Ganymede; where Jupiter is most visible, but the biggest festival is when the Proving Grounds host the event


In a sense, Ganymede is a beautiful world, but that sense is the harsh beauty of a glacier or the delicate grace of a snow-covered plain. Ganymede’s colors are white, black…and purple. At best, the distant sun provides a soft twilight glow. The powerful radiation coming from Jupiter sparks a blue-purple light in Ganymede’s terraformed atmosphere, adding its own weird ambiance: Ganymede spends its time in a purple haze.

Once every 600 days or so, the Jovian moons line up nicely to provide an unusually luminous night. Europa is at its closest to Jupiter, its transverse leaving a trail of lighting effects in its wake on the great planet, and the faint pull of Io and Callisto enhance the radiation plume, giving a night show of auroras lighting up the dim twilight, a few hours of “day” on the twilight moon.

The Ganymede Aurora Festival celebrates this rare event. ASR and MarsCo usually sponsor the festival, building a temporary town wherever the lights are most visible. Every four or so festivals ASR’s Proving Grounds arena is chosen for the festival’s locations. Those festivals are particularly well-attended.

The Aurora Festival is a celebration of color. Colorful clothes, particularly flowing scarves, capes, and drapery; bright hats; anything that lights up or changes tones. Colorful ice sculptures decorate the village, snowball fights splatter kids and adults in gaudy smears. Fistfuls of bright “holi” colored powder fill the air and cover clothes and pelts; it’s a mark of festival glory to end up with more than your face and paws stained with holi, since only the truly brave, stupid, or medically augmented can handle the cold to show off their color-smudged bodies. Cogs do have an advantage here.

Ganymede is Applied Science and Robotics’ unofficial homeworld, and the Aurora Festival is one of their regular employee perks. Travel budgets are a lot looser when the Aurora Festival’s on the calendar. Even on the off years, ASR deploys all the effects lighting they can manage, with partical accelerators pointed upward, creating columns of purple airglow, and pyrotechnics to light the sky when the auroras fade. When the Aurora Festival is held at the Proving Grounds, they truly go all-out; display blankets are passed out to attendees and synchronized with the light shows, the giant robot constructs of the arena are lit up with St. Elmo’s Fire, Chameleon Display armor goes on parade, and the company hires every entertainer they can find with the color-changing display surgery embedded in their skin to literally light up the stage.

Need to Know (before you go)

On Europa, the full glory of Jupiter is generally a bad omen, but Ganymede is much more civilized. The date of Aurora varies, but averages out to once in a Martian year.

GM Notes

Plot Seeds

Least Wanted: After extending their ban on technological enhancements and dropping coverage of the Proving Grounds game last year, PULSE is corporate non gratis. ASR’s hottest new Cog celebrity is playing an exclusive at the festival, and PULSE is sending its agents undercover to cover the show.

Dropped Connection: Europa transversing Jupiter at the closest point of its orbit marks the high point of the festival on Ganymede, but it’s a time when Europan colonists hide from the sky and lock their doors. Rather than deal with the superstitious TTI employees, more pragmatic ASR agents are livestreaming from Europa and have launched a probe into Jupiter’s atmosphere, hoping to catch Europa’s auroral wake from the inside and stream it to three massive displays back home. What could go wrong.

Logistics Specialists: Nothing supernatural or strange here: ASR’s 650th anniversary is close enough to the festival this year to lump the two events together. The PCs may be ASR employees, Ganymede natives, media, delagates from friendly corporations, or just party-crashers. The moon isn’t big enough for the traffic or the politics of this decision…