There are billions of stars, millions of planets, but there is only one man, Terrance McDoogal. Welcome to LIU Atlas.
About this creation
LIU Atlas - Amuli Ruunt
The Ludgonian Industrial Union’s galaxy contains billions of stars and planets. Unfortunately, most residents of the LIU could only name a handful of these worlds. In order to improve astronomy grades across the LIU, TV2 has started a new program called LIU Atlas. Follow our host, Terrance McDoogal, as he takes you on a tour across the LIU and some of its more obscure worlds.
Note: This episode is presented in full screen. The corresponding dialogue is underneath each photo.
Doog: ‘Welcome to another episode of LIU Atlas. I’m your host, Terrance “Doog” McDoogal. We’ve finally returned to filming now that the brief and unproductive revolution has been put to an end. Communications have been fully restored, and the galaxy has returned to normal. At least, that’s what I’m getting paid to say. Who really knows? Anyway, today, we’re visiting Amuli Ruunt, a planet with an extreme elliptical orbit.”
Doog: “This digital image shows an approximation of Amuli Ruunt’s orbit. As you can see, the distance between Amuli Ruunt and its star varies throughout its orbit. During its deep orbit, characterized as orange in the diagram, the planet is frozen solid and covered in ice, but as it gets closer, the ice melts and the planet becomes habitable for a short time. Due to angular momentum, the planet orbits much faster in this habitable zone than it does during its frozen deep orbit. Amuli Ruunt is frozen solid for two standard years, but only thawed and habitable for about nine months. Despite this, people rush to the planet during its short unfrozen period. We’re here to find out why.”
Doog: “Alright folks, I’ve been dropped off in some small settlement near Amuli Ruunt’s equator. The buildings here look rather simple. Most are just small wooden shanties. The people look just as seedy as the architecture, so I’m going to wait for my guide before exploring further.”
Doog: “Ah, you must be my guide.”
Sleg: “Yes, I’m Deputy Sangelo. Everyone here calls me Sleg.”
Doog: “So Sleg, why would anyone bother coming here when you know you have to leave in eight months?”
Sleg: “They come for the Amuli Rush, of course. You’ve heard of the Amuli, right?”
Doog: “Wrong. Never heard of it.”
Sleg: “The Amuli is a vegetable worth its weight in gold. It only grows here on this planet, and obviously, it can only be harvested during the planet’s short habitable season.”
Doog: “So, you’re telling me thousands of people rush to this planet to pick vegetables?”
Sleg: “Yep, but not all come for the Amuli. Many come to get rich off the Amuli prospectors. They sell necessities like tools, food, and energy. There are even some people that sell services, like banking, lodging, and prostitution.”
Sleg: “Uh, did I say prostitution? I…uh…meant prosthetics, yeah, prosthetics. A good, law-abiding, happily married man like myself would never know about such activities. I must have misspoke.”
Doog: “Yes, of course, prosthetics. I may want to stop in later and see about getting something on my extremity, but for now, maybe we should move on.”
Doog: “So, you’re the law in these parts?”
Sleg: “Yeah. I’m here to keep order during the rush. I enforce land deeds, settle territory disputes, that sort of stuff. Keeps me pretty busy.”
Doog: “I bet, so where are we headed?”
Sleg: “Well, I was thinking I’d take you out of town and show you some of the prospecting. But first, I need to stop by my place and grab some gear.”
Doog: “This is your place? It looks like a ship.”
Sleg: “That’s because it is. As the planet refreezes, the ice encroaches and destroys everything in its path. The LIU won’t build any permanent structures here. So, I live out of this small mobile ship until the rush is over.”
Doog: “So that’s why most of the buildings look so rickety.”
Sleg: “Yep, most are hastily constructed from whatever materials were available.”
Sleg: “Alright, I got my scooter. I’m ready to head out.”
Doog: “Let me guess, you only have one?”
Sleg: “Well, of course. There’s only one of me. Don’t worry, I’ll go slow.”
Doog: “Are you sure there is no way I can catch a ride? Does this thing have pegs? Maybe I can ride on your handlebars?”
Sleg: “Awe heck no! You are not riding on my mustache sicko. I don’t know what kind of man you think I am.”
Doog: “What?! No! Not your handlebar mustache, the handlebars of your scooter. Geez, I don’t like how your mind went there so fast.”
Sleg: “I…umm…the answer is still no. Let’s go.”
Doog: “You do know the definition of slow, right?”
Sleg: “Surveying is a big part of the operations here. There aren’t many natural features here, so distinguishing between claims can be difficult. Lots of quarrels start up over stuff like this. Congruent to the LIU’s strict anti-theft laws, trespassers can be shot if found in another’s claim.”
Doog: ‘Wait, isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”
Sleg: “Yep, so you better stay close to me.”
Flagyll: “Deputy, what brings you out to these parts? I have no quarrels I need help with. I can handle that no good vagabond trailing behind you all on my own. I’m about to shoot him now.”
Sleg: “Hold it. Hold it. He’s with me Flagyll. He’s here doing a show about the Amuli Rush. I figured I’d let him watch you. You’ve always been one of the planets best prospectors.”
Flagyll: “Hmm. I guess I can do that.”
Doog: “Thanks for not shooting me.”
Flagyll: “The day’s not over yet boy. I better not catch you stealing nothing.”
Doog: “Trust me, I’m not stealing anything. I mean, we’re talking about vegetables here. I know they’re worth their weight in gold, but what are we talking about here, ounces? I think you’re safe.”
Flagyll: “He’s never seen an Amuli, Sleg, has he?”
Doog: “What? Are we talking about pounds instead of ounces?”
Flagyll: “More like tons.”
Flagyll: “Yep. Come with me, hopefully we can find one for you today.”
Flagyll: “The Amuli is a root tuber, so most of the plant is hidden underground. To survive the long, long winters, the Amuli stores energy in the form of starches in this huge root system. During the ‘thaw’, the Amuli sends up a few sprouts to photosynthesize, but 99.0% of the plant remains hidden. It’s still early in the season so not many sprouts have emerged yet.”
Doog: “If you can’t see the sprouts yet, how do you find the tubers?”
Flagyll: “The Amuli release their waste through their skin creating a change in the soil acidity. I can mix a solution with dirt samples in the area, and determine if the soil here is more acidic. I‘ve been panning this valley for a few days and I think I‘m finally getting close to something.”
Doog: “It changed colors. Does that mean we found one?”
Flagyll: “Yes! This is a strong reaction. We must be close. Look! There! There’s a slight swelling of the ground. Looks like a sprout is emerging!”
Doog: “Yeah, sorry I can‘t share your enthusiasm. We are talking about vegetables after all. I mean, it’s not like you found a one ton Kaadu steak down there.”
Flagyll: “Come on, grab that pick axe over there, give me a hand.”
Doog: “Yeah….no. I’m not a digger.”
Flagyll: “Yes! I was right! A sprout. Woo hoo! I better call some help in. This looks like it could be a big one.”
Three Hours Later…
Doog: “Wow folks, it took forever, but it looks like they finally finished excavating this thing. It’s huge! I never imagined a vegetable this big. Do people eat these things? Insert ‘that‘s what she said’ jokes as needed.”
Sleg: “The Amuli’s starches, which are used to store energy, are highly energetic and rich in carbohydrates. This makes the Amuli an ideal crop for nutrients. After processing, a single Amuli can feed hundreds of people for days. In fact, they say the discovery of the Amuli coincided with a population boom in the LIU Galaxy. More people were able to be fed.”
Doog: “Are they processed on site?”
Sleg: “No. Remember, the LIU has no permanent facilities here. The Amuli are processed in a factory ship in orbit around the planet. After it is fully excavated, Flagyll will call in a transport. They’ll pay him according to the vegetable’s weight, and then they will ship the Amuli into orbit.”
Doog: “How much loot are we talking about here?”
Sleg: “Flagyll gets the biggest cut since he found the Amuli and it is on his claim. He’ll probably get about half a million credits.”
Doog: “Half a million!”
Sleg: “Well yeah. I told you its lucrative. That’s why everyone comes here, to try and strike at rich. Of course, most are not as lucky as Flagyll. They often return home poorer than they were before.”
Flagyll: “Yeah, it’s not really that much if you factor in all the expenses. I had to buy the claim, supplies, tools, and hire these workers to help excavate. Plus, I have to try to make enough these eight months to cover myself for the next two years. I’m unemployed during the planet’s frozen period.”
Doog: “You act as if that’s a bad thing. Work hard one year, make tons of money and take two years off. Sounds like the perfect gig. Oh well, thanks for showing me around guys.”
Doog: “Well folks, Amuli Ruunt is an interesting place. Every two years, the planet’s orbit brings it closer to its parent star causing its ice mantle to recede. The exposed dirt and mud around the planet’s equator are home to a hardy species of plant called the Amuli. The Amuli are essentially huge tubers. They store all the nutrients and water they need to survive the long winters in the bulbous root system. Every thaw, people from around the galaxy flood the planet looking for these nutrient heavy plants. Most fail, but those that succeed make huge profits. Well, I’m off to find me a proper prosthetic. Ah, who am I kidding, I’m not law-abiding or married, I’m just going to say it. Prostitute. I’m getting a prostitute. See ya!”
Note: Have a half million credits? Buy an entire Amuli and enjoy the universe’s largest baked potato! That’s right. The Amuli closely resemble potatoes in texture and taste.
Note2: Sorry for the long interlude. Real life and stuff. For now, LIU Revolution has been put on the back burner. I may choose to revisit it someday, but I really lost interest in it over the last few months. I rather continue on with LIU Atlas.
Great to see you back in action, Dude! Fun episode with the Wild West stuff, especially the prospector wanting to shoot Doog. Always gets a laugh! I wonder if Doog will do an episode of the Union suppressing the rioters?
Ah yes... the fantastic return of a fun series that portrays the minor foibles of one human in such moral, upright, upstanding, outstanding, and outright outlandish ways, yet still having Doog 'pay for his action'! ;)
Excellent episode. It's nice to see you post again. I haven't been very active lately either. I really like the way you've managed to mimic much of the Old West. Clever stuff. I hope to see some more Revolution posts at some time, but no pressure. I think it's best to build what you want, rather than force yourself to do something else.
Man, it's a coldy rainy day outside but even this won't ruin my day now! Sad to hear that LIUR was put on a halt but it's always awesome to see an Atlas episode and all that innuendos (and sometimes straights...). Always remeber, life is a pain, but LEGO is the painkiller.
Great to see you back on the 'pages. You're such a prolific (and quality) builder that it was getting a bit worrying not to have seen an LIU creation for such a long time. I can imagine that the rebellion story was a bit of a burden, in a way. The episodic nature of the Atlas must be fun, as you can almost start afresh with each planet. This one is another fascinating eco-system and economy. I love how you use sci-fi as a way to explore ideas. My only complaint is that my limited Latin and Google can't figure out what the name of this planet means!
Welcom back! Nice episode, your unique blend of astronomical science and building skills strikes gold again. Or rather, vegetables. I'll miss LIUR but you've got to stick to what you're enjoying building!
Too bad about LIUR... but if you had posted one episode per month, maybe you would have felt less rushed and exhausted slower. Eh. Good episode, as always - I enjoy dirt landscapes and yours was quite a treat.