Just Past the Edge of the Empire
T0, E+2, R-1
Telios is an incredibly lush system; its primary planet is a tropical paradise that orbits equidistant from the two stars in its binary system leaving it with no arctic zones. The tropical climate allows plant life to flourish on Telios, and the harvests are always bountiful. Cities dot the landscape and the population has expanded far beyond what the planet would normally hold. Tens upon tens of billions of people now call the surface of the planet home. Telios Prime is also orbited by a water moon, Chel. While the atmosphere on Chel is primarily nitrogen and methane, the seas are pure and clean and several settlements rest on the crests of oceanic mountain ranges, three dozen metres below the surface. A species of kelp that gathers gasses into pods and floats at the surface is harvested and processed into a highly nutritious paste that is then shot down to the planet in magnetically impelled reentry vehicles. Telios Secundus suffers an eccentric orbit around the uppermost sun of the system and will veer far out into the dark areas of the system in its 60 year orbit. During those years, the planet is icy and without atmosphere, but during the five years that it is close to the sun, the ice melts forming a humid atmosphere, and the nitrogen rich soil allows those sent to it to harvest a century’s worth of food in a decade.
While all the resources for life are abundant, the resources for industry are not. Telios lacks any significant source of metal. The crusts of the planets contain next to no important mineral deposits, and there are no major asteroids from which to mine. Telios is utterly beholden to the empire for ships and any significant manufactured goods. In trade, Telios offers some of its bounteous food, but there is a resource far more plentiful that it can offer: human life. Life is cheap on Telios. Theorists believe that once a society begins pluralizing Tens of billions they tend to forget that a single life has value. Crime rates are high, especially in the large cities, and so the government will sell criminals to other systems. Slavery has been legal in the past, though the debate over the rights of the poor has been heating up in recent years.
Without the technology to conduct trade on their own, Telians rely on trading vessels from other systems. The few orbital platforms they have are constantly packed with slaves, criminals or refugees on their way out of system. The government has offered to conscript a full 1/3 of their population to assist in the war effort, but so far the logistics of transporting twenty or so billion people has stalled the proposal in committee. It is Telios greatest hope and its neighbors greatest fear that it will soon be able to slip the bonds that hold its burgeoning population in system and travel the stars, finding new planets on which to settle their teeming multitutde.
• There’s one of you and Ten (thousand) of us!
• Life rich, resource poor