Scorching of Mercury · Solaris Wiki | World Anvil

Scorching of Mercury

Welcome to Solaris, traveller! This is a slower-than-light science fantasy set in our own solar system.
About Solaris | Guide to Solaris | Prologue
Content Warnings:
War Extreme Heat Collapsing Buildings Animal Death (Insectoid)
The Scorching of Mercury, also known as the First Solar Invasion, was a series of onslaughts by the Scourge. Not only did angelic armies of Sol lay waste to the cities of Mercury, but the solar barrage also eroded the atmosphere. This lead to a near total enviromental collapse. Most of Mercury's remaining population was evacuated, first to major cities and ultimately off-planet.   In response to the crisis, the Alliance of Nations formed the Interplanetary Solar Defence Council. The ISDC operates from the satellite station Caduceus and the migratory military base Penumbra.   The first Solar Invasion was ended by the Keystone of Mercury, who used her powers to launch herself at the Sun and chain it. Her sacrifice brought three years of reprieve to Mercury until the invasion began again in 220018 .

The Fall of the Sunscrapers

The first reports were that of a fierce geomagnetic storm on Sol, an irregular but not uncommon event on Sol. As the sunspots swelled, a warning went over the SWAN network for spacecraft to put up their radiation shields. The pulses were abrupt and targeted. As the solar flare lashed into Mercury, the electromagnetic pulse caused a blackout in the sunbelt of Mercury. While the people of Mercury scrambled to get the communications working the angelic host descended.   Hun Kal was the first city to fall. As the site of the greatest Solar Observatory in the entire system many were waiting on them for updates and information. Hun Kal's continued radio silence left a feeling of dread. A team was sent out to explore; they found a destroyed atmodome, a melted city, and millions of desperate people caught in the rubble.   Rescue efforts began. As more people were saved from the collapse, reports about angels began to come in. These reports were not believed at first, although they were proven true later. Angels had descended upon Hun Kal and torn through the city.   The nature of the crisis delayed the response from the Commission of Refugees. They had to work out whether to go by the natural disaster or war protocols. When the next Sunscraper fell, the Atlas conglomerate responded much faster, rerouting their transit crafts to help get as many refugees off world as possible.
Iron Spires
Iron Spires by Annie Stein

Formation of Penumbra

  The angels soon came to be known as the Scourge. The Scourge arrived in waves. Pulses emerged from the sun and arced towards the planet, appearing like comets to observers on the ground. Each pulse contained between tens and hundreds of Scourge. The smaller pulses were often more dangerous.   The Mercurian Triumvirate, a coalition of the three most powerful nations on Mercury, rallied what military they could to attempt to fend off the Scourge. The army was inefficient at fighting the Scourge. Their soldiers were put at extreme risk of radiation poisoning from extended contact. Bombarding the Scourge before the pulse made contact was the most feasible and effective solution.
Species | Nov 10, 2023

Fear the spawn of the Chained Sun: those angelic abominations. Once, they guided and protected us, today they seek the radiant annihilation of us all.

  A commission was established by the Alliance of Nations, headed by the Council of Demilitarization, to decide on how the system should respond to the invading force. A motion to waive some of the terms of the demilitarization contract was accepted so that the Interplanetary Solar Defence Council could be founded to coordinate the defense of Mercury.   In 220011 ISDC began looking into how to form a ground base on Mercury. The ISDC abandoned their plans of a permanent base under an atmodome in favour of a migratory base, commissioning Dadarejo Robotics to build the Flightbase Crawler MCSP-1 and shipping crafts and soldiers to Mercury. The migratory military convoy was named Penumbra, after the terminator they followed.   They also began construction of a military space station in Venusian orbit. This space station, which would become known as Caduceus, would be towed to Mercury upon completion. It was not completed until 220013.
220011 The Interplanetary Solar Defence Council is created. Plans for a permanent base and space station are explored. Caduceus is commissioned.
220012 Plans of a permanent base are rejected, and the ISDC starts the convoy that will become Penumbra.
220013 Caduceus is finished and towed to Mercury.

Mass Extinction

  The increased solar activity and the presence of the Scourge eroded the atmosphere of Mercury. Two years into the invasion, gliding birds were no longer able to take off, and glider planes would nosedive upon release. As the atmosphere weakened, it was no longer able to smooth out the extremes, the diurnal season rose to blistering heats, and the nocturnal side to arctic cold.   Many animals were unable to adapt to these new extremes. Creatures that went dormant during the diurnal phase, like Walkers were boiled alive by the sun. Borrowing and migratory keras fared somewhat better, but the loss of habitat, food and water sources left nothing but the most hardy creatures and plants.
Species | Dec 31, 2023

A young nomad soothes their Walker as they pass by a graveyard of it's kin; their exoskeletons boiled dry by a torn sky. Similar husks litter the expanses of Mercury, a testament to what happens to those who do not adapt.

  By the fourth year of the invasion, there wasn't enough atmostphere left for regular aircraft could to reliably fly. The majority of the Mercurian air fleet was out of commission.   The ISDC had put out a bid for low atmosphere and orbital crafts. They ended up working with Kallisti Aerospace, creators and producers of the Sunderer SF-1. Kallisti Aerospace had a functioning prototype specially made for the extreme heat of Mercury's day, the Sunbreaker SF-2, but production of the craft would take longer than Mercury had.
Sunbreaker SF-2
Spacecraft | Dec 2, 2023

A trio of blindingly bright fighters cut through a sunbeam. The mirror-clad Sunbreakers take the fight to the solar abominations, outnumbered but not outgunned, and beat back an incursion once more.

Chaining the Sun

  The Keystone of Mercury did not sit idly by. The capital welcomed any and all refugees, and even the palace was eventually opened up to house those who needed it. The Keystone also fortified the city with a force field of her own making during the diurnal phase, at times staying up for days to maintain the force field against attack. Sieges were attempted, but the force field never fell.   On the fourth year of the invasion, faced with the collapse of her planets ecosystems and the inability of Mercury's army to fight back, the Keystone took things into her own hands. She gathered her most faithful in prayer for one hundred days, starting at the beginning of dusk and ending at the final day of dawn.   At the end of the vigil, weilding the most powerful artefacts of Mercury, she took off towards the sun. Turning herself into one final bombardment, the Keystone was able to end the first invasion of Mercury. With her sacrifice, the first invasion ended.

Related Articles

History Scorching of Mercury
Locations Caduceus · Penumbra · Biomes ( Sunbleached Wastelands ) · Iron Spires ( Hokusai · Hun Kal ) · Enheduanna
Characters Blue NM-2 · Eun · Sciah · Roseah · Tray
Species Keras ( Mot · Walker )
Politics Ruling ( Mercurian Triumvirate · Interplanetary Solar Defence Council ) · Keystone of Mercury
Society Ethnicities ( Refugees of Mercury · Nomads of Mercury ) · Borealis Ice Mining

Cover image: Scorching of Mercury by Annie Stein


Author's Notes

And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making a circle with no end and no God.

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Jul 2, 2023 11:22 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

This whole event just gives me chills. Hun Kal's silence, the mass extinctions, the Keystone's sacrifice...

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 2, 2023 11:37 by Annie Stein

I tried to add a silver lining by including the good people did too, the rescue efforts and the collaboration, but there's no denying that this was a tragedy.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 2, 2023 11:37

Poor Mercury. Such a great tale though, and I love the whole radioactive-horror-angel vibe of the Scourge :D Amazing stuff

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Jul 2, 2023 12:19 by Annie Stein

Thank you!

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Jul 2, 2023 12:08 by Keon Croucher

This answers many questions yet raises even more and I love it. Why did the angels turn. What has happened to Sol to cause this, for once they were benevolent caretakers, that I remember reading about in your articles somewhere. What changed. Is Sol failing? Is the star dying and that is why they are lashing out, and they are so altered, the radiation even poisoning these mighty beings and driving them made? In many ways that lack of understanding, which I am sure is intentional and is felt by those whom were attacked as well, make such a thing more horrific, more terrifying. Because if you don't know the motivations of your foe, you can't even attempt to negotiate should opportunity present itself, hell you don't even know if you can. And that is a terrifying thought, the idea that an extinction level war would be the only option and is always the only option. The idea that there might be no version of this that will end at some sort of negotiation table, because how could it? Without any knowledge of what has happened, why it has happened, the goals and objectives of the opposing force, how does one even begin to approach an armistice or negotiation to end the conflict? You can't, not really.   That might be the most horrifying concept within this story. The idea that total war is the only option, and will always be the only option.

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
Jul 2, 2023 12:09 by Keon Croucher

Mad* not made. Typos all day apparently

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
Jul 3, 2023 07:38 by Annie Stein

Those are some poignant insights, and very good questions. War without an avenue for negotiation and talks is absolutely horrifying, sadly it isn't entirely new to the denizens of Solaris. The outer planets have been fighting off invasions from outside of the solar system for as long as they can remember. Still, it is one thing to hear about something in the distance, and another to experience that horror personally. I think there is an added layer to the solar invasion in how they supposedly used to be heroes.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 2, 2023 20:15 by Amanda McRoberts

absolutely stunning.

Jul 3, 2023 07:38 by Annie Stein

Thank you!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 3, 2023 00:34 by Chris L

This is amazing. Have you ever detailed why the angels became the Scourge, or is that story not told yet?

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Jul 3, 2023 07:43 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I hope that's something that people will read the comic for, to see what we'll learn about the scourge during the second invasion, and what that'll lead to. Of course, I still need to write and draw it, which'll probably take a while.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 3, 2023 16:15 by Aster Blackwell

What an epic story. So vivid and terrifying. I'm sooo eager to learn more about the Scourge!

Jul 5, 2023 16:59 by Annie Stein

Thank you so much! I'm glad people are intrigued by the Scourge!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 3, 2023 20:09

Just imagining the situation gave me chills. Planet wide communication fails, and when people finally manage to bring it back online, a whole city stays silent. This had to be some very desperate times. This is really well written. Good job!

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Jul 5, 2023 17:00 by Annie Stein

Thank you! It came together as I was writing it, almost like it knew what story it needed to be. I think someone could probably write a really cool story just about that moment alone.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 5, 2023 23:18 by Rin Garnett

The art with this beautifully echoes the tone of the Scorching - the devastation in the background, the massive looming sun, and a single person doing all she can to stop the horrors.

Jul 6, 2023 07:01 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I thought it would be nice for that image to be the first thing you see and the last thing you read.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 7, 2023 00:11 by Molly Marjorie

I like the complexity of needing to work out if they should follow natural disaster or war protocols.

Check out Natural Magic : a coming of age fantasy novel, because life is hard enough when you're fourteen, even without saving the world. Or listen to it in podcast form .
Jul 7, 2023 06:33 by Annie Stein

Thank you! It felt like the kind of bureaucratic tangle a big intergovernmental organization could get hung up on.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 7, 2023 01:47 by E. Christopher Clark

Nice work on the conflict in general, and specifically I loved learning a bit more about the world along the way (including the Keystone). Great use of tooltips, artwork, and all the tools of WA.

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Jul 7, 2023 06:34 by Annie Stein

Thank you!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 7, 2023 14:59

Beautiful article and well written! I love how the details flowed from one point to the next.

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*Spelling mistakes, subject changes and other peculiar oddities curtesy of my ADD.
Jul 7, 2023 15:03 by Annie Stein

Thank you!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 8, 2023 01:07 by Deleyna Marr

Wow. This article is intense and the story is powerful with the sacrifice. Your work is beautiful.

Jul 8, 2023 11:29 by Annie Stein

Thank you <3

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 13, 2023 05:32 by Gabrielle Decker

I FINALLY got to this article, and nnie, I was not disappointed! This just increased the list length of my conspiracy theories about my buddies. It didn't escape me that they attacked the largest Sol Observatory before anything else. Hive-mind or not (tell me alreadyyyyyy!!!!!), that's a brilliant tactical move for someone playing the long game.

Jul 13, 2023 09:56 by Annie Stein

Aw, thank you! I'm glad it's given you plenty theory fuel, and I have to agree, that is a very interesting detail, isn't it?

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 13, 2023 17:12 by Gabrielle Decker

Absolutely! Great job!

Jul 16, 2023 17:14 by Reanna R

Awww, poor Mercury. The fact that cities are falling, the atmosphere is weakening, and the enemy warriors can give you radiation poisoning is such a tragedy. It makes the Keystone's sacrifice all the more touching.

May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
Jul 20, 2023 17:35 by Annie Stein

Yeah, things haven't been easy for them. Thankfully they were able to save as many as they did.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 22, 2023 21:24 by Rashkavar

What a wild introduction to this world of yours. This is the first Solaris article I've read, and wow I have so many questions! Very well done!

Jul 27, 2023 10:32 by Annie Stein

That's a good choice of article to start out with, it's a pretty important event that informs a lot of what's currently going on in Solaris. Feel free to ask away, and I hope you enjoy!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Aug 10, 2023 04:19 by Han

Your writing so often has this tendency to make me think on it for a while, lingering beyond when I expect. I've thought back to this one a few times. The sheer amount of devastation and the eventual fact that the Keystone's sacrifice did not last... whew. Wow, Annie. Well *done*.

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Aug 18, 2023 08:25 by Annie Stein

This means a lot to hear, thank you so much.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Aug 21, 2023 20:42 by Alex the Creatrix

This is amazing. The details about the people involved make it so emotionally intense. The quote about the Scourge, "Once they guided and protected us, and now they seek the radiant annihilation of us all." is just chilling. I also like the way the imagery enhances the feeling. The keystone looks so small and childlike silhouetted against the blazing sun, and yet, she's standing tall, bravely sacrificing herself for the sake of her people. As a life-long resident of NYC, I also found the image of the melted sun scrapers particularly disturbing.

Alex the Creatrix Star Witch & Cosmic Ambassador to the Galaxy of Kantostara
Sep 17, 2023 09:51 by Annie Stein

Thank you, this comment means a lot. I remember reading about the factory collapses in south asia, and being struck by a photograph and the description given by someone who was helping clear the rubble. That sat heavy in my heart as I wrote this, and I wanted to do my best and to be respectful of how this pain is much more real to some.

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