(You can listen to this information being read out loud in our introductory episode!)
Soon after a Sidereal child is born, they will be marked with the Sidereal brand of their parents. They will be required to continue their parent’s work, or, at the very least, remain within their orbit if they choose a divergent career path.
Education is mandatory for all Sidereal citizens. Schools are segregated by orbits, so children will only learn alongside those of their own orbit. All children receive the same basic education in reading, writing, math, astronomy, history, and culture, with only slight orbit-specific variations. After that, the programs diverge. Further education is orbit-specific, and teaches the children the necessary skills that they will need for their orbit’s occupations. The warmer orbits – those closer to the Sun, like Helora and Ludmir – require children to receive more extensive educations. Children of the colder orbits, like Kiluit and Vomus, will not be kept in schools for much longer than needed for the base education, as most of their skills will be acquired from their parents and hands-on practice in their careers.
The production of offspring is one of the main duties of a Sidereal citizen. The orbit system requires an upkeep of steady population numbers, as children will inherit their parents’ work and continue to hand it down to next generations. It is nearly unheard of for a Sidereal to not get married and not have children.
Sidereals do not marry for love. Marriage is a means to an end, and partners are chosen on the basis of one’s career, reputation, ability to provide for a household, and other utilitarian characteristics. It is not unheard of for people to seek emotional fulfillment outside of their marriages. Adultery is not illegal, and any tensions that might arise as a result is up for the couple to work out as they see fit. Many married couples reach an agreement that they are free to seek emotional and sexual thrills outside of marriage, as long as conceiving and raising a legal heir together remains a priority and no bastard children emerge on the side.
When married, it is up to the couple to decide the distribution of last names. Usually, the person with the less known last name will take on their spouses’ more recognizable name. Sometimes, partners choose to combine their last names with a dash and use both. There are no strict rules here, and the decision is up to the married couple.
Because of the intense focus on reproduction, Siderea operates on the concept of a gender and sex binary, dividing people into those who impregnate and those who get pregnant. Any deviation from this binary, be it in gender expression or in sexual anatomy, is considered abnormal and not treated kindly.
Siderea does not discriminate within the binary, however. Men and women are seen as entirely equal, and there is no sexual division of labor: men and women are expected to contribute equally to upholding a household and raising a child, and there is no discrepancy between them in any orbit or career path.
Non-heterosexual relationships are not illegal or punishable. They are, however, seen as frivolous pursuits, and are usually kept under wraps as one would an indulgence in drinking or gambling. The role of sex is seen as purely reproductive, and relationships that do not lead to the production of a legitimate heir are seen as useless. A person who engages in them will not be judged in court, but will most likely suffer ridicule from their peers and a blow to their reputation.
Extramarital and extraorbital sex that results in the birth of a child is punishable. Bastard children disrupt the orbital system and upset the order of things, and are usually placed into one of the many orphanages within the Umbra. Their parents will both face a trial in Moriah’s court, which will usually result in the stripping of their brands and imprisonment within the Asteroid.
Because of Siderea’s obsession with productivity, the nation does not take kindly to illness and disability, be it mental or physical. People who are not physically or mentally able to fulfill the purpose determined by their birth at unforgiving standards are believed to take more than they give, and thus are seen as burdens and liabilities to Sidereal society. Despite this belief, a person cannot be tried and legally punished for being ill or disabled. Instead, such matters are usually resolved within the family. Some choose to take care of the family member in question despite the rumors and judgement that will inevitably surround them; others will wash their hands of them, usually by banishing them to the Umbra.
The only exception is when the illness occurs as a result of age. The elderly are respected and sought for advice, seeing as they’ve given a lifetime to their society and are soon to give back their energy and potential to the universe that nurtured their existence.
Sidereals do not bury their dead. The body is seen as a temporary vessel, and once the person’s essence leaves it, it is no more than flesh. Bodies are cremated, and the ashes scattered as a way of giving them back to nature. It is up to the family of the deceased where the ashes will be scattered. Most choose the Milky Ocean, or the Corona forest.
The remains of cursed ones are not granted such ceremony. After the execution, their body will be burnt, and the ashes will be discarded without ritual.