Gateway Late Night
Hitchhiker’s Guide Entry
Known among spacers as “Spitball,” RL4G-C is a system composed of a red dwarf primary, a near-star gas giant and a small, rocky world located just outside the far edge of the star’s biozone. This planet would be nothing more than a ball of ice were it not for its thick, water-vapor- and methane-laden atmosphere. Its surface is completely covered with salty, near-freezing water at the equator, water which thickens to slush in the temperate zones and freezes solid at the poles.
The few inhabitants of Spitball live on vast artificial islands, each hundreds of square miles in area. The constructors of these islands is, at present, unknown; it is probable that Spitball has seen at least one Collapse in its day, as the current inhabitants of the planet possess a severely depressed level of technology.
Spitball possesses virtually nothing in the way of usable resources. The natives survive through the use of extensive water purification systems on the islands, systems which are almost certainly doomed to eventually break down. The water, itself, isn’t worth the reaction mass it would take to get it off the planet, and whatever technology the island-builders had access to has long since been cannibalized by the natives to make simple machines, weapons and boats. Therefore, though Spitball is occasionally visited by a curious scientist or prospector, it seems likely that the civilized denizens of the galaxy will continue to pass Spitball by, leaving its inhabitants to their fate as their massive floating islands slowly drift poleward…
Spitball is home to fewer than fifty thousand hominids and attendant animals: horses, dogs, chickens and the like. Primitive fish and marine mammals swim in the seas and are hunted heavily by the natives for their fur and blubber.