The planet that drew so much interest, and recently so much conflict, is a fairly young world that never had the chance to develop much of an active biosphere; while plants of various orders are common, multicellular animal life has yet to appear naturally. Due to the intrusion of humans and other sentients, it’s not likely that Spes will ever do so.
The planet contains three large continents and numerous smaller islands. The largest continent, Utrecht, joins two land- masses subducted by two tectonic plates. Two mountain chains cross the continent, which is otherwise dominated by short stretches of grassland and an ever-growing desert. Corinth, the largest settlement on the continent, has fewer than 3,000 Borealins within its walls.
Hegel, on the opposite side of Spes, Is the second largest continent, it’s also largely undeveloped. No significant town or city exists on this continent, and only a few hundred rugged settlers live here. Hegel features the thickest vegetation on Spes, with forests and jungles along both of its coastlines. A mountain range near its eastern shore showcases the planet’s tallest peaks. Only skycars and spaceships have scaled these mountains.
Mabillion, the smallest continent, has seen the most activity. The Borealins built three cities here. The primary city is, of course, the reconstructed community of Silver Bell, built in the asteroid’s crater. Construction continues over the remains of the city, and the area now boasts more than 50,000 Borealins. Just over the mountains to the west of Silver Bell is the newest urban area, called Alcazar. Alcazar is the primary Concord military installation on the surface of Spes and the permanent residence of some 20,000 sentients-including citizens, military officers, and enlisted personnel. Finally, the city of Whitehead dates most of its buildings from prior to the return of the stellar nations. The Borealins and independents living in Whitehead had an easy time of it; cleaning and rebuilding have proven easier than starting anew.
All told, Spes is still a virgin world, with many regions that have never known the trod of human foot. Exploring its surface is one of the few leisures that off-duty Borealins and Concordans enjoy.
A Tortured Planet
All is not well on this virgin paradise, however. According to Borealin records, Spes’s average temperature reported in the years from 2351 until 2488 was a relatively chilly 6.9°C- almost 10 degrees Centigrade below the average experienced on Earth. But today, the average temperature is 29.3°C. It’s an incredible shift. In the four years since the Concord returned in 2497, the temperature has risen an impressive 9.4°C. In 2500, the planet warmed by more than 3°.
All of this change is producing incredible effects. Where once the polar ice caps stretched down a few hundred kilometers north of Silver Bell, today they sit more than 2,000 kilometers away. In addition, temperatures on the equator can easily exceed 45° C. It’s this rise in temperature that is directly responsible for the existence and growth of Spes’s deserts and more arid geography. The planet’s climate isn’t accepting all these changes happily; storms and unpredictable weather patterns are worse than ever.
What’s causing the climatic shift? The planet’s orbit is stable, and so is the solar radiation emitted from Hammer’s Star. However, Spes’s atmosphere is changing rapidly. As the planet began to heat slowly, gases were released into the upper atmosphere, in turn trapping more heat. It’s all leading Spes into a runaway cycle that could potentially lead it down the Venusian cycle of planetary evolution.
The timing of these changes leads Borealin scientists to conclude that it must be tied into the asteroid impact in 2489.