A Class M planet in the Eudoxos System, Prysmos was a biologically pristine world where the ruling aristocracy sought to balance industrial development with ecological stewardship. This policy, which gained popularity in the 35th Millennium, sought to create an industrial economy that avoided the need to import food or build expensive bio-domes for workers—a common result on hive worlds where severe pollution or high radioactive waste has made these planets all but uninhabitable.
This enlightened public policy allowed the planet to prosper for several centuries until, in 741.M36, long-range sensors detected a highly radioactive ion cloud on an collision course with the Eudoxus System. The ion cloud’s physical mass was not a danger—its density was .003 grams per cubic meter (one hundredth that of a typical cloud)–and the planet’s populace would never have noticed its passage through the system.
To the horror of the ruling class, however, the ion cloud possessed a phenomenally high radioactive level–the equivalent of absorbing 30 Gy/day of radiation–and condemned the world’s population to a slow and painful death.
Well aware of the panic that would ensure, all information regarding the world’s approaching doom was suppressed, while the planet’s astropathic choir sent a distress call across the sector requesting evacuation. As it happened, the Vanusia Campaign had recently ended, and a sizable deployment of the Imperial Navy was in the sector—and uncommitted to battle. Thus began one of the largest planetary evacuations in Imperial history.
It was not an evacuation that went smoothly, however. Efforts to suppress news of the upcoming evacuation eventually failed, sparking mass hysteria and civil unrest. Entire cities burned to the ground, and the Planetary Defense Force and Adeptus Arbites were hard-pressed to defend the planet’s space ports from being overwhelmed by a crazed population.
Approximately 10 percent of the 100 million population eventually was evacuated. The majority of the aristocracy escaped, many on private spacecraft, but naval analysts estimate that another 10 million could have been saved if violence hadn’t diverted critical resources.
As Prysmos entered the ion cloud, the Imperial Navy withdrew, leaving the remaining population to its fate. In the minutes before the last vessel entered the Warp, orbiting sensors were broadcasting images of a populace locked in a panicked and mindless orgy of violence and a desperate fight over what remained of the planet’s food and other resources. It was, of course, a pointless exercise. Given the radiation levels that subsequently bathed the planet, all human life expired within two days.
IMPERIAL NAVY INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT:
EST 11/651 INI Astrophysical Cartography Unit
INPUT DATE: 3 813 728.M41
INPUT CLEARANCE: Admiral
AUTHOR: Explorator Magos Mellios Dycarte
FILED: Explorator Legos, Temptus III
CROSS FILED: Redacted, Nguyen Naval Base, Belliose System, INI Office of Predictive Analsysis
Calculations of the Explorator Magos estimated that Prysmos would exit the radioactive ion cloud in 720.M41. On 6 231 728.M41, the Vengeful, an Imperial frigate, dropped out of the Warp in the predicted path of the planet and duly reported that Prysmos was, indeed, clear of the cloud.
Due to pressing military needs, the Vengeful made a single orbit of the planet. Sensors indicated widespread flora, suggesting that the centuries of high radiation had a lesser impact on vegetation. The ruins of cities appeared overgrown. No signs of human life were identified.
Radiation levels remained high but were expected to fall within habitable levels within two decades. Recolonization of the world will then be possible.
Postscript: 3 951 728.M41—With Imperial resources stretched thin, the recolonization of Prysmos was assigned a low priority. There are indications, however, that rogue traders and other unauthorized entities have landed on the planet to plunder technologies that may have survived the millennia.
Reports also indicate that not all animal life was eliminated by the ion cloud. Giant insects—as tall as two meters–apparently have attacked several illicit expeditions to the planet, a possible deterrent to future criminals.