Contempt for the Flesh
Olympus, with a population of 1 million living in a space designed to accommodate 6 million, is something of a ghost town. The former principal city, built in the caldera of Olympus Mons around the space elevator, is now fallen into disuse. As the temperatures rose and the climate improved in the Valles Marineris canyonlands, most of the population left the windswept caldera for more hospitable surroundings. Olympus is not and never was a large domed city, consisting instead of a souk-like network of minor domes and antiquated tin can hab modules.
Low atmospheric pressure and bone-freezing temperatures at the city’s altitude of 27 kilometers mean that most transhumans venturing outside the souks and hab modules still need the equivalent of light vacsuits to survive. Martian Alpiners, a rare morph found in few other places, are not uncommon here due to the harsh conditions.
The city center is well-maintained and carefully overseen by the Olympus Infrastructure Authority, a minor hypercorp that operates the space elevator. The outskirts are economically depressed and sometimes dangerous, mostly deserted and populated by squatters, indentured downloads on the run, and other people who really want to be left alone. Occasional outbreaks of dangerously mutated artificial life are one of the few reasons for which the Authority bothers to intervene in the outskirts. Otherwise, the old tin can habs and their strange inhabitants are left to decay.
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