- Ceres Cluster (800,000 pop)
- Florian Cluster (300,000 pop)
- Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Ceres alone contains a third of the mass of the entire asteroid belt.
- Due to radioactive decay, Ceres contains a slushy subsurface "ocean" consisting of approximately 200 million cubic kilometers of water.
- The surface achieves a maximum temperature of 235 K (about −38 °C, −36 °F) - quite warm for an extraterrestrial body.
- Possesses a very tenuous atmosphere.
- Early on in Ceres' development, efforts were made to artificially spin the dwarf planet in order to allow for the creation of upside down subsurface settlement with closer to Earth-normal gravity. In addition to being one of the earliest of such efforts, Ceres remains the largest body this form of planetary engineering has been attempted on. While the effort was ultimately successful, it took close to eighty years before the desired spin was achieved, albeit at an astronomical cost. There are several practical implications of this:
- Standing untethered on the artificial equator's surface flings said individual off the surface and into space.
- Two spaceports exist on Ceres, the docking portion of each existing at each artificial pole. Ships dock into the poles due to that being where the centrifugal motion is mildest. These spaceports are Északi Port and Déli Port, with the former being privately controlled and the latter being state-controlled.
- The closer towards the center of Ceres one gets, the less the effect of the centrifugal gravity, something that can result in nausea and disorientation. For this reason, it is common for spacers to drug themselves up with anti-nausea medications before and after docking; most ship maintenance is done remotely by drone for this reason as well.
- Fissile Materials
- Shipyards capable of building up to destroyer-class vessels
- Trading and commerce hub for the Belt
- Although the Independent Republic of Ceres was created as a corporate nation, it has become comparatively egalitarian in the frequently dystopian reality of national polities in the 25th century due to powerful labor organizations that have managed to largely wrest control of the government from the original corporate owners. Still, there remains constant tension between the various labor organizations as each jockeys for political control.
- Historically Ceres has pursued a laissez-faire philosophy with regards to other national polities, in an effort to maintain relative political neutrality. Despite this, it has increasingly found itself forced into taking positions. It has generally become aligned with the State-Free State of Mars axis in the inner worlds, and the Kuiper Compact in the outer worlds. This, of course, has by default positioned itself against the Eastern Federation, Mars Republic, and the Sovereign Republic of Ganymede.
- While not in a state of open war with each other, the Independent Republic of Ceres and the Vesta Compact have increasingly found themselves at odds as each competes for the position of premier commercial hub for the Belt. Both polities have, however, quietly supported privateering elements to perform commerce raiding on the other's commercial interests.
- The various piratical elements that rely on Concordia for support prey equally on Ceres and Vestan commercial interests, but generally leave inner worlder commerce alone given those powers' more potent naval capabilities. Ceres has been exploring the idea of "cleansing" Concordia, but thus far has not pursued the idea as it lacks the confidence that it could do such without catastrophic loss of life or lethal reprisal.
Politics and Culture:
- In the early 22nd century, with mineral rights on Mars being locked up by the still potent but slowly fading might of the United States of America, the corporations of the nascent Union felt increasingly locked out of the Martian landrush, and began exploring alternative routes of expansion. The first of these efforts was a consortium organized by the Hungarian-based transnational mining corporation Corvin Ércbányászati Vállalat resulting in what would become the largest and most powerful of the Belt's myriad colonies.
- Ceres herself became the gateway to the rest of the Belt, boasting small vessel shipyard capabilities as well as considerable native resource development in its own right. As the Belt's primary port of call and by this point invaluable to not just Union but the Eastern Federation as well, Ceres declared itself exempt from Union judicial directives in 2189 by the legal fig leaf of reforming itself as an independent state under the Union's own rules of local self-determination.
- Ceres politics is based upon a number of trade and industry based labor organizations that de facto control the biggest of the corporate ventures native to Ceres, most notably the import/export, mining, and agronomic sectors. Numerous other non-labor controlled corporations exist as well, but most of these have a broader base of business than the Ceres and Florian Clusters.
- While the Independent Republic of Ceres is fundamentally based upon a capitalistic model, in many ways it has turned this on its head with labor now being the dominant force over the original corporate interests. Still, the profits from Ceres' industries is so immense on a per capita basis that even with that reduced degree of power, the nominal corporate masters of Ceres' industry yet remain inordinately wealthy, particularly at an individual level.
- Ceres culture is a hybrid of individualism and socialism:
- Permanent immigration is rigidly enforced and highly coveted, although temporary stays are trivial to attain.
- Full citizens of the Independent Republic of Ceres are guaranteed a very basic standard of living, although it should be noted that citizenship for any offspring is not automatic and must be purchased by the offspring's date of majority. This has resulted in a stateless - and usually young - underclass that has ironically fueled both pirate and lawless "entrepreneurship" of the political and military soup that is the reality for most of the Belt.
- Labor organizations dominate the political process, effectively hamstringing corporate rule in many regards. Still, in the interest of benefiting from the myriad profit-sharing arrangements they have wrung out of the original owners of the various ventures on Ceres, there has arrived a generally stable equilibrium between corporate and labor interests that is unusual in the solar system.
- Corporate benefits provide the bulk of the social benefit structure for most of Ceres' population, which while subject to labor law nevertheless retain much of the negotiated elements common in other parts of the solar system such as the Europan Consortium.
- Recreation on Ceres consists primarily of a mix of sports featuring low and high gravity sports on the one hand, and intense gambling on the other.
- Philosophically, Ceres culture adheres to a principle of, "If it's not hurting anyone else, it should be legal", although this precept only applies culturally - not economically.