Etamui: Space Stations

The space stations of the Etamui are enormous, able to fit up to a million people comfortably, and with life-support systems to sustain double that for a limited period of time. In shape, they resemble a pyramid of donuts, with a flattened cylinder in the center and on top of the pyramid. Top, of course, being relative – the base of the cylinder is parallel to its orbit around Etamu. The central cylinder does not rotate, while the others do, providing the gravity that allows their inhabitants to live in comfort. The outermost ring, with a radius of 2 km, rotates at a speed of 140 m/s, which leads to approximately 40 rotations an hour; the inner rings move slightly slower to maintain the same level of gravity.

The innermost two rings are the Production ring and the Facilities ring, where the ProdOps live. Production, the ring closest to the central column, handles the fabrication of the vast majority of supplies necessary to keep the station running, while Facilities, the second ring, is responsible for the upkeep of the station itself. Though the largest fabricators, big enough to print the massive pieces of metal that make up the rings themselves, are located in the central column, Production contains numerous smaller printers and mills of various sorts. It also holds most of the farms where the bulk of the food is grown, though Facilities contains the smaller farms and hydroponics units that produce more specialized food.

Glitches tend to live in these two rings, primarily concentrated around the warehouses of Facilities. At any given time, large portions of the Facilities ring hold supplies that are packed away in case of emergencies, supplies which are often touched no more than once a decade. These complexes of storage units provide an excellent place for Glitches to hide out.

The third ring is the Research and Development ring, where the SciDevs live. Along with housing for its residents, this ring contains numerous labs where the SciDevs conduct their research. The primary hospitals of the station are located here, as are the facilities where the vast majority of the artificial births are incubated. Fabricators for specific items, like the components that go into most bio-mods, are located here.

All living quarters, no matter the ring, are divided into village-like structures similar to the kampungs in modern Indonesia. Each one contains a primary school, a small medical facility, and a store for nutrients and fabrication supplies. Every pod can, in an emergency, be sealed off from the rest of the structure via airlocks and remain self-sufficient for up to a month.

Each ring can, when necessary, connect to the central column via long arms, though these are usually retracted. Once a year, however, they reconnect, so the central column’s massive engines can restore the slight loss of rotational momentum that the rings experience as they revolve through space. This is also how their rotation was started in the first place – once the central cylinder had produced sufficient components to build the shell of a ring, it connected to the stationary ring and slowly pushed it to the right speed.

The rings can also connect to each other via flexible plastic tubes that can withstand the difference in momentum between the rings for the duration needed for someone to pass from one to another. However, because of that difference in rotational velocities, the tubes do not remain connected when not in use. Someone who wants to pass from one to another must wait until the airlocks on both rings are lined up. Such transit is rather disorienting, as the tube stretches beneath the traveler’s feet and gravity does not remain entirely constant in one direction.

Transportation around the rings is provided by a fleet of small shuttles that run on electromagnetic rails around the outside of each ring. The lack of friction allows them to obtain a high rate of velocity, traversing the circumference of the rings in a matter of minutes. For the comfort of passengers, they max out at 200 km/h, though they could easily go faster.

Written by: Emily Randall