Stars-In-A-Mist

The Star-In-A-Mist, or Pseudonigella stellaris, is the plant that produces hyperdimensional crystals used in geometry drive manufacturing. It seems to derive from the Love-In-A-Mist, or Nigella damascena, touched by the influence of the original geometry drive when Rani Spengler first examined it. P. stellaris is almost as mysterious as the original drive itself: though its biology still owes a lot to N. damascena, the way it excretes crystals with its flowers leads some scientists to consider it as a new form of life altogether.

P. stellaris thus looks like a 15-20 centimetres tall chlorophyll-based plant with pinnately divided, thread-like leaves. When the flowers bloom in early Earth summer, however, P. stellaris starts producing millimetre-long crystal structures that run around the underside of the petals. These crystals have the same colour as the petals, ranging from pale purple to clear blue. Much like the geometry drive itself, they gleam very slightly in the dark after absorbing energy under the shape of light or ground vibrations. These crystals bear the unique property of being four-dimensional structures: though they can interact within our three-dimensional space, they are in fact the three-dimensional pattern of a four-dimensional object. It is expected that this exceedingly peculiar nature is what enables these compounds to bend the space-time continuum when arranged as a geometry drive. One of P. stellaris' colloquial names is "geometry flower".

Much like its mundane counterpart, P. stellaris isn't particularly hard to grow in terms of climate range and soil composition, but several additional parameters have to be taken into account. P. stellaris requires incredible amounts of energy (for a plant this size, at least) in order to grow its crystals. In the presence of a regular day-night cycle, P. stellaris is very quick to deplete the soil. It is generally not advised to grow P. stellaris near other valuable crops: the geometry flower will compete with them and invariably end up killing them. A single P. stellaris flower contains between two to three milligrams of hyperdimensional crystals: the average geometry drive requires to harvest about a thousand flowers, while its maintenance consumes ten to twenty flowers a year.

Inhaling or ingesting P. stellaris while it is blooming isn't advised: though it is a rather common practice among navigators and gardeners, it leads to feelings of weightlessness and irrealism, where the subject may briefly feel as if they were in two places at once.

P. stellaris can be adapted to the majority of habitable planets: one way or another its ability to create hyperdimensional crystals gives it more resilience than its regular counterpart. The differences in the visible and invisible spectrum on the host planet may induce variations in crystal thus geometry drive quality, explaining the dark red drives of Ishtar or the pale blue crystals of Azur. Low-gravity and artificial lighting don't seem to be a problem but P stellaris' unreasonable requirements can be quick to bankrupt the energy budget of a station. In any case, the genetic code of P. stellaris is a well-kept secret and the seeds are as precious - and as protected - as high-end fusion drive components. P. stellaris seeds and crystals are among the rare artefacts that would make someone truly rich in human space.

There have been many attempts at forcing other plants to produce these crystals: none of them has resulted in much more than horribly deformed plants and highly explosive petunias...as far as official records are concerned, at least.

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