Athos (AA-thohs) was an isolated planet in the Nexus situated two months travel from Kline Station. It was settled shortly after the invention of the uterine replicator by the Founding Fathers, who sought to create a world free from woman dedicated to the worship of God the Father. Using the uterine replicators and a set of ovarian cultures, they created an isolationist self-sufficient society of men.
The climate was pleasant, with a breathable atmosphere. The planet had three moons. Gravity appeared to be approximately half of Earth normal ("Five meters per second ... times 25 meters times how many kilograms" was Ethan Urquhart's attempt at computing the results of his lightflyer crashing from 25 meters up in a tree). An Athosian year was approximately the same length as Earth's (it took three-quarters of a year to gestate babies).
There were nine Reproduction Centers, one for each of nine Districts.
- Las Sands
- South Province
- Four unnamed others
- Red Mountain District, a future 10th center, was in the works at the time of Ethan of Athos.
The isolation of the planet and the strong censorship policies of the government produced a great deal of ignorance about the greater Nexus around them.
- The General Council was the highest level of government.
- The Population Council was the portion of their government dedicated to the issues associated with population growth. They were a committee, formed by the heads of the Reproduction Centers and their assistants.
- The Department of Immigration and Naturalization consisted of one person who performed his office one week per year (probably during the annual visit of the Galactic Census).
- The Board of Censors protected the men of Athos from all dangerous contact with women.
- The Military was predominantly an on-planet army service, at least partly due to the lack of jump ships and the relevant technology on Athos. Military service was mandatory for two years.
Most Athosians were religious, with a strong devotion to their families and communities. Partnerships were usually romantic and sexual, resembling homosexual couples in our society, but both celibacy and youthful promiscuity were present.
Through military and community service, Athosians could earn social duty credits towards reproduction. These ‘points’ could also be taken away for criminal infractions. While desire for children was the norm, there was a minority who did not care to raise them.
Athosian fathers proudly grew beards to display their status as fathers, though it was sometimes considered unlucky to begin growing the beard before the baby was born. A father could choose a designated alternate co-parent to help raise their sons. Co-parenting as a Primary Nurturer was one of the fastest ways to earn social duty credits and while a co-parent did not have to be in a relationship with the father, it was very common. Co-parents grew mustaches to display that they had experience raising children.
Athosians in exclusive relationships sometimes chose to have their children produced from the same egg stock their partner came from, or both partners might choose the same egg stock for their sons which created a family resemblance. With enough social credits, a pair could have several sons, who were usually raised together as brothers. However, these brothers could be wholly unrelated, and relationships between unrelated brothers sometimes occurred. Fathers who proved themselves unfit to raise sons could have their sons repossessed by the state.
Sons were grown in and birthed from uterine replicators at the various Reproduction Centers around the planet. The colony's Founding Fathers brought and maintained a set of ovarian tissue cultures which were referred to with a code indicating the original donor’s initials and the iteration of the culture. For instance, CJB-9 was the 9th production of the tissue culture donated by Dr. Cynthia Jane Baruch. Specific cultures were preferred when a father wanted a tendency towards a particular trait in the resulting son. Sperm were screened before conception to remove gametes with an X chromosome.
Due to the lack of contact with the greater Nexus, native Athosians never saw women. It was believed that Athosians could experience a "madness" when first viewing a woman, which might correspond to a heterosexual's first natural sexual attraction. Ethan, upon viewing a woman for the first time on a video file, noted on first seeing one thought she resembled a "man with boyish features".
Ethan of Athos
Two hundred years after the colonization of Athos, the ovarian cultures began to senesce. The Population Council of Athos ordered new cultures from House Bharaputra on Jackson's Whole, but the cultures were altered by renegade Cetagandan telepath Terrence Cee and then replaced with nonviable tissue by a woman named Helda who worked on Kline Station.
The Council then sent Dr. Ethan Urquhart to get new replacement cultures from offworld. Urquhart ran into numerous complications on the way, including assassination attempts by Cetagandan ghem-Colonel Luyst Millisor and the interference of Dendarii mercenary Elli Quinn. Eventually Urquhart both retrieved the doctored cultures and purchased a new set of Betan cultures. He returned to Athos with the cultures and Terrence Cee, who had decided to immigrate.
Interactions with outsiders
Contact with the outer Nexus was extremely limited; Athos was a two-month trip from the nearest populated jump station, Kline Station. Once a year, a census ship arrived and stayed in orbit for about a week. All trade with the outside occurred at these times.
All interactions between Athos and the outside universe were heavily censored, and no images or references to women were permitted. A person had to have a sufficient clearance level even to be allowed to see uncensored scientific articles from outside.
Athos, due to its all-male population, was given the unfortunate sobriquet "Planet of the Fags" by some. Most outsiders did not understand that Athos was basically a planet-sized monastery.
People from Athos
- Ethan CJB-8 Urquhart
- Dr Desroches
- Bret Urquhart - brother to Ethan
- Janos Urquhart - brother and partner to Ethan
- Stanislas Urquhart - brother to Ethan
- Steve Urquhart - brother to Ethan
- Brother Haas - farmer from Las Sands who was unable to have a CJB child
- Dag - partner to Brother Haas
- Georos - medtech at Sevarin Reproduction Center
- Nick - Janos's friend
- Terrence Cee - an immigrant to Athos, presumably as Ethan's partner
- Frankin - representative from Barca on Population Council