Micah Control, this is the Beautiful Dreamer inbound from Ceres Station. We are 5,000 kilometers out, approaching on heading 275 mark 10 relative to your position. Do you copy, over?
Beautiful Dreamer, this is Micah Control. You are clear to approach. Please adjust your heading to 274 mark 9 and moor at buoy 5. You should be picking up a transponder signal now. Please transmit your crew and cargo manifest, as well as ship’s registry, then await further instruction. Welcome to Micah, Beautiful Dreamer. I hope you packed your long underwear. Micah Control out.
Micah is a stark, rocky world located in the Reaches. It is a barren place, save for a thin belt of grassland at the equator. Its polar regions are permanently locked in ice. There are no large bodies of water, except for a small, icy sea in the southern hemisphere. The gravity is .9g. The planet orbits Micah 414, which is a yellow-orange main sequence dwarf. This results in a low average temperature (12.7 °C) and long, dark winters.
Precipitation is rare (5 cm per year) and most vegetation is scrub brush, stunted grass or tenacious lichen that clings to the rocks. The atmosphere is rather thin, so any prolonged physical exertion will result in fatigue, shortness of breath and headaches. The world is independent, mostly due to its remote location and meager resources that no one covets.
Native animal life consists of insects that lurk in rocky crevices and a limited variety of small mammals. One creature in particular, the Micahn golden badger (Mellivora aurum), is prized for its dense, golden coat. Capturing the creatures can be dangerous, as the animals react with hostility to intrusions on their territory. Exobiologists have wondered how a creature so similar to Earth’s badger evolved on Micah, but no definitive theories have yet been developed.
The small sea supports aquatic life, but a thorough exploration of it has yet to be undertaken. Avian life is non-existent. Several years ago a small grazing animal was introduced on Micah. This stubby herbivore, called the rothe, feeds on grass and lichen and provides the Micahns with fresh meat.
The world is noteworthy because of the Micah Institute of Advanced Analytical Sciences, which is located in Meridian (pop. 250,000). The Institute is famous for its mathematicians and physicists who, in the absence of outside distractions, have turned their minds inward. The Institute educates promising post-graduate students and also supports itself by solving complex problems submitted to the university by off-world engineers, governments and corporations. Most Micahns are affiliated with the Institute in some way and rely upon it for a living.
Besides Meridian, there are very few inhabited areas. These smaller settlements consist of fishing and agricultural villages.
As a general rule, the citizens of Micah are subdued and quiet, more cerebral than vocal. Many settlers have chosen Micah as a home because it is far from the crushing throngs of citizens on Venus, Earth and Mars. They appreciate the wide open space and often resent intrusions from outsiders.
The board of trustees that governs the Institute also acts as the planetary government. Appointment to the board is possible only through selection by the chairman of the board and ratification by the other trustees. Most all of the board members are high-ranking Institute professors and administrators. Occasionally, an ordinary citizen of Micah might grumble about the lack of popular representation. Most people, however, accept the fact that Micah would be deserted without the Institute, so they defer to the board’s judgment.
There has been discussion as to whether or not Micah should apply for membership to the United Corporate Nations. This, of course, would require the Institute to re-form as a corporation. While the idea does have merit, many are concerned that membership in the UCN would require the academics to compromise their professional ethics to serve economic and political interests.
A small spaceport can be found above the planet. It is built upon the surface of an asteroid that was pulled into geostationary orbit above Meridian. The station manages traffic in and out of the system. It also facilitates the transfer of goods from cargo ships to the planet’s surface.
Generally, goods are transferred from a ship’s hold into specially designed containers that act as re-entry pods. The pods fall to the planet’s surface and are later launched back into space with rocket engines. However, this is only the case with bulk goods. Some cargo ships are capable of landing directly on Micah’s surface to unload their cargoes.
A spaceport can also be found on the surface of Micah. It manages the launch of the landing pods back into space, as well as loads and unloads cargo ships that are able to make planet-fall. The planet-side facility is located 5 km. outside Meridian. The Jialong Logistics Corporation operates both spaceports.
While violent crime is rare on Micah, there are incidents that do occur from time to time. Drinking alcohol is quite common as the winters are long, dark and depressing. To energize themselves, some citizens have taken to abusing stimulants to increase their energy and lighten their mood. Enterprising criminals have emerged to fill the growing chemical dependencies, much to the chagrin of local authorities.
In addition, Micah is a desirable location for some fugitives. Criminals with a even a modest work ethic can make a living by working on one of the fishing trawlers that navigate the cold, icy sea. Also, some individuals with a checkered past have purchased herds of rothe and golden badgers to raise and sell. These fugitives can be incredibly dangerous if they feel their secrets are at risk. Some bounty hunters come to Micah looking for outlaws on the lamb.
The planet’s government has hired the United Corporate Nations Police (UCNP) to advise them on the best ways to police their world. While the UCNP has been very helpful, many are worried that the law enforcement agency may be the toehold that the United Corporate Nations needs to exert influence over the Institute.
Because of the slightly lower gravity and thin atmosphere, humans born and raised on Micah have a few adjustments to their attribute scores. They will have a -1 penalty applied to their Physique scores and a +1 bonus applied to their Intelligence scores. These adjustments take into account the fact that physical exertion is not a common aspect of Micahn life and that there are abundant opportunities for education.
Most starting characters native to Micah will be Scientists or Technicians. A character living on Micah receives a bonus to multi-classing if they wish to learn a skill from the Scientist class. They pay 1,000 less experience than the values listed on Table 7 of the X-plorers rulebook.
For example: Arshia Rangarajan, who emigrated to Micah from Kerala, India, is a 3rd level Technician specializing in robotics. To advance to 4th level she needs 10,000 experience points. She wishes to learn the Science skill of a 1st level Scientist. Normally, she would need 4,250 xp to learn Science at 1st level, but due to her access to the Micah Institute of Advanced Analytical Sciences, she will only add 3,250 to the 10,000 she needs to advance to 4th level. Therefore, after earning 13,250 xp, Arshia will add Science 13+ to her character sheet, in addition to the increased benefits of being a 4th level Technician.
Finally, due to the planet’s thin atmosphere, Physique-based saving throws suffer a -2 penalty. This penalty can be negated by wearing a light respirator that Micahns use when outdoors. The respirators are small and cover the mouth and nose. A light adhesive that reacts to the sweat and oils in the skin ensures a snug fit. A respirator costs 50 credits.
Link to a rough map of the Beautiful Dreamer, the freighter from the introduction.