Aemaq is an Elyran frontier world with a population hovering around five-hundred million permanent residents, making it one of the less populated worlds in the Republic itself. The planet is located in the al-Wakwak system, and dwells fairly close to the system’s star - resulting in a quite hot, hard to inhabit environment on a planet dominated by vast chemical seas that cover upwards of ninety-five percent of the planet’s surface. The oceans of Ameaq are home to a vast amount of valuable chemicals and exotic maritime life, leading to the planet being fairly wealthy (if hazardous) and prosperous. The cities of Aemaq are built aboard hovering anti-gravity magpulse platforms that hold them above the chemical seas, and they are shielded from the chemicals in the air by use of massive energy domes that protect the floating cities. Below these floating cities is an ocean teeming with life despite the chemicals, some of which can grow to titanic sizes. However, the oceanic life of Aemaq is remarkably docile towards humanity, with floating cities and massive sea creatures living side-by-side in the oceans.
The Aemaqii capital of Rumaidair houses nearly forty million inhabitants in its massive floating city, which has come to be viewed as the premier example of floating cities on the planet in the Republic of Elyra and beyond. Utilizing magpulse drives similar to those found on Medina, Rumaidair floats a comfortable hundred meters above the Aemaqii Seas as it travels around the planet. The city itself is renowned throughout the Orion Spur as a key area for the chemical industry, with it being able to produce extremely rare chemicals in numbers unreachable elsewhere due to massive chemical “scoops” that draw materials from the seas themselves. All cities are like Rumaidair, with hundreds of magpulse plates holding them aloft above the ocean - each plate steadily pulsing and readjusting itself as the ocean swells below it.
Aemaq lacks any natural satellites, and has an odd appearance when viewed from orbit - light reflecting off of the planet’s oceans leads to the world appearing to be a dark bluish-purple hue.
While sometimes considered the sister planet of Medina, the formal exploitation and colonization of Aemaq began several years later in the mid 2350s, following the discovery of obscene amounts of rare and valuable chemicals in its massive chemical seas. However these same seas made the planet essentially impossible to colonize in the traditional manner: there was almost no land, the environment was remarkably prone to rapid temperature changes, and building standing platforms was impractical due to the highly-chemical nature of the Aemaqii Seas. Some daring entrepreneurs launched “sea scoop” vessels that would enter Aemaq’s atmosphere, suck up chemicals from its oceans, then travel to an orbital refinery but this was found to be too expensive to be practical - even when AI-controlled fliers were used. It would be several more years before practical colonization was viable.
In 2374 the first magpulse drives were tested on Aemaq, following their success on Medina. The more advanced magpulse drives used in the planetary capital of Rumaidair compared to the initial magpulse drives of 2360 resulted in a smoother first settling than on Medina, and the planet rapidly became a hotbed of colonial industry and development.
By 2378 individuals from across the Republic of Elyra - and even the Coalition of Colonies - were migrating to Aemaq to join its booming chemical industries. The planet has only grown wealthier since then and, with zero recorded failures, the magpulse systems of Aemaq remain a gold standard for the effectiveness of Elyran technology throughout the Orion Spur.
The environment on Aemaq is a challenging one for human habitation due to its massive chemical seas. While the air is safely breathable for humans without long-term consequences, the natural rainfall on the planet is extremely caustic and hazardous. Most cities have large energy shields for the express purpose of stopping rainfall rather than the air. Temperatures on Aemaq vary wildly due to the massive seas: while it is typically cool and breezy (which can be seen in Aemaqii fashion), the temperature can rapidly increase when the planet’s typical cloud cover breaks. Even worse the increase in temperature from cloud breaks often agitate chemicals in the water, and fires are not uncommon at times.
The waters of Aemaq are extremely hazardous to enter without proper protection, and swallowing even a cup of seawater can lead to severe consequences if not immediately treated. Some exceptionally caustic areas of the constantly-shifting chemical deposits that make up the Aemaqii Seas have been known to eat through plasteel hulls. As a result, all officially authorized vessels on Aemaq must be fitted with magpulse drives similar to the cities - if on a smaller scale.
The seas of Aemaq are its primary, and arguably only, major feature. While the surfaces of the seas are well-mapped and charted, the deeper parts of the sea remain a mystery in most areas due to the fact that the seas rapidly become more caustic as one goes further down in depth, with anything below five-hundred meters in most areas being able to melt almost any man-made material. While there are some exceptions, such as the area around the floating city of Kulat and the south pole of Aemaq more generally, most areas of Aemaq have only really been explored to a depth of roughly 200 meters. The estimated ten kilometers beyond that are mostly unknown, aside from sonar images that are unclear due to background interference from noises below the surface and chemical interference. The occasional noise drifts up from the depths, but not much beyond that. Some sonar operators report picking up massive, moving objects - bigger than any leviathan seen on the surface - but nothing has ever been confirmed.
The Leviathans of Aemaq
Fauna on Aemaq are extremely fascinating: engorged on the chemicals present in the planet's seas, many creatures have grown to absolutely leviathan sizes. Some of Aemaq's so-called "sea leviathans" can range to be as long as a kilometer, with the largest specimen ever recorded being officially registered as 2,108 meters in length. While these leviathans have opted to coexist peacefully with humanity since the colonization of Aemaq, they remain a constant presence in the minds of many colonists. The roars of larger leviathans can be heard for hundreds of kilometers in either direction, and fights between leviathans are both an awe-inspiring and terrifying sight, in addition to a major source of tourism for the planet and revenue for its entertainment industries. A genre of so-called “Leviathan Films” has formed around dramatizations of fights between Aemaq’s leviathans, and prominent films from the genre have found success throughout the Orion Spur.
The leviathans of Aemaq are an extremely diverse category of species, and feature a variety of adaptations to excel in their chosen chemical environments. Due to the ever-shifting nature of Aemaq’s oceans, this means that these leviathans are typically migratory and gradually make their way across the planet’s ocean as they live their lives. Studies conducted on the leviathans have however revealed a common trait amongst them: they are remarkably intelligent. The leviathans of Aemaq are capable of communicating with one another, and some smaller leviathans have been observed using tools to gain an advantage over larger competitors. Interactions with humanity by the leviathans has been fairly limited, with most seemingly willing to stand back and observe humanity from afar. To what end this observation is intended is uncertain. However, there have been some instances of leviathans interacting with humanity. Most famous amongst these is the 2454 M.V. Qishlah incident, in which a kilometer-long leviathan prevented the Qishlah from sinking following a swamping by holding it out of the water. The leviathan disappeared back below the chemical waves of the Aemaqii Sea as soon as the Qishlah was able to move under its own power, and has not been officially seen since. However, sailors in the region near where the Qishlah nearly sunk report that they sometimes feel as if a large presence is following them from below the water.
Life on Aemaq
The floating cities of Aemaq live and die by the chemical ocean they float upon, and life is centered around the sarcastically-named "water industry" of extracting chemicals from the ocean. Hundreds of floating cities of various sizes and populations make their way around the seas of Aemaq, gathering and producing chemicals as they go. Every single one of these cities features standard Elyran magpulse technology, due to the hazards associated with remaining on the sea level of Aemaq, and energy-based shielding, due to the hazards presented by rain on the planet. These cities are generally quite diverse due to the length of time the colony has been established for, its relative wealth, and the cosmopolitan nature of the Republic of Elyra's position on the human frontier. Humans and nonhumans from all walks of life can be found in the floating cities, but off-world humans tend to be rare due to the planet's gravity being equal to that of Earth.
The majority of immigrants to Aemaq intend to become involved in its lucrative chemical industry in a variety of fields - and all kinds of people can be found in the field - or they intend to become involved with the growing scientific community centered around the planet’s leviathans. Natives of the planet tend to be born to middle-class or upper middle-class families, as is typical of the residents of the Republic of Elyra. Many longer-term residents of the planet are wary of the growing scientific community surrounding the Aemaqii Sea’s leviathans, instead believing that a “live and let live” approach should be adopted with the leviathans.
The chemical niche that Aemaq fills in the broader economy of the Republic of Elyra, combined with the already-fantastic living standards of Elyra, has resulted in the planet being incredibly prosperous. As such, natives of the planet often find themselves on a relatively equal economic footing with one another and the planet is, contrary to other locations in the Orion Spur, dominated by a burgeoning middle class.
Clothing on Aemaq tends to be thicker and heavier than most other planets in the Republic of Elyra as a result of its colder climate. Some clothing is made using the aquatic “fur” of a non-leviathan sea fauna referred to as a sumaik-furwi typically found in the northern seas that is often kept as a form of aquatic livestock. The sumaik-furwi can be shaved of its “fur” safely as long as it is released into hotter water afterwards, which has led to a remarkably sustainable product that has come to be desired across the Republic of Elyra and beyond.
While the supersonic “sea scoop” jets powered by both rocket boosters and atmospheric turbojets proved to be too expensive and impractical for widespread chemical-gathering usage, they managed to find another commercial field on Aemaq: racing. The sea scoops have since been rebranded and retrofitted as high-end civilian sportscraft and racers, though they have maintained the distinctive nickname of sea scoop due to the origins of the sport in the pilots that were employed to scoop chemicals from the jets. Various floating cities on Aemaq field their own teams, and racing is a common pastime that ultimately culminates in the Aemaq Grand Prix: a competition between the best teams to see who can perform a chosen course the fastest. Though official races proceed with one jet running the course at a time for safety, informal one-on-one races where both pilots compete to see who is the fastest while running a course at the same time are not unheard of.
Major Floating Cities
Rumaidair is the capital of Aemaq and its most populated floating city, with roughly 40 million permanent residents. It is the first settlement ever established on the surface of Aemaq’s seas, and its residents are typically proud of this fact. While Rumaidair drifts freely, it tends to favor the central seas of the planet due to their comparatively hospitable climate. The planet’s largest university, the Rumaidair Municpal University - an institute renowned for its chemists and biologists, is found here. Its sea scoop team is called the Rumaidair Leviathans, and their colors are green and white.
Nuzhied is the second largest city on Aemaq and one of the earlier settlements on it. While the city serves as a major chemical producer, it also functions as the center of Aemaqii fashion due to its position on the northern seas of the planet. More sumaik-furwi can be found in Nuzhied and its surrounding waters than anywhere else on the planet, which has resulted in its textile exports slightly surpassing its chemical industry in terms of raw profit. Nuzhied’s sea scoop team is, appropriately, called the Fighting Sumaiks. The team’s colors are purple and blue, the same colors often found on clothing produced here.
Kulat is the third largest floating city on Aemaq. Located near the southern pole of the planet, its population has swollen in recent years with the discovery of richer chemical concentrations deeper than the surface level in its surrounding waters. While it is unknown why chemicals tend to concentrate towards lower levels of water near the southern pole, it is known that the “veins” of chemicals are extremely rich and well worth the risk. Due to the risks and foolhardiness locals associate with “going deep” on Aemaq, many of its chemical hunters tend to be foreigners or recent arrivals. Its sea scoop team is called the Kulat Albatrosses, and their colors are brown and white.
Sahina is an atypical floating city located midway between the equator and southern pole. It does not have great chemical reserves, but it does have an extraordinary amount of leviathans in its surrounding waters. This floating city was the site of the M.V. Qishlah incident of 2454, and the floating city has developed a kind of quiet appreciation for the leviathans in the years since. Conflict has arisen in the years since between the city’s population and the researchers (and tourists) that have come to study leviathans in the years since the M.V. Qishlah incident. Due to their odd habits surrounding the leviathans, the citizens of Sahina are often looked upon as superstitious by other Aemaqians. The city’s sea scoop team is the Sahina Seahawks, and their colors are violet and black. These colors have sparked controversy in recent years due to their ability to blend in with Aemaq’s chemical seas, and a debate regarding a change in team colors is currently underway.