Ran (Epsilon Eridani)

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

Image from Steve Bowers
Ares and its single moon, Alala

Ran Data Panel

StarRan, Epsilon Eridani
Distance from Sol10.5ly
Luminosity0.28 x Sol
PlanetsAphrodite, (previously One) Cytherian type world: semimajor axis 0.35 AU
Ares, previously Two EoArean subtype world: semimajor axis 0.54 AU
III, AEgir Eccentric Jovian type world: semimajor axis 3.4 AU
Poseidon, previously 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 Ran 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 Ran 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 Ran I with an antimatter torpedo after a blue-resistant nanoswarm outbreak there.

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

The First Probe Fails

After much debate and controversy amongst the institute that discovered Ran's planetary system, the planets in the Ran system have been named Aphrodite (One), Ares (Two) and Poseidon (Four) in order of distance from the local star. The giant planet AEgir (Three) had already been given a name in the Information Age, but was still often known by its positional number. The fact that Ran 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 cloud tops of Aphrodite (I), (distance AU 0.35 - mass 1.2 Earths), the world itself had a thick 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.

Ares (II) 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.

AEgir (III) (the only planet given a name by the long-defunct IAU) is a Jovian 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 aligned with each other, reducing interactions to a minimum.

The planet known as Poseidon (IV), 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 colonization 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 favorable for colonization, although some of the mining corps were interested.
AEgir, the major gas giant in this system

Three Colonization Efforts

Early discussions about the economics of colonization were ultimately sidelined, since 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 realized the strategic importance of claiming Ran, even if no-one could see how the resources could be conveyed back to the Sol System at any reasonable price. In 490 it was discovered the Jovian League had launched a ship towards the Ran system. Rumors suggested scientific expedition, colonization, military motives. The CisLunar Alliance and the Martian government both decided they had to be in on the act and sped up the launch of their own expeditions. The CisLunar expedition launched before the Martian expedition. The Mars Interstellar Inc ship Carter, a small, fast Double-Daedalus type vessel, arrived first in 615 with a crew of only forty people and declared the whole system a Scientific Protectorate.

The Martians were under prepared 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 due to failures with their food production. Thankfully the CisLunar expedition arrived soon after in 620. 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 (AEgir) 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 independent.

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 CisLunar 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.
Ran system
Image from Aaron Hamilton
The worlds of the Ran system

The Outpost Treaty

All three camps radioed home, but on the receiving channel all they got was news of the chaos caused by the Great Expulsion. Figuring there was nothing to do, and no home to return to, they established a treaty and formed an uneasy confederation, the Human Ran Colonization 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 650 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 colonization.

The world Ares (II) 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 Technocalypse refugees). The moon Alala retains some historical relics from the earliest days of the colony, and is a tourist destination.

The Eridanus League Flag

Eridanus League Symbol
Image from Aaron Hamilton

The Foundation of the Eridanus League

After the early conflicts, the Ran Colonization 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 Ares (II), 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 Ares (II) were the founding members, together with the CisLunar colonies on the moons of AEgir (III). Also joining early on were the Jain 'Starclad' colony orbiting Poseidon (IV); 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 Aphrodite (I) 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).

Ran 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; Ran became affiliated with Terranova and the Terranova Foundation exploration megacorp, eventually joining the NoCoZo by 2300.

The planet Aphrodite was eventually terraformed, with the help of a sunshade. Together with the ancient civilisation on Ares 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 Ran 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 Ran 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 Ran
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; Ran joins Terranova Foundation and eventually the NoCoZo

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev, revised by QwertyYerty 2018
Initially published on 24 October 2001.

Renamed in December 2015 in line with new IAU nomenclature