Wanderlust Station

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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Wanderlust Station

Here is a home/homebase for one of the PCs in my campaign. Essentially a boring upscale (but not ultra-rich) suburb of the Planetary Consortium.

Wanderlust Station

Population: 5000 (total capacity 20,000)
Orbital period: 2.135 years

Wanderlust Station is a double torus habitat orbiting in an Aldrin cycler orbit between Earth and Mars. The orbit lasts for 2.135 years, during which time it meets Earth, reaches Mars after 146 days, then spends 16 months outside Martian orbit and then returns to Earth in 146 days. Wanderlust and its sister habitats Fernweh and Tournée were owned by Isonautic Corporation, who used them for transporting colonists and Earth-made equipment to the martian terraforming projects.

During the Fall the station was close to Mars. A sizeable number of corporate and government employees decided to evacuate to the station, riding out the Fall far away from the danger zones of Mars and Earth in relative safety and comfort. The other two stations were not so lucky. Fernweh was destroyed by a nanoweapon and Tournée turned into a scum barge as refugees crammed it during its pass of Earth.

The isolation of the habitat limits its material economy. There is only so much mass around, and grabbing new supplies from Earth or Mars only occurs occasionally. Wanderlust has found a niche in slow speciality transport Earth-Mars, for goods such as encryption qubits, Earth artefacts and biological samples (including the occasional well-off emigrant). The real business is in being out of the way: spending most of the time far away from major population centres, yet reachable by inner system egocasts with relatively short delays. It is a home, country club, kindergarten and redoubt for the very conservative well-off. Many of the richest inhabitants egocast-commute to Earth and Mars while their families spend most of their time on Wanderlust. In addition it serves as a good out-of-the-way development office for a few morph design and software companies in the "company campus" in torus A.

The habitat has a zero-g spindle with docks, minifactories and the remnants of the asteroid that was used to build the habitat (mainly used as anti-meteor coating). Connected to the spindle through fullerene spokes are two counterrotating toruses. Both toruses have about seven levels of habitats under the parklands and lakes that form the "outdoor" areas. Torus A is the more "urban" torus, while Torus B is more of a country estate (including the only 18 hole golf course in solar orbit). The ecology and style is mirrored on traditional/idealized New England, with very few aesthetic deviations allowed.

The habitat is not defenceless - it does pass by Earth and through the inner reaches of the asteroid belt. It is surrounded by a small constellation of killsats and has a pretty adequate defence grid. Internally it has extensive nanosecurity and discreet protection robots. But to most inhabitants the only visible security is the local constables.

Wanderlust society is cosmopolitan but attracts certain values - conservative, quiet, tasteful and long-term oriented. It is a place of polite families where the height of youth rebellion is to wear an unfashionable morph. It is not uncommon for family members to go off for wild holidays elsewhere, but back on Wanderlust their cultural experimentation and debauchery quickly melts away and they reintegrate. Quiet garden parties, artistic competitions and sports like golf and jai alai are common local recreations. By hypercorp standards the place is downright reactionary.

The local culture is a low context culture: people are clear and explicit about what they mean. Understatement, irony or hints are uncommon - perhaps due to the large number of lawyers present.

Neodyn Shinto was invented on Wanderlust. It is an artificial religion based equally on traditional Shintoism, memetics, and minimalist aesthetics. It is more of a set of tasteful habits, community get-togethers and meditation techniques than a real religion, but among the inhabitants (and a surprising number of Martians) it fills a need for spirituality. Isaoka Fulani, its inventor, gives regular lectures and retreats that are popular as XP elsewhere.

Recently the "software sufis", a community of local programmers, may have had a cultural breakthrough. They have apparently found a theory of how to combine the kind of artificial spirituality Neodyn Shinto provides with social optimization software to create designer cultural stabilization. If this actually works in real tests, it would help cultural experimentation and social stability enormously - and make the sufis very rich. People are talking.

Extropian