Mustered Out on Mertactor
Tarsus Library Data
Affiliation: Independent (Client State)
Planetary details: Starport Class B, Good Quality Installation. Refined fuel is available as is annual maintenance overhaul. A shipyard capable of building non-starships is present.
World diameter is 4,980 miles (8,014 km).
Climate: Dense, Garden World
2.2 million inhabitants
Participating Democracy – Ruling functions are reached by the advice and consent of the citizenry directly.
Law Level 0: No laws affecting weapons possession or ownership
Tech Level A: Interstellar Community
Trade Classifications: Agricultural, Non-Industrial
Settled Area of Tarsus
Each Hex = 700km
Space Western (very similar to Firefly)
A day on Tarsus is equivalent to three days on Terra due to the planet’s slow rotation. Due to the planet’s close proximity to its star, however, a Tarsus year is the equivalent of just 90 Terran days (30 Tarsus days). As a result, for most offworlders, seasons seem to change astonishingly quickly, with the weather changing on a weekly basis.
The Imperium has conducted two surveys of its territory, and has made the information readily available. The surveys occurred 790 years apart, and their entries for Tarsus show the difference that 750 years of settlement can make for a world.
The First Survey’s catalog entry for Tarsus in 450 was the tidbit of data that brought about its colonization. Calling up additional material in the Imperial data banks told the potential colonists greater details about their new home.
Tarsus is 8014 kilometers in diameter and blessed with a dense, breathable atmosphere. Water covers 42% of the planet’s surface in two oceans—the Sea of Winds and the Great Polar Ocean.
At the time of the First Survey, no population was noted, and the world was undeveloped, but potentially agricultural. The Second Survey shows the results of centuries of settlement and development. World population (as of 1106) is 2.2 million. Virtually all inhabitants are human of various antecedents— Solomani, Sword Worlders, Darrians, and Vilani.
Tarsus is a participatory democracy with a Board of Commissioners in control. Elections are open to citizens who own votes originally established when the world was colonized. Local laws provide no effective restrictions on weaponry.
The tech level on Tarsus is slightly below the average level for the Imperium. Manufactured goods are imported from offplanet; some local industry exists and repairs are available for most tech 10 equipment.
Tarsus is an agricultural world, and derives most of its livelihood from farming and ranching.
Tarsus is situated slightly beyond the optimum distance from its central star, and has an average temperature of 4° C. This average temperature is the midpoint in a range which extends up to 70° C. in the polar summer and down to -70° C. in the polar summer. The only continually habitable region is Tarsus’ equatorial belt.
Axial Tilt: Tarsus’ extreme axial tilt of 61 ° (Terra’s tilt, by comparison, is only 23.5°) grossly distorts the length of days and nights once one leaves the relative normalcy of the planet’s narrow equatorial band. When the North is in summer, there is no night above 61 ° north latitude. Even at 27°, the 73-hour day has nearly 67 hours of daylight at its longest. Conversely, in the dead of winter, the day is less than 10 hours long.
A major effect of Tarsus’ axial tilt is the restriction of most permanent settlements to a band centered on the equator, some 2800 kilometers wide at its greatest extent. Within that region, days are relatively normal in length, and the inhabitants may indeed never be aware that just to the north or south, there is constant day or constant night.
A benefit of Tarsus’ extreme axial tilt is its effects on world rotation. Normally, a world as close as Tarsus is to its primary would be tidally locked to the central star—its local day would equal its year, and one hemisphere would always be facing the Sun. The fact that the axis is pointed toward the star has lessened the effects of Note’s pull, and Tarsus retains a rotation independent of the sun’s.
The Arctic and Antarctic Circles: Tarsus has an arctic circle at 29° north latitude, and an antarctic circle at 29° south latitude. Poleward of each circle, the sun is always above the horizon in summer and always below the horizon in winter. Below the arctic circle, the alternation of day and night is relatively normal (although near it, days are quite long in summer and nights are quite long in winter).
The term arctic circle should not be taken to mean that the area is covered with ice and snow; it merely means that the sun is above the horizon in the daytime — which lasts some 45 days — and below the horizon at night.
The surface of Tarsus is, for convenience, partitioned into three basic areas with the arctic and antarctic circles as dividing lines. The Girdle is the central or equatorial band between 29 north latitude and 29 south latitude; it contains most of the livable, usable terrain on the world. Above 29° north latitude is the North; below 29° south is the South.
The Girdle is centered on the equator, and is subject to seasons only insofar as the weather from the North and South spills over the arctic circle. Temperatures remain within a range of 25° to -5° C. throughout.
Atmosphere: The atmosphere on Tarsus is a dense envelope of typical gases, with nitrogen the major constituent at about 80%. Oxygen composes 18%. The remaining 2% is composed of trace amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, neon, helium, hydrogen, krypton, xenon, water vapor, and methane.
The presence of a dense atmosphere on a small world such as Tarsus gives rise to a shallower density gradient. The density of the atmosphere lessens at a lower rate than on Terra, and it remains breathable to a higher altitude (approximately 20,000 meters). As a result, it is possible to scale even the highest peaks on Tarsus without the benefit of breathing equipment.
Seas and Water: Seas of water cover 42% of Tarsus’ surface, and are divided into two major bodies: the northern Sea of Winds, and the southern Great Polar Ocean. Additional bodies include the Kinross and Ouloss Seas (more accurately lakes), and various rivers which provide drainage.
The greater atmospheric pressure on Tarsus (approximately 1.4 standard atmospheres) results in a greater percentage of dissolved oxygen in the water of Tarsus. This, in turn, supports a greater level of microscopic life in the seas. As a result, the seas of Tarsus teem with life in the equatorial band.
Unfortunately, most of the water on Tarsus lies above 29° north or below 29° south. Those seas are subject to the extremes of temperature caused by axial tilt, and the surface temperature can range from 50° to 60° C. in summer at the pole to 0° in winter.
Convection currents in the oceans prevent their freezing solid in winter, although scattered ice floes may be present, and the surface may be frozen solid within 100 kilometers of any surface feature such as an island or a shore. Convection currents also keep the ocean surfaces from becoming too hot in summer, as water flowing from the depths keeps the surface temperature at less than the air temperature. Nevertheless, in summer, the oceans become steamy regions beset by local storms and rain as the humidity reaches 100% and returns the atmosphere’s water to the sea.
Bodies of water smaller than 700 kilometers (one hex on the map) easily freeze over when the temperature reaches 0° (for standing water) to -5° C. (for moving water). Running rivers may freeze solid after five days at -30° C., but standing bodies will never freeze completely solid in the course of the Tarsan year. Bodies of water smaller than 700 kilometers will completely evaporate in the Tarsan summer if the temperature reaches greater than 40° C. and rivers will dry up in such circumstances.
The Atok Swamps, located at the southern edge of Nob Plain, are fed by a river which originates in the North. As a result, the Big Dawn thaw is sending water to the swamps just as the Big Dusk freezes are beginning. The result is massive ice jams and flooding (followed by freezing) in the area of the swamps throughout the Tarsan winter.
The Shallows, located at the western edge of the Sea of Winds, have little depth, and in the heat of summer (after about three local days) the area dries up north of 29° north latitude, leaving a vast expanse of open plain. With the coming of Big Dusk, rains replenish the sea.
Land: The land area of Tarsus spans the entire range from summer sun baked desert to productive farmland, and includes everything inbetween. The highest point is Peak 342, a mountain in the Cilician Ranges with a height of 24,300 meters and it towers over its companions by at least 10,000 meters. The lowest point on land is the bottom of the Kinross Sea, which (when it dries in summer) is 730 meters below sea level.
Tarsus has only one continent, and it has no name, there being no need to distinguish it from any other. Several notable islands or archipelagos exist, including the Calendar Isles, and Raft.
Raft is a large island about 800 kilometers in length entirely overgrown by tangletrees, even to the point of extending into the ocean and across a twenty kilometer channel between the island and the mainland. The name was given by surveyors who found the island similar to a log raft floating in the ocean.
Land Features on Tarsus
The landmass of Tarsus is a diverse continent with a wide variety of terrain features ranging from high mountains to fertile farmland, and includes many intermediate types.
The Cilician Ranges: Tarsus’ continent is composed of three wandering plates which determine the boundaries of the oceans and the land. One plate is relatively stationary centered on the Desert Sulani An, while two smaller plates have jostled for position with each other. These smaller plates meet in the Cilician Ranges, the largest and most rugged mountains on the planet. The peaks of the ranges have heights up to 25,000 meters, but generally 15,000 meters is a more typical altitude. Tarsus atmosphere allows scaling the peaks without auxiliary breathing equipment.
The Cilician Ranges are the site of many mines exploiting the mineral wealth of the region. Between the many peaks are small valleys fed by snowmelt runoff, and many have been settled by the Red Banders who live in the mountains.
The Desert Sulani An: Half of the northern hemisphere is taken up by the Desert Sulani An, situated surrounding the Mountains of Dreams. Weather patterns and geography prevent any appreciable water from reaching the region, and it is almost entirely devoid of life. When a freak weather pattern does occur and creates a brief shower, the area comes to life until the water dries up.
Nob Plains: Two great plains exist on Tarsus. One lies west of the Sea of Winds, the other is between the Great Polar Ocean and the Desert Sulani An. Each is the natural habitat of the nobble— a native herbivore highly prized by Tarsans for their meat and hides. One nob plain is actually called Nob Plain, and is the site of ranching and controlled harvesting of the animals. The other plain is unnamed and its nobbles run wild and unharvested.
Walds: The forests of Tarsus are vast growths of native vegetation – thick, entwined walds of tangletrees forming a near jungle of almost inpenetrable thickness. Such walds are totally impassible to land vehicles, and require grav vehicles to pass over them. There are many walds, but two major ones have been named: the Tangle Wald and the Ice Wald.
Tangle Wald is a vast forest in the Girdle south of Regiment. Its area has never been explored except for brief expeditions into its fringes.
Ice Wald is an especially hardy wald in the North. It has proven itself capable of withstanding the heat of summer and the cold of winter and still slowly expands each year to cover additional territory. The Ice Wald is currently advancing at the rate of 500 meters per local year, and authorities have expressed concern that it will eventually encroach on the Nob Plain and its nobble herds.
Climate and Weather
Climate and weather on Tarsus are primarily influenced by the world’s extreme axial tilt. Temperatures may range from 70° C. at the pole in summer to – 55° C. in winter. Because of Tarsus’ short year, the progress of the seasons and the changes in temperature can be extremely rapid.
The North and the South are subject to strong, violent seasons which correspond to day and night. Day is summer, when temperatures can reach 70° C. at the pole, while night is winter with temperatures of – 50° C. at the pole. Seasons are opposite at opposite poles; when the North is in summer, the South is in winter.
The transition times between the seasons is a time of violent storms as temperatures change rapidly. Fall and spring are not used in the brief changes when temperatures rise about 5° C. per day. Instead, locals call them Big Dawn (which is like spring, with the transition from winter to summer, or night to day), and Big Dusk.
Settled Regions of Tarsus
There are four settled regions on the surface of Tarsus: Stenden, Nob Plain, Newland, and Regiment.
Newland is the oldest region, a farming region originally settled by colonists from Fornice in 450. Newland has one major city (also called Newland, or sometimes Newland City), which is the capital of the planet as well as the largest and oldest settlement.
Newland is situated on the south shore of the Sea of Winds, and was selected by the original world survey as the most hospitable and exploitable location on Tarsus. It has scattered individual farms averaging about one square kilometer; individual rural towns contain support services and merchants which deal with the farm owners.
Total population of Newland is about 1,474,000, of which 700,000 live on high tech individual farms.
Nob Plain is a primarily ranching region concerned with the care and harvesting of wide-ranging nobbles. It was a natural expansion from Newland, and has been in existence for nearly as long.
Ranchers in Nob Plain generally have a small permanent base of operations at the edge of the Plain, and pursue the nobbles with wandering caravans of quarters and work buildings that follow the nobble herds.
Nobble harvests are generally arranged to be sold before harvest, and pick-up of prepared meats and hides is made by ships descending directly from orbit. Nob Plain has a population of 204,000.
Regiment is a farming region to the east of Newland. Originally settled by members of the Tizonian (Sword Worlder) 3rd Regiment, it has since been integrated into the mainstream of Tarsan society. Farms in regiment tend to be larger than in Newland (up to 5 square kilometers) and more family operations.
The population of Regiment is 432,000, of which 102,000 lives in Kochstadt, the capital and only city in the region.
Stenden is the most recently settled region of Tarsus, located to the west of Nob Plain in a wide, fertile river valley. Pavabidian immigrants leaving their neighboring world for religious reasons established their farms in this area in 780, and their numbers have grown to 210,000. The major city in the area is Evander, with a population of 21,000.
Other settlements on Tarsus are small in size, and include the Red Bander settlements in the Cilician Ranges and a small SuSAG corporate village in Newland.
Satellites of Tarsus
Tarsus has two natural, and several artificial, satellites.
Gloeh: Gloeh is the smaller of Tarsus’ two natural satellites. It is 672 kilometers in diameter and orbits the planet at a distance of 55,480 kilometers (approximately .18 lightseconds). It is tidally locked to its parent, and completes only revolution in one Tarsan day: 72.94 hours. As a result, it remains stationary over one meridian of the world below. Its orbit is inclined at an angle of 27000 to Tarsus’ equator. As a result, the satellite appears to wander along a north-south line during the course of each Tarsan day. A line showing the position of Gloeh during the course of a day is marked on the map of Tarsus.
Because one face of Gloeh always faces Tarsus (and even more importantly, Gloeh is always above the same area of Tarsus) the moon has been established as the communications center for the world. Large antenna arrays monitor the world surface below, receiving and retransmitting communications, conversations, and data transmissions as part of the worldwide communications service.
In addition, the world computer banks are maintained on Gloeh and are on-line as part of the computer services available to communications subscribers.
Finally, sensors and monitors on Gloeh accumulate data about weather patterns, crop production, nobble herd movements, and other activities onplanet, and make them available to computer users for forecasting, tracking, and analysis.
Gloeh is airless, and no exploitable deposits or features have been found in surveys of the satellite. Local gravity is slight (about .1 G).
Gloeh is a government-operated base, and has a population of about 1,000. Regular shuttle service is available from Newland Down Starport to Gloeh each local day at dusk for Cr.100.
Rond: Rond is the larger of Tarsus’ natural satellites. It has a diameter of 2,250 kilometers and orbits the planet at a distance of 333,150 kilometers (approximately 1.10 lightseconds). Rond completes one revolution about Tarsus in 1073 hours, or about one-half the local year. Its local day is 40 standard hours.
Rond is airless and of no apparent value. It is featureless except for a large black splotch covering one-quarter of a hemisphere. The deep black of the feature approximates that of the night sky of Tarsus and makes it appear as if there is a hole in the moon. Appropriately, this marking is called the Tunnel by locals. Enhancing the effect are reflective rocks within the area which (if the sun is shining right) appear to be stars shining through the tunnel. The phenomenon is rare enough that it is considered good luck to “see a star through the tunnel of Rond”.
Rond is used only as the site for a base maintained by SuSAG, an Imperial megacorporation. Agreements with the government of Tarsus in 860 established a lease for the north polar cap of Rond (to a distance of 200 kilometers from the pole) for a period of 1,000 standard years. SuSAG pays an annual lease fee of MCr2.5 for its landhold.
The SuSAG base is private, and fully marked with warnings and sensors against intrusion. No provision is made for landings at the base by non-SuSAG vessels. SuSAG maintains a shuttle service for its own personnel; the SuSAG shuttle leaves Newland Down Starport each standard day at 0800 for Rond, and returns to the Starport at 1600. The trip usually takes about two hours. If a stop is required at Gloeh (which happens about half the time), then the trip takes about four hours. The SuSAG shuttle is available only to SuSAG personnel and to specially authorized guests.
Other Satellites: In addition to its natural satellites. Tarsus has a variety of artificial satellites, of which three systems are important.
The Regiment Repeater: At the trailing trojan point of Gloeh, an artificial satellite capable of the same communications relays as on Gloeh repeats signals directed beyond the range of the main station. It represents an expansion of the communications system to serve the region known as Regiment. This satellite station is 55,500 kilometers from the surface of Tarsus, and 55,500 kilometers behind Gloeh in its orbit.
The station is fully automatic and unmanned; it is subject to service calls on a regular basis, generally once per forty days. Because of the distances involved, the Regiment Repeater retransmits communications to the surface of Tarsus if possible (the distance for the signal from the surface to the repeater and back to the surface is about 0.36 light-seconds). If required, the Repeater sends the signal on to Gloeh for retransmission, in which case the one-way distance involved is 0.54 lightseconds.
The Navigation System: A group of ten navigation satellites orbit Tarsus at an altitude of 200 kilometers. The individual satellites have orbits which form a pattern allowing navigational trackers on the surface to determine an exact location anywhere on Tarsus. Special instruments are required to receive and use the navigation satellite data. Some personal communicators are capable of using this system to enter the normal communications networks as well.
The navigation system also collects weather information from parts of Tarsus not visible from the Regiment Repeater or from Gloeh. That data is relayed to Gloeh regularly for processing and inclusion in the data banks.
The Military System: The Tarsus Defense Force maintains a set of six satellites at varying altitudes and with varying orbits. They serve a variety of functions, including monitoring movements of spacecraft around Tarsus, and relaying military communications.
Tarsus was settled between 450 and 462 by 19,125 exiles from Fornice. The venture was well organized and the colony avoided any significant technological regression. Tarsus achieved independence from Fornice in 502.
The population grew slowly but steadily over the centuries, supplemented from time to time by immigrants from other worlds. Among them were the members of the Tizonian 3rd Lift Regiment and their families, who came to Tarsus in 625 fleeing war-crime accusations, and settled in an empty region called Regiment. Their descendants have since been integrated into the mainstream of Tarsan society.
In 780, Tarsus joined Motmos and Tarkine in establishing the Ag Worlds Combine, a loose cartel that was designed to halt a spiral of mutually-destructive price competition in the lucrative agricultural export markets of Forine and Collace. It supplies food to much of District 268, which includes many worlds whose inhospitable and/or degraded environments cannot support conventional agriculture. The Ag Worlds Combine’s headquarters is located on Motmos.
In the same year that the Ag Worlds Combine was established, large numbers of refugees fleeing the newly-established religious dictatorship on neighboring Pavabid settled on Tarsus. Another wave of immigrants arrived in the early 800s as people fleeing the Psionic Suppressions sought refuge beyond the Imperial border.