“Ergo, I Got Blubbered”
T-shirts with that phrase have become ubiquitous throughout the Empire. Everyone knows it refers to the Space Whale, a tourist trap located in the Nemo System. Yet, only those who have visited the attraction know the truth: describing it as a Space Whale would be a stretch of the imagination.
True, there is an oblong asteroid with one thick end tapering into a smaller one that orbits Ergo (Nemo III). There are even locals who will argue for hours about its strong resemblance to an Earth whale. Yet the main draw really seems to be the shops and attractions set up to entice the wayward tourist who happens to be lured here. Every Galactic Guide employee that has journeyed to the (in) famous landmark has returned to say basically the same thing, ”Ergo, I got suckered.”
While the Space Whale may not live up to its billing, it is somehow fitting for the Nemo System. From Ergo, an ocean planet with vast oil resources but no (remaining) native life, to a system name that most assume is a reference to aquatics (but is actually an acronym for Norman, Ellis, Mau, and Ochoa; surnames of the founding partners of NemoCo, the company credited with discovering the system), the Nemo System is a place where things are not always what they seem.
Even the system’s discovery date has been called into question. Official records credit Dae-ho Ochoa, who was then a partner in NemoCo, with finding the system in 2364, but some believe he first visited the system in 2362, a discrepancy credited to corporate intrigue during Humanity’s unregulated early terraforming era.
The controversy centered on Ochoa who, in 2362, was a security contractor for the Tadmor Terraforming Concern in the Fora System. One day, co-workers lost contact with Ochoa while he was on a routine patrol. As a search party mobilized, Ochoa surfaced and then promptly quit without an explanation or logging his last day’s flight path. That last detail went unnoticed by Tadmor management, who were overwhelmed by issues surrounding their botched terraforming of Fora III. Exactly what Ochoa did that day eventually led to a lawsuit calling into question Nemo’s discovery date.
In 2364, the nascent NemoCo purchased all Fora-based terraforming platforms from Tadmor at a steep discount. Tadmor was desperate for credits to address legal problems, and cut NemoCo a deal believing they would have to shoulder the cost of disassembling the massive platforms to get them to fit through the system’s medium sized jump point. Yet, shortly after the purchase, NemoCo announced the discovery of an all-access jump from Fora to an entirely new system, which they promptly christened Nemo. An incredible stroke of luck, claimed NemoCo executives. For Tadmor, it was too big of a coincidence to ignore; particularly once they heard who found the new system.
Dae-ho Ochoa’s discovery of Nemo sent Tadmor digging through his employment file, which prompted a review of his sudden and strange departure from the company. Eventually, Tadmor filed a lawsuit against NemoCo alleging Ochoa had discovered the jump to Nemo the day he quit, and they were entitled to a stake of NemoCo’s operations. Despite some circumstantial evidence, what Tadmor really needed was Ochoa’s nav computer. However, Ochoa had sold his old Aurora and had no idea where it was. Tadmor investigators searched the known universe but were unable to find it. Lacking the evidence to prove their claim, Tadmor’s lawsuit was thrown out of court and the company subsequently dissolved.
Subsequently, the history of the Nemo System is entwined with NemoCo in more ways than name. Even the system’s pivot from oil provider to tourist destination originated with NemoCo. They were the first to market the Space Whale to the universe, and convert Ergo’s outdated oil rigs into tourist destinations — at a cost that eventually sank the company, but planted the seed for future entrepreneurs. Despite their incredible luck in Nemo, the company suffered from misguided leadership, and failing to establish a foothold anywhere else in the Empire, slowly faded away.
While NemoCo is no more, their namesake system is thriving. Much like the Space Whale, even though the system is not exactly what it seems, people continue to be intrigued by it.