Apr 07, 2020 10:15 PM
A dragon explores space, finds Amenta.
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It seems liable to inflame things, putting something like that to auction - I'm not sure what you mean? In what way?

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"How hard were they looking? It'll matter for how many more planets like this we can hope for, and how fast."

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Black Sea Dreamer was not specifically looking for habitable planets, I think. There's a few others out exploring including Shining Truth, not really centrally controlled and not totally dedicated to exploration. There's a lot more ships being built or undergoing trials, but not enough fuel to have them all exploring constantly - plus, careful preventative maintenance takes a while.

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"How long have they been out and about? Will a high price on the planet motivate more exploration?"

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Shining Truth's shakedown cruise was about a year ago - twenty two days before it came to Amenta the first time, I'm sure you can look up the date for that. Since then it's spent about a quarter of the time going between Amenta and Newhome, a quarter of the time exploring space, and half the time undergoing maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. Black Sea Dreamer was completed seven months ago and has mostly been exploring, and the others that may or may not be exploring (I don't know for sure) - Stellar Lens, Golden Beak, Comet, Silver Maw, and Eye of Avarice - were all completed between six and one months ago.

And money? Oh, yes. The Seeker and River are unusually conservative about Treasure, and they're the only Draak who have significant quantities of Amentan money right now, I think... Well, I don't know Bloom personally. But just imagining such a bounty of treasure--! It's a massive rush. It's better than a delicious fresh buffalo, or sex. I don't have an Amentan's experience of having a child but the experience of suddenly gaining lots of new Treasure must be at least a little comparable in terms of emotional experience. You spend your youth dreaming of the gems and trophies and rare trinkets you will one day have. I am definitely going to buy many shiny things with my money and be very happy about it! And it's reasonably well known at home that Amentan money can be converted into piles of perfect delicious glittering shiny, thanks to Seeker and Bloom's efforts to that end.

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"Is anyone actively looking for planets for us?"

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I'm not sure. I don't know what every ship is up to... I remember hearing something about collecting guesses for stars that might have habitable planets from Amentan astronomers to speed things up, but I don't think that ever actually happened.

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"Can I have your name for the article?"

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Head-tilt. I don't see why not. Short name, I presume. Ember.

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"I'd take the long one too, it'll be a big splashy article, lots of room for detail."

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Slow-Burning Ember of Heat and Chill, Overseer of Scarps and Crags, an Embodiment of Earth-And-Fire - Magma

I can point out the exact star in question, it's visible at night - I don't know if there is a star chart app or something...

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"Ooh, let me get one -" Here it is!

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Aaaand there it is, one otherwise unremarkable tiny dot with an alphanumeric name amid a dozen others. It should be visible year-round from most of the world.

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"Is there anything else you can tell me?"

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She has the names of the co-owners and crew members of the starship and snippets about their reputations (one of the co-owners is a technical whiz, the other one is just old and rich), but no pictures. She has the news that someone's pet goat-thing found the moss edible. She has more miscellaneous data about the planet like day length and axial tilt and crust composition and estimated age and so on. It's got bigger tides than Amenta.

I can maybe get River to come see you, I gather she's moderately famous here and she's the photographer who took all those photos, but she's very distractable.

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"I'd love a word with her anyway, if it can be quick enough not to delay the article."

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It'd be a few days at the very least. She's not on this planet.

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"Then we'll have to save it for the followup."

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What else would be interesting to put in the story?

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"How prevalent is that likely-poison lichen? Are there likely to be conditions on the purchase, or is it boring enough that no one will mind if we cover it in farms and cities? You said it had extreme tides; what are the moons like?"

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The lichen in question lives on tide-washed rocks and was observed in the equatorial area. They think the toxin might help with high-temperature tolerance. It seems to only live in the hottest places. There's a really big moon that orbits pretty closely, and a small captured asteroid with a highly elliptical orbit. They saw fifteen-meter tides in one location and think they could get even bigger!

I am speculating again. They might want to keep parts of it as natural reserves, or maybe keep this one island and some surrounding ocean near the equator as Draak territory. They might ban enclosed animal farms there if anyone realizes that's an option, or they might figure the meat-tree thing will take care of that sooner or later. And it's not nearly as popular a cause for us, but several prominent Draak are fretting about reds. I think everyone important realizes demands related to reds are super touchy so they probably won't make any.

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"Huh. Probably won't put that last in, doesn't really hit an encouraging tone even if it probably won't be an issue."

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Of course not. We don't like the idea that anyone can be inherently polluted, especially if it's not a choice they made that caused it. But I will say no more about it.

Depending on what latitudes turn out to be seasonable and comfortable, we estimate there is one to one-and-three-fifths as much seasonable land as Amenta. Ocean covers about half of this planet. The deep interiors of the continents are kind of dry, though. Lots of desert, as much as 'desert' is even a thing with such a minimal ecology.

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"Irrigable?"

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A green would have a better guess than me.

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