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Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far Future
0719 Solomani Rim X543000-0): Red Zone.
Weipu is a pretty planet, possessing vast forested regions with scattered lakes and small seas. History records how many spacefarers found Weipu to look inviting by comparison with its near neighbors: desert Ippurash, chilly, methane-rich Thars, and the Stralsund asteroids.
But Weipu is void of any human colonization or even robot intrusion - it instead is ruled by a unique metalconsuming bacteria evolved in its mineral-laden hot springs.
The first humans to land on Weipu were stranded by the inexplicable breakdown of their ship and most machinery. They eventually realized that something organic was the cause, but had little equipment left with which to investigate. A second wave of colonists landed and left in short order, bearing the survivors of the first wave with them.
The colonists from both parties were quarantined on an asteroid at Stralsund and the ships were dismantled.
The bacteria, while not directly pathogenic, can live in the human intestine. All colonists living on the Stralsund asteroid eventually died of iron, copper, and zinc deficiencies.
The planet was interdicted. The bacteria is a widespread and essential link in the planetary ecology. Eradicating it would wipe out all native lifeforms on the world.
-sr TD 13