Tadmor is a desert planet about twice the size of Earth, located in the Gamma Cephei system. Tadmor has been a member state of the Sol Central Government since the latter's formation. First settled in 2176 by a group of Martian colonists, Tadmor's economy is based on both industrial-scale agriculture and the fabrication of various electronic goods. Tadmorans have prided themselves on their pacifism, with few found in Sol's defense forces. However, this lead to some conflict during the Gaia Conflict between Tadmoran senators and those of the core worlds.
Tadmor was originally colonized in 2176, shortly after the construction of the first Gateway in the Sol system. A group of Martian colonists, eager to join the new wave of space travel and hoping to escape the rising political tensions between the Terran Commonwealth and the forerunners of the Ares Confederation, chose the planet for settlement due to its (relative) habitability and accessibility via bluespace rift.
The initial colony ships on Tadmor found themselves in a dust-strewn wasteland. After setting up rudimentary self-sufficient habitations, the colonists began exploring their new home. A geological survey of the planet showed a remarkable discovery: the sands compromising the vast majority of Tadmor's surface contained an extremely large concentration of rare, high-grade mineral dust used in the manufacture of electronic goods. As settlement continued, colonists began to search for ways to collect these lucrative minerals. A cheap, low-impact extraction method was eventually devised by a Palmyran botanical lab: through the intensive genetic modification of tuberous crops, these plants could be made to accumulate metals from the surrounding environment, allowing Tadmor's mineral wealth to be farmed and leaving what was – with proper precautions – edible, starchy produce as its sole by-product. Over the next century, Tadmor's unique mining system – dubbed “phytomining” – would become the cornerstone of the colony's economy. Today, Tadmor is a hub for electronics production and botanical sciences alike, and remains one of the leading agricultural providers in human space.
Historically, Tadmor has abstained from involvement in armed conflicts. This dates back to the war between the Terran Commonwealth and the Ares Confederation, in which Tadmor remained staunchly neutral even as other outlying human colonies became front lines in the conflict – per the original colonists's directives, the planet was to “remain free of short-sighted, fanatical political squabbles”, instead focusing on economic growth and internal development. Following the end of the war, Tadmor joined the newly-formed Sol Central Government as a member state and spent succeeding decades establishing itself as a major trading partner with both Sol and humanity's outer states, including the Gilgamesh Colonial Confederation. It is estimated that, prior to the Gaia Conflict, Tadmor accounted for 40% of the GCC's food imports (primarily in frontier systems).
With the onset of fighting in Gaia, Tadmor became one of the loudest opponents of the conflict in the Solar Senate. Tadmoran politicians, citing their planet's history of nonviolence and longstanding economic ties with the GCC, positioned themselves as a bridge between the two governments and pushed for peace talks well up to the destruction of the Helios Gateway. While some lauded these senators for their dedication towards peace, others – particularly in the core worlds – criticized them as traitors and profiteers for ignoring the GCC's imperialistic aggression in favor of Tadmor's bottom line. Some even claim Tadmor refused to uphold the SCG's trade embargoes during the war, and sold supplies to the GCC even as they decimated Solar forces – this is generally dismissed as baseless conspiracy, however. In the aftermath of the Gaia Conflict, Tadmor has remained staunchly pro-reconciliation, stating that humanity should be united among the stars; this has remained a point of contention between the planet and the more militant voices within the SCG. On Tadmor itself, the Gaia Conflict is viewed as an ugly era of senseless bloodshed.
Tadmor is an arid, high-gravity planet, about twice the size of Earth and composed almost entirely of desert. Its atmosphere is composed primarily of CO2 – terraforming efforts have rendered oxygen levels high enough for unassisted breathing in short intervals, but most structures remain atmosphere-controlled. Surface temperatures average 40°C year-round, and liquid water is only present below ground. Moreover, Tadmor's surface is subject to high winds and frequent sand storms – most of the planet has been considerably eroded, leaving it flat and covered in sand. The most notable exceptions are Tadmor's sprawling tectonic canyons – sheltered from the heat and winds, these canyons are home to Tadmor's fissure-cities, including its capital Palmyra. As Tadmor's external climate is inhospitable and difficult to traverse, fissure-cities are connected via a series of industrial rails, many of which are underground.
Government and Politics
Tadmor is governed by a planetary president with a four-year term, together with a small assembly drawn from the metropolitan fissures in which the overwhelming majority of the population lives. The planet's current president, Prisha Saince, is a previous Chief Operating Officer of Mahimaku Instruments and has held the office since 2304. Tadmor's government maintains a strong public image with its populace, laying claim to the original colonists's legacy and touting itself as a champion of human peace and prosperity. While these claims may or may not be overstated, it is indisputable that Tadmor's government has invested heavily in the development of the planet's economy; politicians retain close ties with the business sector, and companies that prove profitable find themselves the recipients of any number of generous loans, development contracts, and research grants as long as they maintain their performance. These ties have drawn criticism from anti-corporate activists, especially as Tadmor's non-corporate population continues to grow.
Within the broader SCG political scene, Tadmor tends to clash with the core worlds regarding foreign affairs: the planet's senators have long denounced Sol's militarization of border systems and heavy trade tariffs, while Tadmor's planet's close economic ties with the GCC have drawn criticism from left- and right-wing SCG politicians alike. Lacking the political force of the core worlds, Tadmor often capitulates to SCG pressures – this remains a sore point for Tadmorans, and a push for greater independence from the SCG has gained traction on the planet in recent years.
Tadmor's population has historically remained relatively small, though it has experienced boom of growth and immigration in recent years. Much of the populace consists of bio- and mechanical engineers, scientists, and corporate management, who enjoy an upper to upper-middle class standard of living. The bulk of manual labor is automated – particularly in the agricultural sector, where millions of acres are maintained by massive, roving Dagon Harvesters – though the planet is supported by a sizeable contingent of agricultural technicians, industrial and habitation workers, and service sector employees.
Many Tadmorans are descendants of the original Martian colonists, mainly Delphins and Monisians, though the planet has attracted researchers and and corporate personnel from all across human space. ZAC and Arabic are both widely-spoken, as is Pan-Slavic – especially with the influx of immigrants following the Gaia Conflict, largely from destabilized border worlds throughout Solar and Terran space. There is a strong cultural emphasis on education, especially in engineering and the natural sciences, and the planet is home to several prestigious technical and agro-science institutes.
Tadmoran communities are tight-knit (if not standoffish), and Tadmorans are often considered “snooty” by off-worlders; long-time residents are proud of their planet's history and the legacy of its founders. This, together with logistical burdens on the overcrowded fissure-cities built for populations a fraction of their size, has led to some tension between old and new residents. While Tadmor's government has been publicly supportive, infrastructural strains – cramped living quarters, overburdened atmospherics systems, hastily-dug and structurally-questionable lower levels – have become increasingly difficult for Palmyra and other fissure-cities to manage.
Tadmor's economy revolves around industrial agriculture and the fabrication of electronic goods. The planet is a major exporter of electronics, food products, and biofuels in both SCG and GCC space, as well as with independent human colonies. Agricultural refinement – the process of extracting industrial-grade minerals from agricultural products and rendering these products safe for human consumption – compromises a large portion of the internal economy, and many corporations maintain operating facilities on the planet for the manufacture of electronic components. Notable among these businesses are Ward-Takahashi, DAIS, and NanoTrasen, alongside smaller corporations such as the locally-based electronics company Mahimaku Instruments.
Tadmor's agricultural sector is defined by phytomining: millions of acres of the planet's surface are covered with deep-rooting, tuberous plants modified to withstand the harsh desert conditions and gather the planet's exotic minerals. These fields are cultivated and harvested by Dagon Harvesters: massive self-sustaining machines capable of maintaining vast swathes of desert crops. These harvesters are named for the IPV Dagon, one of Tadmor's original colony ships from which the first harvesters were repurposed. Modern Dagon Harvesters are almost entirely automated, requiring a crew of only four to ten technicians to operate – these machines are akin to terrestrial fishing trawlers, working independently of their “port” cities for months at a time. The upkeep for these hulking machines has become an industry its own, with repair workshops dotting the edges of fissure-cities like shipyards. Phytomining fields cover almost one-fifth of Tadmor's surface.
The plants harvested from phytomining operations, after being thoroughly cleaned of mineral and heavy metal contaminants, yield a starchy, high-nutrient bulb not dissimilar in texture to yams or gummen. This product is exported throughout human space as a cheap food source and biofuel, and is a common ingredient in vegan meat substitutes and MREs. Other crops are grown on Tadmor, albeit at a smaller scale – famously, Tadmoran wines fetch a lofty price across human space.
To maintain an oxygenated atmosphere and avoid the violent windstorms, Tadmoran settlements are built into the fissures of of the planet's tectonic canyons. Each of these settlements is covered by a ceiling of durable, abrasion-resistant glass to create an atmospheric seal while still allowing in light from Tadmor's sun. The planet's architecture has adapted to the vertical environment, with complex systems of elevators running through each city. Higher-value buildings are built closer to the surface, where natural sunlight is abundant – poorer areas and industrial zones are relegated to the bottom portions of the ravines, which are typically less developed and dimly-lit. Grass, trees, and ferns are laboriously planted throughout cities, both to promote a natural aesthetic and to help relieve the overworked atmospheric generators. Visitors staring down from the upper levels of the fissure-cities often describe them as “a spiderweb of greenery”.
The capital of Tadmor, located not far from the original landing site of the Martian colonists. It is the largest city on the planet, but was not built to house the population it holds and has begun struggling with overpopulation in recent years. While Palmyra's upper levels remain green and shiny, there are growing concerns about the safety of the rather rapidly-built habitation centers built near the bottom of the ravine.
Often called the “agricultural capital”, Quesir Amra is the forefront of Dagon Harvester technology. It houses some of the only above-ground structures of considerable size: the massive garages in which Harvesters are built and repaired. It is also home to Tadmor's largest spaceport, importing massive amounts of industrial steel in exchange for crops and electronics.
Built in a long but rather shallow fissure, Socotra is made up of mostly high-value real estate – most of which has been eaten up by corporate offices and luxury housing. The city's sunny, sleek buildings and perfectly-pedicured hanging gardens are the poster-child for life on Tadmor. The advertisements distinctly leave out the underside of Socotra: miles of atmospheric machinery and steel reinforcement pylons, alongside thousands of habitation technicians, support the opulence above.
Founded by a group of eccentric botanists fed up with corporate labs, Uvs Nuur is a commune dedicated to art, science, and spirituality. While Uvs Nuur remains smaller than most other settlements and is fairly politically-insignificant, the city purports some of the best research colleges on the planet – the Uvs Nuur Institute of Arts and Life Studies fills the city with strange, bio-engineered plants and off-kilter literature in equal measure. Amongst other Tadmorans, Uvs Nuur has a (not entirely unearned) reputation for unwashed, reishi-smoking hippies and political radicals.