The Taj Gumbad

May 30, 3011: So I finally made it out to Apollodorus. Everyone has to visit the famed Taj Gumbad some time in their life, right? And with any luck, after their life as well…

With a design inspired by the Taj Mahal on Earth, the dome itself shelters a variety of houses of worship, each an architectural marvel in its own right. But the real magic happens underground!

Back in the 23rd Century, a wealthy CEO's wife was dying from a rare form cancer inoperable even by nanobots. He used then-experimental uploading technology to preserve her mind, and he built a vast underground complex to store it and run it.  Today, beneath the Taj Gumbad lies the Solar System's most exclusive data center for uploaded minds. This server farm runs with the latest technology to allow its residents to live many years in virtual space for each realtime day!

As you can imagine, security was extremely tight. We had to leave behind all our possessions at the ticket station 10 km away. They even ran bioweapon scans on us, and provided us each with a suit. They didn't even trust us to supply our own water. Oddly, they did allow us to bring our own holocams, and I didn't ask them how they knew we weren't carrying weapons in our cams...

I took a snap during our shuttle's approach, and used it as a reference for this sketch. It really doesn't remotely capture the majesty of the dome, especially the way the sunlight was glinting off of the panels...  We got to visit inside the dome (no holos allowed there), but of course they didn't let us go underground to see the upload center.

Oh, yeah, you've probably heard the rumors, but it's said that 98% of the System's financial wealth belongs to the old souls running on these machines…

OMD Violet

May 25, 3011: My first stop at Mercury was to the derelict Orbital Mass Driver Violet, a defense platform left over from the System Wars.  Its massive cannon was so imposing that no one ever attempted to attack the planet.  Now, it's a tourist attraction!

I quite liked wandering around the space station. Its winding, claustrophobic corridors reminded me of a the levels from a shooter holo. But the best part darted past me suddenly when I rounded a corner:


There were dozens of them, twisting knobs and punching buttons.  I guess they run the place now?

(The monkeys' suits seemed to be based on an old 21st Century design.) 

(photo ref)

The Plumes of Enceladus

May 14, 3011: This was Enceladus during the revolution, when clashes between protestors and government forces shattered some of the habitat domes, causing the air to vent violently into space, taking thousands of unfortunate souls with it.

I hope their sacrifices were not in vain. It's only been a few months, and I feel that most of us in the rest of the System have already forgotten these images, while achieving real and lasting reform remains a daily struggle.  Revolutions don't finish overnight.