Beyond the Black
The discovery of the first Pandora Gate on Saturn’s moon Pandora shortly after the Fall was a watershed moment in transhuman history. The prospects this discovery raised were simultaneously fascinating and terrifying. On one hand, technologies far beyond anything transhumanity was capable of were now in our hands. This raised visions of a horizon far beyond the horrors of the Fall, where transhumanity would expand across the cosmos, visiting wonders that seemed perpetually far out of reach, even for nearimmortals. On the other hand, the possibility that these gates were relics of the TITANs could not be discounted. Their existence opened the possibility that the TITANs might one day return, or that transhumanity might still encounter them out in the galaxy at large. The alternative was even scarier—that the gate could be of extraterrestrial origin, and the things more dangerous and frightening than the TITANs might stalk the space between the stars.
Various hypercorps, governments, and other factions threw their brightest minds into solving the mystery of these “wormholes.” Numerous scientific communities pooled resourcesbacked by private sector fundsand cracked the code of the Pandora Gate in just over a year. Not only was the gate activated, but it could be programmed to open connections to numerous distant star systems (one at a time). Though these controls were unreliable at best—connections sometimes closed without warning, and others could not be recalled though they had been opened before—the functionality was stable enough to use them in earnest. At the same time as their very public announcement concerning this seminal achievement, the Gatekeeper Corporation was formed overnight: a merger of those same scientific communities and their financiers.
Less than a year from its first operation, the hypercorp opened the gate to “gatecrashers:” explorers who risk their lives to see what lies beyond. Many of these died horribly; some were even lost forever, but a few made fantastic discoveries such as new worlds and new life. Though none of the (living) alien lifeforms encountered so far have been sapient, many of the worlds are habitable or within the possibilities of terraforming. Along with these wonders were found more disturbing things: evidence of a long-dead alien civilization (the Iktomi), and signs that the TITANs had passed these ways before.
Additional gates were soon discovered throughout the system. Unlike the spirit of cooperation that surrounded the first gate’s discovery, these others were seized as hotly contested resources. Initially used for research and exploitation, many of these gates are now being tasked for colonization purposes. Dozens if not hundreds of exoplanet stations and colonies have been established, some with significant numbers. There has been no lack of poor or desperate individuals willing to risk life on an alien world, if it means an iota of improvement in their lives.
Though it is now widely accepted that the gates are the means by which the TITANs evacuated the solar system (a hypothesis which fails to answer why they did so), they appear timeless in their construction. Regardless of their origin, the gates remain one of the most prized and dangerous of technologies.
The five known Pandora Gates within the solar system, their locations, and their controlling entities, include:
- Vulcanoid Gate: Caldwell (Vulcanoids) —- TerraGenesis
- Martian Gate: Ma’adim Vallis (Mars) – Pathfinder/ Planetary Consortium
- Pandora Gate: Pandora (Saturn system) – Gatekeeper Corp.
- Fissure Gate: Uranus – Love and Rage Collective/Anarchists
- Discord Gate: Eris (Kuiper Belt) – Go-nin Group/Ultimates