Things to See, Places (Not) to Go (11)

Ulijen (Cordai Gap): Honestly, if I have to tell you it’s a bad idea to visit a planet that looks like someone took a bite out of a giant apple, you probably aren’t able to read this book anyway.

Ulijen is the infamous site of the eponymous Ulijen Disaster, in which an ill-advised attempt to tap power from the system’s primary using a wormhole resulted in the planet being bathed in heart-of-a-star conditions for long enough to vaporize a substantial chunk of its mass: the resulting crater covers a quarter of the planet’s surface area, and the rest of the planet is not a habitable world any more, either.

But that all happened long ago (circa -1,000), you say?

Well, there are three very good reasons not to go that still apply:

One, it’s astonishingly radioactive. Being effectively dunked in a stellar core causes a lot of neutron activation, and while to my knowledge no-one’s actually computed how much shielding you need to visit a planet that glows from orbit 8,000 years later, it’s certainly more than you have.

Two, to call it tectonically unstable would be to call Leytra (Ringstars) ‘bright’. When you vape that much mass off a planet, it tends to collapse back into a proper sphere under its own gravity. This is not an easy, short, or comfortable-to-be-around process.

Three: you want to go there to salvage paleotech, don’t you? Of course you do; that’s why anyone goes to a fossil world. But even if it wasn’t all vaporized in the disaster, you’re then going to try and sell someone a power generation system with a known history of destroying civilizations.

The likely consequences of this are best appreciated by reading my companion book, 1,769 Sophs Who Were Airlocked, And Why They Had It Coming: A Cynic’s Study Of Consequences (Bad Stuff Press, 7920).

Things to See, Places (Not) to Go (10)

The Burning Brickyard: Located in the middle of the Bright Desert, in possibly the most inhospitable terrain Eliéra has to offer, this 108-acre site is the primary nuclear waste storage site on the eldrae homeworld, with millennia of high-level waste stacked in pyramids of vitrified glass bricks glowing gently, interspersed with occasional stacks of long-set bricks of decontamination foam from ancient clean-ups.

Of course, you can’t see any of that from the perimeter fence; unless you have business there, you can see the small administration building, and the even smaller visitor center, and that’s about it. Do not cross the perimeter fence to try to get a better look at the waste however impressive sight you might think the sight to be; the signs hung on the fence reading “IF YOU CROSS THIS LINE YOU WILL DIE” are intended literally, and if you ask at the visitor center, they can show you the small pile of bricks containing the remains of the last few fools who thought that they weren’t. On the monitor feed, of course; they won’t be safe to visit in person any time soon.

Just buy a postcard at the gift shop, and move on.

Better yet, write and ask them to send you one.


Things to See, Places (Not) to Go (9)

An Ember-class star distinguished only by its relative proximity to the Eye of Night (Last Darkness), orbited by a scattering of asteroids and an equally undistinguished dwarf planet (Geydagan Actual), the Geydagan (Last Darkness) System is occupied only by the Servants of Geydas, a cruel, hostile, aggressive, and secretive cult dwelling in a number of shabby surface habitats.

The Servants of Geydas are a polyspecific cult whose origins are lost in unreliable history. Their doctrine, pieced together from defectors, refugees, and espionage reports, is one of prostration before and service to their deity, Geydas, who is said to be imprisoned within the depths of the Eye of Night. Supposedly, Geydas created many ancient sophont races and offered them many gifts of knowledge, enabling them to ascend to enormous heights of scientific and technological prowess, but these species chafed under the control of their deity and grew jealous of its power, turning on it and collapsing an inescapable prison around it. Their victory came at the cost of their own destruction, as the deity’s rage lashed out even as he was imprisoned and brought their societies crashing down around them, but the deity remains imprisoned even now. The cult claims to have been contacted by the imprisoned deity, offering knowledge, enlightenment, and power in exchange for its freedom. At this task the Servants have labored for nearly three millennia.

There is, of course, no scientific evidence for the existence of Geydas, or for the historical events depicted, or for the Eye of Night being anything other than a perfectly natural black hole; and the notion that an entity can communicate from within the event horizon is flatly denied by known physics. In any case, the liberation of such a hypothetical deity from its prison would assuredly require the application of sophisticated ontotechnological space-time engineering techniques, and not merely the adept groveling, literal self-flagellation, or even sophont sacrifice that the Servants of Geydas have occasionally descended to.

In short: there are no security concerns whatsoever arising from these deluded cultists or their hypothetical deity. At worst, there is a minor req for pest control.

– Core Sextant Security Report, 7925