Sunday, December 4, 2016


Type: Terrestrial (Martian)
Primary Star: K0V (Orange Dwarf)
Gravity: .8 g
Diameter: 10,753.62 km
Atmospheric Pressure: .66 atm
Atmospheric Composition: 84% CO2, 16% Nitrogen, trace other gases
Surface Temperature (Mean): 9 C
Day Length: 15.37 hours
Orbital Period: 414 Days
Satellites: None
Gate Access: Ascension Gate, Fissure Gate
Notes: Heavy Volcanism, Resources, Interesting Sky
Veronica, named by original ExploreNet discoverers operating out of Oberon - who went through several voting iterations before settling on the name, would normally be a completely unremarkable marginal world. It is somewhere between Earth and Mars in size and conditions, with it's carbon and volcanic cycles only just on the down turn which renders the atmosphere unpleasantly toxic - but otherwise with manageable temperature, pressure, gravity and plenty of polar ice and subsurface water deposits. It's only other notable features are an interesting Night Sky - as it is on the outskirts of a relatively young solar cluster, and the fact that like Mars, the volcanic activity appears to have generated interesting and useful ore deposits which could be mined for colonization and export. But, the original Gatecrashers operating with the Love and Rage collective didn't have the time or resources on their own to make good on this, they mostly left it alone, except for a handful of prospectors and astronomy buffs looking to gather some interesting data. It would have remained an obscure Fissure Gate locale to be dug up in the future when somebody wanted to move to a "not as bad" Mars.
Fast forward a couple of years, and something interesting happened. The Gate Address for Veronica is found in the Ascension Gate - the primary exoplanet colony of the Planetary Consortium and their marvel of a colonization effort. To them, a slightly warmer and heavier Mars is a walk in the park for terraforming and colonization. And soon new exploratory settlements and surveying begins on the world. They initially think about naming the planet, but decide to accept the original convention out of respect for the original team. Even so, the growing settlement came to a bit of surprise to the Autonomists operating out of the Fissure Gate, who were deeply concerned with the authoritarian and exploitative attitude of the Planetary Consortium's colonization efforts. Originally, it appears that the Consortium's Ministry wanted to put pressure to remove influx of protesting Anarchists and block Fissure Gate connections, but the Pathfinder corporation was able to staunch efforts to avoid conflicts involving planetary claiming rights and general informal rules of the Gatecrashing community. Pathfinder's attempts to keep things civil have so far worked, but there is a deep undercurrent of ideological and political conflict on the world.
Veronica's primary settlement is New Helium, a dome city operated by Pathfinder under the cyberdemocratic lines of the Planetary Consortium. The current population is just under 300,000. While Pathfinder is the controlling interest, several major players in the Hypercorp scene have invested in it, including Fa Jing, Ecologene and Starware. While a majority of the population is either indentures or workers under "homesteading" contracts, a small slice of the population is enterprising Extropian-leaning autonomists, who have utilized the easier access of the Fissure Gate to migrate to Veronica and open up many small businesses which thrive among the colonial population. This group often acts as a barrier or intermediary between the two major population groups on the planet. On the one hand, the large bulk of settlers from Pathfinder are "honest folk", who are simply trying to work either off an indenture contract or a pro-colonial agreement with Pathfinder to help expand Consortium influence and make a profit and a comfortable living - with handfuls of corporate overseers and management with what they feel are very "normal" concerns about long term profit and productivity. On the other side is a vocal and active minority of autonomist "dissidents". Working in philosophical opposition to many Consortium policies, they wish to increase liberty and autonomy and "free" Veronica from what they feel is a tyrannical influence. The streets of New Helium are alive with memetic warfare. Utilizing Extropian middlemen or darknet set ups, Autonomists run "pirate radio" networks which disseminate open source and uncensored news, and technical data, and operate "charitable institutions" to provide services which must normally be paid for. Meanwhile, Pathfinder runs a tight ship on security, which some may find oppressive has had genuinely positive results on crime and public safety. Their ads for jobs and colonial incentives fill the public AR Fog, trying to entice new workers and immigrants, and reminding the existing ones to have pride in their work. All of this comes with a more dangerous undercurrent. It is provable that the Fissure Gate has allowed unreputable, even antisocial or disreputable people through to Veronica from their side, and many rumors persist that they are deliberately exiling such people there. From both ends more militant anarchists in cooperation with Barsoomians appear to be smuggling in resources, equipment and personnel to stage strikes and uprisings among the indentures. And while Pathfinder has not allocated those resources, they are known to be in contact with Direct Action to place additional military-grade security on site. And then there is the final population of Veronica, groups of semi-nomads who live outside the dome or small surveying stations known as the "Squatters", autonomists who utilize relatively inexpensive, high utility synthmorphs such as Daityas and Synthtaurs to live off the grid and are known to harass colonial survey and security teams.
Of most concern to political and intelligence entities is that if something hostile occurs on Veronica, if the political ramifications will spill out into the Solar System back home, or remain localized beyond the Gates...

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