Earth's closest neighbors are in geosynchronous orbit: the Orbitals. Actually, this term reflects a geocentric bias: it also describes people living in LaGrange habitats, on the Moon, and as far out as the Asteroid Belt.

Orbitals, born and raised in at most Lunar gravity, tend to be thin and very tall. The population also tends to be younger than Earth's, since they don't have the population control constraints of the mother planet.

Orbitals seldom visit Earth, possibly because they find the higher gravity uncomfortable. As a result, Earth-dwellers know little about them as people. They consider the Orbitals to be barely human, with their frequent personal modifications, as well as impractical, with bizarre social schemes that could never work outside a small habitat. They live packed into orbiting tin cans stale with recycled air.

Orbitals are also resented for their ingratitude in obtaining independence before Earth's investment had been fully paid off.

The Orbitals are not a cohesive group, but seem to share many attitudes, including a disdain for Grounders, who they consider to be technologically backwards, bland conformists jammed into smelly cities. Their present relationship somewhat resembles the First World-Third World relationship of the 20th Century. Earth wants the Orbitals' higher technology, while the Orbitals need certain raw materials (such as various organics) from Earth.

Last updated 22 Sep 98 drd

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