Fermite is an unusual and rare mineral, the crystal structure of which acts as a stabiliser for the radioactive element Fermium. Fermite has unusual properties that affect interactions many chemicals have with organic tissue.
The mineral was discovered and subsequently described during a 3582PT survey of the tomb world of Kannavax III in Wesrix's Sector, whose atmosphere was stripped away and biosphere sterilised by a nearby supernova in 530BE. The Dominion scientific crew that discovered it was a diverse multidisciplinary team, and were able to work out its effects on biochemical reactions as well as the solvent mix to incorporate it into pharmaceuticals before they finished their 1-year survey. Yuallon, the lead scientist on the expedition, is regarded by the Tulaki Ecclesiocracy to have ascended upon her death to the Court of Dekal the World-Shaper.
Fermite is a hydrous fermium aluminium phosphate hydroxide mineral with a rare tetragonal trapezohedral crystallography. It forms vitreous green to bluish green to white to colorless crystals, masses, and fibrous encrustations.
The most unusual aspect of the mineral is the presence of Fermium-257 in its crystal lattice, a strongly radioactive isotope with a half-life of only 100 standard days. This would normally be far too short-lived to be incorporated into a stable mineral. The crystal structure of fermite acts to somehow stabilise the nucleus of this short-lived isotope, preventing it from decaying. Fermite maintains its stabilised Fermium almost indefinitely - samples that have been tracked suggest that the half-life of the Fermium-257 in fermite has been lengthened to about 500,000 standard years.
The source of this stabilising effect is unknown. It is thought that the precise position of the phosphate ions in fermite's crystal lattice constrains the Fermium-257 nucleus and prevents alpha-particle emission somehow. A number of experiments have been carried out in the last few centuries to introduce other unstable isotopes to the stabilising structure of fermite, allowing them to last for more than a few seconds. So far, success has been limited at best.
It occurs within phosphatic nodules that have been bombarded with high-energy particle radiation for prolonged periods, generating fermium-257 within the mineral precursors. With the requirement for radiation to form, it is most commonly found on planets with thin or absent atmospheres, in meteorites or in the crust of planets with very high concentrations of radioactive elements in their geosphere.
Despite this requirement, samples of fermite can occasionally be found on habitable worlds. Geophysicists have theorised that this is a result of pinpoint irradiation of a planet's geosphere by distant tight-beam pulsars.
Fermite acts as a biochemical catalyst, increasing the speed at which interactions take place between organic molecules and a vast array of chemicals - particularly medicaments.
Samples of mineral fermite, when ground up and dissolved in a cocktail of acids and nanocapsules, can be incorporated into a variety of medicaments to enhance their effect, shortening the time before their effects take hold in the body.
Care must be taken in making up the solvent cocktail, as incorrect proportions can ruin both the drug and fermite sample.
Fermite is a type of Exotic Reagent - an Exotic Substance related to Corporeal Science. A physrep of some kind of mineral can be used to represent measures of this substance, small mineral samples can represent one or two measures, while larger physrep samples can hold more. Ideal fermite physreps are a milky white colour, but this is not required.
A measure of Fermite can be applied to any single measure of an injectable Medicament. Applying a measure of this substance will speed up the medicament's effects, halving all times and durations. This can make healing chemicals work faster, as well as deadly poisons. It also shortens the duration of beneficial substances - anything with a duration of an event will instead only last a single day, while anything that lasts until the end of the day will last only half that long (check how many hours you have left until time out, and then half that number).
As with all Exotic Substances, a character with at least 1 rank in the relevant speciality (Corporeal Science in this case) can spend 1 minute of appropriate roleplaying to apply 1 measure of Fermite to a Medicament. After this roleplaying, they should unpeel the sticker that represents this substance, and stick it to the lammie of the Medicament, modifying its game effect.