April 15th 2015
A system on the brink of death, the Tyrol system consists of seven planets orbiting a binary star pair on the verge of going nova. While such estimates are difficult to make, scientists believe that the sub-giant will be explosively consumed by the white dwarf at any time in the next several thousand years. With the risk factor being so hard to calculate, the United Empire of Earth, in hopes of keeping casualties to a minimum, has discouraged long-term settlement of the system. A number of entities, ranging from non-profit educational institutions to high level weapons manufacturers, have invested in expeditions to Tyrol aimed at studying the star’s progress as well as other experiments that would be too hazardous to undertake in more populated systems.
There has however, emerged another reason to make the trek to Tyrol beyond scientific pursuits. With minimal Advocacy and Navy forces present in the system, many come to Tyrol attempting to avoid the watchful eye of the law. Tyrol has emerged in the popular consciousness as being synonymous with danger. The outlaws and miscreants who have chosen to populate the system’s two unofficial settlements are often looked upon as romantic figures, Humans who have made the ultimate decision not to fear death and to live free. The reality is that most inhabitants of Tyrol made the choice out of desperation or simply because they had nowhere else to go.
The first planet in the Tyrol System is heavily charred thanks to its proximity to the binary stars. A series of connected research stations were constructed below the surface of the planet’s largest surviving moon in 2848, as part of a research proposal to study the dying stars up close. The consortium operating the base was able to do so until their funding was cut in 2901. The facility was quickly overtaken by a small smuggling community made up of squatters and malcontents. Known today as ‘Front Row,’ the moon’s population has an appropriately dark sense of humor about the fact that they will be the first to experience Tyrol going nova. If you do decide to visit, be mindful of the fact that you might find the entire system obliterated without notice should you schedule too long a layover!
Like Tyrol’s stars, the second and third planets in the system have also relatively recently undergone heavy transformation. Scientists believe that Tyrol II was at one time a super-Earth; today, it is a tidally-locked, flame-licked iron core. Tyrol III, although mineral-rich, is a similar graveyard. Discussion is ongoing as to whether it was a world destroyed by the star’s evolution or if it had never completely formed in the first place.
In distant ages, Tyrol boasted a healthy green band that included both the system’s asteroid belt and the fourth planet. The asteroid belt continues to furnish scores of valuable minerals sought by miners that have the resources to bring their own equipment and security forces. The chthonian planet Tyrol IV, speculated to have been a gas giant that has had its atmosphere completely stripped away, has caches of gemstones once generated by the gaseous overpressure, making it a prime focus for those looking to harvest resources in the system.
The home of Haven, Tyrol V is interesting for one simple reason — the fact that it has locals at all. Formerly an icy ball, Haven’s surface was melted away by the stars’ evolution. What remains is a desolate rock, snaked with surface chasms and massive underground caverns generated by millennia under ice.
It’s here, hidden beneath the surface’s now-oppressive heat, that a peculiar blend of homesteaders, outlaws and nihilists make their homes. In popular culture, Haven is considered the ‘last chance’ for the irredeemable: a home for those that can no longer make their way in the civilized universe and those that no longer wish to. The ever-present threat of supernova looms large over the planetary culture, but it is ultimately treated as a fact of life. Few who call Haven home have bothered with evacuation transports or early warning systems; if you have chosen to live among the renegades on Haven, you have likely made peace with a star capable of snuffing out your life in an unexpected instant.
Visitors are cautioned not to leave the shade of Haven without heavy thermal shielding. An unprotected individual can survive mere moments of exposure on the planet’s surface.
The sixth planet in the Tyrol System is a typical Jovian-style gas giant. A churning mass of colored hydrogen and helium, Tyrol VI has thus far been minimally affected by the star’s decline. Independent scientists have built a transmitting rig inside an asteroid at one of the planet’s Lagrange points, aiming to record what will likely be a very impressive light show when the stars go nova. The hope is that the comm drone will be able to clear the jump point before the system burns.
The final planet in Tyrol is a small protoplanet whose formal status is hotly debated among the few who care. Whether it is technically a planet or not, Tyrol VII is expected to be the only orbiting object not immediately impacted when the system goes nova. Several universities have discussed converting the planetoid into a permanent, manned deep-freeze base from which the process can be safely observed, although no one has locked down the requisite funding for such a venture.
Natural damage sustained during visits to near-nova star systems such as Tyrol is quite typical. Keep a close eye on your ship and make sure to set aside some extra credits for repairs once your visit is over.
“Couple years back, I was posted up at Front Row waiting for some out-of-system grudges to cool when this ship nearly crashes while landing. Guy comes stumbling out, bleeding bad, starts yelling for Yanda, a medic who’d stop by there from time to time. Hollered for hours. Never did figure out that Yanda had drifted a day earlier. Hell of a nice ship, though. Still fly it to this day.”
- Corinda Fenrick, Convicted Assassin, 2928
“Then let us use Tyrol as a reminder of the scope of Humanity’s impact upon the universe. How desperately we try to shape the worlds around us, to force nature to comply with our will, our plans, and just how very small that effort is compared to the destructive power of a star.”
- Dr. Flower Raith, Humanity Verses the Universe, Rhetor University Press, 2935