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Information on the Citizen Domes and the Science world of Proton, from the Piers Anthony novel Split Infinity.

Proton

Proton is only one planet in a galaxy of human-habited worlds. Most of the atmosphere of the planet has been destroyed through the mining of Protonite, a valuable energy source, and the inhabitants of Proton live in domed cities with artificial life support.

The world of Proton is based on science and is a highly technical world. Proton is barren and outdoors is almost unlivable from mining of the energy mineral Protonite. Protonite is used throughout the galaxy as an energy source and is exceedingly valuable.

Inhabitants of Proton are either a Citizen or a serf. Citizens govern Proton. Everyone lives in self-contained domes with artificial life support because the the extensive mining of Protonite has ruined the environment.

Despite its advanced science, Proton's socioeconomic scheme somewhat resembles the medieval period. The planet is run by fabulously wealthy Citizens but the bulk of the inhabitants are serfs. Serfs must be employed by a Citizen and remain naked at all times unless ordered otherwise by a Citizen. A Citizen has complete authority of his serfs and may order them to do anything he desires. Serfs, however, are not slaves; the serfs of Proton have all chosen serfdom as their occupation (or are descended from those who have). After twenty years of work, a serf earns a gram of Protonite, and his retirement. While a paltry sum on Proton itself, this is enough to make the former serf comfortably wealthy elsewhere in the galaxy. Even then many serfs would choose to stay on Proton after their twenty years are up, but it is not permitted in most circumstances.

In addition to the Citizens and serfs, Proton is home to advanced robots, some of which are self-aware and possess their own free will. As the series opens it is not common knowledge that some robots are self-willed. Humanity has also made contact with alien species, some members of which make their homes on Proton as well.

Inside a dome watching us inside a dome.

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