Beyond the Black
Station Type: Beehive
Allegiance: Autonomist Alliance
Primary Languages: French, Skandinavíska, Vietnamese
Marseilles was constructed similar to many other beehives built on icy moons and asteroids throughout the solar system: by melting tunnels and chambers into the ice and then insulating them. Since Prometheus is an exceptionally porous body of loosely packed snow mixed with small amounts of rock and metal, however, its interior is filled with large caverns. The major parts of Marseilles were constructed by enlarging these caverns and strengthening them by melting the snow to form a shell of ice between 50 and 100 meters thick. After insulating this shell, the cavernous interiors were built up with a maze of corridors and rooms.
Not all of the caverns are fully developed habitat space. The Ice Gardens are a series of only partly insulated caves kept at a cool 5 C to keep the ice stable. Genehackers from Profunda were hired to populate these Gardens with cold- and micrograv-tolerant plants and smart animals. These cold but wonderful parks are filled with conifers, snow monkeys, furry snakes, and white owls, and all of the animals are tame enough to be pets. Outsiders mostly haven’t had much experience with large micrograv gardens, and so it takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s impressively
Marseilles is home to some 80,000. A significant portion of these work in the large surface
refineries, converting the volatiles gathered by the Commonwealth’s gas mining skimmer fleets. The locals are nice people and fairly well off, however, it can be a somewhat odd place to live due to a pervasive air of secrecy. Everyone knows that the Commonwealth almost certainly has an antimatter factory here, but no one will confirm this fact. Approximately one eighth of the population has a high security clearance and works in a well-guarded deep cavern called Maxwell.