Fl Ni Lo
|F3 II M3V|
|Local Day:||37.45 hours|
|Local Year:||29.15 Standard years, 6823.3 Local Days|
|Avg Temp:||+44.1°C (7°C/lat row +65.1 to -4.9)|
|Seasons:||+21.6 Summer, -36 Winter (100% at 36° lat)|
Although the name might sound dull, Niven is in fact just the opposite. The
world is named after a Solomani chemist, though which one (perhaps all of them
collectively) has been lost through the ages. Whoever the namesake was, he or
she would truly appreciate the honor for Niven is an exciting place for
chemists. Living on Niven has been likened to living inside a beaker.
Niven's atmosphere is a hellish mixture of chlorine (22%), hydrogen chloride (14%), sulfur dioxide (11%), hydrogen sulfide (13%), hydrogen fluoride (6%), nitrogen (18%), and carbon dioxide (15%). The remaining composition is a mixture of various gases, including helium.
The world's oceans are just as inhospitable. A steaming cauldron of hydrochloric, hydrofluoric, and sulfuric acid covers 34% of the world's surface.
The planet is still very active geologically. As the harsh atmosphere weathers the surface, new material spews forth from volcanoes and diverging plate boundaries and the reaction cycle repeats itself.
Although Niven has had incredible potential as a supplier of industrial grade reagents and specialty chemicals, its very nature made building any sort of settlement expensive. Niven's insidious atmosphere requires such extensive maintenance on machinery that keeping the place open proved too much of a capital drain, not to mention a safety risk, on Schunaman und Sohn AG (SuSAG), the initial owner of the claim to mine the world. SuSAG sold off the ground operation to the local workforce in exchange for exclusive transport and distribution rights for 100 years; a monopoly that SuSAG never lost even after that deal expired. By selling off the claim, SuSAG was able to shirk off any liability for the miners. The savings on insurance was tremendous.
Although the miners thought that ownership of the claim and autonomy was going to work in their favor, the costs of the operation left them at a severe disadvantage, especially since SuSAG never paid a fair price for what the miners produced.
"Miners" is a general term. Although traditional mining of rock was conducted, Niven's atmosphere and seas themselves were mined. Although their methods were dissimilar, all types of miners were lumped together into one collective term. It didn't matter if you called yourself an atmospheric chemist or a marine geologist. For all intents and purposes, you were a miner.
Since Niven orbits the gas giant Bohr, refueling operations were conducted by skimming raw hydrogen from the gas giant. The starport was merely a landing pad, which retracted underground. Niven's atmosphere was then hosed off the vessel. Once rinsed, the ship was towed to one of the three shipping and receiving bays where it then dropped off supplies and picked up its chemical cargo.
Niven's insidious atmosphere and lack of true starport facilities led to its Amber rating.
Unfortunately for the miners, Niven wasn't the only source of raw materials in the Leucippus star system. There are three asteroid belts, as well as dozens of moons among the four gas giants. SuSAG retained the mining rights to the asteroid belts so it was able to continue to run a profitable operation out of the system.
Although SuSAG gave the miners a shady deal, it did sponsor research expeditions to Niven. Doctoral students, atmospheric chemists, and life long researchers would sometimes visit the world to study the interaction of myriad chemical reactions on a global scale. This research would then be used to refine chemical reaction modeling theses and software. It also had the effect of shining a light on the dismal living conditions the miners endured.
The government formed by the miners evolved directly from their union's hierarchy. The Union Boss and his assistants, and later their descendants, replaced SuSAG as the miners' overseers. There were rumors that union bosses were getting kickbacks from SuSAG to goad the miners into maintaining SuSAG-desired production levels. After all, they enjoyed a higher standard of living than the miners. They worked in relatively comfortable and safe conditions while there wasn't a miner who didn't have a scar or prosthesis as the result of an accident. Complaints were made that safety equipment wasn't properly maintained due to union boss amenities. The allegations were never proven however and miner fatigue-induced apathy prevented any sort of real uprising.
Before an official investigation could take place, the Abandonment came. When word reached Niven, it was met with relief by the miners. SuSAG pulled out all of its employees. It even evacuated Niven's mining population. Critics argue that this gesture was less an act of kindness so much as it was a public relations ploy in the anti-corporate environment of the early years of the Regency.
Although the gas giants in the system are patrolled for possible vampire incursions, Niven remains quiet. The Gvaekuers from Mazirbe are rumored to use the gas giants for refueling but, if they are, the RQS is silent on the matter.
It is unknown if SuSAG will make any effort to reinstate their claims in-system once the Frontier is opened up. Although the facilities of Niven have surely disintegrated after 70 years of exposure, the asteroid belts themselves still offer plenty of raw materials to any intrepid belters.