Vital Statistics

Atmosphere: Mostly argon and neon
Temperature: Tropical to temperate
Biosphere: Minimal
Population: Hundreds of thousands of inhabitants
Tech Level: 4
Tag: Restrictive laws
Reason for Colonization: Research outpost
Government: Corporatism
Societal Traits: Bureaucratic, caste system
Conflict: Class conflict between workers and management

Bellatrix was founded as a gengineering research outpost by the Meteor Alliance, a long-defunct corporation. The planet’s minimal biosphere was believed to be an ideal location for genetic manipulation of microorganisms, including the wide variety of alien microbial life that still manages to thrive in the planet’s waterless, inhospitable conditions. Eventually, the Meteor Alliance was dismantled, and for centuries nothing lived on Bellatrix except alien microbes. During the post-Scream reconstruction, a new colony was established under the auspices of Highbeam Multistellar.

Vast resources were funneled to Bellatrix to build the four amazing flying cities that circle the plant’s equator in the stratosphere. Corporate structure on Bellatrix also defines the planet’s government, but promotions are highly competitive, based on technical and research expertise, and occur every six years. Selections for positions are made by the corporate offices on Ylli, and comptetion is fiercely cutthroat.

Visitors to Bellatrix need to be aware of the world’s restrictive laws. The wheels of corporate bureaucracy drive Bellatrix’s regulatory culture, albeit at a grindingly slow pace. Since there is no legislative process on Bellatrix outside business meetings and boardrooms, the maze of regulations changes frequently, often with little apparent rhyme or reason.

Bellatrixian society is divided into three castes. At the top of the social pyramid are Highbeam Multistellar executives, their families, and their staffs. Below this upper crust are the technicians, scientists, and researchers who work for the corporation, as well as members of skilled professions who work on Bellatrix with company sanction. The Brutos comprise the largest and lowest caste.

Bruto have been gengineered to perform the bulk of the unskilled and semi-skilled labor on Bellatrix. They work as janitors, drivers, loaders, et cetera. Bruto are human, but they have a decidedly Neanderthal-like appearance. They were designed for physical strength and endurance, as well as for subpar intelligence and heightened docility.

The latter traits, however, proved maladaptive, and subsequent generations of Bruto have experienced genetic shifts leading to increases in intelligence and independence. While Bruto intelligence still averages less than “pure strain” human norms, exceptional Bruto reach human median IQ.

About a decade ago, these changes in Bruto DNA culminated in the Bruto Collective. Bruto workers in the anti-gravity substructures of Bellatrix’s flying cities seized control of vital systems and threatened to wreak havoc if their demands weren’t met. Tense negotiations and scattered incidents of violence ended with Brutos being granted limited property rights and minimal stock options by the Board of Directors. The Bruto Collective gained recognition as a worker’s organization.


Amazing Future Tales MarkChance