Universal Translator

Showing posts with label series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label series. Show all posts

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Sulis Star System (Life of Other Worlds, Part 4)

Life of other worlds: drawings and sketches from one space explorer's travel journal is a series focusing on various other star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Sulis Star System (Note: Planets and orbits not to scale)

The Sulis System is a yellow star system with five planets. Named after Celtic gods, life has only been found on the planet of Cernunnos. Research indicates that the asteroid field, known as The Bards and Vates, may at one time been a planet with developing microscopic life. The first three planets in the system include: 1) Nantosuelta, a Mercury-class planet 2)Ambisagrus, a planet similar to Mars, and 3) Cernunnos, with its barren moon, Damara. The first three planets are very close to the same size, only varying in temperature and crust structure. There is one ringed planet Barinthus that may have gotten its rings from the destruction of a planet where The Bards and Vates are now located. Barinthus has four moons (it is unknown if they formed recently from debris or escaped the destruction felt by other moons in the system).The gas supergiant Britannia is a failed ringed planet.   Britannia is located within a supergaint asteroid field called The Druids. The asteroids saturate the orbit of Britannia, and they have never coalesced into rings around the planet -the magnetic field of the planet seems to push many of the asteroids out of the way and they then settle back into place after it passes. Most disturbed asteroids are either flung into deep space or end up settling into the orbit of The Bards and Vates. It is believed that the The Druids were at one time actually one or more large moons that orbited Britannia, probably pulverized as the result of the recent planetary event (around 50 million years ago) that also demolished the planet that occupied the orbit of The Bards and Vates.


Little nocturnal creature that many other things seemed to like to eat. We named it the Dinner Mouse

The Vampire Bird (not really a bird) captures its prey and injects venom that completely liquefies the organs, muscles and bones of its prey, which it then sucks out.

They were fast. And they were NOT cuddly.


Britannia and The Druids

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Aten-Ra Star System (and Giza Nebula) (Life of Other Worlds, Part 3)

Life of other worlds: drawings and sketches from one space explorer's travel journal is a series focusing on various other star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Aten-Ra System is a blue star system with five planets, located near the Giza Nebula. Astronomer Dr. Piers Langland, a member of the Unified Interplanetary Exploration Taskforce (UIET), discovered the system and its neighboring nebula. The system received its name due to the fact that it was discovered the year that the Forgotten Tombs were found and unearthed in Egypt.  Sadly, it was also the year of the Bombing of the Great Pyramids of Giza by religious fundamentalists.  The International Astronomical Union approved the naming of the system after ancient Egyptian deities and the naming of the nebula after the Great Pyramids as a remembrance of the great events of that year.
Life is found on Hathor, Amun and its moon Isis, and two of the three moons of Osiris-Anubis and Horus; however, life beyond Hathor and Amun is only microscopic (it is believed to have travel beyond Hathor and Amun as result of early meteorite impacts). Ancient microfossils have been found on the dead planet of Sokar. The Sokarian fossils resemble life on the moons of Osiris and Amun. This is a system teeming with life. So far Amun is only one of two known gas giants to harbor complex life in a thin upper layer.


The first planet in the system: Hapi


Hathor (with its moon Thoth in the background)
Hathor is a relatively flat planet with few mountain ranges. Most of the planet is very dry with large desert areas. Large expanses of the surface are covered in great prairies covered in grass-like plants.  One species that covers the large spaces actually is one plant that sends out roots underground forming a large megaorganism – one plant can cover hundreds of kilometers. There are no trees as on Earth, large herbaceous plants that resemble the banana trees of Earth create dense “jungles”.  The “trees” and the megaorganism plant never occur in the same spot –it seems the two species are constantly battling for space (where the two plants meet there is always a barren “no-man’s-land” between them-it is believed that there is some kind of chemical warfare going on among the two)

Herd animal on Hathor

Large herbaceous tree (similar to a banana tree on Earth)

Large grazing creature (abt 5 meters)

A nocturnal repto-mammal that survives only on nectar of certain flowers and juices of certain fruits.
This creature was always fighting others of the species. The sound of the bony plates crashing together filled the air at every hour. The tail would be used after the head jammed into its opponent.
These little critters were found in the water, in the mud, in the sand, everywhere. And yes, even the trees --or the equivalent of trees. 

Something that mostly laid in the mud (note that air is breathed in through hole on top of body) 


The Moons of Osiris, looking toward Sokar and the Giza Nebula

Amun and its moon Isis


Many incredible life forms live in the thin stable habitable zone on a gas giant. The food chain of the planet includes large balloon-like carnivores, such as the Cloud Tiger, who consume the smaller and plentiful Kites. Kites themselves consume spores from the many forms of fungus and algae present in the zone.

Cloud Tiger (genus Aethercetus) captures Kites in a basket it swings through the air. The basket contracts tightly around the Kites and then digests them. The creature floats freely through the habitable zone of the gas giant, regulating its buoyancy to keep itself at the correct altitude. The "tiger" stripes are thought to resemble swarms of Kites causing other Kites to fly toward the Cloud Tiger, thus luring them to their death as lunch for the great floating beast.
Cloud Tiger
There was this creature we called Macy (after the large balloon figures in the Macy's parade). We believed it to be a member of the genus Aethercetus; if so, it is the largest member. It trawled for food with a large "basket" at the bottom. The "bubbles" on the side were young.
There was a carnivorous creature (genus Aethercetus) analogous to the Orcas on Earth. It hunted other members of the Aethercetus genus. We called it the Sky Orca. It seemed to prefer to eat Cloud Tigers. It used the sharp pendulum to ram the Cloud Tigers and deflate them; then released a dissolving agent to melt certain nutritious parts of its prey, which it sucked up through a tube.  It did this very quickly as it slowly descended due to the extra weight.  Before reaching the point of no return, it jettisoned the carcass of the Cloud Tiger and floated slowly up to a higher altitude.

Sky Orca

Creature we called Macy (after the large balloon figures in the Macy's parade)


Sokar and the Giza Nebula

The Giza Nebula

Residing near the Aten-Ra System, the nebula fills the night skies of all the planets of the system.  A defining feature of the nebula is its bright monochromatic redness, caused by the abundance of hydrogen.  The three bright white dwarfs ( each one named after one of the three pyramids in Giza) are the three brightest points in the nebula.  Some believe the vivid red-purple colour of Sokar is due to the capture of nebula hydrogen by the planet.  An odd section of the Giza Nebula is separated from the main body and has a bright blue-white cast (see Hathor photo).  Scientists believe that the high temperature of this region is caused by the fact that the hydrogen is being consumed in some unknown type of reaction.  Some believe that the reaction might someday consume the entire nebula; others believe that  it is a localized reaction.  It has been put forth by some that the proximity of the "Blue Cloud" to the planetary system invites the question that the reaction is caused by abandoned alien technology. The establishment of a permanent space station (Langland Station UIET) in orbit around Hathor will study the Giza Nebula and its relationship with the Aten-Ra System.

Next in the series :  The Sulis Star System

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Odin Star System (Life of Other Worlds, Part 2)

Life of other worlds: drawings and sketches from one space explorer's travel journal is a series focusing on various other star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Odin Star System (NOTE: Planet and orbits not to scale)

The Odin System is a yellow star system consisting of six planets. Balder and Njord are the only planets with life forms.  Dr. Dag Stassen discovered the system during the exploration mission of the European Space Agency Interplanetary Space Probe in the early 21st century.  The ESA gave it names according to mythological Norse gods and goddesses.

The first four planets are rocky.  The last two planets are gas giants; Thor being a super gas giant.  Between the two gas giants there is a large asteroid field called The Valkyries, which contains some of the largest asteroids ever recorded.  The gas giants, Thor and Loki, seem to keep the asteroids in check and corralled into their orbit around the star Odin.  Without Thor and Loki, the asteroids would cause havoc within the system.  However, it is believed that the gravitational pull of the collective asteroid belt and Loki prevented Thor from being pulled further into the system, thus keeping the inner planets safe. (Note: Planets and their orbits are not to scale.)


The first planet is Frigg, named after the wife of Odin and goddess of married love.  It is geologically inactive with a high surface temperature.



The second planet in the Odin System is called Hel, named after the Norse goddess of death. Hel is a turbulent geologically active planet which lives up to its name.



The third planet Balder is an Earth-sized world with a similar gravity and atmosphere.  It is named after the Norse god who was the son of Odin and the favourite of the gods.  It has one moon named Hoder. Balder is a geologically active planet with a continuous rocky, mountainous terrain.  Unlike Earth, Balder contains most of its water underground.  Caves are a common geological form. Water on Balder has a very high mineral content and is very saline.  Most of the large creatures on Balder exhibit qualities of both reptiles and mammals on Earth.  Plant life consists mostly of lichen-like and moss-like plants.  Vines are the dominant plant, covering rock spires and mountain ranges, sometimes reaching several meters in diameter.

A repto-mammal that hangs from cliffs and lures in small flying nectar-sucking creatures - its mouth resembles a certain flower and oozes oil that smells like the nectar. 

One of the exobiologists on the team stated that this was not a dinosaur. I beg to differ.


An actual flying snake, well it was really more of a clumsy glider, flapping and gliding from one cliff to the other. The landscape was littered with high jutting cliffs, making this creature quite at home


The chilly water world of Njord

The fourth planet Njord is a chilled water world. It is named after the Norse god of ships and the sea.  It has one moon, Aegir.

Njord is 82% water.  Its planetary climate resembles that of the Northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans on Earth.  Most of the dry land consists of large mountainous archipelagos near its equator.  The equatorial ocean is more shallow and warmer than the deep, usually frozen, polar ocean.

Aquatic life on Njord is extremely diverse.  The largest numbers of species resemble the fish of Earth.  There are no mammal-like creatures anywhere on the planet.  Most of the scientists that have explored Njord say that it resembles Earth during its Devonian Era, though much colder.

One of the surprises of Njord is the existence of several large shark-like creatures.  The largest carnivore creature on the planet, the Fury Fish (Pistrix furiosus) make the Earth's sharks seem tame in comparison.  After the death of several explorers, a planet-wide caution is in place to anyone near a body of water that is connected to the open ocean.

the Fury Fish (Pistrix furiosus
Pistris piscatus - Distant cousin to the Fury Fish, this creature takes a gulp of water into its "blowhole", and then pulls itself through shallows (and sometimes on to shore) using its arm-like fins in order to capture trapped prey. 

Pistrix tenoris -- Related to the Fury Fish, this slow relation uses baleen to sieve the waters of the ocean world of Njord.


Thor, named after the Norse god of thunder and the sky, is a gas super giant.  It has two rocky moons, Fjorgynn and Sif.  The moons are warm desert worlds even though they are in the planetary cold zone.  As a gas supergiant, Thor radiates heat, passing it along to its moons.  Due to the distance from the inner planets and solar winds, Thor’s heat has little effect upon the smaller planets of the system.


 Loki is the last planet of the system.  It is named after the Norse god of mischief.
It is a gas giant, with one moon named Sigyn.


Next in the series : The Aten-Ra Star System

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Helios Star System (Life of Other Worlds, Part 1)

Life of other worlds: drawings and sketches from one space explorer's travel journal is a series focusing on various other star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Helios Star System (Note: Planets and orbits not to scale)

Dr. Eva Psyhogeos first discovered the Helios System during the exploration mission of the Einstein Deep Space Probe (EDSP).  When Dr. Psyhogeos saw that the eight-planet system somewhat resembled our own Solar System, she decided to name it according to the Greek gods and goddesses. The names start out as analogous to our Solar System but change after Zeus and end with Hades.  Zeus and Hades are the only gas giants in the system; the other six planets are rocky worlds. 
The planet Hera, Hera’s two moons, and Athena probably started out as moons of Zeus.  Dr, Psyhogeos developed a theory about the system that gave the system seven planets originally.  The theory states that The Titians, an asteroid field between Ares and Zeus, was originally a planet called Morpheus.  Morpheus was destroyed most likely by a comet or asteroid.  The devastation of Morpheus knocked Hera, its moons, and Athena from their orbit around Zeus.  They began to orbit Helios as planets; Hera eventually capturing Hebe and Hephaestus as its moons.  Debris from Morpheus in orbit around Zeus became the asteroidal moons called The Consorts of Zeus.  It is theorized that Morpheus was a “super-sized” rocky planet with a large amount of water –some believe the water eventually made its way to watery Poseidon, frozen Ares and the icy planets of Hera and Athena.  Recent archaeological evidence shows that in the very distant past, Poseidon was a much drier world.
Poseidon (White areas are shallow seas, islands are gray or black)

Poseidon is a planet of 85% surface water.  Most of the dry land consists of landmasses on the eastern hemisphere of the planet.  Large storms and super-hurricanes are always present on the planet.  Poseidon is the only planet with multi-cellular life. One-celled organisms have been found on Ares and Aphrodite, but it seems they might have come from Poseidon. (Note: Planet and their orbits not to scale)

The largest animals on the planet exist in the global ocean.  Land animals of any great size are absent and they consist of mainly amphibious creatures.  Large plants are nonexistent; most vegetation on land is adapted algae and fungi.

Croak with eggs
 The Croak is one of the few amphibious animals of the plant Poseidon. They live most of their lives on the islands of Poseidon, traveling to the sea to lay eggs and mate. Found usually near the shoreline or swampy regions.  Some Croaks form large colonies on floating Insulanozoa (see below), creating a symbiotic relationship.  Predators are lured toward the colonies and are consumed by the Insulanozoa.  The Croaks keep the shell of the Insulanozoa clean.  The Croaks ooze a chemical that makes them invisible to the Insulanozoa.

Fish like we know on Earth never developed on Poseidon. On a planet where fishes never developed, the young of amphibians developed into the dominant water creatures. The class Amphish contains the greatest number of species in the global ocean of Poseidon.  The family of Capucauda consists of tadpole-like creatures and is the largest group of Amphish.
Examples of Capucauda
Poseidon also contains a large number of creatures similar to Earth’s gastropods and cephalopods.  One example is the Banded Squidshell (one of six species of squidshell).  The young will bud off the adult -not quite clones- their genetic makeup includes incorporated DNA from other young of the same species the parent has devoured. 
Banded Squidshell

Poseidon has many invertebrate life forms, many of which are shelled.  An example of a shelled invertebrate is the Insulanozoa, the shell of which becomes a living, floating island.  The Insulanozoa feeds upon creatures in the ocean as well as amphibians that try to swim to it or nest on it (with exceptions (see above)).

With no aquatic mammals or sharks, amphibians occupy the top of the food chain on Poseidon.  The Greater Sea Dragon (Gigus diabolius) is the largest aquatic animal on Poseidon, measuring up to thirty meters.  The eggs of most Gigus species hatch in the ocean and the young will then make their way to islands.  They exist in a terrestrial form for up to two years before finally making their way back to the ocean for the rest of their lives.

Greater Sea Dragon (Gigus diabolius)

Next in the series : The Odin Star System

Thursday, 11 June 2015

“Do wizards need money?”


I should be working on my writing.  Procrastination has set in. This is merely done for the fun of it.  I enjoy Ms. Rowling's imaginitive writing, but I get these questions in my head and want to answer them (writing practice and mental exercise is my excuse).  So to get the formalities out of the way: Disclaimer: All Harry Potter names, characters, places, incidents et al. herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and her legal licensees, including but not limited to Bloomsbury/Scholastic, etc. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended and no money is being made.

Muggle-born Orientation Lecture (MOLe) #22, 
presented by Prof. Amelia Tillywig, answering the question, 
“Do wizards need money?”

Professor Tillywig: “Most wizards have a large stockpile of gold, silver, and bronze metals in the bank.  Some of the most powerful wizards and witches in history are said to have had the powers of alchemic transmutation –the ability to turn base metals into precious metals.  All magical folk have the power to feed, to clothe, and to shelter themselves without the need of money.  Magical folk can exist without money or an economic system, yet we choose to use the gold Galleon, the silver Sickle, and the bronze Knut everyday. Why do we bother with a system of money?

It happens that gold, silver, and bronze have the unique characteristics of being incredibly powerful conductors and intensifiers of magic.  Rarely are wands made using gold, silver, or bronze due to their power potential; when one of the precious metals is used in creation of a wand it must be used in small amounts by a powerful wizard using other substances able to subtlety balance the effects of the potent metal. Any spell using these metals should be considered very forceful and extremely effective (and should only be attempted by accomplished magic folk). Charms, amulets, and other magical items made of one of the precious metals has the magic of the item amplified many, many times over. A witch and wizard can successfully use magic without ever using the precious metals; however, the metals remain an extremely strong cultural symbol of increased magical power and potential.

The symbolism of the metals is actually the basis of the wizard ‘monetary system’.  Magic folk could easily swap needed items or use a simple barter system, yet they prefer to use a system of ‘power exchange’.

When a magic person offers the owner of The Three Broomsticks Pub two sickles for a pint of butterbeer, he isn’t offering money –he’s offering power.  He’s saying, in effect, ‘Take this small representation of potential magical strength in exchange for the butterbeer’.  It is an exchange of power having nothing to do with economics.

Old wizarding families that sit upon outrageous uncountable fortunes would look wealthy by Muggle standards but to magic folk they are powerful –powerful enough to give away bits of potential magical power in exchange for grand finery without worry.  Magic people with more limited stashes of the precious metals must be a bit more conservative.

Why not just make more precious metals using magic?  The alchemic transmutation of base metals into precious metals is difficult for even the most experienced and powerful wizards using huge amounts of magic; and even then, it has its limitations.  Most available precious metals have been secured into family vaults and are passed on to following generations.”

“Why do some magical spaces seem so dusty, dirty and full of cobwebs?”

I should be working on my writing.  Procrastination has set in. This is merely done for the fun of it.  I enjoy Ms. Rowling's imaginitive writing, but I get these questions in my head and want to answer them (writing practice and mental exercise is my excuse).  So to get the formalities out of the way: Disclaimer: All Harry Potter names, characters, places, incidents et al. herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and her legal licensees, including but not limited to Bloomsbury/Scholastic, etc. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended and no money is being made.

Muggle-born Orientation Lecture (MOLe) #13, 
presented by Prof. Amelia Tillywig, answering the question, 
“Why do some magical spaces seem so dusty, dirty and full of cobwebs?”

Professor Tillywig: “One of the first things that many of you will notice is that the world of magical folk is a bit dusty.  It isn’t because magical folk are particularly dirty or unclean; we’re just all very careful.  The wizarding world has dangers never seen in the other world –the most mundane object can be imbued with a magic spell or charm and become dangerous if treated without caution or respect.  Well what does this have to do with the dust and cobwebs found in many places in the magical world, you may ask?  I can easily answer that for you.

As I was wizard-born, I can tell you that we are told from a very early age to keep our hands in our pockets when we went to the house of a wizard or witch.  To go around touching strange objects in a strange magical environment can get you hurt very badly or even kill you.  My cousin Bartimelous was killed when he picked up a charmed pair of secateurs in the shed of an old witch – it cut him up like he was an old hedge.  He had neither the ability to control it nor the power.  As they say in the Muggle world, ‘let sleeping dogs lie’.  Because we have been trained not to touch or interact with things we don’t know, you’d never see a magical being going into the house of a dead magical person to have a clear out.  We’ll just let the dust collect and leave most of the objects alone.  No one wants to be the victim of contagious magic.

That is one of the biggest problems in the magical world –contagious magic. Contagious magic is when objects are still linked to a witch or wizard or still imbued with a charm with the potential to suddenly become magically active.  This is a problem especially if a spell or charm has not been carried out to fruition.  A needle can be charmed to, say, repair a tear in a robe, but the magical person might walk away before the act is accomplished.  That needle might retain the charm and end up poking someone in the eye or sewing up his or her mouth. [The professor makes a sewing motion across her mouth, and then pretends to try to speak.  She throws her hands into the air with feigned exasperation, then continues.]  Always be sure to carry your spells and charms to fruition or nullify them. As the saying goes, ‘if you can’t carry it out, then put it out. Nullify, nullify, nullify.’

Even when things are not purposely imbued with magic, natural objects can still have magical effects.  For example, feathers are powerful objects used in the magical world for many purposes.  The quill itself that you are holding is an important magical tool.  Feathers have been used in magic for thousands of years because of their magical potential.  To rub a feather duster across an assortment of objects could be a very dangerous act.  Let me demonstrate; [The professor walks to her desk and positions a small clay pot of ivy near the edge.  She picks up her wand and turns the pot of ivy into a pot of ‘poison ivy’.  The spines on the tip of the leaves strike against the pot making tiny pinging sounds.  The enchanted vine twists and turns, occasionally striking at nearby objects like an angry serpent.  The professor picks up a quill and moves the tip toward the ‘poison ivy’ which strikes at it.]  As you see the charmed ivy is very dangerous as this simple quill can be. [She reaches into a nearby drawer and pulls out a polished ball of quartz]  As you may or may not know, quartz is also a powerful natural object often used in charms, spells and rituals.  The combination of feather and quartz can produce an intriguing elementary charm. Watch. [She sets the orb onto the desk and rolls it toward the potted plant.  It hits the clay pot, with a sharp tap.  The ‘poison ivy’ coils then strikes out at the quartz.  The professor reaches in with the quill and rubs it across the polished surface of the quartz.  Immediately, the ‘poison ivy’ reverts back to a pot of ordinary harmless ivy. The professor stops rubbing the quill against the quartz and the charmed ivy then returns to its venomous state.  The professor rests against the edge of her desk and crosses her arms.  The tip of the quill brushes against her nose and she lets out a small sneeze.  She regains her composure.]  Rubbing a feather, quill or not, over a polished quartz can temporarily create a nullifying magical effect – it, of course, only lasts seconds and can only be done once with each feather.  Imagine the effect if that is done near a binding spell keeping a dangerous enchanted object at bay.  Imagine if it was done near a magical lock keeping something dangerous imprisoned.  It is a very weak piece of magic but the potential is there.

What I’m saying is that it is the magical potential of objects that prevent magical folks to approach unknown objects with caution and respect.  You wouldn’t find many witches or witches that would randomly pick up an object and wipe it with a cleaning cloth or polish it with a chamois.  No magical folk would walk into an unknown room and begin to dust everything with a feather duster.  I hope you will conduct yourself accordingly.

It must also be noted, however, that some magical spaces are kept very clean for security reasons.  Magical powders and dustings can easily be disguised as ordinary house dust.  Spiders, as well as other small creatures, might be employed as ‘bugging devices’.  Cleanliness is simply a security measure.  Aurors will go into a space that needs to be secured and they will inventory every object.  They will also disintegrate every dust particle and cobweb.  They will use enchantments to repel small creatures and dirt.  It is a long and intense charm session that most magical folk wouldn’t want to conduct.