Monday, May 22, 2017


System: Metium
Hex Location: 1731
Star Type: Single A0 V
Number of Worlds: 11
Gas Giants: 2 (hot Jupiter)
Planetoid Belt: Cometary and asteroid belt

Starport Type: C
World Size: Mars-sized
Atmosphere Type: Dangerous.  Poisonous gas will kill within minutes without a filter.
Surface Water: 20%
Population: Medium-sized (10 million)
Political Affiliation: Carthen Colony (Revanchist Republic)
Tags: Hostile AI, Sealed Menace, Mining world
Notes:  Located far enough away from most of the other worlds in the Carthen Colony, Metium is reasonably self-sufficient in many ways, although convoys travel to and from this world frequently.  However, to reach it, they often travel through the systems of Outremer East rather than making a four parsec jump, attempting to stay out of the sensors of the Crusaders, and skimming gas giants for unrefined fuel.  To accomplish this dangerous run, the Revanchists often hire smugglers from the Dhangetans or elsewhere, to maintain plausible deniability.  But the preponderance of mineral-poor water worlds elsewhere in the Carthen Colony means that access to this world's mineral wealth is vital.  But having to flit through enemy territory or making a jump beyond the safety of the three parsec minimum was always Metium's biggest challenge.

Metian mining site
It is, however, not the only one.  The miners, farmers, and other settlers have had another major problem literally fall out of the sky; an alien AI located in a large meteorite that crashed deep in the wilderness.  Because of its remoteness, they did not investigate for some time—when they finally did, they found that servitor robots had built a veritable army of other robots, linked to the AI, who are anxious to claim the planet for themselves.  Given the material wealth of the planet, there was plenty of raw material for the AI to work with, and it can (presumably) keep building robot soldiers and military vehicles, etc. into perpetuity.  On recognizing the hostility of the AI (every attempt to approach the site has been shot down, and a few far-flung settlements were destroyed completely, every single citizen therein massacred by alien robots), the settlers have effectively gone to war against the robots.  The ideal scenario would be an orbital bombardment that destroyed the AI's central CPU and thus the hostility of the servitors remaining, but it is too well protected and the colonists do not have access to any weapons that can breach its dug-in bunker.  Appeals to the Revanchists who nominally rule over the colony are mired in bureaucracy.

This alien AI has started sending waves of newly minted troops out into space now, in small amounts.  What are they looking for?  What is their purpose?  They seem to be scouting trips only, but the menace of the growing robot army is not one that has escaped the settlers of Metium, and as they start to worry that the situation is getting worse, there is open talk of looking for help elsewhere then the Republic, who seems only interested in making sure that the convoys of mineral wealth continues to flow.

Bizarre rumors are occasionally surfaced that there is a hideous, horrible alien creature from the Outer Darkness that lives on Metium.  Nobody has ever proven this, but the rumors suggest that one aspect of this creature is that it creates a strange psychic null field wherein anyone who perceives it is incapable of understanding what it sees, or remembering any details of the creature.  Some other explanation is always attributed to the actions of this creature; mass hypnosis, "swamp gas" or anything, really—anything other than what actually happened.  According to this strange conspiracy theory, the robots are actually trying to save humanity from this daemonic presence, as their artificial intelligence is not affected by the psychic field.

The fact that there is no proof whatsoever of so bizarre a story is seen as self-confirming evidence that it must be true to those who believe this.  If there is a way to counteract this field, none among the True Believers have any idea what it might be.

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