Capital of the Community
Molven Bel-Harpy and Dr. Julius Fong, two of the many characters involved in the development of the Community share anecdotes of the past centuries over dinner in the Building.
History and Culture
Alpha Centauri is a ternary star system 4.2 light years from Sol. In the mid 2020s the Darwin programme funded by NASA turned its deep space eyes to investigating the nearest star system to Sol in the hope of finding an Earth-like world around either Alpha Centauri A or B.
They were not disappointed when the Darwin team announced to a half interested planet the existence of a possible candidate around the G2 primary. At the time the terran media had other matters to focus on as the world of the 2020s was a turbulent and unsure time. But amongst those who looked beyond the immediate concerns of everyday life the possibility of a viable planet so close to Earth was a very exciting prospect.
By the 2030s more evidence had been found for a multitude of viable planets around nearby stars, the notion of other “Earths” had squeezed its way into the global conciousness and for the first time the idea of actually sending a probe out to investigate other worlds beyond Sol was seriously discussed. The takeoff of commercial spaceflight, privately funded enterprises on Luna and a permantent presence on Mars also gave credence to interstellar exploration, and perhaps someday colonisation.
The more information was gleamed about Alpha Centauri Ab the more promising it looked. Earth grew used to the notion that someday, perhaps within the lifetime of the youngest generation, humans would look up at the night sky and point to distant star called Sol.
With the advent of the Inertialess drive in the 2050s support for the Centauri Mission grew, fuelled partly by the joy of discovery but mostly by the prospect of a whole other Earth to exploit and a privately held notion that humanity had better get to the star before the Blee did!
In 2061 AD the Odyssey left the L4 orbital cluster for the 6 year journey to Alpha Centauri Ab (which by then had anumber of unofficial names varying from “New Earth”, “Nova Terra”, “Eden”, “Haven” etc.) Using the latest in Quantum Tunnelling technology for instant communication back home and utilising plasma shielding to deflect the impacts of even the tiniset particle on a craft moving at relativistc speeds the craft had an armoury of sensors, lander craft and analysing tools at it disposal.
The first close up shots of the terran-like world electrified the media back home. The world had a comfortable similarity to mother Earth with glorious white clouds covering a green and blue world rich in carbon based life-forms.
Analysis of the biosphere revealed a very benign ecosystem compatible with human biology and crying out for humans to settle on (calls by some Greens to have the world spared from human interference where ignored!) A manned mission followed and competition for a place on the Enterprise’s crew was fierce with many nations and cultures wanting themselves represented on the team.
The Enterprise arrived in orbit around the world that had been christened Elysium in 2078 AD. The name was chosen after much argument and was the idea of the then 10 year-old daughter of the first scientist to announce the possible discovery of the world (the fact that that same little girl was now the head of Centauri Mission was also in her favour.)
To avoid the same diplomatic squabbling on who would be the first to set foot on the new world and so be forever remembered in history as had occurred on the Mars mission back in 2021 AD the crew drew straws on who would make the “giant leap.” So at 12:35 Terran Standard Time on September 11 2078 AD the Enterprise’s head of the Xenobotany team a shy retiring man called Thomas Percy stepped out of the Kirk landing module in front of an audience of billions (even the Blee were watching this typical example of human pageantry!)
Attention soon wavered on Earth as viewers were dissappointed to find a world devoid of terrifying alien monsters or sinister mind altering artefacts and went back to their humdrum lives mostly oblivious to the historic events unfolding around a star light years away.
Elysium found its way back into the news when it came time for the Enterprise to return home (and possibly be broken up and sold off piece by piece to recoup some of the enourmous cost.) twelve members of the crew decided not to return back to Sol insead wishing to settle on the world, a planet free of centuries old squabbles, taxes, pollution and corperate media values.
This brought the idea of actually settling the world out of science fiction and wishful thinking to some to quite an appealing concept to the great terran public. Luna, Mars and a number of orbital states had already announced their intentions towards Elysium. Savvy politians and opportunistic mega-corps recognised a bandwagon when they saw one and so the Centauri rush began.
Helped along by the advent of widespread nano-technology which although hadn’t perfected the “grow a spaceship in your backyard” technology that some nano-enthusiasts had promised, was still bringing about a revolution and during the 2090s a number of colonisation craft headed for the new world.
Despite the varied mix of cultures that were settling on Elysium conflict on the colony was rare for example the Israelis expedition and the Arabic Mega-corp funded contingent got along much better than their partners back on Earth. No one nationality or culture achieved dominace over the planet and the Elysians were fond of bragging to their terran cousins that their version of Earth was a vision of paradise when compared to the corrupt old world.
By the mid 22nd century Elysium held the proud distinction of the most populated world outside of the home-worlds (almost 500 million) with a vast and strong economy that rivalled those of Sol and could easily afford to terraform a world such as Einstein (Alpha Centauri B III.)
The California Park district of Capital City. The metropolis has blossomed from a small ecostudy outpost in 2113AD to one of the largest cities throughout Community space with a population of 50 million living in its mighty towers and vast suburbs.
Vast cities straight out of the more optimistic science fiction of the 20th and early 21st centuries sprang out of no-where to accommodate the influx of hopefuls arriving on each new colony ship. The influence of the first colonists (led by the highly respected First Twelve) on shaping the mindset of these new arrivals was strong. “Leaving the old world behind” was a slogan the first ones banded about to cleanse the newcomers of their possibly destructive old habits.
Transhumanist thought was very prominent amongst the Centaurians. Always embracing the new became a passion for them which put off some prospective immigrants who didn’t want their precious old world values challenged and mocked. To even mention Earth was considered bad form in some areas and anything that was viewed as being more in the Earthers interest than that of Centauri was view with great suspicion (terran mega-corps had to be very careful when opening new markets in Centauri!)
Alpha Centauri was on of the first systems to support whole-heartedly the concept of the Community when it was first banded about the supranet in the late 22nd century. It fitted in with the system’s view of how the galaxy should be, a community of varied cultures and beings working together for the comman good yet always aware that people want to be left alone to run their own lives without some oppressive state system telling them what to do.
Alpha Centauri even offered itself up as a neutral real-space venue for all the varied cultures of the known galaxy (which at the time only extended out to 50 light years at its furthest) but the limitations of relativistic travel only allowed small delegations from the nearest systems to be practical.
With interstellar crises such as the Beta Comae Liberation , the plight of the Novagens in the Beta Hydri system and the conflict at Zeta Tucanae occurring in the 23rd century Alpha Centauri as a nation remained staunchly neutral, perhaps for fear of making unprofitable enemies on the interstellar scene or letting its substantial industrial might gett drawn in to some kind intersteller arms race.
When Warp travel arrived mid century Alpha Centauri received another influx of arrivals, this time far more exotic than the dispossed and hopeful immigrants from Sol the previous century. The system was at the forefront of research into warp travel and eventually built one of the largest fleets of warp vessels of the time (examples of which are proudly displayed at the Centauri Museum at Elysium’s L4 point.)
Centauri ships where noted for being the usually preferred vehicle for diplomats and couriers for those systems who hadn’t a big warp vessel industry. Centauri designs were very influencial even to this day thanks to the work of the many shipbuilding habitats in the major Centauri asteroid belt in the region between the two primaries (where the conflicting gravitational pull of the two stars prohibited any major world from forming.)
Thanks to the forward thinking of such personalities as Imany Percy and Dr. Julis Fong almost a century ago Alpha Centauri had carved a niche for itself as the ideal site for any real-space foundation of the Community. In 2292 AD building work commenced on the Community Building, a place in which representatives of every polity, culture and species that considered itself part of the Community could meet in person. Its followed the designs of the gifted (and some say more than slightly eccentric) architect Hans Frober-Xiang.
An acclaimed designer of arcologies for many decades his plans for the Community Building defied convention and stretched the building methods of the time to the limit to construct his 5 km high vision. Hans said his inspiration for the Building was the notion of communication and representing the vastness and diversty of the all the sapients in the known universe. For most it conveyed in real-space the very essance of the Concourse in literally being a place where anyone could meet with anyone else and discuss the ways of the universe.
Today the Building’s inhabitants are as diverse as Hans hoped they would be with all manner of beings wandering around , meeting new people, taking part in discussions on how the Community operates and conducts itself with the outside universe. Hans now inhabits the very structure of the Building having uploaded in 2513 AD and watches on in quiet contentment as his dream continues to evolve (as well as being privy to conversations and events that shape the whole Community!)
A SUV takes its passengers to one of the resorts on the continent of New Israel. At this time both Alpha Centauri A and B can be seen in daytime.
With the Community Building dominating the cities that would merge into Capital the Alpha Centauri system became seen as the very centre of Community civilisation and culture. When the C.D.F. came into being in the late 24th century the obvious choice for its central operations was again Alpha Centauri. Star Central was placed at the Lagrange point between Centauri A and B supported by the shipbuilding habitats in the Belt and since then has grown from humble beginnings as a series of biosphere caverns and spaceports in a metal rich asteroid known as Charlie to the massive mega-structure it is today , home to the 1st fleet and possibly the most heavily defended region in the Community outside of the Cesola region and the Hadar/Enliza Wormhole.
With Alpha Centauri becoming so important on the Galactic scene Elysium had to stop immigration to the surface for the most part at the turn of the 25th century to avoid the biosphere suffering the same trauma as heavily populated worlds such as Earth or Ese. Instead the influx of people and organisations that wanted to be close to the action constructed orbitals around Elysium, vast habitats at strategic points throughout the systems, world cities on barren moons or rocky planets or set up shop on terraformed Einstein (which for the Centaurians is seen as a little more laid back than the fast paced life of cosmopolitan Elysium.)
Today Alpha Centauri is a constant buzz of activity with hundreds of ships flitting between the many habitats, worlds and wormholes. Centauri has one of the biggest wormhole nodes in the Community with every system in range wanting a connection to the system. Having a wormhole link direct to Capital carries a certain prestige as well as bringing in the cash as travellers from all over known space flock to the Capital.
The population of Centauri today is a very cosmopolitan mix of every culture and species in the Community having a suburb, town or habitat to call their own. Capital City is a prime example of this with every district home to a different minority displaying the best their culture has to offer. Indeed it is a common held notion that if you want to see the galaxy save your money and just wander around Capital City instead!
Most outsiders have an embassy on or around Elysium from the Mourno city ship in permanent orbit to the Zarquon embassy Arcology which dominates the skyline of the New Beverly Hills district and is laid siege by a never-ending supply of protesters demonstrating around the clock on everything from Zarquon sapient rights abuses to campaigns for the truth about the many thousands missing from the end of the War.
Places in the Galaxy
What's Alpha Centauri Really Like?