The oldest Lunar City

Image from Alex Mulvey
Artemis in the Interplanetary Age

The Early Colony

Artemis, established in 117 AT (2086 c.e.) through the cooperative efforts of several Old-Earth space agencies, was the first permanent manned colony off of the Earth. Though it faced destruction and decommission on multiple occasions, it currently still stands and is the largest city on Luna, housing one of the highest sophont population densities in Solsys. While not the first Lunar base, Artemis was the first location off Earth to house significant and permanent human habitation.

In 117 AT multiple ships were launched from Earth to Luna over the course of several months carrying people and supplies. These resources were combined into an outpost consisting of almost 200 colonists. Initially quite heavily dependent on the Earth, over the next few decades Artemis began to grow increasingly self-sufficient as mining developed, more colonists arrived, and new technologies were created and refined. However, complete self-sufficiency was not developed until about a century after its establishment. Artemis, and the colonies that followed it, also benefited from the mass driver that had been constructed on the moon in 78 AT.

Several more colonies were established on Luna during this time. Because these new colonies had superior technology to start out, as well as the early development trials of the colonies before them to learn from, they began to surpass Luna in production and population. Because of this, several decades after its establishment (in 136 A.T.) it was proposed to decommission Artemis and move its useful resources to the other Luna colonies, while leaving much of the aged and outdated resources behind. However, intervention by several private investors helped the colony to persevere.

Artemis continued to grow over the continuing decades of the interplanetary age as the inhabitants of Earth expanded far beyond Luna. Many of the ships produced during this time were built using minerals that were mined and refined by Artemis and the other Lunar cities. Since manned colonies beyond Earth and its moon were concerned with merely establishing their existence, the task of ship production lied with Luna and Earth. Thus, Artemis and the other cities grew rich supplying the rush of those wishing to venture out into the solar system.

Putting this new wealth to use, Artemis established Asherah habitat in high lunar orbit. Asherah included extensive space docks dealing with imports and exports from the lunar surface, as well as sophisticated microgravity industrial facilities. Goods arriving from the moon’s surface in small shuttles or by mass driver could be processed and loaded onto large cargo ships, which no longer had to land on or launch from the surface. This habitat was located at the Lunar L1 point, so that it was always positioned directly between Earth and Luna. Combined with the space elevator constructed in 143 on Earth, this allowed quick and efficient transport of people and goods.

Asherah also housed a small civilian sector, where those working or visiting the station could live. This sector, revered for its lavishness, eventually became overcrowded and the population expanded throughout much of the industrial sections of the station.

During its time of residential popularity, Asherah provided the leaders of Artemis with new business ideas. Around 229 AT Bubblehabs were growing in popularity, and so Artemis collaborated with several other Lunar cities to develop a new series of bubblehabs called the Four Seasons. These habitats consisted of four connected domes, each one in a month-long state of a single Earth season; at any given time, there was one habitat each for summer, autumn, winter, and spring. As decades past, bubblehabs grew more and more popular and the Four Seasons series became widespread. Most of the habs were constructed from seeds in Saturn’s atmosphere, where they proved extremely popular among baselines and near-baselines.

Artemis during the Technocalypse and Great Expulsion

Just like the rest of civilization, Artemis was hurt dramatically during the technocalypse. Most of the Four Seasons habitats were destroyed, Asherah was destroyed by swarm weapons before it could be safely evacuated, and parts of Artemis city itself were severely damaged. With the help of the superturing entity Mycroft, Artemis survived, damaged and economically crippled. During the technocalypse, while kept relatively structurally safe by Mycroft, Artemis was shattered economically. Asherah was abruptly gone, an increasing number of the Four Seasons habitats were destroyed, and ship production almost ceased.

After the Great Expulsion Artemis was faced with a massive influx of refugees, and the colony's industrial base was pressed into service to help construct a fleet of spacecraft for GAIA to assist in the relocation of Earth's population. Once this exodus was complete, the Goddess of Earth withdrew behind Her barriers and made no further contact.

As the Dark Age continued, Artemis and the other surviving Lunar states began to rebuild their economies. But the centuries of destruction had affected them heavily, and they were unable to completely recover for quite some time, having to deal with aged machines, outdated technology, and paranoia among the sentient workers. Additionally, a large number of other mining concerns throughout the solar system competed with Artemis, surpassing it in production. Luna was no longer the mining superpower it once had been.

During the First Federation era Artemis continued in its mining efforts and grew in population. However by the Age of Expansion the city had become less significant, along with many of the other original lunar colonies. Artemis never regained its former importance, becoming a tourist destination and heritage site but with little political significance.

The Colony Today

In the Current Era Artemis is still one of the largest cities on Luna, with many historical landmarks such as the ancient databanks that once held the entity Mycroft until his transcendence to hyperturing status. The city houses one of the densest populations in the Sol system; its borders are now blurred with the other Lunar cities, many of them having expanded into contact with one another. In darkness, the light of the cities can be seen clearly from orbit.

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Development Notes
Text by Alex Mulvey
With additional material by Steve Bowers, expanding on original material by Anders Sandberg
Initially published on 05 February 2010.