The pulsar/binary star system PSR J2134-9323 was titled Byalebog/Czerenobog – Czernobog being a neutron star drawing energy and mass from its bright brother Byalebog, trapped in a mutual orbit of approximately 8 earth days. Czernobog being a ‘failed star’ – a mass of highly unstable matter which blasts very little light and heat but emits massive amounts of gamma and x-ray radiation. Byalebog is like Earth’s sun, albeit a bit brighter. For two days out of every 8 days the larger star eclipses its smaller, more dangerous brother. Czernobog, while having the mass of Earth’s sun, has an actual size somewhat larger than the earth, so it never blocks the view of its larger brother. The result is a classic x-ray pulsar – from light years away the star system emits x-rays consistently except for roughly 2 days, but otherwise looks like a normal star.

Initial planetary scans showed one planet called ‘habitable…after a fact’ and a small base was sent. On the discovery of massive rare resources including isotopes difficult to create in labs, a massive colonial expedition was put forth.

The result is Svarog – named after the slavic god of smithing – colonists descended from scientists and miners, who, used their unique position to expand on the technology they came with. They work at night when the planet is not baked in radiation, and sleep during the day, only seeing the sun every two days of the eight-day week. There is a two-part caste system, a scientist caste and a miner caste that largely work together but believe their caste is superior to the other. Their government consists of a scientific council – 3 from the scientific class, 3 from the mining class, and representatives of the underclass. If there is a deadlock they argue until there is an agreement, which means, especially on matters of foreign policy they tend to be paralyzed by indecision more than they are active.

The Nightsiders probably made attempts to share their knowledge with the rest of the cluster in a well-meaning-but-ultimately-really-horrible way, and probably now keep themselves cut off – they might have even shut down their slipstream gates save for one.

They have fantastic tech and the ability to keep it out of the hands of others. They need only a small but versatile fleet – they are masters of shielding technology and use inertialess drives to move faster than ships are technically possible of going. They keep most of the ‘good’ tech for themselves and sell off the rest to the cluster (as so far this is the only high-tech system) – their problem is twofold: One: a small but growing movement thinks it has figured out the ability to ignite the neutron star: It will, technically, supernova for some period of time, destroying the system and anyone trapped in it, and then at some period of time there will be a lovely binary star with possibly habitable planets. The leadership is opposed to this.

The second is genetic debilitation. Even with perfect shielding the massive radiation has been taking its toll. The genepool is dwindling, population is falling dramatically, and if nothing is done, the population will completely die out within one or two generations. Disease is a common problem because the disease vectors mutate even faster than on normal human worlds. Their scientific gains have been mostly in physics and not biology, so they understand more about astrophysics than anyone but relatively little about genetics. The nightsiders of Svarog are doomed, and a perfectly rational apocalyptic cult seeks to bring the end times sooner rather than later.


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