Ark Galactapedia

microTech (Stanton IV)
MICROTECH

microTech (Stanton IV) is the fourth and farthest planet from the sun in the Stanton system, United Empire of Earth (UEE). Located at the outer edge of the system’s habitable zone, microTech is mostly ice, with some cold-to-temperate areas of tundra. It was purchased from the UEE by the corporation microTech in the mid-2800s. Its capital, New Babbage, is home to many corporations and startups and is a major center for technological innovation.

ENVIRONMENT

Most of microTech is covered in mountains and ice sheets and subject to strong blizzards and ice storms. There are very few liquid bodies of water. Multiple temperate tundra zones exist in areas associated with deep geothermal activity. Camping expeditions and hikes in these greener biomes are popular vacation activities among microTech’s full-time population. Cold-hardy plants such as evergreens, wildflowers, grasses, and lichen grow there throughout the year.

Thawort, a lichen that grows on microTech and other worlds with arctic climates, is the subject of research for several pharmaceutical startups based in New Babbage. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties have shown promise in the lab, though the properties are only present in wild-collected specimens. Research to replicate these traits in artificial conditions is ongoing.

HISTORY

Discovered in 2851, Stanton IV is a super-Earth, and one of four planets in the Stanton system’s habitable zone. Full development of the system would have taken funds not readily available to the government at the time. After beginning initial terraforming, the UEE announced the decision in 2865 to sell it and its sibling planets to private interests in order to help pay down its debts and provide a boost to the downturned economy.

An early terraforming error resulted in a climate far colder and harsher than initial projections had indicated, leading to multiple debates on the UEE Senate floor regarding the government’s ability to sell Stanton IV. However, it was thanks to this error that founder and then-CEO of microTech Magnus Tobin purchased it as the new headquarters for microTech. Tobin sold off land his company had been using for server farms in the leadup to this acquisition. According to a contemporary press release, the “reliably frigid” climate of Stanton IV was ideal for keeping their expansive network of servers cool. Tobin personally oversaw the construction of New Babbage, the largest city and now-headquarters of microTech at large.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Planetary governance is conducted by specialized divisions of the microTech corporation. Population-sustaining departments such as water infrastructure and waste management exist alongside economic ones such as taxation, business licensing, and import/export. Former elected officials or government workers are typically hired for these roles, though those from the private-sector are not barred from selection. Upon their purchase of the planet, microTech upgraded their corporate security force to perform police actions where necessary. Wherever possible, microTech utilizes technology and custom microTech-designed systems and software to automate much of the day-to-day operations, including the enforcement of local laws. As immigration to microTech increases, leaders within microTech have debated the implementation of an eventual population cap.

CULTURE

The city of New Babbage was designed to support the creativity of the highly-skilled workforce needed to drive microTech’s future innovation. Areas like the Commons were constructed as creative workspaces, dedicated to providing areas for programmers and engineers to relax, network, and plan. The city’s robust nightlife provides an outlet for the workforce’s high-pressure crunch times and higher-than-average salaries, and visiting financiers and venture capitalists make regular use of the high-end bars. Inhabitants also like to escape the confines of the city to take part in outdoor cold weather activities.

Bleeding-edge technology is a common sight on microTech. Not only due to the company itself, but also the presence of other established tech companies alongside a constantly-cycling roster of startups. Residents who don’t keep abreast of the latest advances are generally seen as gauche by their peers, though this outlook varies. Members of the upper-classes of the UEE frequent the markets to secure the newest tech before it officially debuts.

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