God, look at them loitering around. The navy’s increased eight times in size
since the war’s started – though we might have lost a good eighth of the fleet
in the last couple of days alone –there’s still so many newbies. And now there’s
Admiral Zhang herself, out with her flunkies romping around looking for one
surviving M’kkiae grunt. I hate this world. Sothis sucks.
Sothis is not a nice planet. It never has been in its short, messed-up life. Once, when Sirius was a double system with two bright suns, Sothis was a newly formed gas giant, about twice the mass of Neptune. It had just settled down and cooled off when Sirius B began to bloat up into a red giant. So much for most of Sothis’ atmosphere.
Then just a couple of million years ago, B belched for the last time, shed its gas and most of its mass. It totally screwed with Sothis’ orbit. The gas-less gas giant dove in through Sirius A’s little planetary system, nearly skimmed the star and tossed some unlucky planets out into the dark. Finally the dance was over and Sothis settled into a new stable orbit. But now, the last of the hydrogen and helium and most of the water and volatiles were gone. Nothing but barren ball of iron and nickel was left. Over one and a half gravities on the surface – no wonder my ankles ache.
Over the years, gasses have spit out from fields of volcanoes. There’s five bars of carbon dioxide outside my suit. Clouds have formed. It started to rain and it never stopped. The temperature stabilized around sixty Celsius. Complex hydrocarbons have begun forming in the growing seas. Given time, life might eventual arise, even on this hellhole. Too bad Sirius A is going follow the footsteps of its sister in another hundred million years and this whole world is going to melt away.
-Senior Chief Petty Officer Latondra O’Malley, CNS Trafalgar. September 30, 2259
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