Korolev Crater - Expanded!

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Korolev Crater - Expanded!

One of the players in my campaign is a Maker Nomad from the area around Korolev, so I wrote up a little blurb to flesh out the place. Granted, it was also an excuse for me to devote even more words to the (imo) incredibly cool French-North African nomad culture, futuristic Islam, and backcountry Martian rednecks, but hey... Once again, I'm pretty new to EP as a whole, so if I'm off on any details or concepts, any experts out there should feel free to correct me on points or add your own thoughts.

A deep impact basin located far in the northern plains, Korolev is sheltered enough that many sufi and maker nomad clans spend the harshest months of the Martian winter here. The crater’s thus a semi-permanent settlement, with a small crew of clan wardens stationed here to do terraforming work year round. During winter, you might find as many as 10,000 nomads camped here. There’s also a permanent ecology station that breeds lichens and microbes for seeding in the surrounding landscape. Dozens of wind turbines on high spars or on the basin rim provide a low-footprint power grid for the camps. Similar camps accompanied by terraforming or ecostations exist at Aggasiz, Burroughs, and Chamberlin craters in the southern hemisphere, and at Curie, Escorial, and Littleton craters in the north.
--- Sunward, pg. 125

The families that continue to run the station full time live in a collection of hab domes and smaller sub-buildings surrounded by interlinked mobile greenhouses and several heavy ordinance defense platforms. All the clans that volunteered to stay in the crater full-time began as families of labour radicals on Earth, many of them having been sent to Mars initially after being captured in CGT wildcat strikes and violent worker’s rights demonstrations. Unsurprisingly, the French-North African nomads quickly formed a union to run the small “town” that had grown up, which they called the Confédération Interplanétaire des Travailleurs Nomades. Every sophont over the age of 15 living in Korolev is a member of the CITN, which runs the town along anarcho-syndicalist lines. Obviously, the PC is *not* happy about a Anarchist/Barsoomian nomad camp existing on Mars, but fear of public reaction keeps them from orbitally bombing a whole settlement and the drones/automated weapons/militia training of the nomads precludes any thoughts of a DA lightening raid.

The nomads call their small “town” Djemaa el-Fnaa after the grand market square in Marrakech (it can also literally translate to Assembly Place at the End of the World, which is the kind of vaguely morbid double-meaning that Maker clans are so fond of), with most of the population living in the large main dome and working in the terraforming stations clustered around it. These residential spaces are usually riots of color decorated with sprawling murals of Arabic calligraphy, Berber glass pattern art, French surrealist painting, or Islamic geometric art. The most famous work of art in the town, however, is a large rectangular monument to Sergei Korolev that sits in the middle of the central hab. The monument is a 5.5 meter tall slab of stone featuring an intricate bas-relief of the Soviet engineer framed by his Vostok 3RKA capsule, R-7 rocket, Sputnik 1 satellite, and Luna 2 impactor and crowned by the words of his quote “the way to the stars is open." Djemma is a deeply Muslim settlement, but unlike Qurain, the town collected the more heterodox strains of Islam that the rubberstamp PC government was leery of. Most of the permanent residents here are either members of the mystical Sufi sect or of the rationalist Neo-Mu’tazila school of thought within Martian Sunnism. Since both brands of Islam are aggressively anti-corporate, the mosques and Islamic seminaries of Djemma often positioned themselves as alternatives to the big corporate masajid of Qurain. With the destruction of Qurain in the fall, the autonomist-influenced imams, pirs and muftis of Djemma have grown in importance amongst the Martian Sunni community.

The culture of Djemma el-Fnaa is something like a high-tech blend of relaxed French town on the Mediterranean coast and an energetic Tunisian city square where everybody is busying themselves with some collective work. Several Sufi communes have spiritualist poetry readings, play Gnawa music, put on traditional Islamic passion plays or modern theater productions, have public discussions of interesting topics in transhuman philosophy, and display their famously beautiful whirling dances. The presence of the maker clans can be easily felt as well, with the omnipresent drones whizzing overhead on tasks, the high-quality entoptic designs for walkways and buildings, the battlebot competitive sports played by Maker youths, Djemma’s proliferation of jailbroken nanofabricators, and the local mesh’s “secret” collection of hacked and open-source blueprints from Conduit. The Makers of the CITN are well-known for their somewhat odd love of “anachro-tech”: any industrial or computing technology from the early 21st century is highly prized by these collectors. When they aren’t drooling over a laptop computer made in 2010, the Makers are willing to undertake interesting building projects for visitors (with sufficient @-rep) just to see if they can do it. Both groups are absolute coffee fanatics (since alcohol is forbidden in Sunni and most strains of Sufi Islam), with their greenhouses growing some of the most prized heirloom cultivars of old Earth from places like Mocha, Yemen or Ifrane, Morocco.

When winter comes, the small little settlement becomes a boomtown filled with nomads from all over Mars. The nomads mass-fabricate new housing domes, set up Mobile Bases, park their rovers, and turn Djemma into a huge maker faire/nomad swap meet/Barsoomian anarcho-communist convention/non-stop party. Although the population of nomads during the winter months is somewhere around 10,000, there are at least another 1000 non-nomads wandering through the souks at any given moment. Inner-system socialists and anarchists find the libertine nature and universal acceptance of @-rep for goods and services refreshing, argonauts come to swap research with Maker techies, local rednecks swing by for trade in restricted goods and Sufi entertainment, and even daring socialites show up to “admire the authentic Martian culture.”