T-1, E0, R+2

Alhelder is a green, verdant world with a large population. The only other planet in the system is an ice world, actually a conglomeration of comets that were trapped by a super-dense rogue planetoid that was caught by the gravity of the sun and began a wide orbit, clearing out the Oort cloud that surrounded the system. Now it is a very giant ball of very dense ice surrounding a core of Neutronium that orbits at extreme distance from the sun. Because of the changes the planetoid created in the gravity dynamics of the system, the sun has adjusted it position due to the gravity, and Alhelder was moved into the habitable biozone and has aligned itself directly between the two. In the billion years since the system stabilized, life has flourished on Alhelder. The second planet holds massive resources waiting to be tapped, but the extreme gravity presents unique challenges. The inhabitants of the system have no idea of the wealth that orbits just beyond the range of their optical telescopes.

The initial colonists did not anticipate the presence of so strong a gravitic anomaly at the edge of the system and crashed into a shallow inland sea. Because Alhelder is under two strong sources of gravity, the tidal forces at work are very strong and very frequent. At dawn and at dusk the inland sea that the ship crashed in would be almost drained, revealing the upright spire of the lodged ship. Settlement spread from the shores of the sea, and within a few generations a religion formed around the “Ship Priests,” those who made pilgrimages to the crashed ship to salvage technology. Those who returned would join the clergy and work to understand the devices they had retrieved. Services would be held at dawn and dusk venerating the ship and the holy devices that it gifted to its followers.

Two decades ago, long after atomic power had been gifted to the people from the glorious will of the ship, the society had advanced to the point where it could reassemble the great computers from the brain of their god. The priests had long said that the god-brain was the first step to returning to the stars. A great ceremony was arranged and millions came to see the activation of the most holy of technologies. At the moment that the high priest threw the switch, a minor seismic event shifted a fault near the ship and it fell from its upright position with a crash, nearly disappearing below the water. The crowd rioted, and driven by what they perceived as the anger of their god tore the computer, and the priests who had had the hubris to create it, into pieces. Since that day, all digital technology has been expunged from the face of Alhelder. Analog devices are abundant, and great advances are being made in transportation and aeronautics under the careful guidance of a new generation of Ship Priests, but aspirations of space flight have been quashed and all progress is bent towards restoring the favor of the god-ship so that it may once again right itself and show its majestic profile at dawn and dusk.


• Tech-Cult theocracy
• Digital ban


Just Past the Edge of the Empire ben_marlin