The corpus of Candor City has lasted for hundreds of years, moving from nimble youth to comfortable middle age over that time. As its needs grew, it reclaimed parts of the great river estuary, and even the sea itself succumbed to the demands of a large and successful starport.
Inland, the old seacoast left dry millennia ago was tamed and became the preferred haunt of the wealthy and the reclusive, while in the great central business district, soaring towers of chromium and glass sprang from the ground like noble weeds, fed by the nourishment of trade and greed in equal measure.
When the Twilight happened, Candor City had to tighten its belt like any other redundant worker, except this employment statistic discovered there were no more jobs to be had. Standards slipped and expenditure dropped, and all those little things that made life bearable were gone. Far from losing weight, the City became bloated and fat with the influx of refugees from failing colonies and outposts, while its roadways became clogged with the dispossessed and the desperate.
Panic measures against the strange dust that grotesquely transformed people and animals caused the City to be sectioned off into zones, a sclerosis that created ghettos and facilitated crime on an unprecedented scale.
The last great change brought about on the City was done some nine years ago, only a week or so after the destruction of Gateway. The attack came with only a few minutes warning, and was the last known sighting of the Lazloi.
The Lazloi known as Alisandra Zilaerion and her ship, The Screaming Fist, appeared in system amongst a rag tag fleet of vessels that had already fled the Gateway system weeks earlier. The compact but deadly merchant cruiser moved through the startled flock like a bird of prey, shrugging off the ineffectual efforts of navy escorts to stop it with terrifying firepower.
Once it had reached orbit over Candor City, it commenced a surgical strike on every building belonging to the Sansica Corporation within the City and immediate environs. It paid particular attention to the headquarters building in the centre of the City, where its beams of energy struck again and again. The beam did not stop till every sub-basement and foundation stone had been melted and turned to molten slag.
Incredibly, the surrounding buildings were largely unaffected, leading scientists to speculate that the beam was some kind of disintegrator weapon. Since matter cannot be destroyed, its seems the bulk of the Sansica building was transformed into a strange distorted flower, each petal being a smooth amalgam of metal, masonry and glass, while copious amounts of dust and particulates were washed into the surrounding streets and sewers causing havoc for years afterwards.
Its job apparently done, The Screaming Fist left the system and the Lazloi have not been heard from since. Speculation as to why it targeted the Sansica Corporation is rife, but seems consistent with the current theories that the Lazloi have chosen to attack us through a combination of military power and economic sabotage. Attacking a large and successful corporation would be a further blow to a shattered economy, particularly as the government is struggling to contain the dust, which is almost certainly of Lazloi origin.
As the downtrodden citizens of this dying city make their tortuous way home tonight, they will see on the horizon a perpetual reminder of the apocalypse that accursed white haired race have visited upon us.
-- Jai Houdri, reporter at large, formerly of the Candor Intersolar News Service
Dystopia ecosystem with custom terrain model created in Bryce 5.0
Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 6 Pro Studio. Post processed in Photoshop CS2