1. The Arcology:
The principal mode of human habitation, arcologies are megastructures that are largely self sufficient and house tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of people in a relatively small space. In the Cosmic Era, 90% of the world population lives in, or within physical sight of one of these mammoth buildings. During the Reconstruction phase that coincided with the Second Renaissance, many city cores saw large swaths of old buildings leveled to make room for the second and third generation of arcologies (the first generation having been built in the final desperate throes of the Petroleum Age). The result was that soon each major city had at least one arcology sitting in it's skyline. Cities like New York, London, and Beijing quickly grew to have such a number of arcologies that the term Arcoplex was born. Arcos are vertical structures, disciplined, and intensively organized, and have more in common with space ships that with skyscrapers. Demi-Arcologies also exist, and are roughly half the size of a standard arcology in terms of height and floorspace. Demi-Arcos are often owned by private megacorporations, service branches and departments of the government, or other dedicated purposes.
2. The Space Habitat
Space stations and habitats now orbit smartly about the planet, some in specific special orbits, others hanging in geosynchronous position, while the majority sit in stable lagrange points, forming new constellations in the night sky. Many of these are involved in zero g manufacturing, but there are just as many existing as colonial territories, housing large numbers of people who were born in space and will spend their lives in space, and are distressed when they visit Earth or one of the colonies, being under gravity feels like everything is moving under hard thrust. The number of people living in space is relatively small compared to terrestrial populations, but the number is growing quickly. Space dwellers are much more likely to be germaphobic, indulge in cosmetic genetic alteration, and massively de-emphasize the importance of food and eating as a social experience.
3. The GeoFront
Just as man has gone into space, he has also burrowed into the earth. Many terrains are not suitable to building megastructures on, the underlying strata just doesnt have the strength or stability to shore up a building of that magnitude. Geofront, also more correctly known as geocities are then tunneled out into the loose soil. They provide their own stability, and are well protected by dense layers of concrete and being located under vast amounts of earth and rock. Isolated from natural light and air, few Geofronts are colonial in nature, and most are industrial use, mining or other non-residential functions.
4. The Bio-Creche
Nature took a horrific beating through the end of the Petroleum Era, and then during the first few decades of the New Dark age. Animal species were exterminated, forests were destroyed, and more than can be imagined was lost. Bio-Creches were first created by the scientists of the United States of South America to rebuild and repopulate the Amazon river basin. These large structures were biological engines that produced seedlings and distributed seedings of certain plants. Others produced new born animals, raising several generations in a zoo like sanctuary before releasing them into the wild. While large swaths of the planet remain damaged, the work of bio-creches, terraforming and clean up operations are reversing the damage of previous generations. Bio-Creches use cloning technology and DNA reclamation techniques to either bolster weak species, or to recreate lost species from physical samples. The Tycho Conventions are recognized and no species lost to natural extinction (Dinosaurs) can be legally cloned.
5. The Seacology
The oceans cover 70% of the planet's surface and much of this space is vast and empty, away from islands and wrecks, its miles and miles of nothing. Seacologies are aquatic cities. These cities are typically close to land, such as islands or coastlines or are in shallow coastal waters, like the Mediterranean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico. Many seacologies are devoted to fisheries and aquaculture, housing large colonial populations. These structures are often loosely assembled, with open spaces between sections and decks, as the weight of moving water is far and above wind effect. This generally sees seacologies as not being classified as megastructures even though their dimensions are large enough to count them. Many seacologies offer tourist and recreational services not seen in most arcologies or cities.
6. The CogNet
The CogNet, or Cognitive Network is the fourth generation of the internet. It functions much like immersive reality, an artificial reality that the user can fully experience in all senses through the use of a CogNet headset. The system is administered by 12 artificial intelligence super computers and dozens of their slaved limited AI super computers. The network is technically intelligent on a massive scale, but it has no sentience. The most common uses of the CogNet is standard internet commerce, through virtual stores, streaming interactive entertainment, (the viewer is not just watching a movie, they have the option of being part of the action) Simulated Sinsation (virtual pornography) and the operation of surrogate drones. Surrogates are android bodies that are remotely driven by human hosts, and serve a variety of functions, ranging from providing crippled or anxiety victims to move about in public, accommodating germaphobes, to remote control soldiers, real life expressions of online avatars and the like.
7. The Lunar Colonies
Dug into the lunar regolith, there are cities on the moon. The Lunar Colonies are predominantly under the jurisdiction of the Atlantic Federation and the Eurasian Alliance, and both have major naval bases on the moon. The Lunar colonies are the shipyards of the Solar System, and half of the space ships in service were built on the moon, and once launched from Earth's gravity, most space ships built on Earth never return to it's surface. Most surface to orbit transit is handled via shuttles launched via Mag-Rail. Most of the Lunar Colonies follow the geofront model for protection from solar radiation and from micro-meteorite damage.
8. False Moon Habitats
One of the first forays into space was asteroid mining. Near earth objects were reached via robotic shuttles and once fixed with low thrust high duration engines, were moved into Lunar orbit, or very high Earth orbits. These chunks of space rock, typically the iron rich type were extensively mined for their metal content. As the mining operations continued, the structures inside the rock grew larger and more elaborate, until the metal available was exhausted. The remaining object is a stony matrix of habitat and rock, stronger and safer than a traditional space habitat. Many mined out asteroids were disassembled for the next project, but a good number remained as converted use bases. These asteroid bases are all controlled by either megacorp interests or terrestrial governments, such as the Atlantic Federation's Mendel Biological Research and Development facility (bioweapons) or Majesty Mining and Metals orbital headquarters Bessemer Station.
A legacy of the Terrestrial Cold War, bio-caches are underground vaults, seldom connected to anything like a geofront or major city center. The Bio-Caches are repositories for biological and genetic information. Most Bio-Creches will disseminate their data to several Bio-Caches to ensure that the work that went into restoring and recovering an animal or plant species won't go to waste, as well as keeping genetically modified and pure strains of their work. Some Bio-Caches are for storing people, cryo-imprisonment and cryogenic freezing remain not uncommon options for criminals and the terminally ill. Creative Incarcerations Corp maintains six cryo-prisons for the long term storage of criminals not violent enough to warrant the death penalty (or were convicted in non-capital punishment states) but are too dangerous to leave in a general population prison.
10. Enclosed Seas
The problem with typical fisheries is the lack of water flow and the rapid accumulation of fish wastes in a small area. Enclosed Seas are large volumes of water that are closed in via a series of nets, baffles, locks and other mechanisms. These are connected to major ocean currents and located in areas where the fallout of fish waste can be gathered and used by the sorts of animal life that eat fish poo. Enclosed seas are typically up current from seacologies, which typically themselves are festooned with genetically modified corals and filter feeders.
12. Cetacean Technology Center
Revolutions in electronics and mind machine interface made actual communications with other animal species possible. While there are labs working on developing Canine+ and Feline+ species that understand the spoken language, the greatest breakthroughs in inter species communications has been with dolphins and orcas. The Cetacean Tech center is a breeding and teaching facility for training dolphins to work with humans. The scientists are convinced it is only a matter of time before they can engineer the first human intelligence level dolphins.
13. Over-Under Arcology
In geologically unstable areas, it is becoming feasible to first built an extensive geofront under the proposed location of an arcology. As the GeoFront grows, it's pilings and structure becomes the basement level of the Arcology above, with the two structures spreading their weight across the entire footing of the GeoFront. Once both structures have been built, the transition from GeoFront to Arcology is an arbitrary one as both structures effectively flow into one another. Most Over-Unders have both large residential populations as well as extensive industrial and manufacturing bases. A sufficiently large GeoFront can function like a root system, connecting multiple arcologies, and housing the mechanical components of those structures, such as the building power cores, recycling and waste processing centers and other things that don't need the light of day, or aren't pleasant to look at.
14. Hydroponics Habitat
Also known as Green Stations, hydroponics habitats are the most recognizable structures in orbit. These habitats have large amounts of translucent materials to allow sunlight to enter. The populations are small, but the main importance of the stations to to grow food for the colonies in orbit. Expensive as it is to farm in space, its just as expensive if not more to farm on Earth and then launching food into orbit. The bulk of food grown in orbit is a plant called Soygea, a genetic amalgam of soybeans and algea. It grows into a dense mat of fairly nutritious if unpleasant tasting pod like fibers. This in tandem with mycoprotein (mushroom meat) forms the basis of the space diet. Colonies in space have developed and adopted different cultural spices into their cuisine to cover the taste and texture of their food, with spices being favored for color and bold tastes, and Thai, Curry, and Mexican cuisines being favored over Terrestrial favorites.
15. Aquaforming Base
The oceans were not undamaged by the follies of the Petroleum Age. Billions of tons of trash was dumped into the ocean as well as unknown amounts of chemical and biological wastes. Like the terrestrial Bio-Creches, the Aquaforming bases are working to restore marine life, but their first occupation is filtering sea water to remove the horrible things that had been dumped into it. Most of these bases are in oceanic current zones, or in edy areas where debris would have eventually settled. While there is certainly a strong measure of altruism in this operation, the materials being removed from the water certainly have a financial value, such as nickel and mercury, as well as the cleaned water and restored seabed being valuable for aquculture and building seacologies in a safe enviroment.
16. Bio-Feedback Center
Visiting the doctor with a case of the sniffles is a thing of the past. The advances in the CogNet and diagnostic software has made the majority of non-trauma hospital visits into online affairs. The bio-Feedback system used in the CogNet and Simulated Sensation System (S3) can be used to examine the user, and specialists at a Bio-Feedback Center can use these full body human diagnostics to remotely diagnose illnesses and non-trauma injuries and conditions. Medications can be prescribed, or medical procedures can be scheduled without sixteen trips back and forth to a doctor. Most Bio-Feedback Centers are attached to Hospital facilities, and serve as a training tools and observation clinics for young doctors.
17. Green Towers
Food Production is a major issue in the Cosmic Era, between the growing population and the general unwillingness to return to the extensive terrain and environment destroying agriculture of the Petro-age. Translucent towers, the size of Demi-Arcos are common sights in cities,where vertical farming is done, along with hydroponics and other food growing technologies to produce enough food for the common people. Fast growing plants are favored, along with high yield crops like modified Wheat, modified Soy, and mycoproteins. Green Towers have 24 hour days (providing artificial light at night) and are climate controlled, so there is no concern about drought conditions, flooding, insects and other problems that plagued old food production. The downside of the cheap readily available food crops is a lack of flavor and food diversity, requiring most people to be on at least one or more vitamin supplements. Whole foods, and inefficient crops, like tree crops and special growing requirement crops are drastically more expensive, as is protein sources like beef. Most protein in the modern diet comes from aquaculture (shrimp is the new chicken) mycoprotein (fungal tofu) and faux cheese (rendered oil and fat waste). The horror of the cosmic diet.
18. Deep Sea Habitat
Not all seacologies are located on continental shelves, or in shallow water, just most of them. There are colonies down on the abyssal plain, far beyond the sunlight surface. The Deep Sea Habitats are as remote and dangerous as the deep space colonies. Few are devoted to residential populations, most are involved in deep sea exploration, undersea mining, or serve as naval bases for submarine fleets. The Eurasian Alliance has the largest number of deep sea habitats, most of which are serving ports for their hundreds of submarines. The Deep Sea Habitats are noted for long duration stays, spartan accommodations, and rigorous discipline.
The Techno-Vaults are a legacy of the Cold War and Resource Wars. These were fallout bunkers built to survive near nuclear blasts and maintain the electronic equipment held inside. The main occupant of a techno-vault is the core of an Artificial Intelligence Super Computer, supported by a small staff of engineers, technicians, and people that the AISC approves of. The vaults that aren't being used as nests for AISCs are data caches used for ultra-secure information, along the lines of government black ops and black budget stuff, megacorp secret files, and the like. Reaching the data cores via hacking is as dangerous as physically reaching the cores in their remote locations with their armed security personnel. The majority of Techno-Vaults are in the former United States, western Europe, Japan, and mainland China.
Almost every arcology has its own host CogNet that is enclosed to itself. Messages and data sent between residences is bounced through the ArcNet. Information or calls sent between arcologies goes to the ArcNet, up to the CogNet, to the respective ArcNet and to the recipient. The heart of the ArcNet is the computer core of the arcology in question. It is not uncommon for the computer to be a Limited AISC, and most of them develop personalities and have a given, typically Greek or Latin name. Of course, most users never even notice the lag as their business is routed to and from different aspects of the CogNet, but their transmissions are monitored by the computer, and there is a cadre of trained personnel who are instructed to keep an eye out for dissident information, and other intel sources.
21. CommSat Station
Data is the lifeblood of the Cosmic Era, and the network of towers, satellites and relay stations are the nervous system of the planet. The CommSat Station is a major node, a key player in the operation of the the new global network. While it has a small staff, it is large. The arrays can handle terabytes of data per second, important for streaming holocast material, such as sporting events and national speeches. The CommSat station is home to a LAISC that is devoted to handling and disseminating data streams. CommSat Stations are vital pieces of national infrastructures and most have the reliable protection of space based military assets. CommSats run by weaker nations tend to have better armor and protection, while those fielded by the Atlantic Federation are 100% dependent on Federation fleet assets for protection and supply
22. S3X Parlour
It was only a matter of time before Simulated Sensation Systems (S3) were merged into the world of adult entertainment. Rather than watching pornography, viewers were able to sensationally participate. The high cost of a full S3 system, as opposed to the limited S3 headset made in impractical for all but the upper middle class and rich to own them. An entreprenuer decided to launch the first S3XXX arcade, where customers could buy time in a full body S3 rig and indulge in full immersion simsex. While seedy and of questionable hygiene, the parlours are busy and sources of large amounts of money. Some brand name S3X Parlours have gone on to write and produce their own lines of media entertainment. Unlike traditional pornography, many of these new lines are designed to keep the viewer interested but not over stimulated as long as possible. While it is fully within the ability of the technology to induce near instant orgasm in the viewer, it is far more profitable to string them along with anticipation and expectation for the longest period possible, or for a predetermined, prepaid amount of time. The standard S3X 'vid' is approximately 15 minutes in duration, with 4 minutes of commercial advertising and placements.
23. Armed Interplanetary Ship
The Solar System is the middle stages of colonization, with colonies on the Moon, and Mars, and habitats and science stations orbiting Mars, Venus, and several of the Jovian moons. Transit between these far flung abodes is carried out by Ion Drive equipped ships. While FTL is still a distant dream, interplanetary drive is available. After the deployment of explorer and scientific vessels, warships were the next craft to appear in the darkness of space. The Atlantic Federation holds a distinct advantage, with claim to most of the Moon, both of Mars' moons and habitats at Europa, Mars, and Venus. Warships tend to be large, but cramped. Most have multiple redundant systems, and rely primarily on guided missiles and energy weapons to fight each other in space. The Federation warships favor particle cannons and large missiles, while the Eurasian Alliance prefers rail guns and lasers. Warships adhere to strong discipline, and the culture aboard a warship extends beyond the ship, with crewmen becoming family, if they serve on the same ship.
Seemingly a technology to be forgotten to the Cold War and the Resource Wars, the Submarine has seen a resurgence in popularity. While small submersibles become very common with the founding of seacologies and underwater habitats, large submarines remained only a memory. The Eurasian Alliance found itself falling behind the Atlantic Federation in the Space Race and after digging in it's Martian colonies and a handful of asteroid bases, it found an open niche. Calling on decades of submarine tech from the Soviet era, new Submarines were launched. These new subs were able to dive very deep, carried sophisticated computers and had almost sentient torpedoes in their arsenals. The submarine became a thorn in the Atlantic Federation's side, as it found the Atlantic Ocean was easily penetrated by the submarines, regardless of if they cam through SAUR waters, the Mediterranean, or through the Arctic. Once a forgotten technology, the Typhoon III submarine is as symbolic of the Eurasian Alliance as the America class space cruiser is of the Federation.
25. Corporate Zone
The Corporations bloomed after the Second Renaissance, riding to vast fortune and power on the wave of technology and innovation. As they grew, it was a simple matter of purchasing and leasing property, assimilating other companies and property holding firms until they dominated an entire geographic area. While neither the largest nor the the first Union Aerospace of the Atlantic Federation was the most public in it's creation of a corporate zone. The UAC gained control or ownership of almost 75% of the former state of New Jersey, as well as Staten Island. After this it formed the Corporate Party in the state of New Jersey, and by the end of the decade, the Corporate Party had a major presence in the New England Commonwealth senate. Within the corporate zone, everything is owned by the parent corporation, and it is not limited by anti-trust laws, and as long as it's laws do not violate the laws of the parent country, is allowed to operate by it's own laws. Corporate Zones have the highest concentrations of wealth on the planet, field their own military forces, and exist in a hostile tension with the governments of the countries they inhabit. Corporate zones are the most frequent targets of terrorist activities and cyber-attacks.
26. Wasteland Zone
Much of the planet was devastated in the last days of the Resource wars, some areas simply bearing the scars of reckless resource harvesting, while others have been laid to waste by war. The expanse of radioactive wasteland between the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean is likely the worst scarred location. The final spasm of the Resource Wars was a nuclear exchange between the Israeli and it's western backers and Iran and it's eastern and Russian backers. Almost all of the Fertile Crescent was blasted by a mixture of nuclear missiles, nuclear bombs, and improvised nuclear weapons. The Israeli nukes were more advanced and more powerful, but the truck mounted fusion bombs deployed by the Iranians and Jihadis proved equally devastating. Now, there are strange twisted ruins of cities, and the nomads of the area suffer from radiation mutation and horrific cancers. Many a holy man has made the hajj to the ruins of Mecca, to fall dead within sight of the ruined city, his body destroyed by the radiation leaking out of every rock and dark place.
27. Raft Cities
Raft Cities were formed as a backlash against both the advancement of arcological construction, and the formation of the economic super blocs. Old cities saw their old hearts gutted to make room for giant buildings, and many claimed that the old cities were slain, the towers daggers thrust through their souls. New Orleans launched the first raft city, which became one of the first Free Cities as well. The raft cities house at the most 100,000 people and are floating man-made islands. The structures are modular constructed, and are mobile, but slow. Most raft cities are nothing more than free ports of trade, cultural icons, or tourist destinations, while the world powers do have a number of purely military raft bases, such as the ACPS floating airfields, or the Alliance submarine tending cities. New NewOrleans, New Amsterdam and New Venice are popular tourist destinations.
28. Drone Control Center
Surrogates appeared as the unexpected love child of S3 technology and android construction. The android body is built to the consumer specifications, and a full S3 rig is installed in their home. Through the use of the rig and relays like the Drone Control Center, a person is able to walk around remotely anywhere in the world they want to. The initial applications of Surrogates was for para- and quadriplegics but quickly expanded to military and political uses. More than one assassin has been apprehended after shooting a robot in the head! Surrogate drones found uses across the spectrum, being operated in menial tasks such as mining or harvesting crops, or in dangerous tasks such as underwater operations or working in jobs that would be lethal, such as in oxygen deprived carbon fiber factories, incinerators, or in dangerous manufacturing operations. While not an everyday home item, people see and deal with surrogates on a daily basis. The Drone Control Center is not just a relay for handling encrypted signals for surrogate control, but it is a hub for maintenance, repair, upgrades and cosmetic changes for the surrogate bodies.
29. The Virtual Stadium
The first use of Holocast technology was Superbowl 1, inaugurating Superbowl Day as a Federation Holiday celebrating sports excellence. The event was a soccer game between the New England Commonwealth's Patriots and Manchester Consolidated and while only 70,000 people could fill the actual stadium the game was held in, VirtuCams recorded and broadcast the entire event in S3 format. Nearly 2.6 million viewed the event as spectators in a virtual copy of the stadium (each occupied one of 15 seats selected as vantage points) while another 20 million viewed through S3 headseats, and the rest of the 200,000,000 audience members had to make do with standard streaming 3deo. The Virtual Stadium would be marked as a great success, as the real stadium listed 2,670,000 people in attendance, making it the largest venue to date. The Stadium was progressively scanned weeks ahead of the event, and the mapping and replication technology rendered the stadium in such high quality that many viewers spent as much time wandering around the structure as spent watching the game. The technology would be later used to recreated dozens and then hundreds of real world locals and turn them into admission based visitable online locations. This ease of access, and suddenly cheaper cost of travel created massive spikes in revenue for places that were feeling the pain of recession and lack of tourism. The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Vatican, Stonehenge, Hollywoodland, and hundreds of other tourist locations benefited vastly from the first Virtual Stadium.
While the first places to be fully rendered in S3/Holocasting were real world, it was only a matter of time before the land of video games and movies crashed into the new technology. Entire artificial worlds sprung up in the online domain. The MMO once revolutionized subscription based gaming, S3MM changed the way gamers played games. For people willing to give their entire life to a game, were able to make that game into a full career. Online careers escalated after the Federation Court ruled that prostitution in a virtual format was not against the law as no actual coitus had taken place no matter how cunning the replication. Soon, a small fraction of the population was engaged in online careers, working in virtual mines, or soldiers in virtual armies fighting wars in virtual countries as virtual races.