Progress (Deimos)

Formerly the moon known as Deimos, Progress orbits Mars about every 30 hours. It’s a cylindrical Cole habitat with immense windows cut into it, making it resemble an immense stone O’Neill cylinder that tapers somewhat toward the ends. The hab has busy spaceports at both of its rotational axes. This place is corp hell. My first gig as a driver, and my only long-term job offworld, was driving an air taxi for execs and their families around the cylinder. I’d hoped working around the vomitously rich might be a good angle for a cool hunter, but all I learned was that you cannot, repeat cannot, buy taste. The problem is that when you have enough money, no one is going to tell you that you can’t wear hot orange with aquamarine or that your cosmetic surgery is not cute, but just makes your morph’s face look all effed up. Insulated from how actual transhumans dress groundside, this place is a non-stop parade of high-markup fashion crimes. Fortunately, for every stay-at-home spouse dressed like an inmate from a pre-genetic engineering home for the simple, there are three people in suits so sharp you could cut yourself on the creases. Yes, pretty. Be warned: there is nothing funky about these people; they are face-eating eels in exalt sleeves, no matter what kind of front they show. Progress is where the ambitious come to get powerful, and they are not fucking around.
Did I mention the entire fucking hab smells like an ashtray? Smoking is so popular here that you can almost spot an outsider by whether they’re lighting up, and there are two large hydroponics installations orbiting with the hab that grow nothing but tobacco. What you smoke is a display of rank, and within corps, there are unspoken sumptuary customs. It’s a major gaffe to smoke a mid-level executive brand if you’re a junior exec, for instance. Smoking wears out your morph, sucks more resources out of recycling systems, and gives your life support system that not so fresh feeling … so why do they do it? I’ll go with unmitigated group megalomania on this one: you smoke to show that you don’t care if you’re morph’s on its last leg at 40. You are a successful motherfucker, and you’re going to buy a new one. That’s the kind of attitude that’ll get the honchos admiring the cut of your jib up here.
So far in this report, we’ve all been saying something about how each city looks, maybe talking about the architecture. Well, it sucks. The place looks like the placenta left behind as the sleep of reason breeds monsters. The built landscape around here is one part Chinese New Imperial, one part executive desk toy, two parts high-end southern California shopping mall circa BF 65. The plant life is obsessively manicured. You know how if you want a relaxing atmosphere, greenery can help out a lot? Well, the people who laid out Progress must have been aliens who read that bit of wisdom in a book but didn’t understand it at all.

Culture and Demographics

Progress is home base for nearly two million vacworkers, most of whom are sleeved in synths. There is a higher proportion of pods and infomorphs as well, both commonly indentures. Exalts, sylphs, hibernoids, and mentons are all common morphs here; only proles sleeve in splicers. Pod morphs are common, especially for indentures, and many security details and bodyguard teams have novacrabs in them.
Progress is a polyglot town. You’ll hear Mandarin, Hindi, English, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, and French commonly, and other languages frequently enough. Everyone here used to rule something, from Marathi technocrats to Uruguayan generals, and they’re all eager to tell you about it in their own tongue.
Progress Demographics


On a lush stretch of parkland near the center of the cylinder is Planetary Consortium HQ, a white marble campus of administrative buildings and hypercorp consulates that serves as the administrative center for the Consortium. All of the Hypercorp Council corps have offices here, with the exception of Solaris, who avoid having offices on general principles. The immense phallic spires of the Consortium’s Ministry are here, though they take backstage to the pleasant, airy domes that hold the halls of the Planetary Congress and the various media offices that focus so intensely on the cyberdemocracy spectacle. Off to the side, the square blocks of Progress Bank are a monument to safe-like security, if you can avoid the neo-soviet architectural style.
Situated looking up toward HQ on the opposite side of the cylinder, Roycewoods is arguably the most exclusive neighborhood in the solar system. High-level execs, corp lobbyists, and officers of the Consortium live here on cobbled, tree-lined streets patrolled by armed ornithopters and elite PSS officers. Powerful people have lived in this neighborhood for some time now. The Roycewoods Country Club House, with its distinctive green peaked roof and clock tower, is constructed of stone from a medieval French abbey that was almost claimed by the Atlantic well before the Fall.
On one side of HQ are the Tangles—Nottingham, Bankside, and Franconia—three upscale neighborhoods, each housing an echelon of the Consortium hierarchy. These neighborhoods are primarily bedroom communities interspersed with small businesses. They’re anonymous places, comfortable for the security minded. Have a good reason to be here at night, or the PSS will not leave you alone. On the other side of HQ, past a wall of somber administrative buildings, is the Yards, the workers’ district. The three main neighborhoods here are Al-Rashid, home to many vac and infrastructure workers; Friday Park, where a lot of service industry people live; and Bailey, where the cops and emergency personnel live.

Law and Order

Progress Station Security (PSS) is one of the best private security companies in the system. Their primary contract is to maintain order on Progress and to protect Consortium interests. Their tac squads train heavily for microgravity ops in hard suits. The station also has defense batteries and a small fleet of ships.

University of Mars, Progress

Located between the Yards and HQ, this U-Mars campus is the most prestigious in the system. The Dowager School of Economics and the Friedman Institute of Management are both located here. You can’t take a wild swing with a samurai sword in this place without decapitating an MBA. Of more concern is Dowager’s Polymorphic Econometrics Lab, which has been alleged to use AGIs in developing and testing new economic models.

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