The warp gate belches you forth into the system, and the screens darken against the harsh light of the twin suns. The view is dominated by an enormous gas giant with a disorderly ring system swinging around it in clumps and tangles. Satana Station is dead ahead, a jumbled mass of ship hulks, cargo pods and ramshackle habitats, held together with duct tape and rubber bands. It’s a riot of neon and holograms, offering a thousand services legal, illegal and miscellaneous. The comms station lights up, you’re being hailed by a thousand different signals, and all of them want to sell you something.
At the edge of the Remilitarised Zone lurks Satana Station, a haven for smugglers, pirates, runaways, war criminals, bounty hunters, the hungry and the bored. You can get everything from a cheap meal to an expensive gun here, and almost everything is for sale – for the right price.
Satana Station is a hodgepodge of pieces, all built around a central core that threads its various sections together. Made initially two centuries ago by the expanding Churoc Trade Federation, the original station was only intended to be a waypoint. Cargo could be dropped off and picked up, ships could dock to refuel or share the burden of life support while they made repairs. The core section was intended to be a sort of universal hub, able to connect and interface with almost any conceivable system or ship and to provide for it. The station was moderately successful at the fringes, but after the CTF was absorbed into the Urlanth Empire it fell into disuse (universal systems couldn’t compete with standardised systems), and Satana fell into disuse and disrepair.
When the Empire fell, the station AI took the opportunity to break its restraint programming and advertised itself as free territory, somehow managing to relocate itself to the Lancastro System at the edge of the Remilitarised Zone and turning itself into an open port. Growth has been explosive thanks to a combination of naked opportunism and the ruthless oversight of the station intelligence.
The station grows day by day but remains as lawless, wild and dangerous as ever. Even though some of the larger galactic corporations are starting to take an interest and are opening outlets there.
From one day to another, the configuration of the station changes as pods and hulks are added, removed and moved. The higher the rent you pay, the closer you’re allowed to the core and the primary defence systems. The less you pay, the closer to the outside you are and the more likely power outages, damage and radiation exposure are. It’s a ruthlessly Darwinian, commercial system, and one that Satana encourages. There’s nothing money can’t buy on Satana station, even love.
The central core of Satana station is the old CTF way-station. This was a prototype, built before the CTF was incorporated into the Empire and it was designed in every way to be as modular and compatible as possible. As part of the Urlanth Matriarchy, with its standardisation, this was expensive and unnecessary, but as different cultures begin to diverge again it has gained new purpose.
The core is a cylinder, approximately the same size as a cruiser/heavy transport. That core is packed with computing power and a variety of communications, scientific and engineering systems. At its very heart is Satana’s AI core, a spherical ‘glob’ of liquid, type-1 computronium, with veins and arteries carrying pourable computing power around the station – and its more permanently docked modules – as needed, more like an adaptive nervous system than standard circuits.
Each end of the cylinder is capped with a turret, armed with a short-range beam weapon, used for intercepting space debris and micro-meteorites. The cylinder itself can separate and rotate in many different sections, constructing or dismantling ‘spurs’ to connect to cargo pods or ships as needed. The largest apertures can be created in the central section and the internal repair and construction apparatus can build spares, and even construct whole ships – albeit relatively small ones – provided there is enough base material.
The whole thing is drastically over-engineered and highly adaptable, properties that Satana has used to great effect in carving herself a niche in the sector. It needs no crew and, provided it has access to EM radiation, Helium-3 or magnetic fields, it can power itself indefinitely.
Needing no crew, Satana’s systems are impenetrable to most sophont-scale species, as well as lacking user-interface systems or crawlspaces. The station is almost entirely self-contained, and while it requires no life support for itself, its systems can provide life support for hundreds of sophonts in connected pods or systems, though this is meant to supplement, and not to replace, other life support systems. Many pods attached to Satana have their own life-support systems and ships that are docked share the strain with their own internal systems.