Friday, 22 May 2009

Tyranny of the Daleks - background notes


The Doctor, in his tenth reincarnation, wishes to visit an old friend of his named Xafonix on the forest planet of Galentor, far out on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy from Earth during the 41st Century. When Romana and he land in the TARDIS though, they soon discover that not only are they ridiculously late for dinner but also uncover a convuluted plan by an old enemy seeking new weapons of war!


Tyranny of the Daleks takes place shortly after the ending of the Terran led Federation of Planets which itself replaced the older Empire of Earth. Mavic Chen's dynasty have taken hold of the power structure left by the Federation and cohered it into a new "Federal Empire" that is now the dominant power in the Galaxy. It takes place against diplomatic and sometimes military conflict between the Milky Way Galaxy and nearby galactic powers such as Galaxy 5; conflicts of enormous scope in which trillions of sentients perished.

The following information is excerpted from the Encyclopedia Galactica entry entitled "The Galentor Incident".

By the 42nd Century, The Federal Empire controlled more than seventy per cent of galactic space within the Milky Way Galaxy but there were still many outlying systems that remained only lightly settled. One of these was the Galen system, a binary star system on the outer edges of the Galaxy furthest from the Terran capital. Originally observed by the F.S.S. Thomas Stafford in 3827, the system was noted to consist of a primary G1 star named Galen Alpha along with a much smaller red dwarf companion named Galen Beta, the secondary star having a relatively large and suprisingly circular orbit. Ordinarily the orbit of Galen Beta should, according to mathemetical modelling, be where the Oort Cloud for Galen Alpha should be but Galen Beta has effectively swept away the protoplanetary disc of material.

The Galen Alpha planetary system consists of ten principal bodies, each of which has at least one natural satellite. Unusually it has three major supra-Jovian class planets. The rest are two Neptunians along with five terrestials, two of which (those most immediate to Galen Alpha) are telluric or silicate bodies whilst the outermost three are typical plutinos. There are two insubstantial asteroid belts, one between Galen Alpha III (or Karvtal) and Galen Alpha IV (or Lanetarg) and the other between Galen Alpha V (Mercula) and Galen Alpha VI (Terskan). The system presents as having a high level of matter particularly for one positioned so far from the galactic core.

The Galen Beta planetary system is much less substantial, consisting only of two small sub-Neptunians, each with its own system of satellites. None are considered suitable for settlement without substantial terra-forming. Galen Beta itself is considered a failed main sequence star and without the consumption of Galen Alpha's protoplanetary material may well have concluded at the brown dwarf stage.

The planet of Galentor is the second planet out from Galen Alpha and is therefore also known as Galen Alpha II. It is somewhat smaller than the Terran standard but has a high density and so its surface gravity is 0.9g. It is situated within the inner half of the Terran habitable-zone round Galen Alpha and has a very low rotational tilt coupled with an almost perfectly circular orbit. The surface is 80% ocean and the thinly-spread continental land masses enjoy a fairly uniform temperate climate. The atmosphere is oxygen-rich (30%) and denser than the Terran standard. In many ways the planet is reminiscent of Earth during its Carboniferous period and the overall impression is that of a young, active biosphere.

Great forests cover most of the continental land masses. The native life forms are Terran compatible in accordance with normal theories of astrobiology and include large scale megafauna such as the Mugati. This is a roughly human sized carnivorous mammalian animal that is typically solitary and rarely seen unless disturbed. Another interesting life form is the wide spread fungi called Lumtarg which covers much of the forest floor over all continents.

Interesting patterns of symbiosis have been noted between the planet’s life forms including across different phyla. This, it has been theorized, is as a result of a settled climactic pattern and ecosystem subsisting for prolonged geological periods.

The land masses are subject to tidal flooding brought about by the surprisingly small orbit of the planet’s only natural satellite, the Io-class telluric world named Tarack.

Despite Tarack’s incessant geological activity (such as having over 500 active volcanoes on a world smaller than Earth’s satellite Luna) it was chosen as the base to co-ordinate the settlement of Galentor from. These efforts were undertaken slowly and surely in an attempt to integrate the settlement efforts as holistically as possible with the indigenous biosphere. The base on Tarack, named F.S.B. John Young, commenced operations in 3937 after a century long survey effort by the Federation Office of Colonization. The most noted personality in the settlement efforts was a celebrated human mathematician named Xafonix, who had recently received the Alpha Centaurian award for outstanding contributions to the field of biophysics before agreeing to take part in the mainly human settelment of Galentor in 3982.

Galentor presented as a very attractive planet to settle but there was a great desire on the part of the Federation to not repeat previous mistakes (particularly in connection with any terra-forming) made in settling a planet with a substantial biosphere already in situ.

The settlement of Galentor continued without incident and with no major threats from the native biosphere or natural hazard at all. The unusually high level of cometary penetration into the inner parts of the system were easily dealt with by the Federation’s automated planetary defence system. Cometary bodies were easy to predict due to their origin in perturbations in the system’s Kupier Belt Objects by the orbit of Galen Beta and were often deflected onto the surface of Galen Alpha I (Lantarg) to start terra-forming efforts, thereby building up a hydrosphere for that otherwise barren Luna-class world.

All contact with the system was lost in 3997 when the Chen dynasty overthrew the Federation and instigated their own regime. The present state of the settlement on Galentor is unknown.

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