Far, far away in the distant reaches of the human frontier -- on the ragged edge of the borders of the Coalition of Colonies -- lies the most populated settlement in the region known as Light’s Edge, the Republic of Assunzione. Originally founded as part of a colonization mission launched by a league of Mediterrean countries, the system of Assunzione was first colonized in the mid 2200s by seven ships. The planet’s star shortly fizzled out after colonisation, a process that has yet to be explained, and one that dramatically altered the future course of the planet. This calamity gave rise to a local syncretic religion known as Luceism. Despite the disastrous fate of its star, Assunzione has managed to survive and thrive. This status has made many view the planet as the gateway to Light’s Edge, and the many mysterious phenomena that dwell within the region.
Assunzione's remote location and urban planning which places a premium on available housing and space has made it unattractive to outsiders as a destination for immigration. Because of this, characters born on Assunzione will have names and appearances consistent with the peoples living on or around the Mediterranean Sea, much like the planet's original colonists. Only native Assunzioniis may take the Assunzionii accent. This is enforceable by server moderators and admins.
The initial long-range colonisation efforts carried out by humanity that formed what would eventually become the Coalition of Colonies were often perilous and dangerous ventures relying upon early and typically slow warp engines to navigate across dozens of light years of empty space. Many of these expeditions — such as those travelling to Xanu Prime or Vysoka — were successful, while others - such as the ships that journeyed to Himeo — ran into issues. Some — like the colonial fleet that landed upon Moroz — became entirely stranded and lost, cut off from their homeworld and left to fend for themselves. The distant system of Al-Maqdisi, and the sole habitable planet within it, was one of the furthest systems colonized during this craze, yet it would be one of the strangest.
In the early 2200s, before the Second Great Depression and the ensuing Interstellar War, colonization by the Sol Alliance was at its peak: the frontier was being pushed further into the unknown. In this colonial boom, the Sol Alliance sponsored a colonial initiative brought forward by the Mediterranean Economic Pact — a European Union initiative that brought together a diverse alliance of Mediterranean economic powers stretching from Iberia to Anatolia in order to launch seven vessels to the Al-Maqdisi System for purposes of setting up colonies... The resulting “Med-Sev” expedition would be one of the longest journeys undertaken in the 2200s and would be the first to reach what would later be referred to as Light’s Edge, setting down on the only habitable planet in the system in late 2243.
While the initial colonial period of the planet that came to be known as Assunzione by the local settlers was fairly standard -- perhaps even boring -- the Med-Sev expedition was able to send some valuable resources back to Sol proper. The main value of the system, however, became the unusual phenomenon found within it. The Al-Maqdisi System was, during this period, home to a variety of light-related phenomena ranging from massive sunspots on the star’s surface thousands of kilometers wide to unusual prismatic patterns that occurred in Assunzione’s atmosphere, creating beautiful vistas above the self-contained domes of the seven initial colonies. The system’s star continued to provide a massive amount of data and bizarre, awe-inspiring phenomena until 2274.
When it went out.
Understandably, this caused a significant amount of panic. Fortunately for the colonists, the star had retained enough mass despite going dark. While the darkness meant life on the planet had become a daily fight for survival, it managed to remain in orbit of the dead star. With the Interstellar War already beginning to break out, the Sol Alliance crippled by debt, and the Mediterranean Economic Pact in economic freefall, there was no easy way off of the planet for the immediate future. There was, however, a very real chance that Assunzione would become a planet-sized tomb. Fortunately, the colonists of the Med-Sev fleet turned out to be tougher than initially imagined, and luckier than one would have originally anticipated. As a precaution against a lack of fuel and hazardous atmospheric phenomena, Assunzione’s seven colonial cities were all built within large, self-contained dome structures powered by the one source of fuel that was not freezing or disappearing: geothermal energy. Despite their advantages, their struggle for survival would not be an easy one.
The months in the immediate aftermath of the star being snuffed out were marked by widespread panic, terror, and despair. The death of the system’s Star had an extremely negative impact upon the planet’s remaining population. Many residents of Assunzione turned to religion as a source of relief and succor or as a shield against the terrifying concept that was their entire planet freezing over and dying a slow death that could hardly be stopped. Even as the situation in the domed cities began to stabilize and it became clear to the population of the planet that they might just survive, a sense of desperation and hopelessness reigned supreme over the residents of the planet, and many found insufficient answers in both scientific explanations and in their traditional religions from across the Mediterranean. What would emerge from this tumultuous period was the quite unusual syncretic religion known as Luceism, which established itself as a new faith inspired by various religious traditions of the original colonists. The religion, odd as it was, would eventually expand to the rest of Assunzione from its home in the domed city of Malaga and become known as one of the major hallmarks of Assunzione.
By the early 2280s, Assunzione had managed to stabilize and now had to deal with another crisis. It had been written off as a lost cause by the Sol Alliance due to its position on the other side of the newly-formed Coalition of Colonies, on the boundary of Light’s Edge. As they had already passed through their greatest crisis and remained alive, by the grace of the fading light, the decision to formally split from the Alliance was an easy one to reach. The Med-Sev colonial mission formally declared its mission concluded as of 2282 due to, “unforeseen consequences, involving its environment, and formed the Republic of Assunzione - a union of all seven domed cities under one government in the capital of Triesto. It joined the newly formed Coalition of Colonies in 2300, becoming the Coalition’s only member state in Light’s Edge. This would prove to be an unexpected advantage in the years to come, as Assunzione’s unusual stability and location have turned it into the primary point of entry for the wild, untamed, and extremely strange systems further inside Light’s Edge.
The Republic of Assunzione, in the present day, remains prosperous in spite of its strange religion and despite its harsh living environment. However many go abroad to the greater Coalition or even further beyond to the Republic of Biesel, with New Gibson being a particularly popular destination due to its similar terrain, for reasons as broad as the Coalition itself.
The environment of Assunzione is extremely harsh and equally strange at the same time. The surface is deathly cold, and death from exposure without a proper suit can occur in mere minutes unless aid is rendered immediately. The surface is also constantly shrouded in darkness, making any efforts outside of the extremely well-lit domed cities extremely risky and often tedious ventures. Some scholars, particularly those visiting from the universities of the United Syndicates of Himeo, have noted that the settlements on Assunzione have a greater amount of lighting per square meter than any other place in the Coalition, due to both the lack of a traditional sun in the system and Luceism’s obsession with light and brightness.
Thanks to a massive die-off of flora and fauna following the extinguishing of the planet’s star, what flora and fauna remain have come to be integrated with the domed cities of Assunzione. Nearly two centuries of evolution has led to what animals remain on Assunzione becoming quite small and compact in order to survive in the heavily-urbanized environments in which they now dwell. Similarly, the great freeze has caused the planet’s plant life to be reduced to living in hydroponics bays, museums, and green spaces found throughout the seven great domed cities. Some of the most common animals now found on Assunzione are the common domesticated house cat, originally brought by the colonists to Assunzione, and Rattus rattus, the black rat, which stowed away on the original colonising vessels . In the urban jungle, cats have managed to thrive - becoming the primary predator of the domes and common household pets. One curious exception to this rule of all life being killed after the star died, is the so-called luce vine, the only known plant to have survived the Star’s fate -- often simply referred to as the Dimming -- and remain outside the dome. The luce vine is typically found growing on the surface level of the ice that dominates the surface of Assunzione, and is bioluminescent in nature with its bulbs constantly producing a ghostly white light. This quality has led to many on Assunzione viewing it as a symbol of the Light’s will and a sign that their star will someday return to its former glory - no matter what. Due to their ability to glow in even the dimmest sources of light, luce vine bulbs are the primary source of illumination for warding spheres and greater warding spheres. The process of harvesting these bulbs is viewed as a holy task for followers of Luceism, and a great deal of importance is placed upon it.
Society and Culture
Assunzionii society is an odd, often insular one, thanks to the collective societal trauma experienced when the Star itself was extinguished. The nature of this catastrophe and the confinement of those on the planet to the seven domed cities have lent themselves to a very space-conscious and urbanized society, but underground habitation is very uncommon due to a common Assunzionii trait: a societal aversion, or fear, towards darkness and a preference for exceedingly well-lit spaces. This dislike of underground dwellings - and the dim conditions often intrinsic to them - has led to the planet’s domed cities consistently choosing the longer, more expensive route of building new interconnected domes spreading from a central “bulb,” dome rather than simply digging downwards. The lights of Assunzione’s great domed cities, surrounded by the utter darkness of the planet itself, often create a spectacular sight when seen from orbit.
The Assunzionii love of brightness is especially accented in its areas of worship, ranging from grand cathedrals to small-scale chapels. Many visitors to the planet’s holy sites find themselves wearing protective eyewear to shield their eyes - which are often used to the dim conditions of space travel - against the overwhelming brightness of the interiors. It is said that inside a cathedral on Assunzione one can stand in the middle of a room and cast no shadow at all. Outside of holy sites, the great domed cities are generally lit in fashions that make those holy beacons of places stand out more, and the ghostly lights of many of Assunzione’s domes often provide a spectacular contrast against the inky blackness that dwells outside. Celebrations on the planet - from religious ceremonies to holidays to birthdays - are similarly centered around brightness and light, with the goal of banishing darkness - if only for the special occasion itself. The most important of all holidays on the planet is the Assumption of the Fading Lights - a celebration on the eleventh of March (of the standard Earth calendar) every year that is viewed by Assunzionii as a tribute to their long-extinguished Star, and their enduring hope that it will someday return to life.
Because of its Mediterranean heritage, Tradeband is the language primarily spoken on Assunzione and is the liturgical language of Luceism. Freespeak has been taught in schools since Assunzione’s formal joining of the Coalition of Colonies, however, to greater integrate with the Coalition.
Luceism is a cornerstone both of society and culture on the planet, and more can be read about it here.
Government and Economy
The Republic of Assunzione is, unsurprisingly, a representative republic made up of the planet’s seven great domed cities, all of which hold a seat on the Council of Seven, and is headed by the elected President of the Republic of Assunzione. On paper the Republic’s political system is free of the influence of Luceism, but in reality, politics and prayer often find themselves hand-in-hand in the Republic. Prospective politicians will often ask for blessings from priests before embarking on their election campaigns, and the holy blessing of the Light (or lack thereof) can often make or break one’s entire campaign. Politicians and officials from Assunzione’s religious minorities, dubbed by Assunzioni society as Sinluceians, will often find themselves running into significant difficulties due to this focus on Luceism, and rarely find major success. The President of the Republic has never been a Sinluceian.
The economy of the Republic is intrinsically tied to Light’s Edge due to its position upon the very edge of the region. Its proximity to the rest of Light’s Edge allows it to not only serve as the primary economic hub of the surrounding frontier, but also makes it the primary point of entry for scientific expeditions or missions (often megacorporation-funded ones) seeking to examine the phenomena of the area or chart unexplored territories beyond known space. In order to continue its status as the best place to launch an treks into Light’s Edge, the Republic’s economy is specialized into producing survey and sensor equipment ranging from a variety of sensor suites to exploratory and surveying vessels. Curiously, expeditions outfitted (and in some cases blessed for a price) by the denizens of Assunzione have a significantly higher survival rate than those that are not. Whether this is due to local expertise or something beyond that is unknown..
Population and Major Cities
Assunzione is not a very diverse planet compared to others in the frontier. Its population of roughly five-hundred million permanent residents is overwhelmingly human, with a small population of offworld humans and some positronic frames. Offworld humans from Assunzione itself are extremely rare, and most are generally drifters visiting the planet rather than permanent residents or - more rarely - immigrants. Positronics built on the planet are rare, with most originating off-world on planets such as Xanu Prime or Himeo. Travel between the cities of Assunzione is primarily conducted via aboveground magnetic rail lines inside protected (though transparent, to avoid darkness seeping in) tubes. The overwhelming majority of planetary residents reside within the seven great domed cities of Assunzione listed below.
Triesto is the capital of the Republic and the largest settlement on Assunzione, with a population of roughly one-hundred million people residing in a massive array of domes. Often referred to as the “Beacon of Light’s Edge” by its residents, the domed city is the single largest port in the entire interstellar south-east of the Orion Spur. Travellers from across the known space can be found beneath the domes of Triesto as they await their chance to brave Light’s Edge. Being a major regional port, and manufacturing hub of some of the most-capable deep-space survey sensors in the Orion Spur, Triesto has become the Nanotrasen Corporation’s primary location for launching phoron-finding missions into Light’s Edge. The city is additionally home to the headquarters of Zeng-Hu Pharmaceutical's Coalition Branch, with the majority of the keiretsu's exploratory missions launching from the city.
Malaga is the birthplace of Luceism and is, arguably, the cultural center of the Republic. With a population of eighty million permanent residents, the grand domes of Malaga are dominated by the centrally-located Grand Cathedral of Our Holy Light - the heart of Luceism.
Iraklio, with its population of sixty million souls, stands nearby Triesto and Malaga along the equator of Assunzione. Prior to the Dimming becoming sealed, it served as a major blue-water port on the planet due to its deep natural harbor. Following the Dimming, it has been repurposed into the planet’s primary shipyard and has recently seen investment from Hephaestus Industries.
Makarska, with fifty million that call it their home, is the primary research hub of the planet (and, by extension, Light’s Edge). Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals operates a significant research facility in this domed city, and many of the sensor suites that are eventually used across Light’s Edge were originally developed under these domes.
Guelma, home to forty million, is another major site for the Luceian faith: the great domes of the city are located at the geographical north of the planet, upon its pole. Due to this positioning it is considered by the faith to be the “nearest city to the Star” and has had a very unique permission given to it. It is the only location in the Orion Spur where Luceism’s holy warding spheres (both normal and greater) are produced, and many followers journey to Guelma to receive one before traveling abroad.
Dalyan, with a population of thirty-five million, has the boring distinction of being Assunzione’s breadbasket domed city. Beneath the lights of its domes grow a stunning variety of plants and animals that feed the Republic, and help give it a higher standard of living than many other locations in the far frontier. Dalyan exports a sizable amount of food to the larger Coalition and some of its cuisine can find its way even to the Republic of Biesel, with NanoTrasen importing exotic foodstuffs for its subsidiaries.
Said, with thirty-five million residents living in it, is the secondary port of the planet. While it is not nearly as well-trafficked as Triesto, the smaller nature of Said’s port and cheaper costs of docking permits has made it attractive to many independent vessels not affiliated with a megacorporation. It remains to be seen whether or not Said will be able to use its port to become more prevalent in the future.
Synthetics on Assunzione
As a major regional port within the Coalition and the gateway to the mysterious Light’s Edge sector. Assunzione is home to a small but notable population of synthetics, a minority are manufactured locally whilst the majority of them are bought in from Konyang by corporations operating in Assunzione. The isolated nature and lack of space on the planet however make immigration by synthetics similarly unattractive as it does the immigration of non-synthetics, and the free IPC population of the planet is small compared to other planets of a similar size and development within the Coalition.
Positronics manufactured on Assunzione are rare but make up most of the free synthetics on the planet due to the minuscule immigration rate to Assunzione. A majority of frames built on the planet are Bishop and Mobility frames, as the planet is the location of the Coalition HQ of Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals, who are also the biggest owner of synthetics on the planet.
A curious part of Assunzione manufactured positronics who stay on the planet is that they are blessed on creation and programmed with an adherence to the native religion of Luceism, to fit in better with the highly religious population, displaying both a knowledge of the faith and desire to follow its tenets. This adherence remains with them even if they find their freedom in some manner. Adherence to both Pyramidicalism and Astructuralism exist, as synthetics are usually programmed to follow the branch most popular where they will be sent to work.
Free synthetics can be found in all manner of roles on Assunzione, from expedition crews to menial workers and high ranking corporate positions, and similarly reside in the great domed cities that the human population occupy. Their adherence to the planet's faith means they are highly integrated with the local human population. All manner of frames are used by free synthetics across the planet, though the locally produced Bishop and Mobility frames are the most common.
Owned positronics meanwhile vary greatly across the seven cities of Assunzione, depending on the corporate presence there. The majority of positronics manufactured on Assunzione itself find themselves employed in Triesto, where the Headquarters of Zeng-Hu is located, serving as researchers, medical or service staff for the corporation. Another common role is as Bridge Crew and other staff for the many Zeng-Hu expeditions launched into the Light’s Edge region, the risks of exploring Light’s Edge make IPC crewmembers inherently useful as they are considered more expendable than human crew. Nanotrasen also employs synthetics in Triesto for their phoron-finding expeditions into the Light’s Edge for similar reasons. Markarsa also serves as another major hub for owned synthetics produced on the planet, as the research hub of the planet and home to a substantial Zeng-Hu research facility, many positronics serve as scientists or support staff here.
Whilst Triesto and Markarsa serve as hubs for Assunzione produced positronics, both NT and Zeng-Hu utilize synthetics bought from off-world in their operations here too. However, in other cities off-world produced synthetics make up a far larger section of the overall synthetic population with most coming from the nearby production centre of Konyang. Iraklio’s status as the primary shipyard of Assunzione and recent investments by Hephaestus Industries have brought large amounts of industrial frames to the planet to serve as labour for the budding shipbuilding industry and Hephaestus facilities. Meanwhile Said, being the port of call for many unaffiliated vessels travelling to the planet leads to it playing host to all manner of synthetics from off-world, primarily working as part of these independent crews but also within the city, a few members of the Golden Deep also have operations in the city, using it as their base for conducting business in the region.
The opinions on synthetics held by the human residents of Assunzione primarily stem from their interpretation of Luceist teachings, whilst Luceism itself espouses a neutral view towards synthetic life, personal interpretations vary between followers, and can be broadly classified into two primary views. The more pro-synthetic side of Luceism does not advocate for synthetic freedom but still has a more positive of synthetics for their efficiency, work ethic and other factors, especially those produced and blessed locally who adhere to Luceism, seeing them as properly integrated into the planet's population and support them being used on the planet.
The more anti-synthetic side of the faith believe that synthetics are a drain on Assunzione as a whole, and antithetical to the teachings of Luceism. This is primarily due to their inherently inorganic nature and the belief that synthetics drain away electricity that could instead have been used to produce light. They would rather see positronics not present on the planet at all. This divide exists within both the Pyramidicalist and Astructuralist branches of the faith.
A common uniting factor however for both viewpoints is a disdain for all positronics who were not created on the planet itself, finding their lack of knowledge or adherence to Luceism to be insulting at best and unacceptable at worst. Owned synthetics bought in from off-world often do not find themselves treated well by the locals where they do interact. Free synthetics choose to adopt the tenants of the faith if they were not local to the planet or simply not immigrate at all. Due to Luceism’s overwhelming presence on the planet, followers of the Trinary Perfection, both synthetic and organic are unheard of.