Jupiter in "Vortex"

Jupiter information for Gene D.’s “Vortex” space opera campaign, as of autumn 2012/“spring 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era”

Planetary profile: Jupiter (Sol 5)
Jupiter is the largest planet in the Sol system, and its crushing gravity, huge storms, and spiky radiation make it unfit for human colonization in the late 22nd century. However, that hasn’t discouraged Terrans from venturing to the outer system for resources and take in the spectacular vistas.

Dozens of natural and artificial satellites orbit the gas giant. The four Galilean moons are the largest and have significant human — and “Synth” — populations. About 40 million colonists live in the Jovian system, which may seem like a lot of people by early-21st century standards, but they’re spread across a wide area and are dwarfed by Earth’s nearly 19 billion residents.

Jovians are proud of their frontier status and independent spirit, although the necessities of living mostly in orbital habitats have made them more community-oriented than one might expect. At the time of " Vortex ," it takes Terran vessels months to travel from the inner system to Jupiter. Long-range, real-time communications are difficult because of radiation belts.

Jovians tend to stick together. They view Venusians as greedy and unsophisticated, Terrans as overcrowded and imperialistic, and L-5/Lunar citizens as elitists. On the other hand, most Jovians view Martians, Belters, and Saturnians as kindred spirits, even if they think of themselves as the first among equals in the outer system.

For science fiction inspiration, I recommend Isaac Asimov’s early novels, the movie Outland, and the RPG Jovian Chronicles, among others.

Io is the closest large moon to Jupiter, and it looks like a bubbling pizza from space because of volcanic activity from tidal action. Because of the geological instability and radiation, there are only relatively small mining operations such as Maui 2 and New Thera, mostly staffed by robots and Artificial Intelligences.

Europa is covered by thick ice plates, beneath which are the only other water oceans in the Sol system besides Earth’s. They support life — both native and colonist — and are mostly tended by Delphines (“Uplifted” cetaceans). Its cities, buried in the ice, are Port Reagan and Manta.

Ganymede is the largest moon in the system and has several cities, including Alphane, Clarke, and New Havana. The “Floating Cove” caters to Belters and pirates on Ganymede. Callisto, the outermost Galilean moon, is another icy rockball. New Yokohama is its major spaceport.

In addition to several smaller moons are the Trojan and Achaean asteroids, which orbit the sun ahead and behind of Jupiter. The Trojan League includes some of the oldest colonies in the Jovian system, but they’ve been eclipsed in population by orbital habitats, some of which consist of hollowed-out asteroids set to spin with a counterbalancing mass.

Orbital habitats:
Unlike the older torus habitats around Venus, Earth, and Mars, most orbital cities around Jupiter and Saturn tend to be O’Neill cylinders. Not surprisingly, Olympus the largest of these habitats, with numerous nanofabs and shielded residence levels.

Elysium includes the Medici Parliament complex (see below), the Crimson Cloud Hospital, and the Thunderhead Resort. Cassini University is the most reputable educational institution in the area.

Other orbital cities include Aesgard, Almathea, Comloc, and Valhalla. Tourists can visit these via Ring Cruise Lines, which runs the “Jupiter Express” and “Saturn Slow Cruises” from Callisto.

Business: With plentiful natural resources, Jovian industry and high technology have helped its colonies prosper far from the sun’s warming rays. All of the Sol system’s major megacorporations have a presence in the Jovian system, including the following:

  • Interfaze Entertainments
  • Luxory Relations Management
  • Multiservice Organization
  • NeoWorld Incorporated
  • Oligat Creation Synthesis
  • Oromax Mining Corporation
  • Panmedia Communications
  • Transactions Unlimited
  • Transglobe Information Company
  • Transport Conglomerates

Smaller organizations that are still influential include Walker Industries, Vimeco, Black Box Security Co., and Mars Soup Aid Lenders Ltd. Still, the locals pride themselves on their self-reliance. After First Contact, Jovians gave a warm reception to representatives of galactic trade guilds.

Government: The Agora, the legislature of the Jovian Commonwealth, has its seat at the Medici Parliament complex in Elysium. Commonly spoken languages include English, French, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin, and Russian. The current prime minister is Madeline Kusarova of the NeoJunta Party.

The Jovian Commonwealth is mostly independent from the Union of Solar Nations (formerly the United Earth Authority). Thanks in part to its mecha, the Jovian Defense Force (J.D.F.) successfully fended off Terran attacks during the Second Interplanetary War. The commonwealth does have representatives in the U.S.N. Council.

Noteworthy Jovian military units include the Laughing Gauls, the Angry Nomads, and the Bolts of Heaven. J.D.F. uniforms are typically black with a distinctive orange stripe running down the sleeve and pant leg. U.S.N. uniforms/space suits are camouflage green or dark blue, and Martian and Belter militias wear red.

The Jovian Vigilance Service maintains internal security. Some Terrans claim (with some justification) that A.I.s not only assist in running local services but actually rule over non-“Synths.” However, the colonies’ decentralized nature and libertarian ideology prevent any one party from dominating.

The marshals of the Interplanetary Patrol try to maintain order on the frontier, but smuggling and piracy are rampant. The U.S.N. Navy maintains observation posts at Port Edillon and Shadow Point. The U.S.V. Gen. George S. Patton battle group, commanded by Adm. Daoud Mirzov, also keeps watch on the J.D.F. and potential threats to the homeworld and outer system.

The chaplains of the United Ecumenical Movement have recently increased their presence in the outer system, supplementing the Green Star (similar to the Red Cross) and studying emergent Kizen (psionics).

Beyond the law: To Terrans, Jovians are reputed to be promiscuous, but they in fact value their privacy, especially because of the insular nature of many small colonies.

The Synth Liberation Front continues to fight for greater rights for “near-humans,” but given the influence of A.I.s and robots in Jovian society, bioengineered and mechanical beings here are better off than in much of the inner Sol system. The “Barbed Ring” in Elysium shows demonstrates that not everyone is so enlightened, however.

The Orange Sashes are a small group of ecoterrorists who believe that less-advanced native lifeforms and gas giant-dwelling extraterrestrials have more right to live around Jupiter than humans. They are sometimes aligned with the S.L.F.

Jupiter Timeline

  • circa 2000 B.C.E. or -4200 Terran Galactic Era: Ru’ulok and Olvar, among other extraterrestrial species, visit the Sol system. (See also the " Vanished Lands .") Ancient Egypt flourishes.
  • c. 600 B.C.E.: Romans name the largest planet after their chief deity (derived from the Greek Zeus).
  • 1610 A.D./C.E.: Galileo Galilei observes the four largest moons of Jupiter.
  • c. 1660: Giovanni Cassini estimates Jupiter’s rotation period.
  • 1831: Heinrich Schwabe records Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
  • 1950: The so-called Golden Age of science fiction.
  • 1969 A.D./C.E. or -226 T.G.E.: Apollo 11 — first men on Earth’s Moon.
  • 1970s: Pioneer and Voyager probes (U.S.).
  • c. 1982 A.D./C.E.: Carlo R., Gene D., et al. write “The Zarkonian Bomb.”
  • c. -100 T.G.E.: Emigrants from China begin settling on Mars, just as people from Oceania and Southeast Asia colonize Earth’s oceans. Wealthy Europeans, North Americans, Indians, and East Asians colonize Lagrange orbital points and the Moon in response to pollution and population pressures. The United Earth Authority is founded in Rio de Janeiro.
  • -85 T.G.E.: First Interplanetary War: The Lunar Free State and some orbital habitats rebel against Terran colonial powers, becoming quasi-independent corporate states.
  • -75 T.G.E.: Ecoterrorists disrupt research undersea and on Mars as terraforming begins. The U.E.A. charters the Interplanetary Patrol.
  • -50 T.G.E.: Synths gain limited rights on Mars after several rounds of civil unrest. The Trojan League is founded around Jupiter.
  • -30 T.G.E.: Second Interplanetary War: The Mars Confederacy and Jovian Commonwealth rebel against megacorps and gain a seat on the U.E.A. Council. Colonies grow around Venus, the Asteroid Belt, and Jupiter.
  • -20 T.G.E.: Jason Delmar is born near the North Eastern American Megalopolis [“Vortex” Party 1]. Terrans build first orbital elevators from Earth and Mars. “Jasmine” is born in Mars orbit.
  • -c. 10 T.G.E.: The United Ecumenical Movement is founded in reaction to slaughter in the Holy Land and archaeological discoveries.
  • -5 T.C.G.: The latest insurgencies end on Mars (tours of duty of “Hector,” “Chris,” and “Kevin”).
  • -1 T.G.E.: “Collateral Damage Inc.” begins missions from its Newark base (“Vortex” Team 3, Virginia, fall 1996).
  • c. 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 T.G.E.: Open and official First Contact between galactic societies and the Sol system. The crews of the Blackbird and Appomattox begin their travels.
    • December: Ru’ulok expand trade deals with Terrans as tensions escalate in South Asia. The United Earth Authority renames itself the Union of Solar Nations and expands operations in the Asteroid Belt with advisors from the Kharvamid Alliance.
  • c. 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:
    • January: Jason Delmar trains aboard the Stella Sagitta.
    • February: The crew of the Gryphon makes its shakedown cruise from New Gdansk to the Mars Confederacy, then to Jupiter.


Jupiter in "Vortex"

Vortex GeneD5