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by Pete Grey

Bilke is a mysterious world on the coreward edge of the Florian League. Like Youghal (SM 3039) in the Marches, the world is on the borderline between a normal and an ellipsoidal world. But like the Ariyhwaao (Beyond 1639) system, Bilke is thought to be artificial rather than a naturally occuring world. The world is slightly flattened at the poles, and has an unusually large bulge at the equator. Atmospheric pressure is almost three times that of Terra, and its gravity is about twice normal. Its high gravity has made the world rather uninhabitable to both Solomani and the Florians that had settled Menorial and Yggdrasil subsectors. A number of other systems within the Florian sphere also show similar modifications, particularly the neighboring system of Vip (TR 0210) and Zimt (TR 0713), and the age of these changes coincide with the age of the Ancients, though no conclusive link has yet been established beyond this correlation.

Bilke was first discovered by Solomani colonists in -974, who surveyed the world, replenished their stores of water and organics, but otherwise continued on their way. The Florian League and IISS surveyed the world a second time in 611, and the League made a claim to the system after strange anomalies were detected. The current colony on Bilke is devoted primarily to scientific research, and consists mostly of Solomani and Regency human scientists and surveyors.

Exploration of the world has been hindered by its high gravity, horrible weather and ferocious wildlife. The world is geologically unstable, with wild changes in tectonic and geomagnetic patterns. The constant fluctuations create the impetus for speciation, and the world has unrivalled diversity in plants and animals. The constant changes in climate have made many local species either very poisonous or too fierce for close study, and biological surveys are sill incomplete.

The exact modifications that the Ancients made to the world are still a matter of controversy. Densitometers record wild fluctuations in mass that are not commensurate with any natural phenomenon, or known method of artificial enhancement either. Without those enhancements the world would be a normal T-Prime of a rather unremarkable nature. Scientists have not even been able to identify where the "wild-mass" is added to the world, much less how.

Bilke's entire population lives near the downport in several sealed communities. The local gravity is tiring even after acclimatization, and residences are equipped with grav compensators for comfort. The local economy remains primarily research into the world and its local environs, but a number of side occupations have slowly sprung up since the Collapse, mostly harvesting of minerals and unique organic products for sale or export to the Regency. Widescale colonisation is unlikely due to both the high gravity of the world, and its relative remoteness from both Floria and the rest of the Spin Extents.

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