Life on a Compound Harvester is hard. The hours are long and tours of duty can easily run six month to a year or more. Few pilots and crew can afford the expensive voyage back to Earth for R&R- and few frankly would find the journey worthwhile. Instead, miners look forward to their return to one of the twelve great Zodiac Stations.
Scattered at roughly 30° intervals around the Asteroid Belt, these vast space stations house well over a hundred million humans. They provide critical services to about half a billion more, from Harvester teams to long-term outpost crews. They are also home to the giant shipyards that build the huge Compound Harvesters and the enormous Void Barges that carry vital materials back to a starving Earth.
Each station is unique, built and maintained by a megacorporation of the United Corporations' Grand Council. Under the UC's charter, these stations are neutral ground- legally agnostic and economically libertine ports-of-call. Very little is illegal on the Zodiacs, save property crimes and violence that results in loss of economic utility. As such, one can find both the heights and depths of human experience in the glittering spires and stinking warrens of the Zodiacs.
List of Stations
The angles are relative, the stations actually orbit the sun about once every four years or so.
Nicknamed "Longhorn Station", Taurus Station was built by Henley from 2299 to 2304. The station consists of two rotating cylinders poking out of a mined-out asteroid in the shape of a crude bull's skull. The asteroid houses the docking facilities.
Developed by Coram Morte between 2300 and 2304, Gemini Station replaced an earlier waystation in this part of the Asteroid Belt. Famous for its large aeroponic "park", Gemini consists of a single large cylinder with a docking superstructure on the sunward side.
Formally named "Dragon Station", Cancer Station was the first giant station built in the Asteroid Belt. Constructed by Chengchao from 2284 to 2296, it is a giant cylinder. A non-rotating superstructure on the sunward side serves as the docking area.
Started by Kyano in 2298 and completed two years later, Leo Station is a no-frills trading post and waystation. Built largely inside of a mined-out asteroid, Leo only maintains one spinning ring inside the rocky shell. While unpopular with luxury tourists, budget-mined harvesters often trade here.
Built by Parthenorbital starting in 2295, Virgo Station is a series of concentric rings arranged like an astrolabe. The shipyards form the core of this assemblage and a large, mined-out asteroid serves as both the "base" of the "astrolabe" and as the zero-g docking area for vessels calling at the station.
Developed by the security-focused megacorp Torchlight (TLS), construction began on Libra Station in 2290. Built in the style of a gigantic shield, the station has seven concentric rings, each offset slightly along the axis of rotation. Docking takes place along a huge stationary ring on the spaceward side.
Built by Aktigos between 2291 and 2298, Sagittarius Station consists of two rotating wheels with a star-like hub. On the spaceward side of the hub, a stationary spindle provides docking access.
Designed and built by CS starting in 2292, Capricorn Station resembles a large cylinder. An enormous reflector on the back side allows the station's large garden spaces to maintain a higher average temperature, allowing for the cultivation of subtropical plants. Docking occurs along the back side of the reflector.
Constructed by the now-fallen megacorp NEX from 2286-2301, Aquarius Station is now maintained by the Aisha megacorp. It is a cylinder-style station, though the wealthier sections enjoy higher gravity in a separate ring. Docking takes place along a stationary spindle on the spaceward side.