The Planet Trajan
Trajan is named after the Roman Emperor. Lennart Fels, the captain who first surveyed the system, had an historical interest in the Greco-Roman milieu and chose the name to represent the fact that this planet is the system's largest, as the Roman Empire was at its largest under Trajan's rule. Trajan was settled before Fels by the naturalist element of the explorers who found the overcast and damp environments invigorating. Lightning and thunder keep the skies in a constant booming flux and the ionised air was considered healthful for asthmatics and others suffering breathing disorders.
This was all well and good, yet its advocates oversaw some very fundamental shortcomings in the planet's settlement. Trajan has no indigenous animal life. Its only lifeforms of note are huge lichen-like growths and carpeting vetch-like plants. Meat either had to be introduced and husbanded or reproduced synthetically. Most of the native lichens and mosses were edible and nutritious but there was no denying it was a sorry diet for most people. Introduced herbivores found the plants inedible which presented further problems and expense in cultivating crops.
Another shortcoming was the planet's topography and features. There are no oceans on Trajan, only lakes and tarns…settlers were faced with a monotonous terrain of rock and lichen, eroded constantly by the ever-present rainfall and heavily humid air. It was, and remains, a place of bleak beauty; rocky crags and mountains illuminated by the bluish-grey cloud cover. Sunshine on this world does not exist. Nights are absolutely dark on Trajan save for the ever-present lightning. The permanent cloud cover keeps the planet's climate in near equilibrium. At the equator, Trajan averages 19°C and at the poles -24°C. It is a cool and moist world.
The greatest challenge to newcomers lay in the planets gravity. It is 1.23 Earth standard. People of small-boned structure or of slight constitution found Trajan overwhelmingly enervating. Despite the air's purity and quality, a small stroll from a base camp down to a lake, say a two kilometre walk, took on marathon-running proportions to the unfit and weak. Many settlers died of heart failure due to this.
The original exploration team naturally deserted this lugubrious world for the more Earth-like Fels. Twenty years after Trajan's discovery and initial settlement, most abandoned the stone-built bases and left behind the eternal thunder and lightning for the lighter gravity and warmer climes of Fels. Stubborn folk remained, and remain still, even 12,000 years after the Collision.
They are not numerous, numbering little more than 20,000, but they are doughty and muscular race, inured to millennia of high gravity and constant peals of thunder. Fels and the original explorers are long forgotten. To these isolated members of Mankind, they are gods on a grey world.
Odylicism is a rare thing to them and their lives are highly ritualised around the dawn and dusk, the light and dark. A select few have shamanistic abilities, able to “listen” to the patterns of the thunder and interpret these as divine will.
To the people of Fels, Trajan is but a glorious star in their night sky, much like Jupiter or Venus is to Earth folk. At opposition, Trajan is a magnificent -4 magnitude object. It is known, by those who care, to be a planet and Trajan is the name it is given by most folk. What this name means or its history, is naturally something long forgotten.