Colari is a large, inhabited planet in the Aire system, it orbits slightly further out than Cytania such that it orbits Aire only once every 4 Cytanian years. The climate is seasonal to an extent but heavy industrialisation and the presence of the rare material keramite in the planet’s crust distort it’s weather patterns significantly. Most of the landmass on Colari is taken up by a great continent containing two great societies. Although there are various islands and polar wastes containing a few tribesman, Colari society is dominated by the Nethiri and the Proximans.
The Great Continent
To the North West of the great continent lies Nethiri, the “City of Cats”, so called because of the Common Arbitration and Trade System that exists there, an economic and political structure built on the principals of extreme democracy and equality but corrupted beyond measure. Nethiri society branches out across the entirety of the great continent but 90% of the population is concentrated in the city, a huge megalopolis of some 1 billion people. The rest of the population live in small towns, farmsteads and villages spread far across the plain to the South and East and their primary function is to provide food and other agricultural products to the city. These products reach the city via a system of huge highways that branch out all the way from the city to coastal fishing ports.
Life in Nethiri society is dominated by a series of huge political and industrial organisations known as the Councils. The councils began with the inception of the CATS and were initially supposed to represent the industrial preferences of workers in diverse industries. Another system of neighbourhood councils represented their geopolitical preferences but these organisations were quickly subsumed into the structure of the industrial councils via decades of vicious power-broking. The current situation in the City of Cats, and any other settlement of any size, is that every council has its own land and nearly all residents work in the industry the council oversees. The political system is a vastly bureaucratic form of hyper democracy, where individuals cast hundreds of votes a week, spreading them among myriad decision-making options. People are allocated a certain number of votes based on the extent to which the central arbitration deems that they have a vested interest. Consequently an enormous amount of effort is expended by the councils in lobbying the highest overseers of the central arbitration, hugely powerful individuals who enjoy great status and wealth in a city where teeming millions starve under the boot heal. Because of the way in which votes are allocated, the councils invested very heavily in public health programs to promote population growth, more people means more votes and therefore greater influence over Nethiri society. The architecture of the city of cats is extremely varied and the councils never yield land to their competitors. It is not uncommon to see sprawling baroque style buildings butted up against 100 story skyscrapers, built while the fortunes of a neighbouring council were in the ascendency and they could not acquire the land to house their burgeoning populations. This situation has also led to the city of cats having an extensive ‘Undercity’, where much of the dangerous heavy industry, mining and sewerage work takes place. There are two notable exceptions to the councils strict boundaries, those are the council of conveyance and council of agriculture. The council of conveyance holds the responsibility for all transport on the great continent and consequently they are vastly rich as all other councils must pay them a tithe for use of their roads, railways and spacecraft. The council of agriculture receives a different kind of tithe; human beings. Long ago the population in the city was getting so out of control that famine was becoming extremely widespread, all of the agrarian industries were then amalgamated into one and supply routes extended out from the city like a web across the continent. There were not enough people to work the land, however, so the central arbitration insisted that each council pay a percentage of their residents in tithe to work the land thousands of miles from the city. As the city has grown the tradition has continued and a percentage of all births within council land must be given up for ‘adoption’ by the council of agriculture. These individuals grow up far from their native land and are encouraged through disinformation to remain as agrarian peasents for the remainder of their lives, but rumours filter through and many brave the hardships of the road, travelling the length and breadth of the continent to return to the City of Cats and seek their fortune among their home council. One of the most powerful councils in Nethiri society are the Taelers, who own a vast mine beneath the city which provides fuel for heating and transport via the dirty fossil fuel Tael. The average taeler worker is big, brawny, stupid, wealthy and lives an extremely short amount of time. The work is dangerous but lucrative and those that do not die in the sludgy underground labyrinth of Tael deposits, killed by a mudslide or seismic shift often die from diseases of the lungs. The leaders of this council are the heads of three very old families descending from the original days of the baronies, they live in large mecha-gothic towers on three borders of the mine, where the ground is hard enough to support them.
On a heavy spit of land to the east of the giant swamp that surrounds the city of cats lies the province of Proximo. Back when the councils first started fighting amongst each other and the dream of the CATS had begin to fall apart a group of prominent scientists and thinkers took their followers an departed the city to set up their own community. The journeyed far from the city and, crossing a great canyon came upon a lush and verdant plain, high above the great continent. In the shadow of a cliff they set up their city, soon discovering the secrets of the keramite (a light, malleable, strong and versatile type of metallic stone) deposits that lay beneath their new lands. Their science advanced quickly and they flourished, soon being able to inter the consciousness of leading scientists within great dreadnoughts made of keramite in order to do their building for them. Quickly they found that they were able to inter people in this way into roads, buildings, vehicles and machinery and have the consciousness “grow” the intended thing from blueprints and raw materials. Proximo in the current day is a beautiful city of towering spires, sweeping marble arches and broad leafy thoroughfares. Every single scrap of the city has dead proximans interred in it and the facades of the buildings flicker with their beautiful but maudlin artwork. It is a peaceful place, where the CATS system has flourished, but it is also a place of paranoia and sadness where old people are snatched from their beds to be interred and where the regret of the living dead is all around. Proximans are fearfully xenophobic and the dreadnoughts patrolling the borders kill any visitors on sight. There is a great university on top of the cliff that is the source of much of proximo’s wisdom, great politicians and innovation. The city’s power supply comes from a vast geothermal station built deep within the cliff.
The Central Arbitration are aware of the success of Proximo and the two cities are in contact at the highest levels only. The Proximans wish no visitors and the Nethiri leaders do not wish anyone to find out about the success of the splinter group, to this end assassins lurk on the far edges of the swamp, ensuring few every make it into the rending arms of the Proximan dreadnoughts.