I say it’s odd because this is an uncommon viewpoint, likely to only occur maybe once or twice in the narrative while the rest of the action takes place within – as you may recall I uploaded a concept of the internal cityscape some time ago – all the same, I still felt compelled to draw the outside in order to create a stronger sense of the space within and firmly acknowledge the orbital setting.
Much like the buildings inside it’s intended to be a poorly maintained ramshackle structure; an installation which started life as a shipyard before the original owners were crushed under debt and forced to appropriate it as improvised real estate. Much like the cyborgs who populate it, the setting is an uncomfortable hybrid of old and new that was repurposed out of necessity rather than some shining conviction. An unglamorous stop-gap that’s acquired a population it can’t shake; part corporate venture, part ghetto and part prison.
While the general shape and design of the structure are more or less as I initially envisioned I will admit that I scaled it down considerably to meet both artistic and practical considerations. Originally I had written that Branch would have a diameter of three kilometers by over a dozen in length, but as you may guess looking at the internal view for comparison it ended up as less than half of that. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it enhances the atmosphere of claustrophobia and tension while still providing a sizable setting to work with – that, and it gives me much less to draw :p
Being serious though, I tried to be sensible with the design to give the impression of a rugged but ultimately sturdy structure which could sustain itself to some degree. The enormous solar panels wrap around the hull on either side ensuring the maximum amount of sunlight is caught for power, while the multiple docking arms allow arrivals and departures to be handled en mass. It’s not the most attractive design in some respects, but then I couldn’t imagine such a structure realistically would be.