Orbiting a star with no name but a number is an asteroid cluster known for its only inhabitants, the Freespacers breakaway group known as the Shravana Hive. Lacking comfort or shelter, and prone to frequent flare activity, the system is difficult to navigate and barely habitable, making it a relative haven for the isolationists living there. Though formerly little more than a waystation for 'spacer fleets, it has since become host to an independent polity based from a large asteroid in the inner system, the Shravana Hive.
The Shravana system includes a single M0e red dwarf star, which the inhabitants prefer to insist is, in fact, orange. It is an old, lonely Population II star, leftover from the formation of the galaxy, which has left it poor in heavy elements that must be formed inside a star's core. Its stellar mass is one half standard, and its luminosity (when not flaring, at least) is approximately one tenth. The system's is located at 0922 in the Kikyo Sector.
At a distance of 0.05 AU is a blasted ruin of a world, with a black body temperature of 700 K. It is geologically dead and resource poor, with a trace atmosphere of vaporized metal. As its orbital period is less than a week long, and it is locked in a resonant orbit, even the night side only provides a fortnight of shelter at a time.
Between 0.2 and 0.8 AUs is found the Shravana system's main cluster of asteroids. The belts are small, but dense, and can be found throughout the star's habitable zone… instead of any habitable planets. The wealth here is concentrated closer to the star. When approaching the main gas giant, the density of the belts gently fades out to nothingness.
The Shravana Hive is located 0.24 AUs from the star, within the thickest portion of the belt. Its orbit is perfectly circular, so it is always found at this distance, and it is tide-locked to its star. It completes its orbit once every two months.
At 1.6 AUs is an enormous gas giant. Though its mass might offer some protection from flares, its own radiation belts provide a continuous disincentive to get close. It has thirteen satellites; eight moonlets in dangerously close orbits, two major moons, and three distant moonlets that can sometimes be used for shelter. Of its major moons, one is small and icy, the other is smaller, with intense volcanic activity. The larger of these moons is geologically dead, and has a dense, frigid atmosphere, which renders its unexceptional wealth inaccessible. Although the surface of the more active world is less dangerous than most worlds of its type, it has little to offer but sulphur and stone.
At 6.3 AUs is the outer gas giant of the system. It has ten inner moonlets, four major moons, and six outer moonlets. For all its wealth of satellites (and its magnificent ring system), there is nothing to be found here but chunks of ice and air, frozen solid… aside from a beautiful view, and frigid graves of old ships that could not escape the system.
Including all Freespacer Types, the inner belt of the Shravana System has a population approaching 14,000. It is expected to grow by another 1,000 in the next year, as the second batch of new workers matures. Though the Shravana Hive is outwardly democratic, both what questions are put to vote and what answers voters may choose from are decided by an elite 'inner circle' of oligarchs.
Life is difficult in the Shravana system; though Type IIs are no worse off than they are elsewhere, Type Vs generally have to forgo the pleasure of having private access to anything, while most Type IIIs still have to live communally (albeit in shared cabins, not in bunk rooms). The height of opulence is a small private cabin with its own commode or charging station.
Local starport facilities are poor. Severely damaged starships cannot be repaired, and only interplanetary craft can be constructed. The system remains a haven for hundreds of hackers, data thieves, and other criminals who are tolerated for the profits they bring in from abroad, though the Hive no longer supports them with state assets.
The remainder of the system is void of outposts and settlements, as the Hive cannot afford to support any, even unmanned.
Due to the flare activity of its star and the hostility of its planets, general radiation levels throughout the Shravana System are uncomfortable, even by Freespacer standards. Despite this, organics are safe, so long as anti-radiation treatments are available for long-term or direct exposure. The greater danger is to electronics. Flares can destroy exposed systems, including sensors and shields, and can temporarily knock out even shielded systems. Many ships never reported back after arriving in-system, and several of these have been discovered as lifeless wrecks.
The star of this system goes only hours between flares, each flare lasting the better part of an hour. Flares are unpredictable, though the Hive can usually provide advance warning of incoming flares using its FTL sensors and comms. Relevant scientific data is considered top secret; if outsiders could predict flare activity, it might become possible for pirates and raiders to strike with no fear of losing their ships without a fight. Unless a ship has enormous amounts of mass shielding, or is powered down before a flare arrives, remaining adrift for the duration of it, damage to electronic and high-energy systems is inevitable.
AIs or SIs inside a ship are usually safe from destruction, but will often be knocked unconscious when a flare hits. If shielded, staying offline for the duration of a flare removes any risk of harm. Attempting to remain active can cause damage that must be repaired before reactivation–including insanity, in some cases. Cyborgs may experience shutdowns and malfunctions, but implants inside the body not requiring batteries or recharging tend to be low-powered enough to be safe from disruption, so long as the cyborg is not on a spacewalk, at the time.
Navian created this article on 2016/10/13 15:25.
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