Size: 80 million square kilometers, 60% water. Roughly 90 square kilometers are currently occupied (all underground).
Population: 4.2 million humans.
History: Esculenta was discovered in 1890 and was found to be both rich in mineral resources and to have certain unique physical properties that altered various chemical reactions. It was soon discovered that these chemical properties could be used to reduce the cost of many industrial processes, particularly those involving metallurgy. Many companies began to outsource factories to Esculenta and immigrants poured in from dozens of ebulli. By 1930 the population was nearly 80 million, while water, air, and land pollution increased at alarming rates.
In 1948 the famous Aronod air inversion event occurred, in which six still days of weather in the Aronod Valley produced a “wall of smog” that resulted in over 200,000 fatalities, despite government efforts to distribute masks and create protected pollution shelters. Similar events followed, albeit with fewer fatalities. In the 1960s the city of Esculenta began to build downwards. By 1990, the above-ground environment was deemed toxic for all multi-cellular life forms, at least five years after the last human went below the surface or left the ebullus altogether. Although some small-scale industrial activity still can be found in Esculenta, the city today is mostly utilized for certain types of research and development and as a tax haven.
Famous Figures from Esculenta: None found.
From The Cordelian Chronicles:
“Uh, yes. Esculenta is an underground city. Well, some of it is domed. Most of the surface is unlivable.”
“Give me that map,” Kelly angrily said, striding over to pick it up off Sierra’s lap. “Okay, now this makes more sense. These are showing different levels. We’ve got to get one, two,…six levels up, as well as to the center of town? Any chance I can find a payphone and call a taxi? I didn’t think so. Okay, I’m taking the map with me. Hold tight.”
This time, Kelly was more prepared for what she saw. The street itself was natural enough. Weird, but not too weird. As different from Philadelphia as Tokyo would be. Clearly it was a rundown area, but several businesses were open and there were people on the street (some of whom glanced at her as she walked out of the station, but quickly turned away and stared at their feet as they shuffled along). But about three stories above her there was a ceiling. Some buildings went right into it, while others had rooftops of their own below the ceiling. The ceiling was gray, with a textured finish. There were lights recessed within it, which made a passable daylight, if you did not look up.