• Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

The GDW's Obsession with Space Habitation

Ray of Meep

Wiki Moderator
It is implied in the setting thus far that an overwhelming amount of humans live planetside, with skeleton crews operating on research stations, mining facilities, or in transit between celestial bodies on spacecraft (though spacecraft might as well be small homes in of themselves, a conversation for a different thread). There are a few exceptions. One are the Daqinese, whose bio-modifications and the hostile native life on Pingqiong's habitable planet, along with highly advanced virtual reality, allow them to stay on space stations without much negative mental effects. Another is the Magnetic Assembly, who are much more computer than human, living beings who've made an effort to shed as much of their organic bodies as possible in exchange for much more resilient technological ones, thus lowering the barrier to space habitation.

But then there's the GDW, a seemingly typical human superstate, made of normal people with normal ideals, diverse, but united in their common adherence to democracy, the greater good, a blend of socialism and capitalism for their economy, and strong industry. Unlike the other typical human superstates, the GDW has a large minority of their population living on space stations: a whopping 33%, give or take, enough for them to put a rotating space habitat on their flag, not only as a symbol of their mega-engineering capabilities, but also respect for this group. So why the discrepancy with other humans, barring any major modifications to the human body?

As the author of the GDW, I lean towards environmental determinism, the idea that geography plays a crucial role in the shape of a society, and the Commonwealth has one unique piece of geography that other superstates lack: the Silbern system, an incredibly resource rich system with no habitable planet. Normally, space mining can be largely automated with relatively small and cheap human crews making sure everything is in working order. However, an empty system with little human colonization from a sovereign nation attracts ambiguity in ownership. In the 22nd century, the GDW would be facing strong competition from the AU, the PRC, and the Soyuz, all at full strength.

Thus, the Commonwealth would've had to aggressively colonize the system to retain legitimate ownership. Constructing large habitat stations and the infrastructure to maintain them was only part of the solution; they also needed people. Forced emigration off of Earth was politically unjustifiable, unlike the PRC which was happy to force its civilians to emigrate to the Shen Zhou and Li Ming systems. In the 22nd century, the GDW would've paid exorbitant amounts of money for people to get highly technical education, then further incentivizing them to build families on space habitats in the Silbern system, primarily Magnuski Station at first. These great expenses were covered by vast mining efforts in Sol's asteroid belt and fusion fuel siphoning above the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune. In situ resource gathering in the Silbern system would've decreased the cost of construction.

The expectation from the Commonwealth leadership was that such a massive investment would've paid out in the long run, which it did, economically. The Silbern system has massive deposits of Wofleonium and other strategic metals. Its habitats are completely independent and can grow on their own. The efforts here also lead to cheaper and more efficient space habitation methods back in Sol, allowing the GDW's spaceborne population to grow considerable across its territory.

This all is just a political and economic overview. But what would be the cultural implications of such a drastic effort? What are the consequences we may not be seeing?


Staff member
Wiki Moderator
Cultural stuff might be a good place to start when it comes to the Magnetic Assembly .

They didn't choose to live there, they were all born into it originally on Yelton Veda. Cramped accommodations, radiation storms, space, etc are all something that they have grown up with and living on a planet is the 'weird thing'.

This has expressed itself as them being far more willing to change themselves to suit their environment, further reliance and comfort with automation, and a strong willingness to question how things are being done. After all if someone is doing something wrong when you're on a space station then you're a danger to everyone. Just being wrong on a planet doesn't carry the risk of venting atmosphere. It also means there is a stronger culture around education since the complexities of living in space just don't allow you to have dangerous idiots.

I would also think with the ability to just have more living space anywhere you want you would also see less of a relationship with the land you live on. Why would you have a deep connection to your childhood home when you could get one that is exactly the same in some other space station? There isn't even really a proximity issue to worry about since you can always cluster more space stations together.


I'm not super sure what the European relationship is with their land, but I think culturally that relationship will degrade with space being a thing

Ray of Meep

Wiki Moderator
By design, the heavy investments into space colonization is meant to foster a society willing to defend its own home, therefore cementing political legitimacy to the Commonwealth's stake in the Silbern system. I agree with the third paragraph, to some extent. A space station is its own closed ecosystem like Earth, except far more fragile, mistakes out of incompetency and selfishness more readily apparent. Especially in the early ages of space colonization, there would be a heavy emphasis on education and promotion of a meritocracy, borderline totalitarian, democracy be damned. A space colony in this era would be more akin to a military body, except with indoctrination from a very young age. This would've been a side effect of space colonization: a rift in cultural within the GDW, one they'd attempt to keep small via diplomacy and concessions.

However, as colonies continue to grow larger, advanced automation and redundant systems becoming more prevalent, stations easier to repair and maintain, the need for a strict militaristic culture wanes, and the people of the station start to resemble their planet-borne counterparts more, but of course not entirely. More liberal in consumption, a bit more carefree, less concern for their immediate safety and resource needs. Education in technical fields will be emphasized less, with artistic and leisure professions becoming more commonplace.

But this is where divisions can form as well. Magnuski Station, a space station buried into a dwarf planet, housing millions of people, will have a very different culture compared to Fabron Station, a primarily industrial and educational hub home to only a few thousand, and even more different than some rock hopper, mobile station with only a few hundred souls on board. The degree to which gravity is present, the severity of the Coriolis effect, serve as sliders that determine how militaristic, totalitarian, ablest a space station's culture is. Perhaps the only unifying factor between space station societies is the all important emphasis on technical education, which would still be dominant even on Magnuski Station.

I disagree with the fourth paragraph. Especially with smaller space stations, a person would be rooted on the metal they stand on and the precious atmosphere they breath. From a very young age, a person would be taught extensively on how to care for the air filters and carbon scrubbers, how to limit their rations and measure their water use very carefully. The station they would spent their entire childhood and adolescent life caring for would be part of their own body. Just as a farmer would be willing to take up arms to defend the lands that grow crops to keep them fed, a spaceborne would ferociously defend the metal can that keeps their air breathable and deadly vacuum and radiation out. Furthermore, travel between space stations would still be a relatively expensive affair, a space to live in one even more so. It's not so easy to simply pack up and leave to another space station without heavy investment.