From “Collapse and Post-Collapse Incidents on Mars: An Examination of Ecological Changes in the Polar Regions,” by Master Reinhart, Cryptarch
We have detailed records of the expedition sent to the Moon to battle the alien race known as the Hive, the calamitous results of that assault, and the subsequent Lunar Interdiction that was lifted only after definitive evidence was found that the Interdiction had not restricted the Hive’s movements (Rahool et al., “The Great Disaster: From Burning Lake to the Hellmouth”).
However, there are indications that while that event may have been the Vanguard’s first engagement with the Hive, Earth’s Moon was not the first place the Hive made contact with Human settlements.
Golden Age records detail an extensive network of Clovis Bray structures on Mars. The vast city of Freehold served as the Bray headquarters, but ancient mass-transit lines that lead from the remains of Freehold across the planet reveal multiple other sites, including the Clovis Bray Health Center in Skyline and an extensive Futurescape near Core Terminus, in the Hellas Basin region.
It is the Futurescape facility that is of interest when considering the effects of ecological changes in the Collapse and post-Collapse eras. Although there are records that show that, just after the Traveler’s departure, the region had a mesothermal climate with an average temperature of 20°C, the region’s ecological zones today range from boreal to ice cap near the planetary pole, with harsh winds and a thick layer of ice that has made exploration in the region difficult.
What caused such a drastic change in the climate? If it were related to the cessation of Traveler energy during the Collapse, then we would have seen similar effects on other planets in the solar system, which we have not.
If we cannot look to the Traveler for causation, then we must contemplate other external factors. Recovered satellite data reveals that the climate change in the Hellas Basin region was too rapid to have resulted from long-term ecological damage, as it had on Earth in the pre-Traveler era. In fact, data from Warsat J54987F122S, which crashed and was recovered near Freehold, indicates that the climate change on Mars may have happened over a matter of mere days. However, this Warsat was heavily damaged during reentry, and the data may be suspect. Until we have a secondary source for corroboration, this is mere supposition.
Nonetheless, if we accept the data from J54987F122S, then we are looking at an external endothermic event, caused by artificial means, on a scale so massive that it altered the entire climate of the region.
Why would this have happened? Our only source is J54987F122S, and if it is to be believed, an invasion of unknown biological entities, including one of massive size, was detected in the region immediately before the event. Could this have been a Collapse-era attack with a weapon of unknown origin?
As of yet, Guardians have not reached Hellas Basin, and we have not had the resources for remote exploration. But if we did dig into the ice, what would we find?
Told you I remembered an article from the Mars research we were doing at Owl Sector. This could be what you’re looking for—if you can dig it out.
Reinhart goes on for a few hundred pages from here—I’ll send the whole thing to Jinju if you’re interested— but his conclusions are all wrong. Because he never mentions the ONE THING that could have done this.
There’s something in Hellas Basin. And you’re going to be the one to find it.