Whistler is a main sequence G-type white dwarf located in the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way galaxy, approximately 7500ly from Earth. Its multiple habitable worlds and resource-rich bodies made it a target too perfect to pass up for the Lifeboat program. Lifeboat 5, christened Leif Eriksson, arrived in Whistler in AD 9649, also known as Whistler Year (wy) 0.
Planets & Notable Objects
Traeger is a small planet in an intensely close, tidally-locked orbit to Whistler. Named after Jolene Traeger, Chief Engineer of the Leif Eriksson, the small planet is unremarkable in composition, but astounding in one critical way: Traeger’s heavy atmosphere of sulphur, carbon dioxide, and argon, combined with its proximity to the star, creates the perfect cocktail for the natural creation of the Hydrogen isotope Tritium, which fuels Korolev drives. Harvesting the radioactive isotope naturally is exponentially cheaper than creating it in fusion refineries, and Tesla Energy operates several facilities on Traeger that provide the majority of the reaction mass used by spacecraft in The Reach.
Inner Belt & Hole
Whistler’s inner belt is rich in both heavy commodity minerals as well as some rare elements. This belt has been a key source of raw materials for spaceborne applications practically since the colony’s founding. Hole is a larger asteroid, roughly 700km in circumference that had been mined out early, then spun up for gravity and converted into a hub for mining operations in the belt. Zijin and Komatsu maintain a strong presence here, but Hole is administered by the Miners Union.
Named after the Leif Eriksson’s Navigator, Charles Simmons, Simmons the planet is a cauldron of tectonic and volcanic activity, which has essentially rendered its relatively mild atmosphere uninhabitable. The planet has one small moon, named Pershing by Simmons himself for reasons that are lost to history. Pershing is a wholly uninteresting, but stable rock with a thin, somewhat breathable (but nonrenewable) atmosphere. The Council has made the moon off-limits to civilians and maintains several research, development, and testing facilities there.
Named after the Tesla Energy scion who provided massive funding and material for the Lifeboat 5 mission, Musk and its four moons are nearly identical in that they have beautiful, temperate, breathable atmospheres, and deep oceans covering almost the entire surface teeming with all manner of life. The planet and its moons have become hubs for biological research and recreation, with several floating arcologies dotting the surface. The Council has allocated the moon Whye to HiGro-UTex and BioGen for the development of fisheries using genetic stock originally brought from Earth. The destruction of the native ecology of Whye is nearly total, but in exchange the moon has become a food basket for The Reach.
Whistler is the jewel of the Lifeboat project: an Earth-like world orbiting an Earth-like star at an Earth-like distance. The planet’s axial tilt creates warm southern oceans, an equator of vast deciduous forests and mountains, and a northern tundra. The temperatures are temperate, the atmosphere is perfect for humans, and even the vast array of life is relatively amino and protein compatible with that from Earth. After nearly six centuries on Whistler, the planet’s ecology has merged somewhat with the genetic diversity brought from Earth, and The Council has remained stringent about the human population always taking the long view of the planet as a permanent home and not reliving the sins of the past. While the planet is dotted with thousands of cities, farms, and corporate facilities, there are two metropolises: Stephen’s Landing, which was the original colony site, and the newer Skyward, which serves as the seat of The Council, commerce, and the newly-completed elevator up to Eriksson station.
There are numerous facilities in orbit, including Eriksson station (a massive orbital port constructed around the original colony ship) and the Phoenix Propulsion Labs naval shipyards, as well as on Whistler’s three moons.
Whistler’s fourth Goldilocks-zone planet, named after the inventor of the engine that got humanity to The Reach, is a post-hydrosphere desert with a chilly, breathable atmosphere, a variety of subterranean life (yes, there are sandworms), and with no discernible commercial value whatsoever. This has made Korolev a prime location for homesteaders, adventurers, and often criminals who want to live out of the watchful eye of The Council but don’t have the means or fortitude to settle in the outer planets. Hundreds of small settlements dot the planet’s rocky regions, each with their own customs and norms. The Council doesn’t recognize the sovereignty of any settlement on Korolev, and while rarely enforces the law, will not hesitate to pursue criminals, or, in one case, even bomb hubs of piracy from orbit. Korolev’s one moon is unremarkable, but does have a traveler’s aid station and a small naval garrison and listening post.
Named after Leif Eriksson planetary scientist Mao Chu Hua, Whistler’s sixth planet is extremely large for a rocky world with a crushingly-thick sulfuric acid atmosphere. While the technology exists to explore its surface, the expense is far too great. Two large moons stand out amongst Mao’s dozens of tiny satellites: Settlement was one of the first hostile-environment colonies in Whistler, chosen partially as a waystation due to orbital dynamics between Whistler and Feldman, and partially due to extremely rare mineral deposits in the moon itself. Slightly smaller than its sister moon, Tengliu is home to a joint research facility between Sagan Institute and BioGen.
Brin is the closest of Whistler’s gas giants, named after the Alphabet and AutoDoc scion who provided funding and primary research for the Lifeboat 5 mission. It has four large moons among its dozens of satellites, all of which are home to small commercial industrial endeavors.
Cartwright & Toussant
Cartwright and Toussaint – named after Leif Eriksson Chief Physician and Chief Environmental Systems Engineer respectively, are remarkable only in how identical they are. They are identically-sized icy bodies, with iron cores and seas of frozen nitrogen and nearly identical features. This has been a source of curiosity for generations of Whistler planetary scientists, but no one has a defensible theory about how such similarity could come about. There are a number of small research stations on each planet.
Leif Eriksson Executive Officer Martin Yang’s namesake is the industrial center of the outer planets. The gas giant is surrounded by two large moons and a resource rich belt. Trinity Station and Shipyards is a corporate city in orbit around Yang and produces ships, fuel, and refined materials for the outer worlds and some discerning clients further down the well.
Outer Belt, Freyr & Freyja
Whistler’s outer belt is a dense, resource-rich treasure trove of ice and raw materials. Like many resource rich bodies in Whistler, it’s been exploited by a multi-generational subculture of miners, eking out a living in the harsh environs. Two large mines, Freyr and Freyja have been spun up and provide hubs for commerce – though most of Freyja has been converted to a Council naval base after the uprisings on Demeter over a century ago.
Stephen Feldman was the Commanding Officer of the Leif Eriksson, and the last gas giant of Whistler was named after him not for the planet itself, but for its unique gem of a moon, a surprise and delight to the Lifeboat 5 exhibition. Feldman’s moon Demeter is a small Earth-like world shockingly far from the star. It is warmed by an uncommonly hot core and tidal forces from the planet, though planetary scientists insist the math simply doesn’t work and there must be additional factors. It is warm, wet, and thriving with tropical life possessing similar biological chemistry as that found in the rest of the system. It even has a tiny moon of its own, named New Luna due to its dusty and pockmarked appearance. Demeter was an easy early second colony for the new residents of Whistler, as well as the source of the colony’s first civil war. In the present day, The Council allows Demeter to self-govern, its sovereignty ending at the edges of its atmosphere.
Yama is a sizable asteroid that approaches Whistler every few hundred years. The Council has sent numerous probes to analyze the body, but all indications are that it is unremarkable. There is a fear it will eventually collide with Fuchs, but projections put that out several millions of years.