Trope-a-Day: City Planet

City Planet: Alas (?), none of the planet-sized worlds in the Worlds have yet grown to the point of being ecumenopoleis.

On the other hand, the subverted “small planet” version is definitely present: 1 Andír, in the Lumenna-Súnáris System, has been slowly hollowed out over centuries to the point where it actually is a beehive habitat/asteroid city filling all of the Ceres-like dwarf planet that it’s “on”. Or there’s the moon Palaxias in the Palaxias System that houses the IN’s Prime Base, which is similar and even bigger, except that it’s probably cheating when the majority of that hollowed-out space is spacedocks for really big starships in large numbers.

Things to See, Places to Go (7)

Bastion (Arvael II, Palaxias System) has no ring. It does, however, have an arc.

The Hainadar Memorial fills, currently, approximately 6° of its orbit around Bastion in a thin, sparkling ring segment. The elements of the arc are simple spheres of tinted diamondoid, colored by service: silver for the Navy, crimson for the Legions, emerald for the Home Guard, amber for the Stratarchies, midnight-blue for the Directorates. Each bears within it a handful of ashes, or perhaps a memento contributed by a family.

For each is also engraved with a single name: that of a hainadar who suffered permanent death in service to the Empire or one of its allies. There is no further inscription, no indication of rank. None is necessary. All are equal here in this soldiers’ final resting place. All will be remembered.

And all will be remembered under the sight of Bastion’s moons: the naval base at Palaxias, the Legion fortresses of Agoge, and Core Command itself.

Those who plan and execute wars must be ever mindful of their price.


Trope-a-Day: Elaborate Underground Base

Elaborate Underground Base: The Imperial Military Service (various, with special props going to the Imperial Navy’s hollow hangar moon at Palaxias IIb), the Imperial Emergency Management Authority’s Crisis Citadels, more than a few data havens, the original location of Argyran Depository, the Nightfall Complexes (retreats for city populations in the event of nuclear war, asteroid impact, etc.), and oh, yes, all the entire cities built down there by people who just found that they liked it…

An Opening

Not a fic-a-day – although I’m trying to get back to those now I’m almost done editing and publishing –  just the opening to something I’m working on…

Her Divine Majesty’s Star Station Eádínah’s Bower is built in hell, or as close to it as they could find.

Scuttlebutt says the Naval Intelligence headquarters aerostat floats amid the warm ammonia storm clouds near the dark pole of epistellar Battlefield, in Palaxias with the rest of the IN’s worlds, but no-one knows for sure – since it was built, the only way to get there is to mindcast to the right address in the ISE darknet and hope your mindprint is on the access list. It would certainly suit our sense of institutional paranoia to hide it in some other gas giant altogether, maybe not even in the Empire at all.

It’s in one, though. Fleet Admiral Sarthal has his office right at the apex of the sky-dome so he can give his briefings with continent-spanning lightning bolts in the background – and arcing to the conductor terminal right above the office. It keeps us on edge enough to suit him, I suppose.

The Burning of Litash (6)

The rings of Depot, Palaxias system.

One orbital warehouse among many, Armory S7-224 was a simple “tin-can” habitat, dozens of red-striped modules plugged together onto a central interconnection frame. A freight cutter, just undocked, fell backwards away from the docking spine on the way to its next errand.

Within its second upper module, two loader robots backed away along their rails from the red-striped cargo containers they had brought from the freight cutter, now stacked along with the dozens of others the module held.

On the outer side of each was stenciled:

QTY: 16


From Fleet Admiral Caliéne Sargas-ith-Sargas, CS Unyielding Order, Field Fleet Coreward, to Esitariel Cyprium-ith-Avalae, c/o Core Command, Calmiríë, greeting.

Dammit, Cyprium. Can’t you let us keep just one of the new toys?

Anvils Should Be Warm (1/2)

Welcome to Palaxias System, home port for the Capital Fleet and the Home Fleet, and indeed for the Imperial Navy in general.

Astrographically, Palaxias is not a significant system; its sun, Arvael – named after Eliéra’s largest raptor – is a minor red dwarf star, its sole asset is its proximity to both the Empire’s throneworld and the seat of the Conclave, but this has been enough to raise it to galactic prominence, or at least notoriety among those who have no business there, and so are not permitted within the system.

Its six gas-giant planets are given over entirely to the business of the Empire’s fleet.  Local patrols and the system’s extensive grid of defense platforms are controlled from the moons of the outermost gas giant, Fortress.  The fleet is built, for the most part, in the shipyards and forges of Armory and its moons, and semi-autonomous swarm squadrons breed in the depths of its well.  Endless skydiver flights skim the atmosphere of Bunker for deuterium, helium-3, and metastable metallic hydrogen, and orbiting cryocels the size of moonlets stockpile antimatter shipped up from downwell or in from Esílmur.  And thousands upon thousands of pods, packages, containers, warehouses, and powered-down vessels of the Reserve surround the logistics base at Depot with a set of metallic rings.

(Officially, of course, nothing at all happens around epistellar Battlefield with its perpetual storms, sun-stoked, huge and fierce even by gas giant standards.)

But the heart of the system is its second world, Bastion, a bloated giant that had just missed fusion ignition, or rather its four moons.  Palaxias itself – Prime Base – a rocky moon hollowed out into the endless docks, autofacs, offices, barracks, laboratories, and other necessities of hosting the two largest IN fleets.  The nameless tiny moon-turned-habitat, bristling with communications arrays, which housed Core Command, seat of the Admiralty.  Frozen, ammoniac Quarters, offering places to take short leaves and quarters for families and contractors, a tiny domed outpost of civilian civility in an otherwise militarized system.

And Agoge, the fourth moon, whose close-in orbit to Bastion warmed it barely enough to allow open water and breathable air; a garden world but certainly not a garden spot.  Agoge was not a primarily Naval world.  Agoge was Legion territory…