Someone recently asked me why the Brunnen G left Brunnis. Apparently there's been a bit of confusion because of a section of the LEXXicon on the US Sci Fi Channel Board.

Brunnis - Ancestral planet of the Brunnen-G. Planet was abandoned thousands of years ago, because of a massive attack by His Shadow. Satellites were built to keep the sun from going supernova and preserve the remnants of the culture.

       Now, normally one might take information from official sources as accurate. But how 'official' is the Sci Fi Channel site, and how accurate?
       On the textual evidence from the series, I'm reluctant to accept it.
       In I Worship His Shadow, Stan says near the end that the Dark Zone is a realm 'inaccessible to the forces of His Shadow.' This has been taken by some to suggest that His Shadow is physically unable to enter the Dark Zone, perhaps it rejects him or something.
       I prefer a more conservative view that the Divine Order simply has no presence in the other Universe.
       However, this is contradicted almost immediately by the predecessors in Supernova when they tell Giggerota they have the memories of the many thousands they killed... "including some who lived on Brunnis." Then they prove it by directing Giggerota and telling her how to safely shut off the stabilizers.
       Now, what this seems to prove is that His Shadow was operating and the Divine Order existed before the Brunnen-G left Brunnis. The Divine Order is definitely very very old. It also suggests that the Divine Order was fairly big and powerful even then if it could either a) reach into the Dark Zone to claim Brunnen G victims, or b) cast a net wide enough to catch Brunnen-G wandering into the Light Universe.
       Note that the Predecessors said 'some', which suggests more than one. This may have been a single group killed and captured together. Or it might have been kills of different individuals or groups over a period of time... If the second, it would suggest the Divine Order was on the hunt.
       As to who these Brunnen-G were? It may be that the Brunnen G or members of them maintained contact or continued travelling between the light and dark universes.
       But then again, following the Insect Wars, the Brunnen-G appear to have become fairly isolationist. They seem completely unaware of developments... In Brigadoom they are shocked to discover that the Insect Wars are a hazy memory and that mankind has fallen to fighting among itself. If they'd been keeping an eye out this wouldn't have come as a surprise.
       My guess is that the Brunnen-G killed by the Predecessors were either exiles or renegades. Or else they were part of the scouting or real estate agents expeditions that the Brunnen-G probably sent to the Light Universe to locate a suitable planet for them to move to. Logically, the Brunnen-G would have sent scouts out, I can't imagine them moving their entire population without having their new home picked out.
       Does this mean that the Sci Fi Board is accurate? Well, it's possible. But killing a few Brunnen-G is different from a major attack on Brunnis.
       My gut instinct is to say no. I simply don't believe that the race that lead humanity to victory in the Insect Wars would put up with a major assault on their homeworld. Their technology and military prowess was far superior to other cultures, and if they had enough gumption to move their entire population between Universes, I can't imagine they wouldn't have come after the Divine Order. I also can't imagine they would have moved into the Light Universe with the Divine Order and left an enemy like that standing. Especially if the attack was recent. They'd have gone out and cleaned the Divine Order's clock but good. End of His Shadow.
       Besides, the timing seems wrong.
       In Brigadoom the Master says that 'humanity survived (the Insect Wars)...but the Brunnen-G world was dying' This suggests that the decline of the Brunnen-G sun dates to around the time of the Insect Wars or shortly thereafter.
       In contrast, we know from Mantrid that the last insect went into a period of hiding and hibernation before infecting its first human. The Divine Order must have been established well after the Insect Wars, and it probably required centuries or even millennia to grow to the point where it could be dangerous.
       It strikes me that the Divine Order is simply too late for such an attack to destabilize the sun, and there's no evidence that anything other than the sun was the cause of the planet's deterioration.
       The other textual clues, primarily in Supernova, seem to support this.
       Kai says that they built the stabilizers thousands of years ago to keep the sun from going supernova. He immediately after says that they left 'when the planet could no longer support life.'
       Poetman says that 'I knew we were leaving Brunnis, after all the sun was dying.'
       In a memory recording that Stan encounters, a Brunnen-G writes that 'our sun continues to die, I fear that one day Brunnis will do the same and we will have to leave and go...' It may be possible to date this memory record somewhat: since Stan first encounters a record from the time of the Insect Wars, and then afterwards, a record from 5000 years before, we can assume it takes place sometime between those two events.
       What conclusions can we draw from this? First, never a mention of an attack from the Divine Order precipitating the departure, by either Kai or Poetman. Second, the sun was deteriorating well before Brunnis was abandoned, this is confirmed by all three sources, and the stabilizers. Third, the deterioration of the sun was the cause of the planet's eventual deterioration, again, implied by all three sources. This is all consistent with the Master's remarks in Brigadoom.
       Let us turn from the spoken text to the visual text. What do we see of the planet Brunnis, thousands of years after it was abandoned? And what conclusions may we draw from this?
       Brunnis appears to have a green tinged atmosphere. I'm not sure what that means about the composition of the atmosphere, but its probably not a terrestrial mix of gases. From the ground, the atmosphere is definitely reddish.
       The planet's surface appears reddish, and geological features are visible which look like dried out river, lake and sea beds. There appear to be clearly differentiated light and dark areas, with some very dark spots. This suggests a creative live geology, and probably plate tectonics.
       Bodies of water remain, there appears to be a reasonable ocean in the upper part of the northern hemisphere. There's also another, much smaller sea near the equator, but this appears to be a relic body of water, as its connected to or surrounded by a light coloured flat plain which appears to be a remnant sea bed. The northern ocean is adjacent to similar light coloured areas, which suggest that it too, is in retreat.
       There does not seem to be significant - if any - cratering, which suggests that water-based erosional processes have been eliminating them. This in turn suggests that Brunnis was once much wetter than it is now. Also, the absence of craters also indicates that there hasn't been any substantial bombardment, either by natural meteor strikes, or by attack, since the planet started to dry out.
       Primarily on the night side of Brunnis, white clouds are visible. There are also white clouds around what appears to be a sea in the upper northern hemisphere, but generally there doesn't seem to be a lot of cloud cover during the day. Clouds on dayside seem strongly associated with the bodies of water. There's some suggestion of a south pole, or at least white clouds clustering around a south pole. There does not appear to be a north polar ice cap, rather, the north ocean extends into that area.
       On the surface of Brunnis, we get to see a huge, almost endless cityscape. Apart from being abandoned, all of the buildings appear to be in good shape. There's no evidence in what we see of war, fire, or other substantial damage.
       So, what conclusions can we draw from this?
       First, I'm not seeing evidence of a 'massive attack' on the planet's surface. The cities aren't damaged. There's no apparent cratering.
       What I do see, is a planet that was clearly once very earthlike, and is now well on the way to becoming Marslike. Perhaps this transformation is the result of the attack? Possibly, but if so, I'd expect more secondary effects... damage, craters, some other signs.
       Allow me to speculate...
       I do not believe the Brunnis sun aged naturally. Stellar life cycles are measured in the billions of years, and if the Brunnen-G sun was within a million years of shifting into a nova phase, it would have been very apparent and they wouldn't have settled there in the first place.
       Either that, or the Brunnen-G and humanity are incredibly, incredibly old. On the order of millions or tens of millions of years. That's a bit much, even for me.
       I think that the Brunnis sun started as a main sequence middle aged star, much like our own, and suddenly for some reason moved off sequence.
       Why? I have no idea. It may have been a natural fluke.
       I have a theory, posted elsewhere, that the Brunnen-G may have detonated stars to destroy the insects, and they may have destabilised their own sun to keep the insects from attacking. Alternatively, the sun may have been destabilized as a result of the Insects attacking. Or it might have been an unintended side effect caused by one or the other.
       Of course, this flies in the face of the Beans' own statement that the Insect Wars took place in the Light Universe. But if things were so dire that the Master in Brigadoom could say 'humanity survived' then it suggests that humanity, all of it was at risk, and since humanity probably originates in the Dark Zone, this implies that at least some battles were fought here.
       The destabilization of the sun might have been the Divine Order's attack, referred to in Lexxicon, but I don't think so. First, the timing seems all wrong. Second, if they had the power to toast stars that long ago, why would they even bother to build a pea-shooter like the Lexx?
       Anyway, the point is that Brunnis sun, for whatever reason, moves off main sequence during or following the Insect Wars. What does this mean to the planet?
       Possibly, it means that more radiation starts pouring out. In particular, more hard radiation. Much more ultraviolet, much more high wavelength stuff.
       The first effect of increased ultraviolet and hard radiation is that the planets ecosystem starts to go. The plants, particularly are being destroyed. The ultraviolet slowly sterilises the planet down to the bacterial level. Brunnis is turned into a sterile desert.
       The Brunnen-G could have responded by building greenhouses and arcologies, habitats, and great sheltered gardens. But under the sun, the ecostructure is being destroyed down to a bacterial level and there's not really much they can do about that. Even engineering radiation resistant plants won't help if the soil bacteria that plants rely upon no longer exist. The destruction of the ecosystem is too thorough.
       But more than that, the hard radiation hitting the upper atmosphere is probably splitting water vapour H2O into its constituent components, hydrogen and oxygen. A lot of the free hydrogen is escaping into space.
       The remaining oxygen atoms combine into oxygen or ozone. Even with the ecology dead, the atmosphere probably remains oxygenated or even hyperoxygenated. The atmosphere probably has a high percentage of ozone, which means the planet probably reeks, and your lungs burn as you breathe.
       This process also means that the planet is being dried out. The destruction of atmospheric water by radiation means that the atmosphere, especially during the day, is probably desiccated. It's desert dry, perhaps even painfully dry. It never rains on Brunnis, at least not during the day, because the clouds are torn to pieces as they form.
       But even without clouds, you probably still have lightning. The preponderance of charged particles caused by the breakdown of atmospheric water probably means massive dry lightning bolts, and a lot of static electricity floating around to make life unpleasant.
       The weather on Brunnis probably sucks... and blows. The increased radiation and heat, the desiccation of the atmosphere, and the vanishing of the oceans and seas which trapped heat makes for substantial changes in climate. The normal weather we know vanishes, no more rains obviously, probably no more storms (although what looks like a proto hurricane cloud is visible in one shot, probably a semi-permanent formation over a water body) Instead, the days are terribly hot and nights are bitterly cold and the temperature difference creates a ceaseless planetary wind.
       The oceans and water bodies are being continually desiccated, as the radiation burns off the top layers, and heat causes evaporation. Clouds form above water bodies, but are continually being broken down into hydrogen and oxygen, oxygen and ozone. The clouds are breaking down too quickly to drift over dry land, and only survive over oceans because they're continually replenished by the shrinking seas oceans. Already large areas of water have been dried out, leaving only seabeds and large light coloured plains. Eventually, all the water, except possibly relics at the poles will be gone and the oxygen/ozone mix in the atmosphere will probably start to decline.
       As the oceans shrink, the salt, mineral, and sediment content will increase. Eventually, they'll be as or more salty than the dead sea in the middle east, and unable to support life. This has already happened in all or most areas. There may be some fish, algae or bacteria left in the upper reaches of the northern ocean, but the writing is on the wall for them.
       This probably didn't happen immediately, but rather, the planet probably slowly became more and more unliveable over centuries or even millennia.
       Nor would it have affected all the planet in the same way at the same time. The equatorial regions would have been worse affected than the polar regions.
       If the planet had axial tilt, then it had seasons. Over time, what we would find is that the center of summer would become too 'hot' for life, and that biological activity would shift towards fall and spring. As heat and radiation increased, the summer 'hot' spot would steadily increase until the life cycle was reversed and winter became the season of life and growth, while summer became the season of hibernation and death.
       Gradually, the permanent dead zone would expand further and further northward from the equator. The seasons of winter 'life' would grow steadily shorter as the increasing radiation extended the periods of lethality. Life, and habitable environment would retreat steadily towards the poles and winter seasons. But eventually the planet would be sterilised.
       So this is what Brunnis became. This is the world the Brunnen-G finally abandoned. A world of sterile deserts and dying seas, a world of burning cloudless red sky and ceaseless moaning winds, a world where the very air is painfully dry and reeks of ozone, where breathing makes the lungs ache and burn.

No wonder they left.

© July 2000 Darrow.

© 2000 WordWrights.

The Darrow Files