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Altair

Name : Altair

Allegiance : Federation

Government : Federal Democracy

Economy : Capitalist

Coordinates : -2,1

Population : 1 Billion

Altair - Biggs Colony. Out of the twenty bodies of this system this is one of two notable planets, for their extreme conditions. Biggs Colony is a jungle world with high humidity and very interesting wildlife, which makes it a popular holiday destination for those who like an adventure. Hotels abound and cater for all tastes, even providing conditions for those who normally live in very different environments, in case they need a break while on holiday. For example natives of Stevenson in the Phiagre system can rest in refrigerated apartments. Outside hotels, humans need to wear an environment suit such are the extremes of heat and humidity on these sort of planets. When tourists arrive on Biggs Colony they must sign a disclaimer in case they are injured by any of the wildlife (unless on hotel property, such as the animal free areas). All sorts of life abound, and visitors not used to this tend to go wandering unprotected, enchanted by the sights and sounds. Jungle Search is a thriving business which offers to search the jungle for parts of a lost friend or relatives of tourists, when they go missing, for burial purposes.

Many vaccinations are required if you intend to go on jungle treks, as the diseases are as varied as the wildlife. When you leave a hotel you are issued an environment suit, a stun gun, a large swat big enough to down an Oort fly (you would need body armour to protect yourself fully from this beast). If you pale at the thought of close contact with nature, you can take a trip on a Landcrawler which transports you through the jungle protected by a Securifield.

The second planet, Darkes Hollow, is very hot and not pleasantly so - The average temperature is 226 degrees Centigrade. The reason it is populated at all is the ore available for mining is very rich in metals. Miners' families live there in small underground communities and the mining corporation subsidises two holidays on Bigg's Colony per year. Robots have to do most of the surface work as the temperatures and radiation there are too great for humans. Power is derived from massive anays of solar panels which run the very powerful air conditioning units for the settlements below, and also drive the vast smelting operation. Reputedly, enormous danger money is paid to miners when they need to venture on to the surface in their powered armour, in order to do some urgent repair or other. There have even been stories of disenchanted workers arranging for robots to be unavailable when a need arises, just so they can receive the one-off payment and leave the hated place forever.

Entry by Kathy Dickinson

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