Encyclopedroid Entry: Locus Loci

An entry about the planet Locus Loci as noted by an official Terra_Gov Encyclopedroid:

From afar, it looked as though the great, dusty desert world had six deep canyons that encircled the whole planet. But these were not canyons and certainly not natural. The proud scars upon the planet were man-made.

The world was split into eight equal parts by the great railway system that ran around the planet. Four rails went from pole to pole separating the world into four segments like an orange and were bisected by The Belt Line, the rail that circled the planet’s circumference, separating the quadrants into North and South. From these, the largest lines, innumerable tributaries flowed off and away to countless different stations.
At the cross sections of all these rails were the great stations, the crossroads around which the planet metaphorically span. The centres of the planet’s corporatocratic government.

Horizon 7B had been bought decades ago by the Horizon Rail Service, which had promptly renamed the planet to the more whimsical Locus Loco. Their plans, however, were far from whimsical.

Buying the planet so as to spread their rail surface across the globe had made Horizon Rail the defacto rulers. And rather than pretending to answer to a puppet government, they bare-facedly ran the world without shame. First they leased the land on which industries wanted to mine the planet’s rich resources, after which they banned any form of personal transportation in the name of ecological preservation.

Happy with themselves that the desert world would not be polluted by noxious car-fumes, they began to further their grasp on the world, buying out any competitors in the public transportation industry and made sub-atmospheric air travel illegal due to dust-storm hazards.

The Loco government would only allow residential areas to be built a certain distance away from industrial areas to ensure the good health of those who lived on the planet, thus meaning that anybody who wanted to work had to go to the factories littered across the world’s surface via commute.

At any given time, there could be half a planet’s worth of people on one of Horizon Rail’s trains travelling to their shift, after which the other half of the world would go home.

Many have criticised the way in which Horizon Rail manage Locus Loco. But all will admit the majesty of what they built, if grudgingly at times

The stations on the planet could be mistaken for towns. Benches full of people waiting for their train could stretch off into the horizon, lined by innumerable cafes and vending machines and ticket booths. Many of the long-term workers, rather than buying a ticket every time they travelled, opted instead for the 10-year train passes, which were far more economically viable in the long run. Many of the factory workers had to save up their wages for years before they could afford the more affordable travel option, of course.

The trains themselves were the most glorious of affairs. A mile wide and multi-storied, they rocketed across the globe like toppled skyscrapers, but wider than a city block. All seats were comfortable and each had a cup-holder, power sockets, amply sized armrests and free Wi-Fi. The train was also equipped with cafés, restaurants and supermarkets in each carriage for the convenience of tired, home-bound passengers.

Horizon Rail was unsurprisingly one of the biggest employers on the planet, the scores of conductors and ticket inspectors being, of course, the planet’s primary form of law-enforcement.

Whilst most major crimes were dealt with traditionally – the primary punishments being monetary fine or a years-long ride on the planet’s affectionately named Rail Jail – the most heinous of crimes of all was dealt with in a way that most all civilised worlds considered barbaric.

Ticket dodging was a sin amongst sins. Those caught by the beady-eyed inspectors would be forced to ride the train until it’s eventual termination at one of the great Crossroad Stations. Once they were let out of the train’s brig, they would be tried and, when invariably found guilty, would be sentenced to indentured servitude on the charges of stealing bread from the mouths of the Horizon Rail executives by avoiding paying their ticket fare.

This fare would be their debt, which they would pay off with months – if not years – of hard, dangerous, unpaid labour building more rail networks. Because of the magnitude of the crime, the debt had an exorbitant interest rate which meant that a single ticket could end up taking a year to pay off in full.

Many worlds have, as mentioned, been very critical of Locus Loco’s policy of indentured servitude, being as it is a colourful term for what amounts to slavery.

The executive branch of Horizon Rail justifies their decision by claiming that people know the risks of fare avoidance and so accept this punishment by their own volition when they decide to commit the crime anyway.

After some point out that it’s more of an issue of morality rather than technicality, the Horizon Rail executives remind them that it’s their damn planet and they can do what they want with it.

Short of an intergalactic war against a public transport company, most galactic governments settle with telling immigration offices to ask itinerant workers bound for Locus Loco the question: “Are you very sure?”

Most Terra_Gov affiliated planets have condemned Locus Loci, stating that the government is authoritarian, cruel and has a brutal disregard for human wellbeing.

They give credit where credit is due, however. The trains do run on time.

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