Romulus is a very large city-station orbiting the Sirius binary star. It is the sister city of Remus, though Remus is slightly larger both in physical volume and population. The station is run by VIRGIL, one of the earliest artificial intelligences created by humans and counterpart to HOMER. Romulus is known across space as a key trading hub and shipyard in Solar-local space.
The vast majority of Romulites are humans; either descendants of the first station crews or more recent tenants. The rest of the population is split fairly evenly between skae, shyxaure, and rimor, with less than a hundred ziirb residents. As of 2800, only fourteen Prometheans reside on the station.
Thanks to highly efficient automation, the station runs as a classical Athenian democracy in most circumstances, though there are two stipulations to this mechanism of self-governance:
- VIRGIL, as the managing AI, is allowed to nullify a collective vote if he perceives the outcome to be detrimental to the station, its inhabitants, and/or their livelihoods;
- Since the station is a member of the United Nations of Humanity, it houses one of the core bases of the United Nations Aerospace Coalition, who can commandeer the station (under the watchful eye of VIRGIL) for a limited time in extenuating circumstances, provided that the population and/or VIRGIL himself permit such a temporary takeover.
While Romulus is a prominent goods trade-off point, its primary economic function is shipbuilding, specifically the fabrication of ship components in the veritable Dyson swarm of orbiting construction stations. This industry is supplemented by fuel supply: the station orbits a star rich in antimatter, which is necessary for warp drives.
Romulus' power supply comes from two different sources: the primary power grid is supplied by the station's massive solar arrays that gather energy from Sirius, supplemented by a set of auxiliary fusion reactors that can be activated rapidly in the event that the station requires an excess of energy not sustainable by solar arrays alone.
The settlement of the Sirius system was precluded by the long-duration Aeneas mission of 2100-2127, in which the eponymous probe Aeneas itself was sent to study the Sirius and Procyon systems. Romulus as it is known today started in 2145 as the prototypical UNSS Romulus, the first permanent extrasolar station to reach its destination. Romulus has expanded over the centuries from a small research outpost to a thriving hub of trade and shipbuilding.