Thursday, 24 April 2014

Day 674 : A Paradise of Perhaps

Canard (n) : an unfounded rumour or story.

Even from two light years away our intrepid colonists must have seen the soft blue-green glow of not one but two worlds with a potential biosphere. One was bound to be viable. Right?

You know what they say about viable colony worlds. They're like buses. You wait ages for one and two arrive at once. They're my target. On arrival I quickly and superficially scan the rest of the system. I'm in a hurry. I'm the worst system surveyor of all time but even here I see hope. The inner system is full of rocky worlds handy for industry and there are enough belts to draw mineral resources from. A pair of gas giants stand sentinel further out into the system, guarding any potential life zones from higher than average impacts from wandering space debris. We're in a cul-de-sac system here, one way in and one way out. In short, we've hit potential space suburbia. Move in, settle down, raise a horde of ravening space maniacs to take the cluster by storm.

Canard VI, Oceanic

A single vast shallow ocean is pulled different ways by a pair of small moons. With the majority of large cyclical storms confined to the polar regions, initial impressions are good. Is it a surfers paradise? Skip a couple of rocks past the gas giants, land them on one side of the equator to make a reef. Spend your days surfing the waves, chilling out, and smoking gene-tech altered kelp.

Is land required for a colony? No. Float one, and roam the world. Dome one for an aquatic, if vulnerable, paradise under the seas. The planet is a little small though, a bit warm. Low pressure and gravity is probably going to make it a little steamy down there. Surfers in facemasks.

There is life down there already. A huge amount of micro organisms, a fair amount of planktonic lifeforms, and a small amount of complex organisms. I'm imagining that some kind of giant cross between a manta ray and a bird hoovering up the air borne life cycle of the local plankton. It's a shame my planetary scanning mechanisms don't reach so far.

In short, it has potential. In the longer term the colony might die from an outbreak of chronic athletes foot. There's a rocky world with a biosphere further up the slope of spacetime. Onwards to our next candidate.

Canard VIII, Temperate

She's a water world, nightly lit by the reflections from a single moon. Fractured land masses resembling island chains thread the seas. Is this a sign of bad tectonics or are we safe? Gravity is lower than normal but high enough to be an advantage rather than a problem. The average temperature is just shy of perfect so I'd expect some of the gaps between the islands to be clogged with ice for half the year. We are, after all, a massive 7 AU from the local star. Some of the highlands might be chilly enough to pose a problem.

Oddly though, most of the indigenous life congregates in the more barren highlands. Most of the obvious vegetation hugs the coast. Something odd is going on here. Perhaps the deep seas are dangerous in some fashion? Perhaps there is something that lives along the coasts that convinces everything else to stay inland.

I fly to the night side of the planet looking for signs of civilisation. Light. There isn't any. It's dark down there. None of the large light sources you'd normally see on an occupied world. In itself that's interesting but I'm grasping at straws now. Perhaps the lack of light is sign of a hidden colony? Perhaps the lack of light discourages whatever lifeform makes the coasts so dangerous from making it's way inland? Perhaps the colony regressed and the light sources they have aren't large enough to register from way up here in the icy black?

In desperation I inspect the land more closely. Is that signs of agriculture or local flora variation? Are those roads or signs of riverine or tectonic action?

I think the time for dreaming is over. In the end I prepare to leave the system with a heavy heart, was the "canard" the potential to settle? Perhaps it was that they had found a home? Perhaps a few did. Perhaps a few of our ancestors descendants are still here, perhaps I couldn't reach them and perhaps they are happier for it. Too much "perhaps" in this study. I'll leave the story of the tribal native hitching a ride to the capsuleer POCO in orbit to another writer. 

Alternatively, knowing our colonists sense of humour, perhaps they couldn't settle because of an indigenous and violent form of giant water fowl. Given the nature of both worlds it wouldn't be such a reach. Perhaps they just ducked this system, and perhaps I just about got my joke in.

EVE Track Of The Day
Turnin' My Heartbeat Up - The M.V.P.'s 

Sustained by my Northern Soul.


This post found me, for various reasons, in the heinous grip of writers block. Thanks must go out to the members of tweetfleet that helped me along with advice. and

Books that also helped:

The Engines of God - Jack McDevitt
The Legacy of Heorot - Niven, Pournelle and Barnes
The Mysterious Island - Jules Verne


  1. Turns out, it IS/WAS (lore wise, anyways) possible to jump from system to system with only a jump drive, and no gates or cyno fields. (CCP removed the third paragraph in their "updated" scientific articles"

    1. There's some stuff in EVE source about it. Turns out the Jove were slower and used cryo suspension during long travel.