Thistledown is the third planet of the system 81 294 Triangula; a system of eleven planets orbiting a G-type star. In the days of the Commonwealth, it was known as Triangula Beta, being the second colony settled in the Triangula sector of the Perseus Quadrant.
Thistledown is a Terra-Alpha class planet with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, multi-temperate climate zones, and a continental-tectonic crust structure. Its daytime sky is a lavender-purplish color.
There are three large continents: Braniff, Eastern, and Western and a number of large islands and archipelagos. Eastern is the most heavily populated continent and hosts the planetary capital of Swanberg and its largest city, Juno. Braniff lies to the southwest and straddles the planetary equator. Western continent, located in the southern hemisphere is rugged, mountainous, and remote. It is the location of the planet’s second-largest city, the commercial center of Sabena.
The cities of Thistledown are large and advanced; architecture and landscaping being passions of Thistledown's people. Swanberg rises above a fjord on the northern coast of Eastern continent ; the Assembly Building where the Government meets is rebuilt every 100 years to maintain its beauty and freshness. Juno describes an elegant crescent around a bay and deepwater harbor. Sabena straddles the estuary of the planet’s largest river system. Other major cities include Ozark, Piedmont, Republic City, and Lloyds.
The planet has one large, icy moon, called Braff and two small shepherd moons orbiting at the edge of the planet’s ring system. It is one of a small number of inhabitable planets with a ring system, albeit a relatively thin one, distant from the surface.
History and CultureEdit
Thistledown was one of the earliest colonies to be settled in the Triangula sector during the Commonwealth Era. The planet was a gateway to the Perseus Quadrant and quickly developed a large and stable planetary population.
After the collapse of the Commonwealth in the 54th Solar Century, Thistledown did not go into the steep decline that characterized other human colonies. Although its spaceflight capabilities were lost, the planet maintained a fairly advanced culture during the sixteen hundred years of The Great Silence, although it avoided spaceflight for fear of attracting Tarmigan attention.
Thistledown was re-discovered by the Pathfinder Ship Ark Royal. Initial contacts were described as cordial. They were impressed with the quality of the food and wine, but found the planet's representatives "aloof." A follow-up expedition led by the Explorer Ship Perseus Rising reached the planet sixteen solar years later was welcomed cordially by the planet's Government; which invited further visitations but would not commit to ongoing relations. In the eight year period between the visit of Perseus Rising and a follow-up call by an expedition led by the Explorer Ship Progress, the Thistledownians agreed to allow construction of a TPT Antenna Array on the surface of their moon, permitting their colony to communicate with other advanced worlds, although such communications were limited. The Thistledownians used the shared technology brought by the expedition to improve planetary energy sources and construct interplanetary ships; with which they began exploration of their own system, but remained reluctant to cooperate with other worlds.
Thistledownians developed a cultural habit of isolation and self-sufficiency during the Great Silence; furthermore, they believe their planet to be much more pleasant than other worlds in the quadrant and, as such, most have little interest in traveling elsewhere. Relations with other worlds have been approached slowly and cautiously. The inhabitants of Thistledown are known for being reserved and disdainful of non-essential conversation. It is a cultural belief that the more that is said, the less that is said of any significance.
During the Second Aurelian War, the New Commonwealth-Free Worlds Alliance were permitted to build large support base in orbit of Thistledown's moon. The Thistledown Waystation was a major maintenance and supply base for warships operating in the Puppis Sector. After the war, the Waystation became a hub for trade in the Puppis, Antlia, and Perseus Sectors. Thistledown exports include wine and agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, clothing, and construction equipment. Mineral and chemical extraction operations have been established on the moons of two of the gas giants in the outer system. Also, scientific expeditions are exploring the global ocean the fifth planet of the Thistledown system (Abyssal), which is under several kilometers of ice and contains a variety of exotic life forms.
Nearly one-point-two billion people live on Thistledown, making it one of the largest of the Free Worlds; it has diplomatic and trade relationships with worlds within the Free Worlds Affiliation and the New Galactic Commonwealth, but has steadfastly resisted any formal alliance with either Interstellar Organization. This is consistent with the reputation of Thistledownians for believing themselves superior to other human colonies.
Thistledown personnel serve on ships of both the New Commonwealth and the Free Worlds Alliance, primarily in scientific roles. The planet's Government maintains a small fleet of patrol ships for system defense and security operations.