Home to 40 million transhumans, Luna is one of the three centers of the inner system. While Mars is the most populous world in the solar system, with five times Luna’s population and a far more hospitable environment, several of the Lunar settlements are not only the oldest surviving human habitations in existence, they are also symbolically far more of a home to transhumanity. Just ask any Lunar, they’ll tell you, and with no shortage of pride. However, there are also things they don’t like to talk about too openly. On Luna’s “near side,” anyone looking up can see the blighted Earth in great detail. While those of us from the outer system regularly deride residents of the inner system as living in the past and still beholden to the now-destroyed Earth, in a very real sense Mars is the new home of transhumanity, while Luna quite literally lies in Earth’s shadow. Elsewhere in the solar system, the Earth is nothing more than a distant dot of light. On Luna, the damage done to transhumanity’s home by the TITANs is clearly visible, as is the fact that on Earth’s night side, the once great seas of urban illumination have been reduced to a handful of baleful flickers that now mark the inhuman activities of a few hundred thousand TITAN-twisted monsters.
During the Fall, Luna was the easiest place to relocate refugees from Earth. As a result, more than half of the refugees who were physically evacuated from Earth ended up on Luna. Compared to Mars, Venus, and most of the other worlds and moons in the solar system, however, Luna is not a particularly hospitable place. It is an airless world that is exceptionally poor in hydrogen. The lack of a magnetosphere or atmosphere means settlements must be built underground or buried to protect them from solar flares and cosmic rays. To this day, overcrowding and limited resources continue to strain the Lunar economy and living conditions.
Luna has no central government. Approximately 60% of the population lives in settlements governed by the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, while the remainder live in settlements controlled by the Planetary Consortium or in one of the few small independent stations. Those part of the LLA have autonomy in their local government and infrastructure, though in practice there is little in the way of radical experimentation with social models, and most tend towards simple representative democracies, republics, or corporate hierarchies, with a smattering of technocracies, oligarchies, and autocratic systems. LLA members are bound to support each other and send reps to the LLA’s Council to vote on issues affecting all of Luna. The Consortium settlements are more answerable to larger Consortium and hypercorp interests.
As the oldest and most established world in the solar system, many transhumans look to Luna as a source for stability and new, if not revolutionary ideas. Despite not being at the cutting edge of science or technology and being a world that is no longer growing or expanding, Luna remains exceedingly influential. There are three particular areas where Luna is unrivaled in the inner system and important throughout the entire solar system: finance, fashions, and entertainment.
On the Surface
Luna has the standard array of monitoring satellites and small private and hypercorp-owned zero-g manufacturing facilities and research stations found around all settled worlds. However, Lunar laws against many types of cutting-edge research mean that there are considerably fewer research bases than around most worlds, or at least fewer of them that allow anyone outside the hypercorp any information about their research. The total orbital population of Luna is 3.4 million, with the vast majority located in the large station at the top of the Lunar skyhook — Selene Station. Approximately half of these stations owe allegiance to the Planetary Consortium and half to the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance.
The New Mumbai Containment Zone
Before it was destroyed by two large fusion bombs, New Mumbai was Luna’s primary helium-3 extraction facility and a thriving colony of 50,000 that had rapidly expanded during the early portion of the Fall to hold an additional 380,000 refugees. Unfortunately, at least one of these refugees was infected with an exsurgent virus when they fled from Earth. Though the first generation of quarantine measures was in effect, this infected individual managed somehow to slip through. A few weeks later, more than 70% of the population of New Mumbai was secretly infected, with no one the wiser. At a certain point, however, the virus went active and simultaneously took control of these victims. Experts in exsurgent activity are certain that the virii exchanged covert signals that allowed them to coordinate their takeover.
Once the virii took control of their hosts, surviving records from New Mumbai indicate that the city was swiftly conquered. The exsurgents either killed or infected all of the remaining transhuman inhabitants. Although a few thousand uninfected residents escaped and at least 10,000 more are assumed to have barricaded themselves in various secure locations, the exsurgents took control of the entire city in less than one hour. Orbital imagery of New Mumbai revealed that many of the exsurgents rapidly moved to the city’s various transport facilities and were clearly preparing to attempt to travel to other Lunar cities. Rather than waiting to see what they would do, Lunar authorities dropped two fusion bombs on New Mumbai less than two hours after the beginning of the exsurgent takeover. The resulting blast incinerated the city and produced a crater almost 10 kilometers across and 25 meters deep, surrounded by a zone of melted and scorched rock more than 100 kilometers across. The blast destroyed all exsurgents.
The region around New Mumbai remains under quarantine and off limits, enforced by automated LLA defenses and drones, and will likely remain so for several decades.