Casual Play Astrogation

Lambda Baker Hardin 47f (Declinati)

You drop out of between-space, arrive amidst a stretch of the void that is disturbingly sterile. There's no noise, nothing– and all the dust, all the bacteria and other particulate matter that should be floating in space around the little white-gray world in the center of your viewscreen is completely absent. It's as if someone scoured the whole area, found some way to block out the stellar noise– but to what end? For what purpose?

Curious, you inch closer to Lambda Baker Hardin 47f, allow your sensors to take in its details. No atmosphere, no moons, no mountains. Closer inspection reveals there isn't even a trace atmosphere, and the surface– the surface is unnaturally smooth, almost glassy.

And it's entirely composed of calcium carbonate.

To say the world is strange doesn't do it justice. It's bizarre. It stands out, sticks in your mind. There's nothing special about it except its strangeness, its artificiality, but that's enough. It isn't man-made– or if it is, you can't fathom why anyone would have taken the time or the resources to make such a thing only to have it disappear among the stars, be forgotten until someone else stumbled upon it, some explorer like you.

When you dispatch a mote-probe, you let it do a couple of circuits around the planet, let it gather data. Just calcium carbonate. Nothing but calcium carbonate. Eventually you sink the probe into the surface, let it claw and chew at the shiny-smooth crust until it manages to break through, bore a hole a mile deep. There's nothing else under the surface. Just more of the same, as if the planet is just one big marble of shell or bone sitting amongst the stars. It's almost unnerving, and as you draw the mote-probe back out, you feel as though maybe your curiosity has led you to defile some kind of alien memorial, something sacred perhaps. Better to leave quickly, you decide. Move on to other worlds, other stars.

You make a notation in the database, upload it to the network, then spin up the phasedrive as soon as the mote-probe is aboard. The jump into between-space can't come fast enough, leaves you with a haunting feeling that you can't seem to shake, no matter how much distance you put between yourself and Lambda Baker Hardin 47f.


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