Laurel and Hardy

Twin Planets in Scorpius

Laurel and Hardy
Image from Steve Bowers
Laurel (front) and Hardy, in this foreshortened image, appear close; in fact they are never less than 100,000km from each other

Star JD 440199102-3
Type G9V
Luminosity 0.4 x Sol
Distance from Sol 3210 ly
Near NGC 6383
Sagitarius Transcultural Cooperation
1090 ly from the Tunh Wormhole Colonised 5767 AT

Planets Laurel and Hardy
Type Dioscuran Gaian
Orbit of Barycentre around JD 440199102-3:
Semimajor Axis 0.63 AU
Orbital period 0.58 standard years
Average separation of Laurel and Hardy 142020 km
Orbital period of Laurel and Hardy around common barycentre 4.33 standard days

Mass 0.91 x Earth
Diameter 12390 km
Surface gravity 0.97 gees
Day Length 3.25 standard days

Hardy Mass 1.12 x Earth
Diameter 13150 km
Surface Gravity 1.06 gees
Day Length 2.16 standard days

This system was reached by the Sagittarius Transcultural Cooperation in 5767AT, during the Age of Re-evaluation.

Laurel and Hardy are examples of young Dioscuran (Twin) worlds, formed from a collision late in the evolution of their system 1,1 billion years ago. Neither planet has had time to become tidally locked to the other, although the lighter Laurel is closer to tidal lock than its partner. Tidal friction is slowing the worlds gradually and both will be locked together before another billion years has passed. Both worlds are notable for the presence of long, thin, mountainous continental landmasses formed along plate boundaries.

The two worlds were both suitable for terraformation, despite extreme tides on these worlds which cause not only a high tidal range but also high volcanic activity. To safeguard against earthquakes most habitation is carried on numerous active stilts or legs which can rapidly react to earth movements. In addition these structures carry mass damping equipment, large dense masses under active control which compensate for shocks, oscillations and other movements.

Image from Steve Bowers
A walking town gingerly steps over a tsunami on Hardy
Most habitable structures are also capable of translocation, 'walking' from one location to another, sometimes to avoid dangers like tsunamis and lava flows, and sometimes for social or commercial reasons. Almost all walking structures are fully sophont, and several of the larger walking cities are transapient at the S:1 level.

Image from Steve Bowers
Walking condos on Laurel
Laurel is home to a large number of inhabited humanoid Mega-mecha, who generally can be found pacing the causeways that surround the nanobioculture fields on this world, or circling the Hoop Ocean in either direction. When storms and wind threaten the stability of these tall structures they sometimes position themselves on chair-like constructions, which also contain supplies and services for the residents and the walkers themselves.


Landrunner race
Image from Steve Bowers
Landrunners on Hardy
Some smaller mobile habitations can move very rapidly using single pairs of legs; these Landrunner homes are often found in locations that the larger cities cannot reach, and on occasion race against each other - particularly on Hardy, where the Norvell Marathon is held every four local years.

On both worlds a notable phenomenon is the formation of temporary conglomerations of mobile cities; certain favoured locations are often the site of large gatherings of mobile habitats, walking cities and humanoid condos, which link together to form larger cities with shared facilities. These locations tend to be as far removed from earthquake zones and flood risks as possible.

Temporary transport links are established within the conglomerate city, and temporary public spaces and stadia are constructed for sports and entertainment events. These gatherings are also an opportunity for the exchange of goods and services and ideas, and an opportunity for citizens to meet each other in the flesh who have hitherto only interacted via various virtual channels. Some congloms become a rolling party-zone that continues until the habitats stagger away weeks later



Walking City
Image from Steve Bowers
Danny's flags convey a subtle code known only to millions of his former guests.
One city that is well known for taking this readiness to party to extremes is the famous Danny-le-Ville; assuming the characteristics of a male transvestite character from Old Earth mythology, Danny encourages her guests to go outside their comfort zone. Whether they are female, male, herm, ferm, merm, neut, gay, bisexual, transgendered, pansexual, robosexual or xenosexual, they can always find something new or unexpected at one of Danny's shindigs.

Maps of Laurel and Hardy


Image from Steve Bowers
The land surface of both worlds is not divided into territories; since each city can translocate at will to almost any location, the surface is counted as common land (although individual plots are often owned by various citizens (or by the cities themselves) there is unrestricted access to all areas. Note that a city or other ambulant will be liable for any substantial damage caused by their passing.



Image from Steve Bowers
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 22 June 2014.