The Aurora (Russian: Аврора) is a heavily modified steam locomotive, boarded by Artyom and Anna to find a new home far to the East in Metro Exodus. It serves as a mobile base for the player. Yermak is the Aurora's helmsman, while Miller serves as its crew's leader.
The Aurora is the primary vehicle and one of the main aspects of Metro: Exodus. First appearing after Artyom and Anna attempt to go back to the Metro after finding no radio signals, the Aurora is hijacked by the duo--with the aid of its engineer Yermak--to escape from the Hansa soldiers pursuing them.
The Aurora takes numerous different appearances as the game goes on. When first captured by the Spartans, it consists solely of the Engine. In the Volga level, a passenger carriage and Krest's railcar are added. In the Caspian, Saul's van is added to the collection. In the Taiga level, Krest's railcar is lost in a landslide. The final addition is gained in the Dead City level. While Miller and Artyom complete their tasks, the rest of the Spartans set out to pick up a large snowplow for the Aurora, which can be seen in the game's ending.
In the open world levels of Metro: Exodus, the Aurora serves as the base of operations for Artyom. While workbenches can be found around the world, it is only at the Aurora where players can swap the weapons they have found. In the Volga level, the Aurora's weaponsmith, Tokarev, also provides the player with the Tikhar, a pneumatic air rifle. When players return to the Aurora, new upgrades are unlocked.
The team aboard the Aurora can grow or diminish in number over the course of the story of Metro Exodus.
A group of rangers from the Spartan Order form the basis of the crew from the start of the journey, but new individuals can be recruited to join Artyom along the way.
The Aurora's crew include:
- Artyom - The player character and protagonist of the game, returning from previous instalments of the series.
- Anna - Artyom's wife and best sniper of the Ranger Order, first seen in Last Light.
- Stepan - Not to be confused with the stalker of the same name from Metro 2033, he is a ranger from Metro 2035 who sided with Artyom and joined him aboard the train.
- Tokarev - The weapons expert of the armoured train's crew, responsible for creating many of the Order's weapons and modifications
- Yermak - Helmsman of the Aurora as well as the driving force behind all of its mechanisms, he used to work as personnel in the Moscow Metro before the war.
- Idiot - One of the smartest men aboard the train, he is considered its resident philosopher.
- Alyosha - The Order's scout specialist and survivalist expert who used to work as a guard in Polis.
- Sam - An American who used to guard the US embassy in Moscow, now a ranger and personal security for Colonel Miller.
- Duke - A scout of the Ranger Order and survivor of the Battle for D6 like Stepan, he is one of the youngest on the Aurora. Possibly dies on the bridge over the Volga.
- Damir - Kazakhstani-born medic of the Rangers, a rarity among the primarily Slavic makeup of the faction. Possibly leaves to join the resistance against the Munai-bailer.
- Miller - The Sparta Order's leader, commander of the Aurora and a character who has thus far appeared in all the main Metro books and games.
As well as the Spartans, others can join the crew. These include:
- Katya - A trained nurse who initially survived with her daughter in the Southern Urals, she moved north towards the Volga River. They were both captured by the Church of the Water Tsar and its leader Silantius.
- Nastya - Katya's daughter, was captured by the Church of the Water Tsar along with her mother. Particularly hated Silantius as he smashed her flashlight in his technophobic zeal.
- Kirill - The last recruited survivor, a boy from Novosibirsk.
- Giul - A native of the Caspian Desert and resistance fighter who stayed behind in the Caspian Desert to fight the Munai-bailer.
- Olga - Stayed behind in Kazakhstan to lead Children of the Forest and possibly convince them to leave.
- Aurora is also the name of a Russian protected cruiser. A shot from her forecastle gun is considered to be the symbolic start of the Bolshevik Revolution in 7th November 1917. Idiot mentions this cruiser during the naming of the locomotive.
- The Aurora is a "duplex" locomotive, with two sets of driving wheels in what appears to be a 2-8-8-4 configuration, which means a forward pilot truck with two wheels, two sets of driving wheels with eight wheels each, and a rear trailing truck with four wheels. In Russian configuration, this would be a 1-4-4-2, the locomotive may be a heavily modified Russian P38 articulated locomotive which were the biggest and heaviest Soviet steam locomotives in existence.
- Curiously for a locomotive of such size, the Aurora does not have a tender.
- Armoured and modified trains have appeared in the Metro Series before, namely several books of the Universe of Metro 2033, such as Denis Shabalov's "Constitution of the Apocalypse" trilogy consisting of the novels: The Right to Use Force, The Right to Life, and The Right to Revenge.
- The Aurora is the second armoured train to appear in the Metro games after the one used by the Red Line in Metro: Last Light.
- The locomotive is apparently built from what seems to be two Soviet IS20 locomotives (like IS20-317, for example). Those were made from 1932 to 1942, and were used even all the way up until 1972. Most were scraped in the 1980's due to larger locomotives had taken there place on Soviet railroads. This is the first locomotive in the Metro series of games.
- There are anachronistic elements scattered through Aurora, hinting that it was either heavily modified or just cobbled together from various pieces after the World War III.