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Planet Mascuris in system Kolkoris (VGA127)

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Mascuris

The outermost of Kolkoris’s giant planets, Mascuris is more like a brown dwarf than a gas giant. Though it produces little visible light, it emits enough thermal radiation to slightly warm its inner moons – between that and the tidal forces, as well as a relatively weak magnetic field, the Mascuris sub-system is barely habitable. Usthinon, as well as the other moons of Mascuris, are high in the heavy metals that are relatively lacking in the inner system – in fact, it’s thought that the interstellar debris which formed this part of the system was captured later, from a different source, than Kolkoris’s original matter.


Usthinon (Darkling)
The sole of Mascuris’s moons to support life beyond the bacterial, Usthinon (discovered recently, it lacks a mythological name; this translates as simply, ‘Darkling’) has a small but hardy ecosystem. The ‘dominant’ species is the Ra’iriss, ‘amphibians’ who live partly in the waters below and partly on the near-vacuum of the ice-covered surface. Early in the Tshorat’sy’s space age, passing probes noted signs of artificial construction on the moon, spurring on the development of true interplanetary travel. As is often the case, the more technological society has attempted to take control of the lesser; while the Tshorat don’t fully control the Ra’iriss, they’ve become quite adept at taking smaller groups for use as slave labor.

Tidal forces keep Usthinon geologically active, and at the ocean bottom are many hotspots of activity. These are thoroughly inhabited by chemosynthetic algae, as well as a chain of organisms feeding on them and each other, and the sheer abundance of this life yields a vast production of oxygen – Usthinon’s seas are highly oxygenated as compared to the norm, spurring a faster pace of life for the animal forms evolved there. The production of O2 is greater than can sometimes be absorbed by the waters, and in many places bubbles and pockets of air lie between the water’s surface and the underside of the icy crust.


Ra’iriss
Native to Usthinon, the Ra’iriss are a variant amphibian species – adapted to water and near-vacuum, rather than water and air. They are capable of hyper-oxygenating themselves while underwater, storing excess gas in a ‘lung’ organ, and then spending a significant amount of time on the surface – for them, this is the equivalent of living in caves, providing shelter as they face little predation on the surface. Structures are often built over places where the ice is thin and oxygen bubbles have formed below, with tunnels leading through the ice and flowing into the shelters, allowing the Ra’iriss to spend even more time above the water.

The Ra’iriss, while not physically powerful, are quite sturdy. They’ve adapted to a wide range of environments not by having modifications for each, but by being nearly invulnerable to the problems of each, and being adaptable enough to take advantage of whatever resources their environment may have. This is both a strength and a weakness, however; Ra’iriss are incapable of handling abundance. Just as the wealth of food concurrent with civilization leads to overweight individuals in many species, Ra’iriss go into a sort of physical overload when their environment is warmer, better oxygenated, etc. While this is useful for bursts of physical labor – and the Tshorat’sy take advantage of this – it quickly burns out individual Ra’iriss. This, perhaps, is part of the reason why the Tshorat’sy are mostly content to leave the general population free; to allow them to rebuild their numbers, and thus keep a steady supply of new individuals for enslavement.

Moons
This planet has 157 moons:
Mascuris #1 (no information available yet)
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Location

Planetary Orbits

Owner

This solar system belongs to user 'gargle'.

Ratings

dragonspice - january 26, 2012:
Nicely done.
nyx - september 27, 2011:
enjoyed your story telling very much!

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