Mustered Out on Mertactor
Noctocol Library Data
Affiliation: Non-Aligned ( Na )
Starport Class: E, Frontier installation. Essentially a marked spot of bedrock with no fuel, facilities, or bases present.
Medium sized world. Surface gravity of .875 G. World diameter is 6900 miles (11100 km).
Exotic atmosphere. Oxygen tanks needed.
52 percent liquid . Cloud cover is 70 percent.
61 million inhabitants.
Representative Democracy. Government by elected representatives.
Law Level 7: Shotguns are prohibited.
Tech Level 6: circa 1969.
Trade Classifications: Fluid Oceans
Noctocol has an atmosphere high in inert gases and acidic elements that is impossible for most sophonts to breathe without the use of air tanks. This can be attributed to the fact that the planet is pocked with hundreds of active volcanoes that spout untold millions of tons of lava, dust and ash every year without fail. The planet is also prone to earthquakes, including massive events registering over 9.0 on the Richter scale that occur almost every year. Two even more massive, continent-splitting, 10.0+ earthquakes have occurred on Noctocol within recorded history. The planet’s oceans contain no water and instead consist primarily of acidic compounds in a liquid state. Not surprisingly, there are no native life-forms on the planet aside from a few exceptionally hardy single-celled species that feed off of minerals expelled from the substrata through thermal vents.
The first recorded visit to Noctocol was made in -1987 by the Connemara, a Solomani exploration ship at the leading edge of the Rule of Man’s great wave of expansion into the uncharted spinward regions beyond the Great Rift. Unfortunately for its crew, the ship crash-landed during a planetside foray to sample the exotic atmosphere, and could not lift off again. Unable to claw their way back out of Noctocol’s gravity well – or even to transmit a coherent distress signal through atmospheric distortion – the castaways could only hope for eventual discovery and rescue. As it turned out, they and their descendents would have to wait a very long time indeed.
Later Solomani visitors to the region, such as the traders who stopped over at Tarsus in -1515 did not detect the presence of their shipwrecked compatriots on Noctocol – and the Long Night soon brought all Terran space travel to a screeching halt. The Darrians began exploring the region as early as -1300, and even established colonies and outposts on Talchek and Bowman in the early -900s. However, the Darrians never discovered the castaways on Noctocol before they abandoned space in the aftermath of the Maghiz, and did not attempt to restore their colonies in District 268 after regaining interstellar capability around -270. The Sword Worlders also failed to note the presence of their ancient kindred on Noctocol. In all cases, the problem seems to have been that planet was so unappealing that none of these groups bothered to conduct a proper survey. Indeed, they rarely even made a close flyby because Noctocol is well outside the star’s habitable zone.
Thus the accidental colonists on Noctocol were left entirely to their own devices until the first complete IISS survey of District 268 discovered them in 501. Over the intervening two and a half millennia, they had developed a society that was uniquely adapted to their harsh and unforgiving environment. Within a few generations, the colonists had lost all nuclear power capability and reverted to TL-6. Retreating underground to escape the caustic atmosphere, they generated power by tapping the dense network of geothermal vents created by Noctocol’s hyperactive vulcanism. Since radio, laser and maser communications proved impossible due to atmospheric distortion, the colonists depended instead upon buried landlines.
Due to the planet’s hostile environment, Noctocolian culture is strongly isolationist. The entire population lives in spacious underground cities whose residents rarely visit the surface – and can never glimpse the stars even when they do. Cities are generally separated by great distances because they can only be established in the planet’s rare regions of geological stability. At TL-6, it is effectively impossible to build aircraft capable of operating in Noctocol’s atmosphere, so all long-distance travel and trade is carried on subterranean electric railways at a top speed of only 160 kilometers an hour. Therefore, each major city is virtually a society unto itself, with distinctive customs, fashions, and linguistic variations, and their residents are decidedly parochial in outlook. Even visitors from other Noctocolian cities can seem somewhat foreign, and offworlders are seen as exotic and even bizarre by all but the few natives who routinely interact with them. The bulk of the population speaks only a greatly evolved and highly accented version of an archaic Solomani dialect that is mostly incomprehensible to speakers of Galanglic (25% words in common).
Noctocol has a self-sufficient economy based upon hydroponic and greenhouse agriculture, and resource extraction by means of sub-surface mining and atmospheric and oceanic distillation. The planetary population’s basic needs are adequately addressed, but the average standard of living is low. Few can afford to buy offworld goods (mostly luxury foodstuffs from neighboring Tarkine, but in any case Noctocol has little to offer in exchange for interstellar trade. This relative poverty is the principal reason why a proper starport has not been constructed on the planet, though the population’s isolationist mindset has also been a major contributing factor. Not surprisingly, most interstellar traffic through the Noctocol system continues to bypass the planet and instead refuels at one of the two gas giants orbiting the secondary star.
The planetary government is a representative democracy. The citizens of each major city elect a number of representatives that varies depending upon the size of its population. A broad range of parties compete for seats in the unicameral legislature, many of them representing specific regional and economic interests though all of the major parties have planet-wide constituencies. The government operates on a parliamentary basis, with the leader of the party or coalition that controls a majority of the seats acting as both head of state and head of government. Law enforcement is necessarily strict due of the fundamental fragility of Noctocol’s underground cities, but within these parameters individual rights are respected to the greatest degree possible. However, private ownership of firearms is virtually prohibited for reasons of public safety.