As far as most humans are concerned, the system’s innermost planet, Delphin, is a fine example of the worst elements of planetary evolution. Tendril is a hot F1 star; at a mean distance of only 80 million kilometers, its planet Delphin is a scorched and irradiated chunk of metal. The planet’s steady rotation and moderately thick atmosphere allow the entire planet to experience Tendril’s warm gaze. Indeed, while the planet retains an atmosphere, its extreme heat and poisonous atmosphere make life here nearly unbearable. The high radiation makes most pilots think twice before landing, especially during the Bum. Buried deep below the surface, heavy metals might lure desperate miners if the Cyra Belt didn’t present an easier target.
There’s really nothing on Delphin’s surface but sand. And the sand makes overland travel extremely treacherous. Delphin is known for its wild sandstorms, with winds frequently reaching speeds of 450 kph. That’s fast enough to flay skin and hurl men and weren alike from one sand dune to the next. It also reduces visibility to zero. If that weren’t enough, volcanic rifts and seas of iron carbonyl make Delphin the sort of world that no sane sentient would visit.
More than a few have accused Dr. Andrew Tofske and the Delphin Development Division of insanity, but the bleak outlook for successfully transforming the planet hasn’t stopped a group of terraformers from setting up camp in a station called Land’s End. Arriving with the recent wave of Arriver ships, the terraformers have been hard at work trying to make Delphin a nice place to live-in a dozen generations or so, of course. It’s one of the most daunting terraforming efforts that has ever been tried, and many question StarMech’s good sense in attempting it. But today Dr. Tofske’s scientists are busy creating all kinds of arid-loving, radiation-resistant fauna for the eventual blossoming of the desert world.
Dr. Tofske, the station’s technical administrator, is a brilliant scientist known throughout the Stellar Ring for his success in overcoming atmospheric problems in the Iridis system. After winning numerous awards for terraforming Iridis in record time, Tofske has found in Delphin an even greater challenge. Although a citizen of the Union of Sol, he is contracted to StarMech for the next five years to oversee the first steps in the terraforming of this planet. It’s said that Chelsea Krest and StarMech are mostly interested in Dr. Tofske in order to learn the latest Solar planet-altering techniques, and may be simply Indulging Dr. Tofske’s whims in exchange. Still, Dr. Tofske shapes the research priorities of Delphin’s terraforming, leaving the administrative and security work to Liam Pelles and Katherine Gariss.
Liam Pelles (Mm/StarMech/CS-9) recently resigned from the Concord Marines to take a job as head of security for Land’s End, and he has retained the respect of those he left behind. A brilliant tactician, he has plenty of surprises awaiting anyone foolish enough to make trouble on his station. Still, the fact that he’s on the station makes many wonder what’s so important on Land’s End.
StarMech has responded only that many samples collected from Delphin are quite valuable (from a scientific point of view). Protecting the 350 inhabitants on the base from harm is an important job-they’re mostly scientists, and not very good at defending themselves. While that may be true for the majority of the scientists, nearly two dozen of those living on the station have served in various military branches within the borders of the Stellar Ring. Pelles’s security force has likewise received special training.
Katherine Gariss (Hf/StarMech/DFA-12) is a bright young lawyer who successfully prosecuted many war criminals at the Galactic Court before arriving at Land’s End. Depending on which story one believes, Gariss has been assigned here be-cause of her overzealousness or because of her effectiveness. It’s certainly true that the Thuldan Empire army and navy loathe her for her successful prosecutions of their officers on war crimes charges. StarMech may have transferred her to the Verge to make it easier to deal with Thuldan diplomats back in Old Space. Her title at Land’s End is chief administrator, and her work is largely bureaucratic.
Unbelievable as it may seem, Delphin’s bitter environment has produced several higher life forms. Today, stories and sightings provide barroom gossip at every station in the system. While every Independent expedition sent into Delphin’s sandy wastes has returned empty-handed, reckless miners and travelers near the volcanic rift valleys claim to have witnessed everything from rock creatures striding over the radioactive dunes to swirling masses of air coalescing to attack intruders. No evidence of these creatures has ever come to light, and they may simply be tall tales of the frontier.
The twin moons of Delphin share few traits with their parent. Both are extremely hot-sometimes even molten-with high surface radiation. Neither Demimonde nor Alimonde has an atmosphere.
While neither moon presents any scientific curiosities, Alimonde, the more distant moon, holds an old solar research satellite locked in its orbit. Anything of value has long since been stripped from the old observatory, hut it has remained in stable orbit.