Eclipse Phase - Shadows of the Past
Paradisus is the name given to a Garden World that was discovered by a freelance gatecrasher team working out of the Martian Gate 2 years ago. The freelancers lucked into one of the greatest (and most profitable) freelance finds in years due to a major screw-up by the Consortium’s drone programmer/operator. The recon drones never found their way out of the artificial cave system Paradisus’ gate resided in (the exit was straight up from the gate, a mere 5 meters from the crest of the gate’s frame). The recon drones spent hours exploring inert artificial caves that held nothing of value or hinted at any points of interest, and they found that the atmosphere around the gate was thin and barely able to sustain human life for short periods of time (much like Mars during the earliest stages of terraforming). The gate code was flagged for freelance follow-up and the Consortium moved on. A year later a team was sent in to make sure nothing had been missed by the drone sweep. What they found was that the drones had somehow only managed to miss everything.
Looking up from the gate platform, one of the team members saw an airlock of unidentifiable but definitely alien construction. Not wanting to wait four days just to report that they had found an alien door, the team managed to find their way up to the airlock and out onto the surface. The airlock opened up onto a plateau jutting from the side of an artificial mountain. The vista showed them their real prize, however: ruins of an alien city (later concluded to be some sort of Iktomi research outpost, but one can hardly blame the gatecrashers for thinking otherwise). Using the remainder of the next three days the team went on to discover evidence of natural resource deposits, significant xeno-biodiversity, and that the atmosphere, while mildly toxic, required the simplest of filtration (or most basic of morph enhancements) to make breathable. Each of the team was wealthy enough to retire after their return (even with the Martian Gate’s usurious terms), while the drone operator was fined so furiously that he will probably be an infomorph indenture until shortly after the heat-death of the universe.
Regardless, thanks to the terms of the freelancer’s contract and backing one of the best colony-world candidates and xenoarchaeological sites found in years was now the property of the Consortium as a whole. Jockeying for contracts and favorable terms for colonization and exploitation of Paradisus was cutthroat, brutal, and made various hypercorp contract lawyers’ fortunes. Nonetheless, colonization still began in record time. Now, two years later, Paradisus is a thriving and prosperous PC colony. Paradisus acts not only as a cash-cow for the Consortium, but as a symbol of the value and success of its colonization program.