- Published: 26 March 2020
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Named the “Place of Holy Things” in the ancient Kriak tongue, TokCalahk is a rarity among the nomadic Kriak: a place they kept as their own. The Terran Sphere Navy forced them to abandon the system in the closing phases of the Second Crusade. For a century afterwards, the great shipyards lay empty, their remains looted and abandoned. Five years ago, as war raged through the sector, the mercantile An’Brik clan quietly returned to their ancestral system. They arrived expecting to perform their usual exploration and salvage operations; however, the system’s value eclipsed all expectations. They had believed that the entire system had been sacked by the Terran expeditionary fleet, and was a mere shell. Instead, they found an ancient site undisturbed, its great prize where the ship chants of old told them it would be. Now with the war distracting the Terran Sphere, they venture once more into the system. Bringing its shipyards to life once again, they hope to construct that greatest of endeavors, a Clanship on which to raise their banner anew.
The Tok-Calahk System On the surface, TokCalahk is an unremarkable binary system: the primary is a common F type white star, while its companion is a small red dwarf orbiting approximately 1000 AU distant. The inner system contains 5 rocky worlds of varying sizes, all with thin atmospheres and none that are habitable. The ancient Kriak who first came to this system simply named them “First”, “Second”, and so forth in their tongue and those names persist to this day, even as the language has shifted around them. There are indications the second world once bore life, although whether it was lost through natural processes or from Kriak siphoning off its resources for their great clanships remains a mystery, as further investigation would have been a violation of the treaty that ended the second crusade.
Beyond these planets lies a thick asteroid belt, strewn with mineral rich protoplanets. It is within this asteroid belt that the Kriak built their ships, although the rocky worlds all bear scars where easily accessed surface deposits have been removed. Unlike the planets, the names for many of these small bodies are far more poetic. Frequently they are named for some variant “An A Bria… “ of “Forebearer of” the clan ship they were mined for.
A solitary gas giant, known as the Rouge Banner for it rusty coloration lies a few AU farther out, with two ice giants making orbiting well beyond the grav shore. During the second crusade, the Terran Sphere staged many of its forces through these two icy worlds, giving them names Charybdis (for the massive storm that raged in its atmosphere at the time) and Scylla as the bloody fighting in the system raged. Several stations from this era remain in orbit, all powered down and left in standby mode.
The companion has no planets of its own, most likely due to the much greater mass of the primary. It does possess a single asteroid belt, rich in its own right, but far poorer than the one surrounding TokCalahk A. During periods of political turbulence, refugees would gather here, hoping to launch counter strikes, or simply gather enough resources to make it out of the system altogether and the asteroids are littered with relics of these periods of strife.
Finally, the entire system is home to a veritable swarm of comets and other eccentric ice bodies that make their long treks in and around the system. Some are surprisingly large, and it was on the greatest of these that the system’s true value was concealed.