For all the diversity of design in the Trojans, there’s one pattern for cluster habs that dominates: the Nuestro shell, named for pioneering micrograv architect Nuestro Montez.
Several variations exist, but the basic design is roughly spheroid and comprised of rigid spars radiating out in all directions from a central point—rather like a sea urchin’s spines, but symmetrical. Ring-shaped cross-hoops run between the spars, connecting them and bracing against lateral movement. The builders then encase the superstructure of spars and rings in a geodesic sphere, anchoring the inside of the sphere to the tips of the spars, further stabilizing the structure. Stretched over the interstices of the outer sphere is a strong, ﬂexible mesh designed to protect the modules inside the hab from microasteroid impacts, while keeping objects inside the sphere from drifting out of it. The protective mesh self-heals and usually consists of a carbon ﬁber or polymer-based smart material.
Within a Nuestro shell, hab modules anchor to the spars (and in large habitats, to the cross-rings). Floatways usually connect the modules, although some habs have few or no ﬂoatways, requiring an EVA any time one wants to move between modules. Floatways are usually anchored to adjacent spars and cross-hoops, but in large habitats like Locus, the spars and cross-hoops themselves are hollow, allowing trafﬁc to move inside of them.
In all but the smallest Nuestro shells, rights of way into which no module may protrude (often called “roads”) run alongside spars and cross-hoops, guaranteeing clear paths for modules and vehicles moving around inside of the habitat. Local meshes normally mark these rights of way with prominent AR graphics, and speeds are restricted to 35 kph. Of course, few habitats in the Trojans have anything resembling a cop who’ll give you a ticket, but people will ﬁnd out who you are and trash your rep if you go tearing through the center of a cluster hab at a speed that could damage or wreck someone’s hab module.
Nuestro shells often contain a few modules that are spun for gravity—usually med bays, resleeving facilities, gymnasiums, or other modules in which some gravity is useful. Gravity’s handy for surgery and art, but it’s also good for training soldiers. The Kimiko Ross, a scum barge that eventually grew into a Nuestro shell, has a kitchen in a torus at its center so that people can practice old fashioned cooking without the ingredients ﬂoating everywhere. Mayhem Zaibatsu (headquarters of the eponymous mutualist mercenary company) boasts a rotating training area of three toruses nested along the same plane of rotation. The outermost provides Venusian gravity, the middle one Martian gravity, and the innermost gravity somewhere between Lunar and Titanian. Other habs just have a small torus set up where their kids can learn how to walk.
Rotating modules are either mounted to the spars on free-hanging gimbals, so that they don’t transfer angular momentum to the rest of the structure, or on ﬁxed-output gimbals so that they actually act as gyroscopes, helping the rest of the station maintain a ﬁxed position in space.
Individual habitats vary a lot in terms of how power and resources reach individual modules. Some have no public utility grid at all, with each module responsible for its own power, life support, and microfacturing feedstock. Others might have distributed life support but share power from a few central fusion reactors (often the case in smaller Nuestro shell habs). Big habs like Locus often have co-op utility grids, with groups of modules along a given spar or cross-hoop sharing reactors, mining drones, and even life support. This makes Nuestro shells very resistant to both environmental sepsis (because mold and other biological nuisances can only spread in a limited area) and some of the things that keep Firewall sentinels awake at night, like out of control nanoswarms.
A Nuestro shell’s outer geodesic spheroid is great for keeping out micro-asteroids and other space junk, but it’s not the type of structure to which you want to attach anything massive. Thus, the spars radiating from a Nuestro shell’s centerpoint almost always extend somewhat beyond the hab’s outer mesh skin. Some of these extensions bristle with antennae and other comm gear. Others are gantries to allow large ships to dock outside the habitat. Still others are bays from which mining drones come and go.
The Nuestro shell is common in part because it’s a practical design for this region of space and in part because it scales well. Provided that a particular variation on the design accounts for the forces in play when station keeping thrusters ﬁre, the basic design can be used for anything from a small hab for a few hundred occupants up to a huge one like Locus.