Deep in the Saharan desert sits Omskep, the name a word borrowed from Afrikaans meaning “transformation”, the city a bastion of research in gene modification technology, personal augmentations and most importantly – terraforming. Like a modern reincarnation of the hanging gardens of Babylon, the cityscape is composed of beautifully curving architecture and vast swathes of green blooming across almost every skyward surface and sunlit wall.

The cultures and ethnicities present in Omskep are very diverse, though most notably are the native people whose rapid elevation to such advanced states of technology, has not entirely shed them of old traditions and beliefs. This trend has separated many of Omskep’s inhabitants into tribes of philosophy, rather than the corporate families typical of Avalon and Leshy.

An economy of water:

Most of the Omskep’s economy is driven not by money, but the age-old art of bartering goods for other goods. Most commonly is the use of heavy water, D2O, which is an essential ingredient in the process of building gene-modified organisms, as well as acting as fuel and a potential catalyst for weapons-grade plutonium. The wide application of the substance means it is easily tradable with the larger families and tribes, in return for other goods.

The amount of water required for producing D2O is quite massive, as the deuterium is diluted by a factor of 7000. Meaning that it takes 1 liter of water to produce 0,000172 liters of heavy water – taking about 5814 liters of water to make 1 liter of heavy water. The process of production is via electrolysis. As the deuterium bonds are stronger than hydrogen bonds, separating the hydrogen from the oxygen, will slowly form the D2O molecules.

Terraforming Sahara:

While it is often argued that Omskep should focus efforts on Mars, many of the tribes are historically far more grounded and would rather explore the opportunities for fixing our planet, than looking to the stars. This means the sandy dunes of the Sahara have slowly turned green over the years, myriads of robots modifying the soil and the atmosphere, with webs of microbial fuel cells extracting electrons from photosynthesis, turning the jungle itself into an enormous resource.

Gene modification:

With Omskep being home to some of the best geneticists on the planet, it is not surprising that some of its shadier corporations have found a way to do a complete makeover of a person’s gene expression. For the most part this is used for aesthetic alterations and the procedure is very expensive. The richest folks of Omskep use this as a visual expression of their success – you know you’re dealing with someone from the big league if they have horns, scales or whatever other animal has inspired their looks. However, take that process to the extreme and you’ll end up completely unrecognizable, with a new DNA expression and zero biometric ties to who you were before you underwent the procedure. Should you choose to do this, the clinic is legally obliged to file all of your new data to existing databases. However, there are some places you can go for a clean slate, to assume a new identity without the paperwork. This is called “wiping” and is often a guaranteed trip to the rock bottom of society, unless you somehow have access to a ton of resources and people you trust well enough to hand them over to the new you.