Saturday, January 28, 2017


From p. 21 Rimward:
Aventine is the largest surface settlement on Ceres,
home to the largest transcrustal elevator operation.
Life in Aventine can charitably be described as dull,
given that the station is primarily a transit waystation
and shipping hub, lacking in luxuries or decent
entertainment. Most residents are contracted workers
for the CTA and various other corporations. A mass
driver outside the settlement launches payloads to the
Piazzi station in Ceres orbit.
The Aventine elevator connects to Wujec, a
combined ice warren and bathyscaphe habitat in the
Hidden Sea. Wujec is far larger, more interesting, and
prosperous, home to several major bioscience outfits
and a major cultural outpost for aquatic uplifts."

Aventine is the largest surface settlement on Ceres, based out of the Kerwan crater along Ceres' equatorial regions. Despite it's large size, Aventine is generally considered a dull place. The dome city is made of low, small spaces and tends to have rounded, ablated edges and surfaces due to the low gravity and the fact that objects given a lot of motion tend to bounce around. For this, the atmosphere is slightly over-pressurized, which can be uncomfortable for some biomorphs. The other notable feature is the large mass driver outside, operated by the CTA and used to send cargo up to Piazzi.

Aventine's permanent population is almost entirely working-class, either indentures (or just poor people) or jammers/overseers for bots which handle most of the loading and unloading of cargo related to the elevator, hab and elevator technicians, or the service industry sprung up around this class or the tourists looking for the Hidden Sea. Their transient population is slightly larger, a combination of travelers and tourists visiting Ceres, migrant labor, entrepreneurial types visiting business on Ceres or looking to settle there, or handfuls of surface dwelling settlers and prospectors - it's very easy to find a rocket sled or hovercraft ride on the outer edge of the city. Despite being based on Extropian principles, the CTA holds a majority control on the city, from the elevator to the warehousing districts, to the mass driver. Most "law" is handled by the "CTA Police", who tend to be budget rent-a-cops on overpaid contracts and make sure the hab and it's industry are secured. Even so, the city has a decent spread of influences from other corps, including both Consortium hypercorps (Such as ComEx and Prosperity Group) and small, Extropian-styled local outfits.

This also leads to an interesting clash of cultures and lifestyles in Aventine. In the public spaces like the spaceport and the main street which runs to the elevator, there tends to be tall, softly curved arches and open spaces which display AR ads for a number of goods and services available to visitors both in Aventine and it's subcrustal sister hab Wujec. This main drag is where most major business have offices, all under careful observation by CTA security drones.  Around the elevator itself is a wide open plaza (though it has layers of safety netting above) filled with small shops and booths resembling an open air market - selling grossly overpriced and often tacky merch to tourists. Further out, Aventine almost immediately gets industrial; sprawling warehouse districts which take advantage of the light gravity gives way to tight residential blocks and shopping arcades which have more in common with corridors than streets, but are packed with small shops, restaurants and social clubs for the local workers. A lot of the locals are culturally Catholic, but not extremely bioconservative, though it's not uncommon to hear of people crashing or working in Aventine for a while while trying to immigrate to the Jovian Republic.

There are a handful of small street gangs in Aventine's back alleys, many styled as legit business fronts, but they're relatively quiet, and all of them in some way pay tribute to the Hidden Concern, who prevents them from really disruptive actions which could hurt trade on Ceres. They mostly deal in socially disliked substances and services, or indulge in cheap piracy of high-priced good for the locals. The most common criminal practice is being Shanghaied or "Wujacked", where a visitor gets severely drugged or boozed up and ends up in an enormous (faked) debt, wake up on an elevator ride down to Wujec where they're already in an indentureship contract, usually for a risky job people don't volunteer for, such as undersea mining or ice cutting. This pays for the gangs and cartels because they tend to acquire the immediate possessions and assets of a mark and get work for selling an indenture contract. Legal firms who fight this kind of thing tend to have accidents in dark hab spaces as well.

Wujec is the sister hab to Aventine, a hybrid bathyscaphe/beehive hab at the bottom of the Aventine elevator, anchored roughly to the bottom of the mantle, with beehive tunnels extending up and bathyscaphe spheres extending out and below into the upper levels of the hidden sea. The elevator is a fairly quick ride, with a system of movements and cars based off of the functions of the Earth and Mars space elevators - though much smaller. Travel is cheap, and the elevator cars push up and down at speeds in excess of 200 kph, making it a relatively short trip at about 30 minutes or less. High speed cars move upwards of 500 kph, which takes about 10 minutes, but the high speeds and closed spaces often makes transhumans uncomfortable.

Wujec is an interesting complement to Aventine, a much more diverse and cosmopolitan population, who are generally wealthier than those of Aventine. It's considered a touchstone of culture for many aquatic uplifts - firmly divided between Sapient and Mercurial lines. Pro- or integration-friendly cetaceans like Dolphins and Porpoises are more strongly Sapient, while Neo-Octopi and Neo-Orcas (Often called the "NO Party") tend to lean more mercurial, and some of their number are even anti-human, seeing them as a "weaker" species. Wujec also has some popular cultural industries, like basket-weaving, aquacrafts (like shell, coral and driftwood carvings, pearl jewelry, etc.) and a cutting edge submarine and submersible drone industry. Wujec also hosts two Ice Hockey teams the local Wujec Submariners and the Aventine Aquarians, who have strong rivalries with the Prosperina Pearls and the Occator Sickles respectively.

It's also interesting to note the weapons culture in Wujec. While effectively open carry, like many Extropian habs, the small confines and pressurized or aquatic environments discourage use of a lot of ranged weapons, meaning blades are the most common. Almost everyone carries a knife or small sword for personal defense and utility, and people who go out "into the deep" will often carry wasp knives or long spears. Thus, there's a lot of culture in knife-making, and some very fine blades are produced by Wujec. Local legal and security contractors haven't missed this opportunity, so don't be surprised if one is challenged to a knife fight to resolve a dispute in place of a traditional tort claim. This causes some clash with other Extropian habs - whose contractors do not always recognize the validity of the duel.

Wujec is much more strongly anarchocapitalist than Aventine, with multiple corporate interests here, holding and maintaining spaces. While the CTA runs the elevator, and thus who comes and goes, they have a much less firm hold on the many neighborhoods and citizens here. Wujec is large enough to have several neighborhoods and zones, broken up by spheres and cluster sections, with icicle spires and beehives above. 
  • Conditor aka "Central", the region built around the elevator. This contains CTA's headquarters, and several other important functions they hold, and major corporate outposts. Hotels for tourists are also present here, along with a lot of ads for services elsewhere in Wujec. This is a very clean, neat region heavily policed by the CTA drones.
  • Little Winnipeg is a beehive district tunneled out above the Central sector, a primarily residential district populated by artisans and freelancers, scattered with small extropian businesses to service the residents. This is one of the major outposts for former-Canadiens this side of Titan, and tends to have more established, upper-middle class residents
  • Persephone's Garden is one of the first and larger spheres in the aquatic regions of Wujec, and is maintained as a public space by the Prosperity Group and is part park and part showroom, showing off many products of the corp both edible and aesthetic. 
  • Niflheim is another warren district, originally settled by a small Mutualist group, which has expanded to include the Titanian Embassy, and generally considered most friendly to non-extropian autonomists. This area is also known for a lot of prospectors and miners have set up shop under the careful eye of the CTA
  • The Lily Pond is a sphere district which anchors up to the mantle, and is partially flooded, and home to several bioscience outfits devoted to amphibious developments. Primarily here is RanaCorp, who develop transgenic amphibians for research and entertainment purposes, and a branch office of Skinthetic specializing in amphibious morphs. 
  • Fisherman's Wharf is a working-class district made of several clusters on the outer edge of the hab, with the residents mostly working as ice miners, hab techs and managing fisheries and aquaculture on the outskirts. It has a strange, early 20th century vibe, and is populated by a number of bars and clubs, with raunchy, nautical reference names like "Salty Sea Dogs", "Pearl-Diving" and "Skinny Dipping".
  • Dolphintown is a suburb sphere, which is partially flooded, and host to a number of Cetacean uplifts, mostly Dolphins (both in native and humanoid morphs). Due to the nature of Cetacean culture, they are a very open, social society more akin to a small scum or anarchist outpost than an extropian district. Also a prime tourist spot. 
  • The Puget Bell is an interesting community, mostly founded by a small cluster of native american descendants from the Pacific Northwest, in a Sphere. Here they attempt to recreate elements of their historical cultures and spread bits of their history to the populace, which also makes for good souvenir sales. Has a strong culture of both linguistics and cryptography - but has some odd cultural baggage with the Neo-Orcas. 
  • The Reef is a shanty of makeshift structures interwoven among the anchors and lowest layers of the mantle, populated by the poor, and more antisocial mercurials. It has a lot in common with Martian Souks or pre-Fall favelas. 
  • The Bilges are an unofficial name for deep, industrial sectors of the Hab. This handles power generation, environmentals and also is host to water purification and resource processing efforts which are shipped up the elevator. Dark, cramped, smelly (the ammonia) and often not built for Transhuman comfort, these sectors are used for illicit business purposes often, including many people being "removed" by the Hidden Concern. 
  • The small connecting strands and tunnels from major sphere or neighborhoods are usually called "The Drains" or "The Tubes" coming in both flooded and open air varieties. Some of these are transparent, allowing one to see the Hidden Sea and the exterior of Wujec. 

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