Topaz has rich indigenous life, but little has progressed from the seas to the land. For
this reason most star catalogues class the world as a water world. It would be more appropriate
to describe it as one enormous paddling pool, with an occasional large hill. The world
possesses no really deep oceans, instead it has a thin covering of mineral rich water, rarely
deeper than 300m. The water is at an almost uniform temperature, making swimming a very
pleasant experience, since it is almost impossible for a human to sink in the dense liquid.
Life forms on Ayethti have adapted to the rich mineral broth of the seas and they out-
compete introduced life forms from the Federation and even bio-engineered empire technology
is no better than the native species. The colonists of this world therefore farm the local fauna
and flora, exporting large quantities of protein rich plankton and krill-like animals. Mining of
the mineral rich seas is conducted both directly, on land and underwater, and indirectly by
harvesting modified animals which filter and concentrate desired salts from the water.
The planet orbits an M red flare star, and most colonists have flare shelters beneath the
protective water of Topaz. The starports are all situated on land and have provision for shelter
for all visitors. It is mandatory for all visitors to sign flare disclaimers and prove they have
adequate insurance cover before they are allowed on the world.
Flares are a spectacular sight and stellar seismologists normally provide good warning
of impending events. If you are present on Topaz when a flare is publicised, it is worth
delaying your leaving until after the event. A local law on Topaz, followed in Simpsontown
and Lomas (but less so at Fortress Sheehan) is that a hotel resident can extend a
booking indefinitely during a flare - this is very useful for a visitor since when a flare
is declared, hotel charges for new visitors have been known to increase seven fold or more
over the resident price.
Topaz may be well known amongst amateur astronomers and star gazers for its flares,
but what makes it truly famous was the creation of Quitolline. It is amazing that until the
Topaz life forms were studied for pharmaceuticals, over 80% of all space travellers were
subjected to hyperspace sickness. This is a tremendously debilitating syndrome which is now
almost unrecognised. Only the very few people who suffer from allergic reactions to
Quitolline need endure the disorientation of hyper-jump sickness. (And most such people really prefer to remain at home and do their stellar travelling second hand by way of sensa-
vid). Quitolline is the most effective anti-h-sickness drug ever discovered and its synthesis
from naturally occurring forms on Topaz is a closely guarded secret. It forms one of the major
exports for the planet and system.
Entry by David Massey