a Cytherian type world.

Two was a small EoArean type world (again with a reducing atmosphere) at 0.54 AU. The orbit of this world has an eccentricity of 0.3, causing seasonal variations despite a minimal obliquity. Before terraforming the summers were warm (and prone to rains of sulphuric acid) and the winters cold.

Three is a Jovian type world with a mass of 1.5 x Jupiter, a semimajor axis of 3.4 AU and a high eccentricity of 0.7. The extreme orbital eccentricity of this world is the reason that only two terrestrial planets are present in the inner system. Because of resonance effects the major axes of the three inner planets in this system are more or less aligned with each other, reducing interactions to a minimum.

The planet known as Four, a cryojovian world, orbits at 40 AU accompanied by many Trojan asteroids. This world orbits just outside a thick icy dust belt, which is the source of many of the comets in the system.

These worlds had been observed by telescopes from the Solar System before any attempt at sending spacecraft to this star. At length a robot probe, the Campbell, funded by the international New Worlds Project in 350 A.T., was designed to set up facilities on the diffuse inner asteroid belt and the two outer asteroid belts. Interest in human colonisation and funding for an expedition evaporated when in 430 the probe stopped transmitting home without even reaching its destination. Despite talk of little green men and the box office successes of a string of tacky Invasion Earth type virches, it is more likely it was knocked out by some wandering debris too large for its tungsten shield to deal with. There was talk of sending a new probe, but the system did not seem to be very favourable for colonisation, although some of the mining corps were interested.
Epsilon Eridani b gas giant
Three, the major gas giant in this system

Three separate Colonisation efforts

But the public attention was elsewhere; the CisLunar-Jovian cold war (called the Superior-Genetekker war at the time) was starting to heat up. The powerful CisLunar military clique began assembling an expedition as they realised the strategic importance of claiming Epsilon Eridani, even if no-one could see how the resources could be conveyed back to the Sol System at any reasonable price. In 470 it was discovered the Jovian League had launched a ship (scientific expedition? colonist? military? the rumour mill was rife and disinformation flowed freely) towards the system. The CisLunars and Mars both decided they had to be in on the act and sped up the launch of their own expeditions, the CisLunar expedition first, then the Martians. The Mars Interstellar Inc ship Carter, a small, fast Double-Daedalus type vessel, arrived first in 580 with a crew of only forty people and declared the whole system a Scientific Protectorate.

The Martians were underprepared and their cryostasis systems were seriously degraded. They lost three crew on the way, two more in the Ep Eridani system, and the rest were all seriously malnourished before the next expedition arrived. Thankfully the CisLunars arrived soon after in 585. They were not much better off than the Martians. The Closed Ecological Life Support System on their ship the New Hope was failing, there was an outbreak of insect and fungal and parasitic mites, and the crew was constantly run down and sick with viral infections. The CisLunars were not happy to see the Martians already there. But they took them aboard the New Hope anyway, astonished that the Martians had even survived that long. The CisLunars decided to claim the gas giant Three for the CisLunar Alliance, but the Martians protested. There were grumblings between the two expeditions, and the Martians debated among themselves about siding with the Jovian expedition when they finally arrived, but eventually decided to remain independant.

The Genetekker Fusionists in the ship Kelkemesh arrived six months later and they were appalled to see the Martians and worse, the CisLunars there. The Jovians were all in robust health because of their advanced biotechnology. They also wanted to claim the gas giant and in the end signed a sort of treaty with the Martians. The Martians agreed to hand over ownership of the system in exchange for medical supplies and some basic biota to get their ship's life-support systems back (mostly gengineered algae and the ubiquitous "Manna", a modified GeneTEK food organism of high nutritional value and appalling taste (though those who have had to live on it for long voyages say after a few months it actually becomes palatable).

Several of the Martians were later to say they signed the system over to the Genetekkers under conditions of psychological duress, but the expedition captain Jorg Jorgensen always strongly denied this (his account is backed up by several independent Genetekker records and that of the cislunar planetologist Ilsa Cheng). The Genetekkers realised all they had to do was sit it out until the last of the CisLunars keeled over (which probably wouldn't be long). But the Cisluna faction recovered sufficiently to remain a significant faction in the new system. The situation was now a stalemate, as all three expeditions had enough fusion fuel left to reduce each of the other two ships to their component atoms.

The Outpost Treaty

All three camps radioed home, but on the receiving channel all they got was news of the chaos caused by the nanoswarms. Figuring there was nothing to do, and no home to return to, they established a treaty and formed an uneasy confederation, the Human Epsilon Eridani Colonisation Outpost.

Eventually the three formed a loose alliance, although there were a few tense moments. The worst involved the CisLunar starmech Tsien Ying who managed to sabotage a Genetekker Space Bug (a two-man short range tug with bio-mechanical arms for asteroid mining) resulting in the death of the two crew. The first murder committed in the system, he was tried under CisLunar law and executed (some of the Genetekkers wanted to send him alive into the sun but the CisLunars gave him a painless laser bolt to the head instead). For the most part relationships were peaceful, in the spirit of scientific research and with the hope of re-establishing humanity.

Over the next few centuries a more ships arrived, starting with the Macoss which arrived in 630 A.T.. This was followed a century later by a few Arkships built by GAIA herself, and ships built by outsystem clades of various sorts migrating away from Solsys. So many arrived that some ships were refueled and sent to more distant systems, such as the Bismillah enroute to Ouaddai, in an early form of secondary colonisation.

The world Two was terraformed first, using Martian and Genetekker technology; three nations were established there, the Martian New Elysium, the Allied Domestates (west of Entente Ridge, founded by Kelkemesh descendants); and Eridan Home (equatorial and northern Plains of Steam, founded by nanoswarm refugees).

The foundation of the Eridanus League

After the early conflicts, the Epsilon Eridani Colonisation Outpost became a model for interplanetary co-operation and interaction. The system of interplanetary agreements and protocols established by the River of Stars movement (named after the constellation Eridanus, `The River') became the basis for the formation of the Eridanus League. This movement was started by Hoa-van-Huynh and his followers on the single moon of the planet Two, and consisted of abroad acceptance of diversity coupled with a strict code forbidding aggression between member states, reinforced (somewhat ironically) by a strong military response force.

The three nations of the world Two were the founding members, together with the Cisluna colonies on the moons of Three. Also joining early on were the Jain 'Starclad' colony on Four; over two-thirds of the Independent Accretion-Belt Mining colonies; and the Ronin Net. Other colonies declined to join including the Eternal I-ho-Chuan and the fringe-Christian Watchtower Base. The first, and most controversial, military action by the League was the destruction of the space dome 'Nome Crater City' on One with an antimatter torpedo after a blue-resistant nanoswarm outbreak there. Between 800 and 910 the Eridanus League attracted member states in nearby systems, such as Epsilon Indi, 40 Eridani, and Terranova. The Eridanus League was contacted by the First Federation in 946, and became affiliated with that empire in 1000AT (but never formally joined).

Epsilon Eridani remained the most important and most populous system in the Eridanus League for most of the League's existence. The League was important in the secondary colonisation of several nearby systems, mostly to Galactic South, and helped to start the flow of ideas and technology between the colonies in the Inner Sphere. More about the history of the Eridanus League here. When the First Federation began to fall apart, so did the Eridanus League; Epsilon Eridani became affiliated with Terranova and the Terranova Foundation exploration megacorp, eventually joining the NoCoZo by 2300.

The planet One was eventually terraformed, with the help of a sunshade. Together with the ancient civilisation on Two and the extensive asteroid-based colonies in the inner Belt, this world is part of the current EpEri Commbine, a tier two Non-Coersive zone territory.

A number of Inner Sphere archai have migrated into the outer system, and over recent millennia both gas giants have been extensively re-engineered by transapient technology. Far outside the outermost belt two traversable wormholes are located, one to Twilight, and one to UV Ceti.


Early Timeline of the Epsilon Eridani system

.350 AT Campbell launched
430 AT Campbell lost
470 AT Kelkemesh launched
475 AT Carter launched
479 AT New Hope Launched
540 First Nano-outbreak (Solar System)
544 Bismillah launched- other backyarder refugee ships launched in this period
580 AT Carter arrives
585 AT New Hope arrives
586 AT Kelkemesh arrives
589 AT Antibody War (Solar System)
590 AT The joint Human Epsilon Eridani Colonisation Outpost established
600 AT The terraformation of planet Two commences
621 AT The Great Expulsion (Solar System)
630 AT Macoss arrives
630 AT GAIA starts to launch space arks to various destinations, including Epsilon Eridani
675 Bismillah arrives
740 GAIA Space Arks arrive from SolSys; Skyclad Jains, Christian sects, Chinese and
Japanese refugees, others. Antimatter farms established to power terraformation process.
770 River of Star Charter proposed and promoted among the colonies by Hoa-van-Huynh and his followers from a moon colony orbiting Two; invitation messages sent to nearby stars
790 Nova Terra replies to message; declines to join Eridanus League
792 No reply from Solsys
800 Twilight joins Eridanus League
815 Epsilon Indi joins Eridanus League
850 P Eridani joins Eridanus League
900 Bismillah rebuilt, refueled and launched towards Ouaddai
1000 Eridanus League becomes aligned with but not part of the First Federation
1080 Terranova joins Eridanus League
1110 Ross 128 Joins Eridanus League
1000-1900 Second wave of colonists sent out by Eridanus League to form the Yoson Confederacy and FSA
1900 Eridanus League breaks up; Epsilon Eridani joins Terranova Foundation and eventually the NoCoZo
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev; amended by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 24 October 2001.