An inhabited planet in the Beta Quadrant, charted and named in July 2381 by the crew of the starship Titan. At first glance a classic Leger-type ocean world, Droplet is unique in that it supports a complex eco-system of higher-order life-forms, and even a thriving civilization. This is despite a complete lack of land mass to provide mineral runoff. The planetary feature making this aberration possible is a unique variety of barophile plankton, whose life-cycle involves transport of heavier elements from the hypersaline depths back to the surface waters.
Droplet is located beyond the Kavrot sector in the general vicinity of the Canis Major region. It is the fourth planet of UFC 86783, the star having received the unofficial designation “New Kaferia”, so named for its similarity in size, age and magnitude to Kaferia’s sun Tau Ceti. UFC 86783 has an unusually dense disk of asteroidal debris for a system its age, one rich in exotic minerals and radioisotopes. Droplet is in an unusually wide orbit for an inhabited planet around a star as cool as New Kaferia. With its endless supply of water to vaporize, it has a considerable greenhouse effect, plus the convection in its oceans brings heat from the planet’s interior. The surface is therefore balmy and tropical.
Class: O, subclass L1.
Day: 18 Hours, 47 Minutes at the equator.
Average density: c. 3000 kilograms per metre cubed (0.55 of Earth density).
Surface gravity: 0.94g (slightly lower than terrestrial gravity, due to the low density).
Radius: 10,780 kilometres (1.69 Earth radii).
Mass: 1.6 x 1025 kilograms (2.69 Earth masses).
Mean orbital radius: 222 million kilometres (1.484 AU).
Orbital period: 2 years, 3 days, 7.5 hours.
Average surface temperature: 305 K (32 C / 89 F).
Droplet boasts a metallic core thirty-seven hundred kilometres deep, surrounded by nearly three thousand kilometres of silicate rock. Above that is a mantle of high-pressure allotropic ice over four thousand kilometres deep. This consists of water crushed into solidity, forming exotic crystalline phases even at boiling temperatures. The outermost ninety kilometres is liquid water, an ocean a hundred times greater in volume than Earth’s.
Droplet’s core is unusually hot, probably due to the presence of many of the same radioactive elements found in its star system’s debris disk, like plutonium and pergium. The result is a strong magnetic field with some unusual energy patterns. In fact, the field has two sources. In addition to the core dynamo that creates it, the hypersaline layer at the base of the ocean generates a secondary saltwater dynamo effect; this enhances and modulates the field. The interaction of the two dynamos creates an oscillation of sorts, a regular fluctuation that drives the behaviour of the planet’s native life-forms.
Points of interest include Hurricane Spot, a giant storm of unknown duration.
There isn't enough calcium in the ecosystem to allow for full bony skeletons; the highest life forms, including the fish-analogues, are chordates with cartilaginous pseudo-vertebrae. The majority of lesser forms are invertebrates. Even many of the chordates have tentacles or chitinous exoskeletons of the sort generally seen in invertebrate species. The native intelligence was named “Squales” by Federation observers, due to their appearance as “squid-whales”. Their native name is unknown.