[Habitat] Eden - Mercury

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Sepherim Sepherim's picture
[Habitat] Eden - Mercury

This a habitat I'm working on for the current adventure my players are going in. I'll post the full adventure once it is over and complete, but I wanted to share the habitat with you all first to see what you think about it, things I've forgotten, additional ideas, etc. All feel free to add to it as you like, as creating something together is always better than creating it by yourself.

History:
Eden was first colonized in Earth calendar’s year 2 AF by a small group of individuals fleeing the overcrowded space in the Lunar-Lagrange stations. They pooled all their resources to pay for the endeavor and started a new mining the zone in order to create space to live. Some more people moved after the colony was stablished, and though today it still remains a small settlement (even for Mercury) it has attracted some more people since and is slowly growing.

Physical Description:
Like all habitats in Mercury, Eden is an underground settlement, placed in the western internal edge of a two-kilometer wide crater. It’s entry is always in the dark from the sun, covered by rocky outcroppings that shade it, and is a large metal door, semicircular of three meters of radius.
Inside, the cave has been hollowed along time as mining has been done, leaving Eden to be nestled into mostly one large cave that has a gentle slope downward. The eastern side of it, closest to the door, is the residential area, with most housing carved out of the walls instead of being built, and so they hang everywhere from the bottom of the cave to the ceiling. In the center of the open cave you can find a few metallic buildings, that serve mostly as warehouses and public buildings. The northern edge was the first to be mined after the main space was complete, and is currently dedicated to food producing, with many kilometers of hydroponic plantations and a few small farms. Food is one of the main exports of the habitat, so this zone is ample and is always busy with people tending to it and keeping it working correctly. The southern and western sides of the cave are currently the main focus of the mining efforts, and as such are mostly avoided by most people not working in them for being too noisy, a noise that can be heard everywhere in the habitat during the turns in which people are working.
Most of the look of the habitat is quite backward, as it is rather poor and life in it is always demanding and complicated. The few buildings actually built and not carved seem to have been put up from remains of previous things and are full of patches and quick reparations; the ones carved are small and sober, and all of them have very few things that are not either useful or necessary for survivability in one way or another.

Population:
The population of the habitat is small, consisting of 2374 transhumans, one uplifted octopus and one AGI. There are 16 children of different ages, and all the rest are adults, 1299 of them in synthetic morphs. Most members of the community are either male or neuter, with many less women, which has given place to a series of different family models based around several men sharing one women (like in Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Cruel Mistress”), and also some solid numbers of homosexual male couples.
They freely accept people from the exterior if they wish to join, but few are willing or interested to live in these conditions.

Social Life and Organization:
Everyone here has very little free time, dedicating most of their time to either work or sleep and having few moments to themselves. They are organized into a direct democracy that gathers every day via the mesh in the Eden Council, where they discuss public matters and vote on the actions to take. Usually, most of them agree on most issues, so these votations are quite quick and give people some time to rest and exchange ideas on how their collective group should proceed. Everyone has right to one vote, except the AGI and the children under 15 years (twelve of them).
Everything in the habitat is of collective property, as is the work organization and privileges earned through it. This collective work organizes the time for everyone, as they get fed different tasks each day according to the current needs by the Programation Office. As they fulfill their tasks, new ones get sent to them via the Office, so everyone is permanently busy. Usually, the more time and men demanding tasks are those of mining, loading and unloading incoming cargo (during the few hours this can happen), taking care of food producing, social services and repairs in damaged infrastructure of upgrading the ones present.
People have very little time to idly chat sitting around, and when they do they usually do that in the meeting area in the center of the cave. Most of the time, though, they chat and socialize while working by a constant use of the mesh. The other small time they have to socialize is during lunch times, as everyone eats in the same common room in different shifts, so they have some time to share with each other while they wait for their next task.
Even if it is a precarious existence, and a poor one, most of them are rather happy with it, as they feel deeply tied to their community and useful to it. Of course, problems exist as everywhere else, but they are usually either dealt of privately or set for discussion in the Council.

Economy:
Economy in Eden is completely @-rep based, as they don’t allow any form or cash. The only alternative to rep favors consist or actual personal barters with specific objects carried out loosely by people. All machinery and needed objects for work are collective property to be used by those assigned to those tasks by the Office.
The main exports of Eden are both heavy minerals and food, which they exchange with those that pass by the zone mostly for ice, which they can’t obtain for themselves in the cave. Ice storage is kept under the ground of the cave.
People in Eden can be either citizens or visitors. Visitors have right to nothing and must obtain said rights either by bartering or by asking for favors. The rest are all citizens, which have all their needs covered by the Office in exchange for their continued work. One member could ask to be exempted from work, but it would require a High favor per month (and would force the one asking to lose 2 @-rep points just for asking successfully for such a favor, and 3 in case the networking test fails). Food, housing and all the rest are provided from those available, and in case any particular needs anything more specific it has to ask for it from the Council. The only cornucopia machine in existence is in the Office building, where every good is produced once approved by the Council. Suffice to say is that not many unneeded objects are approved.

Culture and Politics:
Eden’s culture is rather basic and unsophisticated if compared to those on Venus or Mars. It centers on the values related to work and honesty, and of service to the community. The community, usually called “The Us”, is thus the highest exponent of all good, and external interference is frowned upon. Another key value is sacrifice, as their lives are tough and require for a lot to be sacrificed daily in order to survive in the harsh conditions of Mercury. Reading and such is given very little value, and considered by most as a waste of time.
There are two times in which they don’t work at all, though, which are the twin festivities of mid-day and mid-night. Both of them last for four hours during the central times of Mercury’s rotation. During the Night Festival people go out, drink, feast and eat, celebrating that they are alive still and the sun hasn’t been able to take them down. During the Day Festival they gather in a more quiet manner, and in a sort of “religious mass” they meditate and think on the dangers the sun poses to their existence and how they can be handled, preparing for the time ahead and planning on what will be needed for the community; it is also the time in which votations are held to the three rotative chairs of political power.
First of them is the Chairwoman of the Eden Council, who is in charge of organizing the meetings of the Council and saying who can speak and when, and organizing votations. The second is the Chairman of the Programation Office, in charge of assigning tasks to everyone. Finally, the Chair of Relations is the one in charge of organizing trade and production exchange with the groups that will pass by the next time the sun goes up or down. The Council is always thus led by a woman, the Office by a man, and the Chair by a synth.
Regarding to law, many transhumans would be surprised to see how heavily sanctioned all attacks on other transhumans are, from simple fights to the (extremely rare) case of murders. Reason for this is that the habitat lacks any additional morphs and they have to be bought from other cities in Mercury, which is a very heavy and expensive thing to do for the whole of the community. Beyond that there is little law, and in fact they resume it in the slogan “don’t fuck others around”. So you can do as you like as long as you carry out your commitments and respect others and don’t interfere with them; all sanctions are applied to the individual’s @-rep, including also sanctions related to doing the work no one wants to do and such things.
Since law is so basic and there are no police, most people carry around portable personal weapons since the first days, though nothing that can harm the habitat itself. It does give place to some problems when some inhabitants get too drunk and start playing with them around, but so far no serious injuries have yet taken place between them. It does help when dealing with others that pass by, specially as there are rumours that a group of pirates may be moving into the area.

Languages Spoken:
The main language employed in Eden is English.

Social Installations:
Most buildings in Eden are small houses, devoted to either a family or an individual, according to their current situation. Most women live on their own, not mattering if they are married or not, and move to their husband’s home when they like to see them, remaining free the rest of the time.
There are three small hotels, being Last Chance the worst, Red Sun a coffin hotel, and New Future the one of a better quality (still would be considered poor by most people in Mars of Venus). There is also a tavern in which people with some free time for whatever reason (usually as a reward for good work) socialize, drink, relax and play simple games.
The Installation is the group of buildings in the center of the cave in which the Office is located, and which is surrounded mostly by warehouses for mined materials ready to be sent to the exterior, and the warehouse dedicated to both goods and ice (this ones underground). It also holds the farcaster installations and the small bank for copies of people’s identities.
In front of the Installation is the large esplanade called the Meeting Zone, in which people gather when they have free time, especially during celebrations.
Between the esplanade and the housing lies the kitchen and lunch rooms, as well as the children care center.

Important People:
Elisse Dewager was the original thinker of the stablishment of the habitat and the one that organized it all. This small and not too notorious woman in her twenties has been the Chairwoman during most time and can be usually found in the kitchens organizing the feeding of everyone. She considers everyone a member of her family, and calls adults “uncles or aunts” and children are “nephews” to her. She’s caring, intelligent and quite charismatic.
Rudolph Dewager, Elisse’s first husband, was the one that organized the trip and is an old man with an old morph. He has been always chosen to be the Chairman, and so has been organizing work in the community since the start, partially because he’s a clever man and partly because his body is too frail to do much of the heavy body work required. Both Rudolph and Elisse are also married to Hun, a man that is usually working in the mining zone.
Tron is a large and bulky synth currently in possession of the Chair and who has large contacts among the whole planet. Only joined Eden on year 9 AF, having previously been everywhere in the planet, so ze’s the right one to carry most of the negotiations with outsiders even when ze’s not the one appointed to the Chair. Ze’s a jovial neuter who always has good stories to tell about hir roaming around the planet and how he managed to live there.
Technically lacking a name, the local AGI likes to think of itself as “Life”. It is in charge of all the environmental support machinery and works always. Ze is sour and tired, and has been entering and leaving strifes since several months ago, requiring others to grant hir some free time in order to get the chance to read a bit (ze loves Shakespear and other classicals). Unfortunately, hir demands are never met and ze has to continue working… so ze always ends up calling off the strifes once ze has made everyone uncomfortable enough by letting temperatures drop or raise significantly. Still, it’s in the core of hir programming to keep people alive, so ze can never carry it fully and complete hir strife. Most people don’t relate to it, and Life spends most of hir time by hirself.

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babayaga babayaga's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

Nice!

A few comments / questions.

1. If they have a cornucopia, and it looks like it's a production bottleneck from the description, why don't they use it to make more?

2. Where do they get their energy from? I'd guess sun-power, right?

3. Food growing. Hmm. In a cavern? Perhaps they have huge lamps all over the "ceiling", powered by sun-generated electricity?

4. Free time. These folks seem to work waaaay too much. They seem to work more than late 20th century people! Corebook, p.63, says "In many collectivized habitats, residents are expected to pull their weight by contributing to ongoing public works in the habitat, typically requiring between four and eight hours every week." Perhaps the harsh conditions of Mercury (but are they really any harsher than on an asteroid in the belt, or on a Saturnian moon?) may double these figures, but I really have difficulty seeing workweeks of more than 15-20 hours without a very special reason. Perhaps they have a huge debt they have to pay off?

Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

Nice points indeed, let's address them one by one.

1. The cornucopia is not the problem for production, but the lack of available resources, since most of what they mine must be devoted to exchage with those that pass by so they can get ice for drinking and refrigerating the station.

2. Yes, indeed. The good thing about Mercury is that there is no lack of sun energy at least during day time, much more than they use, so they store it for night time.

3. Indeed, lamps and hydroponics should be enough for growing vegetables and, with them, some cattle can be kept as well. Certainly not a large herd, but enough to feed on.

4. Well, almost every original resource available at first was used to buy them the trip to Mercury and the needed equipment to start organizing the habitat. And it left them with very heavy difficulties as they had little to build with out of the basic. That's why the habitat is lacking many usual installation like a morph shop (or any shop for the matter). The idea is to emphasize the difficulty of living on a fringe of the universe, and one of the most hostile places in the system (behind Venus) without a large amount of resources to compensate. They also lack most of the AIs that usually make life for transhumans easier, only having the AGI that handles the environment, so they must devote much time to things people usually don't need to work in. And, finally, they are making a very large effort in an attempt to be able to pool some resources and improve the habitat slowly; they hope to have a much more livable place in 10 to 20 years if they all work very heavily and don't waste resources in needless things. Of course, this suffers often setbacks from accidents and other unexpected events that require resources to cover, making their efforts slow and painful.

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Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

Quote:
1. If they have a cornucopia, and it looks like it's a production bottleneck from the description, why don't they use it to make more?

Cornucopia machines are restricted items in Inner System.

EP page 327
"In the inner
system and Jovian Republic, cornucopia machines
are commonly restricted and sometimes illegal, with
licenses only available to hypercorps, military units,
and other offi cials and elites. In these habitats, only
more limited fabbers are available to the general
populace. Additionally, blueprints are licensed and
protected by copyright laws, and many nanofabricators
feature pre-programmed restrictions that prevent
them from using unlicensed blueprints as well as
from manufacturing weapons, explosives, or other
restricted items."

Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.

kindalas kindalas's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

I like it, for every successful relocation effort that is succeeding widely there have to be many more that a struggling to get over that initial hump, the only change I'd make is to have one of the founders possibly be secretly holding things back for their own reasons.

I also like the touch of using an AGI to run the infrastructure, instead of a regular AI as that leaves room for exsurgenty fun.

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Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

Ok, added a paragraph on the use of weapons and their possession, which wasn't yet explained.

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Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

As one of my players mentioned, I forgot to add what is the main language spoken. It is added now, and it is English.

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Cray Cray's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

babayaga wrote:
3. Food growing. Hmm. In a cavern? Perhaps they have huge lamps all over the "ceiling", powered by sun-generated electricity?

Sure. Or skylights with sun-tracking mirrors feeding them.

My question would be: how do they coat and reinforce the cave walls? Raw rock that's been fractured by several billion years of impacts and has a vacuum overhead isn't going to hold pressure very well, not at 14.7 pounds per square inch (11 tons per square meter). Blow outs happen in simple underwater tunnel drilling; large caves will have worse issues, with their irregular surfaces.

Mike Miller

Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

I'm afraid I'm no engineer, but surely most structures can be reinforced in order to resist such pressure, like what happens with the underground cities in Luna.

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Cray Cray's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

Sure. Can you get some nanite swarms to plate the walls in diamond or sapphire and drive some retaining bolts deep into the walls?

Mike Miller

Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

Mercury is rich in heavy metals, so obtaining those materials (or atoms to build them in a cornucopia) should probably come as a result of mining the walls of the habitat. Of course, it would reduce their output and amount available for sale, but security and survival go first.

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kindalas kindalas's picture
Re: [Habitat] Eden - Mercury

Cray wrote:
Sure. Can you get some nanite swarms to plate the walls in diamond or sapphire and drive some retaining bolts deep into the walls?

Absolutely I'd say that rock reinforcing nano-spray is available as either a low cost item for smaller areas (say a 15m diameter dome) or as high cost for a hive that can coat any cavern given enough time and power.

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