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Vesk-3
(Cosmos)
Type Planet
Diameter 9/10x
Mass 1-1/4x
Gravity 1-1/2x
Atmosphere Normal
Year length (PST) 6 days
Day length (PST) 28 hours
Orbits Ghavaniska
System Veskarium
Inhabitants Skittermanders

Source: Near Space, pg(s). 32

Vesk-3, called Oeddertchonk by the native skittermanders, is the third planet in the Veskarium. Seemingly a resource-rich paradise, Vesk-3 is one of the hardest planets to rule for the Veskarium, due to its population of ever-helpful skittermanders.[1]

Geography

Vesk-3 is a lush world, with a diverse flora and dense rainclouds that cover half of the surface. It possesses a high content of heavy metals, fuelling a nuclear core and constant tectonic activity, which manifests as hot springs, geysers and hydrothermal vents common across the planet, and fills the land and sea with nutrients. Vesk-3 has no axial tilt.[1] Earthquakes happen almost weekly in some regions, and all buildings have to be able to withstand tremors. Major eruptions can change the climate or sink the land beneath the sea.[2]

Vesk-3's landmass is divided into two continents: Aberanderen and Kavarit, both of which are surrounded in islands.[1] Aberanderen stretches almost from pole to pole. Its northern half is covered in hills and low mountains broken up by great forests, while its southern half is filled by plateaux. Two arm-like landmasses, Otokorro in the west and Siksos Valen in the east, are mostly mild, windy fields and forsts. Kavarit is more rocky and divided almost in two by the Basin Sea. West of Kavarit, the continental shelf drops sharply into the abyssal plain. Deep beneath Vesk-3's surface is Gadraveech, a dark, twisting network of caverns.[3]

Vesk-3 has two oceans, the Oedderttosh and the Veneratosh, and nine seas. Most of these bodies of water, except the Veneratosh Ocean and the Basin Sea, are shallow.[3]

Vesk-3 is orbited by two small moons, Vesk-3.1 and Vesk-3.2 (called the Big Mother and the Firstborn by the skittermanders).[3]

Government

Due to the difficulty of ruling over skittermanders, the vesk have mostly left the skittermanders alone on their native Aberanderen, only building colonies on Kavarit.[3] The skittermanders do not seem to understand the nature of vesk conquest; vesk bureaucrats still cannot agree on whether different skittermander city-states are independent or united.[2]

Many vesk view command over Vesk-3 as a punishment, due to how ungovernable the skittermanders are. Its current high despot is Teret Cahan, the only non-vesk high despot in the Veskarium, whose vesk colleagues find it amusing to assign to control the empire's most chaotic citizens. Teret is frustrated at his role, having originally planned to command his homeworld Vesk-6, but is committed to reining in the skittermanders with projects that manipulate their collectivism for the good of the empire.[2]

The Veskarium governs Vesk-3 similarly to other conquered worlds, but takes special advantage of the skittermanders' helpful instinct by imposing strict work quotas, which they frame as 'doing your part for the empire'. Many skittermanders know that they are being exploited but have difficulty overcoming their instinct to 'help' the Veskarium; if they do, they might form a dangerous insurgency.[4]

History

Millions of years ago, an asteroid collided with Vesk-3, realigning its axis and creating new underground caverns by shattering continental plates. According to skittermander legends, an ancient civilisation known as Forerunners died during the rain of fire and ensuing winter; other species survived by hiding underground and adapting to the vacated ecological niches.[1]

When the Veskarium invaded Oeddertchonk, the skittermanders were more than happy to get out of the invaders' way, believing that they could best aid the vesk by simply being out of the way so they could quickly achieve their goals and move on. This was vexing to the vesk, whose code of honour forbade them from firing on an enemy that was uninterested in a fight. In a meeting later considered to be the official date of Vesk-3's conquest, a vesk general plainly told a group of skittermanders that the Veskarium ruled their planet. The skittermanders nodded and got back to their lives.[5]

Inhabitants

Vesk-3 has one of the most diverse populations in the Veskarium. Non-vesk immigrants to the planet, attracted by its economic opportunities, have formed tight-knit enclaves operating illegal businesses in the dark corners of vesk cities. Beyond these cities, Vesk-3 is mostly agrarian. Sprawling skittermander towns, with only a few thousand inhabitants each, are spread across the landscape and connected by railways.[2]

Most of Vesk-3's indigenous lifeforms, including the skittermanders and the Forerunners (according to skittermander beliefs) have eight limbs. Skittermanders have domesticated two species of herbivores, monouxes and achabrils, and raise them for silk and poison. Gadraveech is home to a few species of large predators, including the skittermanders' stridermander cousins. Those unfamiliar with Vesk-3's terrain and cycles often cannot predict when they will emerge to hunt on the surface, and they have claimed the lives of many vesk explorers in the decades after conquest. Eight-finned mammals, like the comananner and etetet, share the oceans with giant isopod and carnivorous plants.[2]

References