Arrakis

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Arrakis.JPG.
Al Raqis
General Data
*Class: Class M (Minshara)
*Type: Planet
*Satellites: Two
*Location: 7.5 ly Spinward, Pinastri Sector, Delta Quadrant
*Star System: Mu Draconis
*Species of Note:
    • Sandworms (Geonemotodium arraknis), Fremen (Humanoid)
*Faction Affiliation: Independent
Remarks
The planet is formally known as Arrakis


Planetary Statistics

  • classification: Class M
  • distance from sun: 1.4 AU
  • diameter: 39000 km
  • gravity: 1.1
  • atmosphere: dense, oxygen/nitrogen and a few trace gases
  • weather system: Frequent heavy sandstorms
  • temp.: -25C to 50C
  • surface: Barren, rocky and mostly desert
  • lifeforms: Sandworms (Geonemotodium arraknis), Fremen (Humanoid)
  • tech. level: Level I
  • first contact: USS Kelvin - 081202

History

Al Raqis is the third planet in the Mu Draconis System , and it in turn is orbited by two moons. It was first charted by the science vessel USS Kelvin on stardate 081202. The planet remains a significant strategic operational base for UFS, as it is a hotbed of commerce with busy trade routes stretching into all neighbouring sectors and beyond. Its location on the spinward border of the Pinastri Sector provides UFS with eyes and ears close to the neighbouring Midgar sector, which itself is a magnet for undesirables and political power struggles.

Mu Draconis is a binary star with a combined magnitude of 4.92m located approximately 7.5 light years from the Pinastri System on its spinward border with the Midgar Sector. The component stars are nearly-identical yellow-white stars in a tight orbit. Each is of the spectral class F7V and has a visual magnitude of 5.8m.

The planet has a dry, hostile desert environment where water is almost as precious as the planets most sought after mineral, known colloquially as "Raqismanna" or more commonly, "Spice".

Al Raqis has all the characteristics of a class-M planet, and as indicated by its large salt flats was once abundant with oceans. The depletion of the oceans (the primary result of which was desertification) was probably caused by the impact or near miss of a comet or other quasi-planetary body. This event caused the loss of much of the atmosphere of Al Raqis, allowing most of the oxygen and water to escape into space. This catastrophic loss of oxygen led to the extinction of nearly all native fauna and then therefore the flora. The planet has no surface water bodies, but open canals called Qanats are used "for carrying irrigation water under controlled conditions" through the desert.

Al Raqis is the location of the UFS spice mining facility, Outpost Alpha. The UFS Arakeen Mission explored the planet late in 2383 shortly after first contact was made some weeks earlier by renowned explorer Gijsjan Broek and his team.

Since the closure of Outpost Alpha in 2386, the planet, now referred to as Araxes, was revisited in 2388 by a Xenoanthropological team including Roberta Melodie and Lieutenant Kazia Ravenheart, in order to keep relevant socio-political information up to date.

Situation

Spice is used as flavouring and health supplement throughout the Delta Quadrant, but what makes it truly valuable is its life extending quality. Regular intake of medical grade spice has in some instances extended the human lifespan many years while an overdose of such pure spice is known to cause psionic effects in some individuals. Many aspects of spice remain unknown and are an active area of scientific research within UFS.

With the planet providing such a unique and valuable commodity, Al Raqis is a focus of political and economic intrigue. While the interstellar powers attempt to maintain control of the spice trade it is common to see trade ships of all kinds loading spice from the refinery at Splintered Rock and independent prospectors from a dozen different worlds harvesting the mineral from the sands.

Whilst there are numerous independent mining operators working on the planet, there are a number of political factions running mining operations on the planet including:

House of Tairis - A powerful group of spice-miners who inhabit the Deep Desert

United Systems Directorate - A Military organisation who attempt to ensure security on the planet

House of Orion - Settlers and traders from the many Orion colonies who are building an additional colony on Al Raqis

House of Morloch - A secretive association of Al Raqi Natives

House of Zenobia - Representatives and Traders from the Zenobia System

United Federation Starfleet - Starfleet have a presence on Al Raqis predominately for the scientific investigation of Spice, however a strong Marine Corps detachment is also present for defensive purposes. The UFS facility on the planet is Outpost Alpha

The Spacing Guild - An ancient organisation which attempts to secure the spice which allows some of its 'Navigators' the ability to accomplish great feats of space travel using the psionic abilities granted to them by spice usage.

The Spice is highly prized and as a result the deserts are in a constant state of conflict between the various factions. Reliable intelligence also suggests that the natives of Al Raqis watch the efforts of the offworlders to try and tame this seemingly untameable world. Rumours abound that they are gathering their strength in the largely unexplored deserts of the world's southern hemisphere, waiting for the time when Al Raqis is once again theirs.

Environmental

As indicated by its large salt flats, Arrakis once had lakes and oceans. The depletion of the oceans (the primary result of which was desertification) was almost certainly caused by the impact or near miss of a comet or other quasi-planetary body. This event caused the loss of much of the atmosphere of Arrakis, allowing most of the oxygen and water to escape into space. This is thought to have occurred approximately 50 million years ago. This catastrophic loss of oxygen led to the extinction of nearly all native fauna and then therefore the flora.

Al Raqis is a desert planet with no natural precipitation. The planet has no surface water bodies, but open canals called qanats are used "for carrying irrigation water under controlled conditions" through the desert. The Fremen collect water in underground reservoirs to fulfill their dream of someday terraforming the planet.

-Taken from the Combined Report by Lt. Ravenheart and Ms Melodie in 2388-

The environment is mainly dry, barren desert, with no surface water except in ostentatious ornamental displays. The terrain has sharp and significant variations in altitude from lowland to highland areas, with plateaus, valleys, and mountain passes. The distinct changes in elevation affect atmospheric pressure and concentration of gases, with the most dense in the lowlands. Even that greater relative density is below earth-normal, and un-acclimated individuals without supplementary gas mixes suitable to their physiology will likely note a shortness of breath and early onset of fatigue. Deadly sandstorms suddenly occur in the Taklamakan Desert, most likely caused by a combination of planetary rotation and associated coriolis effects, insolation not moderated by the atmosphere, and the abrupt and significant changes in elevation on the boundaries of the desert. There are frequent meteor strikes in the desert that can be deadly several meteors ranging in diameter from 1.2m – 2.0m have been observed. The Desertborn do have an objective of planetary modification that will eventually make the planet more hospitable for life. There are hints that the meteors play some role in a plan to achieve the Desertborn planetary modification objective. There are very few plants on Araxes aside from those maintained in starborn residences, most likely due to the inhospitable nature of the planet and a few low-growing plants of unknown type outside the habitation areas in one shaded area where moisture had condensed.


Sociological

From notes by Ms. Roberta Melodie, Civilian Xenoanthropological Consult, USS Shogun, and Lt. Kazia Ravenheart, UF Starfleet Intelligence:

On the Planet of Araxes is one giant tabletop Mountain known as Mount Jofar. On the mountain are two structures, one is the Imperium Court and the other lies a battle arena. There is a bridge made from the mountain to the next hillside where the Legates castle residence is found along with numerous houses that lead into the town. The town is basic in standard. It contains two public houses called Oasis Wind Tavern and Club Nyce, a supermarket and a fair sized hospital with landing pad roof emergency access. There are a few buildings owned by several tradesmen and it is the main place to see advertising of the Beit Dawla campaigns. There is access to Faubourg Marigny by foot from Mount Jofar crossing the top of the town which is located spinward where other castles held by Great Houses are found. Shuttle accessibility in other areas of the Planet are: Splintered Rock being coreward where the spice refinery is stationed with a giant landing pad and Wadi Emet with the town of Azaadi is located rimward. Takalaman Desert lies rimward to Faubourg Marigny.

In orbit of Araxes is the meteor field known as Lagrange-2 where salvage is often available. Just out of the field area is a station occupied by Vulture Shipping.In high orbit the Spatium- Tempus Navigation Corpus resides, it is controlled by large liners and this station accesses the Concordants Wormhole Nexus. It is said to be the largest structure in the Star system. It has a plasma antenna measuring thirty two kilometers in diameter. Alcubierre metric drive system, Titan Ignition Laser a Fermitron Particle Accelerator and a Junction Stasis storage. Plasma Industries, Zenobian Institution Polytechnique and Zapedzki scientists have been researching this structure in space -time metric engineering. It is unknown if these experiments are adding to the inclement weather conditions, meteor and seismic activity. A Sinisterhood run Corporation along with an Imperial Patent and Contract known as PACEA - Political Atmospheric Collection Exportation Apparatus, operates atmospheric collectors of spice for exportation, these collectors can be visually observed around the deserts.

Araxes is a harsh world with a history significantly predating terran spaceflight, a complex socio-political structure, significant levels of inter-agency competition, and a high level of technology. The environment is particularly deadly in the Taklamakan Desert and Wadi Emet, with sandstorms, meteors, indigenous life forms, and recently-arrived xeno arthropods posing a mortal threat to the unprepared. Starfleet personnel should be aware of the suspicion and hostility exhibited by individuals and organizations already established on Araxes resulting from a long-standing competition for power and resources. That competition has had overtly violent periods in the past that established arms smuggling as a profitable enterprise that continues to this day to support unacknowledged more clandestine acts. Without careful negotiation, any significant Federation effort to engage in trade or other on world activities would be counterproductive to pacific relationships with the planets residents and off world sponsors. Recent events in local space pointing toward the possibility of space piracy presumably provide an area of mutual concern between Araxes and Starfleet. Peace was established and on world concessions were negotiated by the Concordat Imperium, which also divided the planet into northern and southern hemispheres of influence. Despite harsh planetary conditions, Araxes has a thriving business environment. Off world technology present on and near Araxes is of a very high level. A spatial nexus of wormhole conduits provide for Faster-Than-Light interstellar transits.The planet is sparsely settled, with a few urban centers and a low-density population for the overall landmass of the planet. There are no sophonts residing on the planet that evolved solely on Araxes, making the population exclusively extra-planetary immigrants for both long and short term residence.

Araxes became and continues to be a planet of high commercial interest because of the “spice” Cinnamaldehyde, also referred to as Raqismanna,Melange, or Mu Draconis spice which can be obtained from the planet. The spice provides significant health and geriatric benefits, but is also highly addictive and very small quantities can cause death in most species, the “Desertborn” being the notable exception. The spice is extremely effective drug that enhances being into life extension, health fortifying and enhancing stamina. It is a powerful awareness spectrum pharmaceutical. Research suggests this drug is able to double lifespan of a subjects lifespan. The effectiveness of spice properties as an awareness performance enhancing drug have proven difficult to quantify. The spice is an extremely addictive and expensive narcotic even with expert medical assistance no person has survived withdrawal from its use once addiction has set in. The unrefined product retails at 10 times the price of gold per gram. The estimated value of raw spice equates to 150 UAP Credits per 15 gram pouch. Trade value runs closer to 200 UAP Credits per 15 gram pouch. Since the spice cannot be synthesized and there is only one source, it is used as an excellent interstellar currency. Spice is so highly regarded and sought after that a major armed conflict ensued more than 1000 solar years ago among off world business interests and between those entities and the original desert-dwelling inhabitants of the planet. The Mu Draconis System is under the protection of the Concordat Imperium which allows local autonomy so long as the production of spice continues to flow unimpeded and they have competent self-governance subject to Imperial Edicts.

Records and orbital imaging followed up by discussions with residents of Araxes indicate the planet is divided into two hemispheres, Northern and Southern, based on a Concordat Imperium political settlement ceding the North to “Starborn” who are referred to as, off world persons and interests. The South to the original settlers, the “Desertborn.” There are three identified regions in the North: Al Raqis, Faubourg Marigny, and Splintered Rock. The Southern region consists of the Takalamakan Desert, also referred to locally as Rampart Castles after ancient stronghold ruins in the region and Wadi Emet. Each region is unique in its geography and societal characteristics. As noted in the database, Araxes is essentially a barren desert planet. Araxian informants refer to “incomplete” but “ongoing” planetary modification as in terraforming, efforts that have not yet produced an atmosphere as dense as Earth's, even in the lowlands where atmospheric pressure is higher. Descendants of the earliest settlers refer to themselves as the “Desertborn,” not “Fremen.” There is an extensive cave system beneath the surface that isn’t seen from orbital imagery, including secluded rest areas known as “Seeqs” and underground aquifers that provide life-sustaining water. Al Raqis boasts its own highport and lowport shuttle accessibility and a bustling urban area where great and minor houses and individuals dwell and conduct business. Only a fragmentary history of the planet has been uncovered so far, there is very little regarding the earliest inhabitants known as the Desertborn, they preceded other residents and made the planet their home, their dwellings in the desert areas are in cavernous systems along with the xeno arthropods.

The Spice Wars were a major turning point in Araxian history in establishing the current context for political and social conditions. The settlement of those wars negotiated by the Concordat Imperium over 1000 solar years ago divided the planet as previously noted and granted business concessions to off world Starborn business interests for various endeavors, including spice extraction and export, interplanetary and interstellar transport, and security services. The history of conflict between the Desertborn and Starborn, as well as the intense conflict between off world agencies competing for the spice trade, has left a legacy of suspicion and some outright hostility toward individuals not already affiliated with established Araxian entities. The spice wars also spawned a profitable smuggling business providing arms to all sides, a business that still continues as less overt but still violent competition between individuals and agencies is ongoing.

The Imperium does not use Adversarial Advocacy legal system, they use Inquisition. The Judge acts as prosecutor and the Inquisitor directs the investigation and conducts the trial. Araxes has limited autonomy subject to Imperial edict. The Inquisition came when Imperial Servants did not obey the forms. If you are an Imperial servant, you are subjected to the Inquisition. The Constable, The Magistrate, the Legate, Chairwoman of the Beit Dawla fall into that category. The Inquisition came two years ago, arrested the entire Landsraat. The current Imperial Observer was the Inquisitor at that time. If the local government cannot handle its own affairs, then the Imperium revokes self rule. The planet must be able to defend itself with other matters of local administration. TrishShar Xaris is one Imperial Observer named. The Desertborn have their own treaty, known as the Compact. They do not want the Imperium here as they fought a long war for their autonomy. The south is ceded to them, as the north is to the Imperium, however The Imperium has limited their presence to the North. Since the spice mining has diminished in the north, there are eyes on the South. The Desertborn are angered over mineral surveys in the south as they suspect covetousness.

Araxes is governed by a bicameral legislature consisting of: the Landsraat, an upper house with representatives appointed by their respective Great and Lesser Houses off world interests, except for House Morloch, which represents the Desertborn and chaired by the Legate.The Beit Dawla, a lower house of elected representatives that elects its chairperson in terms. Although the southern, Desertborn, region is represented in the legislature, it appear that the legislature essentially governs the northern hemisphere, while the Desertborn are somewhat a law unto themselves in the South. The Landsraat does provide a venue for mediating conflicts between North and South.

Local Laws currently outlaw:

  • Slavery
  • Unauthorized police actions
  • Harvesting of blood
  • Arrests without swearing out a complaint to local law enforcement

The Great House blood feuds are made into a ritual combat. The rules of blood feuds were laid down in the Great Convention, this was to spare the innocent bystanders who might otherwise be slaughtered in a House-to- House confrontation. The regulation was considered important enough by the framers of the Convention to warrant the details in twenty-five pages written in the original manuscript; those interested in leading the exhaustive listings of the minutiae of the ritual may consult Section XXIV of that document. A blood feud could be declared only by the acting Head of a Great House. Any person presenting such a declaration was required to notify the Legislature and the Imperial Court as well as the Head of the House declared against. This was constructed in the way that a Judge of the Rite could be appointed to supervise all negotiations. Once such a Judge authorized by both Council and emperor can be appointed, the opposing party or family can open negotiations. No outside observers apart from the Judge were allowed to witness the full proceedings. The negotiations could take several forms, if neither party was willing to consider any other way of reconciling the differences, the "negotiation" consisted of a personal combat with knives only whilst unshielded and to the death. Even the combat was stylized with certain phrases being employed on each side to call the other out. When one or both of the combatants had died, the option of either withdrawing the blood feud or reopening negotiations was left to the heir(s). It is unknown in particularly bitter feud for all the possible heirs to a line to be wiped out. When this occurs the Judge of the Rite is empowered to declare the House ended is to put its remaining members into Imperial protection and redistribute its assets. It should be noted that fee victorious House was allowed only a small portion of those assets. This parsimony helped keep the proceedings from becoming a popular and profitable way of doing business. A much larger share was allotted to the Imperium for the support of the losing House's survivors. If combat was not chosen, the feud could be settled by the challenged House's agreement to meet certain terms set by the declaring House. Such terms most often included the transfer of a fief and of large amounts of commercial holdings or other valuables. Occasionally the demand was made for permission to marry into the declared-against House, with the obvious intent of an eventual takeover. One other solution is rarely invoked and also existed the Judge's Ban. When a Judge of the Rite acting either as an individual or as a messenger from the Emperor or Council. They decide if a particular feud was detrimental to the Imperium as a whole and a ban could be laid on both Houses. Until such time as a ban is to be lifted, the House whose members act against the other could be declared guilty of treason. They can be stripped of all its holdings and outlawed. In the face of such possible consequences all but the most stubborn wishes for combat is known to fade and a ban is considered to be a most effective deterrent.

The diverse backgrounds and interests of the residents of Araxes the planetary society is not homogenous, but rather is a mix of customs and cultures. The three unifying aspects of Araxian culture are the harsh environment, the trade in spice, and Imperium oversight. Concord among the various groups may be fragile, and this is particularly true with regard to the Desertborn – Starborn dichotomy. It is clear there is an underlying tension between competing off world groups as well as between the Starborn and Desertborn that threatens to turn violent. Outside the Al’Raqis town all persons are to remember The Law of the Sands. The Magistrate's Office has issued a travel advisory as stated it is highly recommended that any traveler on the sands hire guards for protection. The Concordat is not responsible for those who lose the gamble they take with their lives beyond the city walls. Azaadi in Wadi Emet is a settlement of smugglers in the South who are known for exploiting the Araxes Autonomous Tribal Treaty Area to escape the long arm of the law. The Sanctuary of Ghosts is a reclaimed sanctuary in the south, it also benefits from the Araxes Autonomous Tribal Treaty Area to see protection from those who would persecute them for their beliefs.

As Araxes has deep roots in smuggling operations, it is also known also for constant piracy. The j’Est Neb is one of the pirates as a fleet that prey on transport ships and has been announced that they have also attacked dignitary escorted vessels. It is known that the pirates are in cloaked ships and often bring on attacks leaving trails of massacres behind. From known records, the j’Est Neb have a Klingon D2 flagship called the Malal. Caution is advised for those making way nearby the Lagrange-2 meteor field as this would be an ideal location for the pirates to remain hidden.

Botanical

There are a few plants on the planet including saguaro, burro bush, date palm, sand verbena, evening primrose, barrel cactus, incense bush, smoke tree, creosote bush

Zoological

The following is a list of native arthropods: Steak Spiders: Marauder Spider, Shadow Spider, Tarantula Minoris, Tarantula, and Black Widow Land Lobsters: Scorpiones Deathstalker and Scorpiones Creeper. Smoke Beetles: Green Stink Beetle Gibbering, Green Stink Beetle Jibbering, Green Stink Beetle Laughing, Scarabaeidae, Vittatus Beetle, Growl Beetle, 1 Steam Beetle, Wind Beetle and Besouro. Spark Beetles: Buzz Beetle, Gracilicornis Cricket, Goliath Beetle, Arc Bug, Spark Bug, Barata, Blattaria and Cockroach. Fire Beetles: Fire Beetle, Flame Beetle and Scarlet Jungle Beetle. Fat Widows: Auburn Widow Fat, Amber Widow Fat, Umber Widow Fat, Golden Widow Fat, Chestnut Widow Fat, Cherry Widow Fat, and Black Widow Fat. The beetles noted can emit acid, fire and electrical currents in defense.

Zoological / Anatomy and Physiology of Residents: Sophonts encountered and imaged in databases are generally humaniform in outward appearance bilateral symmetry, four limbs as in two arm, two legs, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, with terran-normal variations in skin color, eyes, and hair. One notable exception was an individual with some civet-like characteristics.. The spice, which can be fatal to other species in the quantities to which the Desertborn are exposed is an essential part of their life. Physiology of the original planetary settlers adapted to the spice and those settlers also engaged in genetic engineering to adapt themselves to the environment and intimate contact with the spice.