Ashensand is the second planet around Borodin A, one of the three stars in the Borodin system. It is held by the Alech Dominion and a mixture of a fortress world and an agri world. Its populace mainly live in bunker cities beneath the surface, but due to terraforming projects life has emerged on the surface. 

History

Ashensand, with a temperature of 1090 degrees Celsius, 700 from greenhouse effect, with no breathable atmosphere and tidally locked, was not an easy place to live. Even today it is blisteringly hot, and temperature is not the only reason Ashensand was such a difficult world to tame. Ashensand, as the name implies, has very fine, small, irritating sand and dust particles that are kicked up by any motion and can cause many problems in simpler technology, and sensor arrays in general. The atmosphere was 47.9% water vapor, 25.1% carbon dioxide, and 24% nitrogen. Because of the planet's thick atmosphere, it would have enough nitrogen to create an earthlike atmosphere and enough water vapor to make seas. The real issue would be oxygen. There were less than 1 ppm of oxygen in the planet's atmosphere. So how did the Dominion solve these problems?

The first stage was balancing the atmosphere. By siphoning trace amounts of oxygen from gas giants while slowly removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the planetary temperature went from over 1000 degrees Celsius down to around 300. However, this first stage lasted over fifty years, from 9997 to 10049. By the end, the atmosphere was suitable for plant life, but there were still problems. For one, how to turn down the heat further?

The planet was still far too hot for liquid water, necessary to get the water vapor out of the atmosphere to make the air breathable for humans and begin growing plants. The solution the Dominion ultimately came to was... unconventional. Like their later project on The Scolded Son, they built a thin semicircular dome in between the sun and the planet.

However, it was not a mirror or solar panel, but tinted glass, sourced from the planet's dwarf moons and sandy soil. This array, completed in 10455, allowed light to the planetary surface in a way that would allow plants who could survive within the right light frequencies to grow while still cooling the planet by reducing the impact of the sun's rays.

After both of these projects, the planet was finally cooled to an average temperature of 93 degrees. With this, seas began to form on the planet, and rain began to fall. Hardier flora like cacti were brought in, and the sand, through contact with the oceans and chemical treatments, began to form into more tightly packed soil. For a few centuries, colonists built their cities dug deep into the crust, to escape the heat and choking dust, but by the year 10767, the sunny side of the planet was mostly green. The dark side remained a dustbowl until 11453. In 11424, the populace of Ashensand funded an initiative to place a static mirror array in space off behind the planet to illuminate the dark side, to maximize its growing potential.

Despite this, most of Ashensand's populace still live in subsurface bunker cities. The farmers live on the surface, in plain view, not showing what's hidden beneath. In a way, this is part of the Dominion's defensive strategy for the planet. On the surface, the planet looks like a lush agri world with a fair hoard of food, tech, and prisoners to be taken for a relatively low cost. Any who would make such a mistake would very soon come to regret it.

Not unlike the ambush hatches of The Scolded Son's cities, there are hidden entrances to the subsurface complex everywhere. Describing the city as a complex is not an oversight- rather, over time, all the cities beneath the soil have merged into one beautiful, glowing subterranean maze. It serves its purpose well, for both tourists and the enemy could easily lose themselves here.

Astrographic Location

Ashensand, as part of the Borodin system, is located on the eastern fringe of the Saliac galaxy of the Dominion Stars cluster. This region of space is heavily populated, with almost every star system having multiple populated planets, and many systems with every planet being populated. It is the ancient heart of the Dominion, and a historic region that almost every able Dominion citizen will visit once in their life, to honor the past and see the apex of the empire.

Climate

The majority of the planet is comprised of rolling crop fields and sandy beaches or rolling dunes. Much of the planet has moderate rainfall, as there are large bodies of water close to much of its surface. The surface temperature is hot, around the nineties, but still berable, especially to those tht have lived there their entire lives. It has been terraformed by the Alech Dominion, and can now be considered an E-class world.

There are a few notable excerpts to the general climate of the planet- there are swamps in southern Puertele, mountains split by crags in Rifhte, and forests ring the southern pole, but these are the exception to the norm. There is almost no fauna on the planet, not even farm animals, as the Dominion has largely replaced farm animals with tank-grown meat.

Geography and Districts

Like with many of the Alech Dominion's terrestrial worlds, the continents of the planet often formed the basis of the districting of the planet once it came to have enough population, both because the varying climes of continents tend to attract people of similar mindsets and cultures to one another, and because using geographic borders is much easier on administrators and cartographers.

Sudente

Continent outlines and names.

Ashensand's surface as seen from above.

Sudente is the southernmost continent of Ashensand and wraps around the entire planet's south pole. There is a small ice cap on the south pole, surrounded by some of the only tundra and forest on the surface of Ashensand. Thsi and its largely agricultural area make it the most temperate region of the planet overall. The forests are made up of local variants of old terran flora, and the vast grasslands are almost entirely food crops. Sudente is the breadbasket of the planet, producing nearly half of its food. However, it also has the least precipitation. The crops are fed by pumping water up from underground, or harvesting water vapor from the atmosphere, plus occasional use of fertilizer. It has the largest population of any of the continents, but also the most land area. This means that there are a few large cities surrounded by endless fields of grain and corn interspersed with occasional smaller settlements. Sudente used to be the most harsh region of the planet, but it has been tamed by Dominion technology and turned into a productive and even sometimes beautiful place.

Sudente was also the birthplace of a man who would leave a dark legacy on the planet of Ashensand, the former planetary governor Alec Baldwin.

Splyntershore

Splyntershore is clearly named after its odd geographic formation, being a large peninsula connected by a tiny isthmus to Sudente. Splytershore today is second only to neighboring Puertele in wealth, being the site of long, idyllic beach shorelines. However, in the past it was not so prosperous.

Before the days that brought tourism to Ashensand as the need for war diminished, Splyntershore was the poorest continent on average on the entire planet. The soil, which looked fertile enough from above, was in reality only suited to fairly hardy flora. Splyntershore struggled to stave off famine as they tried to find crops that could sustain them in such low quality soil. However, there is an additional reason for Spylntershore's unexepected food shortages: It became a refuge. 

In a now shameful period of Ashensand's past, a planetary governor came to power named Alec Baldwin. Baldwin was an extreme conservative, and under his leadership changes came to the planet of Ashensand. In the year of 13012, Baldwin began to institute discriminatory laws against non-humans of the planet. There were protests, which were broken up repeatedly by riot police, and then more subtle attacks. Laws were changed to have loopholes in them that just so happened to allow aliens or political rivals of the governor to be evicted, or have harsher prison sentences for any crime.

There were those that opposed these measures. There was discontent in many of the districts, but the earlier violent suppression of riots had deterred many from speaking out publicly. Of Ashensand's districts, only two would reject the governor's orders. They were the Splyntershore and Rifhte. Those of the shore had long felt that the planetary government did not care about them, and they'd had to work hard to survive. When refugees came to them, fleeing the violence that had followed them, the Splyntershore offered refuge. The people there accepted harsh rationing and sharing of their hard-earned crop to help their fellow citizens of the Dominion.

When Baldwin's term ended, he was seeminlgy reelected in a landslide. Questions of whether or not the vote was rigged persist to this day, but what is known is that Baldwin had promised to crack down further on political opponents and aliens, and that the greater Dominion wouldn't come to help them. The Dominion was embroiled in a major war at the time, the famous Screk War to be precise. This, combined with a masterful propaganda campaign, kept details about what was really happening on Ashensand to a minimum, and the wider Dominion was not going to risk civil war or accusations of subverting democracy by deposing a governor based on rumors.

Fortunately, the government of the Splyntershore was alos on the oppressed's side. They partially mobilized their forces to deter Baldwin's men from attempting to forcibly remove the refugees from the continent. A cold war persisted for twenty years until Baldwin's death, when the world would once again become a democracy, though not before those loyal to Baldwin's ideals took Bunker-city Kerali by force in 13026, and had to be quelled. After the war, many refugees returned to their homes, and did not forget those who had helped them. Many sent gifts back to the families and government who had shelterd them, and the economic boom helped build the first hotels on the shore, which would prove massively lucrative and pave the way to the district's future.

Shallowsea

The Shallowsea plate sits beneath much of the sea it is named for, and is the least populated district of the planet. It is home to island resorts, a few small towns and cities that excel at fishing and shipbuilding, and little else but water. It's more expensive to stay here than on the Splynter, but the Shallowsea still remains welathy by appealing to the rich to come enjoy a sophisticated and isolated vaction, for a price.

Puertele

Puertele is the richest continent on the planet on average. It sits at the mouth of the planet's largest river, largest sea, and largest ocean. It is a massive trade hub and holds the second largest city on the planet, that being the continent's namesake, Puertele. It has beaches, but in the north they've mostly been covered by coastal city and in the south they're split by the delta of the Shallowsea Salient, and the climate is less comfortable, with more rain and higher temperatures. Much of the southeast of the district is actually swampy. The climate combined with the urbanization means that the locale is much less attractive to tourism, but that hasn't kept Puertele from prospering. At a nexus between the natural transit lanes, it needs to do little but exist to bring in the money.

Rifhte

Soaring up above the salted seas are giant sandstone cliffs, edifices that look like they could weather all the galaxy has to offer and never crack. High on this plateau, you will find a maze of crags and tiny canyons winding their way inexorably forward, until, after days of travel, you exit the ravines and feast your eyes upon a great city, secluded in the high hills and surrounded by rolling fields. This is the Rifhtereis valley, the home of the most secluded people on the planet. They have lived here, far from the outside, for centuries or milennia.

They had always been ostracized, a colony set up by a religious minority to avoid persecution long ago, and a haven for other refugees when their government under Baldwin once again persecuted the peaceful. They guarded the mountain passes into their home against the rabble that would kill their brothers for their species. By reputation and fear, they kept them from taking any more innocnet lives.

Rifhte sit upon the fastest land route between Puertele and the west, but they see little trade. The water routes are safer, less confusing, than ascending the rocks of Rifhte. They are an oasis in paradise soaring above the rest of the world, yet the crags above remind them that though they are above others, they are not above others.

Sydsand

Sydsand is the second in agricultural production and second in tourism. It is well populated and quite hospitable, but similarly to Sudente that population is spread out. There is little natural beuaty to be found here save the beaches. Not on trade routes and not centralized, the Sydsanders tend to be quiet, dutiful, hardworking folk, forgotten by many but crucial to the survival of the planet.

Hachek

Hachek is often known as the river district locally, as it is ringed on three sides by massive rivers and cut through by many of their smaller streams. It is a region that produces most of the more water-reliant crops of the planet, but they are known foremost as the best shipwrights of the planet. Their boats are sleek, slim, and quick, forming the basis for most of the trade fleets on the planet. They are not highly populated, but are still crucial to the planet's long distance trade.

Sliytsyrd

With the largest city on the planet, Sliytsyrd is only barely second to Sudente in population. It is a resting place for the trade ships that ply the northern ocean, but it is not in a particularly geographically advantageous position for trade. The truth is that Sliytsyrd is the largest city and planetary capital largely out of tradition. Early on, colonists landed on the northern side of the planet, so trade via the ocean was much more prevalent. The city of Nartega grew to be the largest on the planet well before the southern provinces rose to riches, but as time wore on the growth of population slowed, and then stagnated. Sliytsyrd has begun to lose population, as its main city is no longer nearly as viable to sustain. It has forayed into increasing agricultural production, with some success, and started to buy up land near Puertele, to try and establish a competitor sister trade city and reclaim the district's past prestige.

Great Sandy Ocean

The Great Sandy Ocean has the second lowest population on the planet, as there are only a few large islands spread across the breadth of the planet. There is only one major city, Nartole, built around the same time as Nartega. It has minimal tourism due to less beaches, more storms, and colder temperatures. Nartole only still prospers due to its function as the final fortress of Ashensand's surface, mostly empty, and isolated from the rest of the planet, even more so than Rifhte. It is the last redoubt of the planet.

Unique Fauna

Sand Drake

The Sand Drake is a mutation of the terran gecko. It is one of the only animals with a significant population in the wild on the planet. Sometime in the late 12000's, Alec Badwin's father, Jameson Baldwin, funded a research project to develop a lizrd that would naturally increase the soil quailty of the planet. The idea was questionable from the outset, and even more so in execution. Scinetists created giant lizards, meters long, in their efforts to create this madman's desired impossible creature. Eventually, one scientist, fed up with the program, released several lizards into the wild, and though they did not accomplish Mr. Baldwin's goal, the drakes were now almost custom-built to survive on Ashensand. The population exploded, and nowadays millions or billions of drakes still live beneath the sand of the dunes. They have recently become a nuisance, disrupting areas where farmers try to expand their fields or trying to access the tourist beaches and turn them into habitats. If a method of control is not found, they may be relegated to a tiny or perhaps extinct species.

Famous Landmarks

The Ashen Preserve 

A roughly 40,000 km piece of desert on the planet's sunny side that has no plant life or soil, only the planet's natural dunes, caves, and sedimentary rock canyons. One of the most famous canyons, Widow's Crevasse, was the location of a crashed alien starship, similar to another that was found buried in The Scolded Son's atmosphere.

The Crescent Coast

situated on the Shallowsea, it is one of the most popular resort destinations on the planet for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. With no dangerous wildlife and being so far away from active conflict, it's one of the closest places to paradise in the galaxy.

The Ancients' Home

A cave encampment made by one hundred Dominion survivors after their commercial starship exploded in orbit of Ashensand. When colonists came down a century later they found the ruins of a city. The most curious part is that the ruins seem to indicate there were at least four hundred people here at some point, but when the city was found none still lived. These people should not have had nearly enough food to survive this long, and yet they did, by constructing rudimentary hydroponics out of ship debris. The question, then, is what happened to them. Some bodies have wounds, other appear to have starved, but some of the hydroponics were still operable when found decades after the calamity. Even if there was a food shortage, what lead to the deaths of every single colonist? Our best guess is that their society collapsed completely into warring factions over a leader's death or food shortages, with nobody realizing how bad the problem had gotten until it was too late to fix it. In the end, we may never know.

The Lady of Lament

a monument to the civil war that took place in Bunker-City Kerali from 13026 to 13033. It is one of the few documented instances of civil war in the Dominion's history, and a site of national mourning. Anyone there is strongly encouraged to take a solemn moment to remember the fallen, their names listed on the statue's base, and the necessity of a unified purpose and goal for mankind.

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