Worldbuilding/Setting Info for Boden
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the Calespin star system and how its people got there
This public article was written by pachelbel, and last updated on 28 Jan 2018, 00:12.
5. Bodin IdiomsBoden is the one inhabited planet in what would become known as the Calespin system once the Bodin people rediscovered spaceflight and rejoined the intragalactic community. Clespix, its sun, is a red giant star; there is also one uninhabited planet, Sennix.
The two planets in the Clespix system are similar physically. They're about the same size - both substantially smaller than Earth, but denser (big cores, plus generally higher metal content in the mantle and crust), so their gravity works out to approximately 1 g anyway. Neither had much of an atmosphere before terraforming - not a whole lot of volatiles in their makeup to start with - but once terraformed, their strong magnetic fields meant the added atmosphere was there to stay. Boden is firmly in the habitable zone, slightly warmer than Earth. Sennix is farther out, on the edge of the habitable zone, to the point where even with targeted terraforming it was still several degrees colder than Earth on average. So Boden was preferentially settled, even though both planets had comparable amounts of natural resources.
Boden orbits at about 10 AU, with an orbital period of 27.75 Earth years (or 35.86 Calespin epochs). Its day/rotation period is around 26 hours; its axis is minimally tilted and seasons are not really a thing. Since the orbital period is too long to be a useful measurement of time for anything less than a generation, and Boden has no moons, the modern standard Bodin calendar is based on powers of two, with a 256-day shedra ("epoch", ~277 Earth days) made up of 8 32-day mastsu ("sub-epochs", ~34.7 Earth days, singular mast). 16 shedrasu make a tonakh or "sedecade". None of these time periods sync up to Boden's orbit at all.
Boden's sister planet, Sennix, orbits at ~14-15 AU with a period of ~46-51 Earth years. In the millennia since its terraforming, it has cooled down to the point where the added atmosphere has mostly frozen into a bright icy crust. When it is on the night side of Boden in its orbit, its magnitude varies from ~+1.4 to ~+1.8, so it's visible to the naked eye when it's up at night, but not super notable (aside from moving very gradually against the star background). In the daytime it is not visible.
Sennix is visible for ehhh around 10-12 Earth years/13-16 epochs out of every 60ish Earth years/80ish epochs, except not quite that easy to predict because its period is not exactly twice Boden's. Anyway, it's visible some sedecades and not others. There are probably legends and stuff around it.
There have been a lot of apocalypses on various scales during the history of galactic colonization, but what smacked Boden specifically back to the stone age, to the point where technology passed into myth for centuries and people had to redevelop/discover everything from scratch, was a fast-spreading electronics plague. Not a virus or anything else digital - a silicon-based microorganism that metabolized several common metals, was hard to kill, and spread (and mutated) quickly. This was one of Boden's few natural life forms, spreading out of control in the newly terraformed environment. It took them ages to figure out what was happening, why the wiring in...well, in everything computerized...seemed to be rusting so fast, and by the time they worked it out, it was everywhere.
So yeah, technological apocalypse, but also every time they tried to rebuild it fell apart without communication and stuff, and meanwhile the small mining colony on Sennix just all died. And they also could not build spaceships, or basically anything that required any of the vulnerable types of metal. The system was quarantined, and all the other systems in the region were embroiled in a long, ugly war, so they didn't really have the time or money to care about one small independent colony.
Over many years, the organism ran out of surface food, burnt itself out and died off mostly. People learned to avoid the city ruins and mine metal from the previously untouched and uninhabited lands where they now lived. The ruined cities, still holding pockets of contagion, were forbidden lands for centuries since going there and coming back could bring the metalpest.
By the time the quarantine ran out, it had been centuries, and the civilization was marked as not technologically advanced enough to resume interstellar contact.
Anyway, they eventually built new civilizations and were at sort of a feudal medieval era when they had their renaissance/enlightenment era equivalent. By this point, the cities had been left alone for so long that all the edible metal was gone and all the metalpest had died out completely. This was discovered by people going back to the cities, dismissing the myths of bad luck/ruin/the gods' wrath/whatever as Old Myth that we are Too Modern To Believe. (the idiots got lucky this time.) They found some, albeit very rare, written records and books, and lots of the decaying plastic cases of former technology (holding the rusty dust of whatever wiring they once contained), useless but showing what it was once meant to do.
This sped their technological development - communications, transportation, food cultivation, scientific understanding - up a lot. Like, renaissance/enlightenment europe learned a lot from the ancient Greeks and Romans' technology and culture - the Bodin people were relearning the ancient knowledge of people with interstellar spaceflight. So within a couple generations they've reindustrialized, they have intrasystem spaceships and there are plans for a new colony on Sennix even, but their society hasn't caught up. So they still have these sharp class divisions and stuff which are only just starting to break down as more people rebel against them.