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Conductive Vortices redirects here. For other atmospheric destruction events, visit Suborbital Deathblenders (disambiguation).

The story of Nzakali is the story of a vigorous but obscure subluminal civilization that happened to develop under atmospheric conditions that the outside galaxy considered only useful for menace disposal.

The Planet

Nzakali is a volcanically active rocky planet with an unstable hydrogen atmosphere. It revolves around a dense blue-white star. The methane-primary natives developed a society plagued by occasional famines due to seasonal and superseasonal variations in orbit. The hydrogen atmosphere, some six times thicker than is average for a life-supporting planet, is ravaged by aperiodic magnetic reversals, extreme winds, and entire aerial reefs of caustic aerosols. The Nzaks have never developed flight. Only a madman would want to.


Nzakali was noted on star charts as an inhospitable planet with a withering atmosphere. When the first Youth Helpers discovered the system they began funneling the incriminating elements of their ill-gotten goods into the planet’s sky, which broke down and deactivated even the most durable radio beacons.

The reputation of the planet as the nebula’s most discreet disposal site spread only slowly, primarily by word of mouth in the underground of various starfaring civilizations. There was very nearly a diplomatic incident when one race attempted to dispose of one hundred sixty-seven thousand mutant plague chickens at the same time as another race started feeding in a three-mile legacy mainframe that had proved, after several dozen attempts to install even an entry-level Protoinfomorph, to be too dumb to live. Both ships left rather than ask questions they didn’t want the answers to.

Some speculate that Nzakali may be the final berth of the Jakoli Ghost Ship, though there exist no reputable reports of its dying echoes nearby.

Intentional Contact

The Karvassian Buoys left around Nzakali on the off chance that something could reach it have remained untouched. So far as any anthropologist can ascertain, the Nzaks hover in history between the Egoathropological Limit and the Vyk-Poisson Phase – a position that would seem to invite lively scientific inquiry. However, like the natives of Bau after their trial, the Nzaks are looking anywhere but up.

Future Prospects

If any of the outworld flotsam came to rest on the surface of Nzakali, no acknowledgment has made it into space. Lowering a vessel equipped for first contact, or in fact anything, would only lead to messy destruction. For now, observations are made through scanning across extremes of the electromagnetic spectrum and sometimes getting a lucky reading, most often through transients during magnetic inversions.

Scientists of the Watchers Council have proposed several possible ways to penetrate Nzakali’s atmosphere, any of which would be lethal to the entire surface population. The question of how to introduce the Nzaks to the galaxy by clearing the atmosphere remains open, though a strong current of “Are you crazy? No!” persists in the literature, particularly among academics who have something to hide.