Bedaho is famous throughout the known worlds as the home of the goldskins. There
are very few worlds which do not leave some marks upon the human population, but few
are as obvious as that of Bedaho. While many humans go to some lengths to hide any effects
their home planet might produce, the population of Home delight in showing off
Any form of life which grows on Home is infected by a native life form, at the sub-
cellular level. It is entirely benign and some people believe that it confers resistance to some
viral infections. The only side effect of infection is to turn the host creature a radiant golden
colour. A visit to Home is like taking a trip into King Midas' court, the world glows with gold
from one horizon to the other. Every living creature on the planet shimmers with life and
glisters in golden hues. The crops are gold, the trees are gold, the animals are gold and the
people are golden.
The only other colours are pigments, produced in vast quantities by the local chemical
plants and used at every opportunity to break up the landscape. People from Home are
probably unique in the known worlds for preferring granite jewellery and jade ornaments to
those of gold. There is little demand on Home for the metal gold, except for electronics and
robotics, but other precious metals and luxury goods are always welcome. There is a ready
market on Home for off-world animal pelts, any shape, pattern or shade makes a welcome
change to the locals who regard their planet's life forms as being monotonously dull, despite
the richness of the colours involved.
There is a corresponding trade from Home to the rest of the known worlds for goldskin
leather. Astrogator Corporation signed an exclusive deal with the planetary government of
Home early this century giving it sole rights to commercial use of goldskin leather in its ships
and yachts. It is the quality and colour of the leatherwork which marks an Astrogator
spacecraft as distinctive, quite apart form the other luxury features which it might enjoy.
Several other companies use goldskin fabrics to give themselves an edge in the luxury markets
as well. At one stage the uncontrolled slaughter of native and imported animals threatened to
turn the colony into an anarchy, but intervention by the Imperial navy restored order. In
modern times the culling of local animals is strictly controlled by government, and poaching
carries a very heavy sentence and fine.
The exact nature of the organism which causes the goldskin effect is not completely
determined yet, though its effects are well understood. A creature born on the planet, or
remaining there for a prolonged time (longer than 30 days) will become infected by the
organism and then acquires the distinctive pigmentation within a few weeks. The colour is
permanent and goldskins who leave the planet remain golden, but the organism is not
passed on by any form of contact. Empire technicians trying to get the goldskin effect to
appear in laboratory animals have so far failed to duplicate the conditions necessary for the
organism to survive.
Entry by David Massey