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Background Information

The Weightless – A Controversial Culture


The
Weightless


Originally a derogatory name given to genetically altered people who refused to have their DNA re-altered to its original—human—state. However, the name is no longer considered derogatory.


The Weightless are a subculture of people living mostly in the Outer Rim planets, moons, asteroids—wherever gravity isn’t found naturally. They live in almost complete weightlessness; their skin is characteristically ashen and their form disproportional.

They thrive in environments normally inhospitable to long-term human survival, being resistant to higher doses of radiation, poorly maintained air quality, and of course, low/no gravity. Many other less-prominent characteristics also embody the term.


They have existed for two and a half centuries. When the human race first migrated out into Terra Solaris, it quickly became apparent that man’s fragility was a hindrance. This led to genetically altering human DNA. Their adaptability to thrive in places normally hostile to normal humans actually spawned tremendous population growth in settlements scattered throughout the Solar System. Soon, most of the low-gravity settlements’ populations became Weightless.


However, along came Jonathan Gillen and his invention of artificial gravitational field generators. Seeking his fortune, the former Weightless secured the rights and permissions to install his inventions on Mid-Earth Station—despite protests by the Weightless there. The success of his project caused a newfound interest in living in space among normal humans, and space-bound humans from Earth flooded the station. 


With the attitudes and politics of the day prevailing against the Weightless, (not to mention Jonathan Gillen inventing device after device in an attempt to counteract the dominant traits of his former people), entire Weightless neighborhoods on the space station were displaced to make room for the new arrivals. Economic conditions turned against them too, so much so that even many Weightless voluntarily succumbed to genetic re-alteration just to survive.


However, many Weightless—having been so for many generations—refused to yield to re-alteration. They became very much the minority, and the continued migration of non-Weightless into Mid-Earth Station eventually pushed the Weightless off the station completely.


As the Weightless settled farther out into the solar system, popularity for Jonathan Gillen’s inventions followed them, pushing them into the Outer Rim, which was still developing and growing at that time.


Bitter from their treatment by the normal humans (who sometimes persecuted them because they grew increasingly different from the rest of the population), the Weightless gathered themselves, creating a resilient and overtly unique culture of people.


Their ability to survive the harsh conditions of space made them more than suitable for the growing Outer Rim territories. They became the builders of those settlements (even those built for unaltered humans), amassing tremendous wealth, which they kept for themselves.


Despite their fortunes and contributions to the Outer Rim, the Weightless are still considered outsiders among almost every culture in Terrae Solaris to this day.




The Gillens - An Infamous and Controversial Family


The Late Jonathan Gillen


Famous inventor of the gravitational field generator (and many other inventions) that changed Terrae Solaris forever.


Born a Weightless, he grew up on Mid-Earth Station—the only Weightless settlement in Earth States. He spent his young life gazing out onto the marble-like sphere of Earth—a planet inhospitable to someone of his genetic makeup—and listening to gravity-bound visitors from Earth recount stories of living on the oasis-like planet.


As a young adult, Jonathan Gillen rejected his heritage as a Weightless and sought to make living in space as comfortable and pleasing as the stories he had heard about Earth. After much difficulty, his first invention became reality: a generator that produced a cost-effective gravitational field.


From that point on—and due to many other factors surrounding the tumultuous times in which he lived—history became a little fuzzy.


Somehow, Jonathan Gillen—now having undergone genetic re-alteration—managed to gain the rights to test his generators on a small sector of Mid-Earth Station. Upon seeing Gillen’s success, the governor of Mid-Earth Station (a normal human) called for more parts of the station to be converted over to gravity-friendly resorts and tourism areas. However, it didn’t stop there, and controversy followed the growing demand for Gillen's inventions.  


Within a short time, Jonathan Gillen—an effective pitch man and a strong advocate of transforming the entire solar system—had amassed a fortune from his inventions. He and the extended Gillen family that benefited from his genius quickly became influential in the politics of the day, despite only a few of the Gillens ever making politics as their career.


However, chaos reigned in those tumultuous times, and the Gillens’ notoriety eventually caught up with them. Many blamed the family for the problems tearing Terrae Solaris apart—particularly the Weightless, who now saw themselves as outcast among the planets.




Politics of the Day


The Inner Rim


The Inner Rim consists of all territory from the sun to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, comprising all human settlements on Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, the moons around those planets, and some of the more prominent asteroids in the asteroid belt.


The Inner Rim is (obviously) older and more developed technologically, economically, and socially. Mars (known as the Mars Federation with an eastern and western republic), in particular, held strong influence in the prior two centuries. However, Earth (known as Earth States and comprises Earth, all settlements on the moon—where its capital resides, and all space stations there), has rebounded in prominence in recent generations, while Mars dabbles with socialism.



The Outer Rim


The Outer Rim consists of all territory from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and outward: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Settlements exists on the moons surrounding those planets, on Pluto and other dwarf planets, and some of the more prominent asteroids in the asteroid belt.



The Outer Rim is a hotbed of economic and political turmoil. Life is difficult in this developing arena, and regional interests tends to keep whole planetary systems in chaos. Ambitious leaders on some of these moons have spawned nationalistic fever.

Of particular interest is Europa and Ganymede, which was at the center of the first solar war, called the Ceres Skirmishes.



The Ceres Skirmishes


The Europans and Ganymedes, in an attempt to gain valuable mining resources, annexed Ceres, the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt. They quickly drove out the Mars Federation, not counting that the rest of the Inner Rim planets would rise to the Federation’s defense. Ceres was reclaimed. The EuroGans (as they were called) were disarmed, split into various territories, and forced to pay reparations. The Mars Federation was placed in charge of enforcing the governing treaty, called the Pallas Treaty.


But the peace did not last long. The treaty failed to implement a solid economic plan for the deposed planets. Their economies collapsed, demoralization set in among the people, and civil wars broke out. This gave rise to a handful of opportunists who fanned the flames of nationalistic fervor, calling for reunification.

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