Crazy Horse (51 Pegasi I)

 
 

My god! It's full of stars!
- Arthur C. Clarke, 2001

There are few places more bizarre and foreboding than Crazy Horse; that the meeting between our two species occurred there was a great irony (or a spooky premonition). The planet below is covered with boiling seas of red and black magma, exuding an orange aura of metal ions that are boiled away by the fierce sunlight from the sun - a disk of blinding light that covers a good part of the sky. Every two hours the Eater emerges, a tiny pinprick of light that lights up the world like a cold supernova and makes the ion aura twist and knot along magnetic fieldlines. Above, the Engineer's perfect mirror reflect it all, like an abstract symbol of objectivity. There is no room for life here in this system of absolute light and darkness.
- Tah Chanov, Reflecting Mirrors, Flora Netpublishing 2349


 

Crazy Horse is the innermost planet of 51 Pegasi, discovered in the 1990ís from Earth. It is a superterrestrial planet orbiting extremely close to the star, covered with oceans of molten rock. The exact type of this planet is common, but Crazy Horse is unique due to its "moon" Ė a small black hole orbiting through the planet, releasing regular bursts of radiation. In 2346 an expedition, the Pathfinder, from Arcadia went there to investigate the planet. They discovered something unexpected: the Mothers. The Shiny Engineers Vector had set up a local base above Crazy Horse to study it for their own projects. Their orbital habitat, shielded behind a mirrored sphere, was extremely conspicuous.

The first encounter was brief; as the ship emerged it was hailed by the Mothers but didnít respond. The Mothers, believing it to be a damaged Mother ship sent out a fast in-system interceptor. Captain Tah Chanov decided to remain on course, sending a sequence of greetings in different languages towards the approaching aliens. During a few tense hours both sides tried to initiate two-way communication, at least achieving the realisation that the other side was not threatening and wanted to communicate. As Pathfinder entered orbit around Crazy Horse, a slow process of contact was initiated, culminating in a historical meeting when two teams of humans and Mothers met each other outside the habitat. After a mutual pidgin had been established, further contact was promised and Pathfinder returned to human space with its epochal news.

Today a small group of humans live at Crazy Horse; most of the contact effort has moved to Adobe, but some physicists and linguists still live in a module attached to the habitat.