There are billions of stars, millions of planets, but there is only one man, Terrance McDoogal. Welcome to LIU Atlas. 

                                                                 LIU Atlas - Nidavellir
The Ludgonian Industrial Union's galaxy contains billions of stars and billions of planets. Unfortunately, most residents of the LIU could only name a handful of these worlds. In order to improve astronomy grades across the LIU, TV2 has started a new program called LIU Atlas. Follow our host, Terrance McDoogal, as he takes you on a tour across the LIU and some of its more obscure worlds.

Note: This episode is presented in full screen. The corresponding dialogue is underneath each photo.
Doog: “Welcome to another episode of LIU Atlas. I’m your host, Terrance “Doog” McDoogal. For the next few episodes, we’ll be exploring the Blattarius Halo, a ring of dark matter that encircles the galaxy. The actual halo, itself, can not be directly imaged. Dark matter does not interact on the electromagnetic spectrum. However, the halo’s size and structure can be determined with gravitational measurements. It should also be noted that the halo is part of a much larger web of dark matter that fills the universe. This halo-like structure is not unique to the LIU Galaxy.”
Doog: “Our first destination within the halo is the planet, Nidavellir. Nidavellir is a rogue planet, meaning that it has no star. Nidavellir is positioned in the Blattarius Halo’s inner rim, where it orbits the galactic center directly. This position places Nidavellir in gravitational tug-of-war. The halo pulls the planet outward, while the galaxy pulls the planet inward. This constant gravitational battle has liquidized much of Nidavellir’s surface into lava.”
Doog: “Alright. I’ve been dropped off at a facility on the planet’s surface. Despite having no star, Nidavellir is blazing hot. This is due to its thick atmosphere and the constant eruptions of the planet’s molten lava. It’s relatively dark during the day. Other than the lava, the only source of light is the LIU galaxy. Although seen edge-on, the galaxy dominates the sky. You will also notice that I’m wearing an environmental suit. The atmosphere is thick, but it is loaded with poisonous sulfuric gases. In other words, this isn’t a nice planet. 

I’ve been told to meet my guide here. I’ve noticed that they wrote the word ‘wimpy’ over the door. That better not be a knock at me.”
Ul Brin: “Welcome to Nidavellir. I am Ul Brin of the Calx. You must be Doog.”
Doog: “Indeed, I am. So, I was pretty angry when I saw your ‘wimpy’ sign, but now I realize that was not a slight towards me. It’s a description of your little race. What are you, like four feet tall?”
Ul Brin: “Don’t let my size fool you. My silicon-based biology and bio-mechanical suit make me far from wimpy.”
Doog: “So it’s an insult towards me? Did my crew put you up to this?”
Ul Brin: “It’s not an insult. The sign doesn’t even say ‘wimpy’. It says ‘WIMP -Y’. WIMP being an acronym for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, and Y stands for yellow. This is one of several facilities on the planet’s surface. Each is denoted by a color.”
Doog: “Weak Massive Particles…is that an insult? Are you calling me a wimpy fatty?”
Ul Brin: “Sigh…if I were to insult you, I would take the intelligence angle, given your lack of comprehension. For the last time, I’m not insulting you. WIMP’s are the particles that constitute Dark Matter.”
Doog: “Oh, ok. Gotcha. So, this facility deals with dark matter?”
Ul Brin: “Yes, in a way. Let’s head inside.”
Ul Brin: “This is Lab Y. Before you get offended somehow, lab is short for laboratory. I am not insinuating that you are a dog.”
Doog: “Psssh. I knew that.”
Ul Brin: “The lab’s primary function is the study of dark matter, specifically the collection of dark matter. The LIU has developed some methods, but they are not exactly cheap. We are trying to find better methods.”
Ul Brin: “This is a gravity map of the LIU Galaxy. The Blattarius Halo is clearly visible on the outskirts of the galaxy. We’ve closely mapped this halo to determine the best places to install dark matter collectors.”
Doog: “Install collectors? So, none of the dark matter is collected here on Nidavellir?”
Ul Brin: “Correct. Nidavellir is only the command center for dark matter collection. Because of our position on the inner rim of the halo, Nidavellir is not a good candidate for collections. Costs would be too high.”
Ul Brin: “Dark matter makes up approximately 26% of the universe’s entire mass/energy. It is highly abundant. If it was easy to collect, dark matter would have almost no value. There’s essentially a limitless supply.”
Doog: “I gather it is not easy to collect.”
Ul Brin: “It is not. It is a slow and expensive process. This limits the supply, raising its value. The LIU wants to be the first to find better collection methods, so they can take advantage of the high market prices.”
Doog: “I see. So, that’s all you do here? Coordinate dark matter collection and look for faster methods of collection? This is going to be a short episode.”
Ul Brin: “No. There is much more. Follow me.”
Ul Brin: “Nidavellir was chosen for this role for several reasons. For one, it is home to my species. We play an important role in dark matter collections. The cheapest process of collection produces enormous amounts of radiation. Most biological beings could not survive on a collector for very long. My race’s silicon-based biology is resistant to radiation.”
Doog: “I’m scheduled to visit one of these collectors soon, so that’s nice to know.”
Ul Brin: “Yeah, good luck with that. Anyway, Nidavellir is also home to an important mining industry. Turn left here.”
Doog: “What kind of mining do you do?”
Ul Brin: “Nidavellir has high concentrations of metals from the platinum group, specifically Osmium. Osmium is the densest naturally occurring element. Its rigidity, toughness, and durability is necessary in the construction of dark matter collectors.”
Doog: “I might start calling some of my crew members Osmium, because they are so freaking dense sometimes. Ha, I crack myself up.”
Ul Brin: “They are not alone in their denseness, I assure you.”
Doog: “Yeah…hey wait, are you talking about me?”
Ul Brin: “I’ve been accused of insulting you all day…I figured I would actually throw in a real one.”
Ul Brin: “I will continue on while you contemplate your comeback. The lava pits of Nidavellir are home to more than just Osmium. They are the primordial pools that my species was born in.”
Doog: “Ha. Got my comeback. You were born out of a hole! Wait. I guess technically, I was too. Hmmm. I‘ll come up with something,”
Ul Brin: “Take your time. Now, as I was saying, my species was born in pools like this. We would have remained there too, if not for the Lifters.”
Doog: “The Lifters?”
Ul Brin: “Yes. Let’s head back inside.”    
Ul Brin: “The Museid race, better known as the Lifters, also call Nidavellir home.”
Doog: “Which ones? The monkeys or the scary looking guys with the helmets?”
Ul Brin: “Not the monkeys, Mr. Osmium.”
Doog: “I was kidding, So, do these guys carry lots of stuff or something? Why are they called the lifters? ”
Ab Demwa: “Because we use advanced genetics to lift other species from pre-sentience to sentience. It is a process known as uplift. I am Ab Demwa, by the way. I’ll be your guide for the remaining portion of this tour.” 
Doog: “Uplift?”
Ab Demwa: “Yes. It is an advanced process that involves genetic manipulation. Essentially, we give species that are close to sentience a little kick. We boost them to the next level.”
Doog: “Any species that I know?”
Ab Demwa: “We’ve experimented with uplifting several intelligent animal species around the galaxy. We’ve had a few successes. The Calx race is probably our best work though.”
Doog: “Wait, Ul Brin, you’ve been uplifted?”
Ul Brin: “Yes. The Lifters rescued my species from the unknowing ignorance of non-sentience. We are indebted to them.”
Doog: “These red rock things are you before uplift?”
Ul Brin: “Yes. But we weren’t rocks; just immobile, intelligent life forms on the edge on sentience. The Lifters brought us over the edge.”  
Doog: “Interesting. And now I suppose you are looking to uplift monkeys? Otherwise, the whole monkey jail thing is a little weird.”
Ab Demwa: “Yes. They are a species we are experimenting with. We’ve had some mixed results thus far. Take a look at Kiko over there.”
Kiko: “Me Kiko. Me like bananas. Me not monkey. Me like bananas.”
Ab Demwa: “We’ve lifted Kiko to the extent that she has some signs of sentience: speech, emotions, and self-awareness. There’s work to be done though.”
Doog: “Like what?”
Kiko: “Me rip off everyone’s arms if no banana. Me throw poo. Me Kiko.”
Doog: “Never mind. So what’s next?
Ab Demwa: “Follow me.”
Doog: “What is this? Are you uplifting your own species?”
Ab Demwa: “Unfortunately, we are not. These are hibernation tanks. We keep half our population in stasis, or hibernation, at all times.”
Doog: “Why?”
Ab Demwa: “My species is endangered. In fact, endangered is not even the correct word. My species is pre-extinct.”
Doog: “I don’t get it. How are you pre-extinct?”
Ab Demwa: “We were too quick, too eager to exploit our genetic expertise. Millions of modifications to our genes rendered us nearly immortal, but such genetic manipulation came at a price. We lost the ability to reproduce.”
Doog: “If you’re immortal, why is reproduction a big deal? It’s fun and all, but it’s no longer necessary to keep your race from going extinct.”
Ab Demwa: “Yes, we once believed the same, but remember, I said nearly immortal. We’ve fixed all physical flaws, we no longer age, and we are immune to all disease. But that is not enough. We are still vulnerable to trauma.”
Doog: “So, in other words, you can be shot and killed, but you’ll never die of the flu.”
Ab Demwa: “Exactly. Trauma was never really an issue before. Besides an accident here and there, almost none of my race ever died.”
Doog: “I’m sensing a sad, arrival-of-the-LIU, story.”
Ab Demwa: “Yes. We foolishly believed our genetic superiority would allow us to prevail against the LIU during the Mid Rim Unification War. We were wrong. The LIU destroyed our homeworld, resulting in the death of 99.99% of my race. There are less than fifty of us now.”
Doog: “Sorry to hear that. The LIU can be harsh.”
Ab Demwa: “No need to be sorry. It’s easy to blame the LIU, but we were foolish to resist…foolish to make these modifications to our genetics. All we can do now is attempt to leave a mark on the galaxy before we all depart.”
Doog: “Fifty is not a lot, but there’s still some of you left. If you’re careful, your race will be here for a long while.”
Ab Demwa: “Yes. We hope. That’s part of the reason we’ve moved to the edge of the galaxy. It’s safer here. We’re far from exploding suns, meteors and asteroids, and other cataclysmic, civilization-ending events. We wear specialized, armored suits that offer us maximum protection. We also, as you see, keep part of our population in stasis, safe from all external dangers.” 
Doog: “Is cloning an option? Could you clone more of your race?”
Ab Demwa: “It is possible, I suppose, to make exact genetic copies of ourselves, but we have not been given permission to attempt this yet. The LIU funds all our genetic research. We have already made the mistake of crossing the LIU once…we will not cross them ever again. For now, we are focusing on uplifting species chosen by the LIU.”
Doog: “The LIU chose to uplift the Calx?”
Ab Demwa: “Yes. Their biology made them perfect workers for the dark matter collectors. We‘ve lifted thousands of them.”
Doog: “Alright, what am I seeing here?”
Ab Demwa: “This is where we uplift the Calx.”
Doog: “How is it done?”
Ab Demwa: “ It’s much too complicated to explain to a laymen. I guess you can say that it involves splicing more advanced segments of DNA into the non-sentient beings. That’s dumbing it down a lot though. There’s DNA imprinting, mutation controls, and RNA retro-animation too.”
Doog: “So much for dumbing it down. I only understood like three words in that last statement.”
Ab Demwa: “Indeed. It’s very complicated.”
Doog: “You said that this is where you uplift the Calx. Are you still uplifting them?”
Ab Demwa: “The process of uplift starts with creating a large, genetically diverse population. We can’t let them reproduce on their own just yet; there’s more diversity required. So, yes. We are still uplifting non-sentient Calx into the sentient beings you see here. Each non-sentient is genetically altered and then left to grow into their new form in mutation control pools like this.”
Ul Baby: “Momma, dadda.”
Doog: “Uh, maybe we should go. I already have enough alleged children out around the galaxy, I don‘t need another. Besides, he looked at me when he said momma…which is somewhat damaging to my manliness.”
Ab Demwa: “Yeah, we better head out before we imprint on him too much. Follow me.”
Ab Demwa: “We are building up a solid population before we begin to allow the Calx to reproduce on their own. However, we have began testing the Calx to make sure reproduction is possible. This is important if they are to be a viable, long-term race. We’d hate for our genetic alterations to render the Calx sterile like us.”
Doog: “Testing? Are we watching what I think I we’re watching?”
Ab Demwa: “We are watching a breeding session between to Calx.”
Doog: “Holy Kaadu! That’s what I thought. So gross…so wrong…yet…yet I can not seem to turn away. I feel like I should be inserting dollars somewhere. Do I leave a tip?”
Doog: “Well folks, Nidavellir is an interesting place. It houses the base of operations for all dark matter collection in the LIU Galaxy. It’s home to the Calx, a race of beings being uplifted in order to populate the dark matter collectors. Nidavellir is also home to the last of the Lifters, a fading race of expert geneticists. It also has some of the galaxy’s worst peep shows. There's some seriously weird stuff going on right behind me. Weird stuff that I am going to return to viewing in just a few seconds. Got to go. See ya!”

Doog: “Well, that gives another definition to rock hard…”