Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Rigel IV, or Zamiar
- Class: M
- Moons or Rings: One moon (Rendar)
- Gravity: 0.9 G
- Climate: Thick atmosphere, 80% hydrosphere, warm temperature
- Demographics: 2.5 billion Orions, 1.5 billion Rigelians, 1 billion Humans, 200 million Kaylars, 200 million Andorians, 600 million misce llaneous starfaring species
- Civilization: Materialistic and urbanized, balkanized planetary government
- Resources: Shipbuilding, venture capital, metals (boridium, irillium, beryllium, murinite)
CLIMATE AND GEOGRAPHY
Rigel IV has a strong (32 degree) axial tilt, giving it broad climate shifts through the seasons. Rigel’s animal and plant life adapt to changing conditions; the same plant might be a thick-leaved succulent in winter or a broad-leaved fern in summer. Summer brings warm, balmy climes with plentiful rainfall; winter is dry and fairly cold. Since the mid-21st century, the two northern continents Altama and Hypuria have welcomed the pleasant summer (with lasts roughly 280 Earth standard years out of a planetary year of 1125). The equatorial continent Panara catches the brunt of the large oceans’ windstorms and tsunamis, but a thick scarp and a deep bay shelter Sathura (the planet’s oldest and largest city, with a population of 50 million) and its hinterland from the worst. However, Sathura’s traditionally muggy climate is made worse by serious industrial pollution, and even the increasing dry winds out of the north don’t completely remove the reek. The south polar continent, Lorisa, remains gripped in wintry tundra around the south polar glacier. As the planet slowly shifts seasons, Lorisa also begins to see storms and squalls blow in from the shore.
CIVILIZATION AND HISTORY
As the seasons and the centuries sweep across Rigel IV, civilization rises and falls on each of its continents in turn as the weather becomes pleasant and welcoming. Sathura, on the equator, remains settled year-round (although its weather never becomes pleasant); as a result, the city is a fascinating blend of architectural styles and technologies stretching back to the First Empire 100,000 years ago. Currently, the center of Rigel IV’s civilization is Polar City, a Human colony city of 30 million people built in the 2180s on the northernmost promontory of Hypuria, where only icecap rested as recently as 2050. This scratch-built arcology feeds itself with vast hydroponic farms, seabed cultivation, and replicated food. To break the Orion slave trade and protect Human interests from Orion piracy, the Federation brings the Human colonies on Rigel IV under its jurisdiction in 2249; by 2287, they become full Federation members. However, the citizens of Polar City still recall the serial murderer Beratis, who killed nine women before vanishing without a trace in 2267.
The Orions have resettled the rest of Panara and the coasts of Hypuria and Altama, with a large influx of migrants from the cooling and desertifying Rigel VII. They have a titular allegiance to the Vazak of Zamiar, a hereditary monarch, but in practical fact do what they like. Many Humans who prefer a looser way of life than the strait-laced Federation have become “subjects” of the Vazak. The Rigelians of Altama govern themselves as an interlocking aristocracy based on land tenure and land preservation; they (and the Humans of Polar City) often protest that Orion refineries and mills on Panara are polluting the planet. The Orions point out that winter will clean up the whole globe again in another couple of centuries, so why worry now? Nobody asks the Kaylar tribes who dwell in frozen Lorisa and the hinterlands of Hypuria’s Argus River hill region for their opinion on any issue, but they raid all sides evenly, using primitive dirigibles to hop up out of glacial fissures, swoop in under sensors, and strike hard and fast.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Polar City is a model of urban possibility and potential. Its towers rise six kilometers up into the pale blue skies of Rigel IV, and integrated replicator and transporter technology allows the city to function smoothly and effectively. Its hydroponic facilities are state of the art, and host numerous conferences for engineers, shipbuilders, and other specialists. By contrast, Sathura is a labyrinth of tunnels, poverty, crime, and filth – adjacent to glorious sculptures and soaring Third Empire arabesque causeways. Ugly or beautiful, the buildings of Sathura contain all manner of debauchery and criminality from “animal woman” slave rings to illicit genetic modification plants.