Typical of the asteroid settlements is the city of Piazzi on Ceres. This outpost, the oldest in the Belt, was originally a mining station established by UNSA with backing from Cyrax, Mitsubishi and Soyuz-Mikoyan. The city soon grew into a staging area for further exploitation of the main belt and was at the centre of the Belt independence movement. Piazzi is the location of the headquarters of the old asteroid-based corporations that were the preeminent power in the Belt for over a century. With independence, the Ceres Combine, a consortium of corps based in Piazzi, became the basis for the Belt government.
Ceres is no longer the largest and most powerful of the Belt settlements and the Ceres Combine has long since ceased to be a major political power in the Belt. Piazzi remains, however, the closest that the Belt has to a capital. The city has avoided affiliation with any of the factions and has retained its status as a free port.
The 564 000 inhabitants live in underground tunnels and chambers, protected from Sol's flares. There are also many factories, mines, power stations and water extraction centres on the dark, carbon-rich surface. As well as being an industrial and diplomatic centre, Piazzi is also the site of the University of Ceres, Piazzi. UCP is the largest and most prestigious of the many educational and research establishments in the Belt.
The people of Ceres are among the most staunchly traditional in the Belt, and are mostly approximately human-basic. Despite this Piazzi, as a common ground to all the factions, is perhaps the most cosmopolitan of the Belt cities.
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