Biesel was one of the first habitable exoplanets discovered and was located in Tau Ceti in the early days of exploration. Seventeen years after the development of the Warp Drive, its first colony was established in 2147. The planet consisted of simple flora in the pre-human era, and small furry gopher-like animals called Barks by early colonizers. Then humans colonized and introduced animals and plants from Earth. Despite conservation efforts, these animals quickly disappeared due to being out-competed by earth animals entering the wild and because they were viewed as pests for their loud, obnoxious barks and insatiable desire to chew wires. As a result of its sustained terraforming effort and colonization, Biesel has become one of the most wealthy and influential planets in human space. Following the aftermath of an economic recession during which the Sol Alliance was suffering, the Federal Republic of Biesel and the Tau Ceti System achieved independence in 2452. Most of the major corporations operated on Biesel before its independence, but since the creation of the Free Trade Zone, they have been gradually bought out or undermined by the larger megacorporations. Nanotrasen and its subsidiaries account for the majority of all business in Biesel and Tau Ceti today.
Biesel's rich resource base is attributed to a collision with a large celestial body early in its development. From the time Biesel was colonized, geologists have been studying Peterdiezel Crater closely. According to theories, the crater was created by the collision of a moon with the planet. This collision not only brought Biesel's moon, Valkyrie, into existence, but also created a wealth of resources. A part of Valkyrie is thought to be Biesel, while the other is thought to be the celestial body responsible for creating Peterdiezel Crater.
There is very little risk of Tsunamis on Biesel, because of the almost non-existent tectonic activity; tropical storms form with a similar frequency to Earth, but because of the smaller land area, the tropical storms can be much stronger. Many coastal cities have detection systems that sound an alarm if the correct atmospheric conditions are met.
As settlers colonized the planet, they introduced plants and animals brought over from Earth into the ecosystems of the planet. Unlike the introduced species of plants and animals that immediately followed human settlement, local species had historically thrived in Biesel before human settlement. After a total transformation, the habitat in Biesel resembles Earth with its flora and fauna.
A variety of species of animals, including deer, elk, wolves and bees, can be found in coniferous and temperate forests. There are also earth species found in deserts and on the ocean. As a result of the terraforming work carried out on Biesel, nearly all native alien species have disappeared. Few native rodents, insects, and fish have managed to adapt to the new ecosystem and have prospered. Only a few large animals remain in zoos for public viewing.
Continents and Major Cities
In spite of its size, Astraeus is the most affluent of Biesel's three continents and it is home to the capital, Mendell City. Even today, it remains the most heavily populated area in Biesel, largely due to the availability of natural resources and the low-lying plains that were easily colonized by early settlers. Many of their homesteads soon turned into cities, dotting the landscape around the two mountain ranges in the north, the Grattle, and in the south, the Uratines. In its long history, the Grattle range has evolved from a mining zone to a destination recognized for its top-performing ski resort that can lure visitors from the furthest reaches of Orion Spur.
See: Mendell City
Known as the most affluent city in all of space, Mendell City is the capital of Biesel. There are countless educational institutes where people of all backgrounds can hone their intellect and reach new heights before they are eagerly hired by corporate giants. However, the city has low-income neighbourhoods that exist on the outskirts of its more wealthy neighbourhoods. These low-income areas are home to a large population of non-humans used by Nanotrasen in exchange for cheap labour. In reality, very few people are actually living in abject poverty since basic utilities and public services are available, though these are infrequently reliable and there are very few higher education institutions available.
Cape City, otherwise known as the “City of Splendor” by many Bieselites, is a city focused heavily on entertainment, production of holovids, and exorbitant tourist attractions. Situated around and on the side of Mount Nevermeet in the midst of the Cape Sea, the entertainment centre sits comfortably by scenic vistas, large themed resorts, and studios for filming and recording. However, due to unique labor laws, it has gained a bad reputation among non-humans for being exploitative and predatory in their practices. Any xenos looking to gain entry into fields like animation, studio production, acting, and the like face harsh stereotypes and discrimination, poorer qualities of living, and shop and drop contracts (hiring someone, forcing them to work an unusually high amount of hours a week, then “dropping” them if they protest or request different hours after a short period contract expires). Nonetheless, Cape City is on the up-and-up, and only time will tell its rise to the intergalactic stage as a media giant or not.
The second-largest continent of Biesel, Selene, is situated north of Astraeus. In spite of its size, Selene is the continent with the lowest population density of the three, with almost all of its inhabitants living in coastal towns. Those not biding their time on the coasts are usually tending the inland plains that often are lined with farmsteads. The Greatkrag range that runs across Selene has come to symbolize the Biesel Escarpment, an area consisting of steep slopes that transition into arctic plateaus, which entice those seeking to escape civilization.
In a similar way to Mendell City, Selene's capital, Phoenixport, is located along the inner coast of its continent along Severson's Rift. After rebranding as a "successor" to Mendell City, the city gained prominence and briefly achieved its goal. Phoenixport was briefly successful, but fell off the radar and eventually became a breeding ground for nefarious behaviour. In another effort to revive interest in the city, government officials introduced replicas of various ancient architectural wonders. Examples include the Eiffel Tower and the Parthenon. Overall, the construction scheme did improve the quality of the city and even attracted large numbers of tourists eager to see the wonders rebuilt far from the dire conditions on Earth. Einstein Engines recent acquisition of Phoenixport has left many wondering whether the city will see yet another revival.
Unfortunately, NanoTrasen has not taken the transfer of ownership idly - any NanoTrasen employees within Phoenixport have been given until March of 2463 to relocate or be summarily fired, Phoenixport residents found outside of the city’s limits are often summarily stopped and searched by NanoTrasen-owned police officers, and Phoenixport-flagged spacecraft are similarly “randomly” searched by SCC patrol vessels. Yet despite this the prospect of having a business not owned by NanoTrasen continues to attract new capital to Phoenixport.
After an appeal by NanoTrasen in 2464, which proved that Einstein Engines had illegally acquired assets within Phoenixport, much of the corporate assets found themselves up for grabs yet again. Despite assistance from Idris Incorporated, NanoTrasen failed to secure a majority holding within Phoenixport, with Einstein Engines continuing its hegemony over the city. Subsequently, the discrimination faced by those in Phoenixport by local law enforcement has decreased significantly, as well as the "random" searches of Phoenixport-flagged spacecraft. Some of those forced from their homes during the original dispute have since begun to slowly return.
Situated at the southernmost edge of the Pandeia Penisula, hedged in by the Greatkrag ranges, Belle Cote is considered Biesel’s centre of finance, fashion and arts. The Selenian Moth, an insect that produces a resilient fibre that is common in textile manufacturing, was discovered by colonists early on in the development of the colony. A result of this discovery was the rapid decline of fishing and the emergence of the fashion industry. With an annual show, Belle Cote pushed the boundaries of fashion vogue and still does so to this day. Those living in Belle Cote are often considered to be a bit stuck up, looking down on others who don't keep up to date with their trendy outlandish trends. Even the poorest dress themselves in their eccentric styles. It is a popular honeymoon and wedding destination, which the artisanal community has begun franchising upon.
In the heart of Selene, Ashton sits among miles of rolling farmlands that are home to dozens of different species of flora, including some that are native to Biesel. Due to its dominant agricultural industry, the community's economy has become centred on agriculture, as illustrated by its bimonthly Ashton farmer's market, which draws residents from surrounding cities alike and has become a cornerstone of the community's economy. As a whole, Ashtons are noted for being incredibly welcoming and cheerful.
The largest continent of the three, Eos resides mostly within the eastern hemisphere of Biesel and is the most industrialized. The large amount of coastal flatlands, supplied by rugged inlands, rich with minerals and resources of all varieties has led to most of the cities doting Eos to form along with the two major mountain ranges. They are the northern Latra range, which is heavily mined for its abundance of copper and iron, and the southern Sevul range, mined for its large quantities of heavy metals. Eos is also known for its sports fanatics, who host regular tournaments between the major population centres on Biesel.
Scottsdan, the continental capital of Eos and the industrial giant of Biesel. Its abundance of raw resources, provided by the Sevul Range, and the refinery processing capabilities has resulted in megacorporations expanding their operations within the city. There is a growing robotics industry, with Hephaestus Industries, Confiance Technologies and Terranius Diagnostics locked in a perpetual war of dominance. Most of the goods produced within Scottsdan are transported via monorails designed to carry freight to Ports-Ville, the closest port to both Mendell City and Phoenixport on Eos. Citizens of Scottsdan are remarkably hard-working according to the megacorporations, however, some prefer to call them stuck up doormats due to their snooty, sycophant tendencies.
Top of the World
Previously a sleepy town with little going for it, Lakeside has now shot to prominence after Miranda Trasen’s funding into the borough. After clearing several acreages lined along the coast of Griff’s Lake, inhabitants suffered round the clock cacophonies echoing from the construction equipment now infesting the demolished meadows. Eventually, it became evident what was being constructed by the Orion Spur’s wealthiest woman. The acreages were not longer vast empty fields, but instead the entrance to a gated community floating along the lake. Construction at long last was completed, and yielded what is now known to be “Top of the World”.
It is uniquely populated by those who are gifted access by Miranda Trasen herself, or those able to afford the ridiculously expensive “warranty”. Only the highest of echelons exist within the man-made island. Beneath its surface exists an experimental tesla engine, one of unprecedented scale. On particularly bad days, those residing in Lakeside are warned from partaking in aquatic activities.
Majority of the labour force was previously comprised of IPCs, resulting in the creation of an entire community of positronics that existed purely to maintain and provide both the grand structure and its inhabitants. However, as of 2463, these IPCs have been made obsolete after the introduction of a triumvirate of artificial intelligences; Exteriores, Interiorem and Centrum. They coordinate with an array of bound drones, completing the tasks previously assigned to hundreds of independent positronic bodies, a cost-saving measure as cited by sceptics when comparing the value to ageing IPCs.
The integrated positronic chassis’ of Top of the World, who used to labour in a warm and maintained community of privileged construction and endless labour, all suffered redundancy and were put into other jobs or positions within NanoTrasen if owned. Free IPCs were often dumped to the curb and labelled as obsolete. The quality of life between Top of the World and Lakeside is stark. Poverty grips the majority of the population nestled within the backwater town. Dilapidated houses are a common sight within Lakeside, even entire houses sunken into the growing marsh. Free IPCs that previously called Top of the World home still remain in the area, stripped of any corporate identification in an often haphazard fashion, with clear signs of decay on their chassis.
Ports-Ville was originally established as a fishing and shipbuilding hub when Biesel was originally settled. For decades, the city was prosperous, supplying the planet with massive cargo ships to traverse its great blue oceans. After Biesel’s independence from the Alliance, however, Solarian subsidies for the industry disappeared and NanoTrasen found that shipbuilding was now cost-inefficient due to the continuing decrease of shipping goods by shuttle or spacecraft. The company withdrew most of its investment in the city’s heavy industry nearly overnight, causing the local economy to recede and the city itself to gradually decay into a patchwork of run-down apartment blocks, abandoned shipyards, and fishing ports in desperate need of maintenance.
Recently, however, Hephaestus Industries has brought up much of these abandoned facilities with hopes of retooling the city into a spaceship production centre on Biesel. This has also coincided with the megacorporation inviting many Martian refugees fleeing from the Violet Dawn disaster to resettle in the city to work at these new facilities. Ports-Ville itself is unprepared for this great migration of people and is in the middle of a severe housing shortage, with many new arrivals finding themselves living in makeshift tent-town camps as a result. It is yet to be seen if this new investment by Hephaestus Industries will pay off and revitalise the city once more, as the influx of Martian refugees has so far only continued to strain the city’s already declining economy.
Established along the eastern coastline of Eos, New Marfa is one of few cities on Biesel without megacorporate dominance, which is largely attributed to its status as a hub for Elyran migrants; half if not most of the citizens are either Elyran immigrants and expatriates or directly descended from one. Elyran culture is dominant in the city, to the point that at a glance, it has become nearly indistinguishable from a city in Persepolis. Elyran megacorporations retain a minority over the market with the SCC megacorporations, and the competition has led to a flourishing synthetic development sector. With a thriving glass refining industry and healthy technology sector, New Marfa’s advancements in the fields of robotics are said to be at least a year ahead of everything else on Biesel.
Craterview has managed to become the vacation and resort city of the Republic of Biesel, with large Idris Hotels lining the interior perimeter of the beaches and small family-run motels dotting the plots of land surrounding the beaches. Crime rates soar the farther one strays from the city centre, as locals defraud and steal from tourists drawn to their slice of Biesel. Other than the tourism industry, the fishing industry also does well, leading to a growing presence of local seafood hibachi restaurants. In addition to year-round sunshine and tropical climate, Craterview is occasionally interrupted by tropical storms. It is no wonder that boat races have become an attraction, even becoming an event for betting. In the rich suburbs, marinas line beachfront estates where Eridani Private Military Contractors are often spotted. It is well known that residents of Craterview are both competitive and sceptical of the wealthy.
Life on Biesel
- Peterdiezel Boat Racing is an annual competition that begins in Craterview. The race is a three-day excursion and is usually recorded through observation drones following the individual boats racing against the clock. There are several routes all across Peterdiezel Crater, some more dangerous than others. While anyone can participate, most of the competitors are city teams such as the Mendell City Boat Club or the Cape Cods.
- Eos Sporting Tournaments are an annually held, international series of sporting events in which megacorporation-sponsored athletes participate in competitions involving human and alien sports. Every team or participant will represent a corporation during the competitions. Due to the corporate nature of the event, every participant must be employed in the megacorporation they represent. It is common for corporations to offer better salaries and benefits to notorious athletes in an attempt to poach them from their original employers. Games are usually hosted in any of Eos' cities except New Marfa.
- Belle Cote Fashion Show is a series of designer presentations held annually in Belle Cote. Sponsored by Idris, a variety of venues are used throughout the city to display the best-performing styles and themes of the year. Both Chief Executive Officers of Caishen Jewellers and Le Soleil Royal are regular hosts of the show, their fashion lines the staple of the event.
Festivals and Celebrations
- Republic Day (also known to some as Xavier’s Gala) is a holiday which commemorates the declaration of independence of Tau Ceti from the Solarian Alliance. The crippling economic recession experienced by the Solarian Alliance allowed the Republic of Biesel to leverage their independence, and ultimately be awarded it. It is hosted on May 5th of each year, and usually involves total rejection of both Solarians and Megacorporations. Fireworks, parades, fairs and concerts are often commonly associated with Republic Day.
- Tribuisti de Colonis, or Festival of the Settlers, is a massive Carnival celebration marking Biesel’s colonization. The festivities usually begin on the third Friday of October, through to the Sunday. Mendell City has become the most well-known celebrator of the festival, parading through the streets of the various districts with eccentric clothing and massive floats (usually of the planet’s native species). Other popular cities include Craterview, which celebrates the festival with dazzling fireworks and displays of lights, and Belle Cote, which throws its annual fashion show over the weekend the festival takes place.
- Heritage Day is a holiday that recognizes and celebrates the cultural wealth of the Republic of Biesel. Celebrations differ from person to person and usually depends on their cultural heritage and the remembrance of such. Some believe the wearing of cultural garments is enough, while others may partake in cultural festivities hosted across Tau Ceti. It is usually held every September 24th.
In spite of being outperformed in terms of production by both New Gibson and Biesel, Valkyrie has managed to cement itself as a major player within the Republican economy. Its strategic location within its star system has enabled the planet to become a hub for trade, commerce and even tourism via extensive upgrades to its infrastructure. Valkyrie was originally a mining outpost that expanded rapidly after it was colonized shortly after Biesel in the 2150s. As a result of its proximity to Biesel, as well as its abundant raw resources, it has become popular among the megacorporations that have established outposts across the moon's surface. The Commonwealth of Valkyrie is treated as an independent member-state within the Republic of Biesel and receives planetary recognition.
Council of Valkyrian Affairs (commonly referred to as “The Council”) was established shortly after Valkyrie achieved recognized independence from Biesel, and were tasked to oversee the moon’s administration. Four councillors administer the various proceedings of the moon, which are under the direction of the Moon's director-governor. Within the Valkyrian Exchange Terminal, the Council occupies the Councillors' Chambers. There is often remark that it can even be seen with the naked eye on Biesel, which is sometimes met with hostility from Skrell, who seem unable to understand the sarcasm behind the comment.
Director-Governor: Charles Arcos, Human, 41
Councillor of Economic Development: Arthur O’Donnell, Offworlder, 66
Councillor of Foreign Relations: Michael Cox, Human, 39
Councillor of Law Enforcement: Hzi’ann Zskzi, Unathi, 43
Councillor of Interior Affairs: Liu Shan, Offworlder,58
Since Valkyrie does not tidally lock to Biesel, it differs from most moons. There is a rotational period of approximately 16 hours. Moreover, its proximity to Biesel has resulted in a much smaller orbital period, taking only a week to complete one rotation around its parent planet. Valkyrie's surface temperatures tend to fluctuate between -100°C and -265°C depending on its location. In terms of size, it is similar to Luna. A repeated onslaught of asteroids dislodging themselves from the Dust Belt has left Valkyrie's landscape in a mess of jagged, overlapping ridges and craters. Its frightening environment has not stopped several corporations from taking over big segments of the moon for mining, shipbuilding, or other purposes. Over the millennia, collisions between asteroids have inevitably resulted in Valkyrie being a repository for a large number of heavy metals, used for the production of spacecraft and weapons. As a consequence, generations of illegal mining operations have been carried out deep inside the crust of the moon, where many have lost their lives in an attempt to get rich fast.
Helios Manufacturing Site - Hephaestus Industries Valkyrian Outpost
Located within one of the deepest trenches on Valkyrie, Helios is a megapolis centred around Hephaestus’ primary manufactory within the Republic of Biesel. Although it has had significant growth since its inception following a brief bidding war during the 2320s, its importance was only realized after the discovery of rich quantities of palladium, titanium, and aluminium. As opposed to setting up routes to transport resources outside of Tau Ceti, Hephaestus began building the first of many factories that would refine these metals and ultimately be used to build spacecraft. The Helios Manufacturing Site continued to expand greatly after its unveiling and now encompasses almost a sixth of Valkyrie.
Hyperion Data Nexus - NanoTrasen Corporation Valkyrian Outpost
The area in which the Nexus lies, as opposed to the other corporate outposts around Valkyrie, was privately purchased by Nanotrasen after it discovered Phoron in 2418 and was used to start Nanotrasen's first laboratories for researching the crystal. It was only after the megacorporation achieved dominance on the crystal that the Nexus began expanding across the Valkyrian plains, with the establishment of a shipyard along the ridges marking an end to the plain on which the outpost occupied. Research and development remains a significant component of some laboratories, but a large portion has been replaced by mining or refinery apparatus.
Mach-Rassvet Research Anchorage - Zavodskoi Interstellar Valkyrian Outpost
The Mach-Rassvet Research Anchorage is one of the more recent developments located on Valkyrie and was opened in 2445 after a brief auction in which Zavodskoi Interstellar (Previously Necropolis Industries) acquired the rights to the territory. Initially meant to be a genetics research facility, Zavodskoi Interstellar’s retraction from the field of genetics instead prompted the development of a ConTec Facility that primarily focused on positronic research and development manufacturing. Almost two decades after it was founded, the Mach Rassvet Research Anchorage is still producing the majority of the components necessary to construct integrated positronic chassis in Biesel. These assets continue to sustain the income of Zavodskoi Interstellar.
Valkyrie Exchange Terminal - Neutral Valkyrian Outpost
The Valkyrie Exchange Terminal is not so much a cargo terminal as it is a small city dug into an equatorial trench spanning a tenth of the moon’s surface. The Terminal contains the largest shipping infrastructure on Valkyrie; everything needed for the transport of goods, from the launch infrastructure, warehouses, and boarding areas are present within the Terminal. In addition, the TCFL maintains its shipyards within the terminal, maintaining its eclectic fleet. The Legion assists in the operation and enforcement of the Terminal's Air Traffic Control, which is responsible not only for incoming and outgoing vessels but also for tracking ships and stations within the moon's orbit with satellites. It serves as the closest thing the planet has to a capital city, with the moon’s government conducting its business from a skyscraper overlooking the Terminal.
Life on Valkyrie
Valkyrie is home to the largest trade infrastructure in the Republic of Biesel, with the moon being surrounded by a ring of orbital stations that handle what is generally regarded as the heaviest space traffic in human space. Just as many ports exist on the surface of the moon, ferrying cargo and people to and from the orbit of the world. Most ships doing business in Tau Ceti will stop at least once on the moon, usually for repairs or refit. The sheer amount of traffic on the moon has led to it being constantly visible in Biesel’s sky, even during the day.
Valkyrie is a melting pot of peoples and cultures due to its status as a port. Most inhabitants of the moon are migrants; workers brought in by the corporations or simply remaining on the moon due to its proximity to work opportunities. As a result, Valkyrie holds an amorphous blend of cultures, most notably from the surrounding systems. It’s not uncommon for a Valkyrian dock to be staffed by a Solarian, Biesellite, Dominian, and Frontiersperson all at the same time. Gaining residency in Valkyrie is regarded as even laxer than the rest of the Republic, with the sheer amount of comings and goings rendering it impossible for everyone to be tracked. As a result, the local government has adopted a very open policy with immigrants, nearly to the point of settler rights. If a person lives on the moon and is willing to vouch for them, they are almost always granted residency. That being said, a minority of permanent offworlders has established themselves on the colony, having lived there since the Republic first colonized the moon. These offworlders are typically given managerial positions in the local industries, owing to their experience in the affairs of the moon.
Hephaestus’ Valkyrian Dream
For many of those fleeing the desolate wastelands of Moghes, Valkyrie was a promised land in which they could achieve their dreams if they had the strength to carve themselves an existence within the Republic of Biesel. Hephaestus’ influence on both the species and the moon resulted in the megacorporation’s franchisement on the “Valkyrian Dream” which branded the migration as a “necessary risk” that would reward them greatly, only should they be strong enough to prove themselves as worthy settlers. This has evolved into a mentality where hard work isn’t enough, and inhabitants of the barren moon must go above and beyond for those are the people which Valkyrie rewards.
The growing presence of Unathi has resulted in Hephaestus’ increasing dependency on the species to continue propping up their facilities across Valkyrie. While initially brought across as cheap labour, Unathi have managed to seep into almost every aspect of Valkyrie, even finding themselves rising through both civil and corporate ranks into positions of power — cementing the “Valkyrian Dream" ideology amongst many of them.
Guided also by the Valkyrian Dream movement, as well as general Hephaestus management of the area, the K’lax Hive has managed to establish on the Biesellite moon. The conditions of those living in Valkyrie are often considered to be less than ideal, but an improvement nevertheless when compared with Mendell. The population of K’lax largely encompasses Workers, many of whom are involved in the extraction and refinement of minerals. However, Leto has also settled some of her brood’s best xenoarcheologists here, mostly because of a belief that the phoron deposits in Tau Ceti somehow travelled from Sedantis. Vedhra, in partnership with Hephaestus, has managed to position some of her own inside government office jobs, as well as general employment in the Exchange Terminal.