In Honkai: Star Rail version 1.2, the Stellaron crisis in the Xianzhou Luofu was (mostly) resolved, which means that the Astral Express Crew should soon move on and continue their journey across the universe.
Now, the question is, after Jarilo-VI and the Xianzhou Luofu, which world is the Astral Express heading to next? Based on certain in-game dialogues, it is likely to be a world called Penacony.
What is Penacony and why is the Astral Express headed there next?
In Honkai: Star Rail’s universe, Penacony is known as the Planet of Festivities and is inhabited by a faction known as ‘the Family’, which follows Xipe the Aeon of Harmony.
In the ‘An Invitation Without Proffer’ Trailblaze Mission, Welt Yang says that Penacony used to be a prison planet used to house exiled criminals by the Interastral Peace Corporation (IPC), the largest economic entity in the galaxy dedicated to the Qlipoth the Aeon of Preservation.
Penacony’s name likely comes from its time as a prison planet, with Penacony being a portmanteau of the words ‘penal’ and ‘colony’.
That basically makes Penacony space Australia, so does that make the IPC the space British Empire? Anyway...
According to Welt, the planet continued to house IPC prisoners until it was struck by a Stellaron crisis, which caused the IPC to lose control over it.
Penacony’s inhabitants then sought assistance from Xipe, who resolved the crisis and made the planet join the Family.
Considering that the Penacony Stellaron crisis happened during the time of Akivili, the fallen Aeon of Trailblaze, those events likely happened many centuries before the events of Honkai: Star Rail.
After surviving the Stellaron crisis, the inhabitants of Penacony continued to live under the protection of their new Aeon and remained removed from the affairs of the galaxy beyond.
However, Penacony would end its centuries-long silence shortly before the Astral Express Crew’s adventure in Jarilo-VI ended.
A news broadcast from the IPC said that Penacony issued a formal invitation to many of the galaxy’s factions for the first time in history, including the IPC itself as well as the Astral Express Crew. Because of this, Himeko planned to make Penacony the Astral Express’ next destination after Jarilo-VI.
But as we know, this plan was dashed after the Stellaron Hunter Kafka suddenly informed the Astral Express Crew of a Stellaron crisis on the Xianzhou Luofu, which forced them to change their destination.
With the Stellaron Crisis on the Luofu resolved, we expect Himeko to follow through with her original plan and take the Astral Express to Penacony.
Since we know that Imbibitor Lunae and Fu Xuan are the featured 5-star characters in version 1.3, we expect that version to wrap up the Astral Express Crew’s affairs in the Xianzhou Luofu before they make their way to Penacony by version 1.4.
Now that begs the question, what can the Astral Express Crew expect once they arrive in Penacony?
Penacony, Xipe, and the Family
Little is known about Penacony aside from its past history as an IPC prison planet and its current affiliation with Xipe and the Family. However, there are tidbits of lore that shed some light on how things are on planets under the dominion of the Aeon of Harmony.
According to the Archives entry for the Path of Harmony, the Family was formed by the different worlds and civilizations that followed Xipe.
The Family aims to turn all civilisations into “brothers and sisters” and turn the whole universe into one peaceful entity with no disagreements or worries of the future.
“There are no conflicts or disputes among its members, only eternal love and joy. It is a loving family found nowhere else in the universe,” the Archive entry reads.
The fact that the Family is made of different civilisations mimics its chosen Aeon, as Xipe itself is an amalgamation of multiple Aeons. Upon Xipe’s ascension into Aeonhood, it absorbed Ena, the Aeon that represented the Path of Order, due to their colliding Paths.
From what little we know about Xipe and the Family, it seems like things in Penacony aren't all sunshine and rainbows – even if Xipe’s appearance will make you believe otherwise.
The Archives entry for the Family says that not every world can simply become a member, as some perish out of “stupidity or hubris”.
There are also no known worlds to have left the Family. When asked about that, the Family apparently only smiles and answers, “Never”.
I don’t know about you but I find that very suspicious. And a Memory Bubble in the Herta Space Station seems to confirm my suspicions about the Family.
The Memory Bubble: Family contains the memory of a person attempting to investigate the Family and gain an invitation to Penacony.
A certain Renoir, who is likely a member of the Family, appears in the memory and foils the investigator’s plans by forcing them to put their hand in a mysterious box that fills them with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The fate of the investigator is unknown, though we can safely assume that they failed to become a member of the Family.
The Data Bank entry for Xipe also mentions that, in order to join the Family, prospective members must discard their individuality and fuse into “one singular melody”. This might be a stretch, but that sounds like a hive-mind cult to me.
That leads us to the invitation sent by the Family to the galaxy’s factions to come to Penacony.
Considering that they even invited representatives from the IPC and the Astral Express Crew, we expect this to be part of a plot to force many of the most influential people in the galaxy to join the Family.
But to what end? That remains to be seen.
The fact that factions from all across the galaxy will send representatives to Penacony also supports our theory that it will be the next world in the Astral Express Crew’s journey, as it is a good opportunity to introduce a lot of new characters to the game.
One named character we can see is Diamond, the head of the Strategic Investment Department of the IPC. As a powerful figure in one of the biggest factions in the galaxy, Diamond sure sounds like a future playable character to me.
Traveling to a planet under the dominion of Xipe will also give the Trailblazer the chance to attract the gaze of another Aeon and acquire new powers.
Considering how powerful the Preservation Trailblazer is, we’re excited about what a possible Harmony Trailblazer can bring to the table.
With all that said, this is all just speculation until HoYoverse reveals the Astral Express Crew’s next destination. We expect more news on that department to come as we approach the release of version 1.3.
Honkai: Star Rail is currently in version 1.2, with Blade as the featured 5-star of the first half. The second half will see Kafka take the spotlight as the featured 5-star alongside the debut of new 4-star character Luka.
After Honkai: Star Rail version 1.2 comes version 1.3, which features new 5-star characters Imbibitor Lunae and Fu Xuan as well as a new 4-star in Lynx Landau. Version 1.3 is expected to come out in mid-August.
Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.