The “Parraxthryn Crystal” is a large network of crystalline conduits criss-crossing through the underground of the planet Parraxthryn. It appears to be some form of computer or information storage device, although much about its exact functions remains uncertain. It appears to be linked somehow to the “Grand Equation” that holds such great significance for The Culture.
The core of the network appears to be a spherical chamber some 150 meters underground beneath the main Parrax settlement on the planet. This chamber contains a large crystal sphere with numerous conduits running to it, as well as a platform with low pedestal that apparently serves as a control panel. The sphere has shown the ability to work as an advanced holographic data display, but it is not known whether that is its only function.
Apparently, the Crystal contains significant information about nearby star systems and the different sentient species that inhabit this region of the galaxy. It is also known to control the space defences of the Parraxthryn system. However, the Parrax clan believe that this is only the surface of the device’s true potential.
In late March 2117, the Nightstalker crew successfully brought a key back to the main chamber and activated the Crystal, initializing the following sequence
The Crystal scanned each species present (Human, M’rowan and Lupine), displaying various physiological information and identifying a particular system on a star map for each.
2. Species overview
The Crystal displayed more general information about different sentient alien species, first progressing through the seven known species – Humans, Lupines, M’rowans, Ssitrans, The Culture, The Hive and Kra’zoa – before adding an eighth, formerly unknown humanoid species.
The Crystal displayed a series of scenarios:
1. A large-scale space battle between technologically advanced starships that were clearly marked as Chinese and American.
2. A knighting ceremony in a throne room, carried out by a monarch, with a large audience of Humans in attendance.
3. A vote in a congress or parliament, with a predominantly Human membership, but also Lupines and M’rowans.
4. A destroyed Earth city, probably New York, in an apocalyptic landscape.
4. More systems
Finally returning to the star map, the Crystal highlighted several star systems, including Sol and Parraxthryn, as well as a system each in Hive, Culture and Kroath space, and four more systems located between Parraxthryn and Sol. It indicated that Parraxthryn had been somehow ‘activated’, whereas the others apparently had not.
The systems highlighted were:
- 31 Aquilae, in Culture space
- Alpha Serpentis, in Hive space
- Eta Serpentis, in Kra’zoa space
- Gliese 649
- Chi Draconis
- 70 Ophiuchi
- Ross 154
(See also the Crystal Planets map)