Aststoke is one of the largest habitable worlds ever discovered within known space. The planet’s close proximity to Haven, the old Imperial capitol world, gave it a special appeal to scientists and artists alike during the pre-colonial era. Astronomers conducted long-distance investigations of the verdant world’s surface while writers and filmmakers invented fantastic tales of what might exist there.
Top Imperial officials eventually announced their intention to send manned spacecraft to Aststoke and found a colony there, triggering a wave of jubilation that swept through the populace. After long last, they were to lay claim to that which prior generations could only dream of possessing! When the first wave of dropships made landfall upon the planet’s surface, cheers erupted across Haven that could be heard for dozens of miles.
Though the initial development of Aststoke proceeded in fits and spurts, the colony soon became extremely prosperous. Vast tracts of land were ripe for the taking on this new planet that were unrivalled by anything to be found on Haven. Many enterprises found that this new environment allowed them to expand their business in ways that would not have been possible or even permissible on the capitol world. The research and development sector in particular profited from the new and unregulated environment. In the coming decades, R&D firms grew at such pace as to dominate the colonial economy. Following the Imperial conquest of Sunea, dangerous shield research was undertaken in the most advanced laboratories, assisted by knowledgable Sunean guildsmen.
Such a thriving world was naturally tempted to secede, and Imperial authorities on Haven were well aware of this temptation. Aststoke was kept in line through tactful applications of police force, economic subsidies that favored established businesses, and limited self-rule initiatives. Of these last, perhaps the most significant was the Aststokian Council, a group of officials elected by the general populace and acknowledged by the Emperor as a valid local authority. While legally the Emperor himself held veto power, in practice the Council was free to make its own day-to-day policy decisions for the colony world. The illusion of democracy was sufficient to placate the majority of Aststoke residents. While Aststoke came close to revolt once or twice under Imperial rule, most Aststokians considered themselves to be just as Havenite as those living on the capitol world.
The arrival of the alien Outsiders changed everything. The Imperial fleets above Aststoke were destroyed to the last vessel by the relentless enemy, and the enormous, burning starships of the Royal Navy plummeted to the surface of the planet in droves. In desperation, a group of daring scientists raised an energy shield large enough to encompass the entire planet. The Outsiders, despite their best efforts, were unable to penetrate the shield, and were forced to leave a contingent of warships behind to watch for any sign that the barrier might falter. Meanwhile, dramatic and rapid changes took place within Aststoke’s climate and ecosystem, a result of the planetary shield’s prospensity to reflect heat from Aststoke’s sun. Unable to shut down the shield for fear of their complete destruction, the populace of Aststoke gradually succumbed to strife and starvation as their world slowly morphed into a frozen, dead wasteland.
Following the defeat of the Outsiders, numerous attempts to breach the planetary shield were made, but all were failures. Only recently has the barrier surrounding Aststoke finally run out of power, after nearly two hundred years of constant operation. Aststoke has been written off as a ghost world — a curiosity of the galaxy — and a relic of a war long past. But it is once again open to those who would explore it’s surface. Who knows what they may find there?
Diameter: 52,690 km
Length Of Day: 26 Standard Hrs
Dominant Terrain Classification: Snow/Ice
Capitol: Arkbluff (Formerly)