Helm Memory Core
The Helm Memory Core, also often referred to as the Gray Death Memory Core, was a Star League library included in a much larger storage facility on the planet Helm. Its official designation was "Star League Field Library Facility, Helm, DE890-2699".
After its discovery in 3028, the information preserved here played a significant part in overcoming the state of technological decline (LosTech) that the Inner Sphere suffered from in the early thirty-first century. The Helm Memory Core's most vital function was as a sort of Rosetta Stone. With the Memory Core's information, many half-understood Star League era documents suddenly made sense. This led to the improved military equipment, medical treatments, and purification equipment for water, atmospheres, and whole planetary environments.
Freeport, the capitol city on the planet Helm, held a large SLDF arms depot at the beginning of the Succession Wars, having previously served as a fleet base. In 2788, Minoru Kurita's forces invaded the planet in search of the depot. When they failed to find the arms in the city's warehouses or anywhere else on the planet, they deduced that the arms and equipment had been shipped out. The frustrated Kurita troops moved off, but not before destroying Freeport and most other population centers on Helm with nuclear weapons. In the wake of this nuclear holocaust, Freeport was destroyed and the depot was subsequently forgotten. For almost two and a half centuries, Minoru Kurita's assumption that the arms had been shipped off-world was taken at face value.
The garrison commander at the time had been one Major Edwin Keeler, an idealistic officer from the Free Worlds League who had command over an engineer battalion. Unable to move the huge weapons cache off-world for lack of starships, he and his engineers continued on a project that had already been going on for a long time: A system of natural caves had been enlarged, initially to construct an underground laboratory while later efforts turned it into an unassailable fortification with vast warehouses and an extensive transportation system. The underground complex extended from Freeport into a mountain range. Owing to the large transportation network there were several other entrance points. The town of Drango appears to have been a hub in this logistics system, although this was barely remembered by the thirty-first century.
Keeler hid the weapons from the fleet base here, but he also felt that the imminent wars threatened mankind's achievements at large. For this reason, he also put a Memory Core in the installation. Finally, the installation was trapped against unauthorized access as he felt the weapons must not fall in the hands of barbarians. Blasting open the access door (a huge stone slab in a natural mountainside, roughly 100km from Freeport) or destroying the library core would cause the installation's large fusion reactor to overload and explode, destroying the entire weapons depot.
In the early 31st century the existence of the Star League bunker system in the vicinity of Freeport was actually (re-)discovered independently by several parties, among them Precentor Emilio Rachan of ComStar and a group of Draconis Combine nobles including Duke Hassid Ricol. They remained unsure of the exact location, however.
Because the planet Helm had been granted to the Gray Death Legion as a home base by 3028, Rachan sought to discredit the unit and have House Marik install another, more "suitable", liege there. To this end he allied with Lord Garth of Irian. Together, they perpetrated an act of sabotage against a domed city on the recently captured world of Sirius V in March 3028 that killed approximately 12 million civilians, and framed the Gray Death Legion for the deed. The Legion was subsequently declared outlaws and upon returning to their land-holds on Helm, found their base destroyed and overrun by regular House Marik forces.
Rachan in fact knew of the Library Core and intended to destroy it before the knowledge could be disseminated; he had no use for the weapons and promised these to Lord Garth for his cooperation.
Pressured by overwhelming enemy forces, the Gray Death Legion learned of the Star League installation, found it first, gained access on April 1st, 3028, and managed to retrieve a copy of the Library Core before the facility's self-destruction was inadvertently triggered by the Marik troops pursuing the Legion. In the final confrontation Rachan was killed and proof of the Legion's innocence in the Sirius massacre was discovered. In this, the Legion found an unlikely ally in their old nemesis Hassid Ricol, who had arrived for a covert recovery operation of his own and formed a temporary alliance with the Legion to secure himself a share of the find before Lord Garth's forces could claim it for House Marik (or Rachan).
Not trusting ComStar in this matter, the Legion produced several copies of the library and spread them to the best of their abilities, initially by handing over copies to free traders. The library core thus found its way into every Successor State within a few years, and sparked a technological renaissance. The Legion also gave a copy of the Core to Duke Ricol for aiding in their escape.
ComStar for their part indeed made clandestine attempts to suppress the dissemination of the memory core, going so far as to conduct an ultimately unsuccessful strike against the NAIS masquerading as Capellan Death Commandos to destroy the copy that had made its way there. In the Draconis Combine, Duke Ricol held back his copy as a bargaining chip for six years during which the Combine was unable to secure a copy by other means, presumably due to ComStar's interference, until he surrendered it to House Kurita on the eve of the formation of the Free Rasalhague Republic to secure himself a position as duke in a newly-formed Combine district. Of the other copies that survived beside Ricol's copy and the one kept by the Legion, two were sent to Captain-General Janos Marik and Duke Hector Stewart; Marik sent his copy to the Free Worlds Technical Institute.
- While the novel (The Price of Glory) does not provide dates, the Gray Death Legion scenario pack dates the final battles at the depot as 01 April 3028. Some other sources erroneously report the discovery of the Memory Core to have occurred in 3024, which can be ruled out as an error by the book's storyline that is demonstrably set in 3027 or later.
- The Price of Glory, p. 233
- Handbook: House Marik, p. 69
- The Price of Glory, p. 148
- The Price of Glory, pp. 188, 235
- The Price of Glory, p. 295
- Heir to the Dragon pp. 281-285
- Handbook House Marik p. 112