Venus for Beginners
UWP: B7B0416-8 De Na
Size: Approximately 0.815 Earths by Mass
Gravity: 0.904 g
Surface Pressure: 9.3 million Pascal (about 93 times Earth sea level)
Surface Composition: Basalt rocky surface dominated by volcanic planes with interspersed highlands. Iron, gold, silver, uranium and a variety of other valuable ores and minerals can be found.
Atmosphere: Mostly Carbon Dioxide (85%) with Nitrogen (3%) and other trace gases such as sulphur dioxide, argon, water vapor and carbon.
Cloud Layer Temperature: Around 460° C/860° F.
Day: 243 Days
Year: 224.7 Earth-Standard Days
The Earth that Wasn’t
Venus is a planet that has held the imagination of humanity since it was first discovered by Pythagoras in the sixth century BC. Before that, many believed that Venus was actually two separate objects known as the Morning and Evening Stars. It seemed, from a distance, to be very much like the planet that gave birth to our own species. It was the same size, orbited at a distance that suggested it would not be too hot or cold to support life, and many believed it had a day and night cycle like Earth. In time this was all proven false.
While Venus is roughly the same size as Earth, and has a gravity close to that of our birthplace, that is where the similarities end. Unlike Earth, Venus is in a virtual tidal lock with the Sun. It takes the planet slightly longer to rotate about its own axis than it does for the planet to orbit the Sun. Because of massive wind storms, the surface temperature of Venus is relatively stable across the planet, whether you are on the day or night side – it’s always very hot.
A thick layer of sulfur dioxide clouds obscures the surface view. These highly corrosive clouds are one of the chief reasons for the extreme temperature on the surface. The only precipitation the planet receives is equally as corrosive, but evaporates roughly 25 kilometers/15 miles above the surface, leaving the plains of Venus even drier than the most arid deserts of Earth.
Closer to the surface of Venus, the atmosphere is somewhat less acidic, but no less inhospitable. Made up primarily of carbon dioxide with a small amount of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide, a single breath would not only completely burn the unfortunate’s lungs, but would also lead to near instantaneous asphyxiation. An atmospheric pressure nearly 100 times greater than that of Earth also means that special hard suits must be worn by anyone who must brave the hellish conditions on the surface.
Life on Venus
Because of the harsh conditions, the colonies that have been built on Venus are sub-surface in nature. The original colonists found the easiest way to protect themselves from the high temperatures and pressures was to use the rocky crust of the planet itself. When flying over the surface, the only signs of a colony are the surface airlocks and landing pads for incoming shuttles. As little as possible is left exposed to the Venusian atmosphere, both for safety and cost reasons. Underground, the colonies on Venus are relatively comfortable in which to live. Though nearly completely underground, a great amount of effort has been made to ensure that residents do not feel closed in. Most public areas are well-lit, while exposed stone is worked smooth and painted in light colors to efficiently reflect light. Major arteries and corridors often have large flex screens that stretch the length of the tunnel, which display a variety of outdoor scenes, entertainment shows and corporate puff pieces. The overall effect works for most people.
Because Venus is largely run by the major mining corporations that sponsored its original colonization, life on the planet, no matter one’s capacity, is steeped in corporate culture. Each of the six major colonies is run by a different corporation and has its own associated customs and traditions. The corporations do everything they can to ensure the loyalty of their citizens and employees, while immersing them in the corporate culture at almost every level – ranging from the name of the corporation appearing in almost every corridor and on every sign, to the logonbeing embossed on napkins found in restaurants and cafeterias.
An aspect of life on Venus that takes new arrivals a little adjustment is the unusually long day. For this
reason, the corporations have opted to completely ignore the Venusian day when tracking time. Instead, all the colonies are set to operate in 24-hour cycles just as though one were on Earth. However, since this is a purely artificial convention and has no real bearing on the planet itself, all the colonies run on the exact same schedule – there are no time zones like one finds on Earth. 5 PM in Diamond Head is 5 PM in Daysin Colony, which is physically located on the opposite side of the planet.
The Major Colonies
There are six major colonies on Venus. Each of these is owned and run by one of the six mining corporations that paid for the initial colonization of the planet. Each colony is a separate entity under the authority of the owning corporation and, while within its confines, one is under the absolute authority of that corporation. It is always a good idea to review the laws of a colony the first time you arrive, as each colony has its own quirks that can get one in trouble if unprepared.
To deal with inter-colony disputes and administer to the systems that are shared between colonies, an
advisory and administrative body made up of representatives from each corporation has been established. It is known as the Venusian Administrative Body. They oversee the planetary transport systems, maintain orbital security, and moderate disputes between colonies. The VAB has the final word on anything that occurs outside the confines of a colony.
McAlister City: Belonging to the McAlister Mining Concern, this is the smallest colony on Venus. As a
result, the people here tend to be somewhat distrustful of outsiders and even new employees are
met with a distant indifference until they prove to others they are loyal to the corporation.
Daysin Colony: Named after the original founder of Rare Earths Incorporated, Daysin Colony is home to over 30,000 people. Many consider Daysin to be the friendliest colony to outsiders, as Rare Earths does not smother residents in corporate dogma or propaganda nearly to the extent of the other colonies.
Diamond Head: Run by Geo-Excavations, Diamond Head is unique in that it has residents that actually work for other Venusian corporations. This is because Geo-Excavations does a great deal of contract work when surface excavations are needed by the other colonies. Because of the mixture of corporate personnel and the risk of espionage or simple corporate rivalries getting out of hand, security at Diamond Head is very visible, keeping most visitors on edge.
Daedalus Complex: Home of 4G Enterprise’s inner system corporate headquarters, this colony is famous for the ‘in your face’ corporate culture promoted here. From the moment you arrive, it is obvious who runs the show with corporate logos on every bulkhead and wall and corporate advertising running on every flex screen. Even so, the people who live here are friendly and outgoing to visitors and try to make newcomers feel welcome.
Flare City: Another system-wide mining conglomerate, Flare City is the largest colony on the planet.
Home to the corporate headquarters of the Solar Mining Corporation, this colony bears a great many
similarities to Daedalus Complex, in that the SMC culture is very much in evidence as soon as one arrives. Flare City has also become the tourist hub of the planet, with an entire segment of the colony devoted to housing and entertaining both tourists and ship crews winding down before getting underway again.
Oshuki Colony: Another relatively small operation, Oshuki Colony has less than 8,000 residents. Visitors, while tolerated, are not wanted and those who do arrive are encouraged to complete their business and leave. The colony has recently been the victim of a number of setbacks and some believe that the Takashi Group may be on the way to bankruptcy as aresult. This makes those who live here somewhat bitter and angry, especially when someone from either Daedalus Complex or Flare City comes to visit.