Hammer's Star Colonization
Six months later, Borealin craft came to the Hammer’s Star system to investigate the disappearance of the Lightbringer and its Borealin observers. On the surface of Spes, they found the remains of 19 Borealins and twelve SRA employees. The recovery team was torn between the excitement of finding a habitable world and grief over the loss of their citizens. They left the Borealin camp behind as a monument and a marker to indicate a Borealin claim to Spes.
A year later, in August 2342, Borealin colonists descended to the surface of Spes. Whereas before the Borealin government was ambivalent about participating in the Spes voyage, now they praised its success. The Republic spared no expense to assist in the development of its new Verge colony-as it was built on the only habitable world in the region. Moreover, once Borealin leadership realized that war was imminent; Spes represented a sanctuary for them in case the Republic foundered.
The careful colonization plan occurred in several steps. First, the Republic’s planetary engineers excised a mild concentration of harmful gases from Spes‘s atmosphere. Once they cleared the air, the colonists established a city-named Silver Bell for the shape of the mountainous plateau on which it rested-and burned out the native flora and fauna. The Borealins were in too much of a hurry to consider a more time-consuming integration.
Silver Bell rose in record time. Its engineers designed the city as a stronghold. Mountains cloaked the settlement on three sides, and its single land-based approach involved a steep grade easily monitored and protected. The Spes colony couldn’t completely protect itself from space-based attacks, but powerful orbital defense satellites provided it with a level of protection that few Verge colonies could match. In addition, tunnels dug deep into the mountainside provided a haven 3 kilometers beneath the surface in the event of attack. In its first four years, the fortified walls of Silver Bell were torn down twice to allow for additional growth. Almost 300,000 Borealins emigrated to the edge of human space. By 2345, the Spes colony looked safer than the Stellar Ring.
One of the last gifts of the Borealis Republic arrived in October 2345, less than six months before the Mutant Uprising would incite the Second Galactic War. Even as the Borealis Republic reluctantly girded itself for war, it hoped to preserve contact with its distant city. So, at great expense, the Republic constructed a drivespace communication relay in orbit around Spes. Coupled with the relays in the Aegis and Tendril systems, the drivesats of Hammer’s Star gave hope to both the Borealins in the Stellar Ring and those on Spes. The colony could still reach out to its distant parent in the event of trouble, and the Republic could listen comfortably to the growing success of its faraway colony even as war threatened the Stellar Ring.