Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Purpose: Salvage planet
- Temperature: –20 degrees Celsius
- Gravity: 4.5 standard
The sole planet orbiting a small blue star, Jexen is large, cold, and almost entirely lifeless. Because it consists almost entirely of metallic elements, it has an incredibly powerful gravity, but the strong interference from its highly ionized star conceal its pull from most ship sensors. Several ships caught by the planet’s pull have crashed here, and many of them have yet to be salvaged.
With only minimal atmosphere, surface temperatures well below most species’ tolerance, and the crushing force of the planet’s gravity, the planet has never been settled, and any efforts to terraform it would be prohibitively expensive. It supports only bacterial and fungal life forms, and its surface is pitted with asteroid scars and canyons created from ancient tectonic plate shifts.
Jexen’s gravity claimed at least three Peacekeeper battle cruisers, and the retrieval beacon for the PKS Paranon, lost fifty cycles ago, is still functioning and sending out signals from the planet. Reports of Delvian and Luxan losses in the area go back for two hundred cycles, and various other species have standing warnings to steer clear of the system. Jexen has a reputation as a “spaceship graveyard,” and even species which tolerate high gravities are reluctant to visit the place, since escape from the planet’s surface has been nearly impossible until very recently.
With the development of new technology at the Yinaran shipyards, visits to the area have increased. A powerful short-range shuttle engine, developed at the shipyards, is now capable of escaping the powerful gravitational influence using a series of rapid, fuel-depleting bursts. Though expensive to use, the shuttle can facilitate multiple trips to the planet’s surface without adverse effect. Additionally, engineers at the shipyards invented a protective exoskeleton, which allows species adapted for standard gravity to explore shipwrecks for limited periods of time. Neither the exoskeleton nor the adapted engine is available to the public yet, and the exoskeleton has yet to advance beyond experimental stages.
Without a protective suit or the ability to escape the planet’s gravity, scavengers need to seize a piece of wreckage with an energy-based towing web, drag the scrap chucks into space, and then examine the remains for useful technology, information, and weapons once safely away from the planet. Many types of docking and towing webs can perform such tasks, and the Yinaran shipyards offers modifications (for a price) to accommodate towing heavy payloads against strong counter-forces.