Himeo

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The United Syndicates of Himeo, more commonly rendered as Himeo (Hephaestus Industries Mineral Extraction Operation), is an economic powerhouse of the Coalition of Colonies originally founded as a mining venture by Hephaestus Industries in the 2200s. The largest city, and arguable capital of Himeo, is Magnitogorsk – a sprawling underground city built beneath the landing site HBF/CS Magnitogorsk after it landed on the planet. The primary export of Himeo is steel, along with other processed industrial materials, and much of its materials go to market in Xanu. The primary language of Himeo, unlike much of the Coalition of Colonies, is Solarian Common – though isolation from the proper Alliance has caused language drift over the centuries. Citizens of Himeo speak a dialect of Sol Common referred to as “Himeo Common" that has integrated vocabulary from Freespeak, and features a distinctive accent. The planet officially describes itself as a direct democracy that serves the citizens and workers of the planet before itself. With the extremely harsh conditions of Himeo's surface, most settlements are underground where cooperation is needed to survive. Himeo’s official motto is "We Shall Overcome" and a common symbol of the planet is a white hexagon surrounded by six red triangles holding back a sea of black, a symbolic representation of how the unity of Himeo holds back potential threats to the planet.

The flag of United Syndicates of Himeo.

History

Discovery

The origins of Himeo date back to 2248, when a Sol Alliance probe discovered the planet. The weather was estimated to be similar to the Yukon on Earth, and the planet was estimated to have massive mineral wealth by the probe. Within a year the area deemed “System XZP-0987” by the Sol Alliance was purchased by Hephaestus Industries, which intended to make the most of their new acquisition. An expedition was set to be launched as soon as possible, and in 2250 a fleet set out for Himeo. The fleet that disembarked was fairly large, consisting of nearly a dozen ships total, and they departed with a mission: drop a prefab colony (using the four colony ships themselves) on planet HIIMZ-05 (Hephaestus Industries Industrial Mining Zone, Fifth Planet) in order to exploit its mineral wealth. The prefab colony is designed to last twenty years at maximum, and the colony on HIIMZ-05 is expected to operate for five years total.

A picture of the planet Himeo from space.

The ships Magnitogorsk, Highland, Cannington, and Kiruna are all launched as industrial colony vessels. Hephaestus Industries warship Norilsk and two other ships are dispatched as escorts for the hulking industrial vessles. The mobile station Ryti is sent along to serve as a refueling and service station for vessels in orbit. By 2452, the ships arrive and drop their prefab colonies to find that the planet was not what they expected.

Colonization

Fierce polar winds whip across the surface of HIIMZ-05, causing extreme wear and tear on anything exposed to the vortexes that is not designed to withstand the wind. It becomes apparent to the colonists huddled in their prefab that the colonies must dig in order to create any structures at all. Anything exposed aboveground is generally very close to the ground, partially sunken in the ground, or built into natural wind barriers. There is a lack of fauna and plant life beyond hardy shrubbery and small mammals, leading to most food production taking place inside the colony itself or in limited hydroponics facilities in orbit. However, more in-depth environmental scans of HIIMZ-05 reveal that the mineral wealth of the planet is far greater than originally anticipated.

Construction efforts, not prepared for the harsh conditions present, rapidly falls behind. Quotas are being only partially met, if they are being considered at all. Equipment is being stretched to the breaking point. People are starting to grow restless on the planet now sarcastically being called “Himeo” due to its status as a Hephaestus Industries Mineral Extraction Operation. As the months turned to years, another problem emerged: supplies took a long time to get to Himeo, and the only available communicator that could reach corporate headquarters was on the Norilsk. By 2255, Himeo had drifted so far away from Hephaestus that the planetary governor was forced to sign off his power to the planet’s population following a devastating mine collapse that left one-hundred dead outside Highland City - an event that came after orders from corporate headquarters to remain on the planet indefinitely. Hephaestus, already becoming crippled by the economic downturns that would lead into the Second Great Depression, was forced to concede to the planet’s demands, fearing a full-scale revolt if they did not. The compromises made here would form the future of modern Himeo’s direct democracy, and formed the basis of quasi-unions referred to as syndicates by their members in order to better avoid raising attention from Hephaestus. The new leader of Himeo would be called the First Speaker, and was initially elected in late 2255 following the compromises.

Over the following years Himeo drew closer to its nearby neighbor of Xanu than it ever was to Hephaestus Industries, which was now viewed as having left the colony out to dry and die. Quotas continue to come in and not be met, while salaries continue to drop and the quotas, bizarrely, start to get larger - though the colonists did not realize it, Hephaestus was attempting to make money despite an economic collapse rapidly approaching. When the Second Great Depression hit in 2260 Hephaestus Industries sold off the colony, its ships, and its resources to the Sol Alliance. Himeo’s bizarre government was kept in place as the Alliance was unable to install a governor, but increased taxes on the system to compensate for the Second Great Depression were instituted in the system in 2272. For Himeo, this was the last straw.

The United Syndicates of Himeo

In 2275, the planet voted to leave the Alliance of Sovereign Solarian Nations along with Xanu and several other systems and officially changed its name to the United Syndicates of Himeo, with the proto-unions of the past decades having risen in power to dominate the planet’s already left-leaning government. By 2278, the planet would be embroiled in the Interstellar War and quickly become a major industrial center for the nascent Coalition of Colonies.

Since 2278 Himeo has remained a steadfast member of the Coalition of Colonies, despite often clashing ideologically with the Xanu Free League over the economic direction of the Coalition of Colonies. Himeo maintains a leash so tight on megacorporations in its space that they opt to not operate in its space, with Hephaestus being outright banned from operations in Himeo’s space since 2276. The contemporary Himeo is a major source of the Coalition’s industry, and generally provides the heavy industry and resources needed to ensure that other planets prosper.

Environment

The surface environment of Himeo is extremely harsh and uninhabitable. While it features an easily breathable atmosphere, distances from its star means that Himeo is generally freezing: surface temperatures are, on average, roughly −58.2 °C (−72.8 °F) before factoring in wind chill. The local climate is further characterized by its extreme windstorms, usually featuring snow, that whip down from its mountains and bracket the tundra of Himeo. The planet has an orbital period of fifteen months and two seasons due to its unusual orbital pattern: winter and deep winter. Deep winter refers to the period during which Himeo is further from its star, while winter refers to when it is nearest to its star. Deep winter lasts ten months, while winter lasts five months. The pressure and gravity on Himeo are similar to Earth, due to their comparable sizes. Days on Himeo are 30 hours long, and years are 15 Terran months.

Government

Himeo is a direct democracy in which the planetary leader, termed the First Speaker, is elected by pure majority vote for a maximum of two five year terms (barring emergencies such as war) and answers directly to Himeo’s citizenry. The First Speaker is assisted by the Council of Representatives – officials elected at a rate of one per city, orbital facility, officially registered ship, or other facility with a population of over 10,000 citizens. The existence of representation for ships is a result of a compromise made between the crews of the Hephaestus warships and the colonists in 2255, in order to earn a voice for them in the planet’s government. These Representatives answer directly to the citizens of where they were elected. In order to pass legislation impacting all of Himeo, it must pass a majority vote by all citizens of the planet. Legislation only impacting a certain area only needs a majority vote from that area: i.e., if legislation would solely impact Ryti Station, only Ryti Station votes on it.

The cities, towns, and stations of Himeo directly elect their majors and representative, with the ships of Himeo electing a representative to the city they work the closest with. Foreign Representatives of Himeo are appointed at a rate of one per municipality over 100,000 citizens, and serve on the Council of Foreign Representatives. They follow the same manner of legislation passing that the planet does. Himeo’s government has an extremely bad relationship with Hephaestus Industries, which it views as having oppressed the planet for its own profits, but holds a neutral status on other megacorporations. The government, by majority vote, banned Hephaestus from operating in Himeo’s space shortly after it declared independence.

Society

The society of Himeo is, by requirement, one that is very tightly-knit. The roots of the planet's independence in popular revolt have seen a collective spirit grow into a successful direct democracy with a strong ideological foundation in federalism and decentralization. However the system remains largely irrelevant outside the Coalition of Colonies. Himeans grow up in close proximity to one another and depend on one another for support in the dim tunnels beneath Himeo, with Himeans often forming groups to better allow themselves to prosper on their quite harsh planet. One’s culture of origin – at least, amongst the original settlers and their descendants – is largely irrelevant in the face of adversity within a city, and the need to rely on one another for support. A common thread through Himean society is a hatred of Hephaestus Industries, due to their mistreatment of the planet during its era as a corporate colony. Despite this, megacorporations that can hire Himeans often do so - they excel at being part of a team, even if they hold some odd collective views. Off-world humans are a common sight and typically originate from either the Scarab Fleet or Techno-Conglomerate, though minor fleets and unaffiliated offworlders are a common enough sight. Aliens are relative newcomers to the planet compared to their human counterparts, and have adapted to varying degrees. Tajara have found success on the frigid planet due to their tolerance of the cold, though many remain in their own districts. However, these districts can be found throughout major cities in Himeo. Skrell are generally a rare sight on Himeo, but some can be found in Highland City or Kiruna.

Cuisine

The traditional cuisine of Himeo is very sparse. The diet of a Himean was primarily composed of mushrooms until trade was opened with Xanu and the Scarab Fleet, causing the amount of available food to increase dramatically through new hydroponics techniques. The underground and orbital hydroponics farms of Himeo are able to produce a variety of common Terran foods, though meat remains a relative rarity due to the resources it consumes during production. The diet of citizens of Himeo is, however, less plant-based than an Eridanian’s diet – mining, after all, requires a lot of calories.

Education

Education on Himeo is provided at a municipal level, and is generally regarded as high-quality for the frontier. However it lags behind the Solarian Alliance's Jewel Worlds and Middle Ring, and those Himeans that wish to learn specialized sciences such as xenobiology often travel off the planet to Xanu or further afield. Despite this Himeo is famous for its ability to produce talented engineers, and atmospheric technicians. But due to a lack of corporate presence in the system, most of these individuals remain on Himeo and are rarely immediately hired by off-planet entities.

Architecture and Construction

The architecture of Himeo is very distinctive and is essentially unique to Himeo: the major settlements of Himeo are all built underground due to the environment of Himeo itself. While the initial cities were dug out of mine tunnels and intended to last mere decades, rather than centuries, the tunnel systems have been expanded and revamped over the centuries to resemble kinds of subterranean metropolises built on top of one another, with some of the larger cities stretching as far vertically as they do horizontally. While some of these tunnels can be massive, a typical residential tunnel in an underground city tends to have a clearance of around twenty feet in order to allow for rail traffic. Light is a constant issue in these tunnels, and many areas feature slightly dim lighting conditions. As such, many Himeans suffer from light sensitivity.

Cities on Himeo, due to being entirely underground, universally feature extremely well-maintained, advanced, and robust atmospheric systems that are maintained around the clock by the individual city’s Civil Atmospherics Service (CAS). Fuel-burning generators or machines are extremely rare in Himeo: the most common method of transit underground is via an extensive underground rail system that connects all major cities. All cities on Himeo are connected by this exceedingly complicated and very well-developed rail network, in which tunnels can stretch for thousands of kilometers as they snake around the planet. A job in the railway service is seen as very prestigious on Himeo, and its staff are known for their high quality. Electric power is often provided by burning the local ore deposits in factories, which vent their waste gasses to the surface via vents – some of which can stretch for hundreds of meters as they lead their way to the surface.

What buildings that are on the surface of Himeo must, by demand, be extremely sturdy or built into a natural wind barrier. Surface buildings are typically rounded to avoid wind damage, and feature very few windows. These shuttle ports of Himeo are generally built upon its plains, and are mostly underground. A wind shield typically surrounds a heavy-duty “wind gate” in the middle of the shields, which opens or closes to let vessels in. Travel on the surface of Himeo is generally done in extremely durable tracked vehicles fitted with enormous plows to fight through snow drifts that keep themselves low to the ground to avoid tipping over in the wind. Air travel aside from interstellar traffic is generally advised against, due to the severe weather of Himeo. A group of relics that remains in use on Himeo to this day are the massive Hephaestus Industries tunneling and mining machines that the original colonists embarked with. These machines were built to last, and are still in use to varying extents to this very day – with, of course, a great deal of modifications to keep them operational and effective. They typically fall under the authority of individual cities, though some factories operate them, and have storied histories. The machines are typically named and given some form of identifier on their chassis, in order to better distinguish them.

Population and Major Cities

The population of Himeo stands at roughly 1.5 billion citizens on the planet and 200 million in various orbital facilities as of the 2460 census, with the majority of its citizens residing in or around Himeo’s various urban centers. Most residents of Himeo are humans, either baseline or off-worlders, with some light populations of other species. Tajara are one of the most commonly seen alien species on Himeo, and are held in high regard on the planet: Zhan-Khazan and M’sai have found success on the planet as workers and surface scouts, respectively. Unathi and diona, due to the frigid temperatures and often dark conditions, are rarely seen. Skrell, as with most locations outside of the Federation, are rare. Vaurca are nearly unheard of. As with most areas in human space IPCs are an aspect of life in the system, with the proximity of the Techno-Conglomerate leading to a higher number of free IPCs in Himeo and its affiliated systems.

Magnitogorsk: The largest of all planetary cities, Magnitogorsk is home to almost everything one could hope for. The city features a booming ore processing industry famous for its high-quality products, and is home to the planet’s largest theater district. Magnitogorsk is where the headquarters of the Civil Rail Agency is located, and features a massive underground rail depot built into a natural cave.

Highland City: The largest interstellar port, Highland City has comparatively moderate weather by the standards of Himeo. A nearby mountain range shields the city from much of the planet’s hostile weather, and provides exceptional mineral wealth. Highland City’s location on these comparatively temperate plains means that it features more shuttle ports than any other city on Himeo, and features a port capable of receiving frigate-sized vessels.

Cannington: A major industrial center, Cannington features expansive mines in and around itself that produce a significant amount of the mineral wealth the planet is known for. Streets in Cannington are generally a bit less well-organized than other cities as the city tends to rely more on pre-existing mineshafts for municipal development, rather than digging new tunnels. As a result, many districts in Cannington have been described as “somewhat confusing,” to navigate by foreigners.

Kiruna: The center of government and academic life, Kiruna is renowned for its academies and longstanding tradition of civil service. Most government agencies have their headquarters within the city, particularly along the Street of Himeo’s People – a major tunnel full of government structures along its length that features a rare sight on Himeo: Terran flora.

Ryti Station: An old, outdated, and entirely functional spaceborne processing facility that now serves as the main hub of trade in Himeo, and the dockyard of its fleet. It has a population of roughly 200,000 with a mix between off-world humans, baseline humans, and some rare aliens. The station itself has been slowly expanded over the centuries, and now finds itself the home of Himeo’s admiralty.

Clothing

Clothing on Himeo is, by demand, practical and extremely rugged – designed to endure a harsh environment and last for a long time. Much of it features multiple layers, and very little skin is left exposed. Due to the lack of real animals on the planet synthetic furs are common, with Himeo’s furs being commonly referred to as “fish fur” on the galactic marketplace. Himeo’s clothing is prized for its ability to keep in warmth and its low-maintenance designs. Coloring and dyes are generally quite muted due to scarcity, though reflective materials are common for practical and aesthetic purposes. Many Himeans make patterns on their clothes using reflective material, causing their clothes to vibrantly light up in the low-light environments of Himeo’s cities. The recent introduction of alien species such as the tajara has seen new styles of “fur” coats emerge in the traditional Adhomaian style with Himeo touches – tajaran peacoats with reflective PRA flags are common amongst certain immigrants.

Military

As a member of the Frontier Alliance, Himeo fields its own navy and military forces. The fleet is headquartered on Ryti Station, and its current flagship is the HDV Norilsk, a Hephaestus Industries-produced cruiser that accompanied the original colonists that has been slowly retrofitted and improved over the years. While Himeo's fleet has a strong core of retrofitted military or corporate-grade warships, most of its ships are civilian cargo vessels retrofitted to be “Himeo corvettes” – cargo ships with enough armor, guns, and engine strength to serve as improvised warships. These Himeo corvettes have recently been employed against Dominian privateers near Zaurghis to great success. Himeo's ships often feature a black cat painted onto their sides, a tribute to the mining strikes that originally gained the planet its independence.

The ground army of Himeo is referred to as the Planetary Guard, and is based on a municipality-by-municipality basis with each one sworn to defend one another in the event they were attacked. Much of the Guard's equipment has its roots in mining equipment, though the planet has a small-scale arms industry. The arrival of tajara on the planet has seen many joining the Planetary Guard and serving in its new surface units – volunteer structures that patrol along the surface of the planet and rescue the crews of downed spacecraft. Due to the extremely harsh nature of the surface, animals imported from Adhomai are highly valued by the troopers of the surface units, and tajara are often seen caring for them.

Character Examples

Characters from Himeo are Likely to:

  • Have light sensitivity.
  • Have worked in mining, or a related industry.
  • Be loyal to their coworkers.
  • Have a distrust of Hephaestus Industries.

Here is an example character from Himeo:

  • Lahja Soininen, 42, is a surgeon currently employed by Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals and contracted to the NSS Aurora. She is a very cooperative person, though she holds some secret reservations about the amount of control NanoTrasen holds over Tau Ceti.
  • Lahja is 6' flat with a thin build, shoulder-length black hair, and extremely pale skin.
  • Lahja was a surgeon in Kiruna before departing the planet in 2454 due to a desire to spend her life in the sun, rather than underground. * She lives in a Zeng-Hu financed apartment in Mendell City's third district with her wife and adopted daughter.
  • Lahja enjoys working alongside IPCs and skrell, but has a sharp dislike of unathi due to their reputations as pirates and slavers.
  • Lahja speaks with a strong Himeo Common accent, but is otherwise fluent in Tau Ceti Basic.

Here is another example character from Himeo:

  • Albert Burnett, 38, is an atmospheric technician currently working aboard the NSS Aurora. He is an easygoing and jovial man, though he was recently fined for getting into a verbal spat with a Hephaestus Industries representative over the common channel.
  • Albert stands at slightly over six feet tall, with a quite muscular build. His black hair is short, and his blue eyes clearly struggle with bright lights.
  • Albert recently moved from Himeo to Tau Ceti in order to earn more money, despite his friend warning that Tau Ceti would be worse to work in than Himeo. He lives alone on the Odin in a fairly small apartment, and is saving to move to Mendell.
  • Albert enjoys working alongside tajara, particularly Zhan-Khazan, due to viewing them as hard workers. He has a hatred of unathi, who he views as pirates and slavers.
  • Albert speaks with a very pronounced Himeo Common accent, but is otherwise fluent in Tau Ceti Basic. He speaks and writes passable Freespeak.