Sunday, July 1, 2012

Star Wars : Planets of the Malicrux IV


KALISHE is a vicious jungle world teeming with blood-leafed carnivorous plants, where monstrous predators stalk cunning prey. It is a deadly place, bathed in the ominous crimson light of its red giant star, and few attempts to colonise the planet have met with success. There are but a handful of operations that have endured these inhospitable conditions, and a couple have even thrived. The first is an ever-expanding number of clandestine spice plantations run by petty drug barons under the control of Guuzha the Hutt, who negotiated access to the jungle under agreement with House Kalishe. The drug lords maintain heavily armed perimeters and compounds on the tropical archipelagoes, where guards watch over plantation slaves who are surprisingly upbeat about their situation: a short life on Kalishe is a better fate than a slow, toxic death on Vorzheva Prime. The other operation exists in rumour only; it is said that the infamous Baal Kabuul makes his home deep in the heart of the greatest jungle, where he co-ordinates a flesh trade with connections spread out across the sector and beyond. What the Baal makes of Guuzha the Hutt’s presence on his world is unclear, though the growing number of coordinated attacks by normally solitary predators hints at the Baal’s displeasure. The Empire shows little interest in the planet for now, as long as House Kalishe, which receives regular “contributions” from the Hutt’s representatives, regularly fills its coffers. 

The twin moons of KANTO PRIME and KANTO SECUNDUS share the same orbit around a barren terrestrial world that in turn orbits a complicated quaternary star system; they are always bathed in sunlight, tidelocked to one another, and are bound in a slow death spiral that will see the two moons collide some time in the next thousand years. They are close enough now that their atmospheres mingle, and the gravity of Kanto Prime is strong enough to rip mountains from the surface of Kanto Secundus. Seismic activity and meteorites are commonplace in regions where the worlds face each other; but for now the outer faces are relatively safe. Capitalising on the constant sunlight, the warm and pleasant world of Kanto Prime has developed an intensive agricultural industry, focusing on luxury wines that are the toast of the Core Worlds. The financial return on their produce is so great that House Kanto – who manage the vineyard estates – has installed a military grade defense grid around their estates to shot down incoming meteors, and drive off any would be thieves and pirates. The former galactic senator Duke Orlando Kanto, who can trace his ancestry to Core World nobility   and served until the collapse of the Republic, personally oversees his ­family run estates whenever he can, but with the growing influence of the Empire he has come out of retirement and is spends more and more time on Sapphrica. Politically savvy and a gifted orator, Duke Kanto is outspoken and critical of Imperial activities within the sector, and has weathered several attempts on his life. He is widely considered to be in league with the Rebel Alliance, but he is critical of them as well, citing the number of innocents killed in the destruction of the Star Destroyer Ferocious while in dock at Port Kullus. His duties to the Council on Sapphirica leaves House Kanto to be run by his daughter Nuala, who has inherited much of her father’s traits. She oversees House Kanto’s interests, operates out of his duchal palace on Kanto Secundus, located in the polar mountains just beyond the rim of the gravitational degradation. House scientists predict the growing gravitational pull will envelop the palace within one hundred years, but for now the family is safe. The slow destruction of Kanto Secundus is not without benefits; as the crust is slowly torn apart, great seams of minerals are uncovered and while very dangerous, a flurry of mining activity has begun under Nuala Kanto’s personal  supervision.

KELM is a temperate world of broad plains and jilkawood forests, made famous by the Siege of Kresiela, where a force of thirteen Jedi took refuge for one thousand days and nights against an entire legion of clone troopers till finally they were betrayed by one of their own. Now the former Jedi Temple of Kresiela is an important Imperial garrison and museum dedicated to the the Fall of the Jedi, examining their galactic influence and the corruption inherent in such power. Students from across the sector and beyond come to study the number of Jedi artifacts are on display, and learn how to identify and report Force-sensitive individuals to the appropriate Imperial authorities. Visitors are restricted to a limited area of the Temple and parts of the surrounding jilkawoods; the Imperial garrison conducts a number of live fire training exercises and whole continents are designated as proving grounds to test weapons for the war against the terrorists of the Rebel Alliance. The recently established Imperial city of Palpatino lies nearby, and is dedicated to the support and logistics of the Imperial garrison and the museum. The citizenry is loyal and security is discreet, with recruiting offices producing a number of excellent personnel for the ever-important logistics of the Imperial Navy.

KLULKHUN is a giant world in every sense. While it is a rocky terrestrial planet it dwarfs most of its siblings and rivals gas giants for size, supporting lifeforms of truly immense proportions that roam the great plains and graze by countless lakes. Such a large planetary mass generates a heavy gravity that has flattened the landscape, leaving low mountains and shallow seas. That the creatures here are as large as they are is a testament to their incredible strength and bone structure. The heavy gravity has also protected the world from depredation; it is difficult for most offworlders to work in such taxing conditions, though there are several generations of indentured beast herders that have adapted to the gravity. They live their precarious lives in small armoured huts half buried into the flesh of mighty gygantors, huge eight-legged grazing beasts that grow several kilometers in length. Here the herdsmen strip prized flesh from open cuts in the beasts’ flanks – merely a scratch to these creatures - and their masters sell the delicacy to offworld traders from Sapphirica and Sinammon, eager to satiate the noblity’s tastes for the exotic.

MEPHIYEH is a complicated hollowed world full of secrets and mystery. House Mephiyheh's understanding of orbital physics ensures their rule over the planet is absolute. Early in the Republic, survey ships found a world rich with ore and minerals, and mining began. Initially materials were removed from the planet to be refined and used elsewhere, but as more and more was extracted, refining and then manufacture developed in the mining cavities. Now the planet is a hollow sphere with a number of structures are said to orbit within its confines. The one main entrance to the planet’s interior is guarded by Mephiyeh troops that operate out of the only surface structure: the Citadel is heavily fortified and is a cylinder of air locks that control the planet’s internal environment. Rumours persist that the Citadel is of a scale that will allow even the largest of Capital Ships to pass within. Inside is a plethora of superstructures in slow orbit around each other, each with a variable gravity that the Mephiyeh can control at a whim. These include arcologies, refineries, manufacturing stations, warehouses, and the ore itself, in massive free-floating stock piles of material that fuel the planet’s incredible energy requirements. 100 million souls live in the spinning disks of the arcologies. For large or heavy stored materials they spin at lower speeds to simulate lower gravities, liquid or alluvial materials are kept in warehouses that spin faster, turning them into the largest centrifugal pumps in the galaxy. All of these objects bar one spin, rotate, gravitate and roll around inside the planet’s husk. The one object stays in one position relative to the planet is the Duchal Palace known as the Garden. An oasis of calm within a hive of industry, the greatest engineers of Mephiyheh and the most illustrious customers are permitted to visit and pay homage to the scions of House Mephiyheh. The progenitor of the House and the reason for its might and independence, was a mathematic genius and a madman that realised that more of the planet can be used by moving and coordinating the movement of the free floating bodies inside the husk of the planet. His daughter built on his works, and held the power of this planet when she used free-floating structures within the planet to crush all that opposed her. Peace and control has been maintained by a combination of judicious use of gravitational manipulation and variation, all of which is a closely hidden secret. With out the help of flight control navigating between the planetoids is nearly impossible, and has kept the planet from falling into Imperial possession – for now. 

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