The Tanaris system orbits the eponymous star (named for its original discoverer) and is smack dab on the border of the Expanse and Verge (on the Verge side, but the last point of civilization before jumping out into the wild Verge). There are only two planets in this system. Colonization efforts were started by a group of venture capitalists known as the Tanaris System Trust, which colonists refer to as simply the Trust. In the past 40-50 years, this weird saving grace of the system has become a major inter-system trade hub. The literal crossroads (think Constantinople on Earth) between the Expanse and the Verge, it represents a massive market (both legitimate and illegal) for goods coming into the Verge and raw materials going into the Expanse. A home for mercs and criminals looking for jobs. A home for merchants selling anything and everything. A home for people looking to move into a new life. A home for terraformers trying to fix the system. A home for anyone looking for adventure.
Tanaris, officially designated KH-87542, is an A-Type white blue star. A-type stars are young (typically few hundred million years) and many emit infrared radiation beyond what would be expected from the star alone. Tanaris is no different, and increased radiation is an issue in the system.
Pharos is a small, largely-molten planet. It is the closest object in the system to Tanaris.
Depending on orbital alignment, it can reflect a significant amount of white light from the star toward the station. During these periods it is visible from Behemoth’s satellite objects as a much brighter point of light.
Pharos has captured an asteroid as a moon, called Arclight (KH-87542-I-α).
The small asteroid dragged into Pharos’ orbit, has served as a convenient base of operations for remote mining of Pharos. The small outpost is buried deep into the asteroid. Spire Security often subcontracts supply runs and any needed rescue missions to Arclight due to the distance and expense of handling those duties themselves.
System Asteroid Belt (KH-87542-II)
A belt filled with a mix of rocky and ice-based asteroids runs between the two planets in the system. Limited mining happens here, though the solar radiation from the A-class star requires heavy protection. Some ice asteroids have been moved to the vicinity of Wayfinder Station for a water source, and while expensive to tow more is always available here.
The largest planet in the system, Behemoth, is a massive and warm gas giant with a largely green atmosphere and a significant number of small moons. The original target of terraforming and colonization, Jinx, orbits Behemoth as does Wayfinder Station itself. The biggest advantage Behemoth offers the system is its unusually strong magnetic field. This field protects its moons (and Wayfinder Station) from a significant amount of solar radiation.
Behemoth-A aka “Jinx” (KH-87542-III-α),the one habitable moon orbiting the gas giant, was the promise of the system. Close to near limitless resources between the asteroid belt and the gas mining of Behemoth, with a lush, diverse biome, it was the reason Wayfinder station was built. Its colonization would have brought the Megacorps trillions of credits annually in raw materials alone. When factoring in trade the system would generate, Behemoth-A was seen as a proverbial golden goose.
Then the war came.
Sabotage of the terraforming process ruined any chance of colonization. The atmosphere is hyper-oxygenated and contains significant amounts of methane gas. Firestorms are not uncommon and only carefully managed unmanned spacecraft are sent on observation missions. Now called Jinx by the locals of the system, Behemoth-A is a stark reminder of how precarious existence outside of the Core can truly be. A few hopefuls think Jinx can be saved, given time. Most think holding out such hope is foolish, at best.
A medium sized, icy resource moon in orbit of Behemoth, Aurora (KH-87542-III-β) is a valuable mining location. The moon has a thin but technically breathable atmosphere. In addition to water ice, Aurora is mined for various minerals, both common and rare. The moon is home to dangerous fauna that miners must carefully navigate around or violently deal with. No evidence of a supporting ecosystem for these creatures has yet been found. The existence of a variety of large predators on this isolated and desolate moon may be a mystery, but one that isn’t enough to stop exploitation.
Wayfinder, the system's hub
Wayfinder Station is the main transport hub of the Tanaris system. Orbiting the gas giant Behemoth, the station was originally constructed in orbit around the moon Jinx as a staging area for the colonization of the moon.
When Jinx was rendered unlivable during the war, Wayfinder was towed into orbit around Behemoth. Since then the station has grown. Traders, mercenaries, and other assorted folks have opted to integrate their starships with the station’s superstructure. The hodgepodge nature of the station makes it a warren of connection tubes, biodomes, and other habitats. Part bazaar, part freeport, part capital city, Wayfinder Station sits in prime location between the Verge and the Expanse and sees heavy traffic … and sometimes heavy intrigue.
THE SPIRE - The original station, now known as “The Spire”, Wayfinder’s core is off limits to anyone other than authorized personnel. Spire Security is headquartered here, as well as other command functions. Areas in the Spire that once housed farming and manufacturing and other basic needs are rumored to have been repurposed by SpireSec and the command staff, but no one knows for sure what goes on in the Spire these days.
Welded to this original structure are “The Big Six”, the six colony ships that, by necessity, became part of the structure after the destruction of Jinx. The Concourse, the Iris, the Zinnia, the Mother Lode, the Bardiche, and the Opportunity are the areas where the majority of Wayfinder’s tens of thousands of residents live and work and play. A further layer of ships encompasses the Big Six. This collection of smaller freighters and personal transports is known as “The Morass”
THE CONCOURSE - The first of the colony ships bolted to Wayfinder’s spire, the Concourse is also the largest. The massive ship is based on an older design, where the rear of the ship housed engines, environmental controls, and raw materials for processing in its rough workshops.
Concourse’s immense main sphere section has transformed from its original purpose of housing scientists and terraformING monitoring equipment to become Wayfinder’s main marketplace and, for lack of a better term, “city center”.
THE IRIS & THE ZINNIA - Colloquially known as “The Ladies”, the Iris and the Zinnia are ancient colony ships that were privately purchased and outfitted by a wealthy heiress who bought her way into the Trust. Naming them for her beloved wives, the Iris and the Zinnia were among the first four ships to be welded to the Spire. Both ships are nearly exclusively devoted to housing for Wayfinder’s residents, though there are small workshops and bodegas that cater to the residents of these old relics. Living accommodations on these ships are modest but comfortable, with a community that resembles middle-class suburbs. Few have to share bunks here.
THE BARDICHE - A decommissioned battle cruiser, the Bardiche was one of the EF ships assigned to the Tanaris system during the Silent War. During the war, sabotage badly damaged the ship and it was relegated to patrol duties in-system. After the Silent War ended, the Bardiche was to decommissioned and to be sold as scrap. The Trust purchased the Bardiche to augment Wayfinder Station and many of its former crew served as security. Once it was joined to Wayfinder station, it surprisingly became the station’s agricultural and manufacturing center. Without food and basic necessities Wayfinder would fail. The Bardiche’s thick hull plating and still active point defense system made it a practical, if unlikely, spot to house an agriculture and fabrication center.
THE OPPORTUNITY - The second-to-last of the “Big Six” to be attached to Wayfinder, the colony ship Opportunity has become an interesting mix of areas. If the Concourse is the city market, Opportunity might be considered ‘downtown’. The bulk of the room on the ship has been converted to corporate and Union offices and entertainment districts. A few of those that work in these areas also call the ship home, so it does have a few residential areas; a bit nicer than “The Sisters”, but not nearly as nice as the Mother Lode. The entertainment districts are, clearly, dominated by the Entertainer’s Union. The other Unions also keep their main offices on the Opportunity, though many have branch offices on the Concourse, where they prefer to do hands on business.
THE MOTHER LODE - For those that can afford the best, the Mother Lode is the height of luxury accommodations on Wayfinder Station. A former luxury ship, the Mother Lode is the smallest of the “Big Six”. The idiosyncratic name is attributed to the fact that this ship once held a large casino (since decommissioned). Its large geodesic domes provide stunning views and a decadent community for the wealthiest station residents to enjoy. This ship is the most recent addition to Wayfinder and sports much more modern construction than the rest of the large ships.
THE MORASS - Surrounding the Spire and the “Big Six” is a collection of small freighters and personal transports. Loosely connected together and to the station proper, “The Morass” is where those who cannot afford permanent accommodations in the safety of the station reside. Some of these ships are permanent fixtures, while many on the outermost layer are simply docked. Heat, gravity, and other necessities are prized commodities in the Morass, and its ever changing make up can mean a ship you relied on one day is gone the next. Due to the near constant coming and going in the Morass, it is rarely mapped and only the longest term residents know their way around almost flawlessly. (note: image not to scale)
The Stygian Gate
The Stygian Gate in the system is located close to Behemoth, but outside of the gas giant’s orbit. Traffic to and from the gate is monitored by Wayfinder Station. It is far enough away from the station that unauthorized use is not an uncommon problem. The resources of the station do not allow for constant patrolling of the gate itself; smugglers seem to always know when patrols are no where near the gate. They take advantage accordingly.