NCS Northern Star
|Name||NCS Northern Star|
|Constructed||2547 - 2551|
|Parent Body||Vir - Kara|
|Purpose||Refueling - Residential/Commercial - Archaeology - Mining - Research|
The NCS Northern Star is an asteroid colony owned and operated by NanoTrasen, located in the Vir system, orbiting a gas giant called Kara, among many other asteroid installations. Originally conceived as 'just another pit-stop' for weary asteroid miners, it has grown to become a significant installation in the Kara subsystem. As well as a rest-stop for travelers going in and out of the Kara subsystem or the Vir system as a whole, it also houses a population of civilians who work in or support the local mining industry.
It has a large number of secondary functions, in addition to housing a population, mostly to achieve a degree of self-sufficiency and to generate on-the-side profits. One major secondary function is the mining and hollowing of the asteroid the colony itself is built on, both to retrieve valuable ore to use for construction or trade, as well as to add more available space for future projects. Phoron was discovered inside this asteroid by accident, which has helped the colony become what it is today. The phoron mined is generally processed into fuel to be sold, sold as a processed solid material, or used for manufacturing of advanced medications. Mining has also uncovered various ancient artifacts of an alien civilization, which has lead to part of the colony being dedicated to their research.
It also handles the logistic and refuelling needs of traffic to and from the Kara belt.
Before the NCS Northern Star was even conceived, it was just one of many, many asteroids orbiting a gas giant that would later be named Kara. In 2491, deposits of phoron were discovered in several asteroids around Kara, attracting the attention of several trans-stellar corporations, who started to claim and mine asteroids, searching for the elusive purple ore, but progress was slow, due to a lack of infrastructure, but that would change. Several SolGov owned resupply stations were built inside hollowed out asteroids orbiting Kara in 2514, and in 2541, Nanotrasen decided to follow their example, building several long term mining, processing, and resupply stations inside hollowed asteroids.
2554 is when everything changed for this particular asteroid, as it was when it was sold to Nanotrasen. At the time, it was just another huge rock, waiting to be mined to make room for a station, but two discoveries were made. The first is that several valuable ores and minerals, including phoron deposits, were discovered in abundance inside this asteroid, and the second is that xenoarcheological artifacts were found, their creators and their fate unknown to us to this day. This resulted in the planned resupply station to be reassigned to a much larger, permanent installation, capable of performing many functions.
The resupply station, at the time named NT-M07, shifted it's focus to mining the asteroid it was occupying, exporting phoron and other valuable minerals. A small research division was established, to study any strange artifacts that the mining crews found. The large amount of profit generated by the station allowed for expansions to be build, which necessitated better internal infrastructure. The primary source of power was changed from solar arrays to a supermatter engine, the research division was expanded, and the medical facilities were upgraded. At this point, NT-M07 was considered by many to be better than most of the other resupply stations orbiting Kara. A significant amount of miners and other personnel decided to stay at the station permanently. The station was converted into an asteroid colony, with multiple focuses, and was renamed the NCS Northern Star.
It is 2574, and the NCS Northern Star continues to grow steadily, ready to welcome just about anyone, as long as the money's good, and they don't cause trouble. A recent surge of colonists hailing from systems outside Vir has occurred, with a large number of colonists coming from the outer rim of colonies controlled by humanity. It is speculated that Vir is an attractive place to go, due to not being at the edge of inhabited space, such as Nyx, where danger is omnipresent, but at the same time not too close to the high density, expensive inner systems such as Tau Ceti or Sol.
The majority of the colony is contained inside a hollowed asteroid, which has the advantage of a natural barrier against space debris, as well as an effective heat-sink. The colony is built upon several 'levels' or floors, separated by a long stretch of rock, with only long elevator shafts and small transport shuttles linking them together.
The upper level is generally the busiest section, as it contains the docks, the colony's primary engine and power supply system, medical wing, brig and armory, research and manufacturing, command and control, the colony's primary AI, and a logistics department.
The docks of the colony are located here, able to support a large number of vessels at once. Near the docks are several rooms used for lodging, available at reasonable prices (unless you're not working for NT, in which case expect a big mark-up). In the lodging area is also an elevator to go down to the inner level, for those wanting a short or long term home, or to just go shopping.
North of the docks is a small security checkpoint, and a lobby before that, in case the line gets long. Any visitors who haven't been cleared to enter in advance must acquire an ID denoting their visitor status at this checkpoint. It is rare for a visitor to arrive without advanced notice, so the checkpoint is generally unstaffed.
A top of the line medical facility is based on this level, to ensure the well-being of the crew, residents, and visitors aboard. The facility referred to by residents as 'Medbay' has many advanced machines used by skilled medical personnel, such as a cryogenics suite, advanced body scanner, two fully stocked operating rooms, a pharmacy, a virology wing located in the back, and cloning services. The facility also offers counseling services and psychiatry care.
To protect the colony from riff-raff and ensure that Nanotrasen's corporate regulations and SolGov's laws are being followed, a dedicated security team is stationed here. Several holding cells, a forensics department, and an armory is also included in the security section, located fore of the colony.
The engineering compartments, located aft, contains the primary power generator for the upper level of the colony, the supermatter engine. Auxiliary power generation also exists in the form of several solar arrays, but since the colony's switch to its main engine, they have been partially decommissioned and require repair to operate. The engineering section also contains the atmospherics system, providing clean air to all, and filtering out waste gas from the atmosphere.
A recent addition is the research division, tasked with making new discoveries, particularly with phoron. Afterall, if a major discovery was made on the NCS Northern Star, it would likely result in a lot of new revenue for the colony (and the corporation as a whole). At the front of the division is a manufacturing section for robotic and mechatronic equipment, as well as a research and development room. Research also houses a xenoflora section, attempting to engineer new food sources to enable self-sufficiency.
A small cargo department exists, supplying the colony with goods shipped from central command, and sending back excess materials.
The lower level contains several facilities considered too dangerous to be near the critical infrastructure contained elsewhere, and houses several experimental research areas, including an explosives manufacturing and phoron research wing, intended to create powerful explosives for miners to clear away large amounts of rock quickly. There is also a xenobiological research wing, as well as a xenoarcheological section. The lower level is also the base of operations for the mining division, who supplies the colony with valuable ore. A small engineering power outpost also exists, separate from the main colony's power supply. The lower level is generally referred to as 'Mining' by residents.
The outer level is a mostly unfinished area based on the edges of the asteroid, between the upper and lower levels, and only contains a small outpost for engineering crew. Several additional structures are planned to be built in this level.
The inner level is where most residents live, and it's generally called the residential district. It contains the majority of homes and lodgings, temporary and permanent. Besides homes, it also contains the colony's secondary power source, as well as a secondary AI, in charge of making sure everyone gets the right room. These are cordoned off from the rest of the colony, as the power supply is not enough to supply the entire colony at once, and multiple AIs generally cause unnecessary conflicts. There is also a secondary security force stationed in the inner level, tasked to enforce lore:places:corporate_regulations and, if the need arises, to protect civilians from any hostile threats. Security forces stationed in the inner level cannot be sent out to anywhere else due to regulations while on duty in the inner level, to ensure safety in the most vulnerable area of the colony.
The inner level is also home to most of the colony's commerce, with various stores and restaurants existing in a ring pattern surrounding the residential rooms. A small marketplace also exists at the fore end of the ring.
A large number of personnel are staffed at the NCS Northern Star, paid directly by Nanotrasen or contracted externally, with various jobs they are expected to perform to the best of their ability. All crew, as well as residents and expected visitors, are logged in a public manifest file, to aid in organization. The inner level and the rest of the colony have separate manifests.
The NCS Northern Star offers two types of residencies, temporary and permanent. The temporary lodgings are popular to travelers and asteroid miners who work at other stations who are passing by and need a break. A room can be purchased for an individual or a group of people, with various prices depending on the quality of the room desired. Room assignment and management is almost completely automated by the colony's secondary AI, stored in the inner level. A person renting a room is charged for each day they rent the room.
Permanent residency is generally done deeper inside the inner level, and is also assisted by the secondary AI, but is not completely automated. As with the temporary lodgings, prices can vary based on room quality. Permanent residences are generally bigger and contain more rooms than temporary ones. There are two options for pricing. The first is a monthly fee, adjusted based on quality of the residence, and no further obligations exist. The second option is to be a crewperson aboard the NCS Northern Star, as they receive vast discounts or even free residency as long as they are employed. Employees of Nanotrasen who are not crewpersons also often receive various discounts as part of a loyalty program.
The NCS Northern Star is a destination for many people working in the Kara subsystem, or for people entering the Vir solar system. As such, many travel options exist. Many vessels and shuttles transport goods and people to and from the colony every day, while those preferring faster (if dangerous and expensive) travel can travel using the gateway to the system's spaceport in Sif orbit.