A legend made real, The Congressman is a colossal lighter-than air craft whose envelope stretches almost six kilometers at its widest with a main fuselage almost a third of a kilometer in diameter. It has been flying since more than thirty years into the Era of Silence, and if not for its extreme financial, social, and physical vulnerability would likely be a strong contender for an independent city-state.
The monstrous envelope that serves as the Congressman’s primary source of lift is composed of a number of graphene-based membranes containing raw vacuum in a honeycombed carbon-nanotube superstructure. Much of this was assembled from pre-Collapse materials produced at an apparent apex of manufacturing technology, and has proven difficult and expensive to replace in meaningful quantities. Still, its raw durability means that envelope sections have only had to be replaced after the most severe storms, accidents, or centuries of wear.
The envelope is an excellent radiation conductor, and Arcatia’s fearsome solar winds and atmospheric radiation are reflected and refracted through the envelope and to heating membranes to create lift through elements on the underside of the main fuselage. As equipment has been added and removed the latest power generation and storage technologies have come and gone with it, with the Congressman’s power most commonly augmented with Liquid Atmosphere batteries and Isothermal Constant Radioisotope Generators. Initially, the Congressman was to sport a vaster array of capabilities to suit its station as a global capital, infrastructure which would be powered by a network of amtospheric electrical conduction systems around Serica. When Zenith rose to the, well, zenith, the Congressman was forced to settle for beamed microwave and laser energy and finally just conventional surface technology. However, Isalis Atmospherics gifted The Congressman with a purpose-built frictionless bearing gyroscopic wind turbine for its humanitarian role during the famines of the late fourth century S.E.C., a boon which looks to have become a permanent fixture of the floating city.
Like Zenith itself, the Congressman was created by a society of utopian pilgrims who saw the direction history was pulling the disparate Serican city-states. Hoping to offer a capital capable of favoring each with its presence and biased towards none, the Congressman (then called the Presidium) was born. Unfortunately, the realities of constructing a levitating city overtaxed (literally) its support base, and what was left was an ill-equipped oddity of engineering with no support base, few financial resources, and no connections to the rising inter-city administrative class. Thankfully, many of these rising government, supercorporate, and organized criminal stars saw the utility of safe and luxurious travel between supercities, and quickly became a wealthy clientele. Over time, this privileged ‘traveler caste’ has used their influence to take almost complete control of the Congressman, with their whims directing its course and action while the descendants of its original creators have been cast into the role of tenders, responsible for keeping the whole affair running in exchange for their subsistence on the dream of their predecessors. Needless to say, this creates a volatile political climate that others happily exploit to prevent The Congressman from consolidating its power into an independent economic force, and so it remains a collection of wealthy individuals with diverse interests feeding off a utopian dream born centuries before their time.
Passage on the Congressman is prohibitively expensive for most Sericans, and permanent accommodations are all but unheard of. The Congressman’s slow tour of Serican cities and utter lack of ISIS authority or dominance by any single corporation, however, makes it an incredibly desirable location for meetings, negotiations, exchanges of gifts, and arrangement of unfortunate fall-related accidents.