Metropolis Ring City

Urbanised Banks Orbital Megastructure

Urban Cloudscapes
Image from Steve Bowers
The tops of the tallest buildings on Urban Cloudscapes City poke through the clouds

Metropolis Ring City - Data Panel

Primary:Ho Jong Star YTS 21905310-95
Stellar Type:M2
Region:MPA Hinterworlds
Distance from Sol659 ly
Planets:five remaining planets
Planet Type:Banks Orbital
AI:AI Overseers: originally E Who Dreams of Urban Cloudscapes, currently Gotham Sports Incorporated Businessbeings

AI's Ethos: E Who Dreams of Urban Cloudscapes - hobbyist (no longer in-system)
Gotham Sports Incorporated Businessbeings - mercantile
Polity:Name: Metropolis Ring City (or Metropolis, MRC, or E Who Dreams of Urban Cloudscapes City)

Symbol: originally - Idealised Banks Orbital Ring with 'smily' toon-like arcologies, trees, and happy suburbia large enough to be seen
currently - like the above but with slightly more of a 'tough guy' image

Affiliation: Originally MPA. Currently licensed to NoCoZo under a renewable two thousand year lease

Founded/Colonized: construction began 4785, completed 5345

Tech Level: Median Tech level Ultratetch. There are also lower High Tech and Lo Tek areas, as well as Transapientech centers
Territory and Population:Population: 14.87 trillion

Population Breakdown:
non-superbright bionts (all clades and categories) 72%
non-superbright cyborgs (all sapient phyla and categories) 11%
artificials (all categories, turingrade) 12%
virtuals (copies, uploads) 5%
Xenos and Xeno-provolves 0.12%
superbrights (bionts, cyborgs, and artificials, approximately equal numbers of each) 0.1%
Superturings 0.05%
posthumans/postbionts (transapients) 0.001%
Free hyperturings 0.0001%

Territories: Metropolis Ring City only

Current Immigration/Emigration: (exclusive of tourism)
Immigration - 12.8 billion per annum - all vectors
Emigration - 13.4 billion per annum - all vectors
Government and Administration:Government Type: Regional Councils, Federal Aicratic supervision

Administrative Divisions: Regional Shires and Burbs

National Holidays: Construction Day, Completion Day, Urban Cloudscape Assembly Day, Gothan Day, Carnival (also regional), various other local and national festivals

Constitution: Gotham Sports Good Management Guide (Urban Cloudscape's original document has only nominal standing)

Legal System: Standard NoCoZo Corporate Government law currently applies. Officially, all Sentient Rights are recognised. Many Shires and Provinces also have their local and regional Council-based Laws (mostly based on whatever the original inhabitants brought)
Economics, Local Infrastructure:Economy: Tourism-based

Currency: 'The Metro' (MRC Monetary Unit). However foreign monies are widely used and if sephirotic have a very good exchange rate

Major Industries: Local nanofacturing (all commodities), Mediasports and broadband virchcasting, The Adventure VirchChannel (local and interpolity Franchisers), Ethnological Databases, Cultural Templates, Household Commodities, Marketing Statistics, Epicure, Biontwear, Local Virch and Reality Info- and Entertainments, Cheap and Reliable Madvert Templates, Art, Simms, Urban Planning and Design, Black Market economy (very strong)

Angelnetting: Safe shires - Complete. Elsewhere partial or non-existent
Bright Lights Big City (5500 meter gauge to to Brashton, Solar Dominion)
Urban Legends (5500 meter gauge to to Long Haul, MPA )
Night On The Town (5500 meter gauge to to Argelander, NoCoZo)

Cycler Routes: None

Major Spaceports: Hub Starcity, Metropolis Interstellar Space Port, Cosmopolis One, and many smaller spaceports

Public Transport/Local Travel: Public Transport is well served by Rapid Transit Systems, Slideways, Maglevs, Ground and Airbuses, Surface Roads, Magicarpet Utility Fog (supported areas only). For those who would like their own vehicle, hiring a Groundcar or Aircar is easy and no-fuss. Note that public transport infrastructures are not maintained in more dangerous burbs

Hazard Rating: 0.0 (angelnetted arcologies and safe shires) to 6.5 (Perp Week, Cyberpunkville, and other extreme danger sport events)

Visa Restrictions: None

Freedom of Movement: No restrictions.

Environmental Requirements: The entire orbital is an Earth-standard environment

Sites of Interest: The Old Honkitonk Supermall, Megacity Wun Fun Public Theatre Forum, New Old New York SkyArcades, Urban Cloudscape Historical National Museum, Pleasantville Parkcades, MRC Art Gallery, Institute of Urbanology, The Sprawl Funfair and Megaplex, The Iacinian Zooeum, JodiTerrance Arcology Family Museum, The Arena (Cyberpunkville) (not for those of weak sensibilities), many others.

Metropolis Ring City was built by the third singularity MPA artificer E Who Dreams of Urban Cloudscapes, during the early ComEmp period. Urban Cloudscapes had requested, and was given permission from the regional archailect (or demiurge) Vast Builder, ownership of the red dwarf Ho Jong Star (YTS 2190-5310-95) and its system of planets (the previous request for a K-type star had been turned down). The few hundred local inhabitants (mostly vecs, and two SI:1 von neumann ships) were compensated and offered relocation, although some preferred to stay and witness the construction.

Over several centuries several small planets were dismantled and carefully rebuilt as a Banks orbital, since Urban Cloudscapes wanted a rigid structure and not (as in the case of a dyson) a fractal one. While this was underway a fleet of pre-assembled amat-powered sub-relativistic ships had been dispatched for nearby planets, and other ships throughout the nexus, offering generous settlement incentives. Also an agreement was made with a Dominion linelayer to connect the system to the Nexus, although Urban Cloudscapes would have to supply the matter for conversion to exotic matter.

Although Urban Cloudscapes could easily mass-produce replicant neogens, e wanted eir city to be populated by sophonts that already had a past, their own individuality and personality, so as to bring life to the city, which was to be called Metropolis Ring City, after Metropolis, an Old Earth fable, later revived during the First Federation period, of a large and crowded and badly governed city where an heroic baseline/android-vec/superhero/ascended-copy lived and had adventures and finally brought justice to the people.

At the time it was built, Metropolis Ring City was to be the largest single city, and the largest stretch of urban environment, in the Terragen sphere (it has since been surpassed by a number of other larger megastructure-cities). Instead of the usual arcologies were thousands upon thousands of square kilometers of residential areas, called "burbs", served by community centers and shopping and entertainment multiplexes, each with their own regional administrative government (called "shire" or "council") and linked by fast and efficient maglev. In addition to the burbs there were areas called "cbds"which were dedicated to business and enterprise, and featured 20 kilometre tall buildings ("starscrapers"). "Industrialareas" were set aside for nanofabrication and other essential manufacturing, including food production. Set as islands of green within and between the burbs were extensive parks and pseudo-natural microbiomes, as well as lakes and rivers and a single salt-water sea, the Metropolis Ocean, which was stocked with terragen marine life and even included underwater burbs along the bottom. When completed it would easily house and feed a hundred trillion baseline-hu-equivalent physiology sapients

Metropolis Ring City was completed in 5345, and some of the left over planetary mass was used for two stargates, one called Bright Lights Big City connected to the Dominion system of Brashton, another named Urban Legends to the MPA system of Long Haul.

Even so, and even with generous offers of luxurious urban apartment living, sentients were slow to arrive. Few, having grown up in the vast free spaces of a garden orbital, or the luxury of an angelnetted arcology, wanted to live in an endlessly monotonous crowded ant-hive that Metropolis Ring City would be.

After several long nanoseconds of pondering this and looking for a solution, Urban Cloudscapes decided on a course of action. E would approach various superintelligences, transapients and godlings that keep sophonts for livestock, and suggest if they ever wish to get rid of their stock, they should, in exchange for useful templates, shares, or memetic favours, send them to em, rather than just disassemble them. Although most were not interested, a few liked the idea, and several, led by Honkitonk-180 Hyperturing of Honkitonk Polity (nominal NoCoZo) even donated their entire stock. The liberated sapients were only too be glad to be free, and quite enjoyed the new surroundings, although unfortunately some had me so badly traumatized by their enslavement that they had to humanely disassembled. From that time on, word spread, and Metropolis became known as a refuge for the exploited and abused of the galaxy. Entire societies and institutes were set up by Urban Cloudscapes's agents to work at freeing factory farmed sapients that would otherwise be put down. Free hu and other sapients also began to arrive, as well as parawilds that would otherwise be culled and instead were shipped over (usually in biostasis). These were followed by various religious and ideological groups, such as The Family of Barrington Jekob Fonza, who relished the free exo-wombs and opportunity to reproduce without limits

By the time the population had reached ten billion there were already serious social problems. The social engineering and memetic conditioning had failed completely, given the diverse and often incompatible range of inhabitants, and Urban Cloudscapes did not have enough processing power (so e claims, but this has been refuted by several independent sources, while others disagree) to create a high level angelnet for all of Metropolis and thus guarantee everyone's safety. So, in keeping with the aesthetics of large Atomic Age and Information Age cities and later romanticisms thereof, there was only the minimum essential angelnetting, which was used for policing and surveillance functions. Despite a penalty of mandatory disassembly for all serious crimes, the social problems kept rising.

In 6125 the NoCoZo Businessbeing consortium of Gotham Sports Incorporated (based at Argelander) offered to take Metropolis off Urban Cloudscapes' hands in exchange for a Conversion-drive ship large enough to transport all of Urban Cloudscapes computronium nodes, and a K-type star in the Sagittarius Arm, some 1500 LY beyond the periphery, but legally owned (by agreement with STC development consortia) by Gotham Sports. Urban Cloudscapes, who was by now heartily sick of having to nursemaid eir increasingly rowdy city-dwellers, and having long resented the limitations imposed by an M-type star on the size of eir project, jumped at the chance.

With Urban Cloudscapes gone, and having come to an agreement with the other MPA authorities to retain Metropolis as an MPA polity-world, Gotham Sports then shut down all but the most essential angelnetting in the more troubled areas, and established a tourist link for extreme sports enthusiasts, and others who would like the dangerous adventure of living, working, surviving, and hunting in a fifty billion plus city. Especially popular where the high crime regions, where all sentients tagged as perps by police angelnetting were marked as "open game".

Note - it is important to emphasise here that this is only for a few of the worst areas. If one has a city of a trillion people, inevitably some suburbs will be full of crime and out of control. So rather than use nanosurveillance and angelnetting, Gotham Extreme Sports decided to play on bionts' love of aggression. However other areas like New Old New York and The Old Honkitonk are very pleasant to live in (most of the old unhappy ex-sapientstock are gone from Old Honkitonk which has become quite gentrified of late...)

Although the City was designed for a hundred trillion souls, the population started to even off at around 12 trillion, and large areas remain uninhabited, or lightly populated by squatters or ferals. Today Metropolis Ring City (known in a few places as Urban Cloudscapes, in honour of its designer/builder, but more often by the abbreviation MRC), with a population of close to fifteen trillion, is one of the top travel spots in the Nexus. Here are such diverse burbclaves as Pleasantville, Fonzetown, The Old Honkitonk, The Sprawl, Gotham Sports City, New Old New York, Megacity Wun (where Judgedredbots put on entertaining daily performances for tourists), and other districts. All are almost identical as regards original architecture and services, but differ according to surface design, ornamentation, built up superstructure and nanoaccretia, services still working, etc. As Metropolis is far too large for any one corporation to run, a number of different corporations are involved, each specialising in different areas. Note that the authorities cannot guarantee the safety of visitors to some burbs (Cyberpunkville, Westharm, etc.).
Big Apple - Metropolis
Image from Copyright Ralph Manis
Things are never dull in the Big City...

Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 15 September 2002.

Fiction about Metropolis Ring City

The Difficulty in Crossing the City