98.4% of the world’s surface area is water, with the remaining 1.6% being taken up by the polar ice caps (which is incidentally where the world’s two starports are located, being the only solid land on the world). A small but significant percentage of the population live in undersea habdomes established before AOS299, each a self-contained city that has minimal contact with the outside world: as such, their cultures and attitudes remained relatively untouched by the Age of Strife.
The Cabal has attempted to purchase Anteos several times (for the undersea habdome technology) but has been unable to do so due to Imperial restrictions proclaiming the planet to be a culturally, historically and technologically significant artefact. This has not stopped their mercs from covertly attempting to insert themselves into a habdome to either cause chaos (that the habdome may be abandoned and its technology ripe for pillage) or negotiate a deal.
The population of Anteos is roughly divided into three non-hierarchical “castes”: the ‘topworlders’ who man the starports at both polar caps, the ‘shipmen’ who roam the World Sea, and the ‘habdomers’ who live in the undersea habdomes on the seafloor. Topworlders, who act almost entirely as middlemen between the shipmen and the interstellar travellers, exhibit no unique characteristics and thus will not be further discussed.
Shipmen are pseudo-nomads who live in vast ‘ship-cities’ that take proscribed safe routes crisscrossing the World Sea from north to south pole, stopping at each starport regularly every half year for trade and maintenance. Built from remarkably primitive materials, each city is constructed from off-world steel and wood and primarily relies on sails (both solar and wind) for propulsion. A nuclear reactor array and massive undersea engines allows the ship to move under its own power in emergencies, but using the engine would require the ship to shut down the rest of the systems powering the city’s lighting and amenities; as would be expected, the engine is rarely used except in times of emergency.
Each ship-city holds approximately 10,000 shipmen, all of them trained from birth to be competent sailors. It is mandatory on most ships for citizens to serve “board duties” (i.e. manning the ship) from 12 to 30, after which they are then allowed to establish their own private business. This most commonly takes the form of some service, be it bars (serving alcohol distilled from fusilin seaweed), barbershops, gourmet restaurants and so on, or an individual’s pursuit of personal hobbies. Shipmen are only considered adults after they have served their full board time.
There are two main classes onboard any ship-city: Crew, headed by the Captain of the ship (who also functions as the de facto leader) and several families of Navigators, and the rest of the ship. All Crew members also serve as the frontman for all communications with other ships and trade ports; the posts are hereditary and the holders exempt from board duty (since their whole lives arguably consists of board duty), instead undergoing a rigorous course of training in their vocation (or charisma, rhetoric and leadership skills in the case of the Captain) from birth.
The main form of governance appears to be communism. The ship barters with the polar ports for daily necessities with maritime products (i.e. carved and raw whalebone, blubber, dried fish etc), but no currency is used on the ship itself: each shipman contributes to the good of the ship and defers to the authority and wisdom of the Captain in events of disagreement. Corporal and capital punishment is a very real possibly, though rarely exercised save in criminal cases: thieves are flogged on their first two offenses and made to “walk the plank” on their third, while those who refuse to work have food rations halved or entirely withheld. Onboard services run by the adult shipmen are “purchased” through the trade of informal favours.
(Note: as foreigners and travellers are not allowed into habdomes for any reason, the rest of the chapter is written entirely based off hearsay and reconstructions from firsthand accounts of the topworlders. Despite this almost mythical status, new copies of highly advanced software- clearly taken from the habdomes- often mysteriously surface in the starports, each selling for a remarkable amount of money. It is for this that the world has become known throughout the galaxy.)
While the technology within the habdomes are remarkably sophisticated, with evidence pointing to their original use as scientific observation domes, the people living within them have since gotten used to their presence and are generally nonplussed by them. There are remarkably few individuals who possess anything remotely resembling scientific or academic curiosity, possibly due to the severe authoritarian lifestyle the governors have adopted to prevent chaos. Open conflict of any sort is frowned upon, for- being isolated and under several tons of seawater- any violence may result in the destruction of the entire habdome; or so each individual is taught.
Conflict is instead resolved through the use of VR gladiatorial arenas, where each man fights the other to avatar-death. A direct brainstem hookup providing tactile sensory feedback means that each blow is felt by the other in full, but without the potential for any permanent injuries. Aside from engineering and agriculture (vocational skills required to maintain the domes), computer programming is the only scientific discipline that has blossomed undersea, with each habdome developing its own specific signature programming style.
Only traders of software and maritime enthusiasts will find anything of interest on Anteos.