Lightstorm, The
Lightstorm
Image from Bernd Helfert

The Lightstorm is a megastructure orbiting the interstellar gas giant CG49-H-27HHN in the Horsehead Nebula. CG49-H-27HHN is not part of a planetary system. Roughly double the size of Jupiter it somehow never made it to become a brown dwarf or a sun. The planet is surrounded by a broad, dense, system of rings, 23 moons (used to be 27) two of which, Sarapi and Gmesh-Par-Kir are about the size of earth, and in relatively close proximity (74 light seconds) to a belt of asteroids. The Lightstorm developed out of an art project initiated by an artist clade which was especially fond of visual beauty and therefore chose the nebula as their home. In 8327 the po Merewr, leader of the clade, set out to create something to earn him a place among the greatest artists of the galaxy.

Merewr used the material of the densest rings, 4 of the moons and some asteroids from the belt to create a ring in orbit around CG49-H-27HHN on the equatorial plane. A cross section of the ring is a circle with a diameter of four kilometers.Work was completed in 9068, the reason it took so long is Merewr insisted the clade did it "by hand", although ultratech of various kinds was obviously used every step was carefully considered to be aesthetically pleasing (even the nanofab had to be the right color).

The ring is dotted with billions of EM - emitters of all possible kinds pointing towards the planet. The second element of the Lightstorm is within the ionosphere of CG49-H-27HHN itself. Here utility fogs, nano swarms and similar devices have been placed which can be controlled from the ring to create the desired reflections and refractions of the EM being emitted from the ring. This way mosaic, 3D, blur and other effects are created.

Technically CG49-H-27HHN serves as a gigantic movie screen. The Lightstorm has become a major tourist attraction, being able to accommodate about 150 million of tourists at any given time and has earned Merewr and his clade a fortune, which is also true for the companies which financed the project. The biggest investor, an AI who wants to remain anonymous, had calculated that the probability of financial success would be 89.274%

A very popular show available is CG49-H-27HHN serving as the lightshow for LokRok and other music concerts.

Apart from the steady stream of tourists the ring has a permanent population of about a billion bionts and cyborgs (mostly artists and engineers) and about twice that number of AI. The anonymous investor is rumoured to be among them. Due to the immense number of artists present, the Lightstorm has also become a major export and trading center for art. It is served by the beamrider network and the Wormhole nexus.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Marcus Rauchfuß
Graphics by Bernd Helfert
Initially published on 11 December 2003.