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Petrarch

by Pete Grey

Starport: Class B, Naval and Scout Bases, Frontier Interface
Diameter: 4884 Miles
Atmosphere: Thin
Surface Water: 38%
Climate: Very Hot
Population: 502,503,000
Government: Technocracy
Law Level: 3
Tech Level: 11

Petrarch is the most heavily populated and industrialised of the worlds in the Karst cluster, though it is unimpressive even by the more modest standards of the Regency. The world is a hot house with a very high amount of moisture in its atmosphere due to evaporation. The world is subject to massive downpours, which will evaporate into steaming, swirling ground fog known as "kettleclouds." A highly diverse ecosystem has evolved in this environment, and the continents are covered in forests of small but hardy shrub- and chapparal-like plants. A number of local flora varieties are cultivated for export, but the largest crop is an oilseed plant known as Kinwickseed. Kinwick oil is similar in properties to more common cooking oils like canola and corn oil, but it is incompatible with human and vargr chemistry, and will simply pass through the body without being absorbed. The existence of this simple fat substitute makes Kinwick oil a very desirable commodity across Deneb, and as nearly all of it must be acquired on Petrarch, high demand brings a relative measure of prosperity to its growers.

Most of Petrarch's local industry is concentrated around the manufacture of spare parts and simple consumer goods for sale and trade with the Regency Frontier and nearby Interface. The local shipyards are owned by the planetary government, and produce a limited number of TL-10 and 11 designs for other planetary governments and local businesses. Most of the populace lives in small communities that dot the world, most being excavated out of the ground to reduce cooling needs. The oppressive day time conditions forces people to seek shade or shelter indoors, and the world only comes to life during the early evening hours, and it is usually during this time when most business and recreation is resolved. Because of this life cycle, Petrarchians often give the misleading impression of slowness or laziness, only to strike in a mad frenetic burst of incredible productivity. These people generally disdain frills or luxuries, and tend to be disparaging of offworlders who come to Petrarch unprepared for the local climate.

Petrarch is one of two worlds in Deneb Sector named after an important Renaissance poet, the other being Ronsard/Usani (1830).


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