Bright Spot

Luminé, the city once located at Eurymir’s noon pole, never had much opportunity to blossom. Originally built as a center for the exploitation of Eurymir’s resources, the largely underground complex served as a control center for solar power generation (in the continuous sunlight both groundside and in orbit) and dip-mining of liquid metals from the day side. Auxiliary facilities took advantage of the abundant energy to perform contraterragenesis (now moved to planetary orbit), as well as experiments in alchemics, power metal engeneration, high energy chemistry, and pure particle physics.

Unfortunately for the investors in Luminé, planetary conditions on Eurymir proved too harsh for the technology of the era. While Luminé could be sustained, it never proved economically viable due to the rapid degradation of equipment deployed on the surface, and the difficulty of performing maintenance and repairs in the sun’s full light. In a matter of decades, operations on Eurymir were closed down, the majority being transferred to the more hospitable Toramir.

When life returned to Luminé, it did so in the form of the Effulgent Order of Lumenna. Much of the old city remains in mothballs, although various of the original laboratory operators have returned and new facilities house the Institute for Solar Studies, as well as the creators of the experiment in artificial life whose glass, copper, and steel fractal forests now sprawl across the planetary surface, giving birth to fascinating new materials evolved for the high-energy environment.

The prosaic laboratories of old Luminé, however, are almost forgotten along with its name. The Effulgent Order, having moved the starport outside the shallow crater beneath which the city was built, filled that crater with the Zenith Temple, by which name they are now both known.

Indeed, the dome of the Zenith Temple now spans nearly two miles of surface, graceful curves of amber-tinted, gold-anodized glass sweeping up from its white marble-clad ringwall to the central dome-piercing spire, whose peak offers spectacular views of day-side Eurymir.

Yet such is not its purpose. From the balcony just below the peak of the dome, you can gaze directly upward into the face of Lumenna, larger than seen from any other world, her light made bearable by the dome’s tint, or down, into the grand sand mandala filling the dome entire. Here, the acquiescents of the Order have carefully sifted the endless sands of Eurymir for those specks bearing the most vivid color in the light of the sun, and bound each one to a motile microbot. Driven by the endless light from which they take both energy and the key to their pattern, glittering under a shadowless, eternal noon, these shifting sands spin out an ever-changing series of reflections on the sun’s power, light, and grace.

There are those who hold out Ellenith’s Dome of the Crystal Seers, the Maze of Aelalaér beneath Ambriel, or the virtual Pool of Infinite Reflection as the greatest site for meditation and spiritual contemplation that the Empire has to offer – but in this author’s opinion, gentle reader, the Zenith Temple outshines them all.

– Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Core Worlds

Trope-a-Day: Endless Daylight

Endless Daylight: A property of more than a few worlds in the Empire. Some, like Eurymir, because they’re tide-locked, and the noon pole always points at the sun. A similar situation applies to the hexterranes of Coricál Ailék, which are oriented such that “up” is always sunward, and the danglehabs of Esilmúr, in which down is always sunward.

In other cases, it’s because the world inhabits a binary system. Eliéra, for example, has this periodically – in a manner of speaking – because for half the year, the summer, it is located between the two suns, and as such each side of the world receives some insolation. (Although, obviously, not identical – it still has a day-night cycle; it’s just that it alternates between full daylight and a red-tinged twilight that’s bright enough to read by, somewhat more so than a full moon.)

Trope-a-Day: Alien Sea

Alien Sea: Obviously – not all oceans are water, y’know. Just look at Ólish, or Galiné, with their golden-black hydrocarbon seas. Or the molten metal lakes on Eurymir’s day face, or the reddish salty brine of terraformed Elémíre, or the literally wine-dark seas of rusty Talentar, or the colloidal algae-gelled oceans of Pentameir, or the copper-salt-blue waters of Daliethe, or…

…and that’s before we even consider non-terrestrial planets.

Lumenna-Súnáris System (2): Eurymir

(Or maybe a little more often, if I happen to feel like it; also, a shout out to Wolfram Alpha, whose fine facilities make running the necessary calculations a great deal easier.)

I/1. Eurymir

Class: Eurymic
Orbit (period): 0.21 au (35.15 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.05
Radius: 1,758.5 miles
Mass: 4.712 x 1023 kg
Density: 4.96 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.4 g

Axial tilt: 3.9°
Rotation period: 35.15 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 577 K
Surface temperature (avg., sunside): 672 K
Surface temperature (avg., nightside): 56 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

Satellites: None.

The innermost planet of Lumenna, Eurymir is similar to Mercury as we once imagined it, which is to say, tide-locked, with a sunward face hot enough to have lakes of molten metal and roast anyone on even momentary exposure, and a dark face plunged into deepest chill, even occasionally to the extent of having water ice. The mind boggles…

Unlike Mercury, though, Eurymir can muster up some volcanic activity, especially on its sunward face: the tidal stresses also keep its core molten and perking right along.

(Being the fine, inhospitable world it is, it’s not all that populated even in the future. It houses a fascinating experimental a-life ecology, but apart from that, its principal use is as a gravity anchor for solar power stations and antimatter generators.

Its best-known settlement is actually a temple: because when you have a solar deity, where would be the best place to put that but the nearest solid ground to the eponymous sun?)


Trope-a-Day: Mercurial Base

Mercurial Base: There are actually quite a few of these, as apart from relatively easy mining (assuming you have had to solve the heat problem anyway), those innermost planets are very useful places to put the antimatter generation infrastructure powered by the solar panels even closer to the sun, where power is dense and largely free.  Usually most of the colliders and other infrastructure doesn’t move around the planet – often the colliders are wrapped right around it – because the unmanned hardware can handle the radiation just fine, it’s just the squishy organics and more delicate computers and such that have to be kept out of the glare of the sun.

A variation, without the intense sunlight or radiation problems, is to be found on any number of spacer asteroid settlements, who sometimes wrap a track around their asteroid and mount a habitat on it to get spin gravity as a courtesy to visitors from places with the natural kind.