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Throughout the tumultuous events, Skrell were divided and sent to various cities across Tau Ceti. Majority of the refugees found themselves assigned to the port city of District Eight within Mendell City, mostly set up in hastily built habitation units provided by either Hephaestus Industries or NanoTrasen Corporation. A majority of these habitation units often float above the water of Severson's Rift with parts of them even being submerged to accommodate the Skrell biology. Towards the ports of Severson's Rift, habitation units can also be seen stacked on one another to create rudimentary high-rises that host entire family units. Most habitation units are outfitted with gardens, showing a stunning display of hues when witnessed from above.
Those settled within the region have begun to refer to the transitory refugee camp as the “Starlight Zone” due to the lack of established residencies in the district and its lowered light pollution, allowing the observation of constellations and other orbital bodies residing with Tau Ceti. Many Skrell who are not refugees also find themselves attracted to this location; often buying out nicer high-rises and flats that refugees cannot afford.
Demographics and Living Conditions
The Starlight Zone is almost entirely made up of Skrell; Xiialt, Axiori, and Xiiori alike. However, there may be a handful of organics that stay within the zone at any given time. Whether this is due to the extremely cheap housing or the lax policing is up for debate. The Starlight Zone is almost entirely devoid of IPC.
Lekan Village (Above-Water)
Lekan Village has become the informal name of the above-water areas of the Starlight Zone. Inhabitants view this portion of the Starlight Zone as an extension of the larger Lekan District that the Starlight Zone occupies. Naturalization is heavily emphasized among the Lekan Village occupants and it's inhabitants are more open to the ideals and mindset of Biesel culture. Communication between the Lekan Village and the greater Lekan District is seamless as the Xii'Eyes neighborhood watch coordinates extensively with the border guards. Lekan Village mainly houses Xiialt and some Xiiori but it would not be uncommon to see an occasional Axiori or non-Skrell. Occupants of the Lekan Village will often stay above-water unless hydration is needed.
Lekan Village has a tenuous relationship with Severson City due to differing ideals and cultural clashes. Occupants of each city often get into various arguments surrounding local politics and culture.
Severson City (Below-Water)
Severson City has become the informal name of the below-water areas of the Starlight Zone. Multiple entrances to Severson City can be found in the form of manholes throughout Lekan Village. This area of the Starlight Zone is named after the body of water that it resides in. Occupants of Severson City emphasize strong connections to Jargon culture; often only eating Skrell cuisine and speaking Nral'Malic exclusively. Severson City also has a much higher crime rate than Lekan Village due to the disconnect with Mendell law enforcement. The Quix-Collective is theorized to have their main headquarters in Severson City. Severson City mainly houses Axiori and some Xiiori but it would not be uncommon to see an occasional Xiialt. Occupants of Severson City will often stay below-water unless they need to exit the Starlight Zone through the official border.
Severson City is completely closed off to non-Skrell.
Red Spotted Fever is a fairly common ailment plaguing those born in the Radiant Era who reside in the Starlight Zone. Due to the close quarters of the zone, Skrell are often isolated in makeshift clinics when affected by the fever; only being allowed to see family and friends once fully healed. It is speculated that the Skrell cuisine, Fjylozn, that is grown and prepared in Severson's Rift is at a higher risk of carrying the bacteria responsible for the Red Spotted Fever. Neighborhood watches are investigating certain market stalls that seem to be ground zero for the spread of the disease and they are promising that health and safety standards will be brought up to par. As of now Fjylozn is still being prepared and sold within the Starlight Zone; however, one must be wary of prices that seem exorbitantly cheap as more often than not the cook has cut corners and prepared the meal inadequately.
The Starlight Zone finds itself as the host of many different cultures; some native to Jargon and others entirely new. Skrell who are not employed will frequently find themselves taking on a merchantlike role within the zone; haggling with outsiders and then selling their goods in makeshift stalls both above and below-water. Unemployed Skrell who do not have the social skills to become merchants may find themselves joining scavenger units that scour District Eight and Severson's Rift for long forgotten scrap while others become fisherman who sell their catches to local chefs. Those with culinary skills may even open up a restaurant stall that boasts a wide variety of Skrell cuisine. Overall, the layout of the Starlight Zone is akin to a large village. The above-water areas as well as the below-water areas are speckled with small plazas, gardens, and habitation modules that make the Starlight Zone feel compact and busy.
Due to the strict divides between Severson City and Lekan Village it is not uncommon for tempers to flair between Axiori and Xiialt inhabitants. Most of the arguments and disputes between Starlight Zone occupants can be compared to competitive banter but physical altercations can also arise. However, if a Skrell is not actively looking to engage in debate and is respectful of an area's culture then they will generally go unnoticed and unharmed. The neighborhood watch groups further encourage this divide by frequently plastering posters showing the opposite organization as inept; these posters are mainly used to garner support and donations from their respective occupants. Should an occupant of the Lekan Village be apprehended by a Severson City neighborhood watch (or vice-versa) the punishment will be more severe. This has lead to the neighborhood watches negotiating on their respective occupant's behalf for better treatment when being apprehended.
- Skrell within the Starlight Zone will often swim and footrace competitively. The races often take place in a public garden or underwater stretch of road with spectators spanning the entire length. These sporting events are split into two different classes, Xiialt and Axiori, with prizes ranging from a free meal at one of the local food stalls to Credits. The current winner of the official monthly race will also be given the Axic Cup - a large trophy named after the character Axic from Swimstars. Should the current holder of the Axic Cup be beaten in the next monthly race they will then relinquish the reward. Winners of the larger tournaments often become a local idol; causing extreme amounts of competitiveness within the community. It is not uncommon to see Skrell training publicly by running or swimming as fast as they can within the Starlight Zone. The local competitiveness surrounding these events has also caused an uptick in gyms being built within the zone. Gyms are often owned by neighborhood watch groups and have a membership fee for those who are not part of the neighborhood watch.
- Another sport that has raised in popularity within the Starlight Zone is Puq'ei Disc and arenas are solely located in Severson City. Puq'ei disc is a team-based sports game that normally sees 4 players on each team fighting over possession of a disc-like frisbee with teams being defined by colored uniformed. The playing field for puq'ei disc has a goal zone on each side with obstacles free-floating within the arena; this allows players to grab and push off of obstacles to increase their maneuverability. Throwing the disc into a goal from more than 10m away constitutes a longshot and is awarded 3 points- a shot from within 10m is only 2 points. Contestants will wear specialized suits that give them perfect buoyancy, allowing them to glide throughout the water with ease. Something to note is that Puq'ei disc is also a full contact sport allowing tackling and light blows to the body. However, it would be wise to have a referee on-hand to call out egregious plays. This sport was invented for below-water play, but some speculate that zero-g play is possible.
Skrell within the Starlight Zone are often fond of human-made teledramas as well as some classics from Jargon. Skrell can often be seen crowded around a television unit with multiple family members and friends to watch reruns of Swimstars as well as some local human shows. Televisions are not prominent in the Starlight Zone which leads to large viewing parties whenever new episodes are released. These viewing parties will often take place in the common area of a habitation unit or within a public merchant stall.
Another favored pastime within the zone would be competitive e-sports. Due to the mandate that forces Skrell refugee to join the Tau Ceti Foreign Legion; the videogame played on the NT-Game! system, Foreign Legionnaire: Heroes of Tau Ceti, has seen a rise in popularity within the Starlight Zone. Many Skrell will hold local competitions and boast their competitive ranking and it would not be uncommon to see Skrell wager Credits during "1 vs 1" matches. Many members of the Starlight Zone have even started betting on the outcome of popular matches; something that the Quix-Collective is more than happy to assist in.
Crime and Policing
Most comings and goings are closely monitored by a checkpoint on the main entrance road. Those that do not live within the Starlight Zone are required to carry a visitor permit. The permit is not too difficult to obtain, and really only requires a visit to a government registry building. The permit system is designed to deter security incidents, and help authorities monitor the population. Skrell citizens of the Starlight Zone will carry a residency permit that is distinct from a visitor permit. Due to the irregular shape of the Starlight Zone as well as access by Severson's Rift, there are several “unofficial” sites across its boundary fences and water borders that allow individuals to pass seamlessly and without worry. This also allows Xu'Xi gas smugglers in and out of the Starlight Zone with relative ease. These entrances are a well-known secret among the populace of the Starlight Zone and the land paths are often hidden by scrap collected throughout District Eight.
Aside from the border checkpoints there is little policing actually done within the Starlight Zone due to the general landscape and underwater portions of the zone. This has lead to organizations akin to neighborhood watches rising in popularity. These neighborhood watch groups often clash on who has "jurisdiction" of specific areas. However, it is commonly accepted that the Zrosian Watch has jurisdiction of the submerged areas while the Xii'Eyes keep track of the above-water areas.
This neighborhood watch is made up almost exclusively of Axiori and Xiiori due to their quick response speed within the submerged areas of Severson City. Members of the Xii'Eyes often find themselves arriving to submerged crime scenes minutes behind members of the Zrosian Watch. This has allowed the Zrosian Watch to monopolize the submerged areas of the Starlight Zone. The Zrosian Watch's name relates to the Zrose Graph; implying that the Zrosian Watch is more psionically capable than the Xii'Eyes. The Zrosian Watch operates with town halls being the deciding factor when it comes to procedures and planning.
This neighborhood watch is made up almost exclusively of Xiialt becuase the biological differences of the Xiialt make them more adept at responding to crimes in Lekan Village. Members of the Xii'Eyes also find themselves working with border guards quite frequently; making them, in their own eyes, the official neighborhood watch of the Starlight Zone. Due to a large portion of Xii'Eyes showing up to crime scenes they are commonly referred to as the "General Infantry" of the above-water. Currently all decisions are made by the the Xii'Eyes' leader; Pex Qu'Oiualoi.
Gasriders of the Starlight Zone partake in the smuggled Xu'Xi gasses that are natural to Qerr'Malic's core. However, the legitimacy of these smuggled gasses are questionable; many of the shipments are speculated to cheap synthetic knock-offs that achieve the same effect at the cost of a nastier hangover. Those under the effects of smuggled Xu'Xi gasses will often have increased tear secretion, feelings of euphoria, and frequent black outs within their memories. Due to the widespread importation of Xu'Xi gas and the sub-optimal living conditions of the Starlight Zone many Skrell find themselves addicted. Possession of Xu'Xi gas capsules is considered a crime and neighborhood watches will often seek out supposed dealers. Neighborhood watches have also attempted to crack down on the import of smuggled Xu'Xi gas by members of the Ti'Rakqi; those caught importing will often be turned over to the border guards. The Gasrider community has a growing presence, despite the local authority's best efforts, and being under the influence of Xu'Xi gas itself is not a crime.
While smaller, petty crime happens regularly in the Starlight Zone there seems to be an overarching group who oversees the more lucrative aspects. The Quix-Collective oversees multiple operations throughout the Starlight Zone; including but not limited to- Uoo’qui Xuqi and Co’qnixq Wuxi smuggling, Xu'Xi gas smuggling, racketeering, gambling, and some even speculate that they control the neighborhood watches. It is not uncommon to see enforcers walking or swimming from business to business wearing their signature black slacks, pastel dress shirts, and black armbands. While the lower level thugs of the Quix-Collective can commonly be seen, the inner workings of the organization are a mystery. Even enforcers who were apprehended by the neighborhood watch had little information regarding their superiors. The neighborhood watches have learned that their orders are delivered anonymously or through a complex series of middlemen- making all efforts to apprehend the criminals a lost cause. The supposed boss of the Quix-Collective is known only as Quix.
If an IPC or synthetic were to wander into the Starlight Zone then they would find themselves heavily discriminated against or even outright attacked. Most refugees, like those from Jargon, are incredibly discriminatory against IPC, synthetics, and AI due to Skrell History. Should a synthetic find themselves needing to enter the Starlight Zone they will often be accompanied by a checkpoint guard for the duration of their visit.
- The Severson Dreadnaught: This urban legend quickly took hold in the Starlight Zone with familial units who have young Skrell children. The Severson Dreadnaught is said to lurk the bottom of the rift looking for misbehaving children who wander too far from home. Should the Dreadnaught find a misbehaving child, whether in Severson City or in Lekan Village, the legend says they will be taken to one of the many underwater caves in the rift never to be seen again.
- Ximi No'Tails: This urban legend focuses on a very old Skrell with no headtails. They are said to frequently wander the streets at night looking for an unsuspecting victim so that they can steal the tails right from their head. Xenophobic in origin, this legend states that a xeno kidnapped Ximi and cut their headtails off to serve them as a rare cuisine in the black markets of Mendell City. While the story is mainly told in Severson City it can also be heard in Lekan Village.
- Night Swimmer: Should you ever be in Severson City and feel the water chill... The Night Swimmer is already upon you. Moving extremely fast, even for an Axiori, this pitch black Skrell can be seen swimming full force towards it's target. Once the Night Swimmer reaches you it is already too late. Your best chance is to swim as fast as you can towards the nearest manhole and exist Severson City into Lekan Village. It is important to note: Three murders have been perpetrated within Severson City and are accredited to the Night Swimmer. This is one of the rare cases where both the Xii'Eyes and the Zrosian Watch are cooperating.
- Smiling Demon: According to the legend this abnormally tall Skrell roams Lekan Village early in the morning right before sunrise. Their heavy, clonking footsteps are often heard before they are seen. The Smiling Demon will then tap an individual on the shoulder and ask, "Do you like my smile?". If the individual does not turn but simply says, "It is very lovely." the Smiling Demon will pass them by without issue. However, if the individual says no or turns to look- They will see the Smiling Demon grinning from tail to tail with a full set of human teeth. Those said to gaze upon the smile and live are cursed with Insanity of the Tide.