The scientist claims she still haunts his dreams, calling for him to return so she can finish what she started.
All expeditions to planet TR-75 have ended in disaster, allegedly due to the planet itself rising up against any who dare to walk its surface. The most notable of these attempts was performed by a small team of scientists and soldiers from the Sparnell Confederation
surveying potential sites for a new military base. In this case one scientist managed to survive to make a full report of the experience, leaving even more questions than answers.
Access to the official Sparnell Armed Forces
files on Planet TR-75, now known as Janikk
, has been restricted to Sparnell Fleet Command
since the Mordena
claimed the planet as their homeworld. This was a failed attempt to eliminate the subsequent myths about the powers of the Mordena in "conquering" the sentient planet.
Numerous purported copies of these files exist, as do assorted account by people who claim to have read the files prior to their classification, when they were a mere footnote in a collection of other, more successful Sparnelli missions of exploration and surveillance. Others claim to have been invited to the planet as guests, sharing outrageous stories which contradict each other in an attempt to outshine all the other tales. All tell tales of fastastical, hostile wildlife acting in concert, plant life as deadly and strange as it is beautiful, and a dream-haunting ghostly voice answering to the name Janikk. The details of each rendition of the tale vary depending upon the purported source and the intended audience, but these basic factors remain constant throughout.
The Mordena have remained silent on the accuracy of all of them, and have not added any reliable literature of their own. This only serves to heighten the mercenary organization's own sense of mystery, adding further speculation as to how they have subdued the vengeful planet and what horrors await any who dare oppose them at their homeworld. Very few dare to visit Janikk
as a result, and none in opposition of the Mordena
have returned to tell of their efforts. The Ferrik Clan
of Vardan Traders
are the only known repeat outside visitors.
Jeb blushed, confirming Shane's suspicions. "She told me about a planet hidden deep in the ship's records. The Sparnell Confederation has it officially marked as 'Quarantine' but it's listed as uninhabited. Which is strange, because it's in a prime location, highly inhabitable, nice in-system asteroids with plenty of resources, a healthy star, and pretty much everything you'd need to set up a thriving civilization. But nobody has."
Shane was intrigued. "Any idea why?"
"The records don't say." Jeb hushed his voice conspiratorially. "But by her description the planet sounded familiar, so I went through my own journals and I found something. When I worked at the Sparnelli research lab one of my coworkers used to talk about why he refused to do field research. Claimed the first planet he went to was haunted."
Razick snorted. "How can anyone haunt an entire planet?"
"According to him their expedition thought they'd hit the jackpot for environmental research, but their first night there the planet itself rose up against them. He was the only survivor."
"Rose up how?" Shane asked.
"He wouldn't say. But his description matched what Urla found in the files." Jeb sat up straight in his chair. "The official records just call the planet TR-75, but according to my old coworker she calls herself Janikk."
"She?" Shane chewed thoughtfully. "So from what you're saying... And let me make sure I understand this correctly... You want to move to a hostile sentient planet?"
"It's worth checking out. I mean, do you have a better idea?" Jeb shrugged. "Besides, should be no trouble for a biologist and a necromancer." He winked at his sister. "You can tag along too if you want, Raz."
"Worth looking into." Shane scratched his chin. He waved his fork in Jeb's direction. "This time, though, I'm packing extra socks."