Ah, the glories of the Orbitals, the scientific platforms, the Offworld Colonies, maintained by Protocol Mars Authority and the Luna Authority. These islands on the frontiers of human understanding work tirelessly to expand the pocket of human existence so that our descendants may breathe air on a Green Mars - some less willingly than others. Offworld is where dissent still breathes in Tycho Under, and the storm of revolution gathers pace in the Void of space.

High Earth Orbit and LaGrange Points 5 and 6 are currently occupied by several large stations, most of which were built after the revolution in selenic construction materials following the War. Initially the orbital platforms were built as refuges to protect the world's rich and famous from the virulent effects of the New Mutation. Later, when the danger subsided, the Orbitals gained extraterritorial status under Protocol and have served the world's elite as places of rejuvenation and as military shelters. Although several orbitals are still nominally owned by national governments, they are de facto independent and exercise great power over groundside through their technological prowess. Some of the world's most advanced microprocessors, crystals and xenorganics can only be cultivated in microgravity, and the Orbitals cartel makes full use of leverage it exerts to squeeze concessions from grounder governments. Since many of the Orbital artifacts are too fragile to operate on groundside, many people journey into the Big Black to make use of them in orbit. The costs of space travel are still astounding, so frivolous journeys are rare. The Orbitals trade exclusively through the Pacifica Confederation, a place of unrestricted flows which has a special arrangement with them. Though the Orbital population is still too small to exert much economic weight, their high-intensity processing sustains a booming economy in Pacifica.

Note Well: Almost all Orbitals are Contamination Level I facilities, and as such are ultra-clean. No-one with a history of illness or a previous parasitic/viral/bacterial infection is allowed to enter. The Orbitals are the exclusive domain and (in case of disaster) last refuge of the very rich and the very powerful, and the Orbitals will do everything in their power to stay ultra-clean. The nest eggs stashed in their holds are their principal source of income. Orbitals are protected by constellations of warsats and anti-ballistic defences to deter impudent terrorists.

The orbital domains in the webworks are astounding pieces of clean-sculpted design and lightspeed dataflows. Orbital microprocessors can run up to 5x faster than equivalent groundside chips, and so some of the world's hottest Vaults are located in Orbitals. These include the most important moneybanks and mediabanks. Several Great Minds also find the clean netspace of the Orbitals to be like a vacation; Orbital domains are famously well-guarded by PSIs and are mostly free of unpleasant netspawn.

The largest and most famous orbitals are as follows:

  • T'ieng Lung - or Celestial Dragon, this the hermetically-sealed research laboratory for Costind, Zhongguo's military research arm.
  • HALO - originally an American staging base for moon exploration (HALO stands for High Altitude Logistics Orbital), this city in the sky currently specializes in extreme medical operations and genetic restructuring therapy, including the controversial Leonization bath.
  • Trinity - a European Union joint orbital which broke away in 2033 in a bitter legal dispute and which has ever since been boycotted by its former masters. Trinity supplies much of the world's exotic processing requirements, but has suffered economically from the EU embargo and is structurally decaying since no-one else is willing to provide the heavy lift to send spare parts.
  • Carcerus - an infamous supersecurity prison for the world's greatest mass murderers, fanatical religious leaders, biological terrorists and madmen. Maintained by the World Court and mostly serviced by tele-operated robots. No EVA spacesuits, no shuttlecraft, no way to go but down.
    +++Haven't met any 'invulnerable prophets' yet who could survive atmospheric re-entry in their underwear...+++[Krypter]+++