|Galactic Position||Cloudburst Sector, Uncategorized Region|
- 1 Port Maxient
- 1.1 History
- 1.2 Nearby Space
- 1.3 Attributes
- 1.4 Physical Areas Aboard
- 1.4.1 The Commercial Halls
- 1.4.2 The Hovelry
- 1.4.3 The Slots
- 1.4.4 The Chapel of the Emperor of Starfarers
- 1.4.5 The House of the Motive Force
- 1.4.6 The Core
- 1.4.7 Command Post Maxient
- 1.4.8 The Refuge
- 1.4.9 The Underguts
- 1.4.10 The Croplands
- 1.4.11 Lockdown
- 1.4.12 The Observatory
- 1.4.13 The Martyr-hall
- 1.4.14 The Promenade of Mankind
- 1.5 Culture
- 1.6 Factions
- 1.7 Defenses
In the purest sense of the word, Maxient is a haven of greed. The lust for wealth, power, fame, glory, and carnal fulfilments permeates the actions and intent of every man and woman who enters its flickering hall. A great spiral construct over forty kilometers wide at the broadest, Port Maxient is a hub of trade, travel, and warfare that sits at the nexus of two barely-explored regions of space.
Originally, Port Maxient was no port at all. Established forty years after the Second Gold Rush in the year M39.056, this platform was originally a great supply depot, telescopic observation platform, and cartographic update hub of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The original name of the platform was Outpost Cloudburst Maxentius Ext 1, and was intended to serve as a signpost of the Adeptus Mechanicus Astra Explorators. Humiliated by the inattentiveness that allowed for the great treasures of the Oldlight Proximate Circuit to go unclaimed for so long, appalled by the fact that the Imperium would likely have retrieved an intact STC were not for their blindness, and eager to reclaim their public image, the Adeptus Mechanicus built the station. Assembled from pre-fabricated slabs of metal, circuitry, and stone, the station was originally a bog-standard Xerxes III with all of its combat and long-term naval anchorage modules replaced with storage blocks. The Adeptus Mechanicus built the platform quickly. They hoped that it would be the first in a great chain of such stations that stretched all the way from the Drumnos Sector to the very edge of the Terminus Shock Warp Storms, the physical edge of safe spaceflight.
As had transpired in the past, the Adeptus Mechanicus hoped would transpire here: new exploration would yield safe Warpflight routes. As Mankind has not yet managed to replace the need for the Navis Nobilite in the expansion of their faster-than-light travel capacity despite the Emperor’s best efforts, it is only the Navigators that allow human ships to fly at speeds in the Warp that eclipse those of its natural currents and eddies. Thus, as humanity expands into the areas it once inhabited, guided in the past by the psychic beacon network that no longer exists, the pace of Imperial ships can be quite hasty indeed, when they are guided by a Navigator and traveling well-mapped routes. Other ships, lacking Navigators or flying in places where there are no mapped routes (or both), can but fly slower than the ancient human ships did. It was the dear hope of the Adeptus Mechanicus that as the boundaries of the mapped regions of the newly-renamed Cloudburst Circuit expanded, new Warpflight routes would be found that would allow the ships of the Astra Explorator to fly deeper and deeper into the Oldlight Exo-zone and Cloudburst Circuit.
Thus, the Adeptus Mechanicus built Outpost Cloudburst Maxentius Ext 1 with high hopes for redemption, and great wealth and discovery to follow. Construction proceeded at lightning speed, as the full deep-space construction capacity of Cognomen and the Mechanicus shipyards at Hapster lent their might to the task.
Almost immediately, however, the Adeptus ran headlong into a problem. Try as they might, none of the psykers of the Navis Nobilite nor the Adeptus Astra Telepathica could find any safe, Astronomican-lit pathways through the Oldlight Exo-zone. Ship after ship of the Astra Telepathica, Adeptus Administratum Departmento Astrocartigraphicae, and Adeptus Mechanicus Astra Explorator came back with empty stores and no fresh finds. Rogue Traders and Free Captains also labored to find new routes to money and power in the void. None could find safe pathways where the Astronomican remained visible except with those rare Navigators whose sight eclipsed all others, which were far too few to allow for reliable travel.
By the time the station was completed in M39.066, all involved could tell that there would be no further mass travel to trailing. Still, the Mechanicus maintained their hope to travel safely rimward, out towards the Terminus Shock, and there discover the very edges of space. That, too, proved fruitless. Navigators reported that they could see the Astronomican from the Circuit, but so dimly that travel was barely faster than in the Exo-zone.
In essence, there would be no great chain of deep voids, no massive Adeptus Mechanicus redemption that would undo the scale of their earlier error. Some cynics in the Adeptus even said that the Outpost Cloudburst Maxentius Ext 1 itself had been a complete waste of resources. Others, including the Lord Fabricator of Cognomen, insisted that the Adeptus complete and staff the station, so that the investments made thus far were not a waste of time. Eventually, the outpost was staffed, fed, and promptly rendered useless, as Rogue Traders and Explorators took to the snail’s pace exploration of the Cloudburst Circuit and Oldlight Exo-zone, disregarding the superfluous Deep Void.
The station might have gone the route of so many before it that had been left behind on the tides of the Imperium’s fortunes, had not the Imperial Navy stepped in. The Deep Void Xerxes III had been built so far from any habitable word that it did not realistically serve in the immediate defense of any Imperial planet. Despite the bullheadedness of the Lord Fabricator of Cognomen, the station was totally useless for providing as a great logistics hub for rimward expeditions thanks to its location. However, it was smack in the middle of the trailing edge of the newly-charted Cloudburst Sector, and while humanity is unable to traverse the Exo-zone safely and quickly, other races are not. The station, the Imperial Navy pointed out to the Adeptus Mechanicus, was totally useless to them, but potentially quite valuable to the Holy Fleet.
The Adeptus Mechanicus, in their wounded pride, did not simply consent to handing the platform over to the Navy. They insisted that the sheer cost of building it would need to be offset. The Imperial Navy countered that only the Adeptus had insisted on building it, and that they should have calculated its cost and potential use before undertaking the project. The Mechanicus shot back that if the Navy thought there would be a chance that the station would be useful to them, they could have contributed to its construction at any time.
Eventually, with much exasperation, the Adeptus Arbites stepped in. Determined to resolve the affair in their courts before it terminally delayed the blistering pace of expansion into the new Cloudburst Sector, the Arbites insisted that the claim be broached before them, and a fair outcome determined. With much begrudging acceptance, the Navy and the Mechanicus sent representatives to the Lex Imperialis Court on the Star Gilt in neighboring Naxos Sector for a resolution.
For months, the Imperial Navy made offers and suggestions for transferring the platform to the control of their forces, while the Adeptus Mechanicus made claims and counteroffers of differing value. Charts of space, sums of money, listings of value and precedent crossed desk after desk as the Judges sat and watched it all. After nearly half a year of intense legal wrangling, the Arbites reached a verdict.
They ruled that the Imperial Navy had not been obligated to make an offer, and that the Mechanicus was in no way obligated to turn over the station. However, if the Mechanicus was truly responsible in full for the station’s construction, as they had insisted, and if it truly had become useless in its current form, as they had reluctantly admitted, then they were potentially liable for spending so many resources on the project that could have been better spent on the Imperium’s safety and expansion.
Therefore, the Adeptus Mechanicus, while not legally liable to sell the platform, should have seen that it was in the best interest of the Adeptus to do so, and that the entire affair, from day one, had been a massive waste of time and resources.
Duly chastened, but still quite unwilling to part with a whole Xerses III without good reason and just recompense, the Lord Fabricator of Cognomen petitioned the Lord Fabricator of Fabique for aid. Utterly disinterested, the Lord Fabricator signaled back that Cognomen should have just sold the blasted platform and moved on. Out of allies and stung by the Judges’ words, the Lord Fabricator of Cognomen finally buckled and reached a compromise with the Imperial Navy. The station would be ceded to them in exchange for the help of the Navy in the station’s upkeep, and for the Mechanicus to maintain occupancy rights and resupply permits for half of it. The Navy would hold overall command, and would also be entitled to freely enforce ship’s law on their half, and be allowed to use the station’s external docking and internal storage bays for whatever they wished.
The Navy agreed at once, leaving the Lord Fabricator of Cognomen wondering if he could have gotten a better deal. The two fleets returned to the station to find its skeleton crew bored out of their skulls and sitting on a stockpile of rations that had almost entirely spoiled.
One hundred years later, the station was cleaned, repainted, restaffed, and emptied of spoiled goods. The station, now under Imperial Navy control, began adding additional defensive modules to its hull, to better serve its new role as a border station to protect the Imperium from xenos attacks from the Oldlight Exo-zone. Now named Port Maxentius, which language drift has changed to Maxient over time to the distress of its Cognomen-trained Techpriests, the station began slowly expanding.
Centuries passed in routine aboard the station. The Navy, quick to enforce its discipline on its crewers this far from the Emperor’s light, did make some small allowances for the needs of the people. Crewers posted here in the long term were permitted to move their families there, as were officers stationed there for decades at a time. Beyond that, some recreation areas blossomed in decks and quarters unused for the task of defense. The original storage modules for supplies, which were several times the needed space for simple border defense, hung empty at first, before slowly filling with new occupants. Generally, these occupants were non-military family of crewers, desperately seeking entertainment, and taking to building things to alleviate their boredom. The original Xerxes III was able to accommodate six of these massive modules, and since then, all six have filled with new contents.
Over time, no culture can remain static, and thus has Maxient’s populace grown more diverse. So too has its appearance, as it is now many, many times the size of a standard Xerxes III.
The defenses of the station have been tested more than once. Since its original construction, the platform has come under substantial xenos assault on five separate occasions.
- The first came seventy years after primary construction, in M39.136. A flotilla of pirates from the Drumnos Sector’s many criminal fleets assaulted the station with the intent of robbing its vast storage of munitions and dried food. The pirate fleet consisted of four frigates and a light cruiser, all of Imperial make. The local defenses, including the trio of corvettes stationed there at the time, succeeded in fighting them off, only to learn from the wreckage that the pirates had been alien hijackers of Imperial ships.
- The second was a brutal boarding attack by Orks in M39.968. Fifteen Ork ships, ranging in size from a few ramships to a Battle-Krooza, flew in and began mass boarding of the station. This was a total disaster for the Imperial military, who evaded capture of the station only after two consecutive years of savage fighting that saw over eighty percent of its residents butchered. Rescue came in the form of the Deathwatch and a contingent of Battlefleet Cloudburst ships, which managed to dock with the Ork ships still attached to the station and pincer the Orks inside the embattled portions of the station. Repairs of Maxient took over seventy years to complete, and a few scars from the invasion can still be found on the emergency bulkheads of some interior compartments.
- The third was another wave of assorted, mongrel aliens, this time with humans in the crew. This attack came in from the darkness beyond the border of the Exo-zone, and resulted in a protracted ship battle. In M41.313, the forces of Battlefleet Cloudburst, local defense ships, nine Rogue Trader fleets, and a few mercenaries hired by the Sector Overlord, engaged and battled the swarm of over two hundred small alien vessels that had besieged Port Maxient. The aliens had not successfully landed vessels on the huge station, but upon the arrival of sufficient Imperial assets to repulse them, the alien fleet commander locked out the controls of his subordinates’ ships, directed them to ram the station, and made his escape. The station was nearly destroyed, but tireless repair efforts by the Adeptus Mechanicus managed to stave off utter catastrophe. The entire Defense Monitor contingent of the station was lost in the battle.
- The fourth was a teeming horde of Ork Freebootaz. This attack, alone of the five, was one for which the Imperium had had some warning before it occurred, in M41.898. An Ordo Xenos Inquisitor in the Inquisitorial Palace of Maskos had foretold the attack using a pack of psi-crystal Tarot cards. After taking care to decipher the message, the Inquisitor directed a fleet of Inquisitorial ships to reinforce the startled Port Maxient flotilla. It was nearly not enough. When the aliens came, they slammed into the station’s defenses with the force of a storm. This fleet was five times the size of the one that had nearly conquered the station before. As Imperial and Mechanicus ships trickled in to reinforce, the balance of power slowly tipped in the favor of the human combatants, but it was by no means a sure thing. The fighting continued for over seven months of non-stop space combat. The war came to a sudden end when the Imperial Battlecruiser Aquillian Gold managed a fluke bridge hit on the Ork command ship OrdgargZak, which rammed the station after the Warboss leading the attack suddenly died in the explosion. The surviving Ork ships broke and ran, pursued by weary Adeptus Mechanicus Basilikon Astra vessels.
- The fifth and final major attack came fifteen years later, in M41.913, from a foe the Imperium has not seen before nor since. The assault came from beyond the border, as the third had. Examinations of the ship hulls encountered in the battle by the Deathwatch against their extensive hull categorization database on Watch Fortress Dascomb have revealed nothing of the origins of this mysterious fleet. Larger than any attack save the fourth, it consisted of well over a hundred small ships and a few larger ones, and attacked the station after emerging from the Warp just inside its sensor range. The full strength of Battlefleet Cloudburst responded, albeit piecemeal, and the aliens were repulsed, but over seven thousand of them managed to board the station before then. Days of bitter fighting between Skitarii and Naval provosts, and the alien attackers, followed. The end result was the destruction of the hideous crab-like aliens and their fleet, but nearly as bad were the friendly fire incidents between Naval provosts and the Skitarii they caught using Radium weapons in Naval sections of the station. Only the direct intervention of the Adeptus Arbites prevented the fighting between the ostensible allies from escalating into a larger shooting battle.
The disputes and conflicts over the history and operation of the station, and even its name, have reached lofty ears. While the Senate of the High Lords of Terra initially did not regard the platform as being one of any real consequence, given the larger demands on their time, it has grown in size and power since then. The sheer power of Port Maxient now, and the ever-fluctuating jurisdictional battles and expenditures it has caused, have begun to provoke discussion on Terra and Mars. To simply abandon the station, or rewrite its Arbites-approved charter, would be unthinkable, but the Senatorum Imperialis is unlikely to allow the situation to grow much worse without intervening. The last thing the High Lords want to care about now is a childish rivalry between two parties who should know better. Perhaps predictably, the Lord High Admiral Ultima and Lord Fabricator General of Mars have taken opposing sides in the political bickering that has arisen. Time alone can tell how long they choose to allow the locals in the Cloudburst backwater to squabble and spend on something so utterly irrelevant to their mission.
As the Port sits at the literal edge of human-traversible space, it is tasked with the defense of the Emperor’s realm from the alien menaces of the Oldlight Exo-zone and Cloudburst Circuit. Among the nearby star systems are ones that lie well within easy telescopic observation range, but are challenging to reach thanks to Astronomican obstruction. The Imperial Navy has had frequent problems with corralling pirates that dwell in these worlds.
Along the outer edges of the sensor range of the Port itself, which are substantial thanks to its endless upgrades, hang fifteen smaller stations. Docking with Port Maxient is an ordeal for ships above a certain beam, even with the Mechanicus’s continual attempts to make itself a more desirable trading partner for passing ships, looking to sell treasures of the Exo-zone. For small shipping concerns that can’t afford Maxient’s pricy long-term berths, the best option is one of the outer platforms.
These platforms, classified as Deep Void Cargo Rigs in the nomenclature of the Administratum, consist of a few docking umbilicals with electric train tracks inside of them, connected to massive gravity-controlled cranes. These cranes offload cargo from docked ships, load them onto the trains, and send them off to a central storage hub. The hub is the largest part of the Rig, and consists of a pressure-sealed storage block, where hundreds of thousands of kilograms of cargo containers can be slotted neatly into cubes of steel and plastic. There, the cargo can sit for as long as the deliverer pays for it to sit, for pickup from other ships. Given how well-defended Port Maxient is, these Rigs are the preferred place for long-term storage of non-perishable goods on the frontier. Captains can rent a slot in the Rigs for their goods for a reasonable price, or to simply be magnetized to the outer hull of the Rig for far less, at the risk of radiation exposure.
The first ten of the Deep Voids are these Cargo Rigs, but the other five are not. Four of the five remainder are purely defensive platforms. These are shaped like the spokes on a wheel, and stretch over two kilometers from end to end. Each has a single large macro-cannon at the top and bottom of each spoke, with a single Lance turret on the top and bottom of the hub. These stations serve as deterrent from pirates looking to rob the Rigs.
The last is a docking ring, larger than all ten Rigs combined, and acts as a secondary command post for local military forces. The ring has variable gravity control for acclimating passengers aboard to the station’s default. The ring has spurs that allow all five Defense Monitors and all six Basilikon Astra vessels to dock with it, and with three leftover spurs, there is room for growth in local ship construction. The ring, named Security Berth One, is a place of exile. This is where those Naval and Mechanicus personnel who have no time nor patience for the political games of Port Maxient find themselves dumped. Most make the best of it. This is the one place in Port Maxient where some cooperation between Mechanicus and Naval personnel is common outside of emergency maintenance. Unbeknownst to both Admiral Caravel and Magos Alexia, the leaders of the military and Techpriesthood exiled here are preparing an extensive briefing to be delivered to the Senatorum Imperialis Terra on the friction on the main port. They are merely waiting for the next Blackship to dock at Maxient to ask its Captain to carry their message in secret.
Each of the fifteen platforms has sensoria of their own, and route their telemetry to the main Port. In times of invasion, all but Security Berth One are stripped of non-essential personnel and partially evacuated. Defense of the region is coordinated from Command Post Maxient, while coordination and repair of the defense ships falls to Security Berth One. All five of the invasions by aliens since Port Maxient came online resulted in the loss of all Defense Monitors while the Basilikon Astra contingent retreated or was overwhelmed, further inflaming tensions between the Navy and Mechanicus. This is part of the reason that both the Adeptus Mechanicus and Navy seek to add another station to the ring around Maxient, one capable of building ships.
While the star system in which Port Maxient was built, GHE848, contains no planets, that is not the case for the surrounding systems. The station was built where it was to aid in the telescopic observations of the Oldlight Exo-zone, and thus, it was ideal for there to be no astronomic bodies to obstruct the telescopes and cameras. For military purposes, this is less helpful, although it does mean that the station has unobstructed fields of fire towards all possible approach vectors.
The nearby systems are not entirely abandoned. The Navy has learned of several small void constructs built by Imperial hands in them. These are generally built by Rogue Traders to serve as private caches of goods and equipment outside the squabbling Port. Beyond them, in the Oldlight Exo-zone proper, the Navy knows of at least twelve systems where human and alien pirates lurk within eleven light-years of the border of the Astronomican-detectable regions of space. While non-Navigated Warcraft are able to travel a distance defined only by their ship’s supply of consumables, the pace is slow enough that evading them is easy. Thus, while the Navy does go flatten these pirate bases from time to time, they know full well that there is no real way to secure them for good.
It is now nearly impossible to find the core of the Xerxes III from which Maxient arose. While its original shape and size were normal for its classification, the station has since bloated like a tick. Now, the station is a hideous amalgam of great, spiraling lumps of metal, protruding bulges of aftermarket additions, and the thin needles of starship dock spindles. The only piece of the original station still accessible from the outside is the huge Astropathic Temple-spire that juts out from the ventral surface facing, allowing it to be severed and destroyed in case of a daemonic flesh-gate opening among its residents.
As time went on and the station grew older, so did the Cloudburst Sector. The gradual process of finding more routes into the Oldlight Exo-zone, the Cloudburst Circuit, and the growing Cloudburst Sector made Maxient’s position relative to the thrum of Imperial commerce change. While the station itself has not moved from its lonely orbit around the star GHE848, the border of the Sector has pushed past it into the Cloudburst Circuit. The station has grown as much as it has for two reasons: urgent need, followed by bitter envy. At first, when the station was repurposed from being a supply depot into a proper port, it simply lacked the onboard weapon and quartering capacity needed by a proper border fort. Rather than gut the six massive storage modules originally installed, the Navy instead opted to add additional modules to the outside hull and chain them together. This swelled the station in size nearly all the way to that of a Xerxes IV, but the cost was deemed worthwhile by the Imperial Navy, who reasoned that it would be cheaper than meticulously removing the interior storage and replacing it.
Over time, more and more modules appeared on the hull. These were not added because of the need for stronger defense, but instead because the Adeptus Mechanicus found itself unhappy with the reduction of its role in the status quo. With the Navy now in command, the Mechanicus could no longer claim rulership over a platform it had striven and spent to build. The original terms of the agreement forged under the watchful eye of the Adeptus Arbites would be that he Mechanicus would be allowed to retain control over half the station, but the Imperial Navy would have the other half as well as overall control.
The ambiguity of that resolution indirectly caused the slow growth of the station. When the tension over the perceived loss of status that losing command of the station entailed reached a boiling point, the Adeptus Mechanicus ordered the conversion of an interior storage bay into a huge temple complex. This was a direct snub to the leadership of the Imperial Navy. When the huge temple was done, welded, and powered up, the Naval Admiral stationed on Port Maxient asked the Mechanicus which half of the temple was his. When the Adeptus Mechanicus demanded an explanation, the Admiral simply pointed out that half of the station fell under his command, and therefore half of the new temple was his.
Enraged but unable to deny the logic, the Mechanicus instead reached a compromise: they would add another module to the station and return its content to an even number, thus allowing the Navy to maintain control independent of the temple, which would remain theirs. The Navy found that quite agreeable, and soon enough, the station had a new fighter bay.
This pattern repeated itself again and again over the course of the ensuing millennia, as one faction chose to increase the size of the station, and the other sought to counterbalance the other’s expansion of control. Sometimes this has taken the form of co-owned modules, but most expansions are of the paired sort, built in twos and split between the two. A few specific modules and expansions have been exempted from this petty division, such as secondary reactors to power the ever-greater sprawl, but since only the Adeptus Mechanicus can operate those, the Navy is usually quick to claim other compartments onboard as compensation. Likewise, the ever-growing population of Port Maxient has necessitated larger and larger facilities for the other Adeptae. In time, Adeptus Administratum tithe offices, Ministorum chapels and pilgrim residences, Arbites courthouses and even a full Precinct-Fortress have emerged from the expanding disc of metal, only to be swallowed up by its slow accretion of more, more, more.
The ‘outer’ hull of the station rarely stays as such. When a fighter bay or repair yard, or some other function that can only work when exposed to the exterior, is swallowed up by the growth, it is generally stripped bare, its parts relocated to elsewhere, and the empty space where it had been filled with something else. At times, the station commander will attempt to outpace the metastatic expansion of the station by adding some useful new function on a spur or outgrowth at the end of a long umbilical, or even a dedicated orbital train on an enclosed solid line. Thus, the station looks like nothing more than a virion from a great distance, with blinking lights and open docking cups on long stalks sticking out of an ugly, asymmetric blob of alloy and clashing paint. Over time, the unwieldy expansion of the station gave way to somewhat more organized increases in size, with new modules being added adjacent to each other and expanding outwards in a spiral. Other times, however, the civilian residents of the station began their own expansions after buying permits from the Naval officers overseeing operations. These have included all manner of Rogue Trader and Merchant Noble houses that have wanted to add more storage, sales, and residential structures over time. Thus, there are smaller growths that simply stick out from the hull in random directions.
Other expansions of the station have been less welcome. One of the chunks of discolored metal rammed awkwardly into the lumpen spiral of deliberate construction is the lingering remnant of the Ork Kroozer OrdgargZak, which attempted a suicide ramming attack on the station in M41.898. Over time, scrap and salvage teams have partially dismantled the ship, starting with its horrifyingly unstable Warp core, and broken it down for recycling. This kicked off another jurisdictional battle, since it slammed into a shared part of the station.
The massive station enjoys extensive defenses. Perhaps the only real benefit of the frenzied and competitive expansion of the station is that the Imperial Navy and Basilikon Astra frequently try to out-compete each other to protect the station. The hull of the station bristles with well over a hundred capital-weight weapons, of the fullest range of the Imperial military’s capacity. These include Nova Cannons, macro-cannons, laser weapons, plasma weapons, lance batteries, missile and torpedo tubes, and kinetic kill rocket racks, as well as more esoteric weapons of the Mechanicus. Its primary weapon battery is presently the colossal quadruple-barrel missile battery built into the largest Mechanicus portion of the station, although the Navy is already floating plans to one-up it.
From a distance, the hull looks diseased. Swatches of Mechanicus red and white alternate with Imperial Navy grey, with gigantic Aquilae and Iron Skulls alternating on disjointed architecture. Antennae and racks of huge guns jut from surfaces in every direction, with the irregularly-blinking lights of protruding vox masts and docking spindles interrupting the undulating alloy surface at random.
The interior isn’t much better off, most of the time. The hundreds of Rogue Traders, Free Captains, Chartists, Missionaries, and more public-facing merchants who dwell on or pass through the station tend to stick to the nicer bits of the station, near the core, where the commerce is to be found. The Imperial Navy portions of the station are rigid places of discipline and immaculate cleanliness, perhaps to impress upon the Mechanicus contingent the professionalism of the station’s true masters. Meanwhile, the Mechanicus portions are sprawling religious hubs, with icons of the Omnissiah and Machine God, and sparking shrines to the Motive Force, stuck at random throughout. Meanwhile, the Arbites and Guard stationed there look at the two bickering factions with utter contempt and pity, as the Rogue Traders get rich and the Ecclesiarchy condescends them all.
Beyond the parts of the station controlled by the Adepta and military, Port Maxient has become a riot of activity. Over ten million humans call the huge station home, and those are the ones the Adeptus Administratum cares to count. Nearly six hundred thousand more dwell in the underdecks and forgotten corners of the inefficient sprawl of a station. Outside the power and life support, the decks that are no longer on the direct path between the busiest Naval and Mechanicus portions of the station, part of the firefighting protocol, or near the munitions lockers are collectively referred to as the Underguts by their morbid residents. Taken together, the Underguts contain a bewildering variety of locations.
Physical Areas Aboard
There is little commonality to the many modules of Port Maxient. Outside those regions where the function of the station is exclusively civilian, nothing is constant. Onboard light and gravity levels, security presence, availability of places to rest, and even crime are in constant change. A passenger or merchant on the station might experience four or even five different air pressures, just while walking from one end of the Promenade to the other.
The Commercial Halls
Far outside the tightly-controlled martial portions of the station, Thrones rule lives. Like many stations under the influence of Rogue Traders, there is little in Port Maxient that cannot be swayed into one’s pocket for the right sums of cash. However, unlike similar Imperial border stations like Port Wander, or Port Seidenham, Port Maxient remains a military posting at heart. The vast Commercial Hall is a place where Rogue Traders and Captains can escape from the scrutiny of the Naval Provosts and do business. While slavery is illegal on Port Maxien, very little else is short of outright robbery and murder. Even xenotech finds its way into the collections of unscrupulous spacers here.
The Commercial Halls consist of two of the six enormous storage modules of the original Xerxes III station, with their bulkhead-directed artificial gravity replaced with conventional mono-directional systems to make trade easier. Bay One holds a massive bazaar, with well over six hundred thousand merchants, traders, hawkers, buskers, hiring agents, purchasers, runners, and dealers working here day in, day out. The chamber is packed to the brim with mercantile goods and people selling it all, from wild animals to awe or battle, to indentured servants trained in the widest variety of obedience, to exotic construction materials.
Bay Two is the living goods area. Unlike Bay One, Bay Two is far emptier, with substantially more space between the ad hoc decks added after the gravity systems were overhauled. This is to facilitate the venting of metabolic gasses from the thousands of animals and people bought and sold here as gladiators, riding mounts, target practice, experimental subjects, companions for a day or eternity, or any other purpose. Technically, the edict against the buying of slaves remains in place here, but the border between ‘indentured servant’ and ‘slave’ in the Imperium is fuzzy at the best of times. Conveniently, there is a massive fighting pit on the lowest portion of Bay Two, where new purchases can be tried out against wild animals bought in Bay One, although the Adeptus Arbites rarely allow such engagements to proceed to the death. There are other living goods for sale here, however, beyond animals and people’s contracts. There are also greenhouses in climate-controlled subdecks, where rare plants and fungi from across the worlds of Cloudburst and beyond can be bought and sold, with extensive documentation – or not – about proper care and cultivation.
Generally, the Imperial Navy stays out of the direct administration and control of the station, but Bay Three is a rare exception. This huge quartering area is connected directly to the primary docking bays of the station, wherever those happen to be this millennium. Motorized corridors of triple width with catwalks overhead connect the docking bays to Bay Three, allowing discerning or expeditious travelers to simply bypass the squabbling sailors and Tech-Adepts. After an interminable visit, with advertisements for every service the station provides plastered on every visible millimeter of the corridor walls and ceiling, the motorized corridors dump arrivals out in Bay Three, where every possible quartering options awaits the weary traveler. Nothing less than a massive hotel and resort, this Bay has been given over entirely to the rest, recreation, and unwinding of its residents. The Navy intercedes regularly here, to prevent the name from sticking, but despite the grandeur and opulence of the wealthier living spaces, the name has stuck. The Navy also intercedes to prevent assassinations of guests by other guests, and generally succeeds, although the wealthiest visitors generally stay on their own ships rather than buy a room here. The smaller rooms are essentially just racking of bunk beds with paid-by-the-hour footlockers. Opulence and grandeur increases exponentially from there, ranging from rooms that would be fitting as sleeping holds on large starships to full-service spa rooms for the health-conscious Rogue Trader. Security is provided by roving squads of Naval Provosts and Arbites in featureless black masks and helms, quite incongruous with the relaxing décor.
Games, entertainment, and the pleasures of the flesh await the visitor to the Slots. This casino fills the entirety of Bay Four and beyond. It has metastasized, like Port Maxient itself, out into adjacent compartments and decks, as the Navy and Mechanicus have abandoned them in favor of compartments closer to the hull. The creeping expanse of brothels, gaming halls, concert theaters, combat sport arenas with variable gravity and light levels, and grand showcases holds a bewildering array of entertainments. Any carnal desire, any thrill of the wager, and any theatrical delight may be found here for the right price. The centerpiece of the massive three-dimensional casino complex, the source of most of the station’s income, is a gigantic card game chamber. Here, Adeptus Mechanicus randomization engines create playing cards and dice to atomic precision, distribute them to dealers and pit bosses, and collect them again for rendering and reprocessing into fresh, undamaged materials. It vexes the Imperial Navy to no end that the Adeptus Mechanicus, the least human of all Adepta, have managed to create the entertainment that pays for the station. The huge machine that creates the cards and dice is a public spectacle, and any who wish may buy a pack of dice or cards to keep as souvenirs.
The Chapel of the Emperor of Starfarers
Technically, this huge temple of the Emperor was built after the one to the Omnissiah in Bay Six, but this bay was still in use as recently as a thousand years ago. Originally, the void travelers who wished to worship the Emperor had to make do with one of over two hundred chapels of the Emperor scattered around the station, in lieu of a centralized chamber. After the Adeptus Mechanicus took control of Bay Six to make the House of the Motive Force, however, the Navy immediately brought in the Adeptus Ministorum to refurbish this chamber into something of greater effort and spectacle. To the surprise of the Navy, however, the Adeptus Ministorum Cloudburst, in all its addiction to spectacle and effort, hesitated to simply turn the miles-wide bay into a single, giant church. The amount of construction and architecture that would require was so vast, so expensive, that it didn’t seem worthwhile. To come up with an innovative solution, the Ecclesiarchy turned to its history, to the early days of its existence, when it was still a prosecuted thing, furtively worshipping the Emperor when His Imperial Truth still held sway over most of the Imperium. These worship sessions took place in basements, closets, family homes, and other small places, away from the law. Taking inspiration from this, the Ecclesiarchy rebuilt Bay Five as a great maze of several thousand individual rooms, from the floor of the bay all the way to the ceiling. Each contains pews, kneelers, or chairs, as well as a single projection screen and a lectern at the front. Each lectern contains a small cogitator with one of over fifteen thousand pre-approved sermons on the Emperor and His teachings that can be played for a single Throne’s cost, which then appear on the screen. For those who want a larger congregation or a live sermon to watch, the wider rooms contain more traditional religious accoutrements.
The House of the Motive Force
Bay Six is the only one of the original six Xerxes III storage modules to retain the original omni-directional gravity system. Originally, that system existed to expedite the storage and retrieval of cargo. Now, it allows for each of the six facings of the chamber to perform independent experiments. It is also the center of worship for the Adeptus Mechanicus on the station, as well as the personal laboratory of the Magos who presides over the Mechanicus contingent. This bay is inaccessible to non-Mechanicus personnel, which has led superstitious and greedy Rogue Traders to mutter that the Techpriests must be storing something incredibly valuable there.
The heart of the station’s mechanisms. This series of central decks are all that remains of the original Xerxes III core machinery besides the Astropathic Temple Spire. It sits at the middle of the six numbered bays added during primary construction. Here, a gigantic thermo-plasmic reactor chugs, feeding power into the ever-expanding station. It has been replaced again and again with more potent reactors over time as the draw has grown. Eventually, a secondary reactor was added specifically for weapon systems, as there was simply no more way to grow the primary reactor without it being too large to maintain safely.
Elsewhere in the Core, the station’s chronically overtaxed life support systems cling to functionality. While there is no immediate risk of their failure, the patchwork, hasty approach of the station’s growth has rendered the ventilation and sewage collection equipment grossly under-capacity for the task. People in the poorer parts of the civilian-operated reaches of the stations have grown used to being unable to flush the toilets or drink clear water for days at a time while frantic Techpriests scramble to make repairs. There is serious discussion among the less prestige-obsessed members of the Adeptus Mechanicus and Imperial Navy officer corps of sending requests for emergency aid to a non-Cloudburst authority for intervention before Magos Alexia and Admiral Caravel accidentally choke the station dead.
Command Post Maxient
Something of a misnomer, since whatever compartment the presiding officer of the station is in is the command post, this huge control zone still serves as the principal dispatch and coordination hub of the entire station. At one point, the highest deck had an armored bubble that allowed exterior views, but it has long since been swallowed up by the growing station. Now, it is deep inside its armored bulk. Here, there are many dozens of control terminals, each manned by Navy officers, which report the status of the many expansions and blocks of the Port. In times of war, defense command protocols take over, and the Admiral commands all Naval weapons and counter-boarders from there. In the case of the imminent loss of the station, the presiding officer can, theoretically, assume command of Mechanicus assets too, although no Admiral, technical leader of the station or not, has yet had the nerve.
Lower compartments of the huge deck contain the Defense Monitor coordination hub, which collects targeting telemetry from the ships that protect the station and relays it to targeting systems elsewhere on the station and in the fleet. In other places, the semi-automated homing mines and torpedo target computers track objects not cleared by the patrol ships. On lower decks yet, the flight bosses coordinate the launch and retrievals of fighters and bombers. Firefighting and damage control efforts belong to the Adeptus Mechanicus, who rarely allow the Navy any insight into their protocols.
At one point, this part of Port Maxient was a large rack of savior pods. Long since engulfed by the growth of the station, the divots in the walls remain, stripped of pods. Now, the honeycomb of empty space has turned into a triage. Several dozen Adeptus Ministorum and Adeptus Sororitas alms-minders with basic medical training attend to the people who live here, seeing to their needs, and incinerating them if their basic treatment is not enough.
If ever a visual reminder were needed of the decay of the station as it grew, the Underguts would be more than enough. Some of the corridors, cabins, and compartments in the Underguts were luxury quarters for the wealthiest guests and merchants. Traces of their old grandeur are still visible if one knows where to look, under centuries of rust and grime. Flickering or absent lights throw deep shadows on embossed skulls and cracked statuary. Some of the rooms in the Underguts still see some visitors from the Mechanicus, there to pursue personal projects or maintain indispensable equipment, but the most regular visitors are the hundreds of thousands of indigent spacers, vagrants, and escaped indentured servants from the upper decks. While the station rarely builds up such a populace of lifelong residents in the Underguts as the Dropouts on Thunderhead do, that is not because it is easier to leave. Roving gangs of unscrupulous merchants and flesh-dealers sometimes descend into the Underguts to kidnap hundreds of people to be sold as cheap gladiators. The Adeptus Arbites officially do not know this, but unofficially tolerate the practice, as it reduces strain on the life support systems.
While all of the permanent parts of the station except the Astropathic Temple Spire are likely to be swallowed up eventually, there would no doubt be mass riots if this wing of the station were engulfed. This interconnected chain of massive greenhouses, hydroponic gardens, and livestock pens make up the vast majority of the station’s fresh food supply. The facility is controlled jointly by the Adeptus Mechanicus and House Carvan, which is the only Noble House with a substantial presence on the station. The Croplands are protected by their own, dedicated formation of elite Skitarii and Servitors, collectively named the Logistic Guard.
There is no place the spacers of Port Maxient fear more than Lockdown. This massive internal fortress is a Precinct of the Adeptus Arbites, one many times larger than those of a common Imperial city. The fortress has its own fighter bay and docking spur, as well as a huge brig for those prisoners the Navy lacks the capacity to house. The Adeptus Astra Telepathica temple spur extends from the center of Lockdown, since the Arbites are the only faction that the Astropaths trust not to let the Ecclesiarchs lynch them.
This is all that remains of the once-massive telescope and mapping hub around which much of the original construction of the station centered. The Adeptus Mechanicus has transplanted the detectors and sensors away from their original sites on the station many times, unwilling as they are to replace equipment that expensive without urgent need. On occasion, the Techpriests even see cause to use the telescopes to perform actual mapping, when the rotation of the station turns them towards the Oldlight Exo-zone.
Vast statues of somber Imperial Saints and Heroes of the Imperium line this profoundly depressing passage. Co-designed by the Adeptus Ministorum and the Imperial Navy, it stretches on for over a kilometer. Forty meters wide and sixty meters tall, the hall has the names of every military officer and Chaplain to have perished on a mission that staged from or was fought near Port Maxient. What the enlisted men and women think of all this is rarely on the mind of the merchants and Rogue Traders who come to witness it.
The Promenade of Mankind
The exact opposite of the Martyr-Hall, the Promenade is a boastful place. Here, great portraits of oil and canvas show the surfaces of worlds that Cloudburst and Naxos Sector-based Rogue Traders have discovered, conquered, or opened trade with. Music plays constantly from concealed speakers, which echoes down the kilometer-length viewing hall-cum-art gallery.
Maxient is, first and foremost, a military station. The huge telescopes, antennae, and storage cells of the original role of the platform are still present, but now they are outnumbered by guns and armor plates, ready to repulse the hated xeno and wicked pirate. The Imperial Navy portions of the station are given over entirely to the business of defensive war. Each compartment is either a tidy barracks, or a storage cell packed with ammo and parts, or echoing fuel tanks, or a Commissarial office, or some other chamber of military import. The high disciplinary standards of the commanding personnel have ensured that while there is acrimony between the enlisted men and the commissioned, there is also readiness. The speed with which the Orkish assault in M41.897 was repulsed is proof enough of that.
The Imperial Navy here makes a show of unity with the other portions of the Imperial governing bodies that do not include the Adeptus Mechanicus. Its officers rarely miss a chance to subtly remind the Mechanicus of their lower position on the totem pole of the port. Outside their blocks of the station, the other Adepta are permitted a degree of travel that they would rarely be allowed in a more typical Imperial Navy anchorage. Even the Adeptus Mechanicus are allowed into the Imperial Navy chunks of the patchwork station as long as they have need, since even the most prideful Imperial Navy officers must confess that they don’t know how their own equipment works.
The Mechanicus portions of the station are spartan in their own way. The deeper portions of the Adeptus Mechanicus blocks overflow with icons of the Omnissiah, but at a tiny scale. Each and every single member of the Tech-adept and Skitarii contingents of Port Maxient receives optical nerve and receptor bionics upon assignment to the station, at rates so low that they would raise the brows of Magi Biologis on other postings. The reason for this uncharacteristic generosity is that the Adeptus Mechanicus has taken the time to inscribe microscopic prayer sigils into random wall segments and ceiling plates in their portions of Port Maxient. Only those with specifically-attuned optic augments can see them. This way of hiding their devotion from the uninitiated is their own method of asserting their dominance over the Navy that technically controls the station.
Of course, this has its own problems. This is staggeringly expensive, and the program was instituted without the consent of either the Sector leadership, the Cognomen Lord Fabricator, or the people whose eyes were being gouged out. If news of this expenditure were to reach the wrong ears, the resultant political fallout could be immense.
Although the Mechanicus does trust that the Navy desires the station to be kept intact, the massive garrison of Skitarii onboard shows exactly how far the Mechanicus trusts the Navy to do so indefinitely. Of course, Skitarii are loyal to Mars first and local political concerns second, and so the Techpriesthood of Port Maxient takes some effort to ensure that their Red Guard are held in a position of proper respect. This is the balancing act that most Cognomen Techpriesthood must undertake, Sector-wide: balancing Skitarii loyalties with the self-imposed realities of the Sector’s precarious decisions.
The fact that the station’s name has changed over the millennia from Maxentius to Maxient truly hurts the Cognomen-trained Techpriests stationed here. The power of names is part and parcel of the culture of Cognomen. The change was not a malicious one, but rather a product of simple, ordinary linguistic drift. That does not alleviate the dogmatic insult the Mechanicus believes they labor under on the platform in any way.
Whispers of retribution against the Naval personnel aboard have reached the ears of some nervous spacers. While it seems a bit out of character for the allegedly unemotional Techpriesthood to stoop to outright murder, there have been incidents wherein Naval personnel aboard the station have suddenly come down with radiation poisoning after insisting on using the new name in documentation. These incidents seem to have little else in common.
Elsewhere on the station, outside the insular gaze of the Navy and Techpriests, there are other factions at play. The culture of the station’s non-Naval Imperial population has taken a few turns that separate them from the general populace of the Sector. For starters, the ubiquitous Sector Noble Houses that dominate trade in so much of Cloudburst are largely absent here. This is partially because of longstanding Naval precedent that the region’s defenses against the Glasians be unhindered by squabbles among the aristocracy, but the tradition predates the Glasian Migrations. As it happens, the station, the farthest civilian-accessible platform from the Sector Capital, has long been a place where the independent traders and Free Captains of the Sector prefer to do business. That has increased the volume of trade of the platform enough that only one of the major Sector Houses, House Carvan, has been able to make inroads on the mercantile business to be found here.
Carvan’s sole role on the station is providing temperature-, pressure-, humidity-, and light-controlled storage and shipping options for the gigatons of fresh food that the station makes and imports. This includes the habitation controls for the plants in the greenhouses in the Commercial Halls, and so the merchants of the station reluctantly allow the Carvan technicians in to do business. It’s better than allowing the Mechanicus to claim more of the station as their own.
While commerce is the order of the day, there will always be a need for diversions. Quite aside from buying everything from lives to perfume and back again, the two major entertainments on the station are the fighting rings and the casino and brothels in the Slots.
Naturally enough, the Inquisition has kept a keen eye out for any sign of Slaaneshi corruption in the places of indulgence and impropriety in the great casino. However, the narrow scope of their focus has kept them from noticing the other, more insidious threat creeping in among the populace. The casino’s fighting arena and whores are not the vector of choice for Chaos infiltration. The animal fighting pits in Bay Two are. Unbeknownst to all, the forces of Khorne have begun corrupting the animal fighters on the station. These gladiators and servant-brawlers put their lives on the line to battle beasts, and eventually men, in the ring. Slowly, their thoughts are turning to putting their skills to the test against less willing prey. While the corruption has yet to sprout into a true blood-cult, that is surely a matter of time.
One factor that determines much of life aboard the station is water. Port Maxient is nowhere near any place where water might be found. The station’s water supply must therefore be carefully rationed, and any additional water that might be brought to the station by visiting merchants is treasured. With no water comets nearby and no water-bearing worlds in the system to harvest, the situation would grow dire in the case of water system failure. Thus, the Adeptus Mechanicus has a dedicated task force assigned to the station to track down any breaches in the water pipes that run through it thanks to thirsty residents of the Underguts. These priests are eager to enact lethal force against the indigents that dwell in the forgotten chambers of the huge station. Ugly rumor suggests that they may have even worked with the slaver gangs to round up Underguts dwellers and collect them for Servitorization, rather than endure further losses of water supply. The Mechanicus does maintain a massive electric water purification engine in the Croplands; that is one role the Navy gladly lets them handle. On occasion, as the crew requirements of the station have drifted up and up, the Navy has even ordered massive shipments of water from Nauphry IV to resupply the station.
The Ecclesiarchy and Sisterhood
This place is far from the Emperor’s light, both materially and spiritually. If the Imperial Navy had not made an ally of the Ecclesiarchy in their endless attempts to one-up the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Ministorum would likely have made a point of it in the halls of the Sector Capitol. However, as it stands, the massive, school-like temple structure in the heart of the station is adequate, for now, to meet the local needs of the people. Of all the places in the Cloudburst Sector under the guidance of the Ministorum, Port Maxient is likely the one least adherent to the patterns of excess that define the rest of the Sector clergy. Part of this is concession to the unique circumstances of the station, but part of it is the result of Bishop Cordovin. The Bishop is a lean and mean fellow, much given to cold and bitter oratory. He is so deeply opposed to the doctrines of Lamarr and Drake that there is a real possibility that he is the real reason that the Sector has only two Cardinals. If the Spindle and Septiim systems were to gain their own Cardinals, the Synod would have to promote Cordovin to fill the gaps left by his superiors, and nobody else in the Sector can tolerate the man.
There are a few Sororitas aboard, but they are of the Dialogous, Famulous, and Hospitaller Ordos, not the combat-oriented divisions. Their role is as advisors and consultants to the people aboard who must make first contact or follow-up communication with the human and alien populations that are found in the Oldlight Exo-zone. They also serve as overseers of the Refuge, where the poor of the station live out their last days.
It is a quirk of the station’s bizarre history and nature that it is not a larger home to the Rogue Traders and Free Captains of the Cloudburst Sector. Typically, a huge and well-defended station of the Imperium, so close to the border, would be a magnet for Rogue Traders. However, four factors reduce the attractiveness of the station to Rogue Traders compared to others of equivalent size. First, the Oldlight Exo-zone is murderously difficult to traverse quickly. That limits profit-finding opportunities for all those Traders who are not employing the very best Navigators. Second, the orbital mansions of Celeste are closer to the seats of power, and much more private. Third, there are no Forge Worlds anywhere near Port Maxient, and thus secretive or mechanically-complex repairs and sales are much more expensive here than they would be at Cognomen or Fabique. Finally, the constant and intense scrutiny of the Imperial Navy and Adeptus Mechanicus render the place a challenging one for Rogue Traders to throw their weight around, whereas Celeste offers endless opportunity for Rogue Traders to flaunt their wealth and impress the land-bound nobles of that peaceful Paradise World.
However, Rogue Traders do visit the station constantly, even if they do not take up residence here. It is still a massive marketplace, with vast entertainment opportunities, and abundant chances to pick up contract work from the Navy and Mechanicus to explore the Exo-zone and Circuit. Although there are no Rogue Traders presently in permanent residence on Port Maxient, it is not at all uncommon to find one here on missions of acquisition or sale.
The Rogue Traders who live on or visit Port Maxient are mostly aware of the extent of the rivalry between the Imperial Navy and Adeptus Mechanicus, but rarely get involved. As the acrimony between the two factions ebbs and flows, some Rogue Traders have subtly egged on one faction or the other.
Given the total disgust the law enforcement and intelligence bodies of the greater Imperium hold for the rivalry between the Navy and Mechanicus here, it is not a surprise for most to learn that the Adeptus Arbites hate the postings they hold on Port Maxient. While the eagerness of the Imperial Navy to integrate and ingratiate the other Adepta into the Port to offset the influence of the Mechanicus does make them amenable and generous hosts, the Adeptus Arbites have little to actually do here. Navy Law rules the corridors that aren’t ruled by Machine Law. While the Adeptus Arbites can technically enforce the Lex Imperialis over most of the station, they are rarely and begrudgingly allowed the access needed to actually do so, as both the Navy and Techpriesthood enact innumerable tiny precedents and protocols to obfuscate Arbites oversight. Thus, the presence of the Arbitrators, Marshals, and Judges of the Port is largely a symbolic, trophy gesture from the Navy; it is an effort of public assistance and private rejection that leaves the Arbites all dolled up and nobody to dance with. Thus, the Arbites of the station either march obviously and broodingly through those parts of the station in which they are welcome, looming over spacers and voidsmen with menace and silent intimidation (just to remind them that they are there), or sit on their hands in Lockdown, waiting for a call.
Marshal Oolan’s patience for that particular status quo is not infinite, but even he must admit the Glasians are a far larger threat in the short term, and so he has shelved his irritation, for now.
As perhaps befits a station with its spotty history, Port Maxient has enough defenses for four of itself. Barely an inch of the station’s exterior is not covered by guns, armor plates, telescopes, sensoria, and missile tubes. It has the equivalent firepower of a Ramilies star fort despite being a third the size. It also enjoys five permanent Defense Monitors and a handful of independent weapons platforms, plus six Basilikon Astra patrol ships. The station also plays host to various Imperial ships of other purpose, like passing vessels of the Battlefleets Cloudburst and Ultima. Of course, there are also Rogue Trader ships present, but they are at best unreliable when it comes to defense if they are not being paid kingly sums.
As for the Port’s internal defenses, they are more than adequate for perimeter defense for the greater Imperium. Part of the reason that the Senatorum Imperialis Terra has not taken more direct action against the dysfunctional Port’s administration is that the acrimony has not overtly limited the station’s defensibility. If the Orks of Gorkypark were to stage an invasion, they would need millions of boyz to storm the vast Deep Void, and Drukhari would fare little better.
The Imperial Navy provides primary defense, with the Counter-Boarding battalions of the Naval Armsmen serving to defend the station. They are aided by other Imperial Navy forces, like the Security Provosts, who are generally tasked with domestic law enforcement, but can be routed to anti-piracy roles if needed. Secondary defense is that of the Skitarii of the Mechanicus, led by Electro-priests and fleets of combat drones, servo-skulls, and larger Servitors. The station lacks Combat Robots, but does employ very simple automated defenses. These are overseen by chanting Techpriests, who imbue the Machine Spirits with targeting data on doctrine-wafers in control hubs with meter-thick armor walls. The residents of the station itself would almost certainly not need to be involved in anything short of cataclysmic alien or demonic invasion, given the sheer size of the security forces, but it is a rare Free Captain on the border who does not hired armed guards to protect themselves when needed.