- Orcus (135,000 pop)
- Vanth (900 pop)
- Much as Pluto, Orcus is locked in orbital resonance with Neptune, but in the opposite phase of proximity to the Sun as Pluto.
- Also much like Pluto, Orcus has a companion world. While Pluto has Charon, Orcus has Vanth. Orcus, however, is considerably smaller in size than most of the other dwarf planets of the Kuiper Belt.
- Water-rich and with a wealth of hydrocarbons, Orcus has many of the components necessary to support life. With silicate and metals mines on its companion world Vanth, Orcus is remarkably self-sufficient.
- As with many of the larger outer worlds, Orcus supports a shallow subterranean liquid water ocean.
- Its relatively small size has had the advantage of making it relatively easy to spin to create centrifugal faux-gravity, although unlike Ceres, Orcus has only a single spaceport located on its southern pole pointed out away from the Sun and into the deep beyond.
- Orcus' population is focused in three massive subterranean complexes known unimaginatively as Alpha Complex (85,000 pop), Beta Complex (40,000 pop), and the newest population center of Gamma Complex (10,000 pop).
- Orcus and Vanth were settled comparatively late in the settlement of the Kuiper Belt. In the 2360s a private colonization effort associated with dissident political elements from State quietly set up a base on Orcus, along with a mostly automated companion mining operation on Vanth.
- Uncommonly in the colonization of the solar system - although not entirely uniquely - Orcus was settled neither by direct national interests nor my metanational interests. Instead, it was the subject of a political, cultural, and ideological experiment. Its founders were wealthy oligarchs, and to recruit sufficient colonists it utilized a combination of promises it had no intention of keeping and pulling from the most desperate classes of society.
- Since the cultural - and political - center of gravity in the Kuiper Belt has always been on Pluto and her moons, Orcus was an outlier from the start, something that was factored in very heavily in its choice as a colonization site. The Orcus Directorate practices a stringent brand of isolationism, allowing in only the barest minimum of external orgs as necessary for commercial and military needs.
- From around 2440, the Directorate has begun a steady increase in its naval and ground military capabilities. With its low population, it has focused primarily on automated units in both spheres, paying for this expansion primarily by leveraging its political and physical isolation as an asset, becoming an invaluable, no-questions-asked vault for information and materials that other polities and orgs would prefer not be uncovered.
- Silicates (on the mining colony of Vanth)
- Metals (on the mining colony of Vanth)
- Orcus' physical and political isolation have necessitated a generalized economy
- Limited ship construction exists even up to the level of destroyers
- Significant manufactories producing automated drones exist
- "Vault" services for external polities wishing to secret information or material
- While not openly hostile to the Kuiper Compact, the Orcus Directorate has declined commercial or diplomatic overtures, and is inhospitable even to most private corporate inroads. The steady militarization of the Directorate worries the Kuiper Compact, and justifiably, for the Directorate does indeed harbor dreams of military conquest.
- Historically, aside from a few limited contacts as necessary for commercial ventures, the Directorate has practiced a policy of isolationism. Its commercial ventures are deliberately limited in the Kuiper Belt, instead preferring to do business with the Alliance, the Democratic Republic of Triton, and the Protean League. The Directorate does, however, maintain certain minimal contacts with the Sedna All-Thing as well as the Quorum.
- It is openly speculated that the Orcus Directorate has received scientific expertise in one way or the other from the Europan Consortium, but if such is the case, it has not been with the permission of that body.
Politics and Culture:
- The Orcus Directorate is an unapologetically totalitarian state of the likes possibly never seen in human history. The "Directorate" itself is an oligarchy of directors who enjoy massive power and freedom at the expense of an underclass that is so rigidly controlled as to make the abusive strictures of the Iapetus Coalition seem a dream of pure freedom.
- Citizens of the Directorate are over 85% clones with no rights and, indeed, little awareness of any existence beyond Orcus - most are not even aware of the existence of humanity beyond the oppressive complexes buried under Orcus' crust. While personal names exist, as with all of Orcus' citizens they consist of a simple name and a number; for example, John 2522-1 or Milla 2019-5. Clones are universally sterilized and raised in brutal creches indoctrinating principles of blind obedience.
- The Directorate practices extensive eugenics and genetic modification of its population, some of this aimed at creating a more obedient population, some of it at creating what it judges to be a superior population. Some notable characteristics of these experiments include general hairlessness, biological sterilization, improved inner ear mechanics, heightened reflex speed, but reduced lifespan - Orcus' citizenry rarely lives past 40 years of age, an unintended side effect of the state's genetic tampering.
- In truth, the Orcus Directorate has succeeded in relying predominantly on automated systems, robots, drones, and A.I. programs to further its own economy, rendering its need for a human population to be minimal. One of the Directorate's ongoing experiments has, in fact, involved the use of extreme cybernetics by disembodying human - mostly clone - brains with the aim of using them to pilot and manage those elements that require human involvement. This experiment has enjoyed limited successes and is close to a broader beta test, but there still remain a number of key medical issues that need resolution. Ultimately, of course, the aim is to allow for the disembodied immortality of the Directorate's directors.
- A sliver of citizens with greater rights than the masses of clones do exist, although the Directorate is quietly attempting to phase these potential wildcards out, preserving only a small number for various necessary tasks involving initiative, such as handling what few trade and commercial contacts the Directorate maintains. These privileged citizens are all denoted by a a final "S" on their name, as in "Maria 4205-S", and are referred to in common parlance as Specials and granted certain unique responsibilities and duties. Specials also customarily wear nose-to-ear chains to their left ear as a symbol of their status.
- Some very limited commercial and military contacts with outside polities do exist, although they are carefully husbanded by Specials from the Directorate.
- The Orcus Directorate possesses an increasingly military capability in the form of automated drones, both naval and ground, although it does maintain human and clone marine units as well. The effectiveness of the Directorate's marine units is uncertain, as they have never been tested in true battlefield conditions. Nevertheless, Kuiper Compact military intelligence suspects that when they are finally deployed they will prove to be both effective and reliable.