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According to the handy travel guides her TacComp had downloaded for her, Roland Erwynmark's home planet of Bismarck had apparently once been the victim of a massive asteroid strike, knocking the planet's rotation radically off‐axis. This had the effect of greatly amplifying seasonal shifts across most of the planet, producing glaringly hot summers and sunless winters. Temperature discrepancies between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere during the cold or hot seasons led to massive superstorms.
Overall, the guide recommended, it was best to travel to Bismarck during the temperate seasons, when it was possible to watch the local fauna desperately mate as they fled across the continents in giant migratory herds, before there was nowhere to go and it was time to hunker down for either summer or winter. Even the plant life got in on the action, executing an exotic biannual lifestyle. While some of the settlements were in the tropics, and some groups of humans even emulated the animals, migrating back and forth across the continent, most human settlements weren't, instead located near important sources of minerals. Roland Erwynmark was from one of these settlements.