|Owner||Citizen's Republic of Heaven|
|Parent Body||Alpha Centauri B, Main Belt|
|Purpose||Habitation - Research - Industry|
Heaven is a massive habitation complex in Alpha Centauri consisting of two large counter-rotating cylindrical habitats, seven co-rotating torii, and dozens of smaller "tin can" habitats and mining colonies. It is the oldest extrasolar colony and the one of the largest human orbital habitation complexes.
Heaven features a greater stratification of wealth by location than just about anywhere else in the inner system. The poorest Heaveners live in the inner O'Neill cylinders, Vallhalla and Elysium. Once verdant, self-contained paradises, the carefully maintained internal ecosystem of the habitat has been replaced with sprawling factories and other industrial installation. The air stinks and the lighting is intermittent at best. One step up from the factories are the independent mining and power habitats that serve the massive material needs of the main habitation complex. While the people of these habits make, strictly speaking, less than those in the cylinders, their quality of life is measurably better.
More prosperous still are the people of the Rings, the seven torii built around the great cylinders, blotting out their sunlight. They were once significantly poorer, but as Heaven's population grew their roles reversed. Each Ring is named after a Talmudic heaven, and they range from white-collar office habitats to the seat of some of the most powerful people in the galaxy.
A rarity in modern habits, Heaven uses centrifugal gravity and not phoron-plate artificial gravity. The delicate precession of the habitats around their host star will be stable for hundreds of years, barring any other influences. Newer of Heaven's associated habitats use phoron-plate designs, but most of them follow the complex's example.
The cylinders are 23-mile long constructions of rough steel and transparent alumina. They were partially constructed by the People's Army of the Inner Ring, using nanotechnological assembly method and drone mining techniques that would be incredibly illegal in SolGov. The remainder of the cylinders were constructed manually, often by migrant workers from nearby Kishar. Each cylinder can sustain eight million people more-or-less indefinitely. They instead support about twelve million each, necessitating a mess of additional atmospheric and climate control technology and constant imports from outside the complex. They have a tiling pattern of long strips of industrial district followed by long windows designed to let in the light of Alpha Centauri B. As most of this light is blocked by the Rings, they instead use electrical lights at all times indoors, and industry has begun to spill over to the windows. Anyone looking up in the Cylinders can see the Rings.
Six of the seven Rings are newer constructions, while the ring of Araboth is ancient-- the only element of the People's Army habitat they completed before their arrest. Each is a loop of high-tech, low-density ceramics, carbon fiber, and regular steel and aluminum. The carrying capacity of each Ring is around one hundred thousand, and these limits are (mostly) adhered to. Except for Araboth, which faces Alpha Centauri at all times, the Rings must also make use of electrical lights.
Heaven has a population of just barely 25 million. It is practically bursting with restrained growth, and plans have been made to expand the complex (hopefully, this time in a less chaotic manner). The Heavener upper class is mostly human, but the dwellers in Valhalla and Elysium are often positronic or, increasingly, Tajaran.
Industry and Economy
Heaven is self-sufficient in most sapient labor, but not most physical resources. The tension between Heaven's skilled workforce and their lack of any naturally-exploitable material has prompted many of their brushfire wars with the spacefaring states of Kishar, and in kinder times has acted as a strong incentive to cooperation with the Kishari.
Heaven, especially the Ring of Shekim, is billed as a tourist destination. The culture and society of Heaven is sufficiently strange to those born on Earth or Mars that it can provide enough entertainment to justify a weekend stay-- and Alpha Centauri's close proximity to Earth accommodates that briskness of travel. Their focus on the exportation of luxury goods, "VIP" treatment, and financial services has caused some to label it "The Eutopia of the Core Worlds" with a good deal of accuracy.
The Angelic College at Makon produces a good number of experienced material scientists and high-energy physicists, who have a reputation for eccentric worldviews and top-of-the-line results.
Food and drink TSC Centauri Provisions got its start in Heaven, bringing comforting snackfood from Sol to Heaven's earliest colonists. They still maintain their corporate headquarters in Araboth, though there has been talk of moving out towards the Almach Rim or Nyx
Heaven was previously a legal extension of SolGov, as part of their extrasolar colonization efforts. During a restructuring period shortly after the formation of the first states on Binma, control of the enterprise was spun out to a private entity called Heaven Habitation. The policies of Heaven Habitation still mark the collective psyche of the complex, and are visible in the increasingly-shortsighted design decisions of the self-eclipsing station.
After the first war with Kishar proved unpopular, Heaven Habitation became the first state ever tried by the SolGov High Court. The entity was found guilty of deliberately impoverishing itself by partaking in senseless and bloody conflicts, and the Citizen's Republic was created in its place. The Citizen's Republic was originally very much a government in the SolGov model, but internal restructurings saw it change to a presidential republic with representation by district. That is to say, there are fourteen representatives for the Rings, and twelve for the Cylinders, despite the Cylinders containing more than 90% of the population
Valhalla is the older O'Neill cylinder. Large parts of Valhalla were built by the People's Army before they were ousted from Heaven, and this makes Valhalla much better constructed than its counterpart, Elysium. While standards of living on Valhalla are low, industrial pollution is kept to a reasonable level and services are fairly readily available.
Elysium is the younger cylinder, constructed by Heaven Habitation using migrant labor from Kishar and employing numerous cost-cutting techniques that make Elysium among the most polluted and septic environments in the Core Worlds. Large parts of Elysium's climate control are built onto the side of the station like bloated cancers, struggling to keep up with the overpopulated station's needs. Visitors to Elysium are advised to carry oxygen.
The Rings are the seven torii that encircle Valhalla and Elysium at irregular intervals. They corotate and are connected by flexible corridors allowing for foot and rail traffic to pass between them. Transit within and through the Rings is usually by monorail, foot, or bicycle.
Vilon contains the Rings' shared spaceport, and most of its industry is dedicated to processing and distributing cargo and travelers. Previous difficulties with smugglers have prompted an increase in surveillance and police presence in this ring.
Raqia contains the embassies to many of the nations of Kishar, as well as many other SolGov member nations and the Pearlshield Coalition. The residential quarters for the diplomats and their attaches have grown into a full-fledged immigrant district sometimes called "Little Kishar".
Shehaqim is the most famous of Heaven's Rings. It contains numerous spas, hotels, restaurants, casinos, full-immersion VR rigs, and other luxury accommodation. Shehaqim has virtually nothing in the way of permanent habitation, most of the workers living in Zebul or Ma'on.
Zebul is the Rings' primary residential district. The whole of the ring is honeycombed with high-density apartment complexes, providing adequate accommodations for Heaven's middle class. While the Ring is districted for habitation, numerous industrious individuals have opened small shops and smaller restaurants out of their apartments.
Ma'on is the secondary residential district, and also contains industries designed to support the Rings' population. This is where most of the people of the Rings go to shop, eat, and entertain themselves-- cheaper than Shehaqim, less dubious than Zebul. The apartments of Ma'on are larger and thus less numerous than those of Zebul, and reserved for the upper class and dedicated poseurs.
Makon is the university district. The Angelic College at Heaven is located here, as are its dorms and several businesses designed to accommodate the collegiate. Admission standards are rigid, admission cost is high, and the quality of its graduates are second to none.
Araboth is the original ring, and the only complete habitation built by the People's Army. Large portions of the ring host a living museum to the dangerous experimentation of the People's Army, including the infamous AI lab and the cloning vats that would, presumably, have produced people to populate Heaven. Aside from the museum, Araboth hosts the Heavenly Assembly and the residences of most government officials.
Ragnarok, if ever completed, will be the solution to Heaven's overcrowding and corruption. It is a new habitat, near enough to Heaven for gateway transit, and when completed will be stacked set of platforms, using Phoron gravity instead of centrifugal force. This makes the complex near-infinitely expandable for a relatively low cost. However, since the project's inception in 2520, delays have cropped up at an alarming rate, ranging from industrial accidents to supply shortages to bureaucratic meddling. The project received a much-needed boost in 2549, when the company responsible for the habitat was purchased by NanoTrasen, giving them unparalleled access to the phoron supply.
See Alpha Centauri