Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New Rodinia

System: New Rodinia
Hex Location: 1925
Star Type: Single A5 V
Number of Worlds: 12
Gas Giants: 6
Planetoid Belt: Cometary belt

Starport Type: B
World Size: Tiny; ship-sized, artificial
Atmosphere Type: N/A—
Surface Water: N/A
Population: Small (c. 500,000)
Political Affiliation: Dhangetan Cartel
Tags: Hostile Solar System, Outpost World, Trade Hub
Notes: New Rodinia is an outpost of the Dhangetans; one of their most southerly systems that is part of their orbit of political influence.  Although there is no inhabited world in the system, they maintain a very large space station in orbit around one of the gas giants, NR3 (sometimes stylized Ennar-3), a bluish "warm Neptune" on the close end of the habitable zone.  The New Rodinia sun is also unusual, in that it is orbited by a massive spiraling molecular cloud or protoplanetary disk.  In spite of that, it does have planets; but some, like NR3 orbit at really crazy angles, completely unrelated to the plane of the disk (NR3's orbit is almost perpendicular to the plane of the solar system) so it is possible that many of these worlds were picked up in relatively recent times (in astronomical terms, that still means millions of years, of course).  In addition to the molecular disk, the entire system is often seen as "hazy"—it exists in a small nebula that is more localized than the gigantic nebulae located elsewhere in the galaxy like the Orion or Eagle nebulae.  It is postulated by scientists that the New Rodinia system is the result of one system somehow cannibalizing another in the past, stealing its planets, devouring or ejecting the smaller star, yet dragging from it molecular matter and scattering it around local space to eventually settled into a spiral disk of sorts.  Viaseen Thuus is the reigning Dhangetan on New Rodinia, and he enjoys his position—New Rodinia is not only an outpost for the Cartel, but it is also a focal point for trade into the Carthen Colony and the Carrick Grand Marches both.  Not that both can't be reached from other Dhangetan worlds of course—because they can—but its position makes it uniquely able to reach both much more easily than others.

New Rodinia station
Thuus has used the time honored principle of "location, location, location" to establish a very profitable trading hub in the artificial space station world of New Rodinia.  Treaties with both the Carrick and the Carthen are carefully managed to maintain peace, even as he plays them against each other, smuggles arms to insurgents in Carthen and smuggles refugees out, etc.  New Rodinia has placed itself as the focal point for entrance to either of the two colonies from all areas to the galactic north.

Because the population of actual Dhangetans is always very small, the Cartel is largely populated with a mix of all kinds of others.  Humans make up a significant plurality, but they are often mixed race humans, or refugees or dissidents from other governments; and they tend to be outnumbered by other aliens anyway.  Oerkens and other reptilian aliens are common, as are Skiffers; a race of savage humanoids with mottled skin with embedded dermal scutes on the back, arms and legs, and spine-like filaments instead of hair.  Small horns rise from their forehead, and their eyes glow a vicious red.  Skiffers are especially common along with the Cartel, and the symbiotic relationship between Dhangetan masterminds and skiffer muscle and workers probably dates back centuries, if not millennia.

Strange hostile robots; some with programming to act independently, also operate among the Cartel worlds, and some of these are in high demand by others, especially pirates, privateers, and smugglers—exactly the kind of people who are most likely to pass through New Rodinia in the first place.

New Rodinia is a fairly sophisticated station, and offers a number of services for spacers who pass through.  Viaseen Thuus has gone out of his way to ameliorate the perception of it as little more than a frontier outpost.  He chafes a bit living on an artificial world; it offends his pride, perhaps.  Because of this, he's spent a fortune starting terrforming processes on the planet below, but it will still be many years before it is fit to be seeded with anything resembling complex life.

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