The Rixan system is approximately eight hundred light years away from Earth, on the fringes of the Orion Arm. It contains a mere three planetoids, none of them very large; the outer planets of the Rixan system have been stolen away by a rogue star. Zexania (the star of the Rixan system) is, meanwhile, nearing the end of its life as a main sequence K0 star, and the native sophonts are desperately trying to gather the necessary resources to reinvigorate their star.
Rix is 0.64 Earth masses and orbits at a distance of 0.70 AU. A Rixarn day is 70 hours, and a year is 254 of their days. The planet's orbital tilt is negligible, and it has no seasons. Rix has two natural satellites, named Epraz and Vib. The tides produced by their interaction are highly complex. In addition, the Trax have created several large space stations that orbit Rix. These are not large enough to have any effect on the tides. After its formation, the orbit of Rix was extremely elliptical. Every few decades, the planet would move between freezing cold and scorching hot temperatures. A few billion years into its life, a passing rogue star's gravity altered its orbit to become more stable. Now, Rix orbits on the inner edge of its habitable zone.
Pluzzak and Fyox are the second and third planets, respectively, in the Rixarn system. They are uninhabitable super-Earths.
The atmosphere of Rix is toxic to Earth life. Most of the atmosphere is nitrogen, oxygen, and argon (the proportion of argon in the atmosphere is relatively high, due to Rix's advanced age).
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For the most part, Rix is ocean—the planet has three large landmasses, and two massive archipelagos.
Lazax is the largest Rixarn landmass, located on the Equator and straddling Rix’s Prime Meridian. For the most part, it is rocky semidesert, inhabited by predatory, ambulatory “plants” that prey both on each other and on various animal species. As usual for Rix, the animal species have adapted to dry land by secreting a waxy covering, similar to that of the waxy monkey frog. Other biomes include a plains-type biome (albeit one where, in addition to grass-like plants, an array of tendrils stretch towards the air in an attempt to capture migratory flying creatures which use the plains as a stopping point), and a cloud forest.
Surrounding Lazax is a shallow sea, colonized by a close relative of Eoterraphyta that forms colonies, and secretes a limestone covering. These colonies create large spires, which can reach above the water; several species “air coral” colonize the spiders and filter out organic particles from the air.
Isguthus is the middle continent, and located in the North. It is covered in temperate rainforest, and is practically dripping with moisture. For much of the year, it is night on Isguthus, but the aurora provides enough illumination for plants to continue photosynthesizing, so the rainforest does not experience dieback—though there is only enough light for plants to keep their most basic functions running. The plants aren’t actually breaking even, either; they’re merely producing enough energy that going into hibernation and losing all their leaves isn’t worth it.
The smallest continent is Gurwath. It is a wet, tropical location, with most of the continent under sea level. Due to these conditions, the soil contains several evaporate minerals, making it difficult for plant life to grow. The plants that do grow are hardy plants, which excrete salt through the undersides of their leaves—a process that has the side effect of making their leaves unpalatable to most organisms.
The two archipelagos are referred to as Pretal Lowisk and Pretal Wasik (“Pretal” is the Traxan word for “group”). Pretal Lowisk surrounds Lazax in a ring, and form the border between the continent’s shallow seas and the open ocean. Pretal Wasik is a group of islands near the South Pole, and home to a wide variety of endemic wildlife, similar to the Galapagos Islands, Madagascar, and Australia all rolled into one.
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Photosynthesis utilizes the pigment phycocyanin and chlorophyll a, rendering plants a greenish-blue. Like Earth plants, photosynthetic pigments are contained in chloroplasts, which are descended from symbiotic bacteria.
Written December 2018