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.
Davish Tam, Knight Errant of the Crimson Knights
 
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…
Davish Tam, Knight Errant of the Crimson Knights

Geography

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.
 

Flowing Dust

 
Never assume you know everything about the Honloo Dust Ocean. When you do, it’ll surprise you when you least expect it.
Jangir Toth, bounty hunter
 
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.
 

Thirsty Water

 
Sticking a toe in this water won’t let you check the temperature, it may mean you lose a toe. Maybe.
Jangir Toth, bounty hunter
 
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.
Davish Tam, Knight Errant of the Crimson Knights

Ecosystem

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.
Jangir Toth, bounty hunter

Natural Resources

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.
Jangir Toth, bounty hunter
Area Total
15.5 million square kilometers (6 million square miles)
Average Depth
3,270 meters (2 miles)
Alternative Name(s)
Dead Man's Ocean
Type
Ocean
Location under
Native Animals
  • Bandis eels
  • Saywix
  • Spiny Goscod
  • Trivit Rays
  • Chaff mites
  • Aur'rook
  • Native Plants
  • Volcano Gillflower
  • Rose Siltweed
  • Crawling Gel-Coral
  • Sand Sea
    Sand Sea by Dreamstime Stock Photo

    Planet of Chalcedon
    The world of Chalcedon, third planet of the system by the same name found in the Tashtor Sector.

    Comments

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    9 Jan, 2022 15:00

    So. This is really unique. I never thought of a sand/dust ocean before and the implications of this has my brain on overdrive. I love how you tied it into the universe too, with some trying to hide things in it and others trying to take things out of it.   I am wondering more about the Wildlife. There must be some really unique creatures in here!

    Lead Author of Vazdimet.
    Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
    9 Jan, 2022 15:13

    Thank you, SolarCat! Thank you so much. It is a really really fun environment. I'm working on all the wildlife that lives there and how they have adapted to survive. They are as unique as the dust ocean they live in! :D

    11 Jan, 2022 23:40

    This reminds me of the dust oceans on Naumachia, in the star system Lalande 21185, from the videogame Civ 2: Test of Time. I loved that game, despite its unreal and frankly bizarre use of biotech unobtainium to power a sci-fi setting. Naumachia was a wildly productive place to settle bases, limited only by a lack of food. That was remediable with enough infrastructure investment...   Reading of another dust ocean has been more than nostalgic. It's also a helpful reminder to me to reach for the bizarre in my own project, Theoma. I can find inspiration for the many, many different things that the land gods do, by reading widely on World Anvil. Would you be offended if I built up in some deep underworld theomes, a collection of lightless dust seas? There's a scarcity of deserts on Theoma, and this sounds to me like a land feature that land gods in the underworld would love to have.

    12 Jan, 2022 00:20

    I would not be offended at all! In fact, I would be flattered and would love to read what you create when you're done. :D   So please, go ahead!   It's always good to reach for the bizarre in your own project ( no matter if that's a world...or like here a galaxy of worlds set in an alternate Star Wars setting ). I'm a firm believer that doing so will open amazing new doors and possibilities!

    30 Jan, 2022 18:03

    I'm still getting through my notifications gradually,lol.   This is a great article buddy i really enjoyed the read. I can't wait to read about the sand sea creatures you have listed once you write them up.   A big thumbs up on this one and a well deserved like my friend.   Aemon

    30 Jan, 2022 20:13

    Aemon, thank you! I had a ton of fun with working out an alien environment that isn't at all 'Earth-like' but still uh ... approachable? :D   I've a LONG list of notes on the critters here. Those are coming up once I get one or two more locations rolled out for this odd ball of a desert planet.   Thanks as always for the like, my friend!