Gatecrasher’s Almanac #9

 

Name: PX-667 (Lucifer)

Location: Orion Arm, approximately 2300 light-years edgeward

Atmosphere: Gaseous silicate atmosphere

Gravity: 0.56G

Body Type: Rocky

The system dubbed Lucifer by explorers houses an unfortunate world, located in a tight orbit around the B-type star that hosts it, close enough that the day side of the world has temperatures that cause the crust to melt and vaporize. The material is driven to the night side of the world, where it rains down as molten rock and a mix of pebbles and dust; the planet’s slow rotation may be maintained by the shift of mass in this fashion.

The Pandora Gate sits in a low orbit around the planet, alternating every few hours between scorching heat and freezing darkness; were it not for the chance to examine both a B-type star and a ‘gaseous rock’ world up close, the Gate would likely have been written off as uninhabitable and worthless. As it is, a small but heavily shielded beehive habitat has been built in the shadow of the planet at the L2 point, with satellites planned for deployment in the near future.

The planet has a powerful magnetic field, possibly driven by the mix of heating, rotation, and the star’s gravity; it interacts with the stellar wind to create streamers of auroral light thousands of kilometers long trailing away from the planet. A few people have reported a pattern in the radio emissions of the auroral tail, but nothing shows up on analysis and the reports have been dismissed as the overactive imaginations of people without enough to keep them occupied.

Of all the things being researched in the Lucifer system, the novel approaches to radiation shielding being tested on the satellite systems and the systems being designed to punch coherent radio signals through the auroral tail are the most interesting and valuable to people elsewhere in transhuman space. Unknown outside the habitat, however, is the presence of a large-scale cloning facility carefully placed so as to be shielded but keep access to space, where the first extrasolar surya morphs are being grown.

The plan for the suryas is to modify them even further for the extreme stellar environment, sleeve beta forks into the first ones ready, and tweak them until they can support themselves in the hostile environment. Following that, tourist packages are being planned to let the truly wealthy experience a truly mighty star up close and personal. Of course, they have to solve some bugs first, and they might be experimenting with things they really shouldn’t be…

Firewall, of course, is interested in both the claim of a pattern in the auroral tail and the rumor that someone might be experimenting with the exsurgent virus on board.

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Gatecrasher’s Almanac #9

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