Elko Prime is a small planet located in the Elko star system, and is one of the V.R.A.'s first extrasolar colonies. It is notable for the near-constant lightning storms that rage across its surface for weeks at a time, and was also at one point a major mining and trading center for the V.R.A..
|Climate:||Very rainy, frequent ashfalls|
|Planetary Classification:||Gaia (Forest)|
|Distance To Star:||0.75 AU|
|Status:||Active V.R.A. Member World|
In 13328 HSY, the V.R.A. colony ship Mother wound up in the Elko system due to a navigational error. The ship was low on fuel, and the decision was made to land on the least inhospitable planet in the system, Elko Prime. Upon landing, a small colony was set up on the northern continent. Due to the near-constant lightning storms, the communications equipment was practically useless, and the colony lay forgotten until 13342 HSY, when a passing patrol ship intercepted a transmission from the planet. Not long after, new communications gear was shipped to the colony, to enable it to communicate through the storms.
The climate on Elko Prime is not pleasant during the majority of its annual cycle in most regions. Thunderstorms rage over most of the planet, and torrential downpours are common. Average annual precipitation in most areas is approximately 1 meter of rain. The mean surface temperature is 28 degrees Celsius, with the wet season bringing temperatures as high as 40 degrees for weeks at a time. Ash and dust from the volcanic regions often travels for hundreds of kilometers, landing in the vegetated areas. Average ashfall for a year is approximately 10 centimeters, but most of this is washed away by the rains. Due to the high temperatures all over the planet, there are no polar ice caps, and all the water is in a liquid state.
The planet's geology is very unstable, with frequent earthquakes. Approximately 10% of the surface is covered with volcanic wastelands that contain lava rivers and are choked with ash. The planet has a high number of active volcanoes and fault lines, and new eruptions are common. The lava rivers flow all the way to the oceans, where they are creating new land, so the geography is constantly shifting. It is estimated that, in the 120 years since the planet was discovered, approximately 36000 km² of land have been created by these lava flows.
Approximately 90% of the land area is covered in jungle, with trees often reaching 500 m or more in height. The oceans cover almost 40% of the surface, and are highly saline, much more so than those of Horovine. The other 10% of the land area is volcanic wasteland, filled with active volcanoes and lava flows. Lava rivers are common, and the paths of rivers change constantly due to the large amounts of rain. There are three continents: one large one in the northern hemisphere that covers the north pole of the planet, and two smaller ones in the southern hemisphere. The south pole apparently used to have a continent above it, but it has since submerged. The geography is constantly changing, as the lava rivers deposit molten rock in the ocean and create new land.
The colony itself consists of the primary dome, a large prefabricated structure that has remained virtually unchanged since the arrival of the colonists 120 years ago. To the north of the colony there is a large hydroelectric system, used to generate power for the colony and its mining operations. To the south there is a smaller structure which contains the colony's spaceport and vehicle bay. Although the planet's atmosphere is a nitrogen-oxygen mix, the colony uses the dome due to the adverse weather conditions and large indigenous predators present on the planet. The colony's vehicle manifest includes:
- 12 HMPUV planetary exploration vehicles
- 3 AWATHT transports
- 6 Manti fighters
- 1 Bee Freighter
- 1 Bottlenose Destroyer
- Elko Prime appears as a skirmish map in Sigma