Planetary type: Rocky moon
Region: Communal Space - Solar System
Age: 4.53 billion years
Parent star: single G-class star.
Natural satellites: none
Surface gravity: 0.164 gees
Atmosphere: virtually none
Average temperature: 100k - 390k
Ecosystem classification: artificial, enclosed ecosystems
Solar revolution length: 1 Earth year.
Day length: 28 days.
Settlement Type: Planetary civilisation
Settlement age: 175 years
Population: 7 million
Allegiance: Communal Space/Moon Communes
Distance to Earth: One light-second
Starports: Selene Shipyard, Inyanga Orbital, Themis Orbital Array.
1 - A Harsh Mistress
The Moon is the closest inhabited celestial body to the Earth, yet when it comes to its relationship with the mother planet it could as well be located a million lightyears away. Very few people remember the fateful day in July 1969 when a man set foot on the moon for the first time, way before the Low Age. Even fewer have a memory of the day, three hundred years ago, when humankind reached for the Moon again. What people do remember, however, is that the Moon was the first extraterrestrial body to harbour a permanent human presence - a small station in lunar orbit, harvesting ice from the poles to convert it into hydrogen and oxygen in order to feed the chemical engines of ships going for Mars or the asteroid belt. Long before the construction of Earth's Lagrange stations, the Moon offered the first stable base in outer space, benefiting from very good delta-v budgets. Once the Moon had started being used as a refuelling station it only seemed natural to keep relying on the natural satellite as an anchor point for the first deep space shipyards. Gradually the Moon became populated by engineers and workers until its population coalesced around a single, unified syndicate: the Moon Communes were born.
For a long time, the Moon Communes remained under the umbrella of the Earth, providing the sterile satellite with food and ecosystemic goods - that is, until the Moon Communes perfected the fusion engine known as the Moon Drive, opening the gates of the solar system. The subsequent dispute with the USRE over the property of this invention led to what is known as "the Selene War": a tense stand-off during which USRE artillery in low Earth orbit and Moon-based railguns spent five years looking at each other, aimed at population centres. Now time has passed and the geometry drive has made the Moon's supremacy in fusion drive technology less relevant, yet the fracture between the Earth and its satellite remains. For an Earthling, the Moon isn't a friendly place.
2 - States and Empires of the Moon
The Moon is an eminently hostile place and its civilisation is barely visible from the surface of the Earth. As the rocky body is devoid of a magnetic field, the lunar society is subterranean. Its seven million inhabitants live in a complex system of cities, tunnels and gardens built beneath the surface of the moon. One should not understate how ornate and artistic moon cities are. It very soon occurred to the Moon Communes that in order to retain any kind of permanent population on the Earth's satellite, its members had to be provided with amenities that would not just recreate some kind of fac-simile of planetary conditions but would create a unique world, with its own visual and affective language. To live in the subterranean Moon is to live in a world of colours. The golden, crystalline lights of underground passageways. The deep, serene blue of enclosed gardens. The violet cascades of inverted skyscrapers turning to blood red as they draw closer to the lunar core. The purple lights of the vast deep space antennas built on the dark side, facing the endless void. The green-white pillars that lead to the Moon's only space elevator. The States of the Moon, as its inhabitants call them, are an empire of cold colours.
3 - Only the Moon knows
Selenites - people born on the Moon - can often appear eerie to Earthlings or Mars dwellers. Living in one-sixth of gees in a mostly subterranean environment results in a very slender figure, paler skin and hair than normal and eyes accustomed to seeing in the dark. Such features are not uncommon among deep space inhabitants and the Moon Communals have never done anything to try and appear less alien to gravity well dwellers. The truth is, the Moon Communes have always thrived on mysteries, and the appearance of its members is the least strange thing about the Earth's natural satellite.
For many the Moon's haunted, quite literally. It is haunted by the strange, sprawling AI systems that dive deep under the crust and far outnumber humans on the satellite, though by how much remains a closely guarded secret. It is haunted by the vast archives of distant, potentially alien signals collected by the automated arrays dotting the dark side. It is haunted by the arcane geometry drive knowledge contained in the Mooncore archives and that the Moon Communes still refuse to fully reveal to the public. It is haunted by the dead-eyed drones that roam the silent halls of forbidden or simply forgotten areas.
Maybe all of this is but rumours yet it does not matter. The power of the Moon Communes doesn't rely on what they actually hide, but on what the world thinks they're hiding.
Seule la Lune le sait as their motto goes.
Only the Moon knows.
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