Pan Urban City Planning: 3 – The War Societies

Personal Shards

Antares City Planning and Society

In the first part of this series, Wayne Clayton asked the question ‘What does each faction’s buildings look like?’ and gave an answer for the IMTel nations. He continued in part 2 with the Nomads of the Freeborn and Boromites. Here, he continues with the warlike – and opposed – societies of the Algoryn and Ghar Empire. Whilst not canon, the articles form a really good framework for thinking about such modelling.

The Fortress Cities of the Algoryn

Pan Urban City PlanningOf all the known races in Antarian Space the Algoryn must be the most defensively minded. And with the Ghar on their doorsteps it’s no wonder, therefore when contemplating city building we must take that into account before any other considerations.

Each city would be effectively a fortification on a grand scale. With any castle there would be lines of defensive walls, separating the sections of the city. If one wall is breached they can fall back to another. This would influence the street plan. Instead of great open avenues to the centre of the city the main roads would be made to run parallel with the walls until it reaches an opening. Allowing the defenders plenty of opportunity to rain down fire on the attackers. Each opening would be a gate house which could be locked down at a moment’s notice. Indeed there may also be seen gun batteries jutting out over the highways at the point where the road turns into the gate, which would have clear lines of fire down the length of the route.

Leading off these main highways would be access to the various sectors of the city, but importantly many of these roads would result in dead ends, or cul-de-sacs, forcing the enemy to turn back on itself. At some points there may also be pinch points where the gaps in between building may narrow, making it difficult for large vehicles to turn around. Even old fashioned lamp post might be used to hinder the movement of turrets. One could also imagine within the road itself traps and obstruction could be triggered to spring up, adding to the attackers’ confusion.

Algoryn IconThe gaps in between these ring walls would most likely be filled with more familiar objects of city planning, albeit with an Algoryn twist. All aspects of an army base might be present within these estates, gun ranges, exercise grounds and even mess halls. Communal eating might also help bond the citizens. These military tropes could also act as Algoryn entertainments and sporting pursuits. Sporting arena would host events such as various unarmed combats, team events using modified guns akin to paint ball etc. Skimmer racing may well be very popular, showing off the drivers skills over specially designed circuits, mixing speed with target practice.

Living quarters may well resemble blocks of army barracks, indeed communities may be based on actual regimental forces, to improve army cohesion. A city might be home to an entire army, at least on planets along the borders with Ghar space. In safer sectors of Algoryn space we might see these numbers reduced. Although all would be trained to take up arms in an emergency.

The habitats would also be designed with defence in mind. The materials with which they are made and their very shape, may act in a similar way to angled armour. The windows could quickly be reconfigured into gun slits at a press of a button. The most surprising sight to one visiting such a city would be that it wouldn’t be battleship grey or ironclad concrete. As part of its defences it would use colour, a modernised version of the dazzle paint used to hide the shape of naval ships in the early years of WWII by means of bright colours and geometric shapes. From above the enemy would have difficulty targeting key structures. Given the Ghar’s primitive visual capabilities it could still serve useful as a means to confuse the enemy.

Furthermore outside the city walls there might be areas set aside to act as decoy cities, the very ground painted with the same dazzle designs to lure the enemy into the orbital bombardment of nothing but empty deserts. In the city itself there would be underground bunkers, but pride might prevent any Algoryn from using them. In case of siege each city would have supplies hidden away beneath them, water tanks and ration stores the size of football fields, which might last its people years until help arrived from beyond the Gates of Antares.

Also outside the city gates we would find the dwelling places of non-Algoryn inhabitants. Freeborn traders, Boromite workers and other migrant visitors would be forbidden from entering the walls, or would be limited to only the outer limits of the city for fear of being spies, or worse still Concord or Isorian infiltration shards. Those rare visitors from the IMTels might even be quarantined or forbidden from stepping foot on the Algoryn planets.

There may be many more secrets hidden in the Algoryn cities, but as off worlders we may never know what happens behind those walls.

The Ghar Empire

It may be hard to add much to what has already been written about the Ghar Empire’s homeworld, Gharon Prime and its internal working. It is the end result of a city left to run rampant upon the surface of a planet. No traces of the original world remain: it is encased in metal. Therefore, we must turn to worlds more recently occupied by the Empire to see what might have been revealed in those early years.

All Ghar cities are in truth factories, their focus solely to produce more Ghar warriors and to create means to rid Antares space of all none Ghar.  Therefore the first structures of any new city must first be the plasma core reactors, to power it, and following soon after the weapons factories. Occasionally, the Supreme Commander may even give permission to build a new hatchery to spawn more Ghar (most hatcheries are on Gharon Prime). The primary blueprint of any Ghar colony may well be unchanged from a time even before their own creation. They would be no deviation from the task: any natural obstacles would be flattened, no matter how big they may be to make way for the cities expansion – mountains levelled, seas drained and forests burned until nothing remained.

Radiating from the plasma reactors we would see the main arteries of the power grid, and next to them the pipes to vent the toxic waste away from the heart of the city. As the city grew these would be extended further and further. Where once the waste both liquid and solid poured out freely, the Ghar would ‘pave’ over them using molten metal or ceramics, turning the toxic mess into the city’s new foundations.

Each new addition to the factory complex would tap into the power grid. Naturally as the city grew the Commander of the city would endeavour to rise up above the masses, adding new layers to the city and enclosing the level below with metal plates. Only when enough layers separated them from the workings below would they allow themselves to be sealed in, protecting them from attack, exposure to the elements and any sunlight which might find its way through the clouds of pollution created by the city itself.

The only visible signs of life would be found at the fringes of the city, where huge crawling machines would be seen in the process of building its next expansion. During the daylight hours non-Ghar slaves might toil there, replaced only at nightfall by the Outcast slaves too pitiful to be placed on the battlefield. The sleeping quarters of such workers would be located close to the new construction sites, as their well being would be of little concern, the only time they would venture inside the heart of the city would be if dangerous work was to be done, or if they were to be added to the soup of the day after an unfortunate accident while on site!

These cities never sleep and the noise of construction never stops. The corridors echo to the clank of steel on steel as battle suits marched towards the loading bays of shuttle crafts to take them to the warships in orbit above. Those ships would no doubt be made in shipyards equally carefree of the safety of its workers.

As we have suggested metal is the main building material of the Ghar, but the cities themselves would not be entirely metal in colour. Sections may well need to be colour coded for easy of identification. Given the structure of Ghar society, the lack of social movement and education, colour coding would instruct the lower members what sections would be forbidden for them to enter and what routes they could move through.

As mentioned already the toxic waste around the city would both mark out any Ghar settlement, blighting the land far beyond its limits, but it would also act as a readymade defensive line in case of ground attack. Weapon platforms would appear on the skyline of the outer layer of the city, but only to defend the most important sections, a prime target being the main plasma reactor. The most prominent defensive features of any city would be the Quantum Gravity Generators (as seen on Xilos) which would act to seal their worlds from enemy transmat targeting and to act as protective shields around the planet.

Perhaps the biggest danger to a Ghar city, and perhaps the reason they look to encase themselves in steel below the surface, is the threat of Distortion storms which would ravage any planet the Ghar choose to make home – the older the city, the more violent the storms. Ironically, however, such nuisance storms are the best defensive weapon the Ghar have against the invasion of their city-worlds.

By Wayne Clayton