Winter is the third planet of the 14 001 Horologium System. It is notable for the arctic climate that prevails over 97% of its surface area and for the prolonged longevity of its human inhabitants.
Geography and ClimateEdit
Winter's land area is made up of the thirteen large landmasses divided by large seas. Many parts of the planet are mountainous or covered in glaciers. The valleys between the mountains are heated by geothermal vents and support most of the planet's land life.
Winter's orbit is nearly circular, and its axis is constant, there is no seasonal variation anywhere on the planet. Surface storms are rare, although blizzards and whiteout conditions occur at the higher latitudes.
Twice each year, the fourth planet, called Cardinal, passes within 400,000 kilometers of Winter. It is slightly larger than Winter, and the tidal forces open deep vents in the ocean floor. Heat from the interior of the core warms the ocean, and prevents the whole planet from becoming glaciated.
The planet rotates every nine-point-one-seven hours. There are only four hours of daylight and four hours of night in each cycle.The rapid rotation coupled with high concentrations of iron in the planetary core result in a very powerful magnetic field.
History and CivilizationEdit
Most of the planet's inhabitants arrived during the Eighth Crusade after fleeing a plague on the planet of New Hibernia. Their original destination was the colony of Fiddler's Green, but fearing an ambush by their enemies, they diverted to the Winter system.
The inhabitants observed that the planet's native flora and fauna had an unusual life cycle; they were born fully formed, they did not age, and they only died through predation or accident. They also noted that none of them who had come to settle on this world were aging. Decades went by and they were all the same age as they were when they landed. This is a consequence of the interaction of the planet's unique magnetic field with the human genome, which prevents the normal decay and breakdown of genetic structure.
That is the blessing and curse of Winter; you never age, but every day is a cold morning in winter. Also, prolonged life has led most of them to go insane.
Most of the inhabitants live on large agricultural estates or small coastal towns. Total planetary population is only a few hundred thousand. The largest settlement and capital is the town of Ultima Thule.
The inhabitants harness geothermal energy for heat and power to warm their homes and sustain their crops. They also make use of the planet's hydrocarbon deposits.