Penglai is the closest planet to the star in the Fenghuang System as well as the most populous planet with over 35 million citizens at the time of the declaration of independence in 2169. It is a planet settled by a majority of people from the Central and South American continent on Earth and, as such, the main language spoken remains Spanish though its educated citizenry is also fluent in Colonial English. Known for the narcotics grown in the system as a whole, Penglai is actually the manufacturing center of the star system.
Discovery & Colonization
One of the last star systems to be discovered, the Fenghuang System was found by a Chinese exploration team in 2106, a year after most of the other worlds within the Colonial Star Cluster. Each world and the system as a whole was named after either provinces or counties in China, they left after doing little more than a routine survey of the worlds.
In 2109, the world saw its first wave of settlement, mostly emigrating from the Central and South American continent but also a mix from elsewhere also. These early settlers mostly established themselves in the area that would soon be part of Puerta Nueva and got by mostly on subsistance farming in the oppressive heat of the world. As farming began to seem an unlikely industry, several prominent business leaders saw it as a prime place to establish factories that could be air conditioned to provide goods to the relatively rich worlds of Shaanxi and Fengxi.
While the wealth that this new industry brought in was more than welcome, and had the side effect of actually creating more wealth on Penglai than its sister planets overall, the generally relaxed culture that had emerged prior proved hard to change and working hours are generally short with ample vacation necessary to attract the workers the industry requires. As such, Penglai is something of a leisurely world, taking its time to do most things and with a general belief in letting people do what they wanted so long as no one was hurt. One of the lowest crime worlds, Penglai was also one of the least violent as well.
While drugs flow easily from the sister worlds to Penglai, besides marijuana they are very rarely used. Instead, Penglai evolved a drinking culture with local variants of tequila being produced and many lager beer breweries serving the record amounts of alcohol consumed each year.
Within this atmosphere, the police evolved a relatively unique culture as well. Even once the world established a planetary government after the declaration of independence in 2169, few laws governing personal conduct was passed and the police forces were not eager to be empowered to enforce any such thing. Instead, the police, unusually well paid across the entire Republican Star Cluster to ensure little to no corruption, have an extremely friendly relationship with the citizenry. During cultural events, such as baseball games or festivals, the police are often just as much participants as enforcers of order during them and this involvement has led to a great deal of trust.
Unlike worlds like Galileo, Troy, or Darwin few crimes are avenged personally since the police are also relatively efficient and the justice system considered just and fairly swift. Thus, while Penglai has very libertarian attitudes towards personal liberties, it is also one of the most law & order abiding planets in the Republic but without the high incarceration rates of worlds like Columbus and Al Gharbiyah.
Because of the general heat on Penglai, there is very little agricultural work done on the world because of the oppressive working conditions. Instead, Penglai is a major manufacturer of goods, since factories can be air conditioned relatively cheaply. Unfortunately, the same heat that prevents agriculture as prevents much exploration of the world's natural resources and most of the raw materials are imported from places like Gangwon that specialize in the production of them.
While this may seem prohibitive, it is far better for production to happen here to service combined hundred million people (2174) than it is to attempt to bring in all outside goods from other star systems. This was a major reason for Kaesong Motors location of an automobile production facility on the planet. And while a few cars are sold outside the Fenghuang System that are manufactured on Penglai, the vast majority are produced just to service the local demand.
Thus, many other manufacturers have established factories, mostly outside the largest city on the world, Puerta Nueva, but also outside the many smaller cities as well. In fact, manufacturing is such a boom industry on Penglai that unemployment is generally lower here than on almost every other world and the average standard of living is higher than even on the drug profit rich worlds of Shaanxi and Fengxi.
Penglai joined with an amazing seven teams during the expansion of Republican Baseball in 2175. While this may seem late in the history of the Republic to join the national baseball league, the fact is that the planets of the Fenghuang System had been playing baseball since their very first settlement. Most of this was in the form of recreational teams and semi-professional organizations that played between the planets of the star system. Teams within Republican Baseball often sent scouts to these worlds also to recruit players.
Thus, it wasn't until 2175 that Penglai and the other system worlds joined the official league, converting many of the semi-professional teams which explains some of the whimsical names the teams carry. The spirit of the old semi-pro teams continues as well. The ballparks are small and people often grill in the outfields. In the smaller towns where baseball is played, they are on the outskirts, usually just a diamond carved out of the farmland or between manufacturing facilities. They often end with the crowds drunk and more concerned with singing along with the music played over the loudspeaker than actually watching the games. Players regularly drink and smoke at their positions, with bottles often seen beside bases, beside the pitcher's rubber, or against the backstop for the catchers and umpires. Attending a game can usually be an all night affair if one choses to make it so as beer vendors often serve in the parking lots after games. In Puerta Nueva, the largest city on Penglai, the bars that surround the parks serve all night and even the diners do a brisk business when the sun comes up as thousands of people search out breakfast.
Unfortunately, while many of the best players come from Penglai, very few of them play continue to play on the teams of their native worlds. A Lian team has never appeared in the Republican Series much less taken home a championship. This does not dissuade the fans, however, and the matchups are almost universally well attended.
All of Penglai's teams play in the Penglai Division of the Fenghuang League.
- Pengali Division
- Puerta Nueva Tomcats (2175)
- Puerta Nueva Naranjeros (2175)
- Las Solas Satellites (2175)
- Burritoville Ricers (2175)
- Tequilaville Drunks (2175)
- Los Gringos Gringos (2175)
- Colonial Road Razorbacks (2175)
As the closest planet to its star in the Fenghuang System, Penglai is almost universally hot with oppressive humidity, especially around the equator where temperatures reach such highs that few choose to live in the region. While there is some variation in temperature between the seasons, it rarely dips below eighty degrees Fahrenheit even in the coldest months. The only relief from the heat is the rains that drench the world through winter and spring though it is short lived as the wetness merely adds to the unbearable humidity.
Transplanted & Native Species
Any Earth species that can survive in year round hot weather has had no problems being transplanted to Penglai. Animals have equally found a ripe new home.
The native plant life of Penglai is just as varied as on Shaanxi but far less aggressive, almost wilting away from any encroachment by transplanted Earth life. As such, Earth grasses and trees have spread from population centers far beyond where most people have chosen settle, becoming more prevalent than the native varieties. Thus, Penglai is ideal for growing most tropical Earth crops. However, there is very little of this because of the harsh working conditions the prospective farmers would have to endure.
Native animals have been significantly less forgiving though. Resembling earth lizards in many ways, some varieties can reach the size of large bears and many scientists believe that the planet was going through its own period of dinosaurs on the rise. Of course, none had yet reached the size of Earth dinosaurs yet except for the massive sea turtle like creatures which remain the dominant creature in the planet's oceans despite human hunting. The land animals have proven to be tenacious and unwilling to give up the least inch of the territories they once roamed. As such, humans come into frequent and constant contact with the beasts, often to the native animal's detriment. But in unsettled areas they remain the dominant form of life, the predators fond of hunting escaped Earth animals as well as their usual native prey.
Smaller mammal like rodents also are common on Penglai though they have mostly been hunted to extinction around human settled areas as they are generally viewed as pests.
Perhaps the most remarkable creatures found on Penglai are the massive and varied flying beasts that are so close to birds in many respects that scientists at first wondered whether it was a situation similar to Madaba. Instead, they found that these creatures are in fact native to the world. But since the majority of them appear to be predators fond of hunting the native rodents, their presence around human populated areas has diminished greatly with the rodents being pushed further out. However, they appear just as content to prey on Earth rodents as well.
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