New Worlds: Keltesh

Last Friday, I put out a call for people to choose art from a particular gallery, so that this week I would write about new worlds. Here are my rules for these posts:

  • I will only give them 15 minutes, because brevity can force creativity.
  • I will do one every day in the morning this week, Monday through Friday.
  • I will put some questions forward at the end of each piece for you to answer in the comments.
  • They’re from roughly the same region in space, able to interact with each other via interstellar travel that is reasonably fast.
  • This is a humanocentric universe, and not as far into the future as you might think.

Clearly with the last two bits, I’m writing up a Diaspora cluster. Anyway, with that, from the Aberlour 103 piece:


Class: R (0.93 AU from orbiting star)
Size: 62% Earth (based on pre-war statistics)
Day: 13.58 hours
Atmosphere: nitrogen, methane, ionized carbon
Government: The McClintock Mining Corporation

In the early days of the Rift, the Void was filled with many mining traders hunting around for the next gold rush. One small Oceanian mining trader, Remus McClintock, hit upon better than gold when she stumbled upon planet Keltesh: a red rock with no water and little in the way of large mountains or vast valleys. In her early notes, she said “it was like Mars but boring.”

That day, the weather was clear, and McClintock set her vessel down to survey on the only bit of land that seemed geographically interesting, “the Great Eye.” What she found was astonishing! Massive, untouched veins of coltane and trinium, high quantity of helium-3 in the regolith, and so on — a trader’s dream come true! She spent three local days establishing a minor outpost and filling her hold with as much as it could carry and break orbit. As she did so, a storm starting to move in on the horizon.

Three weeks, later, she returned — the profits form her first haul got her a larger ship, and crew enough to run both that ship and her old one. She also installed a new defense weapons in her vessels — the “fleet” as she called them — to ward off any pirates or those who would seek claim to her planet.

The storm she saw when she left hadn’t passed; it had grown. A massive electrified dust storm swept through the continent she landed on, certainly destroying her meager outpost. When an anxious crew looking to get their promised payday, McClintock set down on a region of the planet not affected by the storm. The finds on the largest southern continent were not as astonishing, but was just as untouched, and they were able to fill both vessel up…in time to watch the storm come in from the horizon.

Today, the McClintock corporation holds a fleet of 24 mining vessels and employs six merchant marine escorts. Their headquarters are in a Clark-class space station in high orbit. The company discovered that the storms rotate around the planet around once every 35 hours, and take half a local day to pass. Anything in the path of the storm is completely destroyed within minutes, so the corporation work more like mining nomads, traveling from place to place before the storm reaches them.


  1. The most recent expedition found something strange deep in the rock on the last encounter, something they all agreed to not report. Don’t tell me about what they saw: tell me instead of their nightmares afterward.
  2. Keltesh is not the name of the planet according to McClintock. She calls it “Thomus,” after her late husband. Keltesh is the designation given by the Colonial Federation. What happened last time a Fed came by Keltesh/Thomus? What’s that relationship like? What’s likely to happen?

– Ryan


2 Responses to New Worlds: Keltesh

  1. Jonathan R says:

    Altair was a mining foreman who was brought on to consult an expedition that made a miraculous discovery. His eyelids fell heavily as he lay bunked in a courier shooting 1.1c per hour back to McClintock HQ. They snapped open and he was falling. He landed in his own shoes at the bottom of the excavation shaft.

    Meters away was the site of the artifact, still lodged in the rough hewn wall. Like a ripe pear, it dangled just above eye-level. Altair’s eyes darted left and then right, and caught a glimpse of an old fashioned mattock, its head gleaming impossibly in the darkness. Instinctively, and in one fluid motion, he grabbed the mattock and smashed the artifact’s encasement. The strike rang, echoing into a dull roar. An aura of strobing light engulfed the rock face where the artifact had lay dormant. As Altair’s eyes squinted, trying to adjust to the piercing glow, the dull roar of the axe blow magnified at a geometric rate.

    In an eyeblink, men women and children poured from the strobing light. They tugged at Altair’s clothes piteously, their bodies emaciated but their countenances blurred. As Altair stood by helplessly, more and more broken and desperate people surged out from the light, a deluge of humans. Then, as the crush of people forced him to the mine shaft elevator his eyes fluttered open.

    The sheet wrapped tight around Altair, wrapping him tight with alien sympathy.