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Vesk-4

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Vesk-4
(Cosmos)
Titles The Glutton
Type Planet
Diameter 1-1/2x
Mass 6-3/4x
Gravity 3x
Atmosphere Normal
Year length (PST) 8 years
Day length (PST) 25 hours
Orbits Ghavaniska
System Veskarium
Inhabitants Talphi
Shuzirians

Source: Near Space, pg(s). 38

Vesk-4, called Talphiriax by the native talphi, is the fourth planet in the Veskarium, a dense world teeming with lush jungles, swamplands and volcanoes.[1]

Geography

Due to its extraordinary density, Vesk-4 has a tendency to pull smaller astronomical objects, like asteroids and comets, into its gravitational field, creating many craters and a diverse geology. Millennia ago, Vesk-4's three moons crashed into it in the span of a few months, knocking its axis askew and causing it to experience extreme tectonic activity.[1][2]

Most of Vesk-4's surface is covered in a supercontinent full of jungles, swamps and volcanoes. The massive Vyskandi Range bisects the continent from northwest to southeast, and its central peaks contain two underground tunnels: the Upper Antreway and Lower Antreway. Northeast of the Vyskandi Range are the Lodelands, a mineral-rich desert which languishes under the punishing sun, where vesk miners wear environmental suits to protect themselves from the radiation. East of the Lodelands, the desert gives way to crater basins that collect rainwater, creating the Mudflats, a miles-long stretch of treacherous mud. The southwestern corner of the continent is the Dredgelands, an inhospitable swamp full of quicksand and volcanoes submerged in acid.[2] The supercontinent is surrounded by three small oceans: the Iron Ocean in the north, the Unyielding Ocean in the south, and the Yielding Ocean in the east and west.[3]

Three of Vesk-4's most notable landmarks are the sites where its moons collided to it: the Moonfall Plateau, a plateau in the plains west of the Vyskandi Range where the vesk built the planetary capital Command 4; Second Sorrow, the site of Tribulation, another vesk outpost, located in the Dredgelands; and Spinebreaker Island, jutting off Spinebreaker Gulf off the southeastern coast, which is Vesk-4's tallest mountain.[2]

Government

High Despot Kamilzanva holds absolute authority on Vesk-4, advised by a democratically elected Council of Labor, and appoints officials to serve in the military-like police and courts. Most officials are vesk, and the cardinal law is to honourably serve the Veskarium.[4]

Under Kamilzanva's rule, all of Vesk-4's citizens receive basic healthcare, shelter and food in exchange for menial or mental labour. Life is austere, luxuries are almost nonexistent, and material excess is frowned upon.[4] Unlike many of her predecessors, who ruthlessly oppressed native dissenters (like the Dawning, a group of talphi who resist vesk occupation), Kamilzanva actively negotiates with them, something which has been seen as controversial among the wider Veskarium. She recently instated a law that allows talphi workers to retain their employment while travelling their ancestral routes.[5]

History

For millennia, before the Veskarium came to Talphiriax, the talphi travelled across their homeworld, establishing a long history and a rich culture based on the cycles of the moons before they crashed into the planet. However, they were no match for the vesk when they came. After a few skirmishes, the talphi surrendered and Vesk-4 was integrated into the Veskarium. Most of the solarians who served as the talphi's spiritual leaders were killed during this conflict, and the knowledge of the old ways died with them.[4] Vesk-4 soon became a mining hub for the Veskarium, due to the rich natural ore deposits and numerous crashed meteorites.[1]

In 289 AG, the future high despot Kamilzanva discovered a pocket of solarian crystals in the Lodelands, which awakened her innate powers. When the Swarm invaded in 291 AG, Kamilzanva distinguished herself as a general, and was appointed high despot of Vesk-4 soon after the war. She soon urged the Council of Despots to establish the Corona Academy, which teaches aspiring solarians from across the empire, incorporating knowledge that she and the talphi historian Iyar pieced together from ancient talphi solarian traditions.[4]

Inhabitants

Vesk settlers now outnumber the indigenous peoples: the mole-like talphi, who once dominated the planet before the vesk's conquest; the shuzirians, who eat ore and live primitive lives wandering between the Lodelands and the Mudflats, while maintaining skyscraper-like mud colonies and rarely interacting with others; the ausyr, amphibious humanoids who hibernate for decades at a time beneath the Dredgelands to avoid catastrophes. Notable among the wildlife are the vryids, a species of large crustaceans native to the Dredgelands who have long been harassing vesk settlers. Their flesh and eggs feature heavily in Vesk-4's cuisine, although it is inadvised to consume too much of their radioactive meat.[2][4]

Vesk-4's environment is dangerous to non-natives, due to the high gravity, volcanism and radiation.[1] Most of the planet remains unsettled, only a few regions can support cities, and most vesk are concentrated in the cities of Command 4 and Tribulation. Outside of these cities, talphi and vesk miners build temporary towns around their encampments, and there are very few permanent vesk and talphi settlements.[4] These vesk constantly battle against the ore-hungry shuzirians, who have caused production setbacks which affect the whole Veskarium. In the Dredgelands, vesk settlers live off the land, and frequently elect their own leaders and exact vigilante justice, despite being part of the Veskarium on paper.[5]

Due to the lack of entertainment, many young vesk on Vesk-4 find amusement in the wilds, either by racing vehicles across dangerous tracks, or joining the military so they could leave the dangerous mining colony behind.[4]

References