Part One: System Overview
Part Two: Inner Zone
Part Three: The Planets
Part Four: Outer Zone
Part Five: Past, Present, Future Imperfect (Telajan)
The Telajan system has five planets and one moon. No debris belts, no asteroids, no dust, ice or gas intrudes upon the Habitable Zone (HZ) more than a few hundred miles past the Pylons. The Pylons are mysterious, Precursor-built structures that manage and maintain the hyperactive and volatile regions of the Inner and Outer Zones.
AldrinAldrin, is the inner-most planetary body of the system. It is a rocky, warm and wet planet roughly two-thirds the size of Old Earth. The atmosphere and much of the planet's intrinsic ecology was radically altered to conform to a more human-friendly environment approximately 50,000 years ago, according to geological and other evidence.
Aldrin has a day-span of 72 standard hours and an orbital-year that runs to 1,094.8 days. It has no moon, but the night skies are famous for aurora and high altitude electrical storms.
Two-thirds of the surface area of Aldrin is dominated by numerous seas and vast lagoons. Coral atolls and similar submerged substrates account for the majority of all the dry land protruding above Sea Level, with the rest being the product of gigantic undersea volcanoes and in one region the displacement of a continental shelf by what appears to have been a drastic impact more than 75,000 years ago. This massive impact was very likely an extinction level event and shifted Aldrin three degrees off of its original axis or rotation. The Precursors apparently did not re-adjust this deviation for whatever reasons.
The atmosphere of Aldrin is rich with oxygen. So much so that metals tend to oxidize very rapidly. Open flames are extremely difficult to control, often exploding or erupting into shimmering sheets of fast-burning plasma that can spread for hundreds of feet before stalling-out as they consume the available oxygen more rapidly than it can be drawn in from the surrounding air. A simple spark can cause a terrible explosion. Sealed-systems are standard protocol and most energy weapons or those employing any form of combustion (such as most non-electric slug-throwers) are discouraged. Not banned. Just discouraged. those who insist on using such things here tend to eliminate themselves soon enough so no law or regulation is deemed necessary by the local authorities.
Life on AldrinThe vast majority of life-forms on Aldrin are of the Protist variety. Aldrin boasts thousands of diverse communities of eukaryotic microorganisms. In fact there have been no non-Protist life-forms in evidence within the established ecology of Aldrin for nearly 50,000 years. The dominant life-form on Aldrin are Plankton, Algae and Cyanobacteria. Vast mats of algae are so commonplace floating upon the seas of Aldrin that it is possible for certain surface-dwelling diatomoids to migrate all the way around the world without ever falling into the water below the mats.
The densely-packed mats also make traditional forms of aquatic travel incredibly difficult if not impossible, necessitating the development of a number of alternatives, one of the most popular being ultralight Buzzers and a wide array of elegantly decorated aerostats, many of which have gathered together to form linked and tethered composite-communities floating peacefully above the placid green seas of Aldrin. Each community strives to make their respective cluster ever more baroque, stylish or whimsical than their rivals or neighbors. For some of these communities this competition replaces warfare, for others it has sparked wars driven by aesthetic or artistic claims. Originality is much prized within the aerostat communes of Aldrin, but gaudiness will do, especially if it is properly over-gilded, encrusted, layered and or adorned enough...and it is never quite enough...
Beneath the algal mats the seas tend to be mostly shallow, except for a band of steep-walled trenches and underwater canyons running along the planet's original equator. The most active undersea volcanoes tend to be clustered at the poles, and there are indications (unconfirmed as yet) that Precursor mechanisms may be involved in this peculiar distribution. There are several undersea communities consisting of six major domed city-states (most perched on the lip of the deepest trenches or at the peak of extreme undersea mountains), hundreds of small-scale bubble-homes caught-up in the dangling forests underneath the largest mats, and uncountable clouds of nomadic nanoflagellate fleets that tend to be crewed by anarchistic tribes and clans who refuse to cooperate with outsiders on general principles.
Three of the major Domed City-States have extended their dominions deep into the crust of Aldrin by use of hyper-atomic drilling rigs that have established thousands of galleries that extend for miles well beyond the recognized political boundaries of these states, which has led to some political turmoil, tensions and a lot of finger-waving and tongue-wagging, along with the usual calls to action, threats of war, etc. So far this remains at the level of heated discussions, press releases or auto-statements, and drama, which is great for politicians and publishers alike.
There is no central authority on Aldrin, though the Merellon Corporation has a strong presence within the three Domed City-States that claim to not be engaged in extensive crustal excavation efforts. There is evidence that the Corprik PR Teams from Merellon are hard at work covering-up any such efforts within these three domains, but no one has any idea what they might have to gain by such a thing. Merellon Reps and agents have set-up offices and cubicle-farms within two-thirds of the registered communities of Aldrin, but they remain banned from entering the nanoflagellate fleets and their numbers are severely restricted by the aerostat-communes, who require all Corporate agents to register as such and to openly wear appropriate identification as a Corprist. sometimes this is a simple badge or hologlyph, other times it is a ridiculous costume or some other get-up calculated to be both uncomfortable and humiliating. Corprists do not have the usual protections as real citizens within the aerostat-communes. Usually such a situation would lead to a robust market for mercenaries, however due to a quirk of local law, anyone receiving any compensation from a Corporation is considered to have relinquished their independence, and thus forfeiting their rights as a free citizen or guest. The court are clogged with a constant barrage of test-cases, claims and counter-claims both by Corprist shills and Contra-Corprist ideologues.
Six Scenario Seeds for Adventures on Aldrin
- Off-planet interests have been pumping credit and resources into the tourist economy of the few Aerostat-Communes that have accepted this infusion of outside-wealth and recognition. A local blogger has uncovered what appears to be a trail leading back to holding companies and other fictive entities that might be a cover for Merellon operatives engaged in consciously, maliciously compromising the integrity of these Aerostat-Communes by making them fail their culture's predominant tenet of remaining independent of all Corprist ties. If this is true...it could lead to all sorts of wide-spread hostilities, repercussions and worse, which is why there are those who would do anything to keep this quiet, suppress the truth, eliminate the evidence, as well as other parties who would be inclined to break the story as wide as possible, get the truth out there, regardless of what it might do to those caught up in this tangled web of intrigue.
- The Ruthenium Throne of the Clonal Dynasty of LomidastraIII was brought to Aldrin more than a thousand years ago, where it was either sealed away in a deep vault or lost at sea in the course of a terrible battle. rumors and tales regarding the Throne still circulate among the gullible and the greedy across the Sector. It is a notorious, infamous treasure that has cost hundreds of would-be treasure-seekers their fortunes, and sometimes their lives. Professor-Prelate Dulinda Glarra of the Third Datatorial Emirate Enclave of Kaaldu (03.04) is regarded as one of the pre-eminent authorities and experts on the Clonastic Dynasties of LonidastraIII. Her chief rival, and the one other scholar who may have known just a little more about the subject has gone missing. Suddenly. Suspiciously. Professor-Prelate Glarra has been provisionally cleared of wrong-doing in the matter, for now, pending any results of the ongoing investigation. But she's not the sort to just sit back and wait to see what will happen. Professor-Prelate Garra has arrived at Duriss-Kadricky Platform in the Sea of Giskay on Aldrin and she's looking for clues, answers and justice...and she doesn't intend to let anyone get in her way. Not even the team of ex-CorpSec hired-assassins someone has sent after her...
- A colony of nanoceutically augmented Phocids have taken advantage of the lack of jurisdiction that leaves more than a third of Aldrin's seas and islands unclaimed and outside the direct control of the Domes or any one else. They have established a colony well outside the buoy-marked borders of all the registered states and polities currently recognized as operative, functional and having authority on Aldrin. The Phocids have begun the tedious work of adapting their collective vitaculture and subsidiary systems to the local environment, including the frustratingly slow-going effort to cultivate a salable strain of their usual aquacultural herds and kelp-derived dangle-forests. The recent spate of Red Blooms has cost them a great deal of time and credit. Most think it is sabotage by the Corprists. But a lone technician has uncovered evidence that it may in fact be some sort of response on the part of the local algae itself. The overly ambitious leader of a warmongering sub-faction among the Phocids has seized upon this situation as a route to power. He has already threatened the technician with violence. The technician has in turn approached your group for assistance. It would be disastrous to allow the aqua-fascists to start a brush war with Merellon Corp. Especially since it won't do anything to address the very real threat of what is actually happening deep within the algal mats surrounding the new colony...and what is happening here might very well have implications for everyone else...
- Why has the leading expert in Coccolithophore systems from the Deep Academy at Lithus Prime (03.05) come to Aldrin? Why are they surrounded by bodyguards and getting chauffeured around by a select group of corporate and other big wigs all on the hush-hush? Is this proof of a Sector-wide Cabal, a glimpse into the operations of a terrible conspiracy, or something even more troubling? Whatever is going on, details are scarce and information at a premium. All your usual sources are quiet. The kind of quiet that speaks volumes about the depth of the reach of whomever is shepherding this operation. With that kind of an invitation, how could you resist?
- One of your crew has been summoned to a set of coordinates out in the middle of the Cat's Pajama Sea. An old school mate (or were they something...more?) is about to get married to a high-level member of a nanoflagellate craft-clan. She's having second thoughts and jumps ship before you can get properly moored. She claims asylum. If you can get off-planet, you'd best do so. Quickly. Her intended is not a reasonable, nor a forgiving sort. This debacle has landed your team right in the thick of some nasty, inter-clan politics. If you do stay, be prepared for some vicious interpersonal interactions on every level. If you leave...there will be consequences that follow along shortly. The kind that tend to strike in the night, when a suitable opportunity presents itself.
- An Orəq has arrived at Delmjurrim Dome. They are pleading for the Ensconced Council (a group of Brainiard plutocratic cronies) to cease and desist from further excavatory explorations beneath their Dome. Wild rumors regarding something old and best left alone that sleeps down there have only inflamed the imaginations of the Council and made them all the more determined to keep digging. But it was never about what might be sleeping down there. That was not why the Orəq came here at all. They came here in order to stake a claim on what remains of the galleries after whatever it is down there wakes and leaves. They believe that this is the one Dome that will have the best chances of surviving the coming cataclysm. They're betting their own life on it.