Gatecrasher’s Almanac #28

Name: PEC-2097 (Jae’s Nightmare)

Location: 1700 ly antispinward of Sol

Gravity: 1.3G

Atmosphere: Nitrogen-oxygen, heavy volcanic outgassing

Body Type: Tide-locked terrestrial, dead

Officially registered as the 2097th planet surveyed by the Pathfinder Expeditionary Corps, the world better known as Jae’s Nightmare was originally mistaken for Earth by the first-in team. Fortunately the planet’s cloud cover broke before the team hit the panic button, revealing the vast disc of a slamon-pink star with sunspots mottling the surface – definitely not the brilliant light of Sol. The heavier gravity became obvious once the initial panic passed as well, but the confusion was understandable due to the shattered cityscape around the Gate.

Jae’s Nightmare was a thriving planet similar to Earth until relatively recently; the shattered and partly melted skyscrapers of the city gave the first impression of a world infected with nanoswarms, as did the cloud-and-ash-scarred sky. Fortunately for everyone involved, the technology level of the extinct civilization living here never passed the late industrial age of Earth, and certainly never developed even rudimentary nanotechnology.

The buildings, where they remain partially intact, tell of a species smaller than transhuman norms, centauroid in body plan and eyesight adapted for the infrared-heavy light of the dwarf star the world orbits. Only a few remains have been found in places sheltered from the catastrophe that effectively killed the entire planet.

Due to the incredibly bad terrain of the planet – jagged upthrusts, canyons, and shattered plains are common – it wasn’t until the first orbital surveys that the mystery of the disaster was solved. Almost on the opposite side of the world from the Gate is an impact crater that rivals the Chicxulub Crater of Earth, the heart of it still spewing a plume of smoke and volcanic gas into the atmosphere even now; a jagged set of mountains a few hundred kilometers from the city sit opposite the crater, testament to the raw force of the impact. A slghtly different landing zone would have left the Gate itself snarled in the ragged mountains, swamped by molten rock and possibly inaccessible.

Pathfinder is now selling Gate time to xenoarchaeologists looking to piece together what they can of the lost species, and astrophysicists and geologists looking to explore the results of the impact. One crew plans to ship a few Q-morphs in to see if they can explore the hellish enironment at the heart of the impact zone.

At present, neither Firewall nor Ozma have taken an interest in the world.

Gatecrasher’s Almanac #28

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