Written by Emy.

Overview

Besides serving as a location where different species can gather in peace, Starlight Observation Station also functions as a perpetual lookout for both yet un-contacted life as well as potential students. The station is home to not only Manta Carlos staff on the watch for lost aliens liable to wander into Terran space but also various parties of both alien and Terran surveyors intent on discovering exactly why Earth harbors such a diverse amount of species and supernatural phenomena. Both groups are part of the Department of Anomalous Mysteries, often shortened to DAM. The former group is called the S-5 (Starlight Station Space Side Surveillance), which is responsible for locating and acclimating alien students to Terran culture before being sent to Manta Carlos , while the later is called the MaC-R.I.P (Manta Carlos Reconnaissance and Investigation Party), which is largely responsible for the discovery of Terrans who might be interested in attending Starlight Academy.

For the convenience of all residents and visitors, universal translation devices are easily obtained. In addition, all students are issued them upon registration, as the very nature of space tends to disrupt the standard translation spells in use at Starlight Academy.

The Station is easily accessed and traveled to through instant teleportation pads in Manta Carlos, the Academy, and safe locations throughout space, as tourism and smooth visits are welcomed and encouraged.

History

Located in a neutral sector of Orion's Belt, the station (formally named Starlight Observation Station) is a bright beacon of light that serves as a hub for all species of the Milky Way despite the area's long history of violence. It was the brainchild of a band of Manta Carlos alumnae called the Polaris Club and the product of the first officially recorded Terran kidnapping by aliens ever. During UFO craze of the 1950's, a space-faring Terran accidentally attracted the attention of a passing alien survey team and was abducted. Having already expected her to die during the voyage, the Earth-side scientists obliviously moved onto the next project. The Terran’s name was Laika, and her vessel was the Sputnik II. The abductors were Akchovians, a species of half-canine, half-humanoid beings who mistakenly believed her to be a goodwill ambassador from Earth. The misunderstanding was correct only when the Akchovians sent their own ambassador down to Earth, to the one place filled with such a variety of mysterious life signs that it could only be planetary capital. In 1961, the Akchovians made formal contact with the Manta Carlos government on behalf of both their home planet as well as the Confederation of Milky Way Species. Heading the Terran reception party was Prime Minister Cordelia Moor.

Starlight Station was established by a partnership between the Confederation of Milky Way Species and the Manta Carlos Department of Extraterrestrial Affairs in the 1970's. However, it faced numerous logistic and political obstacles during its construction phase, such as the 1979 Rhaggorian Revolt and the droughts on the mining planet of Grell in the 1980's. Due to violence from the revolt, construction was halted for several months when Rhaggorian rebels unexpectedly launched a small fleet into the sector and seized the uncompleted structure, killing many of the on-site engineers in the process.

When the news reached Manta Carlos, Moor immediately took charge of the response team, sending her spirits onto one of the vessels headed for the battle space. Within a couple of hours of their arrival, the spirits had completely recaptured the station while a furious battle was waged in the space all around them. The rebel captains eventually found themselves onscreen with two parties – a group of elementals vaguely resembling the minor Rhaggorian gods and a single woman who, to their surprise, casually gave orders to the very spirits of nature who had defeated their allies. In the middle of negotiations, a Rhaggorian priest declared this intimidating woman to surely be the reincarnation of their goddess of war, an ancient deity coincidentally named Mora who said to have been born from the fabric of space itself and mistress of four great generals who always accompanied her to war. Thereafter, all new images of the goddess were made in Moor’s image.

After the rebels surrendered, the Confederation quickly reclaimed the station. At the same time that the construction resumed, however, a virus spread throughout the planet of Grell, destroying crops right as the dry season rolled in. And stayed. And stayed. As one of the most mineral rich planets of the Confederation, the impact of Grell's economic failures caused work on Starlight Observation Station to abruptly grind to a halt as other species dedicated their efforts to stabilize one of their most valuable but dangerous planets. It was only through the efforts of Moor and Manta Carlos alumnae (some of whom were aliens themselves in relatively high positions back on their home planets) that the project was not all together called off.

In 1997, the Confederation successfully recruited the planet of Glendin, the home of a highly advanced race who had long been courted for membership. Finally won over by the prospect of observing Manta Carlos’s unique attraction of all sorts of beings from across time and space, the Glendines turned over their technology to the station engineers. Work on the station resumed with a higher level of efficiency than ever seen before and though the original plans for the station consisted solely of a large, singular orb, the Glendine engineers were able to convince the original architects to expand upon their designs. The simplistic station became merely a sector of the finished product.

At long last, in 2016, Starlight Station had been completed. By August of the same year, it was ready for its first wave of residents, visitors, and students.

Structure

The entirety of Starlight Observation Station consists of six large staggered rings, arranged in such a way that the structure resembles an opened parasol. Nigh indestructible due to Glendine technology, it also hosts a large array of weapons capable of slicing entire ships apart from top to bottom as well as automatic force-field shields designed to withstand nuclear warheads. Though much of the station appears to be made of common Terran metals, the substance is actually a hundred times harder than diamond. Because of how dark space actually is, there are few real windows to be found on the structure. Instead, there are large holographic projections cast onto the station's walls, showing residents enhanced live feeds of the celestial bodies outside.

Each one of the station's rings is divided into four partitions of equal size. These partitions are in turn divided into a greater amount of districts, with the exact number varying from ring to ring. The east partitions are home to the station's business districts while the west partitions house the school districts which are affectionately nicknamed Satellite Academy. The remaining two partitions are residential. However, while these partitions represent where one is most likely to find their most identified with feature, it is still possible albeit to find frequently find some overlap in each. Though the upper levels of the station are considered to be prime real estate for the wealthy with larger residences and far more space, the lower levels are known to be a cultural wonder containing various types of entertainment and restaurants from all around the galaxy. Embassies are normally found on the higher level business partitions and each district of every partition has its own police force and judges. Teleportation pads are available to travel between districts or levels.

The tower in the middle of the station is divided into two parts, with the cutoff being at around the third to fourth ring. The upper section serves as a dock for all inbound and outbound vessels. The customs office is located here, as well as the Office of Interplanetary Teleportation. At the OIT, a number of teleportation pads have been arranged to let various affiliated species travel in and out at their leisure. Those who have come to sell goods, however, must report to customs alongside the typical freight crews. The docks also contain a number of warehouses and special housing normally rented out as temporary residences for crews stuck in transit. Students and staff registered at Starlight Academy or Starlight Observation Station have access to more convenient teleportation pads located in the academic districts and need not come.

The lower section of the tower is the site of the waste management plants. Here, matter is recycled, re-purposed, or outright incinerated depending on their properties. Access is strictly by anybody besides maintenance crews and the station administration.

Leading out of the docks is a short but fat inclined corridor containing the elevators traveling to different parts of the station above. For the sake of those carrying especially molecularly complex or dangerous substances, there are no teleportation pads in this part of the station. The elevators leave multiple times each hour for each partition of the station, and there are multiple elevators traveling back and forth to each. Commute times are short but may be unpleasant to those who are easily motion sick.

At the very top of the station, is a large sphere-shaped object called the Corona which is the entertainment center of the entire station. Though the rings themselves also contain many recreation centers, the Solstice is essentially the Disneyworld of space, filled with restaurants and shops and all sorts of entertainment and businesses in one fantastic place. This is where pleasure-seekers of all kinds run free and the location of many meetings between various cooperate moguls.

Altogether, the station is capable of housing a population of three to four million. It is fully self-sufficient and runs off of solar power.

Administration

The administration of Starlight Observation Station is delegated among a number of officials on all levels. Each partition of the station has a mayor, and each ring has a governor. The docks are directly controlled by the central government with the help of authorities stationed there. Like Manta Carlos, the station has a cabinet headed by a prime minister. The head executive of the station, however, is referred to as a chancellor though the rest of the station’s government is largely based off of the island’s. The administrative body also contains various departments in charge of areas such as internal affairs, all of which are headed by a minister.

The current chancellor is the Sulvriss Altaris ca'Menron.

Economy

The official currency of Starlight Observation Station is the Manta Credit, which has a 1:1 conversation rate with the Manta Carlos Dollar. Though many places will also accept Manta Carlos Dollars, the Manta Credit is often seen as being more convenient as it can be stored in chips and used to pay digitally for goods. Because the station itself produces little export, its economy is based mainly on tourism, of which it receives a good amount of due to sheer novelty, and strict tax laws. Though technically not part of the Confederation of Milky Way Species, as a political entity Starlight Observation Station tends to assume a little brother role and for now receives much trade protection as well as a financial safety net.

In order to decrease as many imports as possible, Starlight Observation Station does contain several agriculture projects which feed roughly 15% of the population. A greater number of food is produced in a lab and speed grown, though it is remarked that these items are less flavorful than normal. There is little animal husbandry on the station due to ethnic issues with several more animalistic species, but the practice is not illegal, merely closely and periodically inspected for any transgressions. Most meat on the station is vat grown. Besides this, the station also imports as much as thirty percent of its food from other planets.

As the station is still a new entity, it faces a shortage of labor across all fields. Even students can easily find part-time jobs for decent pay.

Currently, major money-making enterprises on the station include freighting and asteroid salvaging companies. The largest and most successful of them all, however, is the government-sponsored Triple Crown Tours, which specializes in luxury tours to the nearby stars of Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. These tours are akin to cruises and come in spans of five days orbiting a single star to three months visiting all parts of Orion's belt. The wealthy can rent out their own private ships with pre-trained crews. Offered services include a truly epic Viking funeral into any of these three stars for deceased loved ones as well as one-shot miniature rockets to shoot wishes or other small, non-explosive objects into a giant blazing ball of fire in the sky. All tour vessels are equipped with state of the art weapons and defense systems in case of attack.

Academics

The academic facilities of the Starlight Observation Station are considered a branch of Starlight Academy. They welcome students of all species to learn. Though the Satellite specializes in alien cultures, it also has a large amount of focus on medicine and the sciences. Those who choose to pursue the sciences will often have access to special anti-gravity rooms for the sake of research. Though these exist outside of the academic districts, they are primarily owned by research companies. In addition, the anti-gravity facilities might also serve as classrooms for those with certain types of powers which might benefit from that sort of environment.

Satellite Academy, as it is commonly known, offers both programs for incoming aliens (focusing on earth culture, language, and communications) and study abroad programs for those native to earth. Earth students are primarily of the college level and higher, and those who have not yet reached high school require special permission. Alien students are strongly encouraged to take at least one year of culture courses before transferring to Starlight Academy, but this is not mandatory.

Students who primarily reside on Starlight Observation Station are issued uniform that different from those in Manta Carlos. They are entirely designed to be functional in space, providing both modesty and special fabrics to prevent foreign disease or uncleanliness. Just as on Manta Carlos, college students are not required to wear the uniform. If they do, then there is no patch.

Included with all issued uniforms are universal translators, which come in a variety of designs in order to function as accessories. The most standard version comes as part of a belt, but they can also be found as necklaces, earrings, and more.

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