Venus

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A view of a newer design of the Cytherean aerostat.

Venus is a microcosm of Solarian culture with its glittering cities floating above the clouds and a dirty underbelly below them. The capital of Venus is Binyaria, the largest aerostat and home to the best Sol has to offer in holovids, VR, orchestration, engine parts, and weaponry. Cythereans live in the luxurious habitable zone above the clouds. Jintarians live on the surface of Venus far below the Cythereans, both physically and metaphorically. The primary language is Sol Common.

Environment

Venus is an incredibly hot and miserable planet. The mass of its atmosphere is 93 times that of Earth's, equivalent to the crushing depths of the deep ocean. This atmosphere is extremely thick and toxic, composed primarily of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, and this generates the strongest greenhouse effect in the Solar System, creating an average surface temperature of at least 462 C (864 F). Despite this, there have been genetically-modified organisms introduced to the surface and upper atmosphere that can withstand the extreme conditions, such as the Yudina, otherwise known as the Jintarian Dragon Mole.

A Venusian year lasts 225 Earth days. A normal day on Venus lasts much longer than that of Earth due to the slow rotation, taking 243 Earth days to make one Venusian day. Venus spins backwards when compared to the other planets in the Sol system, causing the sun to rise in the west and set in the east. It rains sulphuric acid on the surface and the atmosphere is so thick that it exerts massive amounts of pressure on the surface. This crushes all but the most structurally reinforced of habitats below the cloud layer, with the rest destroyed by caustic acid rain. The planet hosts massive amounts of volcanic activity, which spew more toxic gases into the atmosphere. Almost no sunlight reaches the surface of the planet, despite the temperature.

Population and Major Aerostats and Habitats

Binyaria

Binyaria, the first and largest aerostat, is widely known as the jewel of Venus and houses just about 19 million people. Those from across the galaxy flock to Binyaria to experience Solarian culture, with tourists roaming the famous Binyarian vineyards and partying into the artificial, neon-lit night. It is widely known that Binyarians don’t get the best first; they make the best first. This reputation of being the most beautiful, the most cultured, the most advanced, and the greatest has lead to an extremely aggressive, cutthroat environment for those looking to get ahead. Actors, idols, politicians, and scientists all face heavy scrutiny by their fellow Binyarians and must constantly keep their mask polished and their persona unbreakable in order to become even the most minor celebrity. Like most aerostats, Binyaria is divided into layers, which are further subdivided into districts. The most well known districts on Binyaria are Wajiu District on Layer 1, Chiye-Gyo District on Layer 3, and Parabing District on Layer 6.

Binyarian Districts

Binyaria’s government developed Wajiu District with the utmost care and foresight, leading to the district’s gardens becoming one of the biggest tourist attractions. Pervasive genetic engineering has helped the plants become beautiful, delicious, potent, or a combination of the three and an aesthetic-based design philosophy has only furthered the plants’ appealing appearance. Among these gardens lie the famed Yuyuan Vineyard where tourists flock to see by far the most attractive and artistic garden in Wajiu District and, of course, try the excellent Yuyuan Wine for a discounted price.

Chiye-Gyo District, similarly, was helped to fame by corporate investment. For a long time, Chiye-Gyo District was in a strange place, being mostly made up lower-middle class housing and failing businesses. The government of Binyaria, set to improve the district, announced that in 2397 the district would be sold out to corporations. Early on in the redesign of the district, Nanotrasen Corporation and Idris Incorporated invested heavily into Chiye-Gyo District recognizing the emerging celebrity culture of Venus.

NanoTrasen and Idris formed and debuted various musical groups, all of whom gained a dedicated following whether big or small, and have achieved great financial success. More importantly, however, these pop bands, hip-hop groups, and solo ballad artists helped give rise to the celebrity-based culture Venus is known for today. In more recent years, Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals and Hephaestus Industries have broken into both the corporate battle and the hearts of Venusians with their own outrageously successful debut artists.

With all of Binyaria’s aspiring artists, it was only a matter of time before Parabing District became as popular as it is today. Though mostly focused on the lower- and middle-class, Parabing District holds a number of high-energy clubs, PC cafes, karaoke joints, laid-back bars, and fast food restaurants, all of which become progressively seedier closer to Binyaria’s hull. The district’s dynamic lighting is paused at midnight, but is lit up by the thousands of neon signs competing for attention.

Furthest from the hull, street food vendors set up their carts and offer drunk food to the exhausted, inerbiatered clubbers on their way out of the district. Toward the center of the district, host and hostess bars offer companionship to the many business people of Binyaria while young, attractive college students advertise themselves for compensated dates nearby outside. Along the hull, brothels hidden behind heavy curtains and tucked into alleys are frequented by people with intricate tattooing and expensive clothing. Anyone can find something fun in Parabing with a bit of luck and cash.

Tethering Station Medio

Medio is one of the oldest habitation complexes on the surface. Built on Verdandi Corona, Medio was once used as an anchor for an aerostat by the name of Arianrhod, which was destroyed in a long-forgotten incident. Revanchist feelings against Cythereans run particularly strong here, residents still emboldened by their past “victory.” Owing to its various refueling, processing, and recycling facilities, Medio has become a popular stationing for illegal surfacers, their presence only being slightly uncomfortable for residents. Other ventures here tend to be of a manufacturing nature.

Subterranean Complex 74-F, “Rason”

A newer complex, Rason is one of the few built near-completely underground with only a single observational spire above the rocky surface. Civilian affairs here primarily deal in textiles and hydroponics, the work rather strenuous. Long hours are devoted to the creation of expensive clothes, polychromic fabrics, and holographic inlays that workers will never wear. A popular hobby is freerunning with a monthly (based on Terran months) Climb The Complex competition held where citizens must start at the bottom of the complex and make it all the way to the top of the spire.

Dropped from orbit around thirty years ago, Rason’s impact and construction were based around a promising xenoarcheological find, which was nearly destroyed. It is said that partial ruins exist around Rason’s depth of 200 feet (~61 meters); despite having no publicly known entrances, many xenoarcheologists have disappeared underneath the complex. Often the dwellers of the complex have described seeing shadowy, vaguely humanoid figures walking around in their dreams. The figures have reportedly murdered people in their dreams by whispering a single, incomprehensible word that causes great agony and distress which vanishes once the dreamer awakens.

Society

Ethnic Groups:

  • 13.1% Cytherean
  • 21.8% Jintarian
  • 63.8% Other Human Ethnicities
  • 0.9% Skrell
  • 0.2% Tajara
  • 0.2% Unathi

IPCs enjoy a certain status above even some alien residents of Venus, lofted by the ethereal beauty and flawless movements of a Venusian-made Shell or the ability to make other frames as aesthetically pleasing as possible in the most avant garde ways, to say nothing of how easily they can be manipulated. Under the clouds, robots and IPCs alike are valued for their reliability in an industrial environment, even among potentially shady mining guilds. However, the love of the aesthetic of IPCs does not reach the surface, as those Downstairs consider them more as tools than art. This mentality of IPCs being the ultimate display of artistry or a handy piece of hardware hinders IPCs quite a bit; no free IPCs exist either in the Zone or Downstairs.

Cytherean Culture

Cythereans dwell in aerostats floating in the habitable layer, nicknamed “the Zone”, above the sulphuric acid clouds masking the surface. These floating cities are primarily held in place by their natural oxygen content and large bags of hydrogen. Though varying in size, the largest aerostats are no bigger than four miles across. Many take the shape of an upside down teardrop. The topmost section hosts a large, open-air park dedicated to help with the claustrophobic feelings in the aerostats and to maintaining a large amount of oxygen to keep the city afloat in the carbon dioxide. Below the park lies a mass of apartments, offices, shops, and other-such buildings arranged in a similar fashion to a shopping mall. There are numerous open spaces built into aerostats that provide both public space for citizens and more air chambers for buoyancy. Aerostats are mobile, possessing both microthrusters and rudders for stability and the occasional docking with surface elevators or tethers. The other less common format of aerostats are donut-shaped and are used for the immensely lucrative farming business. These aerostats are equipped to collect sulphuric acid and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, often taking cloud dives to produce fertilizer and water.

Despite their precarious living situation, Cytherean Venus is the primary pop culture center of Sol, with a populace often dressed in bright, dramatic clothing. Many Solarian celebrities either live or were born on one of Venus’s aerostats, growing up in the privileged Cytherean culture. The best actors, comedians, chefs, musicians, and pop stars enjoy almost constant coverage on holo-screens, only occasionally replaced by adverts for startup beauty products, cutting-edge gaming hardware, or the newest diet fad. These celebrities enjoy high class treatment and something akin to worship from the Cythereans. Many come from across the galaxy, human and alien alike, seeking to turn their fortunes around. However, Cythereans are not immune to poverty and hardship in their laissez-faire society. Those looking to become the next big thing sometimes wind up on the opposite end of the spectrum, relying on morally and legally ambiguous means to get by. Aliens, although welcome, are typically sidelined in favor of human actors and models due to most moguls desiring to “play it safe”. They are typically seen as understudies, extras, dancers, and occasionally backup singers or instrumentalists.

The Cytherean environment is very cutthroat as both culture and copyright law change rapidly to suit whoever is rich and whatever is popular at the time in any given arcology, given the heavy celebrity-based culture. Law enforcement, while much more strict and present than on the surface, are easily evaded. In the end, one can get away with almost anything as long as one has the right contacts and enough money. The party culture thrives in the aerostats, with the grand cocktail parties and fundraising schmooze-fests toward the top of teardrop slowly fading into the high-energy festivals and drug-fueled orgies of the lower sections. Toward the top, one can overhear the latest gossip and glimpse envelopes of credits sliding under tables. Toward the bottom, one can see the most hedonistic displays of luxury and passionate kisses passing the newest street pill.

Though many work in the entertainment industry as stars and producers, there are great opportunities for a Cytherean scientist. The development of pharmaceutical drugs and new medicines is a common field for Cytherean scientists, with a booming genetic engineering field to aid residents on Venus. There are also a fairly large number of farmers and gardeners from Venus, some of whom leave the planet for a more relaxed atmosphere. Many of these scientists are enticed to NanoTrasen by recruiters.

In Cytherean Venus, it's a sort of faux pas to even mention the surface dwellers. It is a known secret that there are many below scraping by in constant hardship, though very few offworlders other than criminals know much of the true life of a surface dweller.

Cytherean farmers living in the donut-shaped aerostats are a different bunch. With much of the farming rings dedicated solely to growing crops, the living quarters of donut dwellers are somewhat more open, and very scenic. Farmers often come from families with a history in hydroponics and are usually raised to carry on the family legacy. Typically, these aerostats take on a country-clubesque approach, having just as egotistical an atmosphere as typical Cytherean environments: wealthy farmers with massive crop arrangements; automated sprayers; and plenty of robots, aliens, and otherwise-poor Surfacers to help out. Freetime is ample, and this is spent on all sorts of frivolities: shooting, swimming, Terran and alien animal husbandry, playing sports, and doing plenty of social activities. Life here can be just as stratified as the teardrop aerostats with dwellers either being “members” or “helpers” depending on their connections and charisma.

Jintarian Culture

Despite the crushing pressure and the lead-melting hellscape that is the surface of Venus, colloquially known as Downstairs, many habitats exist there. Compared to the many independent cities that lurk above the cloud layer, there are few individual habitats, with many often structured as sprawling complexes. Hab-complexes tend to lack windows due to the immense pressure and the windows that do exist are primarily in the form of thick, expensive borosilicate used solely in expensive observatories. Greenery aided by artificial means are a common sight in these complexes. Lighting is tuned to simulate a relatively Earth-like environment.

Those on the Venusian surface tend to be researchers, foreigners who couldn’t make it in the floating Cytherean palaces, or criminals from the cloud layer. The desolation of the Venusian surface has lead to a culture focused on escapism. Craftworks, holodecks, and stadium-complexes are commonplace. Parkour and freerunning are also popular pastimes, with annual and casual competitions often held in holodecks. Jintarian runners duck through cramped maintenance shafts, shimmy inside air vents, and slide through industrial complexes. Following pop culture fed in through the cloud layer, though, is the primary means of forgetting the surface hellscape. There are also Screenpod Studios housing dozens of Screenpods for a viewer to crawl into and experience their favorite movies and shows in 4D. There are also many AR experiences available to the Jintarians, fully immersing them in fantastical, dramatic, or sensual situations and environments. Jintarians typically become nervous in wide-open spaces, preferring the tight comfort of a hab-complex or tunnel.

Work for Jintarians, however, remains mostly practical and physical. Engineering jobs are an essential part of hab-complexes, with some even managing to work their way back above the clouds to upkeep the floating Cytherean cities. Industrial work is also common, with many factories making shield generators, firearms, and vehicles for exportation. Because of the extremely hostile conditions of Venus and the incredibly quality materials required to build homes on the surface, Jintarian products are known for being highly reliable, durable, and of great quality.

Illegal Surfacers

Not all of the people who dwell on the Venusian surface live in hab-complexes. Some have taken like swarms of locusts to the lead-melting wastelands of the planet. These people are mostly miners and illegal traders, blazing on their huge, over-engineered motor and hovercrafts that serve as formidable war machines, functional living bases, and heavy mining rovers all at once. These almost mind-bogglingly complex vehicles are crafted from metal scrap dropped from the Zone and surface wrecks and ruins. Outside of vehicles, extremely robust hardsuits are employed, resembling something closer to antique diving suits than the sleeky, contemporary designs of Tau Ceti. Both rapid-firing PDWs, heavy coilguns, and super-sized kinetic accelerators are employed on foot as well. Convoys of tank-bases are typically followed by herds of Yudina, a burrowing Venusian beast. These creatures can grow up to thirty feet long, lack eyes, and have very thick skin. Their massive claws make quick work of the virgin surface, exposing wealths of natural resources, partially through their digestive processes.

While initially many operated independently and gunned down each other on sight, eventually a proper organization with a division of labor formed quickly. Simply called the Venusian Company, they found black market deals more lucrative than selling materials to megacorporations. The Company presents themselves as a somewhat-corporate organization and has constructed static bases across the surface of Venus to house families. As they attempted to expand further from Venus, the Company faced difficulty as a known criminal faction. Thus, they formally established and registered the Azulite Mining Guild, pretending to be a small mining company. The Azulite Mining Guild got a relatively large number of holdings in the Sol system, owning large patches of land on Mercury, and plenty of various entire moons of Saturn and Jupiter. The Company, however, withholds a fair share of the profits, leading to the formation of many small, rebellious gangs. However, there has been no successful joined effort to create a proper opposing faction. The Company usually attempts to destroy gang vehicles on sight making many of these gangs arm themselves to the teeth. Alternatively, some like the Masquers gang, named after a famous Zone-made movie, employ ragtag cloaking technology to conduct their operations covertly.

Fashion

The class divided on Venus between Cythereans and Jintarians is evident even in their clothes. Cythereans often wear avant garde, nearly-impractical clothing while Jintarians usually perfer comfort and function over style.

Cytherean Fashion

There a number of Cytherean fashion trends just entering the public eye, being sold by stores, and falling out of fashion at any time. Anything a non-Cytherean can put together that is appealing to the eye, and sometimes not, has been the height of fashion at some point somewhere in the clouds. There are a few popular looks and rules Cytherean fashion tends to follow, though.

The most important rule for an aspiring Cytherean fashionista is that the best part of the body is the skin. A lot of clean, unblemished, hairless skin is shown in Cytherean fashion whether it be through a high-slit dress, a translucent button-up shirt, a pair of short shorts, a fitted tank top, or a low cut blouse. More masculine figures tend to show off the upper body, especially the arms, while more feminine looks show off the lower body, specifically the legs. It should be noted that showing too much skin is a great faux pas; looks are often balanced so that if a lot of the upper body is shown, the lower body is mostly covered and vice versa.

Another important note that while minor body modifications are considered fine, a more natural appearance is preferred. Body-sculpting procedures are common, especially among celebrities. The most common body-sculpting procedures include improving facial features and structure, removing all body hair “below the eyelashes”, tightening the skin, removing excess body fat, reconstructing the teeth, enhancing or emphasizing musculature, and balancing body proportions, usually in favor of the legs. However, extensive piercing, more extreme body-sculpting, heavy tattooing, and other modifications that break the “pure skin” rule are frowned upon. In particular, tattooing, even minor tattooing in some cases, is considered unsightly due to its long-standing connection with criminals.

The source of many trends has stemmed from Binyaria’s Parabing District, named “wankukai” trends. Wankukai clothes are either what’s popular in the Parabing clubbing scene or, less popularly, something slightly more appropriate for streetwear. Masculine looks often have plain, solid colored pants in dark colors with slim, usually designer belts, and often have simple dress shoes or sneakers. Translucent button-ups with LED or neon-tubing designs up the arms or across the chest are popular, as well as similarly designed, fitted tank tops to accentuate the arms. Some even elect to go shirtless. Suit jackets matching one’s pants are also common, as well as leather jackets with LED or neon designs on the back. As for more femme looks, miniskirts, short shorts, and, for the brave, microskirts are commonplace, often paired with simple, low heels, flats, or sneakers. Colorful dress shirts, qipao blouses, and standard blouses are all common as well, featuring designs similar to masculine looks. Dresses of all lengths usually have a high-slit, reaching all the way up the thigh, and are often intricately decorated with LED and neon-tubing. Though suit jackets and leather jackets with designs are common among feminine looks as well, they are occasionally cropped to just below or at the ribs.

Recently, there has been a rise in traditional and “neo-traditional” clothes. For example, “faying” dresses and suits are based off Victorian Era British and French formalwear, but modified to better fit today’s fast paced society. Faying are less restrictive and faying dresses in particular have a much smaller bell skirt and are occasionally shortened to the mid-calf or knee. Another example are “neo-hanbok”, which are the traditional Korean hanbok similarly updated like faying. Feminine hanbok have a thinner bell and sometimes have a shorter skirt and masculine hanbok often have tighter sleeves and a pair of pants and vest instead of a robe. Another popular look is to add LED lighting, neon graphics, or simply different colors. Standard qipao/cheongsam, changshan, kimono, and yukata are also staples among the traditional fashion movement.

Jintarian Fashion

Due to the rough life on the Venusian surface, Jintarian fashion is mostly practical. For the most part, Jintarians wear simple jumpsuits, overalls, t-shirts, and jeans. It is not uncommon, though, for Jintarians to decorate their clothes with pins, badges, armbands, or graphics. Military-style, bomber, and leather jackets are also common among fashion-forward Jintarians. Among Jintarian freerunners, it is a sort of tradition to hide one’s identity. Generally, freerunners wear fitted hoodies, plain athletic shorts, running shoes, and either a blank mask or a combination of an air mask and a lowered baseball cap, sunglasses, or tight beanie.

Ethnicity on Venus

Cytherean

The average Cytherean look is:

  • Skin Tone: 50 - 140
  • Average Height: 5'9" - 6'3" / 175 cm - 190 cm
  • Black to dark brown hair, though often dyed.
  • Dark brown to light brown eyes.

Jintarian

The average Jintarian look is:

  • Skin Tone: 1 - 50
  • Average Height: 5'3" - 5'9" / 160 cm - 175 cm
  • Black to dark brown hair.
  • Dark brown to light brown eyes.

Jintarians raised on Venus usually have broad, thick builds due to the pressure of the atmosphere.

Government

As with all Solarian holdings, Venus has a representative, currently Heidi Kim, in the SolGov Senate who handles most of the world's interaction with the Sol Alliance as a whole. At the planetary level, Venus is a Democratic Populist Technocracy. Each aerostat and surface habitat has its own elected governor who presides over a council. The council size varies from place to place, based on the population of the habitat. The high number of science personnel mixed with the planet’s celebrity-worship culture has lead to many influential scientists, celebrities, or some of both generally being elected. Many governors and councillors are elected via popularity and easily carry out their manifestos with gusto, lacking any real public opposition due to their position. Commercial and industrial industries are rarely targeted and thus remain stable, ensuring the planets profitability to the Sol Alliance.

Military

The Sol Alliance military handles all affairs of planetary defense, with the exception of only the VHEC Reg. Venus Hazardous Environment Combat Regiment or "VHEC Reg". Trained for orbital insertion into extremely hostile and hazardous environments, VHEC Reg serves as a Venusian special forces group. Recruits are trained in close quarter combat and are unsurpassed in their field with many hopefuls applying every month from across the Sol Alliance. The Venusian military is highly skilled, although only theoretically. It is noted that historically, they have had little to no actual combat experience. See Sol Alliance Military

History

Most of the early history of Venus has been lost to the ages, with the Cythereans viewing it as unimportant. However, it is generally accepted that the first aerostats were constructed for scientific purposes. The first built, and the largest even today, was Binyaria. The surfacer habitation complexes were built much later on, and all of them originally featured tethers to the aerostats before more efficient stabilization technology was made. The disposal of these planetary tethers allowed for the Jintarians to be gradually forgotten by mainstream Cytherean society.

Potential Character Concepts

Characters from Venus are likely to:

  • Have worked with or used products by Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals, Einstein Engines, and Necropolis Industries.
  • Either value beauty or efficiency very highly.
  • Have positive feelings towards IPCs, especially Shells or industrial frames.
  • Speak Sol Common.

Here is an example character from Venus:

  • Chia-ling “Novae” Soyer, 21, is a bartender currently employed for the NSS Aurora. She is a bit airy and blunt, but is a friendly person at heart.
  • Novae is about 5’11” and has a slender build with long legs and is about 140 lbs. She has excellent posture and her movements are trained and graceful. She has dark brown eyes and long, curly white hair that is naturally dark brown. Her nails are somewhat long and intricately decorated with bright novae.
  • Novae was a former idol trainee before a fake but scalding scandal forced her off of Venus. She currently lives in an apartment with her boyfriends in Mendell City. Novae is agnostic. Novae doesn’t understand Tau Ceti politics much, but devoutly believes in equality for everyone, no matter species or synthetic brand.
  • Novae doesn’t know much of alien culture, but is very fond of them and treats them equally. She also tries very hard to make IPCs feel like people, often obviously so.
  • Novae speaks Sol Common and Tau Ceti Basic, and she even knows some Terran English and Mandarin phrases.

Here is a second example character from Venus:

  • Cesar Moon, 33, is a shaft miner working for NanoTrasen. He is reclusive, but always does as he is told.
  • Moon is 5’8” and has a stocky, muscled build, likely 190 lbs. He has fairly defensive posture and a slight hunch, and his movements are fast but awkward. He keeps his black hair buzzed close to his scalp. Due to a rare disease caused by a difficult birth, he had to replace his eyes with prosthetics.
  • Although Moon was born on the surface of Venus and worked for the Company for almost his entire life, he eventually began to fear his employers. He chose Biesel as the place to go to due to its open borders, and currently rents a room on the Odin. Moon is Buddhist. He finds politics somewhat difficult to grasp.
  • Moon has rubbed shoulders with many other alien races in his life and believes that people should be judged by merit, not by species. However, he tends to like Unathi more because of their strict code of honor and has a hard time understanding Dionaea.
  • Moon speaks Sol Common as his main language and has a rocky understanding of Tau Ceti Basic.

Here is a third example character from Venus:

  • Sunmi Ford, 28, is an engineer currently on the NSS Aurora. She is hardworking and gruff, but has a soft side.
  • Ford is 5’4” and has a lightly muscled build, likely 150 lbs. She has poor posture, and her movements are fast and direct. She keeps her dark brown hair in a short ponytail. Ford has several small scars scattered across her body, as well as one long one up her thigh.
  • Having always hated the cramped, claustrophobic feeling of the Venusian surface, Ford managed to save enough money to go to Earth where she was recruited by NanoTrasen. She lives in a small apartment in Mendell City with her partners and two kids. Ford is Christian. She supports any political idea or reform that will supposedly get her more money in the end.
  • Ford is very practical, not caring for species whatsoever. She does, however, have a strange pull to IPCs, especially Shells.
  • Ford speaks Sol Common and barely has working fluency in Tau Ceti Basic.