Casual Play Astrogation

Beta Morgan Myrs-Modan 22y (Aglaonike)

The urgent hails of a trio of signal buoys hit you the instant you slide into the system. The message is simple, clean: mining operation in progress.

Curious, you query one of the buoys, get the full run down. The nearest planet, a huge, rocky world the size of Jupiter, is being cracked apart and devoured by a large fleet of mining platforms. There are sense-visuals and everything– high-def multi-D brainstreams of mile-long crucible ships whipping up fiery tornadoes of liquid rock, siphoning them into gravity-bound spheres that glitter and glow against the backdrop of space. The scale of the operation is huge, but the planet itself is so large that it'll take years, a decade maybe to whittle the world down and sweep away the last of the dust.

Deeper queries dredge up more data. All the claim documents for the operation are there– environmental impact studies, congressional sign-offs, mining rights, all stamped with the company seal of the Iradinus Mining Consortium. It's an airless world, rich in rare minerals and heavy metals with minimal potential for colonization. No traces of life or of any previous inhabitants has ever been found on or beneath the surface. No one wants to call it home. There's no reason to save it.

And so, Iradinus is devouring it.

You watch the streams for a few more moments, marvel at the machinations of man. You marvel at the way the ships chew steadily at the surface of the world, birth and pass along bulbs of molten metal in a chain of flickering lights. An orbital refinery catches every bulb, every light, holds them all in spindly gravity tethers, then swallows them one by one, silently filling the holds of smaller cargo ships that dart off toward other worlds, other stars.

When the juggle and dance of the mining ships no longer keeps your attention, you spin up your ship's phasedrive, point the nose toward another star, and make the jump back to between-space.


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