Things to See, Places to Go (3)

Kodelyk (Crescent Nebula): The second planet of its system, Kodelyk is one of the two best known exemplars of the adage that while modern technology permits us to colonize virtually any asteroid, moon, or hostile-environment world we please, and even construct habitats in the deep black or upper atmospheres of gas giants, garden worlds can still be problematic.

Unlike Glainevar (High Verge), notorious for the keratin-devouring microorganism which literally flays many oxygen-breathing, proteinaceous species alive when exposed to its atmohydrosphere, it is at least possible to survive for short periods on the surface of Kodelyk. The lethality of its ecology, stoked by the fierce radiation of its flare-star primary and high-oxygen atmosphere, is primarily due to its macroscopic lifeforms, and approximates that of Paltraeth (Banners) at its former height. The majority of the plant life is toxic, carcinogenic, and teratogenic. So is the majority of the animal life, it is believed, but the probability of surviving an encounter with the animal life – uniformly strong, at least opportunistically carnivorous, and armored – is sufficiently low that this remains, for the most part, untested.

The single outpost of civilization in the system is mor-Calek Station, a high-orbital outpost above Kodelyk Actual. It is owned by Interworld Safaris, ICC, which operates a successful if low-traffic business in “extreme hunting” expeditions, made up almost entirely of kaeth wishing to pit themselves against the conditions of their ancestral world – albeit this time with modern weapons – or simply seeking an opportunity to fire off selections from Eye-in-the-Flame Arms’s latest Overkill range against something with a chance of fighting back, spiced with a few big game hunters of other species with an eye for a greater challenge and very poor risk assessment skills. The majority of the expeditions are assumed to be probably one-way in practice, at least where corpus is concerned: the station is renamed after the latest hunter to make it back to the ascent pod alive in body, an event that has occurred less than once per century of the station’s operation.

On the bright side, if you’re passing through the system anyway, the station bar is excellent – if you don’t mind the stories.

– Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Core Worlds