- Type : Terrestrial World (two planetary rings)
- Radius : 6,531 km
- Gravity : 1.04 G
- Local Day : 26 SolGov hours 21 SolGov minutes
- Local Year : 453 SolGov days
- Climate : Arid
- Atmosphere : Primarily nitrogen and oxygen
Virgo-4, commonly dubbed Virgo Prime, is the only habitable planet in the Virgo-Erigone System. It lies right in the middle of the Goldilocks Zone, has stable tectonics, an active and decent magnetosphere and a breathable, terran-like atmosphere, primarily made out of nitrogen, oxygen and traces of carbon dioxide. It would be optimal for human development, wouldn’t there be complications.
The first is the cataclysmic event Virgo Prime has suffered through, rendering most of its surface sterile, salted and arid, while also having apparently killed most life hundreds of years ago. The result is a hostile fauna, mutated beyond belief and fiercely adapted to the broken landscape.
The second complication is the native species living on the planet, the Zorren. Hardy and prideful about their continued survival, they still cling to the broken lands and do their best to sheperd it back to its previous, garden-like state - Although they suffered too from the event of the past, as their culture, technology and societal structure has regressed to pre-gunpowder state. Only the ruins, deep within the salt wastes, infested with radiation and worse, hint of their technological apex, seemingly on the cusp of reaching FTL-Travel.
Regardless of that, conditions are certainly liveable, if hard. Whether due to nature taking its course or the stubborn work of the Zorren, some zones of denser vegetation exist, although fertile lands are coveted and fought over constantly between the warring families, clans, tribes and monarchies, which make up the Zorren’s current governments.
Virgo Prime’s geography and land features are scarred deeply by the extinction event they have faced, leaving much of the planetary water boiled off and escaped out of the atmosphere of the planet, as well the soil deadened by heat, radiation and salt residue of former oceans. However, single pockets of soil have survived and while Virgo Prime is much more arid now, it still retains an active hydrosphere of rain and snow.
It possesses two polar caps, one south, one north, both primarily made out of water ice, although the southern cap is mostly swimming in some of the remaining ocean of Virgo Prime, while the northern cap is surrounded by dry, cold wastelands.
The surface has suffered from repeated asteroid and meteorite strikes in the past, leaving large craters and new formations of mountains in its wake, giving the planet a wild, primal and jagged appearance in many regions, although continued erosion slowly smoothed these features into much more manageable geographic features.
Much of the geography is dominated by dry wasteland, regions that have been ecologically devastated to the point that the soil itself is dry, caked and infertile. Nothing grows here and only the most hardy animals dare to cross these barren regions.
A worse form of these wastelands are the salt and glass plains, which are infested either with residual boil off from former lakes and oceans or completely crystallized sand deserts from intense asteroid impacts. Salt plains are usually avoided and occasionally exploited for salt mining by the Zorren, as they too are infertile and very, very eager to suck out any moisture of living things. Glass plains are completely avoided. Apart from the massive heat retention of the glass, making it basically a frying pan, the glass fragments can be kicked up and create a deadly glass storm, in which everything within in vicinity is cut up by millions of glass fragments. Even NT tend to avoid these areas, as voidsuits and hardsuits only resist these storms for so long.
However, not all features are inherently hostile to life. Hospitable regions are sparse, but enough to support life, especially along rivers, ocean coastlines and oases. The most fertile regions are usually along hillsides and elevated regions who are less suspect to the heavy, blowing winds.
Flora and Fauna
The biosphere of Virgo Prime has greatly suffered from its cataclysm and the original animal and plants have been steadily supplanted by arid extremophiles, if not completely wiped out in the original disaster.
Many species share extreme hardiness and proficiency to weather long periods of droughts, saving water in one way or the other.
Flora has it especially hard on Virgo Prime, as much of the water is either excessively salty or very spare indeed. Thus, the Hihtano Vine carries extreme importance in many regions of arid wastelands. This lichen grows abundantly in many regions, covering the floor in its mottled black-brown stalks, filtering water into large vacuoles in case of a draught. Serving as both staple food for many herbivores as well as means to quench one’s thirst, it is also a cultivation crop for the Highlander Zorren, who use it to feed it their livestock, while the Flatlanders use wild patches for their shepherding.
Another important plant is the Kithni Shrub, a cultivar of the Highland Zorren. It is a high maintenance crop requiring much water, while only producing negligible amounts of useful goods, mostly coarse fiber for clothing - However, the chaff is used as compost and their roots pack dirt and loose ground into actual soil, reclaiming land from desertificated areas. Thus, it is often planted on vanguard farms to increase arable soil.
Curiously enough, a species similar to the Vulpes Zerda lives on Virgo Prime, primarily hunting smaller insects and scavenging for eggs. Genetic profiling does reveal only a very tangential relationship between the Terran fennec and the Virgo fennec, making it a curious case of convergent evolution.
Virgo Prime’s predator are quite dangerous and they contain several apex predators, such as the so called Deathclaw, the Serpentes Gigantus and the Anura Gigantus. Each of them prove a constant obstacle not only for NT expeditions, but also Highlander and Flatlander Reclamation of their homeworld.
The most important settlement for NT interests is the Township of Anur. With over four hundred thousand permanent inhabitants, it is the biggest colony of non-native lifeforms within the system and focal point of Virgo-Erigone administration.
Beyond that, Kaz-Zahaden, the capital of the Zahaden Clan proves of strategic interest for NT, housing some of their defense assets due to contract with the noble family.
Other, smaller corporate enclaves exist, but these go not beyond a hundred people at most, often only temporary and quickly abandoned.
The rest of sapient settlement is strictly native.