Colony: Aeneas, 43 Beta Coma Berenices IV

History of settlement

Beta Coma Berenices is a G0V star 29.8 light-years from Sol. It was scouted by a JAFAL probe that had been launched by NASA, but from which no report had been yet been received in 2118. The NACC sold the rights to Beta Coma Berenices in AD 2117 (when Chi Draconis V was confirmed habitable), calculating that one colony would suffice it for centuries. The rights were bought by Anchises Inangulo, a secretive tycoon domiciled in Tunisia. Inangulo has been described variously as ‘eccentric’ and ‘sinister’, ‘philanthropist’ and ‘megalomaniac’.

Beta Coma Berenices is reasonably close to the point in the sky directly opposite from Tau Ceti. Bifrost did not serve Beta Coma Berenices because its eccentric orbit gave it a perihelion too close to the Sun for the flinger to function there. But when the new flingers were built in 2120 both the North American and the Chinese ones orbited in planes that lay close to Beta Coma Berenices, close enough to offer one launch slot per orbit. Moreover, when the Interplanetary Society built its new flinger to replace the aging Bifrost it chose a plane of orbit in which Beta Coma Berenices lay exactly, offering a full set of launches. That put Inangulo in the position of monopsony buyer of non-monopoly services that were produced as a cheap by-product of sunk investment in providing launches towards other colonies. That is, he could get JAFAL launch services to Beta Coma Berenices cheaply.

Inangulo’s program was organised as a trust called “Aeneas Mutual Emigration Society”, which was supported by an network of international holdings designed to conceal the ownership and control, ultimately vested in a charitable foundation, registered in Luxembourg and with the stated purpose of “guaranteeing the posterity of the Human species by establishing one or more viable interstellar colonies”. Emigrants joined the mutual society — contributing all their wealth on Earth to it — and became beneficiaries of the trust.

The Aeneas colony was carefully planned and amply (but not lavishly) supplied and equipped. Inangulo’s Luxembourgish foundation made up the excess of costs over members’ contributions, so it was able to accept poor applicants and had a numerous stream of well-qualified applicants. As a private organisation the mutual society was able to choose its members according to opaque criteria, which were never published.

Having plenty of volunteers to choose from, Anchises Inangulo was able to select strongly. He chose only health young adults for the first fifteen years, then accepting also healthy parents with dependent children. He favoured both athletic and academic accomplishment, also of literary, artistic, and musical talent, and was careful to include volunteers from a range diversity of racial backgrounds (to preserve genetic diversity). Aeneas Mutual accepted only members who gave indications of social responsibility and community involvement. Applicants were screened for known genetic diseases, and above all, they required respectable qualifications in the professional and technical fields that would be needed to terraform the world and establish the colony. The result of all this was that the membership of Aeneas Mutual rather resembled the body of recipients of scholarships at a well-regarded university.

Anchises Inangulo’s private conduct was irregular. He lived semi-recluse in a palatial apartment in a mixed-use tower in Carthage, which was entirely occupied by his firms, employees, and dependents. He travelled only in semi-secrecy, and made scheduled appearances rarely, and only (a) at important conferences and occasions of public diplomacy, and (b) with extensive measures for his personal security. He also had at least 22 children by six different women, with up to four contractual “wives” at a time. His wives were recruited for their athletic, intellectual, and artistic or musical gifts, were of six distinctly different racial types, and were munificently rewarded for their services, all elevated for modest origins to considerable wealth, besides their children by Inangulo being established in opulence.

In AD 2151 an investigative journalist published an exposé of Anchises Inangulo’s activities that disclosed the irregularity of his family affairs, denounced the arbitrary and apparently capricious way he was toying with the fate of his colony. It insinuated that he had a eugenicist agenda and that he was trying to create a master-race to dominate the future universe, and it revealed that he had contrived to send several of his numerous children and grandchildren to Aeneas and Tau Ceti, besides at least one to each of Paraíso and Mayflower. Inangulo was assassinated eight months later, in a terrorist outrage that also killed five thousand bystanders¹.

Anchises Mutual went on after Inangulo’s death, executing algorithms that he had written through its own bureaucratic inertia, and in the hands of a cabal of dutiful trustees. It was not until 2163 that prosecutors managed to wind up his estate and the trust and expropriate the wealth thereof. The rights to colonise Aeneas were sold to the benefit of the municipal government of Carthage, and Aeneas afterwards became a commercial colony to which people emigrated on payment of a fee, and taking whatever cargo their thought good and could afford.

¹ In versions of this material before 2001 I supposed that Inangulo’s murderers had flown a hijacked passenger aircraft into his tower in Carthage. It hasn’t seemed in good taste to retain that event.


Anchises Inangulo chose his name, the name of his colony, and his place of residence as conscious allusions to Virgil’s Aeneid.


43 Beta Comae Berenices system summary

Stellar data

spectral type: G0 V position Equatorial co-ords
mass: 1.10 M☉ R.A: 13:11 hours X: -8.1 LY
luminosity: 1.29 L☉ dec: 28° Y: 13.9 LY
age: 1.9 Ga dist: 18:36 LY Z: -25.0 LY
diameter: 0.010 A.U. constellation: Coma Berenices

Table of planets and moons

ID# orbital radius world type size mass g. atmosphere oceans mean surface temperature climate solar day habitability
(A.U.) (10,000 km) (D♁) (M♁) (g♁) (°C) (hours)
I 0.19 standard chthonian planet 1.3 2.3 1.3 none 380 infernal infinite
II 0.36 small rock planet 0.64 0.24 0.58 none 200 infernal infinite
III 0.61 standard greenhouse planet 0.65 0.28 0.66 superdense corrosive 14% water 682 infernal 171.4
IV 1.0 standard garden planet 0.88 0.61 0.78 very thin breathable 88% water 7 cool 11.8 17%
1 moonlet 14 normal
V 1.5 small rock planet 0.50 0.09 0.34 none -44 frozen 18.0
2 moonlets -42 frozen
VI 2.5 standard ice planet 0.65 0.27 0.63 standard suffocating -63 frozen 21.9
VII 3.9 tiny rock planet 0.12 0.00 0.09 none -128 frozen 33.0
VIII 6.6 medium gas giant 10.0 200 2.0 superdense corrosive 19.6
10 moonlets -161 frozen
VIIIa 65 small ice moon 0.42 0.04 0.21 dense mildly toxic 51% hydrocarbons -159 frozen 103.4
VIIIb 73 tiny ice moon 0.14 0.00 0.09 none -174 frozen 123.4
VIIIc 85 small ice moon 0.44 0.04 0.21 dense mildly toxic 61% hydrocarbons -160 frozen 154.4
VIIId 96 tiny ice moon 0.21 0.00 0.10 none -174 frozen 184.1
VIIIe 111 tiny ice moon 0.21 0.00 0.10 none -174 frozen 229.3
1 moonlet -161 frozen
IX 12 medium gas giant 9.2 150 1.8 superdense corrosive 47.6
6 moonlets -190 frozen
IXa 35 small ice moon 0.39 0.03 0.19 very dense mildly toxic 75% hydrocarbons -184 frozen 47.6
3 moonlets -190 frozen
X 18 medium gas giant 9.2 150 1.8 superdense corrosive 16.2
11 moonlets -205 frozen
Xa 92 tiny sulfur moon 0.25 0.01 0.10 none -219 frozen 199.5
Xb 121 tiny ice moon 0.21 0.00 0.10 none -213 frozen 299.3
Xc 159 tiny ice moon 0.16 0.00 0.09 none -213 frozen 453.5
2 moonlets -205 frozen
XI 28 medium gas giant 9.2 150 1.8 superdense corrosive 23.7
8 moonlets -219 frozen
XIa 79 tiny ice moon 0.15 0.00 0.06 none -225 frozen 158.5
XIb 136 standard hadean moon 0.76 0.14 0.24 none -236 frozen 358.2
5 moonlets -219 frozen

43 Beta Comae Berenices IV “Aeneas

class of star G0 V
mean distance 1.0 A.U.
perihelion 1.0 A.U.
aphelion 1.0 A.U.
obliquity 19°
local year 0.955 annos
710.5 local days
local day 11.8 hours
standard garden planet
diameter 0.88 D♁
11,252 km
density 0.89 × Earth’s
4.9 g/cm²
escape velocity 9.3 km/s
period of low orbit 90 minutes
volcanism heavy
tectonics moderate
Climate cool
mean temp. 7 °C
perihelion temp. 7 °C
aphelion temp 7 °C
illumination 130% × Earth’s
coverage 88 %
composition water
tidal range 0.66 m
main gases N₂, O₂
traces &c.
class breathable
pressure 0.26 bar
(very thin)
Population & economy
habitability 17%
carrying capacity 1.39 E+9
population 1.27 E+9
development level 8.1
real exchange rate 0.87 ₢/¤
GDP (nominal) 4.9 E+13
GDP/head (real) 44,000 ¤
GDP/head (nominal) 39,000
spaceport class 4T
nearest neighbout Pentecost
distance 8.1 LY
sector Central
SHQ Old Earth
distance 29.8 LY

I should like to see something about the political organization of these planets. Do you have such a thing, either in terms of GURPS political categories such as fragmentation, society type, and law level, or in terms of your own categories?

I don’t have a procedural generator for planetary societies and governments in Flat Black that I am at all happy with, though I do sometimes turn to the ForeSight system for inspiration. And work on a procedural generator is indefinitely postponed by procrastination over whether to continue to use the star system and planet generator I adapted from GURPS Space, in all its clunky Excel-based glory, or start over and write something satisfactory in a modern programming language. So right now all the societies and governments have to be crafted by brain with knowledge and imagination.

And I really do mean to be doing just that now — part of the motive for the sudden frenzy of Flat Black stuff here in the forum that @RogerBW has so generously provided me is to drum up the courage to do just that. It’s just that right now I have to wrangle the last five elements of renovating my house (carpenter and painter for the kitchen, locksmith to key all the new doors alike, curtain installer, and installer for the shutters) and my eldest brother has invited himself to stay nine days starting on Friday, with his stepdaughter-elect and her husband and two children for three days.

There is going to be a hiatus.

When I get back in the saddle my plan is to write up all six colonies of the Suite, a representative colony of each class of origin (national separatist colonies, cultural separatist colonies, religious separatist colonies, religious utopist colonies, secular utopist colonies, associational colonies, free colonies, new worlds), one of each category of development levels (savages, barbarians, “pre”-industrial colonies, industrialising colonises, industrial colonies, post-industrialising colonies, and the Suite), and one of each conceptual category (repugnant utopia, flaky utopia, failed utopian nightmare, etc.). The lists overlap, naturally.

But there will be a delay at least until the 14 of May.

And I’m supposed to be doing some work on the new star system generator too, and haven’t been…

Well, this is a hobby, and sometimes it has to be set aside for more urgent tasks or obligations. I don’t intend an expression of interest on my part to imply a duty on your part.

I certainly get the idea of hand crafting a set of worlds rather than having them drop out of an automatic generative procedure. In fact I’ve found that at least some such procedures—I have in mind the GURPS alien race design process—have such a poor yield of sensible and interesting results that I woiuld never use them for worldbuilding.