Ihikkk (Zeta Tucanae IV)

Image from Steve Bowers

Star: Zeta Tucanae
Type: F9.5
Luminosity: 1.3 x Sol
Distance from Sol: 28 ly
Zeta Tucanae I
Zeta Tucanae II (Hwii)
Zeta Tucanae III
Zeta Tucanae IV (Hwiisi language; Ihikkk / Anglish: Snowwhite )


A glacial world just outside the life zone, covered with massive ice sheets. Tall Pine Bios attempted to terraform it by setting up major greenhouse gas production facilities, hoping to warm it enough to melt the ice into oceans. This was the first attempt of the kind, unfortunately largely unsuccessful. The planet instead became the home to the cold-loving Ghauetti clade of tweaks and their symbiotic merenauts, living within vast biosphere caves dug under the ice. Over the millennia ecopoesis has produced a working glacial ecosystem rather than a terrestrial ecosystem.

Neodolphin interests settled Hwii in 1432 after the original Nanotech Window colonists had been found extinct. The Neodolphins generally explored and exploited the system, setting up some refuelling stations and amat farms in collaboration with Prometheus Inc, but mainly concentrated on Hwii. Zeta Tucanae IV, called Ihikkk/Snowwhite in SeaSpeak/Anglish, would perhaps be terraformable but the dolphs did not consider it prime territory or likely to succeed. Instead they sold the terraforming rights to Tall Pine Bios, in order to fund the further terraforming of Hwii. Formally they retained the ownership of 25% of the planet.

When Tall Pine Bios finally had to admit defeat after 500 years of terraforming attempts (they were later bought up by Birnam Ecotech), they sold their rights to the Ghauetti clade, who started to move in. The neodolphins did not like the situation, and tried to get rid of the tweaks through various economic and legal means, implying that the original deal now was void and the planet fully belonged to them. The Ghauetti, closely allied with some Empath clades, countered with a veritable legal army exploiting bizarre loopholes in interstellar contract law. In the end both sides settled for a solution saving the Dolphins' faces and avoiding having to deal with a local legal war. The dolphins gave Snowwhite independence in practice but formally it would be part of the Hwii-run "Zeta Tucanae Union".

The two worlds remained very disparate and their inhabitants seldom attempted to understand each other. However, both were interested in a shared interplanetary infrastructure and maybe the possibility for trade, so the Union slowly developed into an economic union. Over the millennia this union has persisted, a weak alliance mainly involved in questions of mutual trade, external politics (where Snowwhite largely let Hwii set the agenda) and access to the wormholes.

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 09 September 2000.