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[Accepted] Sol Alliance Mid Colonies System: Wintermute's Perches

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Type: System.

Founding/Settlement Date: 2323.

Region of Space: Mid colonies (Sol occupied).

Controlled by: Sol Alliance, though Osiris Atmospherics wields much oligarchical power.

Other Snapshot information: A high-population system, chiefly focused on industrial production. This post was made in response to the Community Outreach here: https://forums.aurorastation.org/topic/9188-community-outreach-sol-systems/

Long Description:


Wintermute's Perches is a binary system with two stars (Wintermute's Perch I and II; usually just "perch one" and "perch two"). The system holds three planets:

  • WP-I: A silicate-cloud gas giant with a bizarre orbit that meanders between the system's two suns. It is known for its bright red color, which renders it visible to various degrees in the night skies of New Haiphong (depending on the planet's orbital position). The giant is otherwise uninteresting, so much so that it has yet to be named.
  • New Haiphong: The center of Wintermute's Perches. New Haiphong is a barren desert planet with a near-breathable atmosphere. Surface atmosphere navigation is possible (and carried out daily) with no special preparation besides a dual-cartridge respirator mask. New Haiphong was originally colonized by the Sol Alliance as a civilian outpost for mining operations on the neighboring ice-crusted planet Little Uncle. Mining operations continue, but on a relatively small scale: in an immense corporate expansion operation, Osiris Atmospherics set up a great deal of construction infrastructure here, which has only expanded with time. Today, it's estimated that roughly one in three Osiris Atmospherics products underwent finally assembly on New Haiphong, and around four in five had at least one constituent part assembled there. Corporate presence of Osiris is very high in New Haiphong, which has created friction with Sol Alliance officials on multiple fronts. New Haiphong also boasts an impressively high population (1.2 billion spread over three metropolises).
    • Sol Common is the planet's most spoken language, followed by Freespeak. However, the tenuous atmospheric conditions and tight units of cohesion in NH have contributed to a serious deviation from standard Sol Common on the planet, such that NH's Sol Common is not always mutually intelligible with basic Sol Common. The NH deviation is tonal, with a total of five tones, and emphasizes vocalizations in the throat rather than the mouth.
    • For most of New Haiphong's inhabitants, living conditions are poor. Metropolis planning is a recurring problem; due to the extreme winds of NH's weather, it is not feasible to build tall, so all three cities have grown outward, dotted with squat stacks of habitation cubes. Most stacks are of eight stories or less, and the vast majority are double-populated to save space, with eight to a cube rather than the standard four. Cubes not inhabited by wealthier citizens are often in poor repair, and jury-rigging solutions is generally left to local communities. The close-packed environments of NH's metropolises often leads to high community cohesion, and NH citizens usually feel fierce loyalty to their respective neighborhoods.
    • New Haiphong's economy is a roaring success. Unemployment figures are through the floor; Osiris provides around 70% of the planet's employment. Around 35% of this employment consists of managerial positions, of both on-world and off-world installations; the remaining 65% revolves around atmospheric equipment manufacturing of all kinds, from the catches on anaesthetic tank valves to piping dispensaries the size of a large stately home. NH maintains zero planetary debt, but loses a great deal of its GDP to corruption.
    • New Haiphong is harsh on one's personal health. Filter mask usage is ubiquitous and essential, but traversal through the desert terrain is difficult. A percentage of the planet's indigenous fauna is aggressive and dangerous, and boasts two notoriously persistent species of vermin which fortunately cannot survive offworld. The planet's weather is also a serious menace; sandstorms rip across the surface at regular intervals, requiring inhabitants to remain indoors or face near-certain death. The heat of the two suns is also a danger; New Haiphong's orbit is circumbinary, but lingers for most of its cycle near perch two. The resulting heat and quantities of ultraviolet light are serious hazards. Sol Alliance only recommends tourist travel during the planet's short cool seasons in their respective hemospheres.
    • Corruption is a constant problem on New Haiphong. All three of the planet's metropolises struggle with bribery at every level, from local police departments to top officials. It is an open secret that Osiris is behind most of these bribes as a means of retaining financial control over the planet. The practice of bribery itself is essential to everday life on NH; shopkeeps unable to pay unofficial "fees" to the city police find their business constantly raided on suspicions of every offence imaginable. Similarly, hapless tourists have found themselves booted off the planet for non-specific crimes against local communites after failing to provide supplementary "administration fees" with their travel papers.
    • New Haiphong sports the Atmospheric Learning Institute of New Haiphong. ALINH is often regarded as second-rate compared to Sol's own Ceres university, but it does still provide some of the most extensive opportunites for atmospherics study in the Sol Alliance. As such, it remains a shining bullet point on the resumes of budding Atmospheric Technicians, Engine Technicians and Toxins researchers, and even holds a small but dedicated cadre of Airborne Virology specialists. ALINH's students are popularly known as "Aliens", as a fudging of the acronym's pronunciation. Their sports teams are known as the New Haiphong Bedouins, based on the ancient wanderers of Earth's old deserts. Unsurprisingly, many graduates from this school are snapped up by Osiris, which also offers scholarship-to-employment programs to the gifted, though other corporations such as Nanotrasen and Einstein Engines snipe graduates for their relevant departments. Notable graduates include Elisa Tung, inventor of the Shok-Free protected atmospherics system integrated into most high-end exosuits that are designed for medium to heavy combat.
    • Humans are known to populate the deserts outside of the three metropolises in very small numbers, though little is recorded about these groups, save for that they live in small, rough settlements and survive primarily as hunters and moisture farmers. They are frequently thrust into danger by cat cua; fiercely territorial crablike creatures which are native to the planet, roughly the size of a large dog, and are notorious for killing humans and laying eggs in the wounds, orifices and eye sockets of their corpses, leading to a terrifying population snowball.
    • New Haiphong's cuisine options are famous, evolving from native meats and the few stubborn crops that grow in native sands. The resulting palate consists of soft but sour meats balanced against tough, sweet herb stalks, often sucked on for flavor and nutritional content after the main course, as well as brittle vegetation with an earthy and satisfying flavor. Food exports make up a small but significant proportion of the economy, and habitation cube neighborhoods often sport a dedicated "best cook", who spends most of their time at home specifically devoted to preparing meals for other cube inhabitants.
    • Narcotics abuse is met with unusually stiff penalties across NH, especially in the city's largest metropolis. Alcohol consumption is generally considered unbecoming, and universally thought of as a child's plaything; NH natives over 30 are exceedingly unlikely to drink. Tobacco usage is ubiquitous, however; an ornate family hookah is a point of pride, passed down through generations and traditionally prepared and first smoked by the eldest family member at familial gatherings. Tobacco is one of the planet's largest imports.
  • Little Uncle: An icy world that orbits very slowly around perch one. This was the source of the Alliance's original interest in the system; mineral deposits appeared to be abundant here beneath the icy crust, but initial reports were deceptive, and in actual fact the deposits available do not run deep enough to warrant very large-scale mining. Nevertheless, the planet maintains a population of roughly 1.3 million, most of whom are miners. The planet's surface is not survivable; colonies are buried deep in the icy crust, and all mining operations and life is purely subterranean.
    • Little Uncle was a surprise hit with hydroponics enthusiasts in the early 2400s; experimental atmospherics technology from New Haiphong was implemented here to pragmatically influence plant growth in unique ways that had not been previously studied. In 2427, however, new developments at academic institutions in other systems completely overshadowed the purely practical developments on Little Uncle, and the planet quickly fell into obscurity once again.
Edited by Coalf
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