Pittance was a large asteroid found drifting deep in interstellar space and not in orbit of any other body. After the Idiran war, it was used by the Culture as a hidden reserve for warships.[1]

Physical Characteristics[edit | edit source]

Before it was discovered by the Culture around the 9th century CE, Pittance was an irregularly-shaped lump of matter, 98% iron by volume and measuring two hundred kilometres across its narrowest point. It was later hollowed out to create a series of enormous halls in which to store warships. Some of the matter mined from its interior was then fired at Pittance by a GSV in order to give it a new course and accelerate its spin. This created a small new crater on the surface of the world and a cloud of debris which drifted along in its gravitational field. The altered spin gave Pittance a hint of artificial gravity inside.

The asteroid was also fitted with a large array of hidden sensory and weapon systems and was surrounded by a cloud of tiny, dark sentry devices which had the power to destroy any unwelcome visitors.

Ships were stored in the series of halls inside Pittance in lines and rows of sixty-four.

Near the centre of the asteroid was a Mind, carefully designed to suit the remote, passive existence of the asteroid. Also resident of Pittance for 150 years were a human called Gestra Ishmethit, who also preferred the absence of people, and a slaved drone.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Pittance was the remnant of a catastrophe which occurred over 4 billion years ago when a planet of whose core it had been part had been struck by another large body. The lump of matter was expelled from the solar system and had drifted between the stars ever since.

Had the Culture not adjusted its course, Pittance was projected to pass through a star system in another five and a half thousand years or so.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Excession, Part 4 - Dependency Principle, chapter V
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