RICE Logo RICE Paper #SM-2306: Shionthy/Regina

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Shionthy (Regina/Spinward Marches 2306)

  1. System Description
  2. Mainworld Profile
  3. Unusual System Features
  4. Ancient Intervention
  5. Shionthy Glossary
  6. Historical Notes on the Shionthy System
  7. Designer's Notes
  8. Thanks and Acknowledgements
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The Shionthy system is made up of the following significant components: the star Splinter (an M4V red dwarf), an inner asteroid belt composed partially of contraterrene matter (aka CT, seetee or antimatter), four gas giants and the Trojan asteroid clusters of the largest (outer) gas giant, Pathrio.

Splinter (Primary Star)

Primary: Splinter Type: M4V
Temp: 3340K Luminosity: 0.0214
Mass: 0.268 Radius: 0.00358 AU (0.396 Sol)
Lifespan: 168bn years Age: 7bn years
Safe Jump: 0.716 AU

Pilot's Guide (Brief)

The danger of contacting free-floating antimatter particles gives the Shionthy system its Red Zone (interdicted) classification.

Ships travelling further insystem than the orbit of the outer gas giant Pathrio should engage the services of an experienced local pilot.

System Contents

Orbit (AU) Name UPP Notes Diam Dens Grav
Primary Splinter M4 V
- (0.128) ----- INNER EDGE OF LIFE ZONE -----
0 (0.160) Hellbelt X000-665-8 Mining towns, military base
- (0.178) ----- OUTER EDGE OF LIFE ZONE -----
1 (0.460) Thiomen Small gas giant 27k 1.4 0.861
Shaw G423-332-8 Uni of Regina lab, ice-capped
T-Dva H410-000-0
Ring System YR00-000-0
Ring System YR00-000-0
T-Tre H4A0-340-0 Mining camp
Stableford F100-425-8 Traffic Control -- Inner System HQ
- (0.676) ----- SNOW LINE -----
- (0.716) ----- SAFE JUMP (100 STELLAR DIAMETERS) -----
2 (0.760) Althioy Small gas giant 49k 1.0 1.12
A-Adeen YS00-000-0
A-Dva H400-000-0
A-Tre H200-000-0
Dickson H403-164-8 Traffic Control obs post, ice capped
A-Pyat H201-000-0 Ice capped
A-Shest YS00-000-0
A-Shem H430-000-0
Waldrop G512-314-8 LSP Lab; Imperial Army base
3 (1.360) Griosh Small gas giant 48k 1.0 1.09
G-Adeen H300-000-0
G-Dva H100-000-0
G-Tre YS00-000-0
Blish G310-322-8 Lab
Ring System R000-000-0
White H530-365-7
G-Shest YS00-000-0
4 (2.560) Pathrio Large gas giant 75k 0.7 1.20
P-Adeen H540-000-0
P-Dva H400-000-0
P-Tre H310-000-0
P-Chetir H100-000-0
Ring System YR00-000-0
P-Pyat H522-000-0
P-Shest H500-000-0
P-Shem H100-000-0
Kelleher F6A0-520-7 Hellbent (mining town)
P-Dyevat H300-000-0
P-Dyesat G620-000-0
P-Adnatsat H5A1-000-0
Ring System YR00-000-0
Miller H100-363-8 Traffic Control -- Outer System HQ
4* (2.56*) Shionthy X000-742-8 Mainworld (Leading Trojans)
- (12.00) ----- OUTER LIMIT OF STELLAR SYSTEM -----

Note: Every body of size 1+ has a Dust Bunker: a beacon-marked artificial cavern in which ships of 400dT or less can shelter from uncharted dust-falls. Bunkers are Port Type H (primitive).

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Date UWP Notes Zone Sys Alleg Star Source
1105 X000742-8 Na As Red GG Im CT Supp 3
1110 X000742-8 Red Im CT Beltstrike
1117 X000742-8 As Na Red 714 DD/Im M4V MT:IE
1200 C000742-9 As Na An Am 814 Re M4V TNE:RS


For Imperials, Shionthy is known for the following facts: the Shionthy system contains an asteroid belt partly composed of antimatter, and is under a Red Zone interdict because of the danger to insystem navigation. These facts are true, but incomplete.

Some commentators believe that the UWP of Shionthy is that of the Shionthy system's Inner Belt -- locally known as the "Hellbelt". The majority of the Shionthy system's antimatter is located in the Hellbelt -- hence the name. However, although Shionthy's Hellbelt is infamous throughout the Imperium, it is not the system's mainworld.

Shionthy is in fact the proper name for the leading Trojan asteroid cluster of Patrio, the outer gas giant. The majority of the system's inhabitants live there, relatively safe from the bombardment of antimatter dust in the Hellbelt, and with a good supply of the carbonaceous and ice asteroids needed to sustain life. Many of the system's inhabitants also live and work on the moons of the system's four gas giants.

Shionthians despair of ever correcting the Imperial misgivings about their system.


(1105-1120) 70 million, mainly inhabiting the Trailing Trojan cluster of the outer gas giant Pathrio. The dangers of the Shionthy system and economic restrictions due to the Imperial Navy interdiction rendered the population and economy static for more than a century.

(1200) 80 million. Shionthy's reclassification from Red to Amber travel zone in 1147 attracted trade, stimulating immigration, technological development and population growth.

Cultural Profile

In the early days of settlement in Shionthy system, most of the population inhabited the Hellbelt, with antimatter bombardments an everyday occurrence. Several settlements were lost and over time, Shionthians came to consider permanent installations, such as starports, to be mere targets.
Modern-day Shionthians do not believe that anything can be permanent or secure, and that humanity is engaged in a struggle for survival in an uncaring universe. The native Shionthians' attitude is fatalistic: that next big strike will either make you a billionaire, or annihilate you -- for them, Shionthy is the universe, as raw as it gets; facing the universe on its own terms makes Shionthians a breed apart.
However, this attitude has not turned the Shionthians into nihilists; quite the opposite in fact.

Modular Ships
As the Shionthian philosophy of impermanence developed, their technology followed suit. Shionthians developed a system of modular ships with multiply-redundant systems; even if one or more parts are destroyed, the remainder can continue operating, or at least be salvaged.
Some Imperial anthropologists claim that Shionthy is displaying the first signs of becoming a "cyborg" (blended human-machine) culture; this is uncommon in TL8 societies. Most Shionthians own a 'ship' of some kind; even children have their own small pods with resistojets for shuttling between adults' vessels. As individuals grow older, they add modules to their ship until they achieve independence around age 18. Shionthians consider any person without a ship to be an object of pity.
Many individuals sell or rent unwanted ship modules to miners or other businesses; however, everybody retains at least one module to live in, and a flitter that can carry them between asteroids in their home belt.
Outsiders arriving in the Shionthy system should be able to find one or more individuals willing to lease them a ship -- however, there is often a condition that the ship owner come along, and be paid extra to act as a 'local pilot'.

Shionthians rendezvous or "raft" their ships together for specific purposes (trade, politics, marriage, recruiting, diplomacy, companionship), conducting their business, and breaking apart again.
If a larger ship is required for a particular task, crews may "enlist" by rafting their ships, breaking away when no longer required to be involved.
For this reason, and because of the lack of regular external traffic, there are no permanent starports in the Shionthy system.
However, the natural curiosity of Shionthians may lead to a visitor to the system attracting a raft of a dozen or more ships, which form a temporary 'starport' for purposes of trade and information exchange.
Sometimes a visiting ship may find themselves at the centre of a number of competing rafts, each claiming to have the best terms of trade, the best entertainment and the most fiery political debate in the Shionthy system.

Curiosity and Dialogue
Shionthians place a high value on information, even of an abstract nature, with a particular interest in alternative social and political systems. Shionthians consider freedom of information to be the basis of their democracy.
Shionthians see it as their duty to educate others and to engage in political debate, to an extent that most Outsiders find incredibly annoying. Shionthians are almost obsessively honest, and consider liars to be suffering a disgusting mental aberration.
Despite this apparent naivety, however, Shionthians are tough negotiators. They have a very well-developed sense of value, and it is not easy to trick a Shionthian into paying more than what something is worth.

Generosity and Hospitality
Shionthians are hospitable and generous with their possessions, especially with anyone who has suffered misfortune. Shipless individuals, for example, may find themselves showered in gifts, including old ship modules that once belonged to their children. There is a tacit expectation that once the person's fortunes improve, they will reciprocate by making a gift to their former benefactor.
However, Shionthians are not fools, and are quick to realise when someone is taking advantage of their generosity. If this happens, the word will spread quickly via Lasernet and the offender may find that the entire Shionthy system will refuse to deal with them.
Generosity need not be expensive. One of the most valuable and appreciated gifts that an Outsider can give to a Shionthian is news of the universe outside the Shionthy system, or information that proves to be useful in a political debate.

Shionthians are obsessive about keeping the exterior of their ships clean and polished mirror-bright, because even the slightest release of matter (spalling) can precipitate an antimatter explosion. Shionthians spend an inordinate amount of time scrubbing and cleaning: their vac-suits, living spaces and even their own bodies.

Shipboard Baths and Nudity
Shionthian ships are equipped with excellent Baths, which are a venue for much of the business of Shionthian democracy. It is difficult to conduct business with Shionthians without entering one or more Baths.
Because they spend so much time in their Baths and in shirt-sleeves environments, Shionthians consider the nudity taboos of many Imperial citizens to be stuffy and somewhat quaint.
There are many Shionthians who have never worn any clothing other than the body-stockings they wear under their vac-suits.

War and Violence
Shionthians greatly prefer debate and negotiation to the use of force, even in their personal lives. The fanatical adherents of a particular ideal will even debate an issue for months or years instead of resorting to violence.
However, in extreme circumstances, Shionthians will fight with a ferocity few can match. Shionthians argue constantly, but will instantly join forces against a common threat. The bickering may still continue, however, even while they are pounding their enemy with antimatter rocks.
A solar system of independent ship-owners with lifelong expertise in handling antimatter is a system upon which even the Imperial Navy is reluctant to impose its will.
"We forced even the mighty Imperium to negotiate," say the Shionthians of today. "Anyone is welcome to join our vigorous political debates. But interfere with us, and be prepared to face the consequences."


Participatory Democracy
Shionthians believe that the universe is what people make of it, and so they have an almost obsessive belief in, and commitment to, participatory democracy.
The inhabited moons and asteroids of the Shionthy system are connected up with a low-tech but robust system of tight-beam radio links between communication nodes. Within the asteroid clusters themselves, individual ships use laser and maser links to keep in touch.
Shionthians are argumentative to a fault; they especially relish debating whichever public policies are soon to be voted upon. The system's communications traffic is a Babel of chatter, political diatribe, pleading, grand manifestos and abuse. Each Shionthian holds a range of political allegiances, depending on the issue.
Every issue of public interest is debated at length, and put to a vote. Sometimes, an issue is resolved, and the debate continues, going to another vote, and another. A Shionthian's social status depends on how many of these debates they are engaged in, and the quality of their rhetorical skills.
Most Outsiders wonder how anything ever gets done in the Shionthy system; but somehow, things work.

Politics and Democracy
Shionthians prize independence, but consider participation in the democratic process to be their highest ideal. Shionthians consider "lesser" forms of government, such as representative democracy, to be no more than pale imitations of their "real" participatory democracy.
This culture of participatory democracy extends to all interactions. For example, if two individuals are negotiating a business deal, a third will interrupt if they believe one party will be at a disadvantage.
Even a simple negotiation may turn into a debate that spreads to the entire asteroid cluster, and will need to be resolved by a series of votes. Needless to say, most Imperial merchants prefer to avoid this kind of interaction, and have no desire to negotiate with the Shionthians.
Autocratic and aristocratic political systems, such as that of the Imperium, are almost incomprehensible to Shionthians. A concept like " the Emperor," or ideas of feudal loyalty, will evoke either curiosity or disbelieving laughter.
Although Shionthy is nominally part of the Imperium, the system's inhabitants have been engaged in an ongoing debate over Imperial membership for more than five centuries. Several times each year, the Shionthy system votes itself into the Imperium, then out again.
This makes no difference to the Imperial Navy, which maintains the interdiction regardless, or to the Marquis of Shionthy, who claims Imperial title over the system.
It has been suggested that the Imperial interdiction on the Shionthy system may be less due to the hazards of antimatter, than because of the Imperium's fears that Shionthian participatory democracy may be contagious.

Factional Politics and Issues in the Shionthy System
Each issue under debate generates one or more 'factions', groups of individuals who take particular views on the way the issue should be resolved.
Note that it is possible for an individual to belong to many different factions simultaneously, change their allegiance without notice, hold contradictory positions on different issues or take a different stance on the same issue at a different time. It is possible, for example, for an individual to be both an Imperial Loyalist and a Defence Hawk -- the individual would favour the Imperium, but would prefer the Shionthy system to defend itself with antimatter weapons rather than rely on the Imperial Navy.
Shionthians consider holding contradictory views and changing one's mind to be basic rights of democracy.

Table 1: Shionthian Issues and Factional Alignment
Roll(2D) Imperial Foreign SeeTee Admin Defence
FACTION Loyal Self-reliance Conservative Centrist Hawk
2 Fanatical Public Fanatical Public Fanatical
3-4 Public Public Sympathetic Public Fanatical
5-6 Public Public Sympathetic Unaligned Sympathetic
7 Unaligned Unaligned Unaligned Unaligned Unaligned
8-9 Sympathetic Sympathetic Public Public Public
10-11 Public Public Public Fanatical Public
12 Fanatical Fanatical Fanatical Fanatical Fanatical
FACTION Indept. Open-door Liberal Democrat Dove
NEXT VOTE 2D months 1D months 1D years 2D months 1D months

Unaligned: Has no opinions on the matter. Sympathetic: Inclined to agreement.
Public: Openly partisan on the matter. Fanatical: Focuses on this matter much of the time.

Note that this table can be used to determine the entire Shionthy system's stance on any issue at a given time. NEXT VOTE gives how long before another vote will be held on the issue, in the normal course of politics. Note however that a major upset in system politics -- for example a major antimatter disaster, or a revelation that the Imperial Navy is experimenting with SeeTee weapons -- can precipitate an immediate vote in one or more issues.

Some Shionthian Factions
The following are only a few of the debates and factions currently active in the Shionthy system:
  1. Imperium Policy
    • "Loyalists" -- in favour of maintaining membership in the Imperium.
    • "Independents" -- want Shionthy to become independent of the Imperium.
  2. Foreign Policy
    • "Self-reliance" -- in favour of the interdict. Supported by LSP. Covertly aligned with the Imperial Navy.
    • "Open-door" -- Wants interdict removed. Supported by Instellarms. Covertly aligned with the Scout Service.
  3. SeeTee Policy
    • "Conservative" -- restrict access to SeeTee. Reduce "interference" so that more income accrues to miners and corporations. Tend to be Self-reliance in Foreign Policy.
    • "Liberal" -- want free access to SeeTee, and redistribute the income from SeeTee mining. Tend to be Open-door in Foreign Policy, but many are Self-reliance.
  4. Admin Policy
    • "Centrists" -- want to centralise and formalise governmental arrangements. Pro-efficiency. Tend to be Loyalists in Imperium Policy, but some are Independents.
    • "Democrats" -- want to keep current participatory democracy. Tend to be Independents in Imperium Policy, but many are Loyalists who want to maintain the current system as members of the Imperium.
  5. Defence Policy
    • "Hawks" -- Aggressive use of SeeTee in system defence. First / preemptive strikes against enemies. Tends to be sympathetic with Outworld Coalition.
    • "Doves" -- Opposed any use of SeeTee in weaponry. Rely on Imperial Navy for defence. Tends to be sympathetic with Imperium.


Law level 2 (Control rating 1). Most laws and regulations have to do with controlling insystem traffic and access to Seetee. Other laws come into play only in the most extreme circumstances, when a Tribunal is convened.

In such cases, however, a Tribunal's dictates are absolute and very rarely challenged.


The majority of Shionthy's miners are conventional, working the Trojan points and moons of the system's four gas giants. However, the powerhouse of the Shionthian economy is the antimatter trade. Antimatter can only be (legally) bought and sold at the LSP ContraTerrene Matter Market (CTMM, or SeeTeeDouble-Em).

Table 3: SeeTeeDoubleEm -- Antimatter Wholesale Prices
Starting Wholesale Price ==>MCr5 per kilogram.
Daily Roll (2D) Price Mod
1- -75%, roll again
2 -50%
3 -25%
4-5 -10%
6-8 Stable
9-10 +10%
11 +25%
12 +50%
13+ +100%, roll again

DMs: -1 if price > MCr 6.0, +1 if price < MCr 4.0. -2 if price > MCr 12.0, +2 if price < MCr 2.0. Note that some Shionthians hoard antimatter in the hope of better prices, or to sell to smugglers; these may pay up to 25% above the current market rate.

The Imperial Navy takes a very dim view of illicit trading in antimatter.

Price of anti-matter = MCr0.2 per kilolitre (TNE:FF&S, p63); however, this is at TL17+, the tech level at which antimatter power plants become available and industrial production of antimatter is relatively safe and simple.

Each kilolitre of this 'antimatter fuel' in fact only contains a small quantity of antimatter - the remainder is a containment bottle for this highly dangerous material.

Antimatter Containment Vessels
Outside Shionthy, the following table gives the typical price of one kilolitre of antimatter fuel; Min Vol (kL) is the minimum volume of an antimatter containment bottle at that tech level. Maximum A-M is the number of kilograms of antimatter that the listed containment bottle will hold. For each TL below 17, the market price of raw antimatter doubles, while the containment bottles double in volume and mass.

Table 2: Antimatter price, volume, raw antimatter mass and chance of mishap
TL    Price  Mass   Min Vol   Max A-M   Mishap*   Max explosive 
      (MCr)  (t)    (kL)****    (kg)	(2D)      yield (megatons)**
TL17    0.2           1.0       1.0      13+      300 MT
TL16    0.4           2.0       0.5      12+      240 MT
TL15    0.8           4.0       0.25     11+      190 MT
TL14    1.6           8.0       0.13     11+      150 MT
TL13    3.2          16.0       0.06     10+      120 MT
TL12    6.4          32.0       0.03     10+       90 MT 
TL11   12.8          64.0       0.01      9+       60 MT 
TL10   25.6         128.0       0.005     8+       50 MT 
TL8-9  ----         550.0       0.001     6+       15 MT 
* Roll for a mishap if the containment bottle is disturbed in some way -- eg a substantial shock, or the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) of a nearby nuclear missile explosion. Note that from TL17, antimatter containment can be considered safe unless the containment bottle is breached.
** In megatons. Note that explosive yield increases with the cube root of mass. As in nuclear weapons, unless the antimatter can be contained the explosion disperses the reaction products.
*** Below TL10, there is no (civilian) market price for antimatter: the material is so dangerous and difficult to handle that it has no peaceful uses. However, some groups - such as government, military or terrorists - may be interested in purchasing antimatter for other purposes.
**** The mass of the antimatter containment bottle is 1 ton per kilolitre.

It should be obvious to even the casual observer that the prices paid for antimatter outside the Shionthy system is considerably better than that paid at the LSP-dominated SeeTeeDoubleEm.
Shionthians mount antimatter containment vessels on the outside hull of their ships, where they can be quickly jettisoned in an emergency. Most Outsiders are not so intelligent -- yet another argument in favour of hiring a local insystem pilot.
In any case, the breach of an antimatter containment bottle should be considered "a serious thing" and has potential for both serious tension and roleplaying opportunities. Resolution of such a situation is left to the Referee, with bonuses given for Engineering expertise and innovative attempts at a solution.
Antimatter can be produced in minute quantities from TL7, but only at enormous expense - costing tens of millions of credits per nanogram.

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Antimatter in the Shionthy System

"Outsiders come to the Shionthy system with various objectives. Many want to become rich -- to find that lucky macroscopic strike of seetee in the inner belt, and successfully return it for sale.
"Others come for knowledge -- to investigate the properties of seetee or the unique role of the Ancients in Shionthy's history. And some come for power -- either the energy locked in seetee, which can be released for the benefit of Humaniti, making possible almost unlimited energy reactors, for example -- or the terrible weapons that seetee makes possible.
"All of these outsiders have one thing in common: hunger, whether for wealth, knowledge or power. But no mortal appetite can match the ravenous hunger of seetee, which waits to devour matter at the slightest touch."
- Maria Svobold, seetee miner and novelist.

"Three factors influence the size and distribution of contraterrene (CT, or anti-matter) particles in the Shionthy belt: gravitation, collision with macroscopic particles of matter, and the solar wind.
"Gravitation acts on CT in the same way as normal matter: CT particles are pulled into orbit around the star, and influenced by asteroids, planets, comets and other particles of both CT and normal matter. Under gravitation, CT particles either combine with other CT particles into even larger CT concentrations, or are attracted to normal matter.
"A physics professors would tell you that when matter and CT combine, both experience the joys of mutual annihilation. This is correct - in laboratory conditions. In the real universe, however, the situation is rather more complicated.
"Imagine smashing two large rocks together. The rocks actually touch at only a few points. Now imagine that one rock is matter and the other anti-matter.
"Antimatter annihilation taps the power of total conversion: "E=MC squared," in the famous formula of the ancient Solomani philosopher, Einstein. This releases energies of an order of magnitude greater than nuclear fusion - but in practice, total conversion only occurs in the parts of the rocks that actually come into contact. This releases enough energy to vapourise most of the resulting matter and antimatter, and send the remaining pulverised rock flying apart in the form of ions, atoms and larger particles. Over time, then, annihilation tends to reduce larger fragments of anti-matter to much smaller particles.
"Shionthy's star, Splinter, emits a continuous solar wind of particles - ions, protons and electrons, all of which attract and annihilate their counterparts - anti-ions, anti-protons and positrons. What remains is neutrally-charged CT atoms, molecules and larger particles.
"Splinter's solar wind also erodes CT fragments, with the rate of erosion depending on the ratio of surface area to volume. I leave the mathematics to the student, but the overall effect is that the rate of erosion is fastest in the smallest particles, and much slower in larger fragments.
"The overall effect is that CT matter in the Shionthy system takes two forms: a small number of larger fragments, which still remain in the Shionthy Belt; and vast clouds of what Shionthy miners call "Dust" - the pulverised remains of larger impacts, blasted randomly across the whole system on the solar wind.
"Fortunately, the system's four gas giants tend to act as vacuum cleaners - if you'll excuse the pun - sweeping up much of the Dust that strays beyond the inner system. Most of the system's inhabitants live in the Trojan asteroids and the moons of Pathrio, the outer (and largest) of the system's gas giants; a smaller number inhabit the moons of the inner gas giants; and an even smaller number of hardy - or foolhardy - miners and researchers live within the inner belt itself, where the concentration of CT matter is the highest.
"Popular myth tends to focus on the danger of the few large chunks of CT matter that remain in the Shionthy Belt, but the reality is both more mundane and more dangerous: the continual danger of encountering a cloud of Dust, without warning, anywhere in the Shionthy system, and the sleet of gamma radiation from the annihilation of microscopic particles of CT matter.
"One final complication: Splinter is an M4V flare star, which erupts with solar flares that randomly increase the strength of the solar wind by many orders of magnitude. At times of maximum flare activity, Dust can be thrown far into the outer system. As you might imagine, the radiation hazard at such times can be extreme.
"Because of all of these factors, it would be irresponsible and foolhardy to lift the interdiction on the Shionthy system."
- Arnold Guumish, Chief Scientist of LSP's CT Insitute and antimatter consultant to the Imperial Navy, before the Imperial Interdiction Review Board convened at Regina on 221:1117.

"Understanding the influence of antimatter in the Shionthy system is simple: it's all about money and power. Or if you prefer, about LSP and the Imperial Navy. Antimatter is profitable for LSP, which runs a secret weapons research laboratory located in the Shionthy Hell-belt. Antimatter is power for the Imperial military, which stands to gain from the new weapons that LSP is producing.
"But antimatter is a poor weapon of war: it is difficult to store, hard to control and indiscriminate in its effects. There is still no feasible way of controlling an explosion so that all antimatter is annihilated -- a few pieces of antimatter, continually breaking into smaller randomly-scattering fragments, could make an entire solar system uninhabitable for decades. Any state that uses antimatter weapons will face horror and immediate condemnation from its interstellar neighbours -- allies and enemies alike.
"However, these factors make antimatter an excellent weapon of terror. One terrorist with a grenade-sized vessel can carry enough antimatter to obliterate a city; an antimatter bombardment could reduce an entire planetary surface to a sea of radioactive dust; and the horror that antimatter generates is perfect for terrorising civilians. Best of all, a state can distance itself from the actions of a terrorist group in a way it could never do with its own military.
"My evidence proves conclusively that not only has LSP developed antimatter terror weapons, but that the Imperial Navy has plans to stockpile and smuggle these weapons to Imperial agents and insurgent groups in the Outworld Coalition."
- Professor Nelson Burgiss, formerly Dean of Contraterrene Physics at the University of Regina, to the Imperial Interdiction Review Board convened at Regina on 221:1117.

Professor Burgiss died in a tragic antimatter accident less than a week after he appeared before the Imperial Interdiction Review Board. Burgiss' evidence was lost when the IISS X-boat transporting the evidence to Capital misjumped and disappeared somewhere in Corridor sector. Due to an administrative oversight, the Ministry of Defence had failed to make backup copies.

"Let me be perfectly clear: LSP does not now, and has never in the past, conducted antimatter weapons research in the Shionthy Belt."
- Sergei Semyonovich Verontsov, Marquis of Shionthy and Chairman of Shionthy CT Mining LIC, before the Imperial Interdiction Review Board convened at Regina on 221:1117.

"Any accusation that LSP is colluding with Imperial Navy Reserve officers in the interdiction of the Shionthy system is not only slander, but purely and simply ridiculous."
- Reserve Commodore Dipesh Waldrop-Malayen, commander of the 1212th Reserve Fleet, the unit responsible for enforcing the interdiction of Shionthy system.

"Shionthy CT Mining LIC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LSP. Marquis Verontsov is using the Imperial Navy interdiction for his own private profit, and for the benefit of LSP's shareholders. How do I know this? Because Reserve Commodore Dipesh Waldrop-Malayen's day job is as the Chairman of LSP's Regina Board of Directors."
- Huang Wei, Industrial Organiser, Shionthy Miners' Union, before the Imperial Interdiction Review Board convened at Regina on 221:1117.

"The allegations levelled by the Shionthy Miners' Union and their associates are purely political, fabricated by agents trying to infect the Third Imperium with a lethal plague of populist democracy."
-Sergei Semyonovich Verontsov, Marquis of Shionthy and Chairman of Shionthy CT Mining LIC, before the Imperial Interdiction Review Board convened at Regina on 221:1117.

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Two contradictory factors make the Shionthy system unique: first, that the system components have indisputably been altered in the distant past, most probably by the species known as the Ancients; and second, that no physical artifacts of the Ancients have yet been discovered in the system. Three pieces of indirect evidence point to these conclusions:

  1. The ice caps of Shaw (inmost moon of the gas giant Thiomen) show that antimatter has only been present in the Shionthy system for a short period of geological time. Glaciers on Shaw show no evidence of positron and gamma-ray bombardment earlier than half a million years ago, and similar geophysical evidence has been extracted from the lunar rocks of Stableford.
  2. A slight 'sorting force' seems to be pushing matter and antimatter to different 'nodes' of the Hell-belt. Such a force has never been directly observed; however the nodes of matter and antimatter are directly observable, and cannot be easily explained by any other means.
    The same force seems to operate on antimatter throughout the Shionthy system, pushing the antimatter Dust into wheel-like 'spokes' reaching far beyond the orbit of the outermost gas giant, Pathrio. The force may extend as far as the system's Oort cloud.
  3. A few reseachers claim that the amount of antimatter in the Shionthy hell-belt is increasing slightly each year, despite the fact that mining is removing antimatter from the system. This observation is hotly disputed, as it is possible that experimental error may be responsible for the supposed increase.


The actual involvement of the Ancients has been a matter of considerable speculation. Several theories have been advanced for the unique presence of antimatter in the Shionthy system:

Final War Theory
An Ancient-inhabited planet once orbited close to Splinter. The asteroid belt is the result of an antimatter 'planet buster' weapon used during the Final War.
The Final War theory explains the presence of antimatter in the Shionthy system, and fits with archaeological evidence of widespread destruction among the Ancients around 300,000 years ago. However, the Final War theory does not explain why the Ancients would have inhabited a planet so poorly-suited to their known visual, radiation and temperature preferences (for the hotter Type F stars, rather than the cool, red Type M Splinter). It also does not explain the unusual behaviour of the antimatter in the present day.
Extra-Galactic Theory
The antimatter is extra-galactic in origin, and was captured in the gravity of Splinter while passing through the galactic plane. The Ancients were in the system to exploit this naturally-occurring source of antimatter.
The Extra-Galactic Theory explains the presence of antimatter and the involvement of the Ancients; however it does not explain why Shionthy is the only star system in known space that has significant amounts naturally-occuring antimatter, or the unusual behaviour of that antimatter in the present day.
It is also unlikely that the high-technology Ancients would have bothered mining naturally-occuring antimatter, when it is probable that they could have manufactured as much as they needed with little difficulty.
Experiment Theory
The Ancients converted part of an existing asteroid belt into antimatter as part of an unfathomable experiment.
The Experiment Theory explains the presence of antimatter and the involvement of the Ancients, and possibly explains the antimatter's present unusual behaviour. However no direct evidence exists for any Ancient mechanism that might be manipulating the antimatter in the present day.
Continuing Experiment Theory
(A refinement of the Experiment theory) The mechanism that the Ancients used to manufacture and manipulate antimatter is still operating in the Hell-Belt.
The Continuing Experiment theory suffers from a single major flaw: no Ancient artifacts have been found in the Shionthy system, although the presence and behaviour of antimatter in the hell-belt seems to indicate artificial interference even in the present day.
Strange Physics Theory
There is a defect in our current understanding of physics: antimatter obeys slightly different laws that matter does not.
This theory neatly explains the observable phenomena in the Shionthy system. However, when removed from the Shionthy system, antimatter behaves according to standard physical theories. The logical conclusion is that these unusual phenomena are specific to Shionthy, and are not due to hitherto-undiscovered laws of antimatter physics.
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a macroscopic fragment of seetee. The name is associated with two terms from ancient Solomani Anglic: apocalypse, a mythical revelation of the end of the world; and calypso, a music form, associated with tropical ease and luxury. The allusions relate to both the wealth that such a fragment could brings the owner, and the potential disaster if such a large amount of seetee was mishandled.
CTMM (SeeTeeDoubleEm):
LSP-controlled antimatter market. Prices are terrible, but CTMM is the only legitimate SeeTee market in the system.
microscopic particles of seetee, ranging roughly from nanograms to micrograms in size, formed by the pulverising effect of seetee-matter annihilation. The majority of seetee in the Shionthy system is in the form of Dust, rather than as the macroscopic apocalypsos.
Dust Bunker:
an artificial cavern, in which ships of 400 DT or less can shelter from an unexpected dustfall. Every body of size 1+ in the Shionthy system has at least one dust bunker; each is marked with a transponder.
dead, defunct or non-functional.
when a Dust cloud falls under the influence of a gravitational field, and annihilates on contact with terrene matter. On planets or moons with a significant atmosphere, dustfall may be limited to a spectacular light show high above the surface. If there is little or no atmosphere, however, dustfall can be a lethal bombardment lasting for hours or even days.
releasing a stream of Dust to strike a target, usually a ship. A form of frontier justice once widespread in the Shionthy system but outlawed by Imperial edict.
Each year a few incidents of dusting still occur, but are almost always claimed to be accidental. In extreme cases, such as when a ship captain refuses to abide by a Tribunal decision or if a ship is engaged in piracy, Traffic Control may authorise dusting as a means of apprehension or execution.
The Imperial Navy takes a very dim view of dusting, whether by Shionthians or outsiders.
the burst of radiation released in Seetee annihilation, heavy in gamma and X-rays. Visually, an intense pinpoint of violet-white, quickly expanding and fading through the spectrum to dull red.
radiation released in the continual low-level annihilation of matter and antimatter "dust". Glow renders most passive EM sensors virtually useless in the Shionthy system.
The antimatter belt orbiting close to Splinter.
Imperials, or others, who are not native to the Shionthy system.
a licence to handle seetee. Permits may be Primary (may mine and sell, but not use, seetee), Scientific (may buy seetee and conduct experiments, but not mine), Trading (may buy or sell, but not use, seetee for any purpose) or Unlimited (may extract, buy, sell or use seetee for any purpose). Outsider individuals and small corporations are always issued either Primary, Trading or Scientific permits, and the same individual may not simultaneously hold two different classes of licence. LSP, the Imperial Navy and the University of Regina are the only Outsider organisations that hold Unlimited permits.
Primary permit:
see Permit.
connecting two or more ships together, on a short- or long- term basis. Some Rafts are permanent, but most are for a specific purpose such as trade or a specific political issue. Rafting developed as a means of distributing the risk of an antimatter impact, and explains the absence of permanent settlements (including starports) in the Shionthy system.
A legendary chunk of antimatter, thousands or millions of tons in mass. Ragnarock sightings have never been officially confirmed, and most scientists agree that such a large piece of antimatter would have long since broken up. Many Shionthians believe that the Ragnarock will plunge into Splinter, heralding the end of all life in the Shionthy system.
Scientific permit:
see Permit.
CT, or ContraTerrene, matter. A Second Imperium Solomani term for antimatter, still used by inhabitants of the Shionthy system.
Spall, Spalling:
a chip or splinter breaking off a larger object, such as a vac-suit, ship or rock. Spalling is a hazard in the Shionthy system because even though it is impossible to track such small objects, contact with a CT fragment can have catastrophic effects. All vessels inside the orbit of Tiomen (the innermost gas giant) must log their movements with Traffic Control, and seek permission for course changes in anything except emergency situations. Logged trajectories are projected into the future, and for the next twenty years the ship is responsible for damage or death due to spalling.
a low-tech but effective means of clearing antimatter particles from a region of space: a ship equipped with a fusion drive builds up momentum, then turns and proceeds with the fusion flame blasting ahead in the direction of travel.
Additional hydrogen fuel is dumped into the flame, creating a cone of plasma preceding the ship through space. Torching is a very fuel-hungry practice, tripling normal fuel consumption. Torching is another reason that unauthorised intrusion in the Shionthy system is at best foolhardy - or suicidal.
the Shionthian version of a court of law. In the case of a dispute between parties -- such as compensation for a victim of spalling -- three or more ships whose crews have some particular expertise in the disputed issue will raft up to form a Tribunal. A Tribunal's judgement is not necessarily final, as another Tribunal can be formed to review the judgement of a previous Tribunal. However, the appellant must still enlist the cooperation of three ships to form a new Tribunal; Shionthians consider frivolous legal appeals to be in very poor taste, as all rafted ships are exposed to the hazards of CT impact.
Trading permit:
see Permit.
Unlimited permit:
see Permit.
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List of Sources

MT Imperial Encyclopedia; TNE Regency Sourcebook; GT Behind the Claw (GT:BTC); CT Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches; TNE Fire, Fusion & Steel; CT The Traveller Adventure (esp. pp12-15, for history of Spinward Marches); CT Beltstrike; MT Hard Times; CT Adv 1: The Kinunir; CT Adv 12: Secret of the Ancients.

Note: the details here are quoted for the purposes of study the "fair usage" provisions of the Copyright Act, and with no intention to violate the rights of the copyright owners.

1200 - The New Era

C000-742-9   As Na An   A814   Re   M4V   TNE:Regency Sourcebook


With the advent of Virus, antimatter was too useful a weapon to remain hidden. The interdiction on the Shionthy system was finally lifted in 1147 (travel classification: Amber), and progress made on seetee Dust weapons designed to deter or destroy vampire fleets threatening the Domain of Deneb.

Although the Domain abandoned seetee weapons as too dangerous, the lifting of the interdiction led to an increase in scientific activity and the introduction of gravitic, jump drive and fusion technologies (tech level:9). A general increase in living standards in the Shionthy system has induced a small annual growth in system population after centuries of stagnation (pop mult:8). In 1155, Shionthy was officially declared an Ancient site (trade code: An), although the exact nature of Ancient artifacts found remains a secret. Tourist liners began visiting the Shionthy system in 1194.

The increase in research activity has not only benefited the Shionthy system. Researchers from the University of Rhylanor have made solid progress on a prototype antimatter power plant, using engineering advances based on Shionthy antimatter research.


(1200) "Shionthy has tremendous historical significance because of its role in the life of Norris, the First Regent. The Shionthy belt was the final resting place of the Colonial Cruiser Kinunir (TailNo.9514), which was carrying an Imperial Warrant from Emperor Strephon for then-Duke Norris. Kinunir suffered a failure in her AI security system, killed her crew (foreshadowing the Collapse) and wound up out of fuel as a derelict in the then-interdicted system. Norris was eventually able to trace the location of the warrant, enter the Shionthy system, find the ship, and recover the Warrant, allowing him to take over command of the Imperial forces in the Fifth Frontier War from Sector Admiral Santanocheev, and bring the war to a successful conclusion.
"Kinunir remains in her resting place as an historic site and war grave. Tampering with war graves is a high justice crime. For further details, see the MT Imperial Encyclopedia, Adventure 1: The Kinunir, Fifth Frontier War, and The Spinward Marches Campaign." (TNE:RS)

(1200) "It is this danger (anti-matter) that caused (Shionthy's) previous interdiction and current Amber Zone status. Those brave or foolish enough to collect these particles can sell them for amazing prices, but face the hazards of handling, or even operating near, this dangerous material." (TNE:RS) (see also TNE: Fire, Fusion, & Steel, p65).

1120 -- GURPS Traveller


(1120) "The Shionthy belt is thought to be the remains of a world destroyed by the Ancients in their Final War, as it contains significant quantities of anti-matter." (GT:BTC)

(1120) "The system's population is made up of Ancients-studying researchers, a group of very optimistic anti-matter miners and a larger number of belters (and their dependents) who work the 30 moons of the system's four gas giants." (GT:BTC)

(1120) "The last resting place of the Imperial vessel Kinunir lies in the belt and is marked as a war grave. The historical importance of this craft is great, as Kinunir was carrying an Imperial Warrant to the then-Duke Norris when it was destroyed. Norris tracked the warrant down and used it to bring the Fifth Frontier War to a successful conclusion by taking personal command of the Imperial forces." (GT:BTC)

1110 -- Classic Traveller

X000-742-8   As Na   GG   Im   CT: Beltstrike


(1110) "Shionthy (Regina 0706 X-000742-8): The large belt dominating this system is believed by many authorities to be the result of the destruction of a large world by the Ancients. The presence of quantities of anti-matter in the belt suggests a mechanism. Because of the anti-matter, Shionthy Belt is dangerous to enter (the explosion resulting from contact with even a microscopic particle can cause severe damage) and has been interdicted by the Imperium. Before interdiction, Shionthy had already acquired a population of belters searching for fragments of anti-matter, worth several million credits per gram. Imperial law allows established populations to remain in a system after interdiction and, despite periodic disasters - in addition to the dangers of anti-matter, asteroids occasionally collide with each other in this young belt - the population has grown. The inhabitants sell their finds to the Imperium, which, despite the humanitarian concerns which led to the interdiction, finds the present arrangement too valuable to abandon." (CT:Beltstrike - Library Data)

1110 -- Ling-Standard Products


"Ling-Standard Products, LIC: Originally a mining firm (and still very active in that area), LSP currently engages in a wide spectrum of activities, including (but by no means limited to) manufacture of electronic equipment of all sorts, ground and air vehicles, starships and starship armament systems, drive systems, power systems, computer systems and software, small arms, and a variety of other items. Concerned to a small degree with banking, insurance, and other activities, LSP maintains mining and manufacturing facilities throughout the Imperium and beyond.
"...megacorporations have truly astronomical numbers of employees, shareholders, and profits. Their upper level executives labor at broad policy questions, and are largely out of contact with day-to-day (and even year-to-year) activities of the corporation. The real power in the company lies in the hands of the regional managers (under whatever title they have) who control the actual operations of the business. While they may control only a small fraction of the megacorporation's assets, they wield more power in some areas than do the representatives of the Imperial government.
"A small number of regulatory agencies have power over the megacorporations, and the companies are subject to any applicable local taxes as well. Nevertheless, if Imperial sovereignty is not blatantly violated, regional managers can usually conduct their company's business as they see fit. Because a direct confrontation with the Imperium would be bad for business, intentional violations of Imperial laws occur on a covert basis only." (CT:Beltstrike - Library Data)

1105 -- The Kinunir

X000-742-8   Na As   GG   Im   CT: Supp 3


(1105) "Of special interest is the Shionthy system...(which) on this map is not an asteroid belt, but instead a planet...Based on this evidence, it is logical to conclude...that Shionthy was converted to an asteroid belt during the Final War." (CT Adv 12: SotA)

(1105) "Rumours...may direct the adventuring band to the Shionthy (0706) Asteroid Belt. Upon arriving at that location, they will find warning beacons (automated) which continuously broadcast a message stating that this area is interdicted and dangerous.
"This system has a gas giant, and it is possible for the incoming ship to simply refuel and leave the system. Faint radio signals are audible over the warning beacons, and may be followed to the central populated location in the belt.
"The belt itself is partially composed of contra-terrene matter (antimatter). Contact with a particle of such matter will result in the conversion of the contra-terrene matter and an equal amount of normal matter to energy. Throw 3+ per hour to avoid encountering contra-terrene matter; if it is encountered, the explosion will disable some critical function of the ship, requiring repairs...
"...every hour, throw 11+ to receive faint signals from a location in the belt far removed from the populated area. These signals come from the Kinunir, which lies derelict in a small cluster of asteroids. If signals are not detected, there should be some chance that encounter with the population of the belt will indicate the presence of the ship.
"The Kinunir itself is lying derelict with computer operational and auxiliary power, but has not moved for years. Close external examination will not reveal any clue to the reason that the ship is in its present state; but a wider search will show (about 1,000km away) a group of four of the ship's crew caught in the gravitational field of a small asteroid. They are not wearing vacc suits, and show signs of death by vacuum.
"The suggested reason for the derelict ship is a malfunctioning security system which has eliminated the crew and disposed of them. The computer has refused to obey its verbal override commands, and has used its internal equipment to eliminate the crew. In the process of doing so, it has exhausted its maneuver and jump fuel, and is now trapped in the belt." (CT Adv 1: The Kinunir)

"...players who blunder into the Shionthy Belt will probably be less alert to the idea that the Kinunir lies derelict within the system. It should be entirely possible for the characters to play out an adventure within the belt (prospecting perhaps, or undertaking a mission for a patron they encounter there), and never guess that they are so close to the ship they will ultimately be seeking. Later, when they return to the belt in search of the ship, they may have some advantage (such as knowing a local figure, or being familiar with the route to the central area of the belt) which may assist them in their search." Referee's notes (p44) (CT Adv 1: The Kinunir)

1105 -- Rumours


(pp7-9) (CT Adv 1: The Kinunir)
"A: An aged former scout (about age 50, 433976) says that he encountered weak coded positional signals in the interdicted system of Shionthy (0706) as he passed through in 1089 on a mission. The signals, he is certain, were from a Kinunir class vessel. He remembers because he thought people were supposed to stay out of interdicted systems...
"I: A scholar (age 58, 692CC9) has been researching the previous cultures which have inhabited this region (prior to the arrival of humans). His inquiry has lead (sic) him to believe that both Knorbes (0207) and Shionthy (0706) are both former hubs of such cultures. Unfortunately, Shionthy is interdicted...
"S: A well-dressed young gentleman (age 29, 83799A) is found beaten in an alley. If helped, in gratitude, he will discuss his father's business - a subsector mapping and chart service. Imperial subsector officials are pressuring him not to chart interdicted worlds, especially Shionthy (0706)...
"U: Interdicted worlds are interdicted because the Imperium is trying to conceal its mistakes in social and political planning..." (CT Adv 1: The Kinunir)

1105 -- Library Data


"The Shionthy (0706) Asteroid Belt is believed to have been formed during one unusually intense battle between Ancient forces..."

"Interdiction: The Imperial practice of interdiction of worlds within the boundaries of the Imperium has long been a source of contention between liberal and conservative factions in the government. Interdictions must be approved by a member of the Imperial family, but generally such approval is given in response to a request from an interested service, nearly always the Scouts or the Navy.
"It is generally held that the Scouts recommend interdiction to shield a young or sensitive culture from the interference that interstellar trade and commerce will bring... "The Navy is held to be more vindictive in its recommendations, using interdiction to punish local governments or to hide its own mistakes.
"Interdicted worlds are classed as having type X starports. The Traveller's Aid Society generally awards interdicted worlds Red Travel Zone rating...The code red is reserved for dangerous areas; Imperial interdictions, wars, and quarantined worlds are routinely classified as red zones." Library Data (pp38-42) (CT Adv 1:The Kinunir)

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A great deal of canon covers the Shionthy system; unfortunately most of the details are scattered in the least likely places, squirreled away as parenthetical asides to other topics.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, reconciling various canon details was very difficult -- especially GT: Behind the Claw which described the bulk of the system's population as follows: "The system's population is made up of Ancients-studying researchers, a group of very optimistic anti-matter miners and a larger number of belters (and their dependents) who work the 30 moons of the system's four gas giants."

I needed to reconcile this with CT, MT and TNE descriptions which give the "mainworld" stats as X000-742-8 -- ie that the major populated area is an asteroid belt. TNE: Regency Sourcebook says that there is a planetoid belt in the system, (ie in addition to the 'asteroid' belt mainworld); as well as four gas giants.

A compromise required some tweaking (but not significant violence) to the published Traveller canon.

The problem solved itself over numerous cups of tea, brewed northern Indian (Kashmiri, I think) style -- with half a stick of cinnamon, a bay leaf and a few cardamom seeds -- highly recommended. These psychoactive substances induced a creative fervour in me -- of course, it came to me in my tea-enhanced stupour, the Trojan asteroids of the gas giants!

Well, okay, the Trojans are not precisely an asteroid 'belt' but close enough, especially since the canon has up to now ignored the possibility of Trojan asteroids being populated. And although the Trojans are certainly not 'moons' of the gas giants, GT:BTC says that the miners "work" the moons, not that they live on them permanently.

In fact living in a large gravity well isn't a great idea in a system swimming with chunks of antimatter -- being sucked towards the gas giant, then hitting each of the individual moons, a trip outdoors would be a little like trying to sunbake in a thermonuclear bombardment.

And even though the antimatter miners are mad enough to live in the antimatter belt close to the star, the bulk of the population would be a bit more intelligent. Much smarter to live where life is a bit more calm -- the Trojan asteroids fit the bill nicely.

That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

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Thanks to the TML, especially Joe Webb, Leonard Erickson (aka shadow), David "Hyphen" Jaques-Watson, for a discussion on Shionthy and antimatter that amounted to a wad of printed text half an inch thick.

I followed the discussion closely even though I didn't always feel I could participate. All your suggestions and comments were considered, even if I ended up taking a different path!

Finally -- this writeup of the Shionthy system owes a lot to Jack Williamson's Seetee series, especially Seetee Ship (1951). Even though the series is now 50 years old, Jack Williamson's books mined the implications of antimatter so thoroughly that those following are forever in his debt.

Copyright ©2002, 2003 Michael Barry.
TRAVELLER is a registered trademark of FarFuture Enterprises.
Portions of this material are Copyright ©1977-2003 Far Future Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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