Sekothai is a waterworld moon orbiting the gas giant Rama. Beset by a shortage of fossil-fuels, the technology of the Sekothai has been arrested, but its point at the hub of major slipstream routes and some awkward neighbours mean the Sekothai have developed the cluster’s finest diplomats out of necessity. Some dark whispers have been heard about the origins of the terraforming of Sekothai, but nobody believes those… right?
The Sekothai parliament is of an unusually robust size, meaning little decisive political action ever takes place as quorum is essentially impossible to meet. This suits the generally laid-back Sekothai just fine.
Technology Rating: 0
Environment Rating: 1
Resources Rating: -1
- Terraformed moon orbiting a Gas Giant
- Energy poor
- Paralyzed by Democracy
Sekothai is also known as ‘The Million Islands’ and this description is not far from the truth. Bombarded by massive amounts of cometary material in the ancient past, a highly uneven landscape of multiple overlapping craters formed. When the sun increased in temperature, the billions of tonnes of icy material melted to form a single planet-wide ocean, the crater ridges and rings emerging from the sea as the islands and archipelagos of Sekothai.
Much of the land is mountainous, rising steeply from the sea, and there are no large land-masses – Caldera, the largest single island, has a total area of just 341 square kilometres, of which only 183 square kilometres is actually flat enough to be usable.
Sekothai suffers from massive and complicated tides, due to the varying influences of the gas giant Rama, the sun Kong, and the other large moons in the Rama system. This also causes significant volcanic activity, including frequent earthquakes.
Sekothai has a very pleasant climate, ranging from pleasantly tropical at the equator to brisk at the poles. Numerous introduced species inhabit the ocean, ranging from the tiny algae that originally created a breathable atmosphere, all the way up to large sharks, cephalopods, and even whales and dolphins.
Sejothai has no significant deposits of sodium or chlorine, and as a result the seas are actually fresh water. Limited genetic tests have determined that at least some of the oceanic species have been gene-modified to survive in a low-saline environment.
It is important to note that as life was only introduced at some point in the geologically recent past, there are no deposits of coal, oil, or natural gas.
Unsurprisingly the ocean is central to civilisation on Sekothai. It is impossible to ever be more then about five kilometres from the sea, and even the smallest children are expert swimmers, divers, and sailors.
The pleasant climate and plentiful food provided by the ocean naturally induces a somewhat laid-back attitude to life, and Sekothians have a reputation for being the most easy-going people in the Shattered Ring cluster. With the increasing amount slipstream travel in recent years Sekothai has turned this into an advantage, and has become a popular resort world for the wealthy of nearby star systems.
The popular Tobrutai Challenge is one of the highlights of Sekothai’s calendar, and attracts tourists from all over the Shattered Ring cluster.
Politics on Sekothai are chaotic and confusing for outsiders – and also for the population of the moon, and indeed (some say) it’s politicians. The reason for this is the fact that the basic political unit is that of an island and it’s inhabitants.
In order to avoid any one island having pre-eminence because it hosts the political process, a vast ship called the Barge has been built solely for the purposes of government.
This all sounds fine, until one considers that at the last count, there were over twenty thousand inhabited islands on the planet, ranging from Caldera to numerous hermits or fishermen who are the sole inhabitants of their tiny landmass.
Any island can register for political recognition, as long as it fulfils certain criteria – mainly the need for a democratic process for the election of a single individual to represent it in the Barge. This frequently leads to almost farcical elections with voter registrations, secret ballots, formal counts and re-counts, and official declarations – all performed by the same individual on his or her tiny speck of land!
The problems don’t stop there. Once a representative has been elected to the Barge, he or she finds themselves as merely one of thousands, each with a voice and vote in the political process. Debates can take weeks or even months, as each representative strives to make their voices and opinions heard, and once a vote is actually called there is no guarantee that enough people will actually support the motion as this not just requires a majority of those voting, but a majority of the entire Barge assembly.
As a result it is virtually impossible for any decision to ever be made, and those that are are often questioned due to various voting irregularities.
Technological development on Sekothai has always been limited by one over-riding factor – the lack of a reliable energy source.
Because the moon has no fossil fuels, it has to rely on other means of generating electrical power. For everyday use this means wind, wave, tidal and solar power sources are standard, and indeed most settlements are self-sufficient in this regard – there is no planet-wide energy grid as is standard on other developed planets. Geothermal power is sometimes an option, but the higher infrastructure costs mean only the larger settlements can afford this.
Even the reliance on renewable sources is limited. For example, local shipyards are perfectly capable of building their own internal combustion engines – but the majority of vessels are still sailing ships, because the only source of fuel is from expensive algae biofarms.
Renewable sources suffice for most domestic consumption, but larger-scale projects are virtually impossible, and this has acted as a limiter on advanced research and development – although Sekothai’s chaotic government is also a factor.
Caldera is the site of the only space-launch facility on the planet, and indeed the Sekothaians had not reached orbit before the world’s discovery by one of the first explorator ships from The Zvitter Consortium. Caldera actually has a power excess, a unique occurrence on Sekotiai due to the fact that rather than relying on the insufficient local resources, the Zvitter Consortium has shipped in six micro-fusion generators to keep the space industry supplied.
Rama orbits the star Kong, a B4-class body on the horizontal branch of the Main Sequence, massing approximately 1.3 Sols.
Kong is an elderly star – around eighteen million years (MYA) ago the star ceased to fuse hydrogen, and expanded into a red giant that may have swallowed planets in the inner solar system – currently there are no bodies with stable orbits that come within 0.9 AU of Kong. Around eight MYA a helium flash occurred, causing Kong to begin fusing helium rather than hydrogen, with a subsequent contraction and temperature increase.
The star has a surface temperature of approx 17,200K, and an absolute magnitude of 0.
The planet Ananda orbits at a distance of 1 AU. It is small a blasted cinder of rock, just 0.3 Earth masses, and much of the surface is molten due to the intense heat from Kong.
Next out is Phibun, a boiling hot-house with a dense, corrosive atmosphere. It masses 3.6 Earths, and the high surface gravity and extreme environmental conditions have precluded any useful exploitation. It orbits at a distance of 1.4 AU.
The gas giant Rama is the third planet, orbiting at 2.2 AU weighing in at a hefty 948 Earth Masses. It is orbited by three major moons (Sekothai, Lanna and Ayutthaya) and dozens of minor bodies. There is also a huge ring system.
Taxin is another gas giant, significantly lighter than Rama at 98 Earth masses. Unusually for a gas giant, it has no major moons, possibly because of it’s eccentric orbit which sees it move between 5.2 and 17.3 AU in distance from Kong.
The fifth planet, Mongkut, is a large ball of ice of 5.1 Earth masses, orbiting at a rough distance of 29 AU. It has a single small icy moon, Chakri, which is predicted to impact the surface at some point within the next 50,000 years.
There are various other dwarf planets extending into the outer system, none of more than 0.1 Earth masses. There is no Oort cloud, possibly vaporised and blown away during the intense radiation spike produced by Rama’s Helium flash eight MYA.
Rama orbits in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone of Kong – although as a gas giant it is incapable of supporting life itself, its moons are better suited to habitation.
The innermost moon is Ayutthaya, and as such is subject to immense tidal stresses. It experiences continuous and heavy volcanic activity. Although theoretically a source of heavy metals, its extremely volatile environment, and the very high energy cost of going so deep into Rama’s gravity well, preclude any attempts at exploitation. It has a mass of 1.3 Earths.
Lanna is the middle large moon, with a mass of 0.7 Earths. Although all indications are that it would be suitable for terraforming, it lies squarely in the middle of Rama’s massive ring system. Chunks of material ranging in size from minuscule snowflakes all the way up to Everest-sized ice mountains flash by its airless surface, and on average one thousand tonnes hits every day. In such a dangerous environment no spacecraft can hope to approach Lanna’s surface.
Sekothai is the outermost moon, and the only one to harbour life. It was originally an airless rock, blasted by stray cometary and asteroid material. Over time this resulted in a build-up of vast quanties of ice on it’s surface, but it was too cold for it to ever melt. However, once Kong left its red giant phase, this changed. The ice melted to form a moon-wide sea, with many thousands of archipelagos and millions of individual islands formed from the rims of its multiple overlapping impact craters. A thin carbon-dioxide atmosphere formed, but no life ever developed, and the planet continued in this state until the arrival of mankind. Sekothai has a mass of 0.9 Earths, and a surface gravity of 0.87 G