Honloo Dust Ocean (Han-loo Dust Ocean)
As natural features go, a ‘dust ocean’ or ‘sand sea’ like this is impressive. But, I’d say it's far worse to get caught out in this than in a flat dune field of a desert.
The Honloo Dust Ocean is one of the four major sand or dust seas that exist on Chalcedon. Covering approximately 15.5 million square kilometers, or 6 million square miles, it’s the second largest ‘ocean’ on the planet.
To many visitors, the term ‘ocean’ or ‘sea’ seems unusual for a stretch of geography that appears to be more sand or dust than water. But once they observe the dust and sand rolling and ‘flowing’ like water, even to the point of dust ‘waves’ crashing against rocky shorelines, they change their opinion.
Swimming? Not a chance. There’s a reason Black Sun, the Hutts, or pirate clans dumped ships and other things they didn’t want found here…
The Honloo Dust Ocean separates the three major continents in the northern hemisphere of Chalcedon; the Azath, Crimoa, and Strosis continents. On a holomap of the planet, it forms a corridor of constantly moving waves of dust and sand between those landmasses. Planetary winds, as with water based oceans, play a major role in driving wave direction and strength.
Never assume you know everything about the Honloo Dust Ocean. When you do, it’ll surprise you when you least expect it.
This ocean looks to be just a single, massive collection of sand or even a mineral slurry. Subsurface water contributes as a component of the dust ocean, but it isn’t the only material in the ‘waves’.
The ocean itself is primarily alkali lime dust, fine ground volcanic clay, and powdered rose quartz. All of this is suspended in mineral water and circulated through wind and the strong ramgulf stream that navigates through the major oceans.
Sticking a toe in this water won’t let you check the temperature, it may mean you lose a toe. Maybe.
A combination of sand, dust, and volcanic clay in water seems to be a recipe for quicksand or mud. But this isn’t the case. The Honloo Dust Ocean, like others like it, is technically classified as a slurry, but feels nothing like one.
Unlike a slurry, which has a thick or paste-like consistency, a dust ocean feels dry with only a hint of dampness to the material. The mixture flows and reacts like water when poured, yet doesn’t contain the thickness of a traditional slurry.
Solid objects can displace the dust, much as happens in water because of the ‘dust’ combination, creating its own ‘surface tension’. But since this is more dust than water, objects ‘float’ much lower in the dust-water mix than they would in actual water.
But, while objects can float in the Honloo Dust Ocean, it isn’t considered a good idea to try it. Powdered volcanic clay and alkali lime dust are two of the most abundant materials in the Honloo Dust Ocean waters. The alkali dust is corrosive, and the volcanic clay acts as a strong desiccant against anything organic.
Ships or other vessels that cruise the Honloo have to use a special ceramic coating to stave off the alkali eventually eating through the hull. As for people? You can go swimming, just don’t stay in for too long. If you do, the Honloo will literally suck all the moisture out of your body.
It’s an old Black Sun trick of how to get rid of a body. Dump it in the Honloo Dust Ocean.
There is more to the Honloo Dust Ocean other than a dangerous mixture of alkali, clay, and quartz dust. Beneath that flowing layer of dust, there is a rich ecosystem that developed to survive in such a deadly environment.
Many creatures such as Bandis eels, the aggressive shark-like Saywix, schools of spiny Goscod and more call the Honloo Dust Ocean home. Alongside those are native plants such as the Volcano Gillflower, Rose Siltweed, and Crawling Gel-Coral. Last is the mysterious Aur’rook, which many believe are the native sapient species of Chalcedon.
The last, and most crucial, element of the Honloo Dust Ocean is the ‘ramgulf stream’. Similar in many ways to a ‘gulf stream’ in a traditional water ocean, the term was coined by early hyperspace explorers that visited Chalcedon.
Sensor scans of the fast-moving streams of dust slurry found the dust particles in the stream move similarly to particles in atmospheric material collected by a ramscoop. This stream of dust slurry is a warmer, faster moving channel of material that completes a long circuit around the entire Honloo Dust Ocean.
The heated dust and material in the slurry is slightly compressed, creating a thicker consistency. This higher temperature and speed is the primary catalyst for ‘dust honey’, the yellow-gold gel substance that is one material ‘mined’ from beneath the Honloo Dust Ocean.
This stream is also important to the animal and plant life. For animals, this is a primary means of migration from one part of the Honloo to another. Certain types of plants, such as the Crawling Gel-Coral, use it to transport itself between high nutrient areas as well.
I’ve heard stories from the older Dust Prospectors that say that the deeper you go, the clearer the dust ocean gets… and the stranger it gets. That there is all manner of really ancient, or strange, things down there.
The Honloo Dust Ocean is an unforgiving place, but it also has a few natural resources. Despite the animal and plant life, the most valuable resources found here are the strange ‘dust honey’ and ancient wrecks of starships and their cargo.
Dust honey is formed in the strong ramgulf streams of the Honloo where the temperature and fast moving current causes the natural minerals to combine with cast off plant and animal life to form a protein rich gel. This gel is used as a food supplement on many parts of Chalcedon.
The other resource, wrecks of cargo and starships, is well known. Black Sun, various pirate clans, and more have used the Honloo as a dumping ground for hijacked cargo and starships for hundreds of generations.
Even though the Honloo has a high concentration of alkali dust, the combination with volcanic clay and other minerals has preserved certain starships depending on the craft’s hull material. This includes sealing the cargo inside. Dust miners use specially designed, beetle-shaped ships to ‘ride’ the surface of the Honloo. Meanwhile, underneath, they sift the depths for ancient wrecks hoping to strike it rich.
If you’ve the patience, and the guts, ‘dust mining’ is a good way for a quick few credits. Be careful what you haul up, it might get you killed if the Black Sun syndicate sank it in the first place.
Dead Man's Ocean