by Chris Wayan, 2006
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First-time orientation--strongly advised! Pegasia is weird.
Busre, an island as big as Borneo, is the bridge between three continents: huge Continent 1 to the north (in the high-orbital photo below, it's at the top), and two smaller lands sharing a flooded continental platform to the southeast (lower right): Continent 4 and Continent 5. The not-quite-landbridge is dead center; the coast of Continent 2 is visible on the left horizon, with Continent 3 to the lower left.
All these numerical names are of course mere placeholders; create an intelligent species and you get to name their homeland and its geographical features! (Though it's too late to lay claim to Busre itself; the antlike Busrehi, a recently designed species, occupy this island chain. This tour will soon expand greatly, as anthropological data comes in. Or do I mean busrehological?)
This huge island is rather like Sumatra or Papua New Guinea: it straddles the equator in a hot rainy zone between two huge peninsulas with similar climate. Clearly both island and mainlands will be rainforest so dense that land animals adapted for the temperate, opener north and south will have trouble surviving at ground level. It's dense, gloomy and mucky down there. Most animal life will be arboreal, up in the canopy.
On Earth, high gravity and thin air constrain the size of winged arboreals; though flightless arboreals are less restricted, even they mustn't grow too big for their trees (monkeys are common, gorillas rare). On Pegasia, low gravity and dense pressure make flight easier and falls less deadly. The size of arboreals won't be so limited, and intelligent fliers become likely. Fruit and nut eaters like parrots, omnivorous opportunists like ravens, greens-munching gorillas, omnivorous sometimes-hunters like chimps or humans? Any or all are possible, and more; the one thing we can say is they're unlikely to be flightless. Fliers have such an advantage getting around this maze of land and sea!
The proposed people for this island are neither birds nor mammals, but they do fit the above niche admirably: the Busrehi are large arboreal insects, primarily nectar-feeders, able to fly short distances. If dinosaurs can shrink, turn iridescent and invade the butterfly's niche, why can't an ant/cricket/mantis grow up to run radio stations in the trees?
Eventually we'll have a true sequential tour here, starting in the Sosro Hills ("Hotspring Hills") at the southern tip of continent 1, crossing Do ("Western") Strait, and exploring the pleasant islands of the Siiki Gulf.
Next it's the cafes and high culture of Doi-ziruu, Busre's largest city (about 100,000 people; hard to be sure, since the city has no boundary; treehouses just slowly get sparser, further from downtown. I mean uptown. Seventy meters up.)
Then we'll fly up the long, loopy, lazy Istog ('home') River, running halfway down the isand, past Mt Wusé and the Kii Range, up into volcano country; land of hotsprings and mining. Large electric eels in the rivers and lakes plus extensive metal deposits... is it any wonder this is where electricity was first explored on Pegasia? Between (if three or four miles below) the floating equatorial snows of Mt Sos and steaming Mt Piti lies a long upland trough a bit like central New Guinea: land above the densest rains and steamiest heat. There are even a few clearings, if not extensive meadows. It's pleasant land to humans though suboptimal to the busrehi.
Another long day's glide southeast and we're back down in rainforest as tall as redwoods, dotted with busrehi flower- and fruit- farms and treetop hamlets--the lowlands around Ti Bay.
Here our path forks: travelers heading on to Continent 5 veer left down the Go Peninsula and island-hop over Ti Strait (narrow, but deep: a flooded river canyon) to the Siiwupi (Manypeaks) Islands and Cisuu (Lowbig) Island, largest satellite of Busre; Cisuu is fully 400 km long (250 mi); gentler terrain, densely settled. A couple of days' easy flight will bring us to the shores of huge Giithe, part of the continental platform shared by Continent 4 and Continent 5, and nearly as big as Busre itself. Here, on a verdant coastal plain under the often-snowy Rorer Mts, up in the treetops floats Qhiwos, the busrehi's second great city: the first, oldest and largest colony founded by the islanders, it's both rival and twin to Doiziiruu: New York to Doi-ziiruu's London. From here, travelers headed to the subtropical and temperate forests, savannas and deserts (with their twin Nilotic river-valleys) of Continent 5 head east along the Giithean coast.
I should point out that flying isn't the only way to get around this island-maze; you could be semi-aquatic. A second species of people might well fish these coral-lined inlets and sounds--something like a huge otter would love it here. And even Earth's small ones use tools...
Maybe these fishers aren't otters but creatures we'd think of as merely an otter's lunch: lobsters or crabs. Earth has tree-crabs; here, too, forests march down to the sheltered water... maybe arboreal crabs get larger... and as smart as octopi. Or maybe they come out of the water, learn to climb trees and pick fruit... Hm, fruitarian squid? But the Busrehi are already cultivating the treetops. Our waterline crawlers would do better to trade produce with them...
The straits separating Busre from Continent 1 and Continent 4 are both quite shallow and not that wide--mere rafts might be enough, and certainly any fliers could easily cross; land would always be in sight.
In ice ages, Busre is a wide land-bridge leading to Continent 4 and Continent 5, which themselves fuse into one big desert-hearted continent--sort of a super-Australia. Though these aren't pleasant times for arboreal creatures--the forests shrink to hug the coasts and equatorial belts--ground animals may in such eras cross to the expanded (if dry) savannas and semiarid grazing lands of this Super-Australia. But in the current era, only fliers and mariners can use the 1-4 bridge.
The gazetteer will have a full index of native placenames, with descriptions--once the contests's over and we have natives to name them.
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