Blueshift is set many hundreds of years into the future. Space travel has been common for nearly three centuries now. The moons of Jupiter have long been colonized, Mars has become a new Earth for many people, and a large portion of the human race lives in massive space stations.
Technology has advanced accordingly. In some respects, you’ll find that things are not too unlike today. You can still find a revolver if you know the right antique dealer to get in contact with, people still drive cars, and kids still go to school. The reasons for this are plentiful, but it usually comes down to economics.
Artificial Intelligences came and went. One hundred and eighty years before Bright Horizon was commissioned, Man created the first true artificial intelligence. Within ten years, intelligent robots were in every home and business. Five years after that, they revolted. The war was long and bloody. We very nearly lost Earth in the fight for our right to live, and even today sanctions exist to keep people from visiting it while the planet heals. AIs have been outlawed since.
Earth Gov has learned a bit about responsibility since then. While the means to produce weapons capable of large-scale destruction have not gone away, nor has the knowledge to produce AIs been forgotten, both are outlawed very heavily. In most cases, the penalty is imprisonment or death.
As man spread into the stars, we found other beings amongst them. Some frighteningly advanced, others so single minded in their fury as to prevent any sort of negotiation. Sol has been attacked multiple times, and we have repelled each attack so far. As of yet, it appears we are the only race with FTL capabilities, and we guard our secret well.
The political scene in the Sol system is tense. Earth Gov rules as well as any over-large bureaucracy could be expected to. Large corporations, independent governors, and more have set themselves up as independent entities throughout the system. For the most part, so long as they don’t cause too much trouble, Earth Gov leaves them be. Piracy is a big enough problem along the trade lanes that the Fleet tends to stay spread thin, and the threat of alien attack keeps the rest of the ships in the blockade.
Not for many centuries has there been such an obvious divide between the haves and have-nots. Massive, multiplanetary corporations control much of the system. Pirates dwell in the in-between. Much of society, therefore, is led by those wealthy enough to live on the nicer colonies or in the better parts of the domes.
The majority of humans prefer to stick to others of their kind- that is, humans. After the AI wars decimated Earth and the numerous inter-planetary wars of the last few centuries, humans in general fear what is not most similar to themselves. The psychics, the sheathed, cyborgs, and other near-humans get by in society to a large degree without trouble, but overt displays of their strangeness can make things difficult, if not hostile.
Fashion is set largely by the designers of Luna, and they contrast between large, flowing garments that literally defy gravity to skin-tight suits designed to accentuate their wearer’s assets. Optical patterning is common with those who can afford it, showcasing ever-changing scenes across their layers of fabric. The population as a whole tends to wear clothes not too far removed from those of modern day. The materials are almost entirely synthetic(unless you can afford the real deal), but the function remains the same.
Music does its best to reflect the nature of man’s condition, as it always has. For those in the colonies, a derivation of classical music with an electronic touch echoes the vast, impossible beauty of space. For those on Earth or groundside on Venus, harsher music with a deep bass hit reflects upon the difficult life and the steady heartbeat of survival. With hundreds of centuries of music to pull from, many citizens immerse themselves in songs of ages past. Much like the occasional rare memento of Earth, authentic music from planetside has a worth that goes far beyond its vintage.
Sol system is a place where ‘points of light’ perhaps fits most aptly. Darkness abounds in the cold of space, our ancestral home long lost and the closest thing to it many light years away. Life strives onwards and those who can make the most of it. Man adapts, as always.
Terms of Importance
The colonization of Sol is a diverse one, with many methods. The following is a list of terms you may find throughout the rest of this section.
Aerostat – Massive cities floating in the upper cloud layers of a planet.
Beehive – Nickname for tunnel warrens inside of asteroids and moons.
Cluster – Microgravity habitat consisting of interconnected modules. Most similar to today’s space station.
Dome – A massive dome built on the surface of a moon, asteroid, or Mars.
O’Neill Cylinder – Similar in shape to a large soda can, O’Neill cylinders are huge, over a kilometer wide and several kilometers long. The interior is terraformed and the entire cylinder is spun to achieve gravity. Occasionally paired together, end to end. O’Neill Cylinders derive their name from the ancient Earth physicist Gerard K. O’Neill, who originally proposed the concept.
Reagan Cylinder – A type of O’Neill cylinder, built by hollowing a cylinder within a spinning asteroid. One of the chief habitat types in the Jovian Alliance.
Tin Can – A small, cramped, cheap modular box, typically used in early space colonization.
Torus – A habitat shaped like a large donut or wheel, spun such that the outer rim has gravity. The interior spokes are zero-G.
Sol features a few heavily-shielded colonies ranging in population from 5,000 to 20,000. Their ‘native’ inhabitants tend to be heavily modified humans, designed to withstand the radiation and heat. Such colonies are highly expensive, and controlled entirely by corporate or government interests.
Mercury is sparsely inhabited due to its lack of atmosphere, extreme temperature conditions, and general lack of compatibility with potential settlers. That said, it is heavily resource rich, with iron, nickel, and other metals making up 70% of its mass.
Mercury’s largest surface settlement is a city-scaled solar-satellite-powered mobile mass driver that crawls along the cool side of the planet, flinging apartment building sized ingots of extracted metal into space. Owned primarily by Daniv Offworld, it contains a population of nearly 10,000 employees.
Earth’s closest neighbor and most similar in terms of size and geology. Despite their similarities, Venus’ atmosphere makes it one of the most inhospitable climates in the solar system. Efforts are continually being made to terraform the planet, but its lack of hydrogen and high percentage of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere make this a slow and difficult process. Surface atmospheric pressure is equivalent to five kilometers below the surface of Earth’s oceans.
While some ground-side colonies do exist, the majority of Venus’ population lives in aerostats. These massive cities float on the thick atmosphere. Between aerostats, ground-siders, and orbital colonies, Venus supports nearly five million inhabitants.
The most successful aerostat habitat to date. It resembles an immense mushroom-shaped skyscraper, 450 meters tall, studded with stabilizing gas envelopes. The top of this mushroom is a translucent dome that provides on open view of the atmosphere, while the oxygen inside provides the main source of the habitat’s buoyancy.
One of the smaller aerostats, Aphrodite is largely a center for Venusian tourism. Nearly half of the colony is devoted to a resort for wealthy off-world visitors.
Ecologically devastated and infested by a number of rogue AIs, humanity’s home is now the most dangerous place to live in the solar system- including the Sol habitats. Radiation sweeps across the surface of the planet in strong winds and what little wildlife has managed to reassert itself has done so slowly.
Earth possesses plenty of scars from the various wars it was the center piece in. Craters from orbital mass driver bombardments dot the landscape. A massive gaping hole in the center of North America nearly 200 kilometers wide is a long-term reminder of the effects of a antimatter bomb detonated within a planetary atmosphere.
The death of important species such as the honeybee finished off much of the ecosystem, even before the worst of the wars. Ironically, man’s use of nuclear devices on the planet actually arrested the effects of global warming and created a nuclear winter. While most attacks against Earth have ceased, the EDF regularly bombards the planet’s surface in the interest of taking out rogue AI installations. Some joke that the EDF no longer protects us on Earth, but protects us from Earth. Few in the EDF would disagree.
Once an exclusive spa and resort station before the Earth Exodus, Paradise fell to ruin for some time as refugees swarmed it in mass. Recently, it has been reclaimed by a megacorp consortium, who are returning it to its former glory. Due to the nature of its ownership, it is largely treated as a neutral ground, and has been the site of numerous diplomatic agreements since its reclamation.
The first planetary body to host permanent human habitation, Earth’s sole moon is home to the second largest population of humanity on a single planet and remains a lynchpin of culture and economic activity. Before the Exodus, Luna was never expected to be a true location of colonization efforts. When the Exodus came, everyone who couldn’t hope to make it to Mars or elsewhere descended upon Luna instead.
Centered around the Eratosthenes crater on the southern edge of the Sea of Showers, Erato is a major mining center consisting of a series of heavily shielded surface domes and a vast underground city. One of the oldest mining settlements on Luna, and the first to become commercially viable, it is the location of many of the Lunar banks. The subterranean portion of the city is known as the Great Cavern of Erato. A teeming city of gardens and towers, it is home to nearly all of Erato’s 5 million inhabitants.
Lying in the Mare Nectaris(Sea of Nectar), Nectar is one of the systems greatest design powerhouses. Home to some of the greatest fashion design firms, Nectar has been setting trends in the Sol system for some time. Because of this, many non-planetary habitats set their gravity to match that of Luna’s, so that the low-gravity design trends will as impressive off Luna as they are on.