Pirx Prime, commonly referred to just as Pirx, is a colonized plantet located in the Pirx system. Covered in a jungle of towering, exotic plant life, Pirx is closer to unexplored space than it is to most other colonies. Pirx has suffered from this disconnect, with few corporate investors and fewer immigrants. As such, most of the planet remains unexplored. With both a resurgence in exploration policies and newfound reasons for planetary investment, Pirx has found itself rapidly thrust into a position as both a sort of supply and fuel stop for government and corporate vessels as well as the home of a new Expeditionary Corps installation. The long-term neglect and then sudden exploitation has fostered a bitter attitude towards the Sol Central Government and the EC in many Pirxians.
Pirx, and its largest planet, Pirx Prime, was first visited by explorers from the Terran Commonwealth just prior to its collapse. The mission was led by four officers: Hiram Peshman, Aki Iamoto, Eliza Ruzciak, and Dierks Xandersen. The system was named by taking the first letter of each of their last names.
The exploration team performed multiple scans of Pirx Prime, and it was immediately recognized as a point of marked colonial interest; despite its hostile atmosphere, the planet had fresh water, survivable temperatures, and a biosphere filled with massive amounts of undiscovered xenofauna and flora. Upon returning to Earth, it was promptly added to a database of planets to colonize.
Colonization efforts were put into place just a decade before the reorganization of the Commonwealth into the Sol Central Government, with colony ships landing at the southern end of the planet’s Yuodu Plateau in 2201. As a member of the Sol Central Government, it was left relatively high and dry by the human core until it was discovered to be fuel rich in the late 2270s. Pirx is one of the few frontier worlds to actually remain in contact with the Sol Central Government, making it a valuable launchpad in the search for lost Commonwealth colonies.
Pirx Prime is a wet, temperate world, covered in a diverse, sprawling forest that spans most of the planet's northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, Pirx Prime has an extensive plateau covered in prairie-land known as the Yuodu Plateau; on the northern edge of the plateau lies a river-carved canyon, which has been tented over with a pinkish borosilicate synth-fiber to create a sizeable pocket of human-friendly air. Within this tent is Pirx Prime's capital city, the aptly named Yuodu City. Joining the Youdu Plateau in the southern hemisphere is the Denkao Sea, a massive crater lake born from an ancient impact on the planet's surface, comprising almost a quarter of the planet's area.
Pirx Prime's soil is nitrogen rich, which supports the planet's expansive biodiversity. There is no saltwater in any considerable quantity on the planet's surface – the freshwater Denkao Sea is the planet's largest body of water, and most of the salt content on the planet is found in the Yuodo Plateau. The remainder of the planet's water is found in temperate wetlands near the north and south poles, in streams and rivers, and in other large bodies such as Lake Jessica and Lake Patton, both in the northern hemisphere.
Pirx Prime's atmosphere is rendered unbreathable by humans due to a large quantity of xenon gas, but the planet's orbit and ozone layer keep pressure and temperature within human-survivable levels – save for the poles, which get even colder than those on Earth due to their skewed elevations and lack of rain.
One last point of note about Prix Prime is its planetary ring – likely formed in the meteor collision that created the Denkao Sea, the ring is rich in hydrogen and contains trace amounts of phoron. With this ring, Pirx Prime is a phenomenally lucrative spot in regards to ship fuel.
Flora and Fauna
Pirx is home to a myriad of native plants and fungi, as well as a sizable population of imported animals.
The tallest plants in the jungles of Pirx are called Basking Trees, or, casually, “celery trees”. These tall, stiff stalks of plant matter are unlike trees as they have no bark, and instead are made up of thick strands of plant matter that jut straight upwards, with the tallest reaching well over a hundred feet. The tops of Basking Trees are made of broad, flat leaves.
Other plants native to the Prixian jungles are the Pine Stalks, a bamboo-like shoot that grows a massive root network and is covered in thin, sharp needles. These needles are barbed and incredibly sharp, and have often pricked unaware explorers. Pine Stalks are also known for their sweet scent.
On the prairies of the Yuodu Plateau, the landscape is dominated by the thick, bluish Pirx Grass, which is not a grass at all but rather massive swathes of a large, single biomass, with single plants developing root networks that can cover almost a kilometer in area.
Alongside Pirx grass, many flowering plants pop up on the prairies, such as the famously sweet Orange Pirx Flower, or “Ion Flower”, which is best known for flavoring the soda Ion-Bru.
In the myriad of biomes found under the surfaces of Pirx’s fresh bodies of water, mosses, algae, and lichens dominate the landscape. Massive bubbles of symbiotic algae and fungi called “Pirx Pods” float across the surface of the Denkao Sea, often two meters across and almost perfectly spherical when suspended in water.
Most of Pirx Prime’s native fauna is microscopic, with the one notable exception being the Pirxian Isopod, or “Glassdugger'' as referred to by local Pirxians. Glassduggers are small, ten-legged arthropods with thick shells that have a quartz outer component. Glassduggers live exclusively in the rivers, streams, and ponds of the northern hemisphere, and are usually found under rocks consuming dead plant matter on the riverbed.
Human-imported flora and fauna are mostly confined to the Yuodu City tent system and to greenhouses scattered around the planets frontiers. Despite this, they make up a considerable amount of the planet's biosphere. Insects have been a staple of Pirxian life since colonization, and are regularly farmed as a source of both protein and honey. Grains such as wheat and barley are also commonly farmed in the planets many greenhouses, but not in any capacity that would make the planet agriculturally significant to the outside worlds.
As a frontier world, Pirx has a considerable amount of disconnect from the core worlds. Though ZAC is the official language of the Yuodu City Administrative District, there are communities on Pirx that speak all the old languages of the Solar system.
Those who speak Zurich commonly do so with the “Pirxish” dialect, which famously slurs and contracts words, being spoken much faster than core-world Zurich (oftentimes to the dismay of outsiders).
Its distance from Sol has led many Pirxians, especially outside of the cities, to avoid relying on imports. Agriculturally, Pirx is mostly known for its apiary industry, with imported bees becoming important pollinators in the biosphere created under the Yuodu City tent system. Pirx’s nitrogen-rich soil and lower gravity have created conditions where insects can grow to over double their standard sizes, and so bees, ants, and isopods are often used as protein substitutes in Pirxian cuisine.
Aside from honey, Pirx’s nitrogen-rich soil allows the production of large amounts of grains; corn, wheat and barley are grown both under the tent and in the many greenhouses surrounding Yuodu city, and bread as well as other baked goods (oft-incorporating honey) are staples of the Pirxian diet.
Although Pirx does not export food in any large-scale capacity, they've re-entered the export scene in the years since Solar reinvestment. For example, the cult classic soda Ion-Bru was famously invented in Yuodu City, where it is manufactured to this day and has been exported since the 2290s. The soda gets its distinctive sweetness from nectar extracted from the orange "Ion Flower" native to the plateau.
Compared to other SCG members, Pirx Prime is considered a very small colony. Roughly 60% of the planet's population resides in and around Yuodu City (either within the tented canyon, or connected to it by a network of tunnels) with the remaining 40% occupying small, scattered greenhouse-based communities within the jungle and plains. Pirx never received representation in the Solar Senate, despite constant petitioning for membership by both the YCAD and the Pirx Frontier Coalition, though it sends thirty-six members to the Solar Assembly, a number expected to rise by 2312.
Pirxian identity is complex, with most citizens of the planet simply identifying as Pirxian. According to recent surveys, only 35% of Pirxians consider themselves “Solarians”, with 40% considering themselves “Independent” and 10% considering themselves “Colonial”.
Before the 2270s, Pirx was considered by the SCG core to be unworthy of serious economic investment. Corporations only started to take interest after the discovery of the planet's natural fuel reserves, with a massive reinvestment campaign known as the ‘ring rush' beginning in the 2290s.
Much of Pirx Prime considers itself to be self-sustaining, but its status as a relatively younger colony means it finds itself reliant on imports for specialty goods such as technology and pharmaceuticals. Exports from the Pirx system are mostly limited to shuttle fuel and other raw materials, but several novelties, such as Ion-Bru, export from Pirx to market themselves as “frontier-made.”’ Certain industries, such as agriculture and fashion, are almost entirely domestic, with imports only reserved for specialty, brand-name, or designer goods.
As of the 2300s, Pirx's largest export is fuel in the form of both hydrogen gas and refined phoron, both of which are mined from the planet's ring and processed planetside or in orbital processing facilities.
Yuodu City Administrative District
The Yuodu City Administrative District (YCAD, or “Why-cad”) is the largest administrative body on Pirx Prime, and was the first government on the planet to send representatives to the Solar Assembly. With a population of more than half a million people as of 2310, the YCAD is governed by a council of appointed officials from local businesses and institutions.
The YCAD is in charge of a large chunk of the Yuodo Plateau, and despite its name has jurisdiction over a considerable amount of settlements outside of the tented canyon. It also administrates most of the planet's important infrastructure, including the Tent Maintenance Order, the Pirx Prime Atmosphere, Power, and Water Authority, the Xandersen College of Arts and Sciences, the Yuodu Space Elevator, and the Pirx Worldly Protection Force.
Life within the YCAD is largely divided along class lines. The planet's “old guard” are mostly descendants of the original colonists, and as such have had several generations to consolidate power. Nepotism runs rampant in the upper echelons of the YCAD, and it is basically impossible to serve in the Administrative Council without prior connections.
The lower 70% of Pirxians within the YCAD often view the upper 30% with anything from mockery to contempt. Most see them as overly self-important and indulgent, and often jokingly call them “the Lords of Pirx”.
The others – the majority of Pirxians within the YCAD – are sometimes called “tenters” due to their reliance on the tented canyon, or “bugeaters” due to their reliance on insect proteins. The bugeaters make up the largest chunk of those speaking the Pirxian dialect, and are often instantly recognizable as Pirxians offworld, due to their domestic fashion and strange dialect.
Pirx Frontier Coalition
Outside of the YCAD, Pirx is governed by a loose confederation of municipalities (mostly farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing communities in the northern forest and surrounding the crater lake). The PFC has a population just over half the size of the YCAD.
The PFC is a very close knit, family- and community-centric society. It is considered by many, even within the YCAD, to embody the spirit of the planet. Small communities are mostly isolated by the thick jungles and hostile atmosphere, but within those communities, family and neighborhood are highly valued. Economic standing is not as important in these isolated communities, and they have plenty of free time that they often spend exploring and cataloging the natural jungles, making music and food to share with the community, and pursuing personal goals and interests. Contact with the galaxy at large is often harder to facilitate for these communities, and can sometimes take days or even weeks depending on the schedule of the logistics networks that the frontier relies on.
Due to the PFC’s hands-off policies, focus on personal autonomy, and access to large swathes of untamed and unexplored wilderness, it is sometimes considered the last true frontier in Sol. These factors make it attractive both for people trying to escape the hustle of the core, and for people dissatisfied with the status quo of the galaxy at large.
The PFC contributes volunteers to the Pirx Worldly Protection Force, a PDF of the Solar Army controlled by YCAD, but is also defended by a volunteer group known as the Pirx Rangers. The Rangers are famously uncooperative with the Sol Central Government at large, and are known to turn a blind eye to crimes they see as ‘victimless’, such as tax evasion or possession of controlled substances. On more than one occasion, the Rangers have been caught misleading the Sol Federal Police to aid in the harboring of criminals, but they have avoided being disbanded as an organization due to the political backlash it would receive.
Another volunteer organization in the PFC is the Pirx Express Shipping Commission, or Pirxpress. Pirxpress is a logistics network that makes sure the isolated frontier communities have access to resources and mail from the rest of the galaxy, and is the only PFC organization with access to the Yuodu Space Elevator. This access allows Pirxpress to provide the rest of the Frontier Coalition with any and all imports. Members of Pirxpress operate in a myriad of ways, from flying small shuttlecraft to even horseback, with a special gas mask manufactured just for riding animals.
Places of Interest
Xandersen College of Arts and Sciences
Yuodu City’s primary institution of higher education, Xandersen College is the only private college on Pirx Prime. Named for one of the original explorers of Pirx, Xandersen College primarily serves upper class residents of the YCAD. While it is considered a prestigious institution within the Pirx system, it is very uncommon for someone to immigrate to Pirx with the express goal of attending.
Xandersen College is managed in part by the YCAD Administrative Council, and is otherwise privately owned. It's best known for its courses in xenodiplomacy and political science, and sends collegiate athletes into the core worlds for annual sports competitions, where they frequently excel in chess and fencing.
Expeditionary Outpost Guyasuta
Outpost Guyasuta is an Expeditionary Corps outpost established on the northern edge of the Yuodu Plateau in 2289 as a shuttle maintenance yard and waystation. The location was selected for multiple reasons: The flat land of the plateau made an excellent location for shuttles to take off and land, as well as making construction of the facilities relatively easy, and the site's proximity to the space elevator made it a safe place to dock ships with relative ease of transportation and supply. Moreover, Pirx Prime’s ring made the planet an ideal fueling destination.
The shuttle yard of Outpost Guyasuta is home to an engineering maintenance bay, and these days is known as a great place for Expeditionary explorers to hone their engineering skills. It is also home to a long range communications tower, multiple anomaly storage laboratories, and crew quarters designed to house five hundred explorers, though as of 2310 it has yet to be more than 20% occupied at any given time.
- Outpost Guyasuta was selected because of Pirx’s proximity to the frontier. As the farthest SCG world from Sol itself, Pirx is the closest world to three points of interest known by the Expeditionary Corps Organisation and the Corps at large.
- SCGECO-1436 A and B are two planets that share an anomalous, binary orbit, with the central point of that orbit orbiting as usual around their star. It is unknown what causes these planets not to collide, and further study was deemed important by the Observatory. 1436 is 51 lightyears from Sol, but only 10 from Pirx.
- Regald-Alpha – an exoplanet in the SCGECO-2681 system, often called “the Stone City” by members of the Corps – is a barren, rocky exoplanet containing large buttes, spires, and plateaus. It's known for having a massive structure near its southern pole, believed to be some kind of ancient metropolis. The city seems to follow human architectural standards, but is comprised entirely of the planet's native stone, with no noteworthy technology, tools, or even traces of biomaterial ever detected on the site. Because of this, it was decided that further study is needed. Semi-regular expeditions are sent to the planet, which is 6 lightyears from Pirx, in an attempt to discover who or what it is that left the Stone City behind.
Pirx is also the closest human colony to the planet Marinus-Chalmers in the SCGEC-4825 system. Marinus-Chalmers is home to a massive crystalline temple of unknown origin. Inside the temple is a large sphere that has been determined to be composed of a ferromagnetic alloy. The sphere is built into the center of the temple, and cannot successfully be moved. The sphere is known to speak every known language, both human and otherwise, and can somehow psychically speak to people who approach it within its chamber. The sphere, nicknamed “Orb” or sometimes “Ole Orby” by explorers, speaks prophecies about numerous events both known and unknown within the galaxy. Further study of Orb has been authorized by the Observatory, as at this time it's unknown whether or not it's prophetic broadcasts are true. SCGECO-4825 is 70 light years from Sol, making accessing it from Pirx much more convenient, cutting the travel time by more than half.
Pirx and SolGov
Since the arrival of the Expeditionary Corps and the re-introduction of Solar interest in the region, the people of Pirx have had very mixed views on Solar institutions. Many Pirxians view the Expeditionary Corps in particular with disdain, thinking that Outpost Guyasuta and EC refueling operations in general are an asymmetrical extraction and abuse of Pirxian resources. Other more radical elements think that the EC is harmful to the planet's indigenous xenolife, while others dislike the EC simply due to the fact that it brings the planet too close to the government.
Overall, however, the EC has catalyzed a general distrust of the federal government. From the original Terran Commonwealth government collapsing entirely to the SCG’s semi-absence in previous decades, many Pirxians – especially those in the PFC – have a level of distrust for government institutions and the government at large. Tax evasion runs rampant in the PFC, and the Pirx Rangers in particular are known for being non-cooperative with the Sol Federal Police. Pirx has one of the lowest rates for Fleet enlistment among settled colonies, and a staunch anti-war and anti-military sentiment exists on the planet.
There are, however, those within Prix Prime who like and benefit from cooperation with the federal government. Many of its inhabitants have benefited financially from cooperation with the Expeditionary Corps, while others are filled with a sense of wonder by the coming and going ships of the Expeditionary Corps. In Yuodu City in particular, explorers from Outpost Guyasuta often mingle with Pirxians, resulting in a cultural exchange that sometimes leads to an inspiration to join the Corps. Others still see the prospect of joining the Corps as a way to get off the planet, and in the insular communities of the PFC, opportunities to escape the planet are few and far between.
Aside from the Corps, a good deal of federal employees make their home on Pirx, specifically in Yuodu city. Offices of SolGov and core world corporations have expanded their presence and hiring capacity in the city in the last few decades.
Compared to many places in the galaxy, Pirx is considered largely idyllic, but like any society it is not without its problems. Most crime on Pirx Prime is thankfully nonviolent, but murder and theft still happen, particularly outside of the YCAD. It is not uncommon for criminals from other parts of Sol space to go to Pirx in the hopes of avoiding justice.
In the YCAD, the Pirx Worldly Protection Force also serves as a police force, and operates with relative impunity. The Administrative Council is the final judicial authority for crimes that don't make their way to the desk of the Sol Federal Police, and those with connections often find themselves getting lighter sentences. The most common crime in the YCAD is gambling, which, while illegal, is largely unenforced.
In the PFC, crime is considered much more rampant. The Pirx Worldly Protection Force does not have jurisdiction over the Frontier Coalition, and the Pirx Rangers are known for being very selective with which laws they enforce, valuing the stability of the local community over enforcement of Solar laws. As such, the PFC is full of people known as the “Unsung”, who live off the grid from the Sol Central Government at large. There are rumors that the Unsung are violent revolutionaries, accepting arms from the Gilgamesh Colonial Confederation or the Skrellian Qerr-Glia, but these are wildly speculative tabloid rumors that that are rarely investigated in any official capacity.