Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Solomon Station Preview Part II: Politics

Solomon Station

Solomon Station hangs like a state-scale man-o-war made of steel and polymer in Jupiter’s crimson sky. Larger than the state of Nevada, Solomon is largest structure ever devised by humanity. Drifting through the gas giant’s turbulent upper atmosphere, thousand kilometer long harvesting booms dip down into the atmosphere, scooping out usable trace chemicals and refining the volatile chemicals into starship fuel and complex hydrocarbons. Solomon Station was founded in 2055, by moderate North American Lifers who wanted no part of the dominant Choicer mega-culture, nor did they want to become gunslinging soldiers for the pre-born.

Hardworking and insular, Solomon Station is one of Earth’s most prosperous out colonies, and among the oldest. It is also an ideological Enclave, a proudly Lifer nation far from what its citizens see as an increasingly pagan, increasingly Hell-bound Earth.


Solomon’s populace is mostly human, of mostly Hispanic ancestry. Roughly sixty percent of Solomon’s baseline human population is Hispanic, with Caucasians making up the next largest racial block. The black presence aboard Solomon is tiny, and the Asian community is a demographic footnote. Wrench post-humans are by far the most common non-human species on station; the Wrench dominated Spacelifters Union is a powerful force in local politics. Mechanic post-humans are slightly less common, but still found in sizable numbers aboard the colony. A few dozen Half Grey and a handful of Stone Cutter businessmen can also be found on station. In addition, 5-10 Dhale technicians are on station at any given time, assigned to upgrade and maintain the imported Tessarect mansions that have become a status symbol for Violet Level’s ultra-rich.

The Treaty of Boston has made the independent station the ‘ancestral homeland’ of the Lifer Nation. Any Lifer can petition the Solomon Station government for an immigration visa, though the conservative and increasingly insular station council only tends to approve such immigration requests in two cases: when the potential immigrant has skills or training useful to the Station, or if the potential immigrant is wealthy enough to afford citizen ship in Jupiter-space’s sole Enclave.

For many poor Lifers, Solomon is an unattainable dream. Some sign on with Lifer-run mega-corps, hoping to earn Solomon citizenship for themselves and their immediate family as part of a corporate benefits package. Though officially, Solomon Station is a refuge for any Lifer who needs sanctuary, in practice the station council rarely extends citizenship to former terrorists or direct rescuers. Despite Fairfax Dacoveney’s political pressure to make Solomon Station a non-extradition sanctuary for his operatives, Solomon has always tried to keep the ‘direct action’ arm of the Lifer Nation at arm’s length.

Solomon Station, Independent Orbital Habitat

Location: Jupiter Orbit

Colony Officially Founded: 2055

Type of Government: Independent City-State with an elected, Christian theocratic mayor and two chamber legislature

Progress Level: Mid-PL Seven

Total Population: 52.3 million permanent residents

Timekeeping: Based upon Greenwich Mean Time

Current Governor: John Paul Ortega (Starlifters Unionist), third term

Average Educational Level: Equivalent to a 4 year bachelor degree

Percentage of the Population below the poverty line: 3-5%

Percentage of the Population who are combat veterans: 6-8%

Percentage of the Population with a felony record: 12%

Age of Consent: Twenty One

Age of Majority: Twenty One

Metahuman to Human Ratio: 1 in 600+

Full Conversion Cyborg to unmodified Human Ratio: 1 in 195

Wrench to unmodified Human Ratio: 1 in 93

Station Life and Layout

Solomon Station is a multi-level colony arranged around a depressurized central shaft, known aboard station as “the Well” or “the Womb”. This wide, zero-gravity shaft runs the length of the station, from the mega-church cathedrals touching the stars at the upper level, all the way down to the refinery levels at the station’s below-decks areas. The Well has loading docks and airlocks to accommodate workers and small work vehicles, which are allowed to enter and exit through the lowest, open end of the shaft. Both the inner and outer surface of the Well are lined with gleaming gold-alloy paneling, laser etched with the names of millions of aborted humans. Insect-like droids, linked to the constantly updating Nuremberg AI, use their cutters to etch in new names.

An enormous ‘Golden Door’ encloses the upper reach of the well. With a radius of nearly ¼ mile, the Golden Door is a gleaming beacon at the exact center of Violet Level anytime the distant sunlight touches it. The Golden Door has never been opened in the station’s history; station legend has it that when the lord Jesus Christ returns, He will enter Solomon Station in triumph through the massive portal.

In contrast with spacious Diana, Solomon Station is a working colony. Every square inch of space is utilized and conditions are incredibly tight. A family of four might make do with only 600 sq feet of living space, 700 sq ft if they’re really lucky or have good friends on the Housing Board. Every bit of technology brought into the station must be miniaturized, and most consumer electronics sold on Solomon Station, by necessity, are equipped to perform dozens of functions. Bedding retracts into walls or floors when not in use, to maximize floor space, and many of the station’s poorer residents use memory-gel hammocks rather than beds. Most of the same waste recycling and water rationing technology used on Diana is also in wide-use on Solomon.

When Solomon was commissioned, its designers wanted low-tech backups and multiple levels of redundancy for the station’s life support system. In addition to huge algae tanks identical to those on Diana, most station bulkheads and inner walls are carpeted with a fast-growing, genetically engineered strain of kudzu moss. This supposedly infallible back-up O2 generation system has proven to be one of Solomon Station’s greatest missteps; all but impossible to eradicate, the kudzu has plagued colonists since the 2050s. Residents spend hours each week cutting back the weed, pruning it back where it overgrows doors or gets tangled in electronic cabling. More than just an annoyance, the weed’s life cycle has super-saturated the station atmosphere with oxygen.

An onboard fire is the single greatest threat to life aboard the station. Solomon’s citizens fear uncontrolled electrical fires the way Earthers fear terrorist nukes or Lifechain bio-warfare. Solomon Station’s fire suppression systems are top quality, and its elite fire/rescue department is widely regarded as the best in Earth-space. Even Choicer fire fighters salivate the prospect of a few weeks of joint training with Solomon FD, and the waiting list for the few training slots stretch back five years or more.

Private vehicles are not allowed on Solomon; all working vehicles are company owned. The station is small enough that most citizens walk everywhere, and people-mover sidewalks are in place to accommodate Solomon’s large and growing geriatric population. Some of the station’s wider concourses allow the use of ‘machines’- the local station term for jury-rigged bicycles and rickshaws (usually collapsible), often running off battery-driven electric engines. Machine drivers are notoriously rude and have no problem running over the toes of any pedestrian dumb enough to get in their way.

Adventuring aboard Solomon Station

Solomon Station is an enclosed orbital habitat. All internal walls and bulkheads are advanced polymers, and extremely durable. The nano-laced spun-diamond windows that dominate the outer hull of Violet Level are as tough as an outer airlock door, and recover 1 Hit Point per minute if damaged, which protects them from micro-meteorite bombardment.

  • Normal Gravity. Solomon’s grav-generators give it an Earth normal conditions throughout most of the station. The Well is a Zero Gravity environment, as are several industrial areas on Black Level (space ports, drydocks, heavy machinery and refining areas, and so on).

  • Ordinary Walls and Bulkheads. Hardness 15, 40 Hit Points per 5 ft section.
  • Inner Airlock Doors. Hardness 15, 45 Hit Points per 5 ft section. Disable Device DC 20 to open, or DC 30 to open simultaneously with the outer airlock doors.
  • Outer Airlock Doors. Hardness 20, 60 Hit Points per 5 ft section. Immune to Fire, Cold and Electrical damage.
  • Emergency Bulkheads. Hardness 20, 100 Hit Points per 5 ft section. These doors automatically seal shut on Initiative Count 0 in the round after a fire or depressurization is detected. They can also be sealed by station law enforcement in an emergency, by verbal command. DC 30 to open or seal. Immune to Fire, Cold and Electrical damage.

  • Fires are especially dangerous in the super-oxygenated environment aboard Solomon Station. Increase the die size of any Fire based attack by one step (from 1d6 to 1d8 for example), and increase the REF Save DC of all fire based hazards by +2.


Solomon Station is governed by an elected mayor and a station council that function pretty much identically to the city council of any large, Earth-side city. Though its population dwarfs most Earth-side mega-cities, some American states and more than a few small nations, Solomon Station has never formally declared itself a nation. Instead, it operates as an independent city-state. Occasionally, proposals drift through the station council to formally declare nation-hood, and divide the station’s many Levels into provinces, such measures have been consistently voted down. Solomon’s 50 million citizens enjoy the illusion of small government provided by electing only a mayor and city council rather than a President and Congress.

The station’s mayor is elected to a four year term, while council members serve staggered two year terms; about a third of the station council is up for re-election in any given election. Solomon Station’s charter has also empowered a Council of Mothers, a civic advisory board that has complete authority to over ride station council decisions ‘in the interests of the pre-born and mothers-to-be.’ The Council of Mothers is only open to Lifer women in good standing, who have chosen the Block Mother starting occupation; these women are elected for six year terms.

Mayor John Paul Ortega

J.P. Ortega is a consummate politician; before being elected to Solomon’s highest office, he was an influential union boss. The slender, steel skinned man’s slick, ever-present grin makes him seem much younger than his 60 years, and his slick demeanor hides a cunning and manipulative mind. Ortega organized the ’96 strike, and the political capitol he earned among his fellow Wrench enabled him to claim office; Ortega is still paying off favors he called in during his first campaign.

J.P. Ortega lives on Indigo Level in a sprawling (by Solomon standards) 1,500 sq ft mansion with his wife Cynthia and their two teenaged sons, John Paul Jr. and Adam. The entire family are Wrench post-humans, and JP Ortega’s political career means the family is required to wear human clothes far more often then their neighbors. Most of Ortega’s old friends from the union days mock the tailored suits he wears today, and the family takes every opportunity to shed their clothes when away from the cameras.

The Council of Mothers are a source of constant consternation to the station council. They are fixers and political king-makers; offend the Council of Moms and you’ll never get re-elected. Keep the Mothers happy, and you can have a long and prosperous career as a Solomon politico. An appeal to the Council of Moms can earn a new family a few more square feet of living space allocation, especially if accompanied with a ‘gift’ to an acceptable Lifer charity. The Council of Mothers also mediates family and workplace disputes, meaning they often butt heads with the Spacelifters Union.

The Council of Moms (a less formal name as common as their official designation) represents the largest social-conservative voting block in the colony. Billions of dollars are funneled to the Earth-based Coalition for Life through Mom-approved charities. Though the citizens and government of Solomon Station do not want to stain their hands, nor risk their habitat’s prosperity, the station is a fertile fundraising ground for Earth’s Lifer nation. Virtually every business has a tip jar on its counter collecting for the CFL or to fund social programs for imprisoned Lifer ‘direct rescuers’ and their children.

Dr. Lamb Bachman

Dr. Lamb Bachman is the current chair of the Council of Mothers. An extremely low level telepath, she augments her Psionic gifts with a doctorate in psychology and memetic warfare from an on-station university. In addition to her duties on the Council, Dr. Bachman operates the Edenbright Center, a for profit clinic that offers the Heteronorm genemod and psi-manipulation from Bachman herself to ‘cure’ the stations minority openly gay population. Repeated sessions at the Center can remove a homosexual from the censure list- a list she controls.

Lamb Bachman lives in a suite of small apartments near her Edenbright Center, deep within the pastoral Green Level. Her husband, Dr. David Bachman, is a grief counselor specializing in abortion recovery. He has authored several books on the subject and often travels to Earth, and particularly Boston, on speaking tours. The Bachman family owns the Guinevere II, a four person ITF-capable spaceplane, one of the few ITF capable starships in private ownership. The luxury starship has a private dock on White Level. The family has three children; the oldest, Harold is a college student, majoring in urban planning and attending his mother’s alma mater. The other two kids are significantly younger: 12 year old Kenneth and 6 year old Brianna, have inherited some traces of their mother’s psi-talent. Young Brianna is an especially gifted telekine.

The Spacelifters Union is the dominant political power on station, and has made their power felt throughout the system. When the Union felt it wasn’t getting proper compensation back in 2096, the strike they organized virtually brought intra-system space travel to a standstill for three days. Faced with an economic crisis costing Terran businesses trillions of dollars, the Spacelifters got everything they wanted. The Union is dominated by Wrench post-humans, though most of the workers Below Decks, human and post-human alike are proud Starlifters Union members in good standing. Work on Solomon Station is hard and frequently dangerous, but thanks to the Starlifters Unions, it is at least well compensated.

Randall “Randy” Jammner

A young and ambitious Wrench businessman, Randy Jammner was a millionaire by 22, finding a new use for some of the volatile gases Solomon mines. His company, Horse-Sense Hydrogen directly employs 8,000+ Wrench, and indirectly employs or benefits tens of thousands more, and is a huge social presence on the Below Decks levels. Through his company, Jammner funds schools, dozens of 3-3 basketball teams, and hospitals specifically equipped to cope with the unique medical needs of the Wrench species. Jammner is obviously trying to buy influence, and its working. He’s an extremely popular local politico, beloved by the Wrench working the refinery.

Jammner has recently announced his candidacy for the 2108 mayoral election, and has been attacking JP Ortega as being ‘too human’. Mocking campaign ads show close ups of Ortega in a finely tailored, human-cut suit, contrasted against Jammner’s steely nakedness. Even before making a single argument, these attack ads have scored points with the station’s Wrench population.

Faith and Censure

Solomon Station’s charter has declared it a Christian colony, and only Christians are allowed full participation in station life. Staunchly conservative, setting foot aboard Solomon means stepping into a comprehensive parallel world where multiculturalism and inclusiveness were abandoned somewhere out in the Belt. Fully 95% of station inhabitants are some breed of Christian, including many ultra-conservative sects long since extinct on Earth; Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses make up a large percentage of the station’s population, as do Roman Catholics. Many of the colony’s first citizens immigrated to Jupiter space from Central and South America, having been successfully evangelized by these faiths in the years prior.

Non-Christians are ostracized and quietly ignored. The few non-Christian station inhabitants and tourists practice their faith behind the scenes. While Violet Level mega-churches serve most of the station population, the handful of non-Christians aboard Solomon meet for worship service in private homes or in rented restaurant halls, after business hours. A single, overcrowded Jewish temple can be found somewhere in the depths of Orange Deck, one of the only non-Christian holy sites on the entire orbital habitat.

Abortion on Solomon Station

Abortion is outlawed on Solomon Station, as are most of the most common Chocier sexual gene-mods. Neo-Witch Midwives are arrested upon arrival and deported; there has not been a Midwife (or known abortion provider without Midwife training) allowed on station since Solomon went online. Performing an abortion is a capitol offense on Solomon, though in practice, usually results in deportation and a lifetime ban from the station rather than spacing. Joyce Sivik v. the Council of Mothers (2073) was the last time an abortionist was spaced- a politically motivated circus that ground the station’s legal system to a halt for months, and still strikes a raw nerve, even thirty years after the fact. That particular lunacy isn’t something the station government is anxious to repeat.

Procuring an abortion, or advising in favor of abortion is a misdemeanor, punished by public humiliation, community service and official censure from the Council of Mothers. Homosexuality and the implantation of sexual genegrafts or sex-cybernetics are punished similarly. If it can be proved a station resident traveled off-station to procure an abortion, she can be banned from Solomon for life, though this last proscription is rarely enforced. Simple forms of contraception are allowed and encouraged on station. Condoms, diaphragms and the rhythm method are all in wide use. However, bio-chemical or genetic birth control remains prohibited; the Council of Mothers still shares the old Lifer distrust of such drugs.

The Council of Mothers has wide latitude in issuing public censure for any activity they deem contrary to Christian law or station health. Most censures range from between 3 months and one year; while censured, a criminal is publicly shunned and is a social pariah. Censured citizens cannot vote nor hold governmental office during the period of censure. The station’s child welfare agency is administered through the Council of Mothers; families that find themselves repeatedly censured will usually lose custody of their children. The stations few liberal politicians and reformers are under a near constant sentence of censure, preventing them from ever being more than an irritation to Solomon’s ultra-conservative government.

Covenant ideas are semi-officially banned on Solomon. Ritual artifacts such as athames or pentacles are on the import-restriction “black list”. Covenant Mesh signals and slower than light comms signals are scrambled intermittently; most signals originating in Choicer America are still viewable, but static shot and ragged. There are no official pagan covenhouses on Solomon, nor is the pagan faith officially recognized by the station government.

Jenna Lacklan, Codename: Tabby Bast

One of the stations few secret pagans, Jenna Lacklan is a self taught witch and one of the station’s most capable dissenters. Lacklan works as a computer technician in the station’s life support section on Grey Level. Her liberal tendencies are well known, and a source of scandal for her family; her confused and mostly self-taught worship of the goddess Bast isn’t, and could be cause for expulsion from the station. She moonlights as a hacker, and occasionally pulls off some minor act of sabotauge, particularly against the Council of Mothers. She despise them- with good cause, as she’s spent most of her adult life on the censure list for one reason or another.

Over the last year, as ‘Tabby Bast’, Lacklan has made contact with Earth’s Choicer community. A small team of Bastian Assault Infiltrators (see the Coven of Bast sourcebook) is planning an incursion into Solomon, in hopes of teaching the station’s women another way to live. Tabby Bast has been giving the Infiltrators information on the station’s layout and culture through a dedicated comms-wormhole. In addition, and more importantly to Jenna Lacklan, the young spy is learning the true worship of Bast for the first time in her life.

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