The Great TML Landgrab

L'oeil d'Dieu

©2000 Robert O'Connor

(3010 Aramis/Spinward Marches)

B98A510-B N 502 G1V M9D

Notes [x] are at the end of the post.

L'oeil d'Dieu (Aramis 3010) [1]

UWP (1116) : B98A510-B N 502 G1V M9D
Behind the Claw : Class IV port, Control Rating 0, GTL 9

* System Data (FI)

System age 4 billion years.
Main contents 2 stars, 2 rocky worlds, 2 gas giants.
Stars :-

 Primary Cynosure, G1 V Secondary Momus, M8 V
 Temperature (K) 5960   2600
 Luminosity (sols) 1.36   0.001
 Mass (sols) 1.08   0.063
 Radius (AU) 0.0108   0.0014
 Stable life 7.94 billion yrs   > 100 billion yrs
 Orbital Distances (AU) Companion  
 Inner limit 0.21 Avg. orbit radius 8 AU
 Inner life 1.108 Eccentricity 0.05
 Outer life 1.516 Revolution period, years 21.77
 Snow line 5.83    
 Outer limit 43.2    

Worlds :-


 Orbit Name  Diameter Density Gravity Rotation Revolution e World Type
 0.42  Mauvais Pas 4500 4.2 0.43 tl 95.67d 0.02  Rockball
 1.22 L'oeil d'Dieu 8798 5.2 1.04 15.10h 473.62d 0.02 Ocean
  4 Speck 60 3.0 4.1e(-3) tl 11.56h 0.03 Rockball
  6 Ullage 20 4.3 1.9e(-3) tl 21.23h 0.01 Rockball
 2.02 Nemesis 36000 1.4 1.15 16.27h 2.76y 0.05 Gas Gt.
  <5 4 shepherd moons              
  9 Styx 3000 2.6 0.18 tl 1.92d 0.03 Rockball
  13 Lethe 200 3.2 0.015 tl 5.44d 0.02 Rockball
  16 Niobe 1000 3.0 0.068 tl 7.42d 0.02 Rockball
 [8] [Momus]              
 26.02 Etranger 43500 1.0 0.99 14.44h 127.71y 0.08 Gas Gt.
  <5 10 shepherd moons, large ring system            
  7 Cocteau 200 2.1 9.6e(-3) tl 2.54d 0.03 Iceball
  10 De Beauvoir 500 1.9 0.02 tl 4.34d 0.02 Iceball
  12 Sartre 2000 2.0 0.09 tl 5.70d 0.02 Iceball
  15 Camus 1000 2.2 0.05 tl 7.97d 0.02 Iceball
  17 Marcel 100 3.0 6.8e(-3) tl 9.62d 0.02 Iceball
  >20 5 minor planetoids              

Unitage for the table above :-
Orbit is in AU or planetary radii for satellites
Diam = diameter in miles (X 1.609 for km)
Dens = average density in g/cc
Grav = 'surface' gravity in G's
Rot/Rev = rotation or revolution period in hours (h), days (d),
or years (y) ; tl = tide-locked
e = orbital eccentricity
Type = G:Space/FI classification

The Imperial Navy base (pop. ~10000) is predominantly located around Nemesis due to this world's proximity to the 100 diameter limit. Surface facilities are based entirely on Styx. Refueling in Nemesis' atmosphere can be arranged after consultation with naval traffic control. There are two squadrons of system defense boats maintained by the Navy - the other is based at Ullage.

Mauvais Pas, Nemesis and Etranger are comparatively unremarkable examples of their respective planetary types. Deposits of nitrogen and oxygen ice up to five metres in depth can be found on the night side of Mauvais Pas. The ring system of Etranger is comparable to that of Saturn in the Sol system. None of the gas giant moons exhibit active geology.

* Mainworld Data

Mass : 1.28 earth
Apparent day length : 15.12 hours
Axial Tilt : 19.84 degrees
Atmospheric pressure : 1.5 atm
Atmospheric composition : nitrogen 82%, oxygen 17%, others 1%
Hydrographics : 99%, water oceans
Albedo : 0.32
Greenhouse effect : 0.22
Average surface temperature (G:Space) : 302 K (Warm)
Weather factor : 16 (Earth=10, so less stable)
Life : complex animals, max IQ 5 (no primate/cetacean equivalents)

Moons: 2 small

Name Orbit Diameter Density Gravity Mass Rotation Revolution e Tidal
Speck 4 60 3.0 4.1e(-3) 2.4e(-7) tl 11.56h 0.03 4.1e(-4)
Ullage 6 20 4.3 1.9e(-3) 1.25e(-8) tl 21.23h 0.01 1.9e(-6)

Tidal : G:FI tidal factor
Other unitage as per world table, above.

* Geography

L'oeil d'Dieu is tectonically active, with the crust broken into fifteen main plates. The roughly 2.4 million square miles (6.2 million sq. km) of land present are the peaks of several underwater mountain chains which dominate the main shelf areas, or regia [Foi, Espoir, Caritas, Justitia, Fortitudo, Prudentia, Continentia, Auxilium, Trinité].

About 40% of the ocean is less than 200m deep, an ideal environment for large-scale aquaculture. Considering the planet as a whole, the average depth is 2 km (qv. 4km for Terra).

The dense atmosphere and oceans act as a very good heat trap ; so even though L'oeil d'Dieu receives only 91% of the insolation of Terra, it is much warmer, on the average. Local weather is harsh, due to the lack of landmasses, large shelf areas, and the other factors mentioned above. Storms when they occur are large and persistent (hurricanes lasting for two or more weeks in the summer are relatively common!).

* History

1. Beginnings
The system was claimed by a group of Francophile Terran Revivalists in 302. They saw great potential in the thriving ecology of L'oeil d'Dieu's oceans, as well as the mineral deposits around plate boundaries.

After an exhaustive (and exhausting) ten year survey of the system and L'oeil's shelf areas, the first permanent settlement, Olympia, was established on the Espoir Regia, in and around Ile d'Aurore (Mt. d'Aurore being the highest peak at some 5000m above sea level). Over the ensuing years, numerous forms of local life were farmed or carefully harvested.

Export of live plants and animals, as well as pre-made dishes drawn from the best of the rapidly evolving local cuisine, were exported throughout the adjacent sectors. Within a century, L'oeil d'Dieu was one of the Marches' breadbaskets, with a population in the tens of millions and a booming economy.

2. The Bubble Bursts
Despite the obvious rewards of scrupulous ecological management, a group of dissenting corporations tried to enhance productivity by introducing some 'promising' off-world plant and animal species into L'oeil's oceans. Surviving records suggest that this occurred in about 417.

The 'Ecocalypse' commenced in 450. A combination of disturbance to food chains and deranged nutrient cycling finally entered a critical phase. The worst fears of those aware of the gradual decline in mariculture yields over the preceding two decades were realized.

Within ten years, nearly 70% of the species present at the time of settlement were extinct.
Everyone who could leave the system did ; the economic shockwaves spread, leading to a surge in food prices throughout the Marches and the ruin of the locally based cartel which coordinated the planet's external trade.

The Imperial Navy facility dates to this time - military intervention was required to contain and minimize the disorder associated with the disaster. L'oeil was interdicted by the Navy. A bitter civil war flared, eventually sputtering out in 519 due to the fatigue of the belligerents. The IISS Amber Zoned the system in 527.

3. Order Returns
By 587, the population had fallen to about 30,000. The remaining families decided to put aside their differences and rebuild. To present a united front to the Imperium, the Co-operative (a council with membership drawn from the senior members of each family) was founded in 617.

Its first actions were to apply to the IISS to have the system Green Zoned and to tender for finance for reconstruction. Sharushid LIC made the most attractive offer (which caused some consternation in financial circles at the time, as this megacorporation isn't known for this sort of investment). This agreement was ratified in 628.

By 930, the local ecology was on the road to recovery. Cloning of off-world zoological/botanical collections, as well as state of the art ecoremediation techniques, began to yield dividends.

* Government

The Co-operative is made up of two councils, one of which has executive and judicial functions ; the other is legislative. Councilors are drawn from the senior members of the top 20 families (as determined by their level of business activity). Each councilor generally serves for life, and appoints his or her replacement unless illness or insolvency prevent this.

To prevent a repeat of the events leading to the Ecocalypse, the council families are required to keep their financial dealings completely transparent ; records are to be available on demand, and any significant transaction must be recorded or teleconferenced. The legislative council doesn't do very much. Beyond rules establishing minimum safety standards for habitats, environmental legislation and the Constitution of the Co-operative, the corpus of planetary law is small.

* Economy

Population 523,000 (includes Naval personnel)
WTN : 4

All interstellar trade is conducted through Sharushid as per the treaty of 628. Visiting vessels must berth in the Speck traffic control zone. There are a series of facilities in and around Speck, primarily dedicated to cargo handling.

Visiting L'oeil's surface is discouraged, due to the possibility of introducing some biohazard. Everyone on the planet can be contacted more or less instantly from Speck, anyway - and the weather makes it a less than ideal tourist destination. If travellers have the patience or need to put up with the quarantine procedures, they can ride a cargo lighter down to the planet.

The surface element of L'oeil's starport is 160km away from Olympia, at Cousteau. It is a large semi-automated facility. Olympia is the planet's main population center (50,000), with approximately 200 other settlements scattered over the other regia. Regular submarine and speeder services exist between the communities.

There is an extensive fiber-optic communications network, as well as a sonar based emergency signaling system. Radio and laser/maser uplinks are also based in storm sheltered facilities on some of the mountains.

L'oeil d'Dieu's primary export is foodstuffs, in various levels of preparation. Other products include diving suits, underwater lighting, sensor and life support systems, submersibles, computer software (e.g. climate and current modeling) and diagnostic test kits (e.g. rapid analysis of solutions). The latter are produced by small family concerns, usually to custom specifications - expensive, but of high quality.

* Culture

The years of association with Sharushid have weakened the Revivalist movement. L'oeil's citizenry is well educated and relatively cosmopolitan ; while Anglic is the official language, French (?Franglais?) and Vilani are also spoken. However, the fear of contamination or contagion tends to feature in all interactions with outsiders. While mask and glove wearing is rare, fastidious hand washing and segregation of natives and off-worlders while eating is not.

There is a small undercurrent of guilt about the events of the Ecocalypse ; but in public, the prevailing attitude is pride (which some outsiders might find excessive) in their ability to survive and flourish in the wake of a major extinction event. The most important holiday periods celebrate the Treaty of 628, the founding of the Co-operative, and the establishment of Olympia.

* Recent History

The Co-operative has been approached by an increasing number of other businesses over the last twenty years (1095-1115). So far the council has abided by the Treaty. This situation may not last. Much of the profit from the sales of L'oeil's exports has gone into Sharushid's coffers, to meet the cost of ecological reconstruction and the centuries of accumulated interest.

Some of the families not on the council believe that the debt to Sharushid has been paid off years ago. Business is booming ; is it time to break Sharushid's monopoly?

* Notable Creatures

Three of L'oeil's principal exports are described below.

i. Niknak
This is a small mollusk-like filter feeder in a spiky shell ; adults get up to a pound in mass.
Niknak are farmed like oysters in special racks, and can be harvested every four to six months.

ii. Whiptail
The whiptail is a highly agile crustacean-like pack hunting carnivore, with twelve legs, the front two pairs developed into pincer claws. Each leg pair is associated with a particular body segment (like a centipede rather than the head-thorax-abdomen plan typical of earthly
Crustacea). Despite its diet, the animal is rather tasty. A difficult animal to farm, whiptails tend to be penned in mariculture areas and hunted rather than harvested when they attain maturity at twelve months of age. Yearling whiptails are usually about ten to twelve pounds.
Some old (five to ten years of age) specimens have broken the forty pound mark.

iii. Flailfish
The mainly herbivorous flailfish has a mass of tentacles for a head, and a the sleek swimming body of a barracuda or pike. Most of the native vertebrate life on L'oeil have this unusual body plan. Young take three years to reach adult size (about thirty pounds). In captivity, flailfish can live up to twenty standard years and attain sizes in excess of one hundred pounds. Flailfish are relatively easy to farm, but will readily pine away and die without company. They are never found in anything less than a group of at least two dozen under ordinary circumstances.

GURPS stats :-


 Animal ST DX IQ HT Speed/dodge PD/DR Damage Reach Size/Mass
 Niknak 1 1 1 15 sessile/o 1/1 nil nil ~1hex/1
 Whiptail 2 14 3 16 12/6 1/1 * C 1 hex/10
 Flailfish 4 12 2 15 14/7 0/1 ** C 1 hex/36

* - small claws ; thrust/crushing damage
** - Slam attack only

* Notes

[1] L'oeil d'Dieu is French for 'the eye of God'. "L'oeul" is a _very_common spelling error (there's apparently no such word as 'oeul').  Vowel drift over the next 3 millennia is another possibility <g>.

Robert O'Connor
Medico, Gamer