Casual Play Astrogation

Lambda Tulloch Calav 22n (Concolir)

There are no stars when you drop out of between-space. No near ones, at least. The void is empty, and even the usual stellar dust and ice, the chunks of iron and nickle rocketing between stars are thinner here, leaving only vacuum, only the background noise, the distant lights.

And that's when you see it, spinning slow and ominous through the void. A rogue world, almost as black as the space around it, with only flashes of crimson light to betray its presence among the stars. Quick scans reveal little– a thin atmosphere, mostly neon, with hard-baked, highly radioactive graphite plains, diamond sands and lowlands of shining carbon glass. The flashes turn out to be electrical discharges– lightning, mostly in the upper reaches of the sky, a transfer of static between hazy clouds the color of dark blood.

A few flybys with a mote-probe are all it takes to map the planet, and as you register the mining rights to the world, you upload all the data you've gathered to the network. Briefly, you consider leaving the mote-probe on the surface of the world to assist with tracking its movement through deep space, but the radiation pouring off the planet makes it harder and harder to maintain the connection the deeper the probe goes. In the end, you settle for a simple series of calculations that should suffice, upload those to the network and set your mote-probe on recall mode. When it docks, you regard the little world quietly for a moment, watch the lightning discharges as they crawl across its surface. Your ship's integrated intelligence spins up the phasedrive in the pause, and then you're gone, off to the next world, the next wonder waiting to be seen.


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