Building Chakona (page 1)

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You've heard about the planet Chakona, but how much do you truly know about it? In this article, we will present pictures and illustrations of many of the facets of this world colonised by the chakats, and built by them in cooperation with many other anthro species. We will explore the geography, the infrastructure, and the lifestyle of this young and vibrant world.

Please click the small pictures for the full-size images.



First Landing is the site where the first wave of colonists made landfall on 28 February 2227, from which they built their first settlement, Amistad, which is now the capital city of Chakona. Nestled between the shores of Topaz Bay and the ridge of mountains topped by Mount Catspaw, Amistad was built to take advantage of the area's natural beauty, and is a shining example of how to build a township with a minimal impact on the ecology. Suburbs are islands of development in belts of virtually unspoiled natural green belts linked by electrically powered trains and trams, with a minimum reliance on street vehicles.

The actual site of First Landing was used as a temporary spaceport while the colony was establishing itself. A new permanent spaceport was later built on the other side of the mountain ridge for protective and noise-abatement purposes, and the Amistad Landing National Museum was built on the site, preserving the history and development of Amistad and Chakona. A plaque on a post within the museum still marks the spot where the very first pawmark by a colonist was made by colony leader, Chakat Sunshower.

East of the museum, and further up the slopes of the mountain, lies the Capitol Building, from which all the affairs of the planet are governed. Representatives from all over Chakona meet here to decide on matters large and small. The seven columns at the front of the building represent the members of the seven-person ruling body of the original colonial authority who worked hard to establish the settlement for many years before handing over the reins of power to an elected council.

The Capitol Building faces onto Capitol Mall, a vast landscaped area dominated by the Amistad Monument dedicated to the pioneers who lost their lives during the difficult early years of establishing the colony. Because it is located on a slope, the Capitol has sweeping views to the west that opens to Topaz Bay. Sunsets frequently light up the building with a warm golden glow. It is surrounded by other important government buildings, such as the Superior Court, seen at right.

At left is the General Agency Building for all other matters not pertaining to the city of Amistad. If you have dealings with other cities on the world, or even off-world, you will find help here.

All the government buildings are architecturally designed not only for visual impact, but also for energy efficiency, natural lighting, and harmonising with the natural materials of the area. A strong emphasis is placed on blending with nature, with Ferny Creek and Silvermist Creek which frame Capitol Mall, being incorporated into two of the structures. For example, at right is a view of the inside of the Department of the Interior which deals with matters concerning policing, national security, and immigration.

At left is the Department of the Environment which upholds the very strict evironmental guidelines and helps new developments harmonise with their area. At right is a view of the inside of this building. Unlike its sister building, the Department of Interior (North) building, the South Building does not have a linear atrium following the creek under the building. There is instead a circular atrium with an oculus (circular opening) in the ceiling that can be closed to provide a skylight in inclement weather. The oculus allows maximal light to penetrate to the lowest level of the atrium, where Silvermist Creek flows underneath the building. Four waterfalls are provided in three atriums (the fourth waterfall is not visible due to the planter balustrade). The building features fibre-optic light that collects natural sunlight and distributes it to the interior of the building. Such light is supplemented/supplanted at night or overcast conditions by LED lighting. The goal is to introduce as much light as possible. This natural light also supports vines and other native plants that grow in planters. Vines are allowed to descend from upper storey railings with planter boxes. Watering is accomplished via rainwater collection distributed from rooftop tanks. Similarly to the design principles for Chakonan public buildings, the major surfaces are faced with local stone, often quarried from the site itself. Structural materials are steel and poured concrete.

The Municipal Courthouse handles local (municipal) civil and criminal trials. The facility features several atriums, and a seven-storey tower that holds judicial offices, and numerous courtrooms in the base of the building. A law library is available as well as a pre-trial detention facility across Cashel Street.

Separate from the world government facilities is the Amistad Municipal Building, catering to the governing of the city of Amistad and the needs of its inhabitants. It also contains the office of the Mayor of Amistad.

At left is the Public Safety Building, headquarters for the police and fire services for the city. On the opposite side of the building is a large fire station serving the city centre. Here, a police squad PTV and motor speeder leave the police garage. Parked on the street is one of the "party vans," when it's necessary to cart a bunch of ne'er-do-wells to the lockup.

At right is a large hospital complex in Amistad, the capital of Chakona. Ambulances and other vehicles use this entrance to deliver critically injured patients to the emergency ward. There are also numerous beds to care for long-term patients. Even though this building is more of a modular design, green elements can be included like allowing vines to grow on the side of the building.

One of the major features of Chakonan cities, and Amistad in particular, is the strong emphasis on a comprehensive and well-integrated network of public transport. Therefore the vast majority of people whose purpose is merely to commute, will make use of this, and at most need only walk a very short distance to get to or from a station or bus stop.

At left is the Amistad Railway Terminal the flagship station of the Flinders-Pacifis UHS (Ultra High Speed) inter-city maglev network, as well as Amistad Metro, the regular trains that service city and suburbs. The station is a major hub for transport, adjoining a tram stop and bus terminal, conveying workers throughout the city, leaving the streets relatively free from traffic that clogs the roads of most cities. In the background is the Greenleaf Hotel, a five-star accomodation complete with spa, pool and private park on the roof, numerous suites and a staff that will pamper you. In the background is a regular mixed-use building, residences on the upper six storeys, office and retail on the lower two above ground, and five below-ground.

At right is a typical street scene showing an articulated bus and commercial vehicles. The offices and other buildings are low-rise, thus avoiding the "concrete canyon" effect.

The initial job of settlement is never an easy thing. While the city can be laid out in advance, you need some structures to get a toehold. To that end, prefabricated and field-fabricated structures were put in, all of which were intended to be demolished once the more permanent structures were completed. Population and time pressures being what they tend to be, habitiable space was at a premium and there was a need to keep these 'incubator' neighborhoods in operation. Given enough inertia, the buildings became historic and remain to this day, preserved. Most cities in Chakona have an old town sector, and the newer buildings extend outwards from that. At left is an Old Town street view. The footpaths have been extended outwards and trees planted, narrowing the road. With the modern AI-controlled PTVs, there is no need for the larger streets any more. In the background is an old meetinghouse where the first planetary government, and later the city of Amistad's government, would be headquartered before permanent structures were completed.

By contrast at right is the design of a typical modern urban street. The roadsides are heavily landscaped, concealing utility conduits and storm culverts and providing pleasant paths. Parking is available under all structures, and only transient parking for buses and Public PTVs is allowed on the street.

The residential scene is typically of two types - apartment complexes and detached dwellings. At left is a typical small compact neighborhood. PTVs are parked along a one-lane driveway between a pair of buildings, this discourages rapid travel through the area and allows for people to linger. Foliage is ample and often even thicker than what's depicted here. Buildings are varicolored though built with local materials that help them blend into the environment. The last touch is a good one for energy savings, and that's the use of a green roof where vegetation is placed on top of each building. Often this vegetation includes shrubberies but can grow to include whole trees. These complexes include most of the basic shops located in thr ground levels of the apartments. Note the tall building in the background. Chakona has a hard limit of ten storeys above ground for most structures. However, much use is made of underground levels in both residential and commercial buildings.

Detached houses like those on the right highlight the sustainable development practises of Chakona. Usage of local material in construction helps reduce costs significantly for transport, especially when the construction uses abiotic materials like the field stone found in the area. This house's green roof application uses mosses over a thin layer of topsoil. It's often desirable to take the topsoil from the actual building site, reserve it, and then reuse it for the green roof. A properly installed green roof can last for hundreds of years as the biomass atop it is allowed to mature and maintain itself. In the background, another house uses tall grass on top of a thicker roof, still with a bit of pitch to afford drainage. Instead of the perfect, golf-course like front lawns, homeowners are encouraged to let local plants grow fallow. Mowed grass areas are typically reserved for public parks for various activities.

At left is a sample of typical structural materials sourced locally.

In this picture, a construction worker operates a "rock-blocker" to help excavate the foundation and lower storeys of a large condominium building. It is a challenge to rapidly complete homes for the growing population of Chakona. To help with that purpose, several of these machines are employed to excavate the deep foundations so that structural work may begin quickly. The "rock-blocker" is a machine specialized to excavate foundations in a way that is harmonious with Chakonan environmental stewardship. High-pressure water is fed through strong, carbonised wedges that neatly cleave bedrock. There is a vertical and a horizontal wedge; both are mounted on swing arms that allow the tools to pivot, wedge and ultimately lift the block. The machine also carries a conveyor belt that helps save time by loading the blocks and associated scree onto skip trucks. The skip trucks unload the blocks and scree onsite; the blocks will be reused as construction material, normally on the exterior curtain walls. The soil removed from the excavation is also stored in situ in large piles; it is being reserved for use on the green roof. Grasses are allowed to grow on the soil pile in order to allow additional nutrients to form in the soil. Finally, the scree is used as an aggregate in concrete and other applications (such as in gravel). Usually in a large operation like this, the excavation will breach the water table. As a result, ground water is continuously pumped out of the bottom. Some groundwater can be used to feed the rock-blocker tools. When the building is completed, the actual structural walls will be slightly offset so as to reduce pressure from groundwater on the structure. Continuously operating sump pumps would be present for such a void to direct the groundwater to appropriate drainage (or recycling) facilities.

In Amistad, construction workers are gradually building a new structure to above grade as the #2 line service through the city centre arrives at Burke Road Station. This development in the outskirts features cheap rents and plenty of greenspace, and the same sort of colorful buildings found everywhere. Here, the idea is to get a lot of people space in a compact area where they won't have to rely on PTVs to get around. The building at centre of the image at right contains a large shopping centre and numerous community services, including a school. The building under construction is another mixed-use commercial/residential building, with eight stories below grade and six above; the uppermost story of framing is actually at grade. The Amistad Metro's suburban portion was constructed largely in cuts so as to facilitate decking over of the lines for future development of air rights.

In order to reduce visual impact of cities, skylines are much lower than the surroundings. The Rock Chain Complex exploits the ability of buildings to be set below grade. Each of the three circular buildings has a domed circular atrium, landscaped on the lowest level. Large apartments face inwards to this atrium on the below-grade levels; on the above-grade sections there are two rings of apartments around a hallway. The chain building in the back is taller, allowing it to both conform to the sloping terrain and to exceed the 10-storey limit of Chakonan buildings by having most storeys below grade.

Part of reducing the ecological impact of cities is to cultivate the green roofs of large buildings to create food gardens. This reduces the amount of energy necessary to transport food from rural farms, and provides a delicious supplement to the diet. While these tend to be community gardens or co-ops, thus not being huge, profitable ventures, sometimes individuals or a team may be paid to cultivate several such gardens on behalf of the inhabitants. In the scene at right, one such urban farmer inspects some of the crops on the roof of an apartment block in Eyre.

At left is just one of the public marketplaces where farmers can come in to town and sell their organically grown produce, meats, fish and other such items. Fresh food is a bit of an obsession on Chakona, and these farmers' markets are usually more popular than the supermarkets. For the gregarious chakats, they're also a great place to meet friends.

At right, a trio of sailors get ready to shove off on a beautiful day at Amistad Landing. The Landing is the location of the first settlement and where the capital Amistad developed. At the actual site of the landing, the Chakonan Museum was established. It is visible as the white and blue building in the background. Along the waterfront are restaurants and other commercial buildings, attracting many people - locals and tourists alike.

On the ridge leading to Mount Catspaw, a collection of satellite receivers bring in signals from several satellites in orbit. From here, programming may be beamed up or received to the fibre-optic telecom lines, terminating in the brick facility in the middle of the picture. Two Chakotel maintenance workers are leaving the facility after inspecting it. There's normally a skeletal maintenance crew here to help keep the dishes and equipment in tip-top shape; everything else is very much automatic. The satellite dishes are painted blue and white in order to blend in with the sky as much as possible. Like other telecom facilities, it includes repeaters for the cellular and navigation networks.

At right, at the offices of Starpoint Property Management in Johnston, natural light is key. Special polarised windows reduce harmful UV radiation and let in life-sustaining, mood-building sunlight. The windows also have dimmer shutters that will fold across the windows where desired and attenuate the light. Even with a relatively short workday, worker comfort is paramount, with the soft natural light and furnishings. Taurs generally opt for a fluffy set of cushions on the floor.

At left is the interior of a common detached house in Chakona. To save space, the common areas can have a higher ceiling on one side, and then a common stairway/incline services both levels from the common area. In this plan, the sleeping areas would be on the upper level along with a water closet, and on the lowest level would be the kitchen and utility. The front door is right at the common stair/incline. Accordingly, a paw cleaning pad is provided so that dirt and material from outdoors is not transferred to the remaining surfaces of the house. This application also allows for a large green roof. A steel frame and dense roofing materials are used to support this roof.

Monolithic dome houses, with their speed of construction and relative inexpense to conventional structures, are also a housing option on Chakona. This house is part of a development near Eyre, and is almost impervious to storms and other disasters. This particular house features circular skylights in the roof to add additional natural lighting. The dome is erected atop a stem wall that helps contain the water closet and kitchen facilities, with the sleeping area closer to the dome itself. Properly maintained, these homes will last indefinitely.

Marshfield is a community within the city of Amistad that has been settled by many newcomers to Chakona. It offers a healthy mix of apartments and properties for settlers. In the foreground are some low-midrange apartments that cater to families, in the middle ground are several very inexpensive townhouse and studio apartment blocks, and in the background are high-end condominiums. Rental vacancy here is low, and there is plenty of transportation to get to work with frequent bus, tram and metro service. Marshfield also has a town centre that has shopping and entertainment options. As a general rule of thumb, the lower-rent facilities tend to rely more on foliage for decoration and are normally made of simpler materials like reinforced concrete. This material may or may not be painted. There is also a diversity in the type of green roofs featured on buildings. On the left, the cultivation has been tilled post-harvest, while the green roof on the lower-rent building is more of a lightly maintained lawn-type roof. Maintenance will be performed on the roof in order to trim any unsightly weeds.

Near the front range of Mount Catspaw, some cliffs and promontories have been developed for high-end residences and condominums. This particular development, Ravina Place, is at the side of a ravine and includes a sculpted jogging/walking path and numerous houses cut into the embankments and hillsides. The showpiece condominium, 12 Ravina Place, contains a spring that has been turned into a broad waterfall, providing lovely scenic beauty. Detached houses are sprinkled throughout the development, which is surrounded by old and new-growth forest. Buildings here are constructed of terra cotta and field stone exteriors and concrete interiors. Many of the buildings extend some distance into the buildings, maximising the used space relative to the visual impact.

The Ka'turna Monument, overlooking the square of the same name, commemorates Katherine Turner, one of the pair of scientists who created the Chakat race. It is located directly southwest of the Capitol Building and, like the other buildings in the Capitol complex, oriented towards the First Landing to the west. There is a lawn of greenspace along the grade that provides an unobstructed view. The statue itself is sculpted from local stone and set upon a concrete and steel frame, ensuring that it will last indefinitely. The base of the statue is built into the side of a small bluff, and a sculpture of a DNA helix winds its away around the feet of the figure. The total height of the statue above grade is 20 metres.

This monument is a larger-than-life stone statue of Charles Turner, one of the co-creators of the Chakat race. Like the Ka'turna Monument directly south of it, the Cha'turna monument is 20 metres tall. It overlooks a plaza of the same name, and like the other monuments and buildings on the Capitol complex, has a view of the First Landing site in Amistad. This statue has identical construction methods to the Ka'turna statue, but here Charles is posed with an electron microscope.

This transfer station in Amistad is one of several that collects organic waste from various places in the city. The organic waste is dumped into a collection trough, where a harvester plies and shreds the material into flakes. The flakes are then pressed into sheets of compost, heated in the solar-powered heating sheds in the background, and then stored in large air-supported domes for distribution to farming sites (such as for urban farming). In this way, food waste is kept out and the need for landfills is virtually eliminated on Chakona.

Although within Amistad's jurisdiction, Amistad Spaceport is located on the opposite side of a mountain ridge from the city, buffering it from the noise, and virtually eliminating potential hazards to the population. The landside portion of the massive Spaceport Complex east of Amistad is full of vehicles carrying travelers to and fro. This is the first stop for all new immigrants to Chakona, and the reception area for people returning or visiting the planet. Many thousands of passengers are processed through this terminal complex every day. The pictured facility is the terminal and administration building for the space portion of the complex. The Spaceport also functions as the airport for Amistad, thus travelers may use a short rapid transit to travel between the air, ground and space terminals. This side of the space terminal handles PTV, PPTV and other road vehicle access (including PTV hire). In order to prevent congestion, vehicles are required to be on automatic mode, and they may use the vehicle's computer to select a destination. The traffic demand computer will sequence them and even perform parking management. Public transport and the maglev terminal are accessed in a shared station located directly between the air and the spaceport facilities. Numerous hotels are located on the site and accessible by the area's rapid transit system.

From this point we segue into transport in general - the lifeblood of a nation...

Transport on Chakona is as sophisticated as any you might find anywhere else in the Federation, and perhaps better than any you have previously experienced due to the philosophy of tight integration and forward planning. Before the first colonists arrived, the site of Amistad was thoroughly surveyed, and future suburbs and facilities plotted for the greatest amount of efficiency and least environmental impact. Linking them all is a system of trains, trams, buses, and AI-controlled roads. The first place that any visitor to Chakona is likely to visit is the Amistad Spaceport. From there, you can directly access airlines, regional trains, maglev inter-city trains, buses, and PPTVs a.k.a. Peetees (taxis).

At left in this large,arched and skylit building (though it's night now), travelers can transfer between the space-bound and air travel. Here you can essentially reach all of Chakona. There is frequent train service that goes to Amistad, the major city that the spaceport serves. In this picture, there are two entryways (and exits) associated with airside terminals; on the opposite side of the hall are transports that allow travelers to reach the spaceport docks. The two sets of operations never have to interfere with one another due to preprogrammed flight paths and corridors.

In the picture on the right, a ground worker gets ready to board a tractor as a Chakonan Interspace Carriers shuttlecraft readies for departure to the Chakona Gateway. Frequent shuttlecraft departures ensure a constant stream of travelers to and fro. Some shuttlecraft are cargo-only, others a mix of passengers and cargo. In the background, a "spaceplane" type shuttlecraft, a Littlefield AY-40 "Dolphin" lies in repose waiting for a gate to open. The Spaceplane type uses a long runway to take off or land, using turbofan and scramjet engines, and then applies impulse power whilst in thinner high-altitude air, reducing G-forces on occupants. The CIC shuttlecraft uses a more conventional all-impulse design and thus takes off from a landing pad. These are just two of numerous types and brands of shuttlecraft currently operating on Chakona.

The Amistad Transport Centre in the heart of the city has a railway station for both conventional trains and ultra-high speed maglev trains, plus a bus and tram terminal. From here, you can get to anywhere in Amistad and its suburbs in very quick time, and other cities in mere hours.

In the picture on the right, an intercity maglev pulls into the Amistad Railway Terminal, while a conventional suburban train gets loaded with passengers.

At left, electrically powered buses feed commuters to tram and train stops, while at right, trams/light rail service the suburbs, at times passing along a right-of-way through green belts.

At left you see the concept of the "klick stations" - train stations that are placed approximately one kilometre apart, minimising the walking distance to the nearest one. Of course there are still other forms of public transport available to get you to a station if you happen to live further from the line.

At rightt we have a portion of the nerve centre for the commuter rail operations around Amistad. At these two "desks" are controllers for two suburban lines each. The lines comprise a cardinal direction on the system. The Northern division controller actually has three lines. Here they monitor the status and operation of the physical guideway, the trains along with the crew member on board each train, and the maintenance of way workers whom may be plying. They will also receive emergency calls from transit workers in case a passenger (or employee) needs assistance. The controllers interact with a large touchscreen. For backup purposes, a keyboard and trackpad are provided. A context menu will pop up and allow items like live video, telemetry or interactive commands for each train. The operational computer allows for dynamic balancing of train equipment to make sure that passengers are moved quickly and efficiently, with as little headway between vehicles as possible. Information is sent here so that executive decisions on route operation may be made. Even though the computer operates the trains for maximum spacing, due to the "Garbage in Garbage Out" maxim, there must be someone watching over what happens. The onboard crew member can also directly assist passengers whilst other responders are dispatched to the scene. And of course, the equipment isn't complete without a rolling refreshment caddy for the workers, as there is no desk surface to place (or spill) things upon.

Like many large cities, it becomes important to move people around with as little environmental impact as possible. To help bolster the capacity of its transportation network, Amistad offers an automatic metro system, largely underground in the central core but on elevated embankments and cuttings elsewhere. Air rights can be used over the cut sections for more buildings or parks, turning them into cut-and-cover tunnels. At left is Government Centre station, featuring an oculus skylight that captures sunlight and funnels it down to the platform level. The oculus is a polar projection map of the southern hemisphere of Chakona, where Amistad is located. Because the right-of-way is completely separated from other modes, the Amistad Metro can operate fully automatically, with controllers that monitor the system for excursions and anomalies. Transparent aluminum doors and partitions separate the platform from the tracks, further ensuring passenger safety and minimisation of delays. The lack of conflict with the right-of-way allows for more propulsion options. For a smoother, more efficient ride, the system uses standardised linear induction motors along a centre guide and power rail. The linear induction rail is weatherproof to account for heavy tropical rainfalls. An automatic passenger information system gives visual and audio alerts for the next train arrival, and constantly takes telemetry from the system to give timings accurate to 5 seconds. Interactive routing boards are also available on board the trains and in stations, to help passengers find their way around with the transit system. In case of urgency or anomaly, transit system employees may be dispatched to a train to assist the passengers. Otherwise, no crew is normally present for these trains.

A maintenance of way crew is busy doing routine maintenance on a crossover interlocking near a tunnel midway between Berdoovia and Amistad. While they work, a fast freight goes by on the southbound track, under slow commands due to the crew nearby. Once all is clear, the maintenance of way crew will speed off in their own work train. Where possible, the maglev's right of way is elevated on viaducts in order to reduce conflicts with flora and fauna. Occasionally trees do need to be trimmed back from the tracks, if the trains themselves do not do it. That would undoubtedly wreck a paint job. The maglev system pictured here uses the "dumb track, smart vehicle" operational style, which simplifies maintenance and allows for usage of hardier material in construction of the guideway.

Since they're "railed" or guided vehicles, there's a lot more space to move around. Seats are convertible so as to support both bipeds and taurs, and they're fairly comfy too. This is the most cost-and-time-effective method of intercity travel, and certainly a nice and scenic method. On board, it's possible to walk around to get food, or if you wish, have a sleeper cabin for a premium fare. Speeds of this maglev system can go upwards of 700 km/h. It is computer-controlled but there are crew on board for safety purposes.

Of course railway networks aren't confined to Flinders Continent. All the continents have them, and on the Skunktaur Archipelago, many of the islands have their own railroad system to carry freight and/or passengers, delivering many tonnes of material with little environmental impact. Many of the closer islands are linked by bridges that are shared by rail and road. At left we see a typical SA-Rail service as seen from a PTV on one of the bridges.

On the right, a freight train starts to travel to the iron ore mines, while a multiple unit passenger train comes in to Bethany Station to end yet another round trip from the mining town. Due to the relatively short distances, a maglev system isn't necessary; durable rails can be used with all the modern advantages. (As a maglev still needs distance to be able to accelerate). In the background is one of the substations that keeps the conductor rails live to give the trains motive power. At the left of the picture is a yard control tower which is also the command centre for the entire island's railway network. Computers aid the dispatchers and switcher at the control stands. Green roofs are in fashion here. In addition, deterrent plants (usually thorny or prickly) deter people from going into out-of-bounds areas, and yet still provide the benefits of greenery.

The fastest method of travelling large distances and over the seas is of course by air. At left is a view inside the cockpit of Sunburst Flight 39, departing Amistad for New New York, while Mephit Belle Airlines Flight 1, seen through the window, performs its routine run to New Bletchley in the Skunktaur Archipelago. In the background, a lively 'tropical snake' special livery adorns Air Kington Flight 50 for Port Kepler.

At left we have one type of cabin, a 3+3 with aisle configuration on a Sunburst jet. Unlike fully bipedal airliners (which tend to have orthogonally placed seats), in this design the seats are not only staggered but they are angled towards the aisle, much like those of an auditorium would be. This actually makes the seats more akin to carrels (partitioned spaces). The seatbacks are actually at the tail of the taur, so there is nothing for the anthro back to rest upon; passengers may brace upon the seatback in front of them. This works out fairly well for bipedals, oddly enough; the seats end up being like a chaise lounge and result in unparalleled legroom. Compared to bipedal airliners, taurform-designed airliners are certainly much larger and have greater lifting capacity (as taurs weigh at least twice that of a bipedal person). In this case, a little extra space can be provided due to the larger power-to-weight ratio necessary to carry this many taurs.

The large number of islands in the Skunktaur Archipelago means a need for island-hopping commuter flights, when ferries are too slow. At right is an interior for a 30-seat commuter plane. This seat layout is a radical departure from other setups as taurs get to squat using their built-in "seat". When bipedal beings use the seating positions, there's a fold-up seat for them that leaves a gap for those who have tails. Belts (not pictured) go across the torso and waist. The entertainment and storage configurations are different since there's now not an under-the-seat space for carry-ons. Instead, the carry-ons are placed in a bin behind the entertainment and information screen. PADDs can be connected to the tiltable screens and used as workstations. Instead of a fold-up/down tray, the tray is integrated into the body container of the forward seat (and thus at the front that space is used for storage). This means that everyone, whether they are sitting at the very back, middle or front of the cabin, gets carry-on space.

Of course the personal transport vehicle (PTV), the modern equivalent of the car, is still used. It is suitable for going to the shops to bring back loads impractical to take onto public transport, or go to places not serviced regularly or at all by public transport, or family holidays together. There are PTVs of many and varied designs to suit everybody's needs. Here a mother and daughter travel back to Amistad after a long trip. They're heading through the major junction of Motorway 1 and the Amistad Loop, going to the south side of the city. Personal Transport Vehicles here have built-in navigation systems that interact with the Intelligent Transportation Systems on the roads - "smart" roads in that. It is possible to have the PTV automatically navigate or compensate for other vehicles, though it is also possible to drive it yourself by using the handlebars. Seats can be reconfigured (folded up or down) to accommodate taurs or bipeds. Backrests (not shown) fold down from the roof. This sort of travel would be much more expensive for a single person, but if you are taking a group of people it's economical.

Finally, for the more sporty-inclined, there are the motorbike and motortrike options. The two-wheel design uses a broader tyre and ideally, using the principle behind a longboard or a scooter, and having the taur lean forward (and maybe including some gyroscopes), this speeder cycle can work well. At the bottom is a more standard three-wheel design, giving a lot more stability especially at low speeds. These are electrically powered and can be charged at any standard charging station. They can also include routing systems. The tri-wheel model certainly includes the automatic navigation system.

On a long journey, it's certainly necessary to recharge electric PTVs. The AI systems can direct vehicles to the nearest roadside charging station to avoid the inconvenience and frustration of a stalled vehicle. Most of the charging stations on the side of rural highways will also offer repair service and battery swap. The plug uses a magnetic coupling that detaches if a driver drives off without replacing it. This charging station features a convenience store and a rest area for travelers to stretch their legs on the long journey between Wanganui and Berdoovia. Only small PTVs need to use the charging stations; large vehicles like buses and trucks carry their own prime mover (power plant).

The transceiver masts are part of the backbone of intelligent transportation and smart roads. This mast is one of many thousands deployed along the road and street networks in Chakona. Generally, each is connected to one or more base stations in a single municipality, town or district, though there are also rural sets too. The base stations are massive banks of high-speed computers, offering the fastest communication speeds so that vehicles can make critical, split-second routing changes. Intelligent Transportation Sytems are managed by a provincial agency in order to provide standardisation of data. The masts have a range of about 10 km on average and are highly standardised. Masts planted atop hills offer even greater range. Sometimes more masts are deployed in congested areas, or the antenna array may be attached to the side of a taller building. Each mast consists of a cap (to prevent roosting of birds) and a redundant array of antennas under the cap. Any antenna showing a fault can be removed from the holder and swapped out with a working version. The faulty antenna can be repaired and then deployed to a new location. The transceiver masts are often painted green to blend in with their surroundings and are normally inconspicuous. Here, two ITS technicians are performing such maintenance in swapping out a faulty antenna in Port Kepler. They use a special elevating platform that will reach a mast at any height.

In the picture at left, an operator inspects one the operational (working) memory clusters. Data are constantly flowing through these banks, updating the position of vehicles every millisecond and relaying event information such as conflicts with other vehicles or objects. There are several types of processors and memory banks here, working together to provide dynamic congestion management, routing, and safety guidance. In the foreground is one of the traffic signal computers; the traffic signals are just one data source and can be adjusted by the congestion computer. For the sake of privacy, vehicles are never labeled descriptively; they have a random number assigned for each possible trip, and the location is encoded. As a result, unless an emergency signal is received, the location of any given vehicle can never be found or tied to an individual. As a result, if one looked at the raw data in the vehicle/trip register they might find an inscrutable line like this: 003x00f2211f pky12z3 124 +0.2 46.39958824 -18.58839961 The first item is the trip ID, the second is the antenna capturing the vehicle at present, the third is the current speed in km/h, the fourth the acceleration rate (signed), the fifth is latitude and the sixth is longitude. There are numerous backups and redundancies. The ITS has its own power supply in case of a grid failure; there are backup generators for it and the HVAC system. The computers aren't the only attraction here; there is a control centre where agents can help people in distress or dispatch maintenance workers to the location where a fault is discovered.

Valley fog is probably one of the most potentially lethal driving conditions that exists. Unsuspecting motorists may suddenly find themselves in near-zero visibility with no time to react. Ravensnest Pass in Pacifis is one such location. By hooking up the Intelligent Transportation Systems with meteorological data, and providing automatic driving support in areas prone to fog, drivers can safely negotiate valleys, passes and viaducts that get filled with fog. So as the passengers on the bus at right are filled with wonder, the vehicles around them are proceeding normally, guided by a computer that enforces space cushions.

In the outskirts of Amistad, late night commuters head home on the 2:65 tram after their evening shift concludes. The AmGo system in Amistad, like in many cities, operates around the clock. There is reduced service at night, meaning that travelers can still get anywhere they need to go. Service ramps up at around sunrise.

Early morning at Sunnyside Tram Depot in Amistad is a busy time as drivers make their way to the barns to activate the trams for the morning rush hour. Unlike the fully automatic metro system, the trams operate in mixed traffic and have many more stops and coverage area. Each tram is therefore equipped with a driver who can directly interact with passengers, provide guidance and assistance, and respond to emergencies immediately. The trams are often operated in automatic mode, but the driver may override this in an emergency. The automated system helps ensure system running times are accurate. Because of the operation of trams on mixed traffic and open guideways (like through forests), the computer system may not be able to discriminate between different types of blockage or contamination of the guideway (such as an errand pedestrian, wildlife, or distinguishing between rubbish or a person). The trams receive power through hidden conductor rails beneath the running rails. A special shoe is inserted into the track where the conductor rail cannot be touched by people walking on the tracks. The steel/composite wheels ride upon the running rails. The large Sunnyside depot has room for 500 articulated trams, and is one of three depots found in the Amistad metropolitan area.

While all of the revenue vehicles of the Flinders-Pacifis Ultra High Speed maglev network are automatically (centrally) controlled, they still feature onboard crew to deal with contingencies. Here, the conductor has just left a discussion with the engineer. Given the relative level of automation, the engineer's duties differ somewhat from the conventional/historical train engineer. UHS engineers are also responsible for ensuring the physical comfort of passengers by monitoring the head end power and heating/cooling systems. UHS trains travel through various climates, meaning that good attention needs to be paid to passenger comfort. Engineers must also be trained in managing batteries and diagnosing electrical faults. To this end the engineer is provided several panels that allow for interaction with the sophisticated electrical system. In an emergency situation the engineer and conductor will be responsible for the safety of the passengers. Electric power is available via induction from the guideway beam when moving. Inducer surfaces are positioned such that workers or people on the tracks can not touch it. Batteries are recharged at station stops and can be used to deliver power while the train accelerates to running speed. In case of an emergency, ram air turbines deploy to generate electricity and allow the batteries to kick in and allow the train to be brought to a safe halt.

The picture at right is of progress being made on Tube 6 North on the new Johnston-Marysville maglev route. Tunneling on Chakona is much faster since the advent of the energy beam cutter. While requiring significant energy input, the beams carve out the rock far more quickly than conventional boring machines. A special cutting pattern along with wedges that ride along the floor of the tunnel help direct the spoil to a conveyor, where it will be removed from the tunnel. Further aft of the cutting face is the power equipment for the face, and then the shotcrete platform. Shotcrete is continuously pumped to a mixer assembly at the platform, and then delivered to two hose guns, where it is applied to the bare rock as a rudimentary lining. Later, reinforcements and proper tunnel lining will be added. Even further aft is the control panel where the foreperson monitors the progress of the tunneling. At special points where crosspassages must be made, markings are placed on the wall for supplemental mining teams to begin that process. This tunneling method, due to the major time savings from beam cutters, allows tunnels to be advanced at a rate of around 80-100 metres per day (limited by the support equipment for the machine which must be repositioned, and spoil removed).

Bonifacio Highway 1 is the main roadway connecting New New York and Eucla City on the continent of Bonifacio. This long road is entirely dual carriageway (freeway) and contains numerous service centres and rest stops along the way. As with all types of infrastructure, maintenance must be performed. When deterioration on a section of pavement is detected to be beyond limits, a crew is dispatched to remove and replace the section with new concrete. This mix is specially made for transportation applications and generally has about a 30-year service life without patching.The patches cut are almost always square and have as large a surface area as possible (often cut into expansion joints) so as to provide for proper temperature change on the slab. To protect workers, a 'slow order' transmitter is placed on the roadway. It beams a speed limit change to the PTVs and the Intelligent Transportation System. In this way, only vehicles operated in manual mode (e.g. emergency vehicles) can deviate from the speed or path provided. When the drivers remain in automatic mode, the traffic control computers will automatically merge the traffic and distribute it to minimise delays. If a detour should be necessary, such as by needing to replace an entire bridge, similar contingencies up to and including detours are put into play.

At Johnston's Willis Depot, the new maglev fleet lies in repose as the line begins to open. Rapid service now connects Johnston and Marysville, through a nearly straight path offering several tunnels and viaducts. Modular homes dot the hillslopes behind the depot.

High-performance tri-wheel PTVs are useful for sport, pleasure, or even just for show. This particular three-wheel uses a front steering transaxle and a midmount engine. This rider is taking hirs on a nighttime cruise on the Ring Road around Haliaeetus, Bosporus.

Entertainment on Chakona is not so different from what you might expect to find back on Earth. Going to see the latest 3D movie at the cinema is still popular. Because of the mix of biped and taur people, the seats fold up and down as either a bench or a conventional biped chair. This requires a more spacious layout so the screen is upsized for better clarity.

The live rock scene is always a crowd-puller. Here's one type, I'm not sure which but it's probably a blend of things. The band's name is Steelclaw... and I reckon folks are having a good time anyway.

A duo of performers perform various and sundry tricks for the amusement of passersby in Marshfield, Amistad. Some artisans and performers like to do public performance in order to gain more visibility.

Chakona is a relatively recently developed world, and thus many of the chakats there wish to create customs and traditions that are Chakonan. One way of doing this is with music, and some artisans have created the Curled Harp as one element hopefully embraced in Chakonan traditional music. The Curled Harp is made of strong woods usually, and many of them are stained to a smooth finish. To make music with the harp, there are three action areas, two stringed regions (a total of between 36 and 54 strings) and a percussion pad towards the rear. Accordingly, only a chakat can possess the dexterity to play the instrument to its limits as the layered melody can only be achieved with four limbs acting in unison. The percussion pad allows further sounds to be made by striking or rubbing the surface to change the resonance of the soundboard. The player must anchor the harp to the floor by straddling it (normally resting on the lower belly) so that the four frontmost limbs may be used to play the instrument. This instrument can, therefore, be played with five limbs. Here, this skilled player, Chakat Rose Wynn Hilltop, has been a veteran of the instrument for 15 years. Shi frequently participates in symphony orchestras, especially hir home orchestra in Marysville.

Floor horns, such as those employed in this New Dover orchestra setting (only two members of the band visible), are a staple of many of the traditional Chakonan music movements. This type of horn can only be played by a chakat due to the need for dexterity of the handpaws and tail. The floor horn sound is shaped by five sections, making this a true five-limbed instrument (and thereby requiring a great deal of skill to master). The person mastering this instrument will have at their disposal a sound that can be shaped in numerous ways by the 20 keys and tail ring slide. The keys provide direct pitch but can add more detail to the sound. The slide can be used to direct airflow towards some keys more than others. The heaviness and great size of the instrument makes it one only suited for chakats. Several varieties have been developed, including the tenor and baritone versions you see here.

The extra flexibility of chakats offers expanded opportunities in the world of music. Here it is possible to have a five-limbed instrument that can be brought to its potential by a chakat. This model by Brebeuf contains a 76-key upper keyboard (generally used for main melody) and a 24-key lower keyboard (for accompaniment/rhythm). Sound shaping is achieved with touchwheels on both keyboards and a tail-or-foot-activated sustain pedal on the side of the seat. The microprocessors allow for other instrument voices aside from the default piano sound; 512 instrument sounds are programmed in. A clever musician can thereby perform the rhythm and melody sections in one sitting. Since handpaws have some degree less articulation than the anthro hands (but still feature opposable thumbs), the keys are wider at the bottom. This allows taurs without handpaws (such as foxtaurs) to play this instrument, though the wider the foot the more difficult it would be to play a distinct chord. However, some skilled Stellar Foxtaurs are known to master this instrument. This particular instrument is being played dutifully by a musician for hire at a party. This style is transparent aluminium, which allows the audience to see the innards of the instrument.

Competitive dancing video games are still popular in the future, a cultural import. Here, two friends face off with the Double Dance kiosk at Wembley's Arcade in Marysville, Tonopah. This type of game gives a score display on the front wall, where spectators can look on and cheer the players on. The dance moves are displayed in a mirrored player character image on screen and footprints on the floor display. The player will follow the character's move and have two opportunities to successfully execute the dance move. This game is often touted for the activity it gives for participants and is designed such to help people actually dance.

However, as popular as all these forms of entertainment are, the thing that consistently brings in the crowds is sports...

It's not hard to see that the inhabitants of Chakona are huge sports fans. There are many facilities dedicated to various types of sports, but of course the biggest – and pretty much a global obsession – is chakker. Although played exclusively by chakats, fans of the game include every species, and crowds regularly fill stadiums for all games. There is an intense, although for the most part friendly, rivalry between the supporters of the various teams, and membership in the cheer squads alone is a much coveted thing. For more complete information on the sport of chakker, please read the article by Honeymane.

Chief amongst the sports venues is the Amistad Sports Arena. This domed facility has a capacity of about 19,000 for most events, and is well served by public transport so it's not necessary to drive there. Numerous sporting events take place here, and teams of a few professional leagues are represented here. The Arena is nestled in a forested area in the suburbs, but is still readily accessible from the rest of the metro area.

However, a multitude of sports, both standard and taur-adapted, fill the sporting calendar.

At left we see the Yarraville baseball team score a hit against their great rivals, the Eucla Baseball Club, in an intense divisional match. Baseball is generally divided between taur and biped leagues due to the fact that taurs can run between bases far faster than bipeds, giving them an unfair advantage. A specially proportioned baseball field is sanctioned for the taur league. However, there are always some people who are up for a challenge, and the inter-league special events are always well attended.

At right, the Redpaws and Silver Lake hockey clubs face off for an intense match. A blistering wrist shot by Silver Lake's Chakat Truedove is successfully glove-saved by Redpaws goalie (Skunktaur) Lauzon. It sure takes a long time to suit up, but it's definitely worth it. By using bladed skates on the hind legs and smooth runners on the handpaws, it's possible to get great stability and control on the ice. Telekinetic skunktaur players may not use their abilities to influence the game, and special psi-sensitive umpires monitor the games to enforce this rule. Any detection results in an automatic penalty being applied.

Snowboarding chakat style! With over 200 kg of taur, you're going to need a bigger board. But with the right stance and enough turning radius, it's possible to board in a controlled manner. With just the right amount of play on the foot inserts, it's possible to distribute weight enough to have very effective steering. Because most of the mass of the taur is balanced towards the front, the taur can use a thicker bow on the board. Protective gear is a must here. All of the boards include an emergency positioning beacon in case of avalanches or other dangers. Whenever engaging in winter sports on steep, snow-packed mountains, there are all sorts of dangers. The beacons help save precious seconds for rescuers to arrive.

At the Mowbray race circuit in Johnston, the 40th lap commences on the 6 km course. In the A-class of racing, the electrically powered cars reach top speeds of around 350 km/h. Since these are electrically charged vehicles, it's necessary to go to the pits to get fresh batteries. Those batteries are placed on the side panels astride the driver's compartment and rapidly swapped out. Each pit crew has use of a charging station to charge the spare batteries and have them ready for the driver to return. Since taurs are racing these vehicles, the compartment configuration is a bit different. A moveable seatback with four point harness helps anchor the anthro body, while a body harness anchors the taur body. Special helmets with Head and Neck Support (HANS) systems stabilise the racer, especially in crashes or tight turns. The race courses are built such to give large recovery areas, and soft, energy-absorbing barriers block off significant hazards. The cars themselves are designed to absorb energy in the event of a collision. Spectator areas are set back significantly from the course itself, protected with energy-absorbing walls so that bystanders do not come into contact with debris or the cars themselves. Due to the cost of this level of racing, drivers normally have sponsors or may be part of a team.

At the civic arena in Accipiter, Bosporus, one member of Riverina's gymnastics team gets ready to transfer between uneven bars. Due to the greater weight of taurs, the training is a lot more rigorous. The taur gymnast must have superior grip and upper arm strength with the anthro body, being able to support the weight of the heavier lower body whilst suspended. Distance between the bars is much further than for bipeds, allowing for their greater reach. Of course, the equipment must be reinforced, and padding further increased. For safety purposes, an inflated pad lies below the equipment, protecting the athletes from fall damage.

The time series picture at right depicts a Chakat gymnast executing a reverse finish with five phases. The Push launches the gymnast off the lower bar. The Grip affords six points of contact on the bar. It's critical that momentum be used to not only be able to rotate around the axis of the bar, but to get to an upright position. Once upright, the Spring occurs, allowing the gymnast to fully clear the upper bar. The push with the hind legs must be just right so as to induce rotation about both the longitudinal and lateral axes of the skeleton. The Inversion is the complete reversal of both axes. If executed properly, given enough momentum, the final Plant phase is achieved onto the inflated safety mat.

The sanctioned wrestling match at right is between the teams for Johnston and Marysville, in an exciting regional competition. The team in each region with the best record goes on to compete in a national competition. Given the number of limbs and the larger size of taurs than bipeds, the mat has to be much larger, and there's definitely more possibilities when it comes to holds. Savvy wrestling fans will likely be able to hypothesize how this match will turn out.

The annual Silver Lake Regatta is held in Silver Lake, Didwana province. This is one of the largest freshwater lakes on Chakona, and the islands and river mouth at the site of the city of Silver Lake provide an ideal venue for a multitude of water sports, including the rowing course.

The roof is open at New Auckland's Sunsail Stadium as 34,000 fans cheer their Stellar League Chakker club on in a divisional match against the Amistad Aphrodites. As Amistad's Chakat Petra Lorong is upended (by New Auckland's Skunktaur Krann) in the midst of a pass, Chakat Goldenwave does hir best to continue the advance downfield for a goal. Chakat Whitespot Cheres attempts to halt Goldenwave's progress.

In the locker room at Riverina's Highline Stadium, the Riverina Serpents get ready to face their divisional rivals the New New York Rangers in what's sure to be a rousing chakker match.

It was a very rough match in the losing effort for Adele Eastern Chakker Club against their divisional rivals from New Dover. Chakat Dale Neavereth has a hind leg sprain which is being checked out by the team doctor. Hir teammate Chakat Katuschia provides both emotional and physical support for hir discomfort. Chakker teams, due to the intensity of the sport and the lifestyle, often have very strong emotional bonds develop between players.

Vraikul Nohnar of the New New York Basketball Club catches great air on the way to a dunk as two defenders of the Adele Aeries prepare to regroup. Due to the innate physical advantages of taurs over bipeds in this sport, there are separate leagues, though special exhibition matches may occur. Generally the game, an import from Earth, has to be modified significantly due to the larger size and greater vertical reach of taurs. Some augmentations include a larger court and higher hoops.

The annual Eucla City Race travels over 50km through streets and parks of Eucla City, Bonifacio. Racers from all over the world travel to Eucla in order to participate in this prestigious race, which is broadcast all around the planet. Many of the athletes train for months in order to compete. A 50K race is 50km, which is longer than an Earth marathon race. This type of race is open to taurs only because of their greater endurance and sustained speed; bipeds compete in similar races elsewhere for lesser distances.

In the scrublands of northern Flinders Continent. a group of offroad enthusiasts go through their course. Offroad racing is a great (if not expensive) method of having great fun and presents a unique challenge. Due to the wear and tear such vehicles would produce on the local environment, all such racing groups are mandated to engage in conservation activities such as replanting or environmental stewardship. In exchange they have a permit to set up race courses in designated areas. Some of their meets will even draw nice crowds.

In Esperanta, a group of friends play tennis on a pleasant summer day. Many sports, especially at amateur levels, do see mixed biped and taur teams, especially where the size and mobility advantages cancel out.

In Belsize, Vaasa, paintball enthusiasts gather at a special ground. The vast complex is filled with numerous obstacles and structures to be used for offencive or defencive advantage. Paintball is a sport that can be played by either bipeds or taurs as each can cancel out the advantages of the other in the sport.

The frequently frozen lakes at high elevations near Tallawang, Galilei are a prominent centre for ice sports on Chakona. Incharregui Lake, at an elevation of 3500 metres, is one such lake. Filled by glacial meltwater and precipitation, the surface is frozen most of the year, making its high-quality ice a great arena for ice boating. Some of the boats reach speeds in excess of 230km/h. The lake now features a resort connected to Tallawang itself by rack railway and service road. In the background is Colon Massif, a series of interconnected ridges and summits that approach 7500 metres in height.

Professions upon Chakona are basically no different from anywhere else in the Federation, just with an unusual amount of catering towards the dominant taurform species.

At left we see paramedics at work. An injured chakat is loaded onto an ambulance for the trip to hospital - while chakats have superb healing ability, it's still possible to get hurt, for example when tripping over something, or slipping on a slick floor. Due to the great weight of taurs, gurneys are not only wider and sturdier, but they have a power assist feature that allows the bed to be brought to near floor level, allowing the patient to be more easily brought onto the cart. Numerous methods exist for accomplishing this, and there's even a "wedge" option to help provide a "ramp" to get an immobile patient onto the gurney. The power assist feature is not the only benefit - here, the gurney is also self-propelled and can be steered with handles. The unit can be locked onto the floor of the ambulance for transport.

At right, two police constables walk the beat in Amistad amongst the pedestrians, on a nice day. It's far more common to see taur officers walking a beat rather than being in a patrol vehicle in the city.

Chakat steelworkers put another beam into place on newly developed apartment and office buildings (mixed use), going up in a new town-style development to make more housing for settlers. Plenty of concrete and steel will ensure that these buildings remain for many years to come, but of course they will be finished off in the same environmentally friendly manner as the rest of Amistad.

Any modern society is going to produce a lot of refuse, either solid or liquid. Here is one such plant that takes that liquid refuse and produces potable water. These plants are specially constructed with the lessons learned from hundreds of years of sewage treatment. In the picture at right, a worker visually inspects part of the input process as one channel of screened sewage (debris and silt removed) is aerated and cleaned using ultraviolet light. This helps separate out the suspended and dissolved pollutants that were not screened out in the "mechanical" stage. There is a heat treatment system downstream that flashes the water to steam, allowing it to condense a bit later minus the pollutants. The heat is provided by an on-site fusion generator, allowing waste heat from the thermal-electric processes to be collected. The end result? Biofiltrated, clean potable water that's returned to the supply, and no stinky effluent to clog up streams and wreck the local ecosystem.

A reporter gives a little bit of pre-game chatter for a Chakker match; the local supporters are quite excited as they're starting to go into the stadium.

Despite strong building codes and the best of intentions, fires still happen. Whether it is an unavoidable accident or carelessness, a fire can start anywhere, and there are highly trained and well-equipped firefighters ready to go into action. A report of a structure fire with victims trapped is reported, and personnel of the Port Kepler Fire Brigade are dispatched to the scene. This assignment will include three pumps, an aerial platform, rescue ladder truck, rescue and command vehicle, along with ambulances. All told, over 30 firefighters will respond to this structure fire. The taur firefighters wear one-piece bunker gear for speed of entry, while biped firefighters can use two-piece gear. The exterior has retroreflective stripes for easy visibility. Communication is accomplished through intercoms and position indicators carried near the collar. Firefighters can be located at any time by the incident commander, whom will use an interactive display when managing a fire.

Port Kepler's central fire station is a triangular structure and carries more appliances than the typical station. This station includes additional command and service appliances, including a rescue crane, an air/light truck, investigation vehicles, and an evacuation/medevac bus. The larger appliances are powered by biodiesel, while the smaller vehicles like the ambulance and command vehicle are operated by electric power (although they do have auxiliary biodiesel engines). In order to speed response time, the dispatch assignment will automatically start up the trucks and open their bay doors. Firefighters are trained to operate any appliance and thus their duty assignment will change per shift (normally four days on, four days off). There are two 10 hour shifts per day. While the shifts are long, firefighters if they are lucky may be able to rest in the bunkroom or otherwise relax in between calls.

At right, members of the Riverina Fire Brigade accomplish a rescue of a victim from a house fire on the west side of the city. Due to the heavier weight of taurs, aerial company assignments generally include five or six members with the truck so that they can do ladder rescues. Ladders are generally placed at lower angles to help the taurs balance, and sometimes the victim can be carried along using a backboard. Other members are suppressing the fire with an elevated master stream and handlines.

In the picture at left is the primary production stage for making steel; here molten iron is created in a blast furnace. The molten metal is offloaded into railed 'torpedo cars' where the product can be sent down the line to be turned into steel or other materials. The exhaust gases and heat are distributed to a co-generation facility on the roof that creates electricity via gas turbines and steam generators. This essentially allows steel plants on Chakona to also be thermal electric power stations, and thereby reduce their environmental impact. Numerous byproducts are created by the steel mill, including cinder blocks that function as masonry, ash and other binder materials for concrete, and fibrous insulation. Some steel mills also utilize the same furnaces to create glass.

Not all jobs are quite as dramatic; there is still the need for the business people and the common office workers. Despite modern telecommuting, a real office environment is still often preferred by many, and at right we see two of them greeting each other at the start of a new business day.

Fish is a favourite meal, but despite all modern improvements, commercial fishing can still be a hard and dangerous profession. Here we see a load of tuna-like fish captured to go to the dinner plates of Chakonans. Down in the hold, other crew are getting ready to pack the fish in ice. This is the last load before going back to port.

Farming is very important to feed the fast-growing population of Chakona, but it's also important to do it right. With land at a premium, sustainable farming practices are needed. It's important to avoid destroying forests. Meadows are fine for extensive agriculture, certainly. The same green building principles that apply in cities can be applied to farms in order to lower their carbon footprint. By planting native crops, the reliance on artificial nutrients can also be diminished. Artificial fertilizers can have a nasty effect on the groundwater, for example. Of course, you don't want to overwork the soil; you need to give it a break regularly and switch to tilling a different field. To that end, there's a fallow field to the right before the tree line. This farm's energy needs are augmented by a modern windmill, that further reduces the carbon footprint.

At the port of Eyre, Flinders, workers load tank cars with freshly distilled biodiesel from Diamond Refining. Derived from plants like industrial hemp (cannabis) and soy, this hearty fuel provides the energy necessary for many self-contained powerful diesel-electric vehicles like trucks, trains and construction equipment. Many farmers, as a result, grow crops that are turned into fuel. This fuel will make its way to distribution stations, and finally to fuel depots where the vehicles can top up or the fuel can be delivered on site. Biodiesel, with the advantage of being renewable, does not require petrochemicals, and there is an added benefit of manufacturing plastics from these materials. Since these tank cars are in low-speed operation, their landing gears (conventional wheels) are engaged as they're pulled by an electric tug locomotive. Once brought to the sorting yard, they could potentially be chained to a high-speed locomotive to go to other cities on Flinders or Pacifis.

Railway networks do not extend to all places in Chakona. For freight service in rural communities, road trains are the answer. These long convoys shuttle parcels and freight to places beyond the reach of the rail networks. At right, a B-Triple road train is in repose after a fueling stop in Vaasa. Road trains, like many other self-propelled machines, use biodiesel fuel.

At left, workers on Vaasa employ slipform gantry cranes to gradually bridge the Prentice River Valley, over 200 m deep, between Esperanta and New Dover. This bridge will carry a motorway offering a higher-speed route between the cities.

The Elmwood PTV Works (at right) produces PTVs (Personal Transport Vehicles) for sale in Flinders and Pacifis. While robots do a great deal of the assembly work, there are still a couple hundred employees that make sure the assembly line is in tip-top shape. Due to computer-assisted modeling and tooling, and heavy usage of "common" primitives, PTVs of different models, even heavily-customised ones, may be assembled on the same line. Each trolley that carries a vehicle for production is tagged with its model, desired colour, and trim options. Once complete, the PTVs will be loaded onto carrier maglevs and distributed to other cities (or elsewhere in the world). Given the large size of the factory, its expansive roof is loaded with green plants and solar panels to help grant further energy savings.

Shipbuilding activity is in effect at the shipyard in Aura, Skunktaur Archipelago. In the foreground, a welder finishes up the joints on a bulkhead between holds as a group of skunktaurs in the background uses telekinesis to lift a modular bridge deck into place on the ship. Ships can be built with standardised, modular pieces to save time and money, and this also makes assembly a snap. Later on, welders will come in to permanently attach the deck. Some ships remain modular so that they may be expanded later on.

In Johnston, Tonopah, a growing centre of fashion, several designers pool their theme of period fashion mixed with modern sensibilities (and sometimes sensualities). At right, models exhibit the fashions as they make circuits on the runway as the audience enjoys, photographs and reports.

Geologists from the Chakona Department of Environment perform the final steps of deployment for a standardised volcanic and seismic monitoring station at Goode's Volcano on Oxley Island in the Skunktaur Archipelago. Settlement in Chakona is generally located such to avoid most natural hazards, but there is still significant danger from volcanic eruptions. A large enough volcanic eruption, though incredibly rare, would cause significant weather and climate impacts, including global cooling (and attendant crop loss). In order to have preparation for such an occurrence, monitoring is important. The automated station transmits pictures of the volcano's status, and contains telemetry and a seismometer. It is powered by a self-cleaning solar array that will catch sunlight from any angle, and the information is beamed in real-time to an observatory on the coast of the island (and relayed to other observatories elsewhere). Scientists are able to minimise disruption to the environment by using compact VTOL (Vertical takeoff and landing) vehicles, where they can deploy the equipment and leave without having to make camp (like foot expeditions do). Still, the work is dangerous as eruptions could happen at any time from any volcano, including the ones which are not readily apparent.

At right, two workers compact the clay substrate for a new house's roof in the outskirts of Marysville. The wide adoption of green roofs means that there have been uniform engineering standards on Chakona. In addition, numerous products and appliances are developed to build structures in a way that follows these standards explicitly. Whether the roofs are peaked or flat, they all include a moisture barrier and underlayment for the clay substrate. The clay substrate, when properly installed, prevents roots from the eventual vegetation from breaking through. Clay is delivered to the rooftop by clamshell digger, and then the workers smooth it out manually with rollers. Over time, the dead weight of the soil will compact it further, and the vegetation will provide an even texture once mature. The moisture barrier plus flashing will channel any inherent moisture from the clay and condensation to seep into pipes at the lower end of the roof, then to gutters. Finally, the roof is finished off with local soil, almost always the reserve from the building's excavated footprint. Due to the heavier weight of chakats than bipeds, floors tend to be concrete or other pavement. Non-load bearing walls will tend to be wood with gypsum wallboard or other material for sheathing. As a result, there are very few homes built with a 'balloon frame' structural method, they will either be the skeleton frame (steel structure) or load bearing wall structure. In the case of a load bearing wall structure, these are almost always concrete masonry units or brick, though this is not allowed in seismically active areas.

While wood is not as important a material for structures, it is still useful for interior framing. Hemp and other renewable plant fibers turned out to be much better for paper production, which leaves timber almost entirely for use in construction applications. It can be used for temporary shoring, or much more commonly, residential wall stud and sheathing material. Forests are all required to be harvested in a sustainable manner, using stripes of cultivation. As one stripe of forest is harvested with machines that remove the trees and load them, another convoy traverses the previous stripes, regrading the land and replanting saplings at about the original density. Such replanted stripes are left fallow for many years and if grasses are preserved they may become a useful habitat for many creatures. Because of the danger involved in logging, workers always stay inside the cabs of the equipment and let the machines do the work. This cuts down signifcantly on the injury rate.

On Chakona, settlements will have various and sundry ways of disposal of refuse in a manner that reduces pollution to the environment. All apartment complexes and half-blocks along a street have a central location for refuse in order to simplify its collection. The collection point is normally a concrete pad designed with its own drain, or sloped such that it drains into a gutter. Here a sanitation worker in Amistad moved sorted totes into position so that the automatic lift arms can empty the totes. The worker can also clean up the concrete pad some if necessary, and may even be able to use some hydrant water to flush the area. The worker carries a remote control to operate the equipment at a safe distance. Durable materials and packaging are sorted into three categories; glass/metal, plastics and fibres (such as paper). Each has a different process for separating and recovering the materials, hence the separate bins. At a standard collection point there is also a large bin for food waste. The food waste is collected separately and is composted in the bin so that it may be applied for agricultural uses. Either sanitation workers or urban farmers may collect such totes from time to time. For large, complex items such as furniture and electronics, a separate collection area would be located in each neighbourhood. Otherwise, large items to be discarded may be removed by special arrangement.

At Aprilsong Custom Designs, a crew is putting together an order of custom tables for an office. Those desiring a customised set of furnishings can pay a premium and get them created by actual artisan carpenters. While wood is not generally used structurally, it is still an important element in furniture-making, especially customised furniture. These furnishings give their customers a distinctive touch that doesn't come from mass-produced materials.

Like any other manufactured good, electronics enter the waste stream at the end of their service life if unable to be repaired. If the electronics are dumped into the normal waste stream, they will contribute to significant ground pollution from heavy metals and other items. Electronics recycling companies have taken a very vital niche on Chakona to prevent this sort of occurrence. The two-prong strategy relies upon aggressive recycling techniques along with regulations that help manufacturers design a recyclable product. After the electronics are collected from various municipal collection points, they are brought to one or more central facilities in major cities. Disassemblers break down the individual items into rough component parts, generally by the type of material. For example, a PADD will be separated into its case, screen, processor, battery and circuit/memory board. Solid case pieces are then placed into the normal recycling stream and will be picked up for bulk recycling at a regular recovery facility. In this picture, two technicians are at work recovering the precious metals found on printed circuit boards. Skip robots automatically replenish the recovery pile of the work table once the worker has completed a batch, so as to help keep track of throughput. All of those statistics are sent to the management systems so as to minimize delays or other issues. This technician affixes the board to the table with a vise and then scrapes the diodes and other items off the surface, leaving the metal trails. The small scrap is put into a tiny bin where it will be mechanically sorted elsewhere. Once the board is cleaned of protrusions, it is tossed in a pile, which is fed to a sorting kiln. The sorting kiln collects the boards and decomposes them in order to recover the precious metals. The precious metals are then taken to markets and otherwise enter the re-use stream. Due to the frequent exposure to normal and heavy metals, and the potential irritants associated with the recovery process, all of the workers wear full protective gear and dust masks.

A nurse attends to a patient fresh out of internal surgery to repair wounds from an accident. While chakats have great self-healing ability, there are surely many injuries that exceed this natural ability. To that end, the health care system has equipment and numerous medical professionals to give the sick and injured their greatest chance at recovery. This intensive care unit is located at Sally Bramblefield Hospital in Eucla City, Bonifacio. This hospital is the largest in the city and also functions as its primary trauma centre for the most seriously injured. Other hospitals in the area treat relatively minor conditions. Some hospitals serve exclusive populations; in Eucla City there is also a children's hospital with appropriately-sized equipment to help children.

The Knightsport General Hospital is the main hospital for the city of Knightsport, the capital and largest city of Nova Belarus. The neonatal ward is normally buzzing with activity as births occur at any time of day or night. Here, the nurses are looking at a couple relative newborns. The tot in the background is going to remain in the ward for just another day, to assure that hir breathing is within appropriate parameters, while the youngster in the foreground is probably going to be ready to go within a couple hours as hir proud parents look on in the back. Coloured bassinets are used in a standardised four-colour system depicting the health status of newborns. Teal/blue-coloured bassinets are for routine births, the vast majority. Normally a child in these bassinets will be all bundled up and ready to go home after a short while. Green bassinets are used for those newborns that need a little extra monitoring. Generally one or more body parameters came out deviating from normal, so some extra attention is provided to assure their health. Yellow and orange bassinets are generally found in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and that is for children born with advanced conditions or difficulties. These interventions may take anywhere from days to even months to resolve.

A team of midwives from the municipality make their way to the apartment block they've been called to. Chakats traditionally often prefer to have births at home. Said births tend to be social affairs, but as birth often have medical procedures associated with it, trained professionals can be sent to assist with the delivery and post-birth care of the newborn(s). The midwives carry monitoring equipment, all the necessary medical tools, and also terminals to register the birth in official records. This saves the parents from having to make additional trips to do this, allowing them more time with their new child. If a medical emergency or complication has arisen with the birth, the midwives can transport the mother and/or the newborn to hospital. The modern midwife is essentially a specialist doctor, highly trained in this particular area of health care. By doing more home births for all species, and not just chakats, they relieve the workload on hospitals, allowing them to concentrate on the patients who require more intensive medical treatment. A home environment is also psychologically more comforting than a hospital ward for new mothers.

At right, one of the housekeeping staff prepares a room for the next guest at the Greenbank Inn in Accipiter, Bosporus. It's an honest day's work, for an honest day's pay, and a very necessary job at that. If your housekeeper is a chakat, please remember to offer hir a grateful hug.

In the outskirts of Marysville, Tonopah, animal control wardens begin to induce a herd of Great Tonopah rabbits to move their herd. While development lines for cities do not really sprawl, and the edge of development is normally a sharp line between wilderness and civilisation, the integration of natural settings into Chakonan cities does result in occasional conflicts. These can largely be solved via empathic inducement. Chakats and skunktaurs especially are recruited to be animal control wardens, and when called to an area where there is nuisance (or displaced) wildlife, they can induce the animals to move elsewhere. Should the situation get hairy, there are stun guns and, depending on the nature of the animal(s), a larger team may be dispatched as well.

At the Hollyfields Inn located in New Dover, tea and muffins are the usual prescription for a good start to the morning. The wait staff can also be part of the experience, being sources of news, jokes, and advice. Good staff are very well paid if they can encourage repeat business from satisfied customers.

One of the Chakonan Defence Force's recruiting stations is located in Haarn'tuk'harr township, which is a large Caitian settlement on Chakona. Here, the recruiting officer is explaining things to these prospective young recruits. A description of the various options for service are given, as well as a rundown of the benefits structure for each. As a general rule of thumb, the Caitians here would be recruited towards the piloting jobs as their small size allows them to be more nimble than the taur beings.

The City Comfort Resort is part day spa, part hotel, and caters to individuals (or groups) desiring an upscale, sensual experience. Located in the centre of Riverina, the resort features an indoor pool, numerous rooms and comfort facilities for staff and visitors alike. The workers themselves are very diverse and hail from many places; you may encounter various and sundry morphs, taurs and even humans. Sex work is one of the many professions on Chakona, and due to its nature there are regulatory standards established primarily to ensure the safety of the workers. Brothels are inspected regularly for cleanliness and safety, and the profession does not carry the stigma that it would on Earth, allowing for greater visibility and safety for all whom participate. Brothels are often marked with a red and white heart logo, and many have a special window beside the entrance that displays the certificate. All of the workers will have their own certificates, and must have periodic physical examinations to ensure their health. Because of some difficulties it may present emotionally to the empathic chakats, prostitution is not a popular profession for most of their species. However, one of the important functions of a Chakonan brothel is for emotional comfort, and accordingly chakats who specialise in that fill the need. Brothels vary in their appointments; this particular location is more of a mid-range establishment. City Comfort's management has added some extra design details such as a stained glass mural and cathedral ceiling in the lobby. Higher-end brothels tend to be more palatial, while budget-oriented brothels may have more spartan accommodations. The services tend to be the same however, and health and safety standards are equally strict.

It's the end of the workday at Badgeley Place, an office block in Port Kepler, Galilei, and workers stream out of the building to head home. This building is eight storeys above grade and eight storeys below, with separate elevators serving the above and below-grade sections. This office block features convenient transit and access to PTV parking.

Chakats enjoy lots of drinks, and this factory in Adele helps make soft drinks for the consumer market. Here a mechanic has finished inspecting some of the process flow machinery that helps combine the ingredients for the bottling. Little-used areas of factories like this one (which is generally automated) can be accessed with vertical ladders like these, which chakats can easily negotiate with basic ladder safety principles.

In the centre of the town of Watergate, Pacifis, a municipal forester works on pruning tree branches that have extended down to the sidewalk. In order to reduce hazard for pedestrians, municipalities and private establishments will prune vegetation to about 2.5 metres above the ground. This preserves the benefits of a vegetation canopy over a sidewalk yet prevents pedestrians from becoming hampered by branches at head level.

At right, a technician performs routine inspection of one of the Yellow River Energy Centre's 2GW fusion reactors. This 8GW-rated facility, by itself, produces a large portion of the electricity for the continent of Pacifis. Given the complexity of the facility, the workers use small wheeled robots to collect information and assist them with maintenance. This allows each reactor to maintain nearly 99.9% uptime. Large amounts of steam are heated in order to drive the turbines, and the steam is constantly recirculated through the system and numerous high and low-speed turbines, giving the plant its large output. Even though fusion generators do not have the dangerous byproducts associated with nuclear fission, there is still a great deal of heat as well as some radioactive material present from the hydrogen process. Precautions like this suit help lower exposures to that of the normal everyday background radiation.

In Aura, Skunktaur Archipelago, the natural harbour is taken advantage of by durable manufacturing industries. These manufacturing concerns may easily transport their products across the world by aircraft or boat especially (or even by rail to other cities on Sturt Island, the main island of the Archipelago. Many skunktaur factories primarily use telekinesis for the assembly work, significantly reducing their firms' energy output. In this factory that produces PADD devices, the assembly is easily done with telekinesis. This leaves most of the necessary electric power to be utilized by the conveyor belts and quality control equipment. In this picture, two workers use their TK talents to levitate circuitboards onto the lower case where they can be attached by locking clips. This eliminates the need for the delicate electronics to be touched by any hands.

Despite the high level of technology, transport accidents and incidents still occur. What should have been a routine flight between Riverina and Amistad has instead ended in a forest. Fortunately, the aircraft had complete recording and also continuously beams relevant diagnostic information back to home base, so once the recorders are located and synchronized, the cause will be found. One of the investigators from the Transportation Investigative Board combs through the wreckage searching for the recorders. The craft fragmented almost completely, meaning that it will not be a quick job to locate the recorders. Fortunately there is a pinger that can be tracked by the TIB's handheld devices. The likely result of the investigation will be operator error, and it's the TIB's task to determine ways of ensuring that this particular error does not result in another similar tragedy.

It is possible to find delicious food as a pedestrian in most places on Chakona, such as from street vendors. They offer various delicacies in a convenient package for the pedestrian on the go. Here in Eyre, this street vendor specialises in pizza.

Every sizable city on Chakona has its own news channel, sometimes even competing channels. Some news channels broadcast breaking news 20 hours a day. Just like on Earth of the past, there are anchors in a studio for each programme, along with numerous field reporters (sometimes partnered with a global news agency). Channel 5 News Linx is one such news channel, broadcasting from Knightsport. The station is provided over the hypernet in 'podcast' format, and can be viewed on news kiosks and TV screens in various and sundry establishments. The "green screen" behind the presenters is generally used to display remote news feed (from electronic news gatherers). Synchronisation of the news presenters with the action on the screen is aided by the use of silhouettes from the news feed. The silhouettes allow the presenters to be correctly aligned and interact 'naturally' with the screen, so as to simulate a face-to-face conversation with the remote reporters if necessary. The presenters may also read the news information from a prompter mounted to the camera. Station control information is displayed on a roving monitor on the floor, so that the presenters can receive their cues or know when a break is coming up in the programme.

More of Building Chakona on PAGE 2!


Chakats and Chakona are the creation of Bernard "Goldfur" Doove, and remain my intellectual property.

The Chakat Universe is also the creation of Bernard Doove. However, I wish to acknowledge the huge contributions that Seth Triggs has put into this pictorial article.

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