Wandering Husk-Child

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claimed by User:Professor Morgan B.E. for turn 3

Overview

The Wandering Husk-Child (WHC) is a collection of objects named for its relatively recent (about 1.44 million years) split from the innermost regions of the Bottlenose Nebula and the lifelessness characteristic of its outer regions – a pair of traits that long concealed the actual organisms it supported.

The WHC is a subject of controversy, due in large part to the challenges inherent in making observations through its stupendous inorganic membrane, which hosts particles and radiation at a density some twelve thousand times that of interstellar vacuum. It was recently discovered that the WHC takes a one hundred twenty thousand year cycle that varies at all points except the one directly in the radiation stream from the Nebula’s Blowhole. During that encounter, a reaction with the membrane seems to lead to the elimination of native life, at least in its higher forms. Thus the WHC was long assumed to be a dead Husk.

Major Artifacts

It is now well known that there are twelve rocky objects of which three meet the criteria to be deemed planets orbiting some central gravity well of unknown composition; the WHC emits very little outside sporadic activity in X-ray bands.

Automated probes by modern exploration teams have since investigated the major non-actively-populated bodies of the WHC. Evidently civilizations had risen and fallen before, one at a time, across cycles that date from the WHC’s first motions within the Nebula. This suggests that conditions in or near the Blowhole must have naturally cultivated the development of intelligence. If instead the dominion theory holds and the M-Ph progenitor seeded the WHC to override natural processes, then it must have done so repeatedly, for the dominant species of each cycle varies depending on what survived the last Blowhole exposure and springs into differing language and social forms each time. Conditions near the Blowhole seem to encourage this helical behavior. Evolution that is traditionally viewed to occur over millions of years seems to develop, within the Husk, in merely dozens of thousands. Not all reach sentience: one cycle was dedicated entirely to voles, which did not develop into a civilization. Other cycles were more evolutionarily successful.

The chief interstellar observation of the Husk must be the launch of the Child's Crusade, which has been drawn into startling comparisons by modern observers.

Future Developments

Known superluminal technologies would encounter problems in the WHC’s membrane, and it is unlikely that any of its chain of civilizations will reach lightspeed by conventional means, though a Gravity Pump might conceivably be developed. The future might be easier to predict if it were known what governs the actual wandering of the husk-child. So long as it continues to return to be scoured, civilization will always have a hard cap. The WHC is about to complete its twelfth return to the Blowhole’s eruption. The less superstitious think nothing of this.

Some speculate that the WHC itself may develop into a new physical form that will in turn shape the next generation of its interior civilizations. This, like the number twelve, can only be a matter of conjecture.