Garcia's World

Surface gravity 9.0 m/s², 0.91 g
Day length 66.5 ks, 18.5 hours
Year length 8.99 Ms, 0.28 Earth years
Binary Period 22.8 ks, 6.3 hours
Seasonal change Severe
Atmosphere 120 kPa, 32 kPa partial pressure O2
Fires burn normally
Climate Cool
Notable features Binary planet companion, twin red-dwarf suns, "walking" trees
Population 12 million; Majority Human, substantial Pannova and Laer communities
Capital city Rugston
Wormhole terminus Olympus
Current Governor David Cruz
Prominent businesses Finance, insurance, construction, manufacturing, automotive, household goods, life support, firearms

Natural Features

Garcia's World orbits a binary pair of red dwarf stars, Dee and Dum, which are so close to each other that they are distorted into egg shapes with the pointy end of the eggs nearly touching. Despite the term "red dwarf", these suns are hot enough to appear yellow-white and cast a light similar to that of an old-style incandescent bulb. Each star is close enough to appear roughly twice as large as Sol from Earth. The yellow light does not scatter much in clean air, leaving Garcia's World with dark green skies in clear weather from which bright stars and other planets are visible even in daytime.

The stars Dee and Dum offer the usual difficulties of settling around red dwarfs – occasional darkening of the sun by swarms of sunspots, and energetic solar flares producing high levels of harsh ultraviolet light. Fortunately, the twin suns are more sedate than many of their class, and the flares tending to large numbers of relatively benign micro-flares while the solar darkening is not too severe. During a micro-flare, the skies turn a brighter blue, like that of Earth, and the light over the landscape turns a harsher blue-white. The solar wind storms associated with flares produce common auroras above Garcia's World's skies.

Garcia's World is one pair of a binary planet. Unlike many other worlds around red dwarf stars, Garcia's World is not tide locked. The reason is its partner world; between the two of them there is enough angular momentum to resist Dee and Dum's tides. This partner is a super-earth, perpetually shrouded in clouds, named Nari. Garcia's World is tidally locked to Nari, so that Nari seems to stay in the same place in the sky. Nari subtends some 35 times the angular diameter of Luna or Sol as seen from Earth, making it a prominent landmark.

The high inclination of Garcia's World's axis of rotation leads to severe seasonal changes, with baking summers of continual daylight and bitterly cold howling winters of constant night, separated by stormy springs and autumns. The short year, however, means that each season is less than one Earth month long.

The autotrophes of Garcia's world have trunks and stems similar to Earth vegetation, but whose blue-green photosynthesizing organs are similar in appearance to polyps and which can be withdrawn or extended as needed. The "leaves" will invariably retract back into the safety of the stem when touched or damaged. A particular notable trait is their habit of forming huge clonal colonies. The most famous of these are the walking trees. They do not actually pick up their roots and move around; rather, a branch will arc down to the ground, from which roots will sprout and new shoots will grow. In this way, a single tree can form an entire forest, interconnected by arched trunks. Similar behavior in grassy herbs can make walking across a field difficult, as the loops of stems catch one's feet. Other varieties of vegetation establish their colonies by spreading underground via roots or rhizomes rather than stems.

Antonio Garcia seems to have been a fan of the author Lewis Carroll. Many of Garcia's World's higher life forms are named after the creatures from Carroll's works. Venturing through a tulgey wood of towering tumtum trees, one may find slithy toves and borogroves, snarks and boojums, bandersnatches, mock turtles, queens of hearts, red queens, and of course jabberwocks. Subsequent explorers did not always follow this tradition, often assigning more ordinary names or delving into the literature from other authors for inspiration. These animals have an internal skeleton, complex organs, and very often high metabolism active lifestyles. In gross form there are distinctive convergences between the mammals and archosaurs of Earth, but in many details they are completely alien – their faces look nothing like that of any vertebrate, and the structure and positions of their nostrils, genitalia, and excretory orifices are quite different from those of a cat, kangaroo, crocodile, or kookaburra.

History

Garcia's World was first explored by the famous planetologist Antonio Garcia, for whom the planet was named. At the time, the United States was looking to establish its claim on the Galaxy's rim, and Garcia's World was at a strategic location which allowed the Americans to deny the Chinese access to a large number of star systems. Colonists were encouraged to emigrate to Garcia's world by generous grants and subsidies. To help establish new worlds as U.S. colonies, the United States had adopted the practice of relaxing immigration requirement for people willing to settle on American extra-solar planets. By the time Garcia's world was opened to colonization, climate change had reached some of its most extreme levels on Earth. Sea level rise, shifting precipitation patterns and the subsequent droughts and desertification, and the resulting political upheavals that resulted from the Earth's changing conditions resulted in large numbers of refugees from around the globe looking for new places to call home. Floods of people looking for a new and more prosperous and peaceful life came flocking to Garcia's world from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Indo-China, Central Asia, Central America, equatorial South America, sub-Saharan Africa, northern Africa, and Arabia and the Middle East.

The unusual nature of the world's climate and its yellow sunshine proved a challenge. Earth crops were not adapted to these conditions. Farmers had to use artificial lighting, keeping their crops indoors in stacked racks of vegetables and cereals, fed and watered by carefully controlled irrigation systems or hydroponics. Aquaponics systems, where the crop runoff was used to grow catfish, tilapia, trout, crayfish, or freshwater shrimp, which fertilized the water for use by the plants that in turn filtered and cleaned the water for the fish and shellfish, were popular for growing both vegetables and protein. Entirely artificial agriculture in the form of synthetic algal foods and tissue cultures were established and offered affordable food for the masses.

When China captured the Verge, securing Garcia's World was their top priority since it was the only route they had to all of their new possessions. The Chinese quickly moved in with overwhelming military force, ruthlessly crushing any opposition. The world was placed under martial law. Non-Chinese were treated as second class citizens, requiring official permission to venture from their home cities and generally subject to considerable harassment and oppression. This harsh treatment encouraged resistance movements, although coordination and action against the state was made difficult by the government's centuries of experience with controlling information flow and suppressing dissent and rebellion. The Chinese garrison on Garcia's world put up a stiff defense when the Americans finally recaptured the Verge. Despite clever tactics and valiant fighting on the part of the Chinese soldiers, they were eventually overwhelmed because they were unable to re-supply and receive reinforcement.

Garcia's World's reliance on technological agriculture led them to develop extensive on-world industry to support the greenhouses, hydroponics, and lighting. This infrastructure proved vital to the survival of the Verge during the Bump in the Night. Machine shops and microchip fabs along with the skilled personnel to use them were pressed into service to supply urgently needed parts and equipment to prevent the collapse of technological society.

Government

Garcia's World has the usual governmental structure of former American colony worlds – a bicameral legislature to pass laws, an executive branch headed by a governor to carry out the law, and a judicial branch to decide on the law. It is a member world of the Verge Republic, and subject to Republican law as well as its own.

People

Garcia's world is primarily populated by Humans. However, substantial immigration from Solace over the gigaseconds has resulted in a substantial Pannova presence, and numerous Laer communities can be found along the coasts and waterways. The Human population has largely intermarried to the point where a typical Garcie is a merging of many different cultural and racial backgrounds. The proximity to the Chinese worlds of Jiàngluò and Zhǎngshān, and the extensive effort to pacify and settle the planet during the Chinese occupation, gives it a particularly strong influence of Chinese culture compared to the rest of the American settled worlds.

Since Gummi contact, the population of Tweechis and Pirangs has been growing, attracted by the comfortable yellow light of Garcia's World's twin suns. So far, however, they are still very much in the minority.

Name

The formal term for a long-term resident of Garcia's World is Garcian, but more colloquially they are called Garcies by almost everyone.

Attitudes

Garcies adopt a can-do attitude, willing to take risks without being afraid of the consequences, to act outside of their comfort zone, and to explore new options just for the sake of doing so. A typical Garcie will reach for the impossible, confident that they can achieve their dreams regardless of the obstacles they may face. They proceed with tenacity, grit, and inventiveness; and either succeed or fail spectacularly. A Garcie is not afraid to say his mind and passionate discussions are part of the Garcie culture, helping to shape their society and politics.

Cuisine

Garcie food is typically highly processed to the point where it is difficult to distinguish the original ingredients. Different foodstuffs will be blended, broken down and recombined into novel structures and gastronomic sensations. Chefs have taken this to an art form, producing fabulous meals that are as much sculptures as dishes, carefully constructed to give a symphony of flavors combining to give just the right target impression on the diner. Home cooking ranges from amateur versions of this artwork to simply heating up a pre-made package of Nutro-Cake or Synth-Meat.

Languages

As with the rest of the former American colonies of the Verge, nearly everyone on Garcia's world speaks English while many people also speak Spanish or Mandarin. A significant fraction of the Humans also know one or more of the languages of the original people who settled this world, either passed down through the generations or learned anew during the Earth Heritage Revival movement. Most Laers know Wroeng, and Tweechis and Pirangs will usually speak Sequential.

Religion

The Garcies practice a patchwork of different religions, although Catholicism, Islam, and Mormonism are the most common. Recently, a syncretic movement on Garcia's world has gained momentum, treating the different monotheistic religions as different aspects of the worship of the same god, bringing together worshipers under a single roof. A charismatic religious leader, Pedro Okoye, has emerged championing this movement and has gained a fanatical following. Some people are already calling Okoye a new prophet. Others are worried that this new power is going to Okoye's head, noting that his sermons are becoming increasingly concerned with political affairs and he is accumulating immense wealth which he displays with flamboyant opulence.

Places

Olympus

Olympus is a bustling port city, handling the traffic between the Chinese and American worlds of the Verge Republic. A monumental arch stands over the entrance to its wormhole station, signalling the entrance to adventure. Despite its current activity, Olympus is but a shadow of its former glory when it connected the Verge to the rest of the galaxy. Since the Bump in the Night, much of Olympus has fallen into ruin, creeping vines and looping walking trees smothering empty warehouses and overgrowing abandoned neighborhoods.

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