Silversun

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A middle colony with an amazingly hospitable climate across most of the planet, and large oceans, Silversun is well-known as the main tourist destination and retirement point for the wealthy elite of the Sol Alliance. In recent decades, the planet has seen heavy investment by Idris Incorporated. One of the bank's major branches is located here - a gleaming monolith dedicated to corporate wealth located in Silversun's capital city, Silverport Landing - the spot where the first colonists touched down centuries ago.

With a minimum temperature of 17.4°C in the winter and a maximum temperature of 27°C in the summer, Silversun's main climate zone could be described as "eternal spring". Humidity varies throughout the year, but is usually low, although soft, pleasant rains are frequent in the summer.

Human residents of Silversun are divided into two major groups: descendants of the original colonists, and the rich Expatriates. Political tensions are extremely high, but have not yet boiled over into violence, and Silversun's political situation has dramatically worsened due to the ongoing phoron crisis and Solarian Collapse. While historically an area for political debate, the political quagmire that is Silversun's government has only worked to fuel tensions.

History

Silversun is one of the first Middle Colonies, sometimes even being called a sister colony to New Hai Phong. As colonization had, by this point, become an effort run by the Alliance, the original colonists sent to Silversun were from all around Earth - no real nationality or ethnicity dominated, leading to a diverse set of backgrounds and beliefs being sent to Silversun. While being too distant from the heart of the Alliance to become a jewel world such as Venus, its pleasant climate still made it very appealing to its first settlers. Shortly after landing it was discovered that the planet was incredibly hospitable in almost all of its areas. The planet was quite comfortable in terms of temperature, with it never really becoming too hot or too cold to be comfortable, and lacked major weather phenomena such as typhoons or the intense storms that battered Silversun's sister colony on New Hai Phong. Flora and fauna were abundant, beautiful, and quite docile - some species of avians would nest in the prefab buildings of the first colonists without caring that they were aliens, and aggressive wildlife was notably lacking. Having just come from the still environmentally-devastated Earth, the first colonists of Silversun came to cherish their newfound homes. This viewpoint would, eventually, lead some to come into conflict with the Idris Incorporated investors and staff that arrived on the planet after its initial colonization.

An image of Silversun, displaying its tropical oceanic environment from orbit.

Instead, Idris Incorporated committed to making Silversun a planet-wide resort for the Alliance's wealthy, particularly Cythereans, investing heavily into constructing entire cities from scratch and staffing it with high-quality service staff and primitive, non-intelligent service droids such as automatic bartender and waiter systems to ensure the highest possible quality of service was guaranteed. High apartment prices ensured that only the most powerful and affluent would move into these new Idris-built homes that quickly became symbols of status to own. Occasionally even entire cities were left deserted due to lack of immigrants able to afford housing or willing to settle in the Middle Ring. Large areas of jungle were marked for development by the colonial government, which some of the original colonists suspected of being increasingly in the pocket of Idris Incorporated. The destruction of these large swaths of jungle caused anger amongst some members of the original colonists, and damage to the ecological system of the planet. The planet remained beautiful - as was the intention of Idris' architects while designing these sprawling resort towns - but some of the raw natural beauty of the planet was forever lost in this period.

The settlements of the original colonists, meanwhile, gradually had tourism make up more and more of their economies as Idris Incorporated increased its investments and began hiring heavily from local areas to reduce costs. The previous local industries - primarily agriculture - began to fall to the side as more and more individuals became involved in the service industry, or supporting the service industry, that was developing on Silversun as a result of Idris' heavy investments in the planet. In these first years of Silversun's booming tourist industry the primary visitors were Cythereans from Venus, though wealthy visitors from across the growing Alliance could be found on the planet. Senators from Sol, Hephaestus executives from New Hai Phong, and Eridanian suits amongst others could all be found vacationing or holding business in the beautiful resorts of Silversun. The original colonists were somewhat divided on the matter of Silversun's new primary industry. Some viewed the rapid growth of the tourism industry as a boon to Silversun - and a method to make it more relevant than other planets in the Middle Ring - while others, perhaps the majority, viewed the growth of the tourism industry with varying levels of suspicion. Some felt that the planet's culture would become sanitized in order to achieve the maximum Idris quality appeal to outsiders, while others worried that the large amount of development needed to support the rapidly growing tourism industry would negatively impact the planet's environment. Though the issues at hand have changed, this divide between new and old residents of Silversun remains a major cultural conflict for the planet.

Everything changed with the discovery of Skrell, however. Once the Skrell learned of Silversun, they have expressed high interest in the planet due to the climate, which is especially pleasant for the amphibious species during the rain season. A couple years after the first contact a large wave of Skrell tourists arrived at the planet, which was caused by a Skrell idol advertising the planet on Skrell social media. Afterwards, Silversun ports saw anyone with the money to afford a trip to the planet arriving - flooding the only small spaceport at Silverport Landing - and often staying. The problem only got worse during the rainy seasons, with many Skrell scientists and officials taking vacations here. This exact moment moved the Sol Alliance to introduce their famously strict visa requirements, and only tighten them ever since.

A recent point of conflict between the descendants of the original colonists and Idris has been the presence of IPCs - primarily shells and Bishop frames - on the planet. These Idris shells are a recent arrival, and are of some concern to the native workforce. After all - an IPC can work longer hours at less pay than a human, generally does not complain about working 48 hour shifts, and requires only electricity and a roboticist to function. Many of the more recent high-end resorts have a majority-positronic staff, with the famous Villa del Sol staffing itself entirely using Bishop frames (aside from human handlers) as a measure of their wealth as a resort.

In the aftermath of the Solarian retreat from much of the Middle and Outer Rings Silversun has remained as one of the few Middle Ring planets under direct Solarian control, and has continued to prosper even in the chaotic environment that has followed the inward retreat of the Orion Spur's hegemonic power. While the Solarian Corporate Authority has nationalized many of the Alliance's megacorporation assets within its borders Silversun has remained untouched -- and has even seen an increase in the Alliance's military presence due to the smaller amount of territory the Navy must patrol -- thanks to Idris paying for the planet's cost in full. Money is, after all, the key to many things - including the Orion Spur's favorite vacation world.

Culture

The flag of Silversun.

There are two major cultural groups on Silversun, with a major divide running between them. These groups are the descendants of the original colonists called the Originals and the later settlers brought in by Idris called the Expatriates. The Originals tend to be more anti-Idris than the later Expatriates, which tend to be the result of corporate-sponsored settlements by Idris following the discovery of the planet's incredibly hospitable environment. This cultural wedge has been built over the course of decades - perhaps centuries - by Idris' efforts to develop the planet into a gigantic luxury resort and the efforts of many of its original colonists to become something more than a nature reserve for rich Solarians.

The Originals

As with many colonies of the Alliance, the settlers of Silversun were an eclectic group puled from across the Earth and unified by one thing: a mutual desire to leave humanity's decaying home behind and make a new, better life for themselves elsewhere. Many of the original settlers of Silversun were descended from the residents of areas lost to global-warming induced flooding and motivated to seek a new life elsewhere, signing up for the colonial mission in the 2250s that would see Silversun settled in 2253. The experience of watching Earth gradually fall apart and their homes sink beneath the waves instilled in these original settlers are conservationist tradition, and a desire to live alongside nature rather than conquer it. The original colonial settlements that have not yet been overtaken by Idris Incorporated, such as certain districts of Silverport preserved as tourist traps, demonstrate this commitment to living alongside nature: "green space" can be found throughout their urban spaces, and these spaces tend to naturally blend into the surrounding countryside rather than dominating it. The Originals, as they are now called following Idris' arrival, additionally became renowned for their agricultural and botanical research conducted on Silversun, with the Silversun Landing Institute of Botanical Sciences becoming renowned throughout the Alliance and even well-known in the Jargon Federation. Most Originals dedicated themselves to living in a self-sustaining manner, even if this ultimate did result in the planet being less wealthy than average. But despite their dedication to preserving the planet as it was forces far beyond the control of Silversun's Originals would see the arrival of Idris Incorporated in 2357 due to the planet's immense attractiveness as a vacation destination for the rich of the Alliance, and Idris' arrival would permanently and irreversibly shift the cultural climate and outlook of the Originals.

Watching their planet turn into a gigantic tourist trap for rich people from across the Orion Spur -- though most tourists are their fellow Solarians -- while being unable to do anything to prevent the transformation due to the immense wealth of Idris Incorporated compared to any singular non-Jewel World planet in the Alliance has made cynics out of many of the Originals. It has, furthermore, caused the community of Originals to fracture along the fault line that is Idris Incorporated: some believe that the megacorporation must be fought no matter what, while others believe that it is better to instead work with the megacorporation in the hope that Idris will come to appreciate the planet's natural beauty more with native colonists of it in its company. The relationship between anti-Idris Originals and the Expatriates -- the settlers brought by Idris Incorporated and their descendants -- are horrific at best, though not on the level of breaking into open violence. Protests against further expansion by Idris Incorporated are common -- though futile, due to the immense power wielded by the megacorporation -- and an active effort is being made by most Originals to hang onto their distinctive cultural background that existed prior to Idris' arrival on the planet. To most outside observers it is clear that the Originals are fighting a losing battle against Idris Incorporated, with the megacorporation having retained its power over Silversun despite Originals having poured support into the anti-corporate Industrial Reclamation Mandate of 2463. But despite the battle being a losing one, many Originals believe it one worth fighting.

But many more have simply seen the writing on the teal wall, and have left their second home to once again seek a better life. While many go abroad in search of better employment -- such as botanical research positions -- some simply go abroad due to Idris' hold on the planet being unbearably tight, and utterly unbreakable. While the Originals' diaspora is small they can be found throughout the Alliance and beyond, often championing their cause of closer and better relations with the natural ecosystem of their planets.

The Expatriates

The so-called Expatriates of Silversun are a wealthy and influential minority on the colony closely and intrinsically tied to Idris Incorporated, which the overwhelming majority of Expatriates still work for today. The first Expatriates had a diverse background, originating from across the Solarian Alliance, but were -- and remain -- unified by their association with Idris Incorporated. The Expatriates are, as a rule, generally wealthier than their native counterparts due to affiliation with Idris and less inclined to care as much for Silversun's natural ecosystem. Expatriates often live in their own communities free of Originals that have security provided by Idris' in-house security forces, and spend much of their time not interacting with the "upstart and uncooperative" natives of the planet. The culture of the Expatriates on Silversun is closely wedded to Idris Incorporated itself, due to the megacorporation sponsoring Expatriate settlements on the planet. Silversun is considered to be a very pleasant posting by Idris Incorporated employees -- even its security personnel responsible for "containing" protests by Originals that stray too close to Idris property (which in some areas can be the majority of a city) -- and many lower-ranking employees constantly vying for a position on the planet. Expatriates are often considered to be some of the best employees Idris has to offer due to their extreme loyalty to the megacorporation, and many Expatriate families have worked for Idris for upwards of three generations.

Despite not being the original settlers of the planet the Expatriates consider themselves to be just as Silversunian as their native counterparts, and are proud of the home they have created for themselves and their megacorporation. They -- not the Originals -- have turned Silversun from an utterly irrelevant backwater focused upon analyzing plants and animals to the premier tourism destination for the Solarian Alliance, if not the Orion Spur. With tourists coming to Silversun from as far afield as the Jargon Federation and Coalition of Colonies the success of the Expatriates is clearly seen by everybody on the planet more concerned with people than plant life, and they are riding high on a level of success that even the Alliance's (to the Expatriates, misguided) Industrial Reclamation Mandate of 2463 could not even put a damper on. However the relationship between the Expatriates and the Originals on Silversun are increasingly hostile, though not quite on the level of open violence, and have worsened in recent years. Success often breeds jealousy, after all, and the Expatriates of Silversun are nothing if not successful. They, and Idris Incorporated, are clearly in the more favorable position to win the political war over Silversun despite the dogged -- and perhaps futile -- resistance of the Originals and an increasingly anti-corporate Alliance. To the Expatriates, preserving success is something worth rolling up their teal sleeves and fighting for.

Expatriates found abroad are often Idris Incorporated employees (temporarily) assigned to off-world facilities in order to promote the megacorporation's many interests abroad and typically retain a strong connection to Silversun itself, typically through familial ties. The "diaspora" of Silversun's Expatriates is truly inseparable from Idris Incorporated, and very few are found abroad without some connection to the megacorporation. As Silversunners are often regarded as some of the best (and most loyal) employees of Idris Incorporated they often find themselves assigned to important postings for Idris, such as in cross-corporation contracting positions.

Positronics

The overwhelming majority of IPC frames found on Silversun are owned by Idris Incorporated or one of its affiliates, with Expatriate families often leasing out (or being rewarded with) an IPC from the megacorporation. While Idris maintains a significant presence of security IPCs, such as IRUs and ISUs, on the planet most IPCs on Silversun can be found in the planet's service or tourism sector and most tend to be higher-end models such as Bishop or shell frames, in order to achieve Idris Incorporated's famously high quality in all things. Even the positronics of Silversun have managed to become a point of conflict between the Expatriates and Originals due to the manner in which Idris' shells utilized on Silversun are designed: they are build resembling the native population of the planet and are programmed with the accent common to Originals in order to give tourists the "authentic Silversun experience" in Idris' resorts, which primarily tend to draw their employees from the Expatriate community. While the construction of these positronics is point of protest for many Originals it remains likely that Idris will stay its course due to high profits from its "authentically-staffed" resorts.

Fashion

Silversun fashion is, like much on the planet, a point of contention between the Originals and Expatriates in addition to being a massive source of profit for Idris Incorporated. The fashion of the Originals according to the Originals themselves is generally full of muted, earthen tones and designed to be very breathable in order to both encourage sustainability and function well in the warm, humid coastal environments that dominate Silversun. The fashion of the Originals according to the Expatriates is full of flashy, attractive colors that draw the eye of off-world customers and tourists alike. The best example of this is easily the extremely successful line of Silversun fashion from Le Soleil Royal, Idris' major fashion subsidiary, such as floral print Silversun shirts. Despite protests from Originals that their culture is being hijacked and morphed for profit, Idris' Silversun fashion lines continue to bring in massive profits for the megacorporation.

Silverport Landing

The crown jewel of Silversun, Silverport Landing is both a sign of the triumph of Idris Incorporated and the Expatriates and the utter failure of the Originals. With a booming population standing at circa 76 million residents, a thriving tourism industry, significant Idris Incorporated, and a steadily-shrinking conservationist community Silverport Landing is, in essence, all the majesty and resentment of Silversun compressed into one metropolis. The metropolis -- often simply referred to as "The Landing" by its residents -- is both the site where the original colonists touched down in 2253 and, presently, one of the few areas in which Expatriates constitute a majority of an area's population. While some areas, such as the neighborhood around the Silversun Landing Institute of Botanical Sciences, remain mostly-native the vast majority of the metropolis is populated by Expatriates and dominated by Idris Incorporated. While Idris' grip over the Landing is not as stifling or absolute as NanoTrasen's grip over Mendell City, it is increasingly difficult to do business in the Landing without being involved with Idris.

Major Holidays

The most famous (and most controversial) holiday on Silversun is the Festival of the Silver Seas, which is celebrated every year on the 9th of April. The Festival of the Silver Seas is (allegedly) a celebration both of the day that the firsts colonists made landfall on the planet and of their dedication to preserving the planet's unique ecosystem for future generations to enjoy that brings together both Expatriate and Original in a celebration of everything that makes Silversun a beautiful and great planet. In reality it is an extremely disingenuous corporate attempt to co-opt native culture in order to promote tourism to Silversun that has only continued due to Idris Incorporated's feverent promotion of it. While many view the holiday as nothing more than a chance to become exceedingly drunk and wake up in a dumpster (or worse) on the 10th of April the native population of the planet often stages their largest anti-Idris protests on or near the Festival, and tensions are typically highest on the planet during the week of the Festival of the Silver Seas. Idris Incorporated security personnel on Silversun are generally placed on high alert during the period surrounding the Festival, which they typically refer to as the "Week from Hell."

Government

While Silversun managed to remain cohesive and aligned with the Solarian Alliance during the chaotic period known as the Solarian Collapse its government is hardly the picture of functional governance. While nominally still under the control of popularly-elected Governor Andrew Clarke the military's dominance of the Alliance's emergency government has damaged Governor Clarke's ability to effectively govern Silversun. Governor Clarke's inability to effectively govern has seen him leaning more and more upon the Silversun Development Council for support in managing the day-to-day affairs of what the Alliance's military government is attempting to promote as a model Middle Ring colony. In theory the Council -- with oversight from the Governor -- works to create a better future on Silversun for both Originals and Expatriates while keeping the ever-present Solarian Navy pleased enough that they will not replace Silversun's governor with a naval officer, as they have with many other Middle Ring planets.

Unfortunately the Silversun Development Council is riddled with infighting between various factions on the planet. The most powerful faction in the Council is the pro-Idris Incorporated Tourism Development Group of Silversun. Made up of Expatriates and the occasional Original affiliated with Idris Incorporated, it is very clear to most that the Development Group is Idris' way of manipulating Silversun's politics to be friendly towards the megacorporation. The weaker faction in the Council is the anti-Idris Environmental and Cultural Preservation Group of Silversun. Primarily made up of Originals and the extremely rare Expatriate paid or convinced to support them, the Preservation Group is dedicated to fighting what seems to be a losing battle against the unquantifiable wealth of Idris Incorporated. But while they are losing the fight over Silversun the Preservation Group retains enough influence to dead-lock the Council if needed, which will undoubtedly lead to an even worse situation in the government.

And the man atop this dysfunctional organization, Governor Clarke himself, is simply attempting to ride it out and hold onto what power he has all while reporting on his government's success to the Alliance. Despite his well-known status an incompetent (and corrupt) official elected mostly due to the interference of Idris Incorporated in 2460's planetary elections and to stamp off on proposals by the megacorporation, the Governor understands that he must ensure the planet remains stable and attractive to the tourists that keep the local economy running. He also understands that if he does not preserve Silversun's status as the ideal vacation area of the entire Orion Spur, the rug will very quickly be pulled out from under him.

But those that will pull the rug out from under Governor Clarke are most likely not his exceedingly wealthy benefactors in Idris Incorporated. Instead an increasingly irate military-dominated Solarian Alliance has Silversun and its governor under an extremely watchful eye, simply waiting for Clarke to make a mistake severe enough to permit his removal without causing unrest on the planet itself. Many argue that the Solarian Navy's significantly larger presence in the Nova Gallia system, and particularly around the most populated planet in it: Silversun, is intended more to intimidate the local government than it is to protect against pirate or Stellar Corporate Conglomerate incursions.

Common Silversun Flora

A common symbol of the Originals is the common Silversun Dawnflower - a flowering plant found across the planet that blooms in the morning and remains active during the early hours of the light, when it utilizes bioluminescent petals to attract insects to spread its pollen. The flower features an odd arrangement of petals in a dual layer - one set of petals is larger to collect light, while another set surrounding the stigma of the flower are smaller to allow it to remain bioluminescent for a longer period at night. The wide and double-layered petals of the dawnflower along with its surprisingly stubby stigma are a common symbol of the Originals that have been co-opted by the Expatriates in their marketing for Silversun's resorts. Imitation dawnflower pins can be found throughout human (and even skrellian) space, and both imitations and real dawnflower pins are seen as a very fashionable accessory, demonstrating one's unity with nature (or love of corporate vacation spots).

Reishi is a mushroom that is commonly found on Silversun. In fact, the plant was originally discovered on Silversun by Alliance surveyors. The fungus was mostly ignored by the original colonists of Silversun due to a need to remain pragmatic with their usage of the planet's native flora and fauna due to their sheer distance from the central planets of the Sol Alliance. This changed when Idris Inc.'s R&D department discovered a hallucinogenic compound in the fungus. Attempts to patent the extracting technology were made, but failed due to Alliance's aggressive claims to having the discovered the mushroom first, and reishi spread throughout known space as a recreational drug after these subsided. Curiously, Silversun is also one of the only places in Sol Alliance where such drugs are legalized.

Silversun is also well known for its large palm-like trees found along its coast and in some coastal forests. The Silversun Soikla, as it is known in Basic, has some external similarities to the common Solarian palm tree. Both are large, tall trees featuring a small amount of large leaves high on its branches. However, the soikla has some differences from the Solarian palm tree. First is its root system - due to the lack of extreme winds on Silversun the root system of the soikla is much smaller than its Solarian counterpart - this proved to be a boon for the original colonists and Idris Incorporated, as the soikla is easy to uproot safely and replant in a different location while ensuring that the tree remains alive and well. A second difference is how the soikla spreads itself. Rather than utilizing fruit such as the coconut, a soikla instead flowers: its trunk is covered in buds that open up into small flowers that open when the wind - which spreads the seeds of the soikla - is high enough, or when there are enough animals near the tree to allow its seeds to be spread.

Education

Most, if not all, of education on Silversun is run by the Sol Alliance. The planet has few centers of higher education due to its widespread tourism industry, with most universities being operated and staffed by descendants of the original colonists and focusing themselves upon the natural sciences due to the planet's bountiful biosphere. The Silversun Landing Institute of Botanical Sciences (often shortened to simply "The Landing") is definitively the most famous institute of its kind in the Middle Ring, and is perhaps the most well-known in the entire Solarian Alliance. Researchers from it have found employment through human and even Skrell space, and the Institute boasts a decent population of non-human students due to Silversun's focus on tourism and the Institute's prestige.