Vallauris is a warm, tropical planet, 62.94 parsecs from Earth, orbiting the F7 V star Hyperion. The climate is
uniformly steamy, with the most comfortable regions for humans towards the poles. It is a largish world, with
gravity of 1.23 Gs.
The planet is covered with a patchwork of small, shallow, interconnected seas and many island-continents. There
is considerable volcanic activity, making Vallauris resemble a cauldron of early evolving life.
Vallauris is densely covered in thick mats of slime-like organisms which are technically no more than bacterial
colonies. This living organic matter floats in the oceans and drapes over most land surfaces, photosynthesising
and producing more of itself, building layers upon layers, with decaying material at the bottom.
The tenacity of the local life has made it difficult to introduce off-world flora and fauna. Most is confined to
settlements where the slime can be kept at bay, but several bird species roam the air currents around the world.
Settlers on Vallauris have cleared the slime from mountain peaks and some plateaus, where it is more difficult
for it to re-establish itself, and built their cities there. The population numbers some 90 million humans and a
handful of aliens.
Vallauris is naturally very rich in petrochemical organic material. The rate at which it is produced far outweighs
the current massive extraction industry. The major exports are based on this: plastics, organic chemicals,
explosives, and goods manufactured from these. Tourism largely ignores "the slime planet".
Profitable imports include real food (not processed organic matter), and heavy and industrial metals and machinery
made from them.
Vallauris is technically governed by a representative democracy, but it resembles a meritocracy because of
the local habit of electing people based on intelligence testing. This began hundreds of years ago when a
Presidential candidate lauded his high intelligence test results, and was subsequently elected. Nowadays it
is impossible to get elected without submitting to a barrage of mental tests and performing well in them.
This attitude permeates this otherwise socially enlightened society, with elitism, snobbery and bigotry
based on intelligence (or perceived intelligence) the norm. People will generally not be too overt about
this, but deep inside they loathe associating with "stupids".
A happy consequence of this focused intelligence is that the world is actually run effectively, and citizens
enjoy a high standard of living and liberal freedoms. Taxation is light, education and medical care are good
and free, and crime is rare. Weaponry laws are lax, but misuse is punished harshly.
In interstellar circles, Vallauris is a debating point. The society is peaceful enough, but many cannot stomach
the bigotry of the system which brings it about. The world has a small military, but several powerful allies
reliant on its exports, so as much as some other worlds would like to see a revolution they take no action.
Vallauris has a small but influential voice on local interstellar councils, backed by its allies.
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