June 18th 2014
Greetings, traveler, there are millions of sights to see in the universe. The team at THE OBSERVIST is here to make sure you get the best traveling experience possible.
Toshi Aaron discovered Stanton in 2851. Many speculated that the system, with its massive super-Earths, could provide cheap real estate for millions. Yet, the UEE had other plans. Years before the announcement of Project Archangel, more commonly called Synthworld, the UEE began to consider ways to pay for it. While terraforming the worlds in Stanton, the UEE quietly contacted the largest megacorps in the Empire to gauge their interest in purchasing the planets. It didn’t take long before they found interested buyers. Negotiations went on behind closed doors for years until the sales became official in 2865. The UEE received the monetary infusion needed to kickstart Synthworld construction, and Stanton’s officially turned into a system-wide corporate business park.
The third planet in Stanton carries an ironic distinction with it. The planet was sold to fund the Synthworld, yet it has been transformed into, at least on the surface, a synthetic world. Taking a page from the Xi’an approach to geoplanning, ArcCorp sculpted, zoned, and built upon the primary landmasses to maximize their earning potential. They will rent office, factory, or production space to anyone with the credits to pay.
Even though an overwhelming portion of the planet is covered in unending sprawl, there are only a handful of “Areas” travelers are allowed to land. Of those, one has become the most trafficked:
Here at THE OBSERVIST, we’d normally start our segments by describing the approach in the hopes of igniting your imagination about why this spot is the place to land on the surface.
We can’t really do that here. From afar Area18 looks like another spot in the sprawl. It just happens to be one of the Areas cleared for interplanetary traffic. Carefully follow the flight path to Area18 and don’t get distracted by the spectacular vista of architecture expanding as far as the eye can see. Much of the planet remains a designated “Restricted Area” at lower altitudes due to safety concerns. It might be tempting to do canyon-esque runs through rows of skyscrapers, but best to not incur the wrath of the planet’s strict security services. Otherwise, you’ll never make it to Area18’s Riker Memorial Spaceport.
Comm the local landing service when in range to be guided to your hangar. Once out of your ship, make your way to the shuttle connecting the spaceport to Area18. Stand at the front of the car, if possible, to feel like your floating between the massive buildings and neon signs surrounding the shuttle on all sides.
Customs is never fun, but once through you’ll enter Area18’s exhilarating Central Plaza. Take a second to soak it all up. Admire Memphis Avery’s famous floating sculpture. Pose for pictures among the neon streams spilling from the giant Fizzz can holograms above. Once you’ve worked up a thirst, duck into the G-LOC bar and grab a drink off their extensive menu. From our experience, the Wingman’s Hangover goes down easy but packs a punch. The stiff pours would explain why the dance floor was filled.
Food stalls stationed around the plaza and in nearby alleys provide plenty of quick and delicious culinary choices. A fair bit of warning though, some of these alleys twist and turn, quickly becoming dark, dirty, and potentially dangerous. Stick to the well-lit and heavily trafficked areas to avoid unwanted encounters. Despite Area18’s constant buzz, criminal activity remains an issue. ArcCorp takes its security seriously and has enlisted (notorious) private security firm BlacJac Security to maintain the peace. Here’s a piece of advice, if you’re having problems, trek to the ADVOCACY OFFICE inside the IO-North Tower instead.
Of course, Area18 features more than spectacular views, tasty treats, and a constant hum of Humanity. If you’re low on supplies or looking for upgrades, you can check out any number of familiar stores: CenterMass, Dumper’s Depot, Casaba, and Astro Armada. But those shops can be found almost anywhere in the Empire. Only Area18 has CUBBY BLAST. The store has all the hallmarks of a basic weapons shop: inventory on display, options to install purchases on your ship, the occasional sale, but it’s the man behind the register who sets this store apart from the pack. A Cathcart expatriate, CLOR VEE brings a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of his wares along with a hint of danger, as we’re sure that his familiarity comes from personal experience.
The upshot of indulging in a shopping spree is that Area18 also has a bustling TDD. A planet completely occupied by companies means qualified workers are always in demand. Many independent contractors use Area18 as their central hub, grabbing a hab at the ADIRA FALLS APARTMENTS between gigs.
ArcCorp remains a sight to see. This epic fever dream of industry on a planetary scale is something that you won’t find anywhere else in Human space. Of course, we could talk about it all day, but it’s really something you need to observe for yourself.