Byrdis (also known as Kaa Yvanti)

Image from Anders Sandberg
SystemGliese 109
Distance from Sol26 ly
Stellar classM3nV (red dwarf)
PlanetKaa Yvanti
Orbiting HabitatByrdis

Byrdis is one of the more unusual orbital habitats in the Inner Sphere. Orbiting around Kaa Yvanti (GI 109 II) it is a linear structure strung out along a 40,000 kilometer long former beanstalk. Kaa Yvanti was colonised in 2069 by a number of nanotech consortia and Empath clades. In the Second Federation era it became a minor but prosperous affiliate to the NoCoZo.

During the Refutology War divided loyalties on the planet led to major terrorism and instances of direct warfare. In 8503 Refutology loyalists staged a major attack against the beanstalk in order to prevent the orbital city to act as a resupply point for Faillance ships. They detonated a nuclear weapon at the base, severing the beanstalk and killing 3400 people. The beanstalk drifted away in orbit, still inhabited by approximately 70,000 people in the orbital city at the (former) geosynchronous orbit. The disaster destroyed most other orbital installations, made the system strategically unimportant and ignited a bloody civil war.

After the war the system tried to pick itself up again. The orbital complexes along the beanstalk had become major refugee camps, and scavengers used the drifting wreckage to fashion extra living space. Over time biospheres accumulated along the beanstalk, exploiting the different levels of gravity (zero at the center of mass, two G at the endpoints). As space activities picked up, it was further extended and more and more became the real center of the system, while the planet remained a backwater. In 8760 the system joined the MPA, and the influx of megaengineering expertise, trade and bradyvals continued the growth of Byrdis. Today it is home to over 84 million beings, including several alien colonies and radical vec pods.

The yearly Byrdis freefall, where contestants attempt to move from the center of mass to the Jakkopp terminal as quickly as possible just by exploiting the local gravity and jumping from structure to structure is one of the most cross-clade sports events in the Inner Sphere.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg
Initially published on 02 October 2000.