Phi Clio Station
Type: Cathedral class station.
Location: Alcyone - Pleiades (450 lightyears from the Sun).
Population : 450,000
Dimensions: 8 kilometres long, 2 kilometres wide.
Age: 46 years
Environment: Urban/Blue giant forests
Allegiance: Irenian Enclave
A city suspended in the stars, bathed by the blue light of the Pleiades, home to Irenia.
1 - In Alycone's Light
At one point in the interstellar age, the world realized one thing: there was no technical limit to where humans could install new settlements anymore. Phi Clio Station is the embodiment of this realization: a durable human settlement orbiting the eminently hostile expanse of a blue supergiant system. This endeavour entertains a very ambiguous relationship to communal and solarpunk ideals: while it is a completely gratuitous, wasteful enterprise, it also embodies the ambition of adapting mankind to new environments.
Battered by powerful radiations and devoid of exploitable celestial bodies, Alcyone is far from an ideal colonizable system, even for a fully enclosed space station. This is one of the reasons why Phi Clio was not built in the celestial region it now inhabits. Assembled in the solar system, the Cathedral-class contraption was translated to the Pleiades nebula in what is often considered as the single most complex faster than light journey ever performed, requiring eight years of calculations. Phi Clio's original drop in Alcyone was the opportunity to observe a previously unknown phenomenon for the first time: spacetime disturbances created by the translation of a massive object known as "weaves".
Even if it is still technically capable of travelling again, Phi Clio has never left the Pleiades: Earthlings often presume its inhabitants just enjoy the scenery and the star's blinding light. It's not entirely accurate. They don't just live in such a hostile place.
2 - Home of Irenia
Phi Clio's inhabitants collectively consider themselves as Irenians, a name originally referring to a genus of moths that were found to particularly appreciate the light of blue giants. Irenians have two very specific physical traits which are instantaneously recognizable. First, the vast majority of them are born female, due to the widely spread practise of human parthenogenesis in Irenian populations. Second, Irenians have a strikingly blue-purple coloured skin, a tint created by the inclusion of symbiotic algae in their epidermal cells. This quasi-augmentation is more than a simple ornament: it diffracts and absorbs the harmful radiations of Alcyone, enabling Irenians to live in conditions that would be deadly for most non-augmented humans.
Irenians are more than their weird skin and strange gender ratio, two elements that are not uncommon among isolated deep space populations. They are a civilisation scattered in the Pleiades and Phi Clio is their capital. A strange capital, in truth. One without a seat of government, one where power lies in beautiful hidden gardens and libraries whose bay windows show the triple blue stars of Alcyone. A capital city that fits Irenia perfectly.
3 - Weaves, blue forests and solar sails
To deep space travellers, Phi Clio station is one of the last stops before the vast unsettled region which stretches all the way to the galactic edge after the Pleiades know as the Outer Gap. And one hell of a stop it is. Urban areas of the station are made of locally grown coral creating smooth white curves that gleam under the sapphire radiance of Alcyone. Garden areas are made of deep, sprawling and silent jungles whose plants patiently filter the deadly ultraviolets coming from outside. The delicate docking tendrils extending away from the arms harbour strange solar sailors, with their geometry drives blinking in golden light upon jumping. Hot springs and libraries reserve subtle, peculiar delights for both the body and mind. Such is the Irenian way: oniric, high-tech hedonism.
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