After what happened with New Texas the oligarchy running Ternus decided they wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. They wouldn’t allow their next colony to have any sort of identity, or cohesion. Instead of waiting for disenfranchised settlers they found the closest habitable world and preemptively set up shop.
Unlike New Texas, Colony 3 was a paradise. It had lush jungles, sizable oceans, and a riot of flora and fauna. Unbeknownst to early colonists both are the result of a Catalyst buried deep within the jungle. Those jungles are thick with massive creatures, to the point where everyone simply avoids the jungle.
A few locals do brave the jungle, and over the last few decades small tribes of shamans who worship the jungle have begun to appear. Most possess earth magic, presumably gained from the Catalyst.
Colony 3 does have some mineral wealth, but the primary reason Ternus selected it was the temperate climate. Over sixty percent of Confederate food is grown or harvested on Colony 3. They have massive herds of cattle, and Colony 3 beef is reputed to be the best in known space.
Governor Scott signed an agreement with the Consortium to bring six hundred volunteers to the Skull of Xal, where they were to acquire void magic. The Consortium kept the tech demons at bay while their charges entered the Catalyst. Nearly forty percent died during the process, but that left three hundred and fifty tech mages with the ability to open Fissures and pilot spellships.
The catastrophic expense involved in the expedition makes each surviving mage an unrivaled asset, and every aspect of their lives is controlled by the state. They are kept in facilities or vessels near key planets where Colony 3 ships its food. The mages open Fissures whenever a shipment arrives, which has allowed Ternus to tap into the power of the Umbral Depths.
New void mages are hard to come by, as Ternus is unwilling to fund another expedition since they take so long to pay for themselves. Given the war effort priorities are changing, but as of yet no one has made the move to launch another raid on the Catalyst. Three hundred and fifty has dwindled to closer to two hundred mages, all of whom are hard pressed to keep up with the shipping demand.
Despite their dwindling supply of mages Colony 3 has become an economic powerhouse, as much or more so than New Ternus. Minerals are valuable, but everyone, everywhere requires food to survive. Many outlying colonies are completely dependent on Colony 3 shipments, and if they were to suddenly cease those colonies would be abandoned in a matter of months.
Ternus is aware of the strategic value that places on the world, and have even more intense security than that placed around New Texas. Only Ternus herself is more heavily defended.