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Gamma System planets and moons

Here are the Gamma System planets and moons descriptions. The system was designed for Damocles and was also used in Mercenary III.

Planets are sorted by their number in the game (and in the Authors Computer!), roughly corresponding to their distance from Dialis.
According to Nick Bacchus, Bruce Jordan wanted all the planet names to be based on Roman and Greek names. "We got this big book of classical mythology and went through it picking out the names..."

When flying above most planets for the 1st time in Damocles, a small history, probably written by Bruce, was triggered. Many hold jokes, which we try to explain here.

# Name Colour Danger Damocles/M3 Coord. /
In-game history
Real life facts or guesses
0 DIALIS No air 00-00-00 / 00-00-00
Dialis derives from Diespiter, the Italic equivalent to Jupiter, god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Dialis is the Gamma System star (not "Sun" as this one is our system star ;) ). No possible landing.
1 ICARUS No air, too hot 00-00-00 / 01-00-00
Icarus was first explored for minerals in 1286 and found to be worthless.
The closest planet from Dialis "sun" was named after the Greek mythology character Icarus, who died flying too close to the sun. Its worthless status hints it can be destroyed.
2 MIDAS No air, too hot 01-01-03 / 02-00-01
In 1922 a self-reproducing machine was tasked to build some pyramids here sixteen million or so are now built!
In Greek mythology, anything Midas king touched, turned to gold (thus the planet color?). See Acheron planet for possible name explanation. 1922 is the year pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered and explored.
3 ACHERON No air, too hot 01-01-04 / 02-00-02
Mear Burdock owns both Midas and Acheron and has built replicas of ancient structures here.
In Greek mythology, the Acheron river leads to the underworld, or Hell. Acheron planet holds 'King Burdock' monument. Bruce Jordan explained it was a pun "with Rupert Murdoch, and 'King' was at that time the proprietor of UK Daily Mirror (tabloid) newspaper." "Mear Burdock" = "Bear Murdock", with Rupert Bear being a children's comic strip character in UK.
Murdoch owned tabloids such as News of the World and The Sun. Speculation: Burdock owning Midas and Acheron could have meant that tabloid owners turned scandals into gold, but that they would end up in hell for doing so!
4 DION - 05-00-02 / 01-00-05
Dion was the first planet colonised by Gaeans. A popular revolution of civil disobedience gained independance from Gaea in 1789.
Place of Birmigham Island, Novagen's hometown in the UK! Dionysius was the king that hung a sword above Damocles's head, to evoke the permanent danger of being king. 1789 is the date of the French Revolution.
5 ATROPOS No air 05-01-02 / 01-00-05
This was leased from the Dionisians in 1896 by LLoyds Group 4 Investments - it's a way station.
Atropos was the oldest of the Three Fates, and chose the mechanism of death by cutting the mortals' threads. She worked along with her two sisters, Clotho, who spun the thread, and Lachesis, who measured the length.
Lloyds is a british bank founded in Birmingham, considered one of the "Big Four" clearing banks.
6 CLOTHO No air 05-00-02 / 00-00-05
Clotho New Town was built in 1810. Probably been absolutely boring ever since.
See Atropos. New Town may refer to a specific boring location, but which one is unknown.
7 LACHESIS No air 05-00-02 / 01-00-05
This moon was annexed 1375 by the Gaean overlord Hisler - sold in 1879 for pulvin extraction. The workings are now abandoned.
See Atropos. An obvious reference to A. Hitler in the description.
8 GAEA - 02-00-05 / 06-00-03
The Gaean civilisation has a written history covering eighty millenia - the last one of these has been free of terrestrial conflict.
Gaea or Gaia is the personification of the Earth, mother of all life. Most of the system history seems to have its origin in this crowded place.
9 CRONUS No air 02-00-05 / 06-00-03
There's a museum here at the landing site of the first Gaean personned space flight.
Cronus was occasionally interpreted as Chronos, the personification of time. Could be the case here with a Mercnary 1 museum!
10 CYCLOPES No air 02-00-05 / 06-00-03
The IDI Holiday Centre here opened in 1190. It was built by Richmal Pickle. He's the one with the spaceline - Zodiac Six.
Hi-de-Hi! is a 1980s BBC television sitcom, set in 1959 in a fictional holiday camp. Hence IDI!
Branston is a British food brand known for the original Branston Pickle. So Richard Branson hides behind Richmal Pickle, and his Virgin Atlantics airline behind Zodiac Six (Virgo being the 6th Zodiac sign). (with thanks to Simon Berry for that one!)
11 ERIS - 10-00-05 / 03-00-10
Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord. A wink to Professor Hantzen and President Margaret?
12 SOLON No air 10-00-05 / 03-00-11
The Penn School of Literature was established here in 1985 - but they don't encourage visitors.
Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet.
Bruce Jordan: "Penn College was named in recognition of journalist Gary Penn - at that time, virtually of 'student' age, who picked up on Mercenary very early days with Zzap64 (Newsfield) and later moved to edit EMAP (East Midlands Allied Press) titles." Note that the college holds the Nesbitt Library, another journalist! (Brian Nesbitt)
13 THEON No air, too cold at night 10-00-05 / 03-00-10
The interstellar communications link here is buzzing with network transmissions on the comet.
Theon of Alexandria was a Greek scholar and mathematician. Speculation: could THEON be a wink to THE ONE magazine, that made a 4 pages preview (plus front cover!) of Damocles?
14 VESTA - 10-00-05 / 03-00-10
Vesta is home of The Gamma System Parliament established in 1810 by the treaty of Bethesda.
Vesta was considered the goddess of the home in Roman religion, and the college of the Vestals was fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. Thus it follows that the parliament of The Gamma System would be "home" here. 1810 is likely a nod to the Strangford Treaty (a commercial agreement allowing British goods to flood the Brazilian market). Novagen had an international agreement with Bethesda Softworks (based in Rockland MD USA) to be the exclusive distributors of Damocles in North America.
15 METIS No air 10-00-05 / 03-00-11
This is the place for litigation - home of The Nixon Interstellar Court of Justice.
Metis was the mother of wisdom and deep thought. Richard Nixon's association with Justice is pure irony, as he was the only American President to resign, because of the Watergate scandal.
16 LUCAN No air, too cold at night 10-00-05 / 03-00-10
Lucan was settled in the 20th century by Lord, a flight technology expert - long gone now.
Lucan was a Roman poet. Lord Lucan was a British peer who disappeared after being suspected of murder; followed by alleged sightings for years. This seems to indicate he fled in the Gamma System!
17 LOGOS Too cold at night 10-00-13 / 12-00-11
Logos is a self-contained yuppie colony.
Logos is a Greek word with variously meanings. Nick Bacchus: "I can remember offhand Logos, which I chose coz I was listening to a Tangerine Dream live album called Logos that day... :) Which had a track on it called Dominion, strangely enough!"
18 AURORA No air, too cold at night 10-01-13 / 12-01-11
The moon was explored in 1410 but never settled.
Aurora is the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology and Latin poetry.
19 TRITON Pressure too high, too cold 21-01-09 / 10-00-19
Triton is a gas planet unsuitable for habitation.
Triton is a Greek god of the sea (son of Poseidon).
20 PAN No air, too cold, militarily protected in Mercenary III 21-00-10 / 10-00-19
The Hades labour camp here is a penal colony for moral deviates sentenced to the pulvin mines.
In mythology, Pan is the god of nature, associated with sexuality. Hades is the place where good people and bad people would separate after death. See Bacchus planet for moral deviates explanation.
21 THALIA No air, too cold, militarily protected in Mercenary III 21-00-09 / 09-00-19
Thalia militarily base was recently established to protect pulvin sources from Mycrecian pirates.
Mercenary 1's novella speaks about a "Mycrecian dealership", but other origin or reference for this word is unknown. "Protecting sources from pirates", do we have another Novabil reference here?
22 JUNO Pressure too high, too cold 31-00-19 / 25-00-27
Juno is a gas giant unsuitable for habitation.
Juno is the Roman goddess of marriage and queen of the gods.
23 BACCHUS Too cold 32-00-19 / 25-00-27
This way station enjoys a wide reputation for hospitality - there are regular flights to Pan.
Obvious name choice for Nick Bacchus: "easy one coz Bacchus is the Roman god of wine, parties, celebrations, orgies, whatever... with the same spelling...". Orgies, hence the "reputation for hospitality", then the "regular flights to Pan"!
24 JASON No air, too cold 31-00-18 / 25-00-27
At present void but a long term lease is taken by the Whittam-Smith Intergalactic Corporation.
Jason was an ancient Greek mythological hero. Speculation: Jason is probably named after Jason Martin's name (Damocles tester).
Andreas Whittam Smith is an English financial journalist, one of the founders of The Independent newspaper in 1986, thus the long term lease wink - but this might hide an unknown story.
25 TOLOSA No air, too cold, militarily protected in Damocles and Mercenary III 31-00-19 / 25-00-27
Tolosa houses the Erisean currency reserves. Heavily defended against unauthorised visitors!
Planet's name was chosen for Neil Toulouse. The currency reserves evokes The Gold of Tolosa (modern-day Toulouse town in France), a (legendary?) treasure stolen in Greece and seized in Tolosa by the ancient Roman proconsul Quintus Servilius Caepio.
26 PERSEUS No air, too cold, militarily protected in Mercenary III 31-00-19 / 25-00-27
There are methane seas on this inhospitable moon. Only Alkane Island Research Centre is here.
In Greek mythology, Perseus is the founder of Mycenae, and killed Medusa.
The methane seas may be here to justify the presence of the Davy Jones' Locker. Bruce speaking: "Davy Jones Locker really was a double-entendre with David Aubrey Jones as the one half. As to the other half, it is used as an expression for somebody who has died at sea - as in "they have gone to Davy Jones Locker". In the nicest possible way, because we had done lots of work with David Aubrey Jones on both protection routines (our Novaload and his 'SpeedLock') and he did the Amstrad and Spectrum conversions of Mercenary for us, he was then "no longer with us" (an expression also used for someone having died) in our then current projects."
27 MENTOR No air, too cold 42-00-53 / 48-00-48
The last fill-up before deep space - Tor City - duty free Trading Posts abound.
Mentor was a friend of Odysseus and tutor of Telemachus in the Odyssey. What could Tor City refer to (except an airport!), if anything, remains a mystery.
28 SAPPHIRE No air, too cold 42-00-53 / 47-00-48
Has inspired many popular songs, but is void.
Nick Bacchus remembered Bruce saying that was a reference to Dean Martin's song "Blue Moon".
29 DAMOCLES No air (moving) / 51-00-54
The Sword of Damocles is a Greek legendary tale. Damocles once told his king Dionysius how fortunate he was being king. Dionysius offered to switch places for one day. When Damocles sat down in the king's throne, he saw a sword hung above him, held by a single horse hair. Dionysius way to explain power and fortune also means permenent fear and danger. Fits perfectly for the asteroid threat!

Note: in the game code, there are 32 possible entries for planets, so that's two more than the 30 above. One is a planet called VOID (with white ground and white sky!), set really far away and not displayed in space. You can see how to visit it in the Damocles solution guide, though you won't be able to drop objets on it, thus board a ship to visit around.
The last planet entry is not used.

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