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Wakato

B778553-D

by Pete Grey

Wakato takes its name from an obscure Solomani Japanese phrase that means "people of the harmonious song." The world is a gas giant moon with a peculiar atmosphere. It orbits the gas world at close proximity. So close in fact that the gas giants magnetic field carries down to Wakato past its own magnetic field through the polar regions. As a person proceeds from the equator towards either pole, the ground and air become progressively magnetised. This magnetic charge never exceeds what a human can tolerate. But it does create an excess of negative ions in the air, water and biosphere that can have severe psychoactive effects upon human beings.

Depending upon the person, short-term exposure can induce depression, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite and listlessness. People who have become acclimated after about a local year are unusually passive, inoffensive and uncurious, and often show extreme giddiness or ecstatic reverie in regards to their homeworld. The locals are known to offworlds as either "hummers" or "deads" for their habit of lapsing into humming or muttered singing. The locals for their part consider offworlders to be rude and destructive dolts, and the most passionate and extreme among them consider themselves as being active participants in some kind of cosmic song that manifests on their homeworld. Because of the nature of this "taint" normal containment features do not function, and no real system beyond expensive degaussing equipment exists to remove these ions from the air, though starship air plants do a good job.

In the past the Avalar Consulate used to imprison its most difficult dissidents on Wakato, using its calming effects to neutralise their threat to communal peace, and as a means of cheap sedation. Psychiatric facilities bent towards short term convalescent care are still in abundance on the world, as are resorts for stressed out executives and workers. Weight loss centers take advantage of the worlds supression of appetite Long term residence for offworlders is not recommended, as the world has compelled many people to stay beyond what is considered to be a therapeutic duration.

Most of the locals are functional, but do little physical labor or repetitive work, as the hypnotic effect of the atmosphere can induce fatal inattention. As a result the world is mostly automated with robotic systems doing nearly all physical work and even transport. Naturally the locals are indifferent to politics, and the only real governmental system are the observance of basic laws, discussions on technical and economic matters, and the embedded principles within the worlds automated systems. Most of the world's economy consists of truck farms, tourism and some light industry of handmade crafts exported or sold to the tourists.

Wakato has a low reputation among other Avalars. The world's narcotic effects and zoned out populace have earned it the moniker "where the new age begins." People who heavily frequent the place for recreational purposes are frequently stigmatised within normal society, and are often scrutinised for abnormal behavior or hospitalization. The Consulate government no longer ships dissidents to the world, but several world governments are now using the vacated prison facilities for their own long-term and life sentence prisoners, and this has created a vital additional industry for this wacky world.


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