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Caliente

B6739CC-A

by Pete Grey

Caliente means "Hot" in the ancient Solomani Spanish language. The world has a very slow 22 day rotation period, and an axial tilt of 61 degrees. Daytime temperatures become extremely hot under these conditions, and bitterly cold at night. The early colonists were compelled to seek shelter in underground settlements, sheltered away from this severe climate.

The world's surface water is found in deep rift lakes and salt marshes located in the northern latitudes. On average these lakes are six to seven times saltier than an ocean on a T-Norm world, yet a complex ecosystem of multicelluar life exists within them. About half of the planets food resources come from these lakes, and the locals are especially protective of their sanctity. Evaporation creates a thick but brittle salt crust on the water surfaces up to twenty meters in thickness, thick enough to support construction and heavy contact vehicle traffic. This crust is broken up by the prevailing winds, and salt is often carried around the planet in sufficient quantities to restrict resperation and gives the world a taint rating.

Caliente's surface life has evolved in a very strange fashion in order to survive. Most of the native species are simple invertebrates known as "Zefs", who reside during the hottest and coldest times of the "day" buried just underground in shallow burrows. These remain immobile for very long periods of time, and draw sustenance directly from the dirt for photosynthetic organisms that colonise each Zef. Some species can grow to the size of terrestrial whales, but are generally immobile throughout most of the year, aside from annual migrations between hemispheres when they burst out of their burrows and congregate in huge herds, crawling to their destinations.

Caliente was an unimportant world for most of its history. The world is dominated by an oppressive elite aristocratic class which arose to manage the vital lakes and their precious food supplies, but whose power now rests upon their near total monopoly of the starport and the flow of badly needed trade both on world and with offworld sources. These nobles have zealously guarded their dominanace of the world, and used restrictive laws to eliminate competition or challenges to their power.

Economic development along the Corridor has softened their resistance to outside intrusion, and some investment has been allowed to upgrage the world's infrastructure and technology. Few Regency immigrants have been allowed to permanently settle, and those that do work on world are temporary residents only. Large scale development is administered under the careful eye of the local security services, and management of large projects is reserved for the local government. Despite the difficulties created by these measures, Caliente has enjoyed a three point improvement, and investment continues to expand.

Most of this inflow of money has been diverted into the construction of massive TL-10 Solar Arrays that cover about five percent of the planets surface. Power intensive industries such as metal smelting and fabrication have become the world's main expot industries, and future plans call for chemical and waste recycling industires to be constructed over the next thirty years.


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