Wanderer IV

Entry for the 'Create Your Own World' competition. A brief introduction to this world, plus pictures and sketches. I hope you like it!


8. Uninhabited Areas


   However, the nature of this planet means that not all of it is suitable for humans to live on, or for any organisms at all; only the interior disc gets full sunlight and warmth once a day, and the particle accelerator is beneath the crust towards the middle, meaning that the gravity it generates and the atmosphere that gravity holds in is displaced towards the centre.


   The uninhabited area of the ship can be roughly separated into three sections: the Auroral Bow, the Twilight Zone, and the Dark Side.




   The Auroral Bow is the 'front' of the ship - the face that precedes as the ship moves forwards in space. It's covered in forest, which comes to resemble the pine forests in the mountain more as one goes further 'east', and it gets colder and darker and further from the sun. The trees don't open and close to the same degree as those in the interior disc, but their dark oil-rainbow needles bristle about without any wind to catch all the light they can.


   And not all of this is the partial light of the sun that reaches around; the most striking feature of the auroral bow is in it's name, the huge curtains of auroral light that ripple above. These are most visible during the partial night and around the darker edges of the forest. They're caused by clouds of radical particles in space colliding with the magnetic field and atmosphere of the ship as it ploughs through them, reacting and releasing light, like a bow of a boat disturbing phosphorescent microorganisms in the sea at night. The glow of these light can occasionally be seen on the horizon at night from the interior lands.


   The trees here grow back fast if chopped down and contain a metallic core, so people living in the floodplains venture here to harvest timber, armed with warm clothes.




   The Twilight Zone is the face opposite the bow, bringing up the rear. This, too, gets partial daylight and warmth, less the further around one goes. The lumber here doesn't grow as fast as that in the Auroral Forest, and the quality of life for those who lumber here is less because they have to travel further into the cold, dark, and thinning atmosphere, but the demand for wood and paper increases as the Coral City grows, so in the workers go, and some don't come back out.


   The animals in the two side faces of the planet are like the plants in that  they've found themselves washed out there and adapted to survive. However, the more extreme conditions have odd effects; the lower levels of oxygen and heat mean fish, and to a lesser extent mammals, grow slower but larger due to prolonged lifespans. Many also benefit from thickened skin, and a heightened ability to sense heat or vibrations. If people who had only seen these creatures' friendlier counterparts in the sunnier climes certainly wouldn't recognise them, and might be inclined to run in the opposite direction. Certainly, children in the farmlands are warned away from straying too far with these kinds of tales, and only the bravest enter the twilight and auroral forests for wood.




   The Dark Side should, by all means, be barren; it's cold as space, dark except for the distant starlight, without a trace of the displaced atmosphere.


   But there is life here. Alien life to be sure; carried on spores through space, perhaps, or already in the meteoric rock when humans harnessed it. Whatever the case, if you went there, you would see that these fungus-like structures are completely dark, absorbing all radiation, but if you were to don a space suit and tresd onto the crackly, spongy surface, it would respond to your touch - a trail of your own glowing footprints would follow you into the dark.


   And some creatures out there would condiser this substance a bountiful harvest.


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