Digging for Mhaan-tiq: On the Neox Sector’s mysterious resource [DEV BLOG #10]
In our last dev blog, we introduced you to Starfire Survey, the ruthless mining corporation that stops at nothing in its quest to harvest the Neox Sector’s natural riches. But what are these riches, you might ask. Besides ores and metals of all kinds, there is one particular resource that everybody in the sector is dying to lay hands on: Mhaan-tiq, or Glow in common parlance. A strange substance of unknown origin and unfathomable power that can be found nowhere else in the galaxy. Although its existence was revealed more or less by accident, it sparked a gold rush unlike anything the galaxy had ever seen.
This concept artwork depicts the symbiosis of Mhaan-tiq with an asteroid. The alien matter's energy strands cross the hosts surface like glowing veins.
While the full capacity of the Mhaan-tiq has not yet been disclosed, the potential it bears seems almost limitless. Some use it as an energy source that never runs dry. Others turn it into weapons of unparalleled blasting power. And yet again others inject it into their blood streams to experience trips that melt their brains. Regardless why people go after the Mhaan-tiq, there is one thing they all have in common. Once they have seen what this substance can do to living organisms and mechanical apparatuses alike, they will stop at nothing to get it into their possession. Consequently, Mhaan-tiq is not only the chief reason for entrepreneurs, settlers and gold diggers from all across the universe to take course for the Neox Sector. No, it is also the main cause for all the battles, skirmishes and raids taking place in that region.
Besides the mycelium model (right) that made it into the game, our artists also envisoned Mhaan-tiq to befall asteroids like corals (left) or lichen (middle).
What makes the situation all the worse is the greed and short-term thinking of the factional governments and the commercial conglomerates. Reaping whatever Mhaan-tiq they find like crops, they have already depleted most of the Neox Sector’s outer rims of the resource – forcing everybody deeper and deeper into the uncharted center of the region. There, people also suspect to find the source of the Mhaan-tiq, which has sparked countless myths and legends, as well as the native inhabitants of the Neox Sector, which are so reclusive that barely a Terran, Vossk or Nivelian ever saw them. It is said, however, that they have been cultivating Mhaan-tiq for eons and therefore have already forgotten more about this strange matter than we will ever learn. But one thing is certain: Now that we are aware of Mhaan-tiq’s existence and capabilities, nothing stays as it was… and that applies to the fields of politics and technics as much as it does for our entire social structure.
Most asteroids cannot nurture Mhaan-tiq forever. After a while they become so brittle that they crack into pieces...
Concerning its texture, Mhaan-tiq is an organic fabric that befalls asteroids and other heavenly bodies in the way fungus befalls moist stones or tree stumps. It spreads through the sector via spores that attach themselves to hosts and hollow them from within, almost cancer-like. By now, we have not fully figured out how Mhaan-tiq manages to store energy, but it seems to collect and bind it from space radiation. The absorbed energy then emits from its host in neon-turquoise vapors. Hence the nickname Glow. In space, this luminescence lets you spot Mhaan-tiq deposits from afar. But once you got them in your sight, you better think twice about approaching them. Because where there is Glow, there are usually also mercenaries, space pirates and other troublemakers.
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