(All Worldbuilding Wednesday posts are here, and as always, you can ask questions about this or any other Parhelionverse thing on the Tumblr blog! These posts aren’t necessary to understand the comic, but they might be handy for summarizing context. Patreon backers can read one post into the future.)
Excerpted from Encyclopedia Xenogeologica, v79.914.6z, unabridged, Ponoma Publishing House, a Yima subsidiary
Atomic number: 242
Containment guidelines: Treat it as intel and act accordingly
Appearance: Jagged, iridescent crystals, predominantly purple, with nigh-infinite fractal complexity
Immediate health risks: None in crystal form, but long-term dust inhalation is linked to respiratory troubles and temporal uncoupling
Melting point: 391 K
Known locations: Consult Appendix 37.4.a (note that deposits with strategic value will be redacted in the absence of sufficient clearance)
Properties: Each shard of forsite shows the universe in miniature, updated without a speed-of-light delay. Typically, the resolution only shows individual galactic clusters at best. Roughly one in fifteen million shards is pure enough to show sufficient detail for espionage.
Xenogeologists have reached no conclusions on how forsite works. Their papers are little more than frantic hand-waving and repeating “quantum entanglement” as a mantra, though disputes over the exact details of the hand-waving have ruined countless collaborations and friendships.
In summary: thinking of it as ‘magical’ is a decent enough way to round it off.
Applications: As mentioned, it is tremendously useful for espionage, especially against those shrouded in spies and secrecy. Deposits are abundant, stretching across entire mountain ranges, with purity ranging wildly. Mining them is straightforward, but the equipment to process and evaluate shards is prohibitively expensive. Despite official denials, it is nearly certain that any political faction or warlord worth its salt has at least one forsite mine.
Crystals slightly too impure to have intel value are sold at a premium to jewelers, and many religions ascribe holy significance to the mineral (see Encyclopedia Xenotheologica, p971).
Forsite dealers skew smug and cruel, violently paranoid about their assets. [Spurious editorializing- cut for next edition. -ed]