Conglomerate Science Fiction Game
A somewhat bombastic view of Turbulence through a cluster of orbiting asteroids. The moon Murt is visible to the left and Sydre on the right of Turbulence
|Mean Orbital Dist||1.557 AU|
|Orbital Period||583.3 sdays|
|Rotation||10h 14m 2.56s|
|Mean Diameter||15,747 km|
|Surface Gravity||1.277 g E|
|Mass||1.954 m E|
|Atmospheric Pressure||1.72 bars|
|Average Surface Temp||23.3 ºC|
Turbulence Icosahedral Projection
Turbulence General Information
Most stellar listmakers call Turbulence the third planet in the system, though it resides in the same orbit with Leviathan and Typhon. The planet’s hydrosphere is water, and it covers 82.6% of the planet’s surface with an average salinity of about 0.93, leaving a mere 17.4% of the surface for land mass.
Turbulence’ name comes from its legendary storms which, coupled with the high temperatures (the planetary temperature averages 23ºC, rather high for humans), high atmospheric pressure (about 1.72 bars, though ppO2 is only 283mb) and 1.28G gravity, make it a challenging place for humans to live. Thalls tend to fare better here due to their superior body strength and heat tolerance.
The frequency and intensity of the storms is partly due to Turbulence’ fast rotation, with a day being a little more than 10 standard hours long. This causes high coreolis forces, which, coupled with the warm water temperatures and vast hydrosphere, spawns endless series of hurricanes over a long season, affecting both hemispheres of the planet. Added to that, the relatively steep axial tilt of 36.7º causes the seasonal changes to swing even more widely than they otherwise would. All this adds up to violent, unpredictable weather patterns.
In addition, Turbulence’ two largest, close moons cause a huge variation sea level, with tides that can vary ocean height by more than 40 meters depending on the shapes of the lands. The moons’ gravity also affects the movement of tectonic plates, precipitating violent vulcanism across much of the planet’s surface. Sudden eruptions of volcanic gasses and ash changes the planet’s albedo and greenhouse coefficient sufficiently to strongly affect the weather patterns, causing sudden unpredictable periods of extremely cold (below freezing) temperatures. However, the intense thunderstorms tend to clear the ash from the atmosphere fairly quickly once the eruption subsides, allowing the climate to return to normal quickly. As a result, indigenous lifeforms including both plants and animals always have some form of cold-temperature adaptations and behaviors that allows them to get through such episodes.
The satellite system of Turbulence consists of five major moons (mass high enough to pull them into a ball) and dozens of smaller satellites, whirling around the planet in relatively close orbits. Turbulence also has a close, sparse ring, thought to have once been a moon that wandered inside the planet’s Roche limit. The satellites (and the ring system) orbit in approximately the same plane, giving credence to the theory that these are all components of a “gravitational whirlpool” or protoplanetary sub-disk bringing a set of trojan asteroids eventually together into a single sphere. Pieces of the ring frequently spiral down into Turbulence’ atmosphere, with large ones occasionally impacting the surface and causing cold snaps similar to those caused by vulcanism. These events contribute further to Turbulence’ reputation for “bad weather”.
The main moons and many of the smaller moons are said to be named after the characters on a then-popular “turbulent romance” holovid back when this part of space was still in “the Frontier”. If true, this video has long since been lost to the annals of time, recalled only by the names of these moons.
Turbulence is generally lush, warm and green except for the extreme poles. The volcanic soils, warm temperatures and heavy rainfalls make this a paradise for plant life. There are thousands of species of indigenous chlorophyll-using plants (many with limited movement ability), and imported proprietary seed varieties grow very well. The growing season lasts year-round in many parts of Turbulence. Several food-providing Megacorporations have sizeable operations here, notably Universal Foods. However, the weather is so unpredictable that there is much debate over the profitability of such operations. Most years, crop yields are excellent and profits are good, but often a volcanically- or impact-induced winter or damage caused by high winds or massive electrical discharges can severely affect the bottom line. On average the good years are so good that most agri-corps maintain at least some operations here.
Universal Foods and several small gourmet exporters also fish the oceans of Turbulence for several species of indigenous seafood that fetch high prices because they live and breed only on Turbulence. Chief among these are the 600-700cm long Giant Storm Crabs with their hard exoskeletons and plentiful meat to move their bulk in the high gravity. They are not crabs at all, but their hard exoskeletons and five clawed appendages make them reminiscent of crabs. Their flavor, however, is more exotic than crab meat, and not everyone likes them. Giant Storm Crabs are difficult to catch because they come to the surface to feed only during storms, when it is dangerous to operate fishing boats.
In addition to fishing and food crops, some indigenous plant life has been found to have medicinal value, and grow well only here. Obregon Bioceuticals and Astex both have interests (and decent-sized research facilities) on Turbulence, though neither seems to be interested in divulging the details of their research. This may be due to the broad variety of recreational drugs with odd effects that grow only here, from psychoactives to entheogenics to Psiomycin sources, and more.
Finally, Turbulence is the source of several sought-after hard woods. Some trees on Turbulence grow relatively short and broad due to the high gravity, and the density of the wood is so high that it’s hard as steel. Turbulence Ironwood is among the most famous for its hardness and reddish color, and is also used by thall toolmakers and weaponsmiths in making of unique thall implements. With some work, Ironwood can take an edge sharp enough to cut paper (or flesh), or be polished to a mirror-like surface with intricate grain patterns. Ironwood is extremely expensive for offworlders, but there are those willing to pay the price for their executive office desks, conference tables and main-office wall paneling.
Despite the corporate activity, Turbulence is not heavily populated. There are no major cities on Turbulence, just corporate housing for the companies who maintain a presence here. Universal Foods and the smaller food corporations combined employ a population of a bit more than 200,000, about 19% human/clone and 78% thall, spread out among five large crop field/processing facilities and fishing craft. Most of the humans are either corporate executives or fishermen who operate a specialized type of fishing boat fitted with powerful gravitic engines to stabilize them in stormy weather. The medical companies employ even fewer, perhaps 10,000 mostly human researchers and executives.
In addition to this, Turbulence is home to a sizeable Neoprimitive population. Much of the planet’s land mass has been set aside as Neoprimitive reserves where the mostly thall population can hunt indigenous and imported wildlife, grow their own crops and develop their own culture. It’s hard to know how many there are, but estimates range from 200-300,000 thalls and humans self-segregated into tribal societies. There are 5 reserves called simply A through D and Homeland, which encompasses the entire western continent.
There is also a population of Aquans living in the oceans. Protocol Enforcement records on the quantity are limited because they don’t report their population numbers., but they may be in the hundreds of thousands. They have little contact with the above-ground occupants except when Conglomerate fishing operations interfere with their operations, which is rare.
Turbulence has two small Class C starports located near the biggest agricultural processing areas, known only as Starport One and Starport Two. Here you will find surface or flying vehicles for rent that can take you wherever you want to go from here. Needless to say, entrance to any corporate facilities or one of the Turbulence Neoprimitive preserves must be arranged in advance with the proper representatives. When coming in for a landing at a Turbulence starport, pay close attention to your landing instructions. It is not advisable to land your ship outside of a Turbulence starport, which both boast terminal approach tractor control (TATC) arrays that allow all-weather landings. These arrays are capable of wrestling small starships down to the ground; they’re huge and obscenely costly. You would be well-advised to make use of them.
Corporations maintain a pooled climatology facility at Starports One and Two to warn them of storm activity and impending volcanic eruptions, and to advise Protocol Enforcement air traffic controllers. This consortium maintains a network of seismic and satellite monitors to provide information.
Protocol Enforcement/UDF presence
There are small Protocol Enforcement offices located at each of the starports with a few dozen PE officers stationed at each one. Their function is mainly to arbitrate inter-corporate squabbles and act as air traffic controllers.
Additionally, there are PE offices known as “outposts” at the entry points to the Neoprimitive areas. They monitor air and ground traffic into and out of the reserves, protect the privacy of the Neoprimitive inhabitants, and act as liasons to the tribes who wish to trade goods with the rest of the Conglomerate. They are also branch bankers for the Neoprimitive populations, maintaining tribal accounts accessible by designated tribal or village representatives. Most importantly, they provide medical services upon request. These include routine medical services such as pan-immunity blockers (for females who wish to become pregnant) and age resets, or emergency interventions for accidental injuries, hunting mishaps, weather-related injuries or battle damage. PE outposts maintain a small contingent of air rafts that can be used for emergency medical evacuation, and these are the only flying vehicles allowed within the reserves.
If the UDF has any interests on Turbulence, they are keeping them a secret.