Centus XIV is a small desert planet located in the Centus system, approximately 0.75 light-years from Horovine. It is the site of the first V.R.A. colony, and has since grown into a major mining, manufacturing and trading center within V.R.A. and later U.C. space. It has one moon, which is approximately one-quarter of its size. It also features a prominent ring around its equator.
|Satellites:||1 barren moon|
|Climate:||Arid, minimal growing season|
|Planetary Classification:||Desert (Rocky)|
|Distance To Star:||Centus A: 3 AU
Centus B: 4.5 AU
|Role:||Capital/Major Industrial and Commercial Planet|
The colony on Centus XIV was founded approximately 135 years ago (13320 HSY), when the V.R.A. colony ship New Horovine crash-landed there after a thruster malfunction sent it careening off course (this is just as well, as on its original course it would have ended up in Mylock space). The landing was comparatively gentle, and a majority of the crew survived the impact. Realizing they were stranded on the hellish planet, they set about turning the downed ship into a colony. Within two years, the colony had been set up and was thriving. A number of aqueducts had been constructed, to bring water from the distant ocean to the colony site. The colony first constructed communications gear in 13325 HSY, and was able to re-establish contact with Horovine. This caused quite a stir on the homeworld, as it had been presumed that the ship was lost in the depths of space. Additional ships were dispatched, containing supplies and more prefabricated structures to expand the colony. It quickly grew into a manufacturing powerhouse, second only to Horovine, and has remained there ever since. A number of factories have been constructed in orbit, as well as mining operations in the ring.
Due to the incredibly limited amount of surface water, rainfall across the planet is minimal, sometimes as little as 1 cm annually in a given area. Massive sandstorms are a frequent occurrence, and can rage for weeks without stopping. Vegetation is minimal for this reason, and is usually limited to a few scraggly plants at the bottoms of canyons. This lack of vegetation also means there is little animal life.
The planet is still settling down geologically, and large volcanic eruptions are not unheard of. These eruptions often last for several days, and are usually big enough to be seen from orbit with the naked eye. The volcanoes formed in this process are very impressive, and people will pay a premium to fly over them and see them up close. The planet's surface is composed primarily of sandstone, and the bedrock of harder sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The planet has a large number of canyons, which wind and twist, often in a labyrinthine fashion, indicating that water once flowed freely all over the surface, and via several different routes in most areas. It is in these canyons that the cities are built, to provide shelter from the relentless sandstorms and shade from the bright, hot suns. These canyons are filled with mesas, which are often little more than the remains of volcanoes, weathered by time down to the level of the ground, then by water into giant standing rocks.
There is little surface water on the planet (in fact, there is only one ocean, which covers approximately 10% of the surface, as well as a few small lakes scattered around the planet), and most of the planet is a seemingly endless desert. It is primarily a rock desert, but a large amount of sand can be found as well. The most notable surface features are the labyrinthine canyons, the largest of which can be seen from space without any viewing gear. It is in these canyons that cities are built, and most of them contain large metropolises of five to ten million people.
The planet has three distinct rings, each of which is clearly visible from the ground. The inner ring is composed of captured asteroids, and is the location of all of the orbital mining operations. The middle ring is composed of ice and space dust, as well as a few larger chunks of rock. The outer ring is made entirely of asteroids as well, but these asteroids appear to be the remains of a shattered moon, and contain no useful or valuable minerals. All three rings are considered hazards to navigation, and are avoided by all but those headed to the asteroid mines.