Tuilelaith

Gaelic for “noble lady” or “abundant princess”

Ask ten people how to pronounce the name of this planet, and you will get nine different answers and one person saying “bless you”. The most popular one is probably “too-ih-lay-lith” but people also say “till-ah-la” and “tah-lay-ah-laith”.

Tuilelaith has a breathable atmosphere, 1G of gravity, plenty of landmass covered in plant life, and a habitable climate (even if it is usually colder than most humans prefer). Basically, it won the planetary lottery. However, Tuilelaith is sparsely populated and has very little industry, and has been largely ignored by the Merchants Guild and human colonists. There is a compelling reason for this – Tuilelaith’s magnetic field is frankly ridiculous. It fluctuates in extreme ways that seem to be completely random. This plays havoc with navigation instruments, communications, and pretty much anything electric – satellites don’t work, wireless communication is impossible, and even wired connections often fail. The magnetic anomalies are so strong that they occasionally interfere with the planet’s gravity, making it fluctuate slightly. They also create very vivid and beautiful aurora borealis, visible from nearly everywhere on the planet.

This uncontrolled magnetic field has made technological development on Tuilelaith very challenging and expensive, since any complex equipment must be specially made with extensive shielding in order to function. The native ghost children never had a proper industrial revolution and maintain a tribal society where most of the manufacturing is still done by hand, and the most reliable long distance communications is done by runners.

The OEC maintains a research station on Tuilelaith to study the unique magnetic field. The station’s staff have generally good relations with the indigenous ghost children, trading with them and sharing knowledge. As one of the few ghost child civilizations that remains relatively intact, Tuilelaith also presents an excellent opportunity for anthropologists to study anthromal culture and traditions. These traditions seem oddly similar to those of other ghost children, leading some to hypothesize that the Tuilelaith people are a long lost colony from another anthromal civilization.

The UW Navy also maintains a small base on Tuilelaith in an attempt to cut down the number of smugglers and pirates who use the remote, sparsely populated world as their hideout. Since the world is so remote and primitive, assignment to Tuilelaith is commonly used as a punishment detail.

Tuilelaith used to have three moons, but after a catastrophic collision between two of them, it now has one moon and a spectacular ring of dust and rock. Much of the debris from the former moons also crashed into Tuilelaith as meteorites, seeding the planet with rare metals. This has driven a cooperative of small mining companies to set up operations on and above Tuilelaith, despite the high cost and the even higher risk. Surprisingly, there is very little indenture among the indigenous population – the miners know that they must rely on the knowledge and expertise of the locals in order to operate, particularly when frequent equipment breakdowns might leave them stranded for days. Therefore they must maintain the locals’ cooperation, so they hire most of their local workforce rather than finding ways to press them into indentured servitude.