Britannia, also known as the 'Jewel City', 'Gateway to the Core' or 'Guardian of the Core', was one of the most important worlds held by the Allegiance. Were it not for the political and spiritual importance of Thera and Avalon, it would easily have been the unofficial capital of Allegiance space. It was the third most populated planet after Avalon and Thera, the main supplier of civilian spacecraft and the third largest manufacturer of military warships. The Allegiance Marine Corps and the Allegiance Army both had headquarters located on this planet, whilst the primary Navy headquarters was located on Avalon. The Royal Family had a residence on Britannia, and spent time on there while away from their main residences on Thera and Haven.
The planet was located in the Cycnos system, relatively central in terms of Allegiance holdings. As a result it benefited from large amounts of trade and commerce from visits to the other core worlds. As a result, Britannia was given the nickname ‘Gateway to the Core’, based on the fact that the vast majority of journeys made to Haven, Thera or Avalon from the rest of Allegiance space passed through Britannia. It was located in NAVGrid Sector 004, making it a central and well-traversed location. The planet’s facilities were arguably the main source of technological advancements and research within the Allegiance. As well this, the planet possessed a rich source of raw materials needed for starship manufacture. Traditionally, ships were built in the docks above Avalon and Thera, but, due to Britannia's attractive material deposits and research centres, more and more military projects were diverted to Britannia during the years leading up to the Swarm War.
The majority of research and mining operations were conducted in orbit, owing to the largely difficult conditions of the planet's surface. This also eased the transfer of materials to and from ships in orbit and also the construction of vessels in the large docks.
Due to its highly valuable and strategically important location, it had a large naval garrison protecting it, also serving to safeguard its resources and large population.
In 2841, it was invaded by The Swarm, and was defeated. Its population were consumed by the Swarm, shearing a chink in the Allegiance’s armour and paving the way for the Swarm’s assault on the core.
Britannia was discovered by the Allegiance some centuries after they began exploring out from their homeworld, Thera. Estimates put the discovery at around 15,000 BC, long after the establishment of the Allegiance. The last core world to be located, it was never fully explored or colonised.
While the location of the planet was known, it was largely ignored and no colonisation attempts were made due to a hostile atmosphere.
However, as inevitable expansion occurred, it was realised that one of the few routes to the core of Allegiance space- Haven, Thera, Avalon, Eden and Bastion- required a jump to Britannia and then a new course from there. Upon realising this, various colonisation projects were launched. With the backing of several large corporate bodies, Terraforming began and, within a few hundred years, the planet was capable of supporting its first human life.
Further Expansion and DevelopmentEdit
Britannia was located in the Cycnos System, which it shared with four other planets. A vast asteroid belt, less violent than most, circled the system at a distance of 2.14 billion kilometres, providing plentiful resource deposits.
Fifty-six percent of the planet's surface was above sea-level, the rest covered in deep, treacherous oceans. Terrain and climate varied between continents, though generally further than 45° north or south was uninhabitable on account of the freezing temperatures. The land consisted of three continents- Orin, Helena and Alban.
The largest continent, Orin, accounted for fifty-nine percent of the total land-mass. It was mostly located in the northern hemisphere but extended below the equator somewhat. Coastal areas were largely lush with tropical rainforest, though this gave way to vast open areas suitable for farming inland. On the west coast however, a large mountain range called The Spine stretched up the back of the continent. Areas to the leeward side of the range were dry and arid, as they received no relief rainfall from the ocean on the other side of the mountains. This vast, dry plain extended to the heart of the continent, where it gave way to deciduous forests, which filled the remainder of Orin's interior. One lake, Lake Ariya, large but shallow, broke the otherwise uniform forest. In the north of the continent, the Spine became broader as it stretched north. The peaks were snow-capped, and the plains to the south were coated in deep ice, pitted with deep crevasses. On the south coast, below the equator, was the capital of Port Royal. Along the south and east coast were the main inhabited areas- the southeast coastal area was almost completely urbanised as urban centres expanded and swallowed up the surrounding suburbs. Alexandria was located along the east coast in the northern hemisphere. Various research stations and military facilities were hidden in the many dangerous places including the mountains, the forests, the ice plains and the deserts.
Helena, the second largest continent, was not as varied in terrain as its larger brother, however it was largely more hospitable. The coastal regions were largely dominated by expansive beaches that stretched unbroken for kilometres. Small mountains, often hidden under dense foliage, crowned the headlands, which at their base met rich golden sands.The mountains generally stretched inland where they rose higher, emerging from their green cover, where they became rocky and more stunning. Between the relatively low mountain chains were lush valleys, made up equally of dense woodland and flat grassland. The flat, fertile valley floors, sheltered from the elements, provided ideal places for farming and settlements. Inland, further away from the life-giving power of the oceans, the rolling hills and valleys gave way to sparse, rocky, arid area and semi-desert. It was lack of running water, and not temperature, which made this area a desert. The interior of the continent was dominated by a massive plateau, too high up and too frigid for most life to survive. Glacial flows from this area fed the rivers which provided life in otherwise arid areas, allowing for more hospitable habitats than would otherwise be the case.
Alban was the smallest continent on Britannia, the most isolated and also the least populated. The furthest landmass north, it was made up almost entirely of mountainous areas and dry, cold tundra, with the rest covered in thick coniferous forest and only a small area fit for settlements. The only two settlements, Alban and Cretheus, had a combined population of four hundred thousand and were separated by land. The only way to travel between them was by air, or over the treacherous oceans. The main industries were mining and logging.
Britannia was host to multitudes of unique indigenous creatures, as well as some species found elsewhere.
- The fierce Mountain Bear was a gargantuan, fierce predator that lived in the impenetrable Spine mountain range along the west coast of Orin, as well as the northern half of Alban. They were over three times the size of a brute, and incredibly ferocious.
The Spiral-Horned Goat was a species of goat living in the mountains of The Spine. They were fast runners and nimble enough to get around in such a rocky environment, and had large, spiralling horns. Before the frigid winter, in about September, they migrated east to the plains and forests to seek better food and warmer temperatures. They returned to the mountains in early spring in their vast herds.
The Cave Wolf or Mountain Wolf was a large predator which lived in the depths of The Spine mountain range. The approximate dimensions of a horse, they preyed mainly on Snow Goats and scavenged from carcasses too. They were not as large or powerful as Mountain Bears but were much faster, able to outpace a Warthog LRV over short distances. Unlike the Mountain Bear, which for the most part hibernated during the winter, the Cave Wolf always followed its main source of food's migration east, the Spiral-Horned Goat.
Almost identical to the Elephants of Earth, Britannic Elephants were large grazers that inhabited the plains and Savannahs of Orin. The males roved in separate herds to the females and young. Individually a Mountain Bear of Wolf could defeat an Elephant and because of this, they stayed exclusively as herds.
Named for their dazzling plumage and the way they darted and swirled in the air, Jeweled Dancerbirds occupied every temperate region of the planet. They fed on minuscule insects in the air, hence why they were so nimble and fast. They made their tiny weaved nests amongst the vast swathes of flowering valleys on Helena, and in the lush deciduous forests on Orin. They were tiny, always less than 10cm from beak to tail.
Britannia's waters were violent and tumultuous, due to the powerful air currents that swirl the planet and the fierce and immense storms that dominate the poles. At some point the oceans were much lower than they were, though the reasons for this change are unknown.
Large trenches dominated the underwater landscape- the largest was the Orin Crag- so-named because it was positioned off the west coast of Orin. The trench was caused by the oceanic crust being subducted underneath the continental crust- the same action which caused the formation of the Spine. It was 17,081m deep at its lowest point.
Vast creatures inhabited the oceans, living in shadow in the depths. No such animals had ever been sighted but they were frequently heard on listening devices all across the planet.
Settlements were numerous and widespread on Britannia, as a result of the rapid search for raw material deposits. However, few cities were large by the standards of other planets, and the population was mainly located in scattered small cities and large towns.
Discovered on the planet during colonisation were ancient ruins scattered all over the planet- some even buried under the oceans. The origins of these ruined monuments was unclear, but they were largely ignored by the population, dismissed as yet another unsolvable, unimportant enigma from the distant past.
A rapid transit monorail system existed between the cities of Port Royal and Alexandria, facilitating transport of people, raw materials and goods quickly. The monorail took the most direct route- a straight line, from which it did not deviate. Its top speed was over 700kph. It was equipped with inertial dampeners to counteract the effects of such rapid speed.
Port Royal was the capital city of Britannia. It was located on the southern coast of the continent Orin. Its population was just over twelve million at its peak. Located within the city were various ground-based shipyards. In geosynchronous orbit were much larger ones, handling bigger ships incapable of atmospheric operation. It was home to the famous Tomb of The Sovereigns as well as the Royal Family's residence.
The city held most of the trading and commercial business of the planet, as well as the administrative and bureaucratic elements.
Alexandria was the second largest settlement on the planet. Unlike Port Royal, Alexandria was largely a manufacturing hub. Raw materials were transported from Port Royal to Alexandria by monorail system. The city's population was about seven million at the time of the planet's defeat. The city was located on the east coast in the northern hemisphere.
Vault of SoulsEdit
- The ship HMS Alexandria was named after the city of Alexandria on Britannia. The HMS Britannia was not named after this planet, but instead after the Goddess.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- The name for this planet came from the Roman name for Great Britain, the Goddess and the personification of the United Kingdom.
- The Andes mountain range in South America was caused by the same geological process as that of The Spine and the Orin Crag- subduction of an oceanic plate under a continental one.
- The photos for this article were taken by me while on holiday in South Africa.