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The band around the equator represents Helios' only semi-constant temperature zone. Most of the land area in this range (2 bands) is either desert or arid plains. Any activity in these areas during the daylight hours is hazardous as the temperature rarely drops below 40deg C (104deg F). This central range band is termed the "equatorial zone."
During the summer month, this daylight danger band extends through most of the temperate zone and includes 5 more range bands for a total of 7 bands from the equator. This zone (these 5 range bands) is termed the temperate zone. During the winter, this zone is considered the main temperate zone because the temperature ranges from 29deg (85deg F)closest to the equator to -10deg C (13deg F)nearest the polar zone.
The area on either pole is covered by a seasonal ice cap. Due to the extreme axial tilt, the ice cap extends out from the poles nearly 4 range bands. The fringes of these polar caps are very thin, and usually only occur at night. The shortness of Helios' rotational period prevents the formation of any thick ice caps, but during the short winter month, the polar area can be quite treacherous to navigation. The temperature in this band ranges from 31deg C (88deg F)during the summer on the fringe to -31deg C (-24deg F) at the polar cap during the middle of winter. This zone is known as the polar zone.
FLORA & FAUNA
Most of the native wildlife and plant life of Helios is typical of most habitable worlds with a few exceptions.
|Weight:||0.1 kg||Weapon:||Poison/Stinger(As Armed Melee)|
|Initiative:||1||Damage/Pen:||1p1*/Nil (* - 1 point, not 1D6)|
|Weight:||3 kg||Weapon:||Claws(As Armed Melee)|
|Weight:||50 kg||Weapon:||Poison/Tentacle(As Grapple)|
|Initiative:||6||Damage/Pen:||1p*/Nil (* - See Note)|
|Weapon:||Teeth(As Armed Melee)|
|To Hit:||5||Note: Poison renders victim motionless in 1D6|
|Damage/Pen:||3D6/1/2||turns. If grapple holds till then, Parinklo|
|Range:||Short||will attack with teeth.|
While there have never been radioactive deposits found on Helios, the world was once a world rich in fossil fuels. Before the collapse, many of the mineral resources of the planet were mined and taken away by the prospector in for a quick buck. Helios now has a good supply of fossil fuels as well as some decent mineral deposits. While iron ore is readily available, much of Helios’ imports consist of other minerals necessary for their society.
Helios occupies the first orbit, orbit zero, around Zenith, the systems K6 V star. Because of the size of the star, and Helios’ proximity to it, travel to and from Helios is somewhat difficult. Ships arriving in the system find that the 100-diameter limit imposed on them by their jump drive leaves them somewhere around the number two orbit, days from Helios. Fortunately, this second orbit is a planetoid belt filled with icy bodies, and many unprepared starfarers find themselves filling their fuel tanks with the ice of these ice planetoids. Orbit one is occupied by a single small planetoid. The outer orbits are also filled with other planets, but Helios has yet to begin to explore the potential resources of these planets.
Willow is not mentioned in the archives again until 736. By this time, Willow had become a hiding spot for all sorts of Imperial criminals and riff raff. Willow's position within the 100-diameter limit of Zenith, her star, made travel between the planet and the jump point long. This fact along with the lack of gas giants in the system made travel to Willow difficult. Only those with a reason to get lost settled on Willow. Many criminals had retired on Willow when they felt the law brushing close to their heels. Tracking a criminal was not only expensive because of the in-system travel requirements, but it was also hampered by the lack of settlers. As a result, only the most sought after criminalswere tracked to Willow.
Criminals were not the only settlers who found their way to Willow. Many others found their way to the backwater planet including malcontents, debtors, jilted lovers, and anti-Imperial extremists. No solid government was formed, and very few of the settlers even lived in the small villages that were formed.
Many of the settlers had taken up carving the wood of the Saltad tree native to Willow. The wood of the Saltad tree resembles ivory. The wood is very hard even when the tree is alive, but when the wood is dead and cured properly, it becomes nearly hard as plate steel. Saltad wood carvings became status symbol among the nobility of the Sarid subsector. Willow was occasionally visited by traders who would stop at the planet and trade their goods for the Saltad wood carvings.
By the mid 700s the Saltad wood carvings done by the people of Willow were claiming prices of 5000 to 10000 Cr in the markets of Sarid. Willow had become a regular stop for a few of the Free Traders roaming the Sarid Subsector, but the real history of Willow begins almost a sector away on a small world in the Promise sector named Amoy.
In 740, a boy was born, on Amoy, to a construction worker and his wife. The child, Garaath, it would be discovered, was a powerful psion. When he was 40, in 780, Garaath had visions of angry mobs and violence. During the course of the next five years, he had more visions, and by 785, Garaath understood what he had seen coming, the Psionic Supressions of 800.
Garaath had a staunch belief that, if he showed kindness to others, they would be obligated by their nature to return this kindness. He referred to this as the Eternal Circle. During the 15 years between Garaath's premonition and the Psionic Supressions, Garaath began recording his beliefs and sharing them with others. Slowly Garaath gained a religious following, but when the Psionic Supressions erupted, this small group was not enough to protect Garaath from the attack of anti-psionic mobs. The story here is somewhat fuzzy. Some records state that Garaath was killed by the attacks, while others state that he placed himself in a state of suspended animation. All accounts agree, however, that Garaath was never seen again.
The Final War and resulting Collapse devastated the universal CBK, and the only known surviving group is the group that settled on Willow. Virus also hit the island of the CBK; however, the people there were a community, and when they realized that their high tech devices were no longer functioning properly, they simply resolved to go without high tech help. They turned off and destroyed all their high tech equipment, and started to relearn the old ways. It was not easy and was not without casualties, but by pulling together, and helping each other the CBK was able to survive with minimal loss of life.
In 1196, an Oriflammi survey ship came to Willow to assess the planet's capacity for colonization. At first the survey went very well, the planet had plenty of untapped potential, and several high tech devices were discovered on the main continent. Then the ship found the CBK community. This distressed the Technarchs, because any native population would have control over the planet's destiny. The Technarch's debated whether they could destroy the settlement, and claim the planet was uninhabited. Before a decision could be made, the news was leaked to the rest of the Dawn League. The League quickly launched a recontact mission to establish relations with the new community. The CBK was delighted to learn that others had survived the Collapse, and upon learning of Dawn League and its mission to rebuild civilization, they petitioned for admission.
After a few months of discussion, on XI-11-1196, Willow was admitted to the League. The Oriflammi strongly protested this, Willow only had 700 residents, if they were given full voting rights, each resident of Willow would have the same voting rights as 14,300 citizens of Oriflamme. But the Federalist block sensed an ally in Helios, and also wanted to penalize the Technarchs for even contemplating destroying a new found community. Following the tradition of several other worlds, the CBK renamed their planet Helios, after an ancient sun god.
Since being admitted, Helios has decided to help outfit expeditions into the Wilds to uplift the devastated worlds out there. They have also been a burr in the Oriflammen sides. There are several reasons for this. Mainly, they are a bit annoyed that the Technarchs thought about destroying them. They also disagree with the basic philosophy of the government of Oriflamme. Finally, it amuses the fun-loving Heliosians when the Oriflammen get so flustered when their plans are upset.
Religion has a deep and broad background on Helios, but the way the Heliosians live it is very practical. They follow a principle known as "Life Style Evangelicalism." The idea is to live your life in such a way that others see how different you are, and want to know more about what makes you different. This gives you the opportunity to tell them about your religion. About 80% of the population attend church services regularly, but they feel no ill will towards the other 20%. All of them have been raised in the same town, and they all went to the same school. They all have pretty much the same values; some just do not feel a need to attend church services.
There are only 700 citizens of Helios. During the first year of their membership in the RC, they realized that they needed an immigration policy. If they allowed unlimited immigration, the Oriflamme Technarchs would simply ship in 10,000 colonists, and Helios would become a de facto Oriflamme colony. On the other hand, Helios is a nice planet, and it would be a sin to allow it to go uninhabited. So the residents decided to allow immigration, but a potential immigrant would need to get permission to immigrate from a two-thirds majority of the native population. Once she has this permission, she is a full citizen of Helios. A potential immigrant is supposed to make appointments with various families and arrange to meet. Usually these meetings take place over dinner. The potential immigrant and the family converse about life on Helios, and what the immigrant would bring to the community. After the immigrant has talked to most of the people on the planet, a meeting is held, and the citizens vote on whether or not the immigrant should be allowed to become a citizen. These meetings are usually held at Festival. (See Below)
Helios holds an Auction each week, on the first day of the week. The government does not take a host cut. This is mainly to siphon off trade from nearby Oriflamme. It's just another way the Heliosians can annoy their rival neighbor, the Oriflammen. Most of the goods sold at Helios' Auction are big ticket items; smaller items go on to Oriflamme. The savings on smaller items is not usually enough to warrant taking the cargo to Helios. Helios benefits from this because the big ticket items tend to bring more people visiting for the Auction, and these visitors spend credits visiting the Festival.
The Heliosians hold their Festival at the same time as the Auction. Here they gather to discuss matters affecting the community and to celebrate. Each family sends one member to the weekly meeting, where any issues affecting the community are decided. These include electing the representative to the Assembly of Worlds, deciding on trade issues, voting on immigrants, and where to send the next Wild relief mission. Festival is also a time for fun; there are many carnival style rides and amusements. Farmers from the outer reaches of the island come and sell their goods, and children show off their art projects from school. The visiting auction goers are encouraged to take part and have fun. They often wind up buying hand-crafted trinkets and furniture. Heliosian furniture is carved from the Saltad wood and is quite stylish and rather popular.
Helios has three elected officials. The Assembly representative, which currently is Currun Nealgu, an elderly gentleman with a wicked sense of humor. There is also Wes Guguan, the planet sheriff. He does not have much to do. The most crime he has to fight is the occasional off worlder who has had too much to drink. If there was ever any emergency, he has the power to deputize available citizens. Finally, Lizi Neaftu is the starport administrator. The starport is not much to look at. It's a concrete pad, with a nearby stream, to supply unrefined fuel for the starships. There is a radar beacon, and a warning system to let Lizi know when someone is in orbit. The pad only has room for four ships, if a fifth showed up, Lizi would have to put the extra ship in the field behind the starport. She would first have to move out the cows that typically graze there.
All of the residents on Helios favor the Federalist wing of the assembly, and while they believe in the wing, politics is not a way of life. Assemblyman Nealgu summed up the Heliosian attitude best when he said, "There are much more important things in life than arguing about the finer points of law. People should get out and do stuff; we Helosians try to lead by example."