There are five known Pandora gates within Earth’s solar system, each controlled by a separate entity: the Vulcanoid Gate (TerraGenesis), the Martian Gate (Pathfinder), the (original) Pandora Gate (Gatekeeper), the Fissure Gate (Love and Rage Anarchist Collective), and the Discord Gate (Go-nin Group). Each gate installation is set up differently and though operations are often similar, there are some fundamental differences, noted below.
The gates are built from some sort of stable exotic matter whose full atomic structure scientists haven’t come close to cracking. To touch and sight, however, the gates appear to be constructed from a timeless-seeming polished black metal with no signs of aging or wear and tear. Something about the gates’ physical composition makes them difficult to look at, as if the viewer cannot quite focus on their outlines. Some onlookers have reported feelings of vertigo and nausea, while others have insisted that the gate outlines move on the edges of their visions, as if the lines are rel owing or the edges are vibrating at high frequencies. Due to this disturbing feature, most gate sites keep the actual gate structures covered.
Structurally, the gates themselves are partially enclosed by an irregular spherical cage composed of black arms that are bent and angled in unusual ways and sometimes interlocking. When new wormhole location is programmed into the gate, these arms physically change shape, move, and rel ow around the spherical gate area (suggesting they are made of some sort of programmable matter). The openings between arms are sometimes only large enough for a transhuman to enter, while others are large enough to allow a freight train of supplies to pass through. In many cases, large vehicles or equipment must be dismantled, carried through, and reassembled on the other side. It is suspected that the gate size could be programmable, but so far efforts to do so have failed.
All known gates within the solar system are located on the surface of naturally occurring astronomical bodies, be that a planet, moon, asteroid, or so on. None have yet been found without such a land-based connection (e.g., l oating in space or in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant), though such gates have been found in other star systems. It is speculated that gates could be physically moved, but no one is willing to risk such an endeavor given the lesson learned when the Go-nin Group messed too heavily with the Discord Gate’s controls.
The arms comprising each gate’s spherical cage have an abnormal-looking organic-seeming growth on their exterior surface in some areas, patterned in entrancing twists, curves, and whorls that in fact adhere to perfect mathematical formulas. It took some time for scientists to discover that this growth was in fact the gate’s control systems, or so-called “black box.” The interface developed to interact with this system is what allows gate controllers to manipulate gate functions.
As one of only two gates within the inner system, and the only one of those not controlled by the Planetary Consortium, the Vulcanoid Gate holds an interesting position in inner system and hypercorp politics. TerraGenesis’s willingness to work with almost any partners, regardless of political affiliation, provides access to a gate for those inner system entities outside or even hostile to Consortium interests. Despite the restrictions placed on gate ventures due to a recent attack on the facility, the Vulcanoid Gate remains the go-to place for those concerned about Consortium interference.
The Martian Gate is the icon for the Planetary Consortium’s dreams of galactic empire. Easily the busiest gate, it sees the most traffic, is kept to a strict schedule (regardless of loss of life), and has the most significant support infrastructure in place. Given its place on Mars, the new homeworld of transhumanity (at least to the Consortium), it is the one within easiest reach of many of these desperate enough to turn to gatecrashing as a solution to their problems.
The gate on Saturn’s moon Pandora was the first to be discovered and the first to be activated and used after extensive study. In terms of activity, it remains the gate most dedicated to extrasolar exploration and research
Located on Uranus’s frozen moon Oberon, the Fissure Gate is valued highly by the autonomists of the outer system. The Fissure Gate remains in anarchist hands, operated and defended by the Love and Rage Collective. The gate is made available to almost anyone unless their rep score is tanked or they are pursuing commercial interests (ruling out most hypercorps).
Located at 55 AU from the sun at the edge of the Scattered Disk, Eris is the largest dwarf planet in the system and the site of a grim struggle between two of transhumanity’s most militant factions: ultimates and exhumans. The focal point of the struggle is Discord Gate, the most remote of the system’s publicly-known Pandora Gates, located in an icy labyrinth half a kilometer beneath the surface of Eris.