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Arcturus is a red giant on the very limits of Jump range. The system is fairly stable, with a single large planet where the colony is based, though no gas giants are present in the system so there tend to be a higher incidence of meteor strikes. The spectra of Arcturus is sufficiently in the infrared that the planet always feels hot and curiously the colony is actually a little dim in the visible spectrum, even though they actually receive more energy from their sun per square metre than Earth.

Arcturus the colony uses dropped arcologies[1] to provide housing for most of its population and boasts more than fifty city towers peppered across the surface. Beyond the towers massive farm domes sprawl, though as these cover several hundreds of kilometres, domes might be misleading. They are actually vast sheets of reinforced polymer suspended about two stories up and the crops contained within provide food and oxygen for their attached tower, meaning that each city is technically self sustaining. Oddly, due to the high levels of infrared the plants on Arcturus have been modified[2] to absorb mostly in the red spectrum or lower, leaving the leaves to be a peculiar blue colour which is seriously off-putting for most visitors.

As the major route to the British colonies Arcturus receives nearly as much trade as Procyon, boasting impressive orbital facilities and ship building capabilities. The population is large, though not the largest, and for a factional colony surprisingly multicultural, with significant numbers of Indian, Chinese and African residents, as well as the Westerners, and all are technically citizens of the Commonwealth. Cities tend to follow actual aspirations for arcologies, and most areas are comfortably suburban, with a multitude of parks and greenery providing a lot of the local oxygen.

Farming is highly mechanised, with the vast domes spreading across the surface, and there are a few areas where it is possible to walk between arcologies without going ‘outside’. Most of the population is involved in the services sector, with a high level of education in the general population, and an impressive state schooling system. The biggest problem facing Arcturus is its massive spending deficit, which is almost wholly owed to the Earth based Commonwealth nations, and this could pose some serious problems if the source of credit dries up.

Politically, Arcturus is a major power block, controlling all access to the Commonwealth territories except through Altair[3]. With its impressive economy, large shipbuilding capabilities and well educated population it could theoretically stand on its own two feet with only a little work.

Random Fact: Arcturus is the first planet other than Earth to complete a space elevator. While this was a significant achievement it was a very expensive move for such a young colony.

Authors Comment: Compared to many of the other locations in Vast Worlds Arcturus is very ‘sunshine and happiness’, or at least seems that way. Post Independence Wars its prospects are significantly bleaker.


[1] Dropped arcologies are assembled in orbit, possibly around another world and are dropped into the planet’s surface, using the kinetic energy to drive the foundations several miles underground. There are a few towers that actually didn’t quite go all the way down on their stanchions and so spent several years disconcertingly suspended above the ground before the foundation rods could be properly excavated.

[2] By Altairian companies.

[3] Which is avoided for its own reasons.

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