Lok Mai
Ross 128b
Image from Steve Bowers
Lok Mai is a large terrestrial vesperian planet, a little larger than Earth and tidally locked.

Ross 128 - Data Panel

TypeM4V red dwarf
Luminosity0.00362 x Sol
Distance from Sol11.03ly (2000 epoch)
Capital WorldLok Mai, Ross 128b
Planetary typeVesperian (tidally locked terrestrial world with a significant iron core
Mass1.35 x Earth
Diameter13860 km
Orbital Period9.8658 standard days
Surface gravity1.15 gees
Despite being tidally locked, this planet nevertheless has a decent magnetic field due to having a sidereal day of only 9.9 earth days. Prior to the first human landing on Ross 128b, there was no indigenous life. The surface gravity is 1.13 gees. Thanks to a relatively thick atmosphere (about 3.5 bars at sea level) transferring heat from the day side to the night side, the temperature difference between dayside and nightside is relatively small for a tidally locked world (average temperature in the middle of the dayside is 75 Celsius, average temperature on day/night horizon is 20 Celsius, average temperature in the middle of the darkside is -40 Celsius.) Oceans cover 40% of the surface, exposed land covers 30% of the surface, and ice caps cover 30% of the surface. The atmosphere was primarily composed of nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

The Mingkwan, with mostly colonists of Thai origin, was launched in 502 and arrived in 617 AT. The colonists gave this world the name Lok Mai (a Thai phrase meaning "New Earth"). The Ross 128 star itself became known as "Rama" (King). Ross 128b was one of the first targets for Beamrider ships; the Karl Schroeder was launched in 481 AT, arriving in 642 AT. Beamrider colonists kept arriving sporadically for the next few decades (though this flow of arrivals was interrupted by the Technocalypse), and in total the population of Lok Mai in 740 AT was circa 35,000 people.

Lok Mai (terraformed)
Image from Steve Bowers
Lok Mai has been terraformed using Weather Machine technology and bioengineering. Both of these technologies have become more efficient over time, as new developments have become available.
The terraformation process at Lok Mai was expected to be relatively straightforward, using a combination of genetically-tailored lifeforms and primitive Weather Machine light-management technology. This information reached Solsys during the period of the Great Expulsion, making Ross 128 an attractive destination. In the years between 740 and 790 AT, no fewer than 30 million refugees from Old Earth would arrive at Lok Mai, with many more attempting the journey but not surviving the process of revival from stasis. Among these colony ships were the governments of twelve Old Earth nation states along with many citizens of those countries— Canada, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam. (The governments of other Old Earth countries either voluntarily dissolved, split into various competing factions, or went elsewhere).

This dwarfed the original settler population, who formed a temporary emergency government of the planet to manage the flow of arrivals and allocate them with land. (Some raised the possibility of simply turning the arrivals away, but they soon realized that that would be impossible due to the sheer number of arrivals).

By the 800s AT, Lok Mai was profoundly changed. A new Lok Mai Confederation government was established in 706 AT, which dealt with matters regarding relations with other star systems, the other worlds of the Songpaed system, and the continued terraforming and development of Lok Mai. For other matters, the planet of Lok Mai was divided up between the twelve countries whose governments arrived from Earth, as well as nine new countries.

The culture of Lok Mai in the 800s AT can be described as conservative and resistant to technological progress. The impacts of the Technocalypse and Great Expulsion made people highly wary of advanced technology and artificial intelligence; whilst most human-inhabited worlds in this period had not been terraformed, making the embrace of technology a necessity, on Lok Mai the habitable climate (in the twilight regions, at least!) made it possible to live with relatively basic technology. Many people even decided to completely avoid computers and resort to technology from the 1st century BT; another sign of the conservative culture is that the 706 constitution of the Lok Mai Confederation explicitly forbids the presence of artificial intelligence anywhere in the Singpad system, and also forbids mind uploading and brain-computer interfaces.

The populace of Lok Mai were, however, generally willing to accept life extension treatments provided that they were fully biological in nature; this made the conservative culture of Lok Mai even more entrenched. By 1100 AT, people over 400 years old who remembered the difficult beginnings of Lok Mai still had a lot of power, despite some people in younger generations being more willing to embrace technology. Additionally, the people of Lok Mai have by now adopted a mindset that Lok Mai is the "spiritual home of Humanity", due to its enduring strong cultural links to pre-Expulsion Old Earth civilizations. In particular, the Lok Mai-based nation of Japan has always claimed to be the oldest Terragen civilization that exists anywhere, with a direct unbroken history stretching back to the 3rd millennium BT.
Lok Mai is also by this point one of the few places to still use the Gregorian calendar of Old Earth— most places have long since either adopted local calendar systems or switched to the Tranquility calendar.

The First Federation and the Eridanus League

The large colony ship 'Utnapishtim-6' that reached Ross-128 in 1080 AT was a more speculative venture than usual for the Star Pilgrim Corporation, which sent colonizing missions to many systems during the Early Federation period. Most of the Star Pilgrims built habitats in the large, diffuse outer asteroid belt.

In 1110 AT, the Lok Mai Confederation decided to join the Eridanus League, despite the reluctance of many of the Confederation's members. As part of the agreement, several Confederation member states don't officially join the Eridanus League, but are nonetheless aligned with it. The decentralised nature of the Eridanus League was attractive to the people of Lok Mai, who saw it as a way to avoid being influenced by ai. Despite its membership of the Eridanus League, though, Etodism never became widespread on Lok Mai.

In 1679 AT, the Lok Mai Confederation amicably left the Eridanus League and declared itself to be permanently neutral. By this point, Lok Mai is pretty much irrelevant due to its refusal to accept technological progress. However, for a brief time Ross-128 became a busy waystation as numerous colony ships stopped there on their way past Earthspace to future Yoson Confederacy worlds such as Chiri and Yosonia. Ross-128 did not itself become a Yoson Confederacy member since Etodism was not strong in this system, and there was a general desire to avoid becoming a target of the Tahmetians.

For the next ten thousand years up to the present day, Lok Mai has stayed in this remarkably consistent situation. Its technological level is generally still similar to that of Old Earth in the 1st century BT and first century AT.

Nowadays, Lok Mai is considered to be a de facto baseline reserve under the influence of an anonymous transapient, who subtly influences the politics of Lok Mai to ensure that the political status quo there is maintained, though this has never been proven. Lok Mai is a popular tourist spot for people from across the galaxy, due to its rich cultural history and status as a low-technology world very similar to Old Earth.
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Development Notes
Text by Four
Updated by The Astronomer, expanded from an original article by Aaron Hamilton
Initially published on 31 August 2000.