Archives of Nethys

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Deities | Systems & Settlements


A Fortune in Grit

Source Starfinder #24: The God-Host Ascends pg. 62
Location The Vast (Suskillon)
Diameter ×1-1/2; Mass ×4-1/2; Gravity ×2
Atmosphere Thin
Day 6 hours; Year 44 days

Echidea is the closest planet to the sun in the Suskillon system. Even before the people of Suskillon knew spaceflight, their astronomers knew that Echidea was a rocky world with a thin atmosphere and speedy rotation around its star. They detected tectonic activity on its surface, attributed to the great plates of stone that make up the planet occasionally shifting and grinding against one another, but not accompanied by any active volcanism. Even after the Suskilloners built starships and made their first crewed explorations of their solar system, they mostly ignored Echidea—it simply wasn’t worth the effort to haul its seemingly unremarkable stone out of the dense planet’s gravity well.
Decades later, a miscalculation caused a valuable solar probe to swing too close to Echidea, and the probe crashed into the flinty planet. The first Suskilloners to set foot on the world were salvagers, and they didn’t intend to stay long. The probe had hurtled down near where two of the mountain-sized stone plates ground against each other. When salvagers located the fallen piece of equipment, they found it amid a heap of fine-grained powder. This grit, worn down to a fine consistency over untold centuries, proved to be an exceptionally durable abrasive—far more valuable to many than the crashed probe. The wealth of Echidea thus lies in the millions of metric tons of grit to be found between the stone plates, which is suitable for a wide range of industrial applications, including blasting, grinding, and polishing. Echidea’s grit is even more durable than synthetic diamond nanorods.
Within a few years, several corporations had established a presence on the planet to scoop up the valuable abrasive. Pounding the stone to powder didn’t produce the same grain—only eons of slow grinding did—so these operations were limited to harvesting and shipping the grit, sometimes darting quickly between the crashing stone plates with moments to spare. Industrial accidents were common in this early harvesting, but when a company named Echidea Powder established the safest methods and landed the most lucrative contracts, it soon controlled much of the planet.
Echidea Powder eventually was able to merge with many of its clients, moving their headquarters onto the planet itself. In addition to manufacturing delicately etched electronics, Echidea Powder makes a fortune in starship construction. The grit is particularly useful in scouring starship bulkheads and serves as a fine industrial lubricant for those larger starship systems with hundreds of moving parts. The Echidea Powder line of starships are all named to evoke rugged durability, and its top-of-the-line vessel, the Stalwart-class starship (see inside covers), is now sold across many systems. Echidea Powder’s many competitors seek to move in on their designs and their supply, but the corporation remains—for now—the master of the planet. For all its bare and unglamorous appearance, Echidea has become a hotbed of corporate espionage, high‑tech design, and dangerous harvesting of the coveted abrasive.