The planet Ohmel (G1/R2/A2/P1/H1) is a world caught in its final ice age. The planet follows a highly elliptical orbit, coming as close as 0.4 AU to Coulomb at perihelion but drifting out to a frigid 2.9 AU at aphelion. During its long sojourn away from Coulomb, Ohmel enters a deep freeze that lasts for three Earth years. As it approaches Coulomb again at perihelion, a short summer thaws the planet. During these months, Ohmel’s surviving species rouse themselves for a burst of growth, life, reproduction, and death. As the summer fails again, Ohmel’s simple plants and animals enter a hibernation far longer and deeper than anything known to Earth’s creatures. During the summer, humans can walk on the surface of Ohmel with nothing more than a warm coat and a breathing mask, but the depths of winter actually condense part of the atmosphere onto the planet’s surface. For most of the year, Coulombians live in domed habitats, supporting themselves with networks of surface greenhouses and subterranean hydroponic farms.
The capital of Ohmel is the trade port of Charlotte. It is the largest settlement in Coulomb, with a population of 15,000 people. Most offworlders soon discover that Charlotte is nothing more than one big company store, a city in which every business is owned by a member of the Ngongwe family.
A handful of other towns are scattered across Ohmel, ranging in population from a few dozen to a thousand or more. The total population of Ohmel is about 40,000.