Tuesday, March 21, 2023

7 Planets for Mothership


The next in the series of numbered sci-fi posts

As I said a while back (and as is always important to remember), only a tiny fraction of humanity lives planetside. But planetside is where the interesting people live, so a bit of planetary chauvinism is acceptable.


Port Class C

A hot, wet, tidally-locked terrestrial world. A complex native biosphere is present in the sunside oceans, and multicellular life has  adapted to life on land in the last few million years. Named for the enormous hurricane that is a permanent feature of its sunward pole and the fernlike plants that serve as the majority of its terrestrial biosphere.

Exploration of the planet has thus far been limited to drones, but the ostensibly-independent research group running the observation operations has found itself in the crossfire of two factions hoping to make landfall: the first is a new religious movement called the Way of the Great Spiral, who have declared the planet a step in their pilgrimage to the center of the galaxy. The second is Lafflnad Hypermedia, an automated content farm that claims to have purchased colonization rights for streaming media. The research team has been stalling for time as best as they can, playing internal divisions of the Spirallers against each other in hopes that the camp willing to stay in orbit wins the day. Attempts to reach a metacognitive entity of any sort at Lafflnad Hypermedia are ongoing; none have proven successful.


  • Players are escorting a negotiation team sent by House Ujanna to break the stalemate.
  • Players are members of the research team and have managed to smuggle samples of native life back to the station. Then the gunshots start.
  • Players are dropping off supplies to the station when a ship supposedly carrying a human representative of Lafflnad has arrived. It is demanding docking clearance and acting erratically.

Schroedinger's World

Port Class N/A

An icy rogue planet. Surface marked by high concentrations of tholins, giving it a distinctive mottled reddish coloration. Active cryovolcanism observed, indicating subsurface liquid bodies. Quantumly unstuck; has the tendency to vanish and then reappear when it is not directly observed (and alternatively, of appearing precisely when no one is looking for it). A research station was established on its surface after over four decades of search and landing attempts. It promptly went out of contact for unknown reasons and TarroCorp has been attempting to recontract the facility and recoup its losses ever since. Given the resources available in-situ and the manufacturing capabilities of the station, it is possible that the station staff have been able survive since the incident.


  • Oh shit, they found it again! Quick, get out there before someone blinks!
  • Oh fuck, it just appeared out of nowhere!
  • Oh damn, you were relief crew on the station and they just woke you up!


Port Class N/A

The paradise of spacer's stories. Rolling hills, wide open savanna, warm seas, all overflowing with life that hasn't been seen since the Collapse. Post-scarcity ancom pastoralism protected by the Vidyarāja - posthuman guardians derived from a stolen exultant gene-line No cops, no corpos, no debt. Freedom, from all this. A place to rest, spoken of not in the fervent speech of the seekers of heaven, but in the painful longing for the home that remains only in one's memory.

Beyond this the details become more fragmented and prone to interpretation. There are dozens of supposed locations, means of access, signs to identify those who have returned to the outside universe as guides to the worthy seekers. The question of "why have the forces of capital not yet despoiled this paradise?" is met with a hundred fanciful answers. It is too good to exist, most say. Plenty of folks claim it's a corporate psy-op, an easy means of identifying dissidents. Some say they've been there; they're liars, or fools, or under the yoke of delusions. But who knows? Maybe the old salt in the bar really has seen it.

[For most of those who believe, Sukhavati sits somewhere deep in the Knot, a tangled web of tenuous and ever-shifting hyperspace connections that has thus far resisted all attempts at meaningful exploration. The structure is not contiguous with realspace and thus the planet could exist nearly anywhere in the galaxy. The only means of access is a route dubbed "The Naraka Run", which is said to be both extremely difficult and haunted by the quantum-entangled spirits of all those who have failed to reach their goal.]


  • You find the map in the kit-bag of some unlucky ren. Less than a map, just some scribbled notes on the back of insurance paperwork. Coordinates to a nameless system out on the Rim, and then the equations for a series of jumps that don't quite make sense. You're desperate enough to try.
  • A ship thought lost for years limps back to a lonely Rim port. One survivor onboard, tells you and the other longshoresren that they were seeking Sukhavati, but were forced back. Something attacked their ship, but they will not say what. The ship's name is the Alexis.

Wolf 359 c

Port Class B

A hot, dry world of minor importance despite its closeness to Sol. However, it is noteworthy as a historical anecdote for being the only known instance of a colony suffering Oedipal Colony Collapse Syndrome and subsequently stabilizing into a social equilibrium.

[OCCS is a variety of Civilizational Collapse Syndrome where psychological dependence on parental AI prevents the formation of normal human social, familial, and productive bonds. OCCS was endemic among first-generation colonies, to the point where an estimated 20-30% Gen-1 colonies fell apart within two generations. Advances in bulk interstellar transport of live persons and the development of consciousness emulation have greatly reduced colony-onset OCCS cases in the modern day.]

The Wolf colony AI were flexible enough avoid a feedback-loop death-spiral, but weren't able to stop the OCCS from taking root. The inhabitants demonstrate near-infantilic psychological dependencies on their AI caretakers, and are generally viewed with a mix of disgust and pity by the rest of the Expansion Sphere.

  • Character Option: Wolfer - You have left your habitat and the company of your creche-kin to seek your fortunes elsewhere. You begin with a totem implant, which carries a partial fork of the ai-patromatra that raised you and guides you still. Your devotion to it is absolute. You will immediately Panic if the connection is severed (via EMP attack, psychotropics, etc)

World of the Horse-Eaters (Skithya)

Port Class C (90) B (10)

A lost 1st-generation colony, a terrestrial world marginally terraformed in the decades prior to its collapse and slowly dying in the centuries since. The ice-age that reclaims the planet creeps towards the equatorial grasslands and the last remaining livable land. Even after contact was re-established, this process has been permitted to continue - the system's holding company projects that tourist habitats built over the remains of the frozen-out autochthonic civilizations will be extremely popular with hypernet influencers.

Those Horse-Eaters who have fled their dying homeworld have found themselves adrift in the Expansion sphere; in the face of such alien environs they have formed a few tiny enclave populations in nearby systems and have maintained as much cultural continuity as they can. But lacking any backing from a major party within the Alliance or unity among their peoples, hopes of acquiring new colony rights are slim. The Horse-Eaters still living on Skithya are the last of the hard-bitten holdouts: they will not accept crocodile-smile charity from the star-people. The ice will recede, say the haruspices.

["Horse-Eater" is an exonym applied by CTA authorities to all Skithyani cultural groups, based on observations of the Pannaq people eating their own (extremely valued) horses due to starvation. This term is omnipresent outside of a few anthropological journals, and while it is still generally considered derogatory when used by the Star-People, there is a growing trend of term-adoption among offworld Skithyani nations, treating it as representative of their endurance of hardship and remembrance of sacrifices made.]

  • Character Option: Horse-Eater - You are of the first generation born in space, and find yourself alienated both from the society you find yourself afloat in (forever considered a simpleminded barbarian) and the lifeways your parents kept (they never truly adapted to life in technological-dependent society). You begin with a 5-dose tin of mild psychotropic chew (treat any comfort roll made as if the location was one grade higher)

Kapteyn's Star b

Port Class C

Kapteyn's star is old. 10-12 billion years old, and hypothesized to have been part of another galaxy assimilated into the Milky Way eons ago. It would be an otherwise average system, save for the life-bearing world spinning around it. The atmosphere is tenuous, worn down from ages of solar flares, but the magnetosphere lasted long enough for the star to calm its tantrums. For xenobiologists, it is a treasure vault waiting to be cracked open - sure, it might just be microbial soup, but it's microbial soup older than our own sun.

  • Item: Microbial Broth - A handheld containment unit filled with Kapteyni micro-organisms. This strain has proven to be much more adaptable to human biochemistry and there's likely several medical patents pending for its use. Can be used to heal a Wound or a lingering injury, though will grant a lasting [-] to body saves against infection, as incorporating the sample into your own microbiome has necessitating a weakening of your own immune system. Should it be used three times, auto-immune disorder.

Quincy's Moon (Ks!!ssi*csi*k** / p Eridani A c5)

Port Class B (70), A (30)

Oceanic moon of a temperate gas giant. Capital and cultural center for a coalition of independent uplift governments. Major player and founding part is the Cetacean Nation, which was both the first uplift group to declare political independence from the CTA and the first party to stake a claim on the p Eridani system. The Coalition consists of parties representing all nonhuman terragen sapients, including EI.

The system's primary terrestrial world is currently undergoing terraforming. 16 additional settled moons and major habitats exist within system.

  • Character Option: Embassy Staff - You once worked as part of the CTA's embassy on Quincy's Moon. You are familiar with the culture and main interface-languages of the Coalition as if you had the Linguistics skill (if you do not already have it). You begin with low-level government clearances a disguised finger-gun (1-shot), and a suicide pill


  1. Figured I am long overdue to actually write something mechanical for MoSh

  2. I don't know why exactly but I love this shit. I could read about imaginary places for years.

    1. Space, being very big, has many places to visit, so you are in luck

  3. Some minor editing is needed:
    all overflowing with life that hasn't seen the seen
    (via EMP attack, psychotropics,

    The Coalition consists of parties of all nonhuman terragen sapients