Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Star Wars : Planets of the Malicrux VI

SULGORA is a ruined world, with vast forests of dead trees, acidic oceans and poisonous rain and is ringed by countless spacewrecks ready to be broken down and destroyed — the result of exploitation by the Unisys Corporation, former member of the Trade Federation. Unisys were later convicted of abuse of native lands and forced to relocate the entire Sulgoran people to the nearby planet of Jyryx. The Unisys Corporation collapsed under the monumental cost of the resettlement program and the planet went into economic decline. However the small mining companies employed by the Unisys Corporation formed the Phoenix Federation and began a profitable trade in waste recycling. Nowadays Sulgora is one of the Empire’s biggest waste dumping and recycling planets. Beaching of retired vessels is an impressive occurrence and not uncommon.

TALIS is a mudball of a planet, where scumdrakes and amphibious bloatwyrms are hunted for sport by the galaxy's best. The extreme elliptical orbit subjects the planet to great differences in temperature. During the prolonged winter when the planet is far from the system's twin suns, the muddy surface is as hard as rock, with only a narrow band of viscous ocean around the equatorial belt. As the planet draws closer the world thaws, and the ocean broadens, til in the heights of summer two polar islands are all that remain. This primordial ooze is rich with nutrients, and combined with a lower than average gravity it supports a diverse ecosystem of truly massive creatures, which in turn draws big-game hunters and bored nobles from the heart of the galaxy. Several safaris operate under the purview of House Vaspasa; Grand Duke Meriko Vaspasa is a passionate hunter and will often personally escort visiting dignitaries on hunting trips.

TANGELWOOD is a dangerous weed-choked world; overgrown by continent-spanning patches of massive and carnivorous tangelthorn. With razor-sharp barbs growing over one hundred meters in length along twisting branches tens or even hundreds of kilometers long, tangelthorn is possibly one of the largest photosynthetic lifeforms known in the galaxy. The various subspecies are prized sources of patterned lumber and some have rare medicinal properties; but Tangelwood's true fame stems from the annual pod-racing festival, when the galaxy's best podracers dart down the winding passages of the Leafspear Labyrinth. A deadly leg of the galactic podracing circuit, the plants tear and impale many racers while probing bloodroots seek out the veins of any fool who forgets to shut their blast doors at night. Tangelwood also serves as the domain of House Arranasis, whose Duchal Palace commands the finest views of the track. The House has a vested interest in the podracing industry and has invested in a number of tracks around the sector, keen on developing the sport across the Malicrux.

VASPASA is an arid world of rocky badlands and steaming savannahs. It is populated by the Vasp, a bipedal reptilian race with human range height and mass. The atmosphere is slightly caustic, and the Vasp and all they create must be hardy and enduring to last in such and environment; the Vasp are covered in a hard dermal chitin that helps them survive. They also have an aptitude for industrial manufacturing and have built a strong economy on Vaspasa that provides highly processed durable goods to the rest of the sector. This historically provided a slightly above average standard of living. Until recently the Vasp had proven to have generally very good health, with an inherent resistance to disease. Unfortunately interstellar trade has appeared to introduce a foreign pathogen to Vaspasa, and a disease known as Hyun Fever has spread aggressively throughout the population over the last 5 years, causing rapid rotting to the Vasp’s armor and exposing them to severe caustic burns from their natural environment and leaving them easily susceptible to secondary infection. Whilst Hyun Fever has no known cure and does not seem to affect other races, a treatment to manage the symptoms is available from MediCrux, although it is expensive. Duke Meirko Vaspasa personally oversees the administration of the treatment, despite himself becoming infected. Economic activity and standard of living amongst the Vasp has declined notably as a result of this persistent pandemic. Imperial doctors from the Public Health Authority maintain a vigilant watch over the world, fearing mutation and spread of the disease.

VLATA YHOM is a dark and foreboding funeral world, where countless millions have been laid to rest beneath grim grey skies and cold stone. That any would chose such a forlorn place may surprise, until the strange power of Vlata Yhom is revealed: those that are swiftly interred within days of passing may live again, albeit in a ghostly form. Some great wonder is at work on this world, and the dead may continue to appear before the living and commune with them, though there are some limitations. The dead cannot learn anything new, only recall memories from their living days, and they must receive regular contact, or their memories will fade away, leaving only a ghostly husk behind. Coordinating the allocation of burial grounds is a presence known only as The Veil, a pale apparition that lingers in the great Temple of Yhom, the largest single structure on the planet. Here, in vast marbled halls filled with silence, petitioners can bring their fallen and seek permission from the Veil to bury them on Vlata Yhom. If the Veil approves, it instructs the fallen’s companions where to find their final resting place, and once interred in the soil of the world, the fallen may rise once more. There are sad tales of the living being unable to let go of loved ones buried on Vlata Yhom, remaining in the presence of the past, til they too pass away. All attempts to study the planet have met with failure; expeditions have been known to encounter extraordinary runs of ill luck and data corruption. For now, the secrets of Vlata Yhom remain undisturbed.

VEYCA is a tepid tropical world where great continents of fungal growth rise out of the seas. With no axial tilt, the planet lacks seasons, subjecting the warm equatorial regions to constant rain, creating perfect growing conditions for all manner of fungoid life. Layer upon layer of mycanoid detritus towers up towards the clouds, displaying a vast number of different species from giant mushroom platforms where starships can safely land to microscopic pathgens that can kill with one breath. Veycan air is dangerous; it is thick with spores that can easily overwhelm when subjected to prolonged exposure, and appropriate protective gear is essential when outside the domed cities of House Veyca. Within these domes Vecyan industrial centres extract all manner of biotechnological and pharmaceutical products harvested from the jungles of fungi; huge mining platforms slowly crawl across the landscape leaving great scars in their wake. These tracks do not last long: they are swallowed up with new growths within weeks. House Veyca runs a small but thriving with Jasterkast and the MediCrux Corporation on Gweyr Krom; there is a small Imperial research facility built on the southern continent that has been declared off limits to all outsiders. House Veyca can do little but accept the situation.

VORZHEVA is a sprawling urban moon locked in a perpetual eclipse, trapped in the shadow of its parent planet, warmed by geothermal power and lit by the blood gold hues of the Malicrux Nebula and the radiant light of nearby Gyre. At least, when the smog clears long enough for the stars to shine through. Otherwise the ruddy haze of neon lights and the glow of deathsticks is all that lights the way through the murk. Vorzheva wasn’t always this way; it was once under the stewardship of House Palauga, but a century ago the Duke staked the fate of his world against his vast gambling debts to the Hutts – and lost. Since the takeover of the planet by Guuzha the Hutt, Vorzheva has become a sordid backdoor into the Malicrux Sector and the prime source of vice and spice. The sprawling towers are filled to the brim with hapless peons, slowly choking and mutating in the foul chemical broth they call air. Gas masks are essential. Organised crime is rampant, corruption ever-present, and suffering to be found on every corner.

XANDERPAND is a dead world where lifeless oceans lap at dusty grey deserts; ill winds scour the ancient and ruined ziggurats that tower over the plains. Immense structures, the ziggurats are believed to one of the few locations bearing physical evidence of the Malicrux Empire to have survived the supernova that ended their rule. As such the world is of considerable interest to scholars from around the Sector, and a small starport caters to the needs of the archaeologists that search for the secrets of the Malicrux.

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