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
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]+++