Stars Edge Redux
Frigid, swept by 2,100 km/h winds, and tinged blue by methane traces in its atmosphere, Neptune is the last major planet in the system, orbiting at a distance of 30 AU from the sun. This far from the nearest star, plants will not grow and solar power is useless. The only sources of power are fusion, focused starlight, waste heat, and chemical reactions. The hypercorp presence in the Neptunian system is virtually absent, as the long communication lags and extreme travel distances from the rest of the solar system mean that few Neptunian ventures garner pro ts. Similarly, the Titanian brand of technosocialism has never found roots here. The few transhumans who live out here are a resourceful lot, and many colonists out here aren’t human at all. Anarchists, brinkers, and desperados comprise most of the population.
This habitat has the highest population density in the system, with 20,000 infomorphs living in a meshed cluster of twenty spherical structures that are 10 meters in diameter, powered by ef cient central reactor systems. The habitat is attended by a cloud of factories, harvesters, and defense satellites that occupy considerably more space than the station itself. Various rumors circulate that the inhabitants are researching methods to improve infomorphs in the manner of seed AIs, or that they are engaged in some vast forecasting simulation effort.
Aligned with the argonauts, Ilmarinen is a hybrid beehive/cluster dug into and partially protruding from the large L4 asteroid Greymere. It is the largest habitat in Neptune’s Trojans, with a population of 7,000. Like many transhumans this far out in space, most of Ilmarinen’s inhabitants are heavily modified or inhabit exotic morphs. Vacuum and cold tolerant morphs prevail, and many sections of the habitat are unlivable for baseline transhumans.
The neo-avians who built this station threw away the manual on habitat design and revisited the longout of favor toroidal con guration. The result is a disc habitat—a plate half a kilometer along the edge and one kilometer in diameter, resembling a slice of an O’Neill cylinder with no windows. A fusion powered, low-heat, axial light source nourishes the verdant hardwood forest below. Structures are built into the disc walls up to 500 meters in height. The disc, mostly woven from carbon bers, rotates quickly enough to generate 0.5 g at the habitat floor. Mahogany has a population of 4,000 mercurials, most of them neo-avians.
Neptune’s other twelve moons are largely small bodies, icy and sparsely (if at all) populated. Proteus and Larissa, both sizable and relatively close to the planet, host small populations. Naiad and Thalassa are tiny but very close to the planet, and thus home to some atmospheric skimming operations. Neso, orbiting at about 1/3 AU from Neptune, has never been visited—even by robotic probes.
Trailing and preceding Neptune at the L4 and L5 points of its orbit are several hundred asteroids of diverse, mostly icy composition. Neptune’s Trojans are home to brinkers, hard-bitten prospectors, exotic exhumans, and other extreme survivalists.
Neptune’s largest moon has a tenuous atmosphere and is chemically complex, composed of equal parts rock and ices (frozen nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxyde). It is also geologically active, with cryovolcanoes continually resurfacing the planet. The surface has few inhabitants but several habitats orbit here, using the moon’s abundant raw materials and low escape velocity to their advantage.