To Boldly Go
The World of the Artifact
On the Surface
The Artifact rests on the fifth world circling an aged G1V class star. Near the end of its span on the main sequence, this 8.1 billion year old star should have irradiated and cooked the world long ago. But somehow, the world maintains a stable climate with an oxygen rich atmosphere. It might be considered a normal garden world except for several things:
Over the eons, the native plant life has gone nearly extinct on the surface due to bursts of radiation from the planet’s star. Yet oxygen and ozone levels remain high, even thicker than expected.
- Though ample evidence of vast oceans can be found on the surface, only a small salty sea remains. Seismic scans of the planet reveal vast bodies of water sequestered in massive subterranean grottos.
- Combined with the plains of reflective bare rock, the planet’s albedo is raised even higher due to a planet wide cloud of “fog”, extending to the upper atmosphere. The cloud appears to be composed of complex carbon molecules.
- On closer examination the only source of this abnormal supply of oxygen and ozone is this mist, extending from the upper atmosphere down to the surface.
Scans of the surface also reveal a “settlement” at a high latitude near the last sea. Made up of spires of artificially constructed stones, this “city” features strange floating metal spheres and the Artifact: a towering egg-shaped device that repels any attempt to get close to it.
The rest of the system consists of dead rocks and icy gas giants. Of the four inward from the Artifact, most are hot empty stones. The fourth planet shows some signs having been colonized at one point with traces of an atmosphere and unusual concentrations of rare metals on its surface.
A barren asteroid belt separates the world of the Artifact from the rest of the system. Consisting of broken chucks of worthless stone, all valuable volatiles and minerals have been mined out long ago.
Five gas giants complete the solar system. Their numerous moons show similar signs of mining activity.
Forgotten Tools of a Dead World
The mist that covers the world is made up of billions of billions of tiny machines capable to building or destroying any material at the molecular level. Capable of self replication, they have maintained this world for billions of years.
- High Concept: Assembler and Disassembler Cloud
- Trouble: Mist of Machines
- Other Aspects: Ubiquitous Fog
Hovering in the central plaza, this vast egg-shaped monolith absorbs all light and energy projected at it. Pitch black, all physical objects approaching it are twisted aside by a powerful gravitational field.
Older than the city, older than the ruins that lie beneath it buried under billions of years of rock, the Artifact persists. Powered by the force of a captured black hole and seemingly the control system for the entire planet, it waits.
- High Concept: Eons Ancient and Enduring
- Trouble: Forgotten Purpose
- Other Aspects: Alien and Inscrutable, Bends the Universe Around It