Betalis III, or Bethalmae as it is known in the Aeldari Lexicon, is designated as both an Ice World and a Mining World of the Imperium of Man. It is located in the binary Betalis System of the Talis Munus Sector of the Segmentum Solar, being one of the two inhabitable planets orbiting the twin Betalis stars.
The primary star of the binary system is a massive blue giant, at least twenty times larger than Sol and a million times more luminous. This star expels enormous amounts of stellar matter into the void surrounding it, which renders all but the outermost worlds unsuitable for human settlement due to the high levels of ionising radiation they are afflicted with. This ejection of stellar matter is also the reason that a miniature local nebula -- known as the Karina Nebula -- is present in the star system.
Betalis III was the site of the Betalis III Campaign fought in 894.M41 between the forces of the Imperium defending the system and the Craftworld Aeldari who sought to recover the armour of the ancient Phoenix Lord Irillyth, the founder of the Shadow Spectre Aspect Warriors, who had perished on the world millennia before. An alliance of Aeldari forces from the Craftworlds of Mymeara and Alaitoc, as well as Aeldari Corsairs from the Void Dragons, Sky Raiders, and Sunblitz Brotherhood, descended on the frigid world to recover their beloved Phoenix Lord's armour before it was discovered and defiled by the human miners present on Betalis III.
In this way, the Mymearans sought to restore Irillyth to fight once more for his people, since his spirit would have remained intact within his armour's Spirit Stone. Betalis III was reinforced by Imperial Guard regiments drawn from the Cadian Shock Troops and the Elysian Drop Troops as well as Titans from the Legio Gryphonicus and the Space Marines of the Space Wolves Chapter. After the Imperial forces succeeded in fighting the Aeldari to a bloody standstill, the mysterious xenos vanished as quickly as they had arrived. The Aeldari forces had recovered Irillyth's armour and thus had no further interest in the world.
Betalis III was once the homeworld of a young, starfaring reptillian xenos species in the centuries following the Fall of the Aeldari, which was only beginning to forge its own interstellar empire. Irillyth, the Aeldari Phoenix Lord of the Shadow Spectres Aspect Warriors, was gifted with a terrible vision of the future whilst still training under Asurmen, the first of the Phoenix Lords. In it, he saw the utter destruction of the Mymeara Craftworld at the hands of this very race, which would eventually grow to threaten the Aeldari.
Struck with grief over the near-destruction of the Aeldari race during the Fall, Irillyth was unwilling to let any more of his kin be eradicated. He set out to discover the elusive Craftworld and help it avoid its fate. He ultimately succeeded in finding the Craftworld, although how he did it is clouded by various legends. The Phoenix Lord spoke to the Mymeara Seer Council of his vision, but offered them hope of preventing it from becoming true if their future enemies were destroyed at that point in time, before they became unstoppable.
Yielding to the Phoenix Lord's wisdom, the Mymearan Seer Council granted him the right to take nearly half the Craftworld's forces to carry out this grim task. Irillyth left Mymeara with a heavy heart, for after his arrival on the Craftworld his vision had crystallised -- he knew that although he would succeed, it would come at the price of his life, and of all of those who followed him. For decades the Aeldari of Mymeara awaited news of Irillyth's victory and the return of their kin, but none came. Eventually, they had to accept that their brethren had been killed and the Phoenix Lord vanquished. The Mymearans set out to the areas of space where Irillyth said the empire of their eventual destroyers would be located to discover what became of him and his forces. Along their way, they bore witness to planets that had been sites of great battles and they saw cities obliterated by what could only have been Aeldari weaponry. The reptilian aliens scavenging amongst the ruins were little more than savages. However, no sign of Irillyth could be found.
The Mymearans continued their search, and eventually reached the boundaries of the Imperium of Man. The Seers of the Craftworld knew that journey through such a region of space would be hazardous, and instead chose to remain in an uninhabited star system and conceal their massive world-ship in a nebula of stellar matter which, using their advanced technology, they drew out of a nearby star and enveloped themselves within. This nebula, later named the Karina Nebula by the Imperium, was located near the planet that was, unbeknownst to the Mymearans, Bethalmae, the homeworld of the reptilian nemesis that Irillyth had sought to destroy. This was the planet that would eventually become the Imperial Mining World of Betalis III.
The Coming of the Imperium
Betalis III was first discovered by the Imperium during the latter part of the Omniel Crusade, when the Crusade Fleet was returning victorious from the campaign against Renegade worlds in the Saint Altus Constellation. During a long-range scan of the Betalis System, an Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator team sent from the Crusade vessel Divine Unification discovered an ancient alien spacecraft buried in the ice of the frigid third planet circling the twin suns of Betalis. Until xeno-survey teams could arrive on the world to examine the finding, the Betalis System was declared off-limits to all other Imperial starships by the Inquisition, and an area stretching thousands of kilometres away from the system was planted with mines.
The Inquisition's Ordo Xenos survey team confirmed that the alien vessel had been created by the Aeldari. The Aeldari spacecraft was secured and taken away from the planet for further examination whilst the entire star system was scrupulously scoured by hundreds of thousands Servitors for any further alien artefacts. Decades passed as the mindless Servitors carried out their task, but ultimately no further trace of any Aeldari presence in the system was discovered. The Ordo Xenos contingent departed from the world after determining that the vessel had been abandoned and its pilots had escaped the planet in some other way, leaving the ice-blue primary Betalis star to drift alone in the vastness of space.
The Betalis System remained uninhabited for some time following this event, but eventually the Imperium's Administratum cast its gaze upon it and the rich natural resources that it contained: ores, rare elements from the stellar matter expelled from the system's pale star, heavy metals from the system's inner planets and valuable industrial gases that could be mined from the ice of Betalis III. The conditions on the majority of the worlds within the system were deemed too dangerous and unsustaining to support human life, but the two outermost planets -- Betalis III and Betalis IV -- were declared fit for human habitation by the Administratum's bureaucrats.
The colonisation of Betalis III then began in earnest. Over the course of four standard decades 57 million Imperial citizens were transported from an overpopulated Hive World, the name of which is now lost in the enormous archives of the Sector histories maintained by the Imperium's vast bureaucracy. When the colonists arrived, they stared in awe as their craft flew over vast areas of featureless, frozen landscape; a world so fundamentally different from the cramped, human-infested hive cities that they had left behind that it boggled the mind.
Any of the new colonists who ventured out onto the planet's wintry surface were quickly overcome by the frigid conditions, or were driven mad by agoraphobia -- the wide open landscapes of the world were so alien to the people who have grown up in the confines of a hive city that many a psyche simply could not bear it. The colonists of Betalis III also quickly came to realise that the "brave new lives" they had been promised by the Administratum came at a price, one which had to be first repaid through generations of labour in the mines already being dug into the planet's crust or in the overpowering heat and fumes of the recently constructed massive smelting plants.
Twelve generations of the people of Betalis III have been born and died since that time, and the original colonists' descendants are still chained by the Administratum's mandate to the planet and its industry until their forefather's debt for the new opportunity has been deemed fully repaid by the Imperium. The only legitimate way of escaping their ancestor's due for the people of Betalis is to enlist in one of the Imperial Guard regiments that are raised from time-to-time as the planet's human tithe to the Departmento Munitorum.
Betalis III Campaign
For centuries, the Aeldari of Mymeara sent out Rangers to search for the lost Phoenix Lord, although to no effect. When Irillyth was finally found, it was not by the Aeldari -- the human colonists on Betalis III, burrowing into the planet's crust in search of new natural resources to exploit, broke into a massive cave complex, the site of Irillyth's final battle against the alien enemies of Mymeara. In this last fight, the Mymearans' foes had been defeated, but as the Phoenix Lord saw in his vision, at the cost of his and the war host's lives. When the humans entered the cave, they triggered an arcane defence system located in Irillyth's armour that was designed to protect the Phoenix Lord's dormant spirit. This killed all of the intruding humans, and alerted the nearby Craftworld of the armour's presence. The Mymearans, now possessing the knowledge of where the Phoenix Lord had perished, forged alliances with other Aeldari forces and prepared for war to recover their ancient saviour.
Betalis III was the site of the Betalis III Campaign fought in 894.M41 between the forces of the Imperium defending the system and the Aeldari who sought to recover the armour of the ancient Phoenix Lord Irillyth, the founder of the Shadow Spectre Aspect Warriors. The Aeldari of the Craftworld Mymeara brokered an alliance with the Craftworld Alaitoc, as well as Aeldari Corsairs from the Void Dragons, Sky Raiders, and Sunblitz Brotherhood who were aligned with it. These forces descended on the frigid world to recover the Phoenix Lord's armour before it was defiled by the human miners present on Betalis III. The Mymearans sought to reanimate Irillyth to fight once more for his people, as his spirit would have remained intact within his armour's Spirit Stone. Betalis III was reinforced by Imperial Guard regiments drawn from the Cadian Shock Troops and the Elysian Drop Troops as well as Titans from the Legio Gryphonicus and Space Wolves Space Marines. After the Imperial forces fought the Aeldari to a bloody standstill, the mysterious xenos vanished as quickly as they had arrived after they had recovered Irillyth.
Although the Imperium hailed the Battle of Betalis III as a great victory over the enigmatic xenos, the truth -- well known to the Inquisition and the Ordo Xenos -- was wholly different. The Aeldari never intended to conquer the Imperial Mining World, which had no value to them. Their only interest was the Phoenix Lord Irillyth's armour, which, despite the efforts of Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Lord Hestaphus Danzk who commanded the Imperial forces on Betalis III, they succeeded in recovering and departed from the world as soon as they took possession of it. Betalis III's infrastructure was severely damaged as a result of the war.
Aside from damage to facilities as a result of combat operations, the initial phase of the Aeldari attack saw the destruction of nearly the entire network of communications relay stations spanning the surface of three of the planet's continents. This damage would take time to repair in the frigid conditions of the world. Beyond the veil cast down by the disabled relay stations, the virtually undefended population suffered most. True to their darker natures, some of the Aeldari Corsairs did not remain on the eastern continents of the planet where the actual fighting took place, and instead raided the disparate human settlements.
It came as no surprise to the Imperial authorities who had encountered Aeldari Corsairs before that when the Aeldari war hosts retreated, entire communities living in the planet's icy wilderness had simply vanished. The Craftworld Mymeara left its longtime hiding place in the Karina Nebula in the Betalis System after recovering the Phoenix Lord, and because the Aeldari no longer maintained it, this stellar phenomenon which was previously unexplorable to the Imperium eventually dissipated. This change allowed Mankind to gaze within this region of the system for the first time in history -- where they will discover that nothing of interest now resides.
Departmento Cartographicae Planetary Data
- Planetary Governor: Jamuel Escava (as of 894.M41)
- Population: Approximately 62 million (all humans). There are no major population centres on the surface of Betalis III. Instead, the population is spread across the entire planet at mine bases, water processing facilities, herder stations, hydroponics works, chemical works, power plants, airbases, orbital landing fields and many other industrial facilities. Most of those sites are subterranean to better provide protection from the cold. The planet is also home to approximately 3 million aliens, some or all of whom may be the savage and devolved descendants of the ancient reptiloid starfaring species whose civilisation was destroyed by the Mymearans under the command of Irillyth millennia ago. These xenos are not recognised by the human colonists as sentients.
- Climatic Phenomena:
- Magnetic Solar Flaring: The Betalis System's primary blue giant star expels vast amounts of stellar matter which render the majority of the worlds in the star system uninhabitable due to the sheer magnitude of the ambient radiation levels. Betalis III is protected from the worst of this effect by its unusually potent magnetosphere.
- Natural Satellites: Three moons.
- Water Supply: Frozen water melted and purified in industrial processes.
- Principle Exports:
- High quality iron ore (large hematite, magnetite, siderite and goethite deposits found on the planet).
- Cyanogen. Cyanogen is a key component of the chemical fertilizers used by Imperial Agri-worlds, and the majority of the world's output of cyanogen is exported to the nearby Levilnor System.
- Hydrogen Sulphate. This sulphorous gas with multiple industrial uses is extracted from other naturally occurring gases and converted into a form of Promethium fuel.
- Ammonia compounds. Extracted from naturally occurring ammonia present on Betalis III and used for: ammonia-based fuel, water purification, solvents and textile production. Note: The ammonia ice on Betalis III is highly unstable, as at temperatures over -78°C it quickly becomes liquid, and at temperatures over -33°C it vapourises. It is not unusual to find ammonia in all of these states of matter during the course of a standard Betalis day and night cycle.
- Principle Imports:
- Imperial Technology (sanctioned)
- Mining equipment
- Defences: Betalis III's own Planetary Defence Force and Imperial Guard regiments. The world's military headquarters is located at Port Ryira. Port Ryira was originally a temporary station, but it has grown into a sprawling fortified military centre which serves as a barracks, airbase, spaceport, supply centre and training facility. It is well defended by anti-aircraft emplacements, razorwire, minefields and an array of Void Shield generators, as well as surrounded by an ocean on three sides.
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pp. 7-12, 70-73, 75, 90, 129, 131, 142, 148