One sun; hundreds and hundreds of worlds. Dozens of planets with breathable air within easy reach by ship. More life and wonder than in any ten other star systems combined. If you get bored in Eden, it’s your own fault. —Marla Katz, traveling poet, part-time hacker and interplanetary tourist extraordinaire.
A solar system filled with remarkable beauty, ancient mysteries and hundreds of worlds’ worth of adventure.
The main setting of the Pearls of Eden is the Eden star system. It is a star system containing an incredible number of planets, a large number of them habitable. Humans inhabit the Eden system, having colonized all of the habitable ones and many more. Eden is largely a place of peace, but behind the beautiful façade lurks vast political conspiracies, the remnants of an alien civilization long gone and the mysterious origins of the Eden system itself. And in the darkness of space, ancient and powerful entities watch and wait, bearers of secrets as large as the universe itself.
Eden is divided into six main “rings” or “zones”.
“Where the work is hard and the living is rough, hey ho, hey ho; the children of Flint are born to be tough, hey ho, hey ho…”—Worker’s chant, Treos foundries. This is where most of Eden's stuff gets made. The Flint is Eden’s industrial ring, where valuable metals are mined and entire planets are covered with factories, some with huge orbital arrays collecting energy from the sun. Most of the planets here are too hot for human comfort, and those that are not are seldom inviting. Almost all the people living there are workers, and they are usually not afraid of admitting it, sometimes loudly. If there is a cesspit of discontent in Eden, you’ll find it in the Flint.
Humans in the flint live in specially constructed habitats: half-orbiting stations, ground based stations and domes, and underground bases. Even the most densely populated worlds host at most a few million people.
Some notable planets:
Etna, Vedner, Glustag, Grundal, Treos, Mayax, Tungsten, Hardanger
Hot as hell; discontented miners; a world of jobs and workers; industrial city world.
“Here we live, here we prosper; here are humanity’s best.” —Vebel Chilla, spokesperson of the Unionites of Takala
The Locks is in many ways Eden’s main sector. All of the most influential organizations are based here, among the planets friendliest to human habitation. All of the planets in the Locks have breathable atmospheres and temperatures in the livable range. This is where the terraforming guild has been most active in shaping the planets, simply because this is and was the area most suitable to be terraformed. Nearly all worlds in the Locks are prosperous and they represent Eden’s high, diverse culture. If there is one thing that most cultures in the Locks have in common, it is that they are products of abundance: abundance of wealth, resources, land and, also, ideas.
Some planets in the Locks are densely populated, but most only host a few billion people.
Some notable planets:
Ern, Farencast, Salem (Chadash), Paris, Enkarysto, Karst, Edna, Tellul, Ifalan, Verona, Kemeleu, Takala, Felagr, Carpeia, Kalysta, Eldrean, Haba Tateia, Memoriam, Vesmium, Kemeleu, Ozean, Tak Nippur, Guekedegou
Bountiful, culturally diverse, artistically minded populace, beautiful and naïve, tourist destination.
“We might not be as rich as those Goldies, but we’ve got all the charm and humility they lack.” —Pjotr Emblem, Marshal of Glesnin Valley, Darkstone.
The Subs has got more than twice as many planets as the Locks, but less than half the populace. In one sense, it’s a frontier, where new human settlements crop up at fairly regular intervals. It is also, however, a place where humans have to make significant use of technology in order to breathe, grow food, have access to water, not freeze to death and not die of radiation exposure, and this makes the Subs a profoundly different place. Settlements in the Subs are usually domed cities and communities. If the settlement is small or very new, it might just consist of a few sealed buildings linked together. Some planets even have underground settlements, where heat from the core provides energy, like on Vilnatz where a huge natural network of caves have been colonized. The people of the Subs think of themselves as the sharper, tougher, and more quick witted cousins of the Goldies, as they call people from the Locks: they all know that living in the locks is easier, but they all choose the charm of the Subs anyway. Or at least, that is the popular myth.
The most densely populated worlds in the Subs are host to a little more than a billion people. Most have much fewer.
Some notable planets:
Vilnatz, Vollentz, Haren-tok, Makian-dash, Seram, Rhobandom, Thunder Red, Velkul, Vegas Unlimited, Darkstone, Caprosum, Bellester, Yakutsk, Sophia Maximus, Sinai, Eritrea
Not as soft as the Goldies; recent settlement; not so rich, but free; the outside kills you quick.
“Here in the Roids we make our own rules. You don’t have to play by them, but if you don't you are likely to die by them.” —Pear Fitzgerald, patron of Firehold Station.
The belt is a weird place. Although there is no official interplanetary government in Eden, most of the planets subscribe to a sort of implicit political code which ensures peace and stability. Trade and interplanetary travel are regulated by common and universally accepted laws that date back to the Colony Years and the Trueport Era (about 800 years ago). In the belt, things are… different. Here, the local sectors of space are ruled by the clan, gang, or society that controls it, and this can change rapidly. In the Belt, a large number of these are caught in a constant struggle for dominance and power, and in fact, the Belt the only place in Eden where armed conflict is commonplace. The organizations of the Belt are widely diverse, ranging from Mafia -like crime families (The Peltezio Family) and anarchist space-pirates (Kahir’s Band of the Weeping Sun and Salar the Silent’s Bardendrakkar) all the way to occasionally violent Buddhist sects (Monks of Void and Star). In order to cross the belt, you’ll need to broker a deal with one of them. The only officially, and reliably, neutral place in the belt is Rivendell Station (“the last homely house”) where Maggie the Immortal runs her infamous establishment and strict nonviolence rules are enforced.
Humans in the belt live on stations, both free-floating and moored to asteroids, as well as small domed cities on asteroids, and even some inside hollowed out asteroids or in cave networks. Populations on these usually number in the thousands or hundreds, or less.
Some notable locations:
Rivendell, Fort Drakkengard, La Bella Casa, Blue Dwarf Station, Temple of the Single Point
Here be Pirates; a rock with no name; contested territory; here we make our own rules.
“Out among the Whales we swim, mice in a vast ocean. Not much to do, not much to see. We do have gas, though, plenty of gas.” —Viljam Aster, worker on the San Joan
The Sea of Whales is a vast expanse of space, dotted with numerous gas giants. Mostly, humans come here for gas, harvesting the surface layers of the Giants using special spacecraft with huge scoops on their front undersides (some of them actually look a bit like whales) in an activity commonly called whaling. Often, these craft are supported by, and operate from, stations and small colonies on the moons of the gas giants, but sometimes there are even floating cities in the upper layers of the Giants themselves. Compared to everything sunward, the Sea is a wasteland when it comes to human presence, but make no mistake, humans are there. A lot of the populace are employees and local administrators of the great gas corporations, like Hydrafoil, Weltstein and Ishmael Inc., but there are also some who are there for other reasons, scientists, pilgrims to the Mother Whale, and some who just prefer life among endless clouds of gas.
Human settlements in the Sea are stations, surface or underground bases on moons or floating cities. Populations usually number in the hundreds or less.
Some notable planets and locations:
Odysseus, Hector, Gilgamesh, Goliath, Yme, Weltstein I, The Great White (mythical and probably non-existent), Mother Whale and the Monastery of the Giants, Veemah IV.
Not a soul in sight; in corporate control; plenty of gas—not much else; hydrogen storms; corporate conflicts.
“Not many people venture out as far as this. Not many have reason to. Some think they do, but they probably don’t. Still, out here you can escape from anything, even life.” —Veike Tarker-Vin, beggar on Farpoint station.
The Outs is a lonely place. There are many planets and planetoids here, but they are spaced out so that travel distances are far greater than in the inner rings, and even than in the Sea. Very few humans live here, and those who do are not what most would call normal. They are hermits, incredibly secluded families, peculiar sects, secret societies and extremely shady researchers. You are not in the outs unless you want to be alone for some reason, and you will not survive in the outs unless you brought everything you need with you. There are only about two locations in the Outs that are visited on anything close to a regular basis: Farpoint station on Drissta and Edward Cassnac’s Inn at the End of Paradise, an outrageously expensive restaurant, as well as a farewell station for those brave few who venture out into the void between the stars.
In the Outs, humans live on stations and other artificial environments with life-support. Anything from one to fifty people are probably the most common numbers.
Some notable planets and places:
Drissta and Farpoint station, Kull and the Inn at the End of Paradise, the Black Scale, Eytytros (rogue asteroid)
Vast and cold and empty; isolated from others; secretive people, secretive places; uncharted planetoids drifting; the edge of the known world.
Nobody really knows what lays beyond Edward Cassnac’s Inn. It's commonly assumed that it is simply more space and more nothing, but some scientists maintain that there might be some sort of ice-belt out there, and, of course there might be more planetoids. Recently, there have also been some rumors about strange signals picked up in the Outs that seem to come from someplace no more than half a light-year outside Eden.