Sapphire is the fourth planet in the system 11 527 Pegasi. It is a former colony of the Human Galactic Commonwealth and is the homeworld of the Sapphirean people.
- 1 Geography
- 1.1 Major Continental Land Masses
- 1.2 Oceans
- 1.3 Major Cities
- 1.4 Environment
- 2 Culture
- 3 Economy
- 4 History
- 5 Indigenous Life Forms
- 6 Sapphirean Characters
Major Continental Land Masses
The Alpha Continent contains almost 40% of the total land area of Sapphire. 90% of the landmass of the largest continent is located in the southern hemisphere. Alpha is divided into Five Regions (or Territories), each with a regional seat of government: Arcadia, Graceland, Jutland, Oz, and Panrovia
Located primarily in the north arctic region of the planet, Sapphire's second largeast landmass is a land of mountains, glaciers, and fjords. Some islands and peninsulas jut into the northern extremes of the north temperate zone, but most of the continent is uninhabited and undeveloped. Seat of government is at New Sapporo. Major Cities: Kaliska
Carpentaria describes a long crescent stretching from the northern subarctic to the equator. It is extremely mountainous, with only one major river system, the Hope. Carpentaria is a geographical fluke, having risen entirely from the seabed in a violent upheaval some 400,000 years previously, an event that may have doomed an earlier civilization, evidence of which has been found in one location on the planet's surface. Carpentaria holds the planet's primary reserve of mineral resources. Seat of government is in Hew Halifax. Major Cities: Nostromo, Bonneville, Roderick
Delta lies in the northern hemisphere. It is dominated by a major continental river system, the Corvallis and Griffin river system, and the planet's tallest mountain range - The Wall of God - in the east. Its climate is mild, temperate to subtropical. Delta is divided into the Federal District, that includes the planetary capital of Corvallis (Population 1,800,000) and the rest. It remains the most densely populated are of the planet. Although Delta contains less than 20% of Sapphire's surface area, more than a third of the planet's population resides on Delta Continent. Other major cities: Shadowlands, New Tenochtitlan, Coolsville, Amity, Cyonara, Dan, Hadrian, Radella, Takara.
Deep Blue Ocean
The largest Ocean is the Deep Blue Ocean which lies east of Carpentaria and south of Boreala. The Western Deep Blue Ocean (Sometimes called the Western Sea) laps the western shore of Oz continent. The East Deep Blue Ocean (The Eastern Sea) washes the eastern shore of the Oz continent.
Brightly Shining Sea
Area of the Eastern Sea, extending southeast of Alpha Continent.
The Cerulean Sea lies between Delta and Alpha continents.
The Easter Sea lies east of Alpha Continent and West of Carpentaria continent.
The Borealan Sea lies between Boreala and Delta continents.
South Polar Sea
The South Polar sea covers Sapphire's South Pole, and consists primarily of a permanently frozen ice cap.
The Western Sea lies between the east cost of Carpentaria and the West Coast of Alpha Continent
Most citizens of Sapphire live in cities with populations under 100,000 persons. Even the largest urban area, around Corvallis, contains less than ten million people. (2.27 million live in lunar colonies, the out-system, or on Republic.)
Arcadia (Population 620,000 + 2,200,000 Environs) Arcadia is the capital city of Arcadia province and circumscribes a long Oxbow lake cut-off from the nearby Arcadia River. It is surrounded by the dense rainforest that covers the Arcadia Peninsula. Arcadia originated as a monastery and vineyard. When the Alpha Continent was divided into provinces to enhance the power of local governments, Arcadia was the only real settlement in the vast wilderness that was Arcadia province, and so was established as a regional capital. It remains remote. The Arcadia Highway and MagLev line connect Arcadia to the nearest settlement, Sienna, nearly a thousand kilometers away, with nothing but a few automated service outposts in between. Arcadia hosts thriving industries based on cultivation of native rainforest products, which are harvested for use in pharamceuticals, beverages, and a number of chemical applications. It is also a prime recreational destination. During the winter months, travelers from Boreala, especially, are fond of escaping to Arcadia for sun, warmth, watersports along the lakeshore. The monastery, now the largest on the planet, is considered one of the greatest architectural treasures on the planet. Traditionally, Sapphireans prefer to spend the last years of life in monasteries, preparing for the transition to the next level of existence. The main monastery no longer serves this function, but smaller monasteries around the city permit the dying to make regular pilgrimages to the Holy Monastery. Thriving on isolation is one of the themes of life for Arcadians. The city is very spread out, with the lowest population density of any major urban area on the planet.
Baden Baden Baden
Baden Baden Baden - (Population 1,790,000 + 6,300,000) Baden Baden Baden is an industrial city located on the north coast of Jutland Territory, a center of production for manufactured goods and the seat of the regional government. It encompasses a large harbor on the Cerulean Sea and near the mouth of the Asgard River. Its people have a reputation for being industrious and with a high acumen for business. However, the city is renowned for having the most colorful "Night of the Living Dead" festival week on the planet, a long celebration involving masks and parades.
New Tenochtitlan - (Population 660,000 + 2,800,000) New Tenochtitlan, located on Arrival Bay on the southern coast of Delta continent near the mouth of the Corvallis River, New Tenochtitlan and its sister city across the river, Bainbridge is a major center of commerce and industry. It is also known as the scientific and research center for Delta Continent, and rivals New Cleveland as a center of learning. Its people are regarded as more serious than those elsewhere on the planet.
Corvallis (Population 2.79 million + 6.9 million environs) The largest city on Sapphire is also the capital. The center of government on Sapphire is The Thing, which meets every year in the Capitol Building on Government Island. Government Island is inhabited only by those with a seat in the Thing or a designated governmental function. As such, its population changes over every five years when the planetary government changes. Each Continent and Territory maintains an Outpost on Government Island, which is connected to the mainland by six bridges. The three government departments of Sapphire --- Permanent Sapphirean Defense Situation, The Permanent Sapphirean Civil Situation, and the Permanent Supreme Executive Council also have complexes on the island, and there is a Sumacian War Temple not far from PSDS headquarters. The South Shore of the Corvallis River, at the foot of the mountains, contains the commercial megalopolis that has grown up adjacent to the Seat of Power. On the North Side, on the vast plain on the opposite side of the river, are industrial and residential complexes and suburbs such as North Shore, which contains over 90,000 full time residents. Six square kilometers of land on the North Side are occupied by the Embassy of Republic, which also occupies a complex of buldings (including 66-Storey Republic Tower) on the Corvallis Waterfront.
Kandor (Population 1,520,000 + 2,600,000) Kandor is located on the southwestern coast of the Panrovian peninsula, at the edge of the Great Nef Desert, the only true desert region on the planet. Its position near the desert and the Brightly Shining Sea, as well as the Spine of Cthulu and Angry Dead Mountains makes it a popular resort destination. However, it is also known as a center for the development of space vehicles and interplanetary transports. A large portion of Sapphire's Entertainment Community also makes its home in Kandor, leading to a reputation for facetiousness and unreliability on the part of the city's inhabitants.
Matthias (Population 880,000 + 4.2 million) Matthias is located at the confluence of the Matthias and Dmitri Rivers near Nation's Bay, where the Cerulean Sea reaches deeply into Alpha continent. Matthias is a center of industry, shipping, focused especially on the export of agricultural products from the Graceland Interior and the processing of agricultural resources into foods. Its people are known for their honesty, and down-to-Sapphire attitude toward life. It is also a city known for its commitment and loyalty to sport, including groundball, air hockey, and smashkill.
New Cleveland (Population 2.72 million + 4.4 million) The second largest city of the planet Sapphire is the location of the University of Sapphire at New Cleveland. It is located in south-central Oz continent on a peninsula of land extending into Lake of the Loons. The city and the University were founded by the eccentric Lexington Keeler, an Admiral of the Christian Fleet of the Commonwealth, who also authored much of what would eventually become the planet’s Constitution. Originally founded as an artist’s colony, the city’s history is as colorful as its founder’s, during the waning days of the Commonwealth, New Cleveland was regarded as the ‘Paris of the Outer Arm,’ and attracted a vast number of artists, thinkers, and entrepreneurs. It is named for a legendary city of ancient Earth, a name that was not previously used on any other colony, suggesting that the originally 'Cleveland' may have been a sacred or holy place, or a city of such wonder that no colonial city could ever match it. The University, as a center for learning and research, has provided New Cleveland with the nucleus of an economy based on research, teaching, publishing, and the production of entertainment.
New Halifax (Population 1 million + 3.2 million)New Halifax is the seat of Government and the largest city on Carpentaria continent. It sits on Halifax Harbor at the mouth of the Halifax River. When Sapphire was first settled, Carpentaria was the only continental landmass containing exploitable amounts or certain key mineral resources, including platinum, molybdenum, tungsten, titanium, and cobalt. The initial significance of Halifax was as a mineral extraction and processing center. Within a thousand years of settlement, most of these supplies had been depleted. New Halifax declined, but remained a center for re-extraction, and reprocessing of critical ores. When Sapphire began mining the moons, asteroids, planets, and comets of the out-system for ore, beginning around the year 8000, Halifax again became a key reception and processing point for inbound mineral and chemical resources. The Platinum Festival, held in the late summer, is a celebration of the city’s heritage and its close link with the extraction and processing industries.
New Sapporo Population: 420,000 (+200,000 environs). Capital and largest city of the Continental Province of Boreala. Located on the banks of the Arctic River on the Seaward Peninsula Every Winter, from November 21 through 28, Sapporo holds an ice sculpture festival centered around carving ice into statuary and objet’s d’art, but also encompassing a Winter Sports festival, where the annual planetary hockey championship is played. Every year, a massive Ice Hotel is built a few kilometers away on the Arctic river, and in the spring, residents gather to watch it collapse and melt into the water.
Sapphire's diverse planetary landscape ranges from sub-tropical forest, to desert, to savannah, to mountains, to tundra, and most other standard features of terra-class worlds.
Sapphire's environment is dominated by the presence of large planetary oceans. These serve as heat and atmospheric sinks and climate regulators, producing a planetary environment that is, on the whole, mild and suitable for human inhabitation. Most of Sapphire enjoys a warm to temperate climate. Polar regions are limited and equatorial climate is moderated by ocean currents. The growing season is long and water is plentiful in most areas. Only the Nef Desert and some isolated regions of Boreala and Carpentaria suffer from severe water deprivation. Winter Storms occasionally occur in Delta and Carpentaria continents. Southern Carpentaria, the Northern Coast of Alpha in Graceland Territory, and the ocean around Jutland Territory give rise to cyclonic storms. Tornadoes occur across the central region of Alpha continent.
Planetary Population at the start of Book 1: 4 100 780 000
Sapphire's people are highly individualistic and freedom-loving. Its system of planetary government is centered in a legislative body known as The Thing, whose 400 to 500 members are appointed by lottery from among the citizenry, and which possesses very limited powers. Sapphire’s Constitution differentiates between ‘citizens’ who are eligible for government service, and ‘inhabitants’ who are not. The criteria for each varies from continent to continent and from region to region.
The Sapphirean day is divided into 28 hours. The Sapphirean year is 280 days long, divided into ten months of 28 days and 40 weeks of 7 days.
Many traditional Terran Holidays were preserved intact on Sapphire, although minor variations in patterns of celebration have occurred over the course of the centuries. Sapphireans also celebrate Solstices and Equinoxes as planetary holidays.
- New Year’s Day - Avember 1
- Vernal Equinox- Avember 14
- Lover’s Day - Sectember 14
- Fat Landsday - Sectember 24
- Landfall Day - Tercember 11
- Summer Solstice - Quadrille 1
- Pentember 5 - Pentember 5*
- Autmnal Equinox- Sestember 14
- Remembrance Day - Octember 14
- Winter Solstice - Octember 28
- Night of the Living Dead (Delta, Boreala, Alpha continent except Oz)/ Hallowe'en (Oz and Carpentaria)- Octember 28
- Thanksgiving - November 26
- Vesta's Covenant - December 1
- Christmas Day - December 25
Pentember Fifth has no particular significance, but it only comes once a year, so Sapphireans celebrate it. A custom that began in New Cleveland and became part of Planetary Culture.
Theologianism – Theologism is the dominant religion of Sapphire, approximately 70% of the population adhere to the teachings of The Theological Communion, which was brought together in AS 4200-4244 and feature representatives of all the Old Faiths, including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, The Saints, Iestan, and Spritualist movements. The Theological Communion established a set of Fundamentals, which underline the commonalities of all faiths, the Principles, which set out the basic laws of conduct (proscriptions against murder, theft, and so forth.) and the Prioritus, which refers to the meaning of faith to the individual, and advocates the individual search for spiritual integration, communion with the Creator-Sustainer, and acceptance of the Supreme Design. Theologism emphasizes the redemption of the individual through spiritual development. Adherents are expected to participate in the organized religious services of one or more established religion, but more important is to devote a substantial portion of one's life (at least seven years) in profound religious contemplation and study.
Iest – Vesta is the dominant figure of the Iestan religion. Vesta was born on Earth sometime in the 21st Earth century. According to believers, Vesta made 1,000 prophecies, 999 of which came true in the century following her death. She fused science and religion into a seamless and complete whole, thus forming the basis for inter-stellar travel and the eventual human conquest of the galaxy. She re-appeared on the Bright Angel colony planet three hundred years after her death and led armies of human starships on a quest to purge the galaxy of darkness and evil (The Crusades). A central tenet of the Iestan Faith is the metaphor of "Life as Journey," which holds that the purpose of life is to prepare for existence on a higher plane. An off-shoot of this belief holds that in an infinite number of universes, every possible journey through life is made, and the consequence of every choice is learned. In death, the infinite souls are reintegrated, providing infinite wisdom.
Fundamentalists – A tiny minority of Sapphireans adhere to one of the faiths of Ancient Earth: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Iest. (In contrast to the Theologist Philosophy of finding the essential truths of multiple belief systems.) These people are broadly known as 'Fundamentalists.'
Sapphire enjoys an open and diverse economic system based on minimal regulation and open competition. The Sapphirean economic structure discourages the creation of enormous combines on the scale of those found on Republic. Currency Unit - The Buck One buck equals 100 samolians Ten Large Representative Industrial Concerns — Sapphire *Anything (Artificial Intelligence) — Hootch Grabr, Delta
- Arcadia Resources Group (Lumber, chemicals, bio-chemicals, pharmaceuticals) – Syzygy, Arcadia
- CloudBuster Avian (Air and Space Transport Systems) — New Tenochtitlan, Delta
- Cars (Ground transportation, Personal Transport vehicles) – Matthias, Graceland
- Consolidated Mind Hut (Consulting, Analysis, Philosophy) – New Cleveland, Oz
- Halifax Resource Group (Metals, composites, chemicals) — New Halifax, Carpenteria
- Sikkim (Highways, Mag-Levs, Transport Control Systems) — Matthias, Graceland
- Kaini Industries (Communication Systems) — Corvallis, Delta
- The Vinegar Works (Food) — New Edmonton, Graceland
- USNC School of Business (Holdings, Consulting, Management) — New Cleveland, Oz
Discovery and Exploration
The Sapphire system was charted by the starship Carpentaria, under the command of Captain Jephthah Fenris in the old Terran year 3972 A.D. Inspired by the planet’s beauty and suitability for human inhabitation, he named the world Sapphire.A survey crew was deposited on the surface and made its base-camp near the site of present-day Corvallis. The first human to set foot on the planet Sapphire is recorded to have been a young geo-cartographer by the name of Joshua Nation, who was the team leader. Nation returned to settle some years later and became the colony’s first Governor-General.)The survey team developed extreme allergic reactions to Sapphire’s atmosphere, water, and pollens and developed genetic therapies to compensate. They surveyed the planet’s lands from the ground and from orbit. They catalogued the planet’s flora and fauna, analyzed soil and water, and surveyed for mineral deposits. These data were correlated on board the Carpentaria to select primary and secondary locations for colony sites.The planet was approved for colonization seven years later. The contract for colonization was won by the Tellis Consortium. The first colonist arrived on board the starship Olympia and were landed in three sites on Delta Continent near the present cities of Corvallis, Landfall, and New Medicine Hat in the old Terran year 4252 A.D., which became Sapphriean year 4252 A.S. Subsequent years were added to the Sapphirean Calendar according to the local year. ===Colonial Period=== Early on, the colony played a role in providing food and support for the colony on Republic and as a way station for exploration ships pushing further into the Frontier. Delta was the first continent to be colonized The first outpost off Delta continent was established in Matthias was founded in 4263, but remained the only settlement off-Delta founded for almost three hundred years. In 4502, an outpost was established on the North Coast of what is now called Jutland near the present city of Baden Baden Baden. An outpost near New Halifax was established the following year. ===Lexington Keeler === In A.S. 4623, the transport ship Sheffield arrived bearing, among its passengers, a former Admiral in the Commonwealth fleet named Lexington Keeler. He had a mandate to found a colony in the large unexplored and uninhabited temperate zone of what was then called South Alpha Continent Region 804.At the time, the colony on Sapphire was in danger of languishing. Although the colony was well-suited to the sustenance of human life, fewer and fewer colonists had been arriving. The planetary economy was stagnating and it could no longer afford to trade for goods produced on other worlds. Planetary industry was immature, hampered by a lack of mineral resources, lack of population, and lack of technical expertise. Keeler took his party to a peninsula of land on the north shore of what was then called Freshwater Lake Alpha Australis. He renamed the body of water "Lake of the Loons," and founded a city which he called New Cleveland. Keeler made his settlement a laboratory for his phlosophies, which emphasized individual freedom and liberty above all else. This, combined with his contempt for governments and authority, earned him the wrath of colonial leaders in Corvallis and in the Continental capital of Matthias.Nevertheless, Keeler’s unlikely outpost survived and prospered, much to the surprise of colonial officials. Furthermore, he drew thousands of new colonists to his site until it became the largest city on the planet. Three years after landing, he founded New Cleveland University (Now the University of Sapphire at New Cleveland) and founded the New Cleveland Permanent Arts Festival.Within a decade, New Cleveland had gained a reputation as "the Paris of the Outer Colonies." Visitors came from across the galaxy to visit its Arts Festival and numerous other facilities. New Cleveland University attracted intellectuals and thinkers. Many visitors stayed on to colonize South Oz continent.In 4667, Keeler’s followers instituted a new government for South Alpha Continent, which was renamed Oz at his suggestion. He also championed a radical form of government called True Democracy or Randomocracy, by which the government’s leaders were chosen randomly from among qualified citizens. The concept eventually became the standard form of government on Sapphire and was included when the New Planetary Constitution was drawn in 7286.Lexington Keeler is revered as one of the Founders of Sapphire. ===The Thean Siege === (c. A.S. 4860-4880) Toward the end of the colonial period, ruins were discovered on the southern expanse of the Nef Desert. The site covered over 1,000 hectares and was believed to be at least 120,000 standard years old. Since Sapphire was not thought to have ever harbored any native civilization. Since archaeology was an unknown science on this world, exo-archaelogists were dispatched from elsewhere in the Commonwealth. By the time they arrived. they found the site already being carefully excavated. In defiance of orders from Old Earth, the citizens had simply dug out some old databases on archaeology, chosen a few competent individuals to plan and lead the expedition, and gone in themselves. Shortly after the discovery, a war party of battle cruisers from the aggressive species known as the Theans appeared in the Sapphire system. The Theans claimed that the ruins were theirs, from a colony they had established previously, and so asserted a right to the entire planet. Their Sha-rak raiders attacked the outposts on Ulysses and Hyperion, but planetary defenses kept them at bay until the Third Fleet, led by the Cruiser Ark Royal and the dreadnoughts Reagan and Sierra arrived. (An alternate theory holds that the Thean belief that Sapphire was a former colony actually prevented an invasion, since the the Thean belief system held that they were not entitled to a world they had failed to colonize, or hold, previously or had abandoned. The structure of the Thean language was never comprehensively understood, and it is possible their intentions were misinterpreted.) The archeologists claimed that there was no way to determine if the ruins were, in fact, Thean. Furthermore, the layout of the ruined buildings suggested that it was part of an accelerator system used to hurl materials off-world. Whoever had previously settled Sapphire were almost undoubtedly alien, and had used the planet as an exploitation colony, harvesting its resources with no intention of permanent settlement.In Autumn of 4880, it became apparent that the Theans were preparing to withdraw. This was an extremely tense time since the Theans were believed to be terrible losers. Intelligence reports confirmed that the Theans were assembling mass engines, also known as Extincters, planning to bombard the planet with asteroids and wiping out all life.The Governor of New Cleveland territories was a former erotic performance artist known as Eccentrica. (nee, Moon Unit Keeler IV) Eccentrica was taken with the fact that Thean culture had no concept of art. She persuaded the Thean Warlords to visit her residence in New Cleveland. Instead if diplomatic negotiations, the warlords were taken on a tour of the New Cleveland Permanent Arts Festival, where they were exposed to the complete range of human artistic endeavours: music, painting, sculpture, cinema, dance. Each and all were a revelation to the Thean warlords, who recalled their forces, set up a mission in New Cleveland to learn more about the concept of art, and signed a peace treaty the following year.The third fleet withdrew, and Human warships never again came into Sapphirean Space. ====The Departure of the St. Beryl ==== On Avember 06, 5586, The St. Beryl arrived at Sapphire. This would be the last Earth ship ever to call on the colony. In 6923 AS, Duncan Keeler-McShane write The Manifest of St. Beryl, a semi-fictional novel about passengers from the St. Beryl who became marooned on Sapphire when the ship left and no other ship came to call. The Manifest of St. Beryl is regarded as the best novel in all of Sapphirean literature. ===Post-colonial period=== The Tarmigan Assault (A.S. 5644) On Octember 14, 5644, a fleet (the fleet?) of Tarmigan ships(?) passed through the Sapphire system. When they passed near the Hyperion moon, it is believed they activated their star-drive engines, bathing the moon in broad spectrum radiation. Of the 3,000 inhabitants of the Hyperion lunar base, only 17 survived. By this time, Sapphire had been out of contact with the other Human colonies, except for Republic, for nearly 400 years. For the population of Sapphire, this attack was the final acknowledgement: Earth was gone, and she was never coming back. The Sapphirean Defense Act of 5644 was soon passed, which created the Permanent Sapphire Defense Situation (P.S.D.S.), and a planetary/system defense force was created. Octember 14 is called Remembrance Day. On this day, all Sapphireans are expected to spend the whole day with the people they love, and exchange self-made tokens of affection. ====The Thousand Years Blight ==== (c.5800 – c.6700) The collapse of the space travel system presaged a long decline in Sapphirean . The planetary government had decided to bring the colonists back from Hyperion and abandon the lunar mining colonies in favor of more inexpensive automated systems, but the systems broke down eventually broke down and the colony was deprived of new resources. An asteroid impact on the southern tip of Boreala in the year 6001 AS exacerbated the decline. The impact rocked the planet as far away as Corvallis, annihilated the city of New Sapporo, and caused a prolonged planetary climate shift. The planet became much cooler, crops failed, and population declined. Boreala became uninhabitable, and most of Delta and Carpentaria became sub-arctic. The Capital of Corvallis became a ghost town. Elsewhere, Planetary population fell during the period, from nearly one billion to barely a half billion inhabitants. The climate finally returned to normal beginning around 7,400, and the planet began recovering. The most unexplained aspect of this event is that the initial colonial survey should have detected and destroyed any threatening space bodies. ====Renaissance ==== (c 6700 – 6900 A.S.) In the Aftermath of the 1,000 years blight, Sapphire fell into a long period of social and technological stagnation. In the sixty-eight century, however, as the planet’s population recovered, technological advances began to take place again. Art and literature flourished, Corvallis was re-built as the planetary capital. Eventually, world government, based on the Oz model, came to fruition. This permitted a stable structure of laws coupled with a degree of planetary unity to be balanced against the protection of individual rights and the sovereignty of territorial governments. Oz had weathered the blight better than most other regions, and so its art, literature, science, and philosophy dominated the new world. Another strong source of influence was Arcadian, where strong religious traditions preserved culture and learning even during the harshest times. ====This Era ==== (c 6900 – present A.S.) The current era is said to have begun on Avember 12, 6903, when the first space vehicle left orbit and achieved a landing on Hyperion, marking our return to space. It was marked by a return to space travel, and re-exploration of the Sapphire System. A few missions were also sent to Republic. Ships began exploiting comets and asteroids, reviving a planetary economy starved for lack of resources. Eventually, a Tachyon Pulse Communication System was established, making possible instantaneous communication with Republic. Travel times between the worlds shrank from years to days. It has been an era marked by an increase in population and strident advances in technology, approximating the probbale level of human technology existing prior to the Great Silence.
Indigenous Life Forms
===Native Faunae (Examples thereof) ===
- Snikket – A semi-domesticated creature native to all regions of the planet but found most often in the temperate zones of Delta and Alpha/Oz continents. A snikket is the size of a large Terran domestic cat, fur-covered, a stocky trunk with a large, broad tail, rounded ears, large paws, and pointed canine teeth. Snikkets are usually mottled gray-green in color, although black and white, tawny yellow, and ferric red variations are also common. Snikkets prefer to nest in wooded thickets, where they dig burrows and line them with leaves before bearing litters of two to four young. They are affectionate toward humans, but averse to indoor living. Snikkets hibernate during the short Sapphirean winter, and their mating call has been likened to birdsong, but only by the most charitable of biologists.
- Scrawler — A small animal, not much larger than a half grown Terran domestic kitten, Scrawlers are native to all regions of the planet and are related to snikkets, although they have small, rabbit-like tails and are primarily vegetarian, especially fond of berries and pulpy fruit. Their paws are small and surprisingly adept. Their fur is usually tawny yellow, but can be brown, red, or forest green, and is usually mottled, striped, or spotted, depending on breed. Some breeds are readily domesticated, and prove to be acceptable pets. Others prefer to live at the edge of human inhabitation, and subsist on human refuse.
- Land Monster — A large, semi-reptilian beast native to the northern coasts of Panrovy and Jutland provinces. Land monsters have leathery, purplish skin with pale pink or orange spots across the back. Their large jaws are lined with squarish teeth. Land monsters are omnivores, subsisting on a diet of insects, smaller animals, and some types of native vegetation. They are harmless to humans. Although their urine produces a fatally allergenic response in 80% of the population, it has to be directly injected for exposure to be lethal. (Don’t ask how this was found out.) Skin contact will produce an abiding rash that requires medical treatment, but is usually not permanently disfiguring.
- Branch Monster — a quasi-reptilian beast native to the dense forests of Jutland province, with some related species found in the Rainforests of Arcadia. An adult branch monster is 2 to 3 meters long, with a snake-like body and hundreds of tiny leg-like structures (think of a caterpillar) underneath its body and two large prehensile appendages around its jaws for drawing food into its maw. Branch monsters subsist primarily on small mammals and reptiles. The bite of some species is fatal to humans if not treated.
- Stalking Cat — A Feline species found in Panrovy and eastern Alpha/Oz provinces. Stalking cats are a highly intelligent predatory species, with black fur and bright yellow eyes. They resemble Terran panthers, and may be descended from them, as they are known not to be native to the planet. No one knows, however, how they came to be there. They are known to hunt in packs, communicating through signals almost indistinguishable to human ears from ambient wind noise. Their diet is dominated by the quadropeds of the savannah regions — dryad antelopes, yes deer, and spotted zerbas.
- Shrieking Llamas — A quadroped native to mountainous regions of Delta continent. Shrieking llamas resemble terran llamas in form, although their feet are not cloven but set in the "pads and plates" design of most native quadropeds, and their fur, rather than white, is the mottled grey and dark green more often found in nature on Sapphire. They are said to make excellent pack animals, except for their cry, which is described as sounding like a woman screaming and can be sustained for up to forty-five seconds.
- Milkbeasts — Non-native quadro-peds, almost assuredly from Earth. Milkbeasts are raised throughout the planet — most especially in the dairy districts (Midgard, Hod, Audhumla, Beowulf, and Cardigan being among the most prominent) of Delta, Alpha/Oz and Carpentaria continents. Their mammory fluid provides essential nutrients for humans, and cellullar extractions are lab-grown into cuts of natural meat.
- Gongo — A large, hairy semi-biped of the Arcadian rainforest. Described as a cross between a Terran bear and a Terran ape, Gongos live in the thick trees of the rainforest, primarily subsisting on insects, fruit, and leaves. Gongos have large paws with short, stubby two-knuckled fingers. They are shy, and rarely venture far from their native territory, although they do move on, as family units, once the local food supply has been exhausted.
- Griffeys — A strange quadroped native to forest lands of Alpha/Oz continent. Griffies are variously described as "deer-like bears" or "bear-like deer" in reference to Terran animals they are said to resemble. Their faces are large and woolly, as are their forelegs. Their handquarters tend to be smoother, shorter-haired, and more lithe. They are omnivores, carrion eaters who seldom take live prey.
- Janeberry — a small orange berry native only to Carpentaria continent. Fermented janeberries produce a chemical, known colloquially as tripolity, which, on its own produces no effect, but in combination with alcohol enhances the effect of the former 300%. Unfermented janeberry juice is widely used as a homeopathic remedy.
- Moonblossoms — A kind of flower, whose pale, translucent blossoms unfold only in the light of the moon. Native to Sapphire.
- Moonwillows — A kind of tree, whose few branches end in large, almost perfectly spherical pods, that close in moonlight but open in the light of day to reveal bunches of deeply curled branches. Native to Sapphire
- Rainblossoms — Pale gray flowers, a traditional flower of mourning, result of cross-breeding a native Sapphirean plant with a colonial flower known as a star-grazer.
==The Sapphire System==
The Inner-most planet. Cerberus is an airless hunk of rock with a semi-molten surface and no natural satellites. Orbit: 32,212,000 km. Diameter: 5,878 km. Mass: 4.04e23 kg
Another hot, airless rock in a close solar orbit with no natural satellites. Orbit: 56,190,000 km from Sun. Diameter: 5,278 km. Mass: 3.98e23 kg
Third planet from the sun has a thick atmosphere of highly-ionized methane, ammonia, and sulfur dioxide. Its rotation is unusually rapid. The planet completes a rotation in less than seven hours. No natural satellites. Orbit: 88,720,000 km from Sun. Diameter: 9,375.6 km. Mass: 3.9989e24 kg
The fifth planet has a thin carbon dioxide atmosphere and almost 7/8 Sapphire normal gravity. Prolonged cometary bombardment combined with terra-forming activity may eventually make Loki habitable. One small natural satellite. Orbit: 172,660,000 km. Diameter: 12,003.6 km. Mass: 5.689e24 kg
A gas giant with no ring system and no satellites. Astronomers theorize it once had as many as ten, but all were pulled away through gravitational interaction with Rook. Because of the lack of satellites or rings for bases, Ronin is seldom visited except by occasional Guild ships seeking gravitational velocity assists. Orbit: 504,000,000 km. Diameter: 42,528 km (equatorial). Mass: 1.027e26 kg
Another moderately-sized gas giant. Rook has a highly irregular ring system and some forty three natural satellites it has acquired from wandering asteroids and gravitational liberation from Ronin. Outposts are currently occupied in the first, third, eleventh, and twenty-first moon. Several other moons contain uninhabited or irregularly inhabited outposts. Rook 1 contains SPDS Raven Outpost, a key installation for system defense. Orbit: 714,000,000 km. Diameter: 64,528 km (equatorial). Mass: 2.042e26 kg
The second largest gas giant, Forseti sports a thin, close ring system and eleven natural satellites. There are permanent outposts on the first and second moons, and automated outposts on six other moons. Forseti 1 is the home base of Wolf Station, a key SP2DS and Customs facility. Orbit: 1,409,400,000 km. Diameter: 96,536 km (equatorial). Mass: 3.228e26 kg
The largest gas-giant with a well-developed ring system and twenty-one natural satellites. Permanent outposts are located on the second, third, fifth, and seventh moon and automated outposts or abandoned habitats on thirteen of the other moons. The Alpha Complex on Gigantor II contains the headquarters of the Mining Guild and the Out-System Commodities Exchange and is the largest out-system settlement, with nearly 250,000 permanent inhabitants. The Fifth Moon contains Sentinel Base, a key installation of the SP2DS. Orbit: 2,880,880,000 km. Diameter: 122,340 km (equatorial). Mass: 1.63 0e27 kg
Third largest of the gas giants, with a small, dense ring system and eight natural satellites. Permanent outposts are located on the first and third moon and automated outposts on two others. Aegir 1 contains Prime Mover station, the primary exchange point for minerals and chemicals harvested from the comets and asteroids of the Oort cloud and Kuiper Belt. Aegir 3 contains Frontier Station, where the Customs Fleet Out-System Command of the SPDS is headquartered. Orbit: 4,206,000,000 km. Diameter: 89,528 km (equatorial). Mass: 2.227e26 kg
Sprite is a small ball of rock and ice in a highly elliptical orbit, commonly recognized as the outermost terrestrial body orbitting in the plane of the Sapphire system that qualifies as a planet by virtue of size, orbital stability, and a path cleared of debris. It is uninhabited and contains only an automated navigation/communication/defense relay and surveillance station. Orbit: 4,913,520,000 km (average). Diameter: 6340 km. Mass: 9.32e22
- Commander William Keeler
- Tactical TyroCommander Philip Redfire
- Specialist David Alkema
- Technician Third Class Eddie Roebuck
- Flight Captain Halo Jordan
- Medical Technician Jersey Partridge
- Flight Lieutenant Blade Toto
- Warfighter Specialist Anaconda Taurus
- Flight Captain Ponyboy James
- Flight Lieutenant Paul Ironhorse
- Tactical Lieutenant General Kitaen
- Warfighter Specialist Johnny Rook