This is a work in progress. I wanted to start to develop the idea of a campaign setting for Deathsquads, that was in someway different to the usual 40k battlefields. Like I've said, this is a work in progress, but any thoughts would be most useful.
If, somehow, you were able to look into the skies above Boras Minor, able to pierce the clouds and pollution, the light and the ships, and actually look upon the stars, you may find your eye drawn to one star in the night sky. It’s a little brighter than most, and seems a little closer.
If, somehow, you had the time to be idling, you would listen to the rumours, the whispers, and the tales of old men. You would hear it’s not a star, but rather an ancient beast, its skin a dirty grey, its flanks scarred and pitted from being in the void too long. You would hear that there was wealth in its belly, and death for those foolish enough to try to tame it.
And if, somehow, you were able to tame this beast, then riches and glories would be yours. At the very least, you may find what you wish for more than anything else; a better life than in the hive.
But only a fool wishes upon a star.
In the skies above the planet of Boras Minor, there exists a series of space stations, man-made moons that serve as the ports to the planet below. These giant Space craft serve one purpose; to enable the transport of raw materials, produce, equipment and people to and from the planet and the respective hives. It feeds the endless fleets that pass through, and receives supplies bound for the planet below that is unable to sustain itself. Every immigrant that seeks to work on the planet below, every man and woman conscripted to serve in the Armies of the Imperial Guard; all pass through these ports. Each station is a testament to those who built them, designed for both functionality and, in the case of invasion, defence. Each station, that is, apart from one.
For one station stands apart. It is uglier then the rest, and to the more imaginative, it seems a little more malevolent.
Station SSN-189 started life not as a station, but rather as one of the large conveyer ships that would transport vast quantities of goods across the galaxy. Its age is unknown, but it’s estimated that it served its imperial masters for well over a century, before age and work began to take a toll upon the great beast. As a ship, it was viewed with some suspicion by its crew, for it was felt that bad luck followed this ship. Its service was marred by a series of misfortunes that culminated with the loss of approximately 500 settlers and a large quantity of terraforming equipment when one of the main cargo holds was unexpectedly breached by an unknown source. And so the decision was made to retire the ship from front line duty. Rather than destroy the ship completely, she was dragged into orbit around Boras Minor. Its wings clipped, its engine removed, it would serve merely as another port.
Over time, the station has been changed and altered; expanded, without much thought or design, merely to give more space as and when needed. Large docking arms give the impression of a malformed fist reaching towards the planet below, reaching to grasp what it desires. And what it desires, what it craves, is not minerals or produce, but the lives of those below.
To understand the life of the station, you first need to understand the purpose of the station. Its focus, as has already been noted, has been the transportation of its intended goods to and from the planet. Nothing can be allowed to interfere with this, and so work has been concentrated on maintaining the means in which goods are received and distributed. This has allowed the rest of the station to fall into a state of disrepair.
Being only a day’s shuttle ride from the planet of Boras Minor itself, the workforce was made of people seeking fresh employment. Some were seeking new challenges, others to escape whatever mess they had left behind. Whatever the reason, if they dreamed of a better life, then they were sorely disappointed. Initially, they were housed in the corner of cargo bay 3, but as the workforce grew, so too did the settlement. Nowadays, the settlement, known simply as “The Third”, covers the entire cargo bay, and within such a settlement, people scratch out a living as best they can. This is by no means the only settlement, but it is the largest.
As the settlers grew, it was inevitable that Gangs would also be tempted to come to the station. Some came because of the opportunity such a new venture gave; others, because the station offered a degree of anonymity away from the prying eyes of the Adeptus Arbrites. Some came because they were employed to be bodyguards and protectors. Others still came because of rumour and gossip, in search of hidden treasure and forgotten tech. Whatever the reason, they came. In time, the station became a place of lawlessness, where crime is common place, where some even dare to whisper that the emperor’s light does not shine.
Usually, those of the imperium would be quick to clamp down on such unlawfulness, for it risks the productivity of the station. However, the station is run by Colonel M.R. Austin. Known as “The Twice-born” by the inhabitants of the station, the Colonel is happy to leave the station’s inhabitants to their own devices, as long as he receives his due, and as long as the station keeps operating. And the Imperium is happy to leave the Colonel to run the station how he sees fit, due to the unusual nature of the cargo.
You see, the Colonel realised that it was not arcane machinery or the weapons of war that enabled the Imperium to keep as it is. Rather, it was the men and women of the imperium itself that enabled such growth. For the cost of one machine, a hundred lives could be bought. For every new cure in medicine, a thousand lives had been spent experimenting. The cargo was humanity itself. Slaves by the thousands pass through the station daily. Slave markets are not uncommon for the more unique individuals. Mutants, Psychics, even alien species, were all for sale. Rogue Traders jostled with Inquisitional agents for the right to purchase bodyguards; Pit bosses vied in bidding wars with Factory representatives for the right to purchase people to die in their name.
And so the station is left to its own affairs. Its unseen face as ugly as its exterior.