This Galactic Guide first appeared in last month’s issue of Jump Point.
The Goss System is the epitome of natural beauty on a grand scale. Located at the forefront of a massive emission nebula, The Olympus Pool, this binary star system is so stunningly different from anything else in space that early explorers could not believe what they had happened across. Massive, permanent bands of turquoise, gold and deep orange expand infinitely across the sky in brilliant patterns from any viewpoint in the system. A persistent, unverifiable rumor claims that the system’s name derives from the first explorer captain’s reaction to his discovery: “Gosh.” Erstwhile travelers should be warned: do not repeat this anecdote in the presence of Gossians; they consider it the ultimate insult to their home and more than enough reason to start a fistfight.
Like the Grand Canyon on Earth or the Magnetic Ridge on Terra, Goss exists first and foremost as a tourist destination, with little to offer those not interested in taking in the sights. Goss was initially settled by a plethora of naturalistic religious groups, likely motivated by the belief that the system’s majestic nebulascape would allow them to better commune with their deities. As a result, the population today prides itself on its self-sufficiency, producing their own goods with little excess. The end result is that Goss is no place for a bulk trader.
Small-haulers are another story. Between hand-made Gossian goods, mountains of assorted tourist knickknacks and the rare life forms native to the system’s inhabitable worlds, there are plenty of high-demand goods available in small numbers. It’s a great way for an Aurora or a 300i pilot with a smaller cargo hold to supplement their vacation. Or, in the case of the more restricted life forms, a way for a pilot living outside the law to make quite a bit of profit.
The UEE military also regularly utilizes Goss as a port of call for shore leave for their longer-duration frontier-facing fleets. Civilians would do well to avoid the nightclubs and other hotspots on Cassel when a UEE carrier group is in orbit! The servicemen visiting the planet in such instances have usually been in space for eight to twelve months without relief, and enter the atmosphere looking for a good time. Local authorities are used to these visits and generally look the other way to much of the rowdiness. There is also a large military hospital complex on Goss III, the ultimate destination for warriors wounded in battle with the Vanduul.
Goss I (Unrecognized)
The innermost planet in Goss is an abundant world, considered the system’s breadbasket. From mineral-rich mountain ranges to endless fields for farming, Goss I produces 98% of the resources required to sustain both the system’s natives and the tourists who frequent the system. There is no room for out-system trade, though: almost everything produced on Goss I is shipped to the other two worlds in the system (extremely short-haul pilots are sometimes in demand for these runs, although it is dull work that produces a very small paycheck!) All of the property on Goss I is owned by natives and the world’s laws are incredibly strict about blocking outsiders (and corporations, specifically) from ever gaining a foothold.
Unlike most other successful biospheres, Goss I has almost no ocean. The single largest body of water, roughly the size of Earth’s Mediterranean Sea, is filled with stagnant water that is almost entirely void of life (a species of moss-covered quasi-shrimp is the lone exception). Attempts to introduce some of the varied life forms from Cassel or elsewhere in the Empire have resulted in abject failure; for reasons yet to be determined, aquatic life can not adapt here.
Cassel (Cas-séll, never “Castle”; a common mispronunciation that also irritates the natives) is the resort world of the Goss System, the ultimate destination of hundreds of millions of Human tourists every year. As opposed to Goss I, Cassel is a beautiful ocean world. 85% of the world consists of vibrant, life-filled oceans and most of the rest is home to tropical rainforests.
Cities on Cassel have formed around the original landing arcologies established by Gossian colonists hundreds of years prior. Massive resort towns have also sprung up along the thousands of miles of beautiful coastlines. These are the ultimate destination of tourists. Whether you are here to view the Olympus Pool reflected on the pristine oceans or to frequent the planet’s infamous nightclubs, there is something for everyone on Cassel.
Cassel is home to one of the most complex aquatic ecospheres in the explored galaxy. With hundreds of thousands of complex species identified and many more lurking in the depths, Cassel’s seas are a sight to behold.
It is most famously home to the Midas fish, a naturally golden animal which has become symbolic of its home world and prized in fish tanks throughout the galaxy. Other native creatures include the eerie lang crab and the mammalian z-whale. Licenses to ship live animals are few and far between; there is a teeming black market for anyone willing to ship expensive fish off-world.
Goss III (Unrecognized)
Goss III, a small sub-tropical world, is the acknowledged property of the UEE. The planet is largely undeveloped, although it is home to a mid-sized naval refitting base and the aforementioned hospital complex. Goss III is generally closed to visitors, although anyone who has business with the military facilities established there can acquire a landing pass with relative ease.
The dark side of the Goss System is that the system’s nebula also acts as an effective curtain for nearby pirate operations. Pirate organizations have been known to base themselves in the outer gasses of the Olympus Pool and raid shipping or conduct illegal trade. It is believed that at least one standing pirate facility exists within the Pool, as well as standard rendezvous coordinates for several narcotics runs. Tourists should avoid this region of space entirely. Its denizens are especially brazen, given the frequency of UEE shore leave visits to Goss, although some theorize that the UEE actually encourages piracy in the region as it gives newly trained pilots a ready source of target practice.