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216 Kleopatra
Kleopatra
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The asteroid Kleopatra is an irregular, dumbbell shaped object

Major asteroid, Main Belt, Sol System.

The original Kleopatra was a bone-shaped asteroid about 217 kilometers long and 94 kilometers wide. This unusual asteroid was discovered and named in 1880, but its shape was only discovered in 2000. The asteroid was colonised during the middle interplanetary period, and for a while became something of a local financial center, later a data haven with independence declared from the CisLunar Orbital Alliance.

In 498 the "Ground Zero" nanite infected Kleopatra, killing 1373 people. The entire asteroid was quarantined, and despite vigorous blue goo countermeasures the infestation spread into the bedrock. Kleopatra was only made safe in the 8th century. During the early first First Federation it was made a scientific research station. Rumours that the asteroid was haunted inspired a whole string of popular and increasingly ludicrous adventure virches (Inscape's 5Roger Holiday and the Hidden Crypt eventually became a B-grade classic, rivaling Bester Interactives' Posthuman Hermaphrodites from the Large Magellanic Cloud in terms of plot corn and bad production ratings).

With the closing of Kleopatra Base in the 1200s the whole asteroid was opened to developers, and several consortia of theme park developers each tried to outdo themselves, giving the asteroid the nick-name "Little Disneyplanet". With the frontier moving outwards, more efficient ships, and the slow decline of the Federation, business slumped, and Kleopatra was slowly abandoned.

In the wake of the Solar Civil War it was taken over by squatters and claim jumpers. Eventually order was restored, and the asteroid was partitioned up for habitat development. Presently the population numbers some 1.2 million, mostly old near-baseline clades and a few minor local houses claiming ancestry back to the original post Civil War squatters. The asteroid, for the last 300 years an affiliated sub-polity, does a reasonable trade in tourism and historical recreation.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 31 December 2002.

 
 
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