Ticron-0406 is a cold Ring planet. Fierce, incessant wind whips snow from the frozen Pauses through the steamy alleys of massive structures built atop geothermal vents. Corporations scheme and backstab while compromised Arbitrators struggle to maintain some semblance of order and peace. Shadow, snow, ice, and knives. Fortified arcologies, heavy industry, and science punks in the sewers.
- Technological Level: 3
- Atmosphere: Breathable
- Temperature: Cold
- Biosphere: No native biosphere
- Population: 3,536,180,000
- Cultural tags: Envious, self-confident, suspicious
Approach and Starport
The approach to Ticron is easy, but the arrival is not. They do not possess the technological level to construct guidance systems for the landing, and any landing or launch site is tightly contested between the research corporations. Any far trader must try to arrange a rendezvous with one corporation. Often, they arrive to something different than they expected. In the best case, it is simply a different organization than they originally contacted, secret machinations and quiet violence resulting in a supplanting. In the worst case, it is to a hastily constructed and primitively effective anti-orbital battery.
Because there has never been a truly centralized authority on Ticron, law is mostly nonexistent between the vent megastructures. The constant conflict between them has resulted in a need for a neutral party, however, and the answer is the Arbitrators. Equal parts bounty hunters, lawyers, and judges, they are hired by one party or another when the secret struggle threatens to become public. They bring representatives of both organizations to the table and are patient midwives to a face-saving bargain. Sometimes, this painful process requires a modicum of force, deception, or both to bring about and enforce.
The corps are the lifeblood of Ticron. Some are old and storied, the original research consortiums to build on the vents and try to make Crohn proud. Others are reformed science punks, gone straight and trying to make a name for themselves.
Ticron was founded as a Tiberianist colony during the Third Great Revival, which corresponded with the Second Wave of Terran Colonization. The leaders were scientists and zealots, dedicated to research for its own sake, and they quickly introduced a fledgling gengineered biosphere, designed to resist the cold and constant wind. Personnel concentrated in vertically-designed research parks positioned over geothermal vents.
Although it was likely inevitable due to the general tendency among the Tiberianists to narcissism and cults of personality, the Scream accelerated the devolution of these parks into fiefdoms, with those at the top maintaining control of the arcologies and the heat. These megastructures were always uncomfortable with each other, and jealously guarded their biostock and their advances, now stymied by the massive trauma of the Scream. They began to keep secret armies of assassins and saboteurs, stealing secrets and slowing each other down even as they traded specialties. The “tallest dandelion” was consistently the target of an unoffical alliance between the others, and this slowed the overall recovery of Ticronian technology immensely.
Fifty years ago, the “science punk” movement picked up steam and reverted to a sort of fundamentalist Tiberianism, stealing seeds and performing unauthorized experiments. They defied the upper tiers and created rogue biostocks, engaged in a sort of competition to see whose could spread the best outside the tight hothouse controls of the corporate arcologies. Now, the first generation of the science punks has grown up and sold out, and are now the leaders of the research and development corporations ruling the massive cities that huddle close to the vents. A second generation has sprung up, and they are more ambitious and perhaps less principled than their parents. The revolution has been compromised, and science punk bands quickly become tools of the very secret armies they rail against, whether they realize it or not.
The first far trader threw Ticron into tailspin. How could they, the favored of Tiberius, be living in this squalor while outsiders had been allowed to regain the secrets of the spike drive? Convinced the offworlders are hiding something from them, the various research organizations stepped up their scheming and everyone is independently trying to develop—or steal—the first spike drive.