Voltaire is a network of research facilities on Mars’ moon Deimos, which is owned and run by Chinese technology corporation Brave New World. Besides maintaining the facilities and conducting its own research, BNW rents research spaces, services them for other technology giants including Renbao and Zhuangzi, manufactures high-tech electronic components, and supports the private university, the Voltaire University of Science and Technology.
- Government: Corporate republic
- Head of state: Academician Parker Hsu
- Sovereignty: Independent (owned by Brave New World, Gāngjìng xīn shìjiè, 刚劲新世界)
- Location: Voltaire crater, Deimos
- Established: 2033
- Major ports: Upsilon (Xilong, 西隆)
- Industries: Scientific research, higher education, advanced manufacturing
- Currency: CNY
- Population estimate: 300,000
- Languages: Mandarin, English, Arabic
- Religions: Buddhism
In 2033, Brave New World built the first settlement on Voltaire, Alpha Station, to accommodate experimental weapons testing. Notably, two prototype fusion warheads were detonated in Robinson crater, which added a new layer to Deimos’ orbital debris; however without an atmospheric shockwave, the effects were relatively minor.
Other multinational tech companies were drawn to BNW’s research park by the quality of the facilities and the lack of local ethical oversight. They began research into fields such as rocketry, advanced metallurgy, automation, high-energy physics, group psychology & game theory, cloning, metabiology, and information science. Early phase human experimentation became commonplace after it became clear BNW would not micromanage other corporations. Persuasive advertisements played offworld, like the Human Of The Future campaign run in Tharsis and the Belt, which unsubtly implied that willing test subjects might be the recipient of fantastic powers. In reality, the majority of test subjects received no such powers; as many as twelve percent suffered outlandish punishments, such as contracting strange diseases, or were injured, even killed in prototype weapons tests or physics experiments. The modern day percentage has lessened, though is still comparable.
Bases in the BNW network are named for the Greek alphabet. This list, though incomplete, succinctly characterises the nature of the BNW network:
- Alpha: Originally a weapons test range, now the core administrative hub of BNW.
- Beta: Informatics and biology.
- Delta: Medical science and major hospital, as well as a teaching hospital.
- Lambda: High-energy physics.
- Mu: Metallurgy and manufacturing.
- Rho: Rocketry & aerospace design.
- Sigma: Psychology and social sciences.
- Tau: Private facility, paradoxically notorious for its secrecy.
- Upsilon: Voltaire’s main launch facility and port.
- Phi: Site of Voltaire University. Close proximity to Upsilon.
- Omega: Located in Robinson Crater, site of heavy payload weapons experiments
The Tau complex has somewhat of a reputation in The System. Tau is the largest restricted zone on Deimos, and only allows entry to BNW-approved VIPs, though it is speculated that BNW do not actually run it. Tau has its own launch facilities, where constant STO activity is clearly visible
A notable incident occurred on March 16th 2062, when a bright light originating from Tau’s aboveground domes illuminated the rest of the colony so powerfully that platforms fifty kilometres away were imprinted with radiation shadows. No explanation was given in, including those from other complex personnel and Voltaire’s Vice Chancellor. A medical suborbital craft was observed vectoring towards Tau from Delta complex minutes after the event.
Dozens on Deimos were left permanently blind or with malfunctioning optic sensors; prosthetic replacement or repair was offered free of charge to the affected by Delta Medical. No damage was observed to the exterior of Tau, and its operation continued apparently unabated.
No other unexplained phenomena have been observed around Tau since then, and the scientific community has no trusted theory for its cause.
Voltaire University is a private higher education institution in the Phi complex on Deimos.
As a private university, it sources most of its entrants from business partners and its network of alumni, but it also sends envoys annually to other colonies who search for the one-in-a-million recipients of the He Xue Wei Memorial Scholarship. Global academic tests as on Old Earth are impractical, so these envoys search for candidates by local reputations and by their own intuition, hunting for remarkably gifted young people. Past recipients include Folasade Oladele, an artificial intelligence specialist who holds over three hundred Voltaire patents, and Melanie Dyonn, the kinematics engineer who invented the Ultra High Resolution Tomographer, a device for mapping the composition of asteroids and planetoids.