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Purgatoria is the human visualization of a Biblical hell. Truly. It orbits a red sun, and its proximity to its sun creates violent upheavals in the planetary crust. Volcanic activity is massive, and the gravitational friction that churns the core of the planet keeps the surface heated well above the tolerance levels of humanity.

Yet, it is that same volcanic activity that makes Purgatoria such a prize for 32nd century mining companies. The planet constantly boils its mineral deposits to the surface, so they lie right within reach. The drawback? Bare flesh is toast under the onslaught of the fire that continuously rages across the surface. Volcanoes boil the interior of the planet to the surface, and the outgassing of tons of poisonous vapors means the air itself must be filtered. Spend a year breathing the raw outflux of Purgatoria, and you'll be in a regen-tank, hoping there's enough of your lungs to regrow a new set.

Hence, Purgatoria Staton, the man-made satellite station that circles the planet in a geostationary orbit, was installed at tremendous cost to the mining consortium that claims exclusive mining rights to Purgatoria. With over 17,000 employees and families, the station is a full industrial facility, manufacturing the 30 meter mining units that operate on the planet below. It makes sense, really, to manufacture the massive constructs on-station. They have all the raw materials pulled directly from the world below, and it's right there at their fingertips. It's ironic in a way that Purgatoria is despoiled by machines that are themselves children of Purgatoria.

When newly commissioned miners arrive on the station, they are often surprised to see that the station employees live in relative luxury. They have well-supplied schools, shops carry goods made in the station's facilities, and those barge ships that carry Purgatoria's precious minerals and metals to the resource-hungry galaxy? To return empty would be a waste of space. They are goldmines of extravagant goods, brought to Purgatoria Station, free of shipping costs, and a bargain to the station residents. Newly commissioned miners live well while they are in training to operate their on-world units.

In my next post, I want to get into how the miners get "inserted" into their mining machines. They'll be in there for nine months, living as their machine. It's not the turn-key process the advertising prospectus would have the public to believe.