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Located close to an ancient, though only recently discovered Jumpgate, Ymir was surveyed by one of Universal Terraform's robotic probes eight months prior to Sakai arrival aboard the Skydancer whereupon it reported Ymir to be a standard Class-4; a rocky terrestrial world with no surface water and minimal geological or atmospheric activity. However, by the time she had arrived the planet appeared to have been totally strip-mined, with an unusually high level of particulate matter in the atmosphere right across the planet and a greenhouse effect that had increased the planet's surface temperature by a factor of 1.43.
A more detailed analysis quickly ruled out an asteroid or meteor collision, and after launching a series of satellites and sensor probes, found that there was no Quantium 40 detected on the planet's surface at all and only trace elements suspended in the atmosphere. It also showed that approximately twenty-eight percent of the planet's surface crust had simply been removed, exposing what appeared to be the planet’s upper mantle. Recalling her previous brush with the unknown over Sigma 957, Catherine was instantly on guard and realized that the sheer magnitude of power required to blast away the outer surface of a planet to a depth of from ten to thirty-five miles deep over twenty-eight percent of the planet in such a small period of time was far beyond the abilities of any known race. She immediately sent a preliminary report in an emergency-coded transmission to the coordinates where the UT Operations ship was scheduled to be.
- The description of the devastation of Ymir is consistent with the damage caused by a Shadow planet killer, which decimates a planet's surface with thousands of thermonuclear missiles that penetrate the crust before detonating, exposing the mantle.