On the surface, Rover’s Beacon appears to be an ordinary, if large spaceport. Visitors are often lured into a sense of safety by the polished and freshly painted corridors, the masses of people milling around, and the signs advertising corporate products. However, there is a dark side to the station, one that extends from the humblest urchin barely surviving in the lower regions, all the way up to the command staff. One does not need to look for trouble on Rover’s Beacon, it has a way of finding people whether they’re prepared for it or not. For those who seek it, or are at least not afraid of it, there is always work for individuals who can handle themselves well in a stressful situation.
Rover’s Beacon serves as Teron’s spaceport, but it also serves an important function in Human space. Rover’s Beacon is an armored five-kilometer-long space station that has a permanent population of nearly one hundred thousand sapient beings. Its population is comprised of 64% Humans, 20% Lamagos, 9% Tallinites, 5% Relarra, and 2% Sangor. Visiting ships may take up orbit nearby or attach to the three docking rings, the largest ships are assigned to Docking Ring A, the mid-sized ones are assigned to Docking Ring B, and the smallest ones are assigned to Docking Ring C. The station is awesome in size and it is well armed and capable of dealing with most potential threats.
Rover’s Beacon is powered by a massive fusion generator located in the lower portion of the station. Although artificial gravity existed when they built the station, they instead chose to emulate gravity through centripetal force. This decision was made because multiple strong artificial gravity fields colliding in space tend to cause minor navigational problems and sometimes contribute to accidents that could damage the station or its visitors. Small pockets of artificial gravity do exist throughout the station, such as the Observation Lounge, which sits at the “top” of the station, the reactor control room, which is at the center of the station, and the trams that run the length of the station through the hollow center.
Rover’s Beacon was established before the founding of the Interstellar Concord, though its original purpose was both as Teron’s starport and as a major base for trade between the Humans, Tallinites, and the Relarra. During the wars, it became a major resupply area and it was the site of several battles. One major battle took place here in 2278 when the Lamagos sought to cut off the supply of hydrogen to Earth’s forces. Although the battle was won, nearly a quarter of the station was blasted away and major reconstruction was required in order to get it back to operational order.
Upon the founding of the Stellar Imperium, the station became a much quieter, more subdued place. The focus of commerce moved to Imperium worlds, though the station remained an active cultural center for the nearby species. Those living in the Frontier Worlds also sometimes visited Rover’s Beacon to acquire the supplies needed to continue colonization in that region of space.
This quiet peace changed with the fall of the Stellar Imperium. As the planetary alliances dissolved, the station once again became an important trade nexus for many worlds. In addition, with the loss of central authority came a sharp rise in the number of lawless bands conducting petty raids in all sectors of space. While drastic cuts to defense suddenly prevented many worlds from mounting significant responses to raiders, most tried to prevent disreputable individuals from selling stolen goods on their worlds. Rover’s Beacon was different.
At first, the command staff of Rover’s Beacon tried to fight the trend of illicit trade on their station, but over time they realized that there were not enough credits coming in from legitimate trade and the service fees they charged the Teron gas mining station. However, the additional credits brought in by the raiders added enough to not only balance their books, but also allow them to indulge in an even higher standard of living than they had enjoyed under the Stellar Imperium. They decided to look the other way in regard to raider activity on the station. This move had little initial effect as the raiders quietly conducted business in the shadows. However, with a few whispered conversations between station security and some of the more notorious raider captains, the raiders were informed that they were actually allowed to conduct their business at Rover’s Beacon, provided that they did not attack any ships within the system. The raiders immediately realized that station command had all but invited them to use the station, so many of them cautiously set up their operations here.
In the years that have passed, the number of raiders operating from Rover’s Beacon has increased, while the station continues to enjoy a great deal of legitimate trade as well. However, several planetary governments have expressed concern and outrage at what they consider an unacceptable policy on piracy. At one point a joint invasion was launched from the worlds of Corrya and Lato, but they were met with opposition not only from the scant remaining fleet that was left over from the Imperium, but also a force of independent raiders. In a rare moment of unity, they defended the station because they knew that keeping the station open to them was in their best interest.
Rover’s Beacon is now a place where anything is for sale. Illicit substances and banned cargo move rapidly through the supply chain here. The one notable exception is the slave trade, which remains outlawed. Many bypass this ban by conducting the trade quietly behind closed doors and then arranging for the transfer of living cargo in nearby neutral territory.
Inside the Beacon
The following lists the various sectors of Rover’s Beacon and also presents some of the more prominent personalities and groups that frequent this space station.
The top section of Rover’s Beacon is primarily used for recreational establishments and the VIP suites. Everyone aboard the station has access to the recreational facilities, however, the VIP suites are closed to everyone except those who pay 1,000 credits simply for the privilege of walking the halls (patrons often cover this cost so they can meet with agents in their employ). It costs 2,000 credits per person to spend a single night in one of these rooms. Despite the exorbitant rate, the station is usually able to keep these rooms filled. The entrances to Docking Ring A mark the barrier between Sectors A and B.
Docking Ring A
Docking Ring A is the top one of three wheel-like structures connected to Rover’s Beacon via spoke-like corridors. The exterior of these rings contain a variety of docking mechanisms to accommodate the various types of ships that frequent the station. Only the largest visiting ships are assigned to dock at Ring A. The interior of the great wheel is filled with cargo belts that move belongings from one ship to another or into the station’s storage.
Each of the docking mechanisms are blocked by a gate and manned by servitor robots that function as security. They check incoming and outgoing passengers to ensure that known enemies are not passing into the station and they can alert security if a problem arises. The remainder of the space in this area is filled with retail establishments, sales kiosks, and advertising. A variety of corporate-sponsored food establishments, clothing stores, gift shops, and recreational substance lounges greet the arriving traveler as they enter the station.
The observation lounge is a large upscale restaurant that sits at the top of a spire at the top of the station. It protrudes beyond the station itself and is enclosed within a dome made of reinforced glass, providing patrons with an amazing view of the gas giant below and the moons in orbit around it. The meals here are not cheap, costing an average of two hundred credits for a single plate. While the food here is widely touted as the best the station has to offer, the true attraction is the clear view from all tables of the gas giant Teron with its orange and white bands and enormous circular storms that are several times the size of most terrestrial planets.
The area directly above Docking Ring A is dedicated exclusively to recreational establishments. These include padded play areas where parents can bring their children, a vast arboretum that doubles as a garden and secondary air purifying system, gyms, holo-arcades, upscale restaurants and several lounges. The most notorious gathering place in the entire station is called the Quaraca, named after the now long deceased Tallinite who founded this famous watering hole. The place is now run by a tall Lamagos named Linift Ors, who always dresses in expensive suits and surrounds himself with attractive Lamagos and Human women and security at all times. This is a popular place for the visitors to Rover’s Beacon to begin trade negotiations. Linift keeps the place dimly lit and employs enough servers that patrons rarely need to wait to order drinks. A stage sits at the front of the establishment, which is used for a variety of purposes, typically showcasing musicians or dancers.
Upper Sensor Suites
The upper sensor suites constantly monitor the space outside of the station, supplying the Command Center with critical information, such as new ships jumping in, data on Teron’s weather conditions, radio signals, changes in radiation levels, and the presence of any unusual subatomic particles. It also includes a powerful Drivesat comm array that allows up to one thousand people to use the system simultaneously.
The VIP suites are the best the station has to offer. A total of forty of these rooms exist, and the station typically has to turn people without reservations away. Of course those who have an established relationship with the station commander may bump those with a reservation if they arrive unexpectedly and need a room. The 2,000 credits spent on a room per night buys one thundred square meters, and includes a comfortable bed, meals brought to the door at no additional charge, unlimited use of the Comm array, a pair of servitor robots assigned to each hallway accessing these rooms, and a holo-vid display with unlimited access to the Commnet – one of the most popular faster than light network broadcasters and Exonet providers.
Sector B is where the station’s command staff operates. Crew quarters are located near the Command Station so that staff can be summoned at a moment’s notice in an emergency. This entire area is restricted from visitors unless they are given special clearance and escorted by security.
The Command Center includes a number of areas that are vital to the station’s operations, including the Command Station, the Detention Facility, the Medical Laboratories, the offices of the command staff, and other areas.
Command Station: The Command Station is the nerve center of Rover’s Beacon. Here they monitor ship movements outside the station, give docking orders, respond to emergencies, organize defenses, monitor security, and monitor sensors reporting in from both inside and outside the station. One top ranking member of the command staff is always either present at all times or is linked in with a live audio feed. The station commander is David Meadows, a Human who was originally assigned to this station by the Stellar Imperium. He was the one who originally solved the station’s financial problems by allowing raiders to use the station freely, so many throughout the known galaxy consider him corrupt at best. Despite this, he maintains a buttoned-up image and is one of the few command officers on any world who still wears the Imperium uniform. Meadows stands just under 2 meters tall with tanned skin and medium-length black hair, which he combs back.
Also among the command staff is the Lamagos Tier Modivini, the second in command. Like the commander, he was once with the Stellar Imperium navy and was assigned here. Unlike the commander, he is less formal and his demeanor tends to be more approachable. He is in favor of the move to allow raiders to use this facility, though there are limits to what he is willing to tolerate, and he works closely with the chief of security to ensure that civility is the rule aboard the station. Modivini stands 1.8 meters tall and has angular features and red hair, which he keeps extremely short and styled back. Rounding out the command staff is Christine Williams, a Human woman who stands just over 1.5 meters tall with dark skin and brown eyes. Williams was originally a civilian appointee to Rover’s Beacon, but was formally brought into the command staff after their original third-in-charge was killed in battle upon the collapse of the Stellar Imperium. She does not like the idea that the station has become a base of operations for individuals she considers reprobates, but she tolerates it and tries to keep the place as orderly as possibly under the circumstances.
Detention Facility: The detention facilities are typical, consisting of reinforced concrete walls, a magnetically sealed door, and sensors that monitor each cell, which feed to the Command Station. The most common inmates are disorderly drunks who usually only stay long enough to sober up, raiders who cause trouble with rival groups, and a handful of legitimate criminals who have been caught committing crimes aboard the station. The old Imperium laws against personal crime, such as theft and violence, are still enforced.
Medical Laboratories: The medical laboratories are the only authorized medical facilities on the station. Due to the variety of species that pass through, the command staff felt it important that every physician here have a strong background in xenobiology and practice under the watchful eye of the chief medical officers. There are others who run unregistered clinics, and during the days of the Stellar Imperium, they would have been shut down. But these days they are simply ignored unless they prove incompetent enough to routinely harm their patients.
The Medical Laboratories include a general clinic where individuals come to receive treatment for trivial illnesses, an emergency room where serious conditions are triaged, a surgery ward, quarantine rooms, and recovery areas. Medical treatment costs individuals nothing and is paid for by the credits Teron spends to keep the station operational and by some of the docking fees collected from visiting ships.
The chief medical officer is a xenobiologist named Samuel Griffin. At the age of fifty-five, his short, formerly-brown hair has turned mostly white. He is tall, almost a full 2 meters and thin; most consider him gaunt. He has piercing blue eyes with bushy eyebrows. He generally avoids speaking with patients, which is perfectly fine with his medical staff since he tends to be blunt and un-empathetic with them about their condition, no matter how serious it may be.
Crew quarters are among the smallest on the station, rivaling those in the low-rent areas. Each room contains only a single occupant; married officers are allowed to room together and receive slightly larger rooms than individuals. Each quarters consists of a bed, a comm station with access to the Exonet and the Commnet, a dresser, a small closet, and a small desk. The command staff were originally assigned to the same quarters as everyone else, but upon the fall of the Stellar Imperium, they knocked out some walls, combined several quarters, and remodeled them to match the quality of living found in the VIP suites.
Docking Ring B
Docking Ring B is smaller than Docking Ring A and it is where the mid-range starships dock. Like Docking Ring A, it contains cargo belts to move cargo and luggage items from ships to various locations within the station. Also like Docking Ring A, there are some commercial establishments, but Ring B lacks the sheer numbers that are found there. There is extra space here that does not exist in the other docking rings, which was converted to quarters that are inexpensively rented out for short periods of time. Originally intended to be used by tired crew to disembark and catch short naps before going back to work on their ships, (and they are often used for this purpose), they inevitably became popular hangouts for paid escorts who found them conveniently located for their line of work.
Sector C is where the majority of the station’s permanent inhabitants live, and it is also where most visitors choose to stay. Many raiders use Rover’s Beacon as a permanent base of operations, and most of them choose to live here rather than spend the credits to stay in the VIP suites. The fact that there are a large number of raiders who call this sector of the station home, and many of them happen to be from competing groups, often creates a tense environment. While they are under a general agreement while on the station to treat each other with respect, fights that began between ships, usually in other systems, often escalate into hostility aboard the station. Sometimes this takes the form of open fighting in the corridors, other times brawls erupt in the numerous taverns, and still other times station security happens across a dead body and they must then investigate the murder.
Aside from the raiders, there are a number of individuals who are actual employees here and perform what were once defined as civil service jobs, such as janitorial, maintenance, and administrative. Others are corporate representatives who are here to purchase the gas mined at Teron. A small minority simply live here because they can afford to and they prefer it here to other places in the galaxy. Some were born and raised here on the station and have chosen not to leave. Culturally, this sector is the heart of Rover’s Beacon. This is where the majority of the inhabitants are, it is where a number of entrepreneurs have set up shop, and it is where most of the station’s noteworthy events occur. Security maintains a presence here, although, given the large number of disreputable individuals inhabiting the station, there is a great deal of lawlessness. Petty theft is relatively common, and this is where the dead bodies of slain raiders frequently turn up. Although murders are investigated, security usually doesn’t spend a great deal of effort trying to solve them if the victims were raiders. Long-standing residents or visitors who come here on legitimate business are another story, and raiders who are found to have committed murder against non-raiders are thrown into the vacuum of space.
Docking Ring C
Docking Ring C is where the smallest ships dock. Unlike the other two docking rings, there is no conveyor for unloading items; visitors are expected to handle their goods themselves. If they are small freighters transferring goods, they can either move their merchandise themselves or they can pay the station staff to move it for them at a rate of 10 credits per ton. There are no commercial establishments here. Aside from the docking gates, the only other thing found here is the robotic staff, which tracks those coming in and leaving.
Fighter Docking Bays
Above and below Docking Ring C are the station’s fighter docking bays. There are bays for 100 fighters, which were once full. However, due to the occasional battles outside the station, a number of accidents, and a few cases of sabotage, there are currently only sixty-three assault fighters aboard. The command staff intends to purchase replacements when the funds become available. They currently project that they can afford to purchase ten more in two years. Many worry that they will be depleted before they can be replaced, which will create a vulnerability in the station’s defense.
Quarters here range from 80 to 150 credits per night for temporary lodging in relatively small quarters, while rent on more permanent, larger lodging costs between 800 and 1,500 credits per solar month, with floor plans of up to 150 square meters.
This sector is home to most general facilities that are open to the public. These include the courts, public gathering places, schools, open comm stations, and other minor services provided by the station.
A great deal of space is set aside in this sector for commercial establishments, including retailers, restaurants, accountants, and services for hire. Commercial areas are clustered into the same corridors so that individuals can go to a few distinct areas and see much of what is for sale.
This sector is divided between the low-rent quarters and storage facilities. There is a lot of activity here from people moving cargo around, but there is also a fair amount of violence and crime as well. Also, numerous storage areas lie unused at any given time and occasionally serve as dumping areas for the bodies of those who have been murdered aboard the station.
The low-rent quarters are the only portions of the station where a person can spend a night for 30 credits or less. Many of the rooms were never finished, so exposed pipes and wires are typical. They are also poorly-maintained, so the ones that were finished often have water damage to the walls and ceiling, threadbare carpets, water that either doesn’t run or won’t stop running, and stains of all sorts on the walls, ceiling, and floors. These rooms do not have access to the Exonet or Commnet, though some are equipped so that a person with their own computer equipment can plug into these networks.
Storage space is available for rent in this area with sizes ranging from just larger than a standard closet to a half-acre warehouse. The larger ones require a crew to operate efficiently, and there are some companies represented in sector C that provide full warehousing services, which includes crews and merchandise hauling. Rates are usually 1,000 credits a day for such services. Small spaces rented directly from the station charge according to the following pricing structure:
Sector E is rarely visited by non-staff members. It contains the station’s main reactor, water storage and pumps, atmosphere scrubbers, and thrusters, which are only activated to start or stop the station spinning or make minor adjustments to the station’s orbit.
Engineering is the nerve center for all of the station’s mechanical functions. It contains monitoring stations, control stations, and manual controls that can override commands from the station’s main command center. The main engineering rooms connect to corridors that lead to the mechanical devices so that staff may perform maintenance.
The main reactor is a nuclear fusion reactor which takes up half of this sector. Although the current one has been operating safely for over 100 years, it can be ejected into space should it go critical and endanger the station. There is a two day power reserve to keep primary life support systems online should this occur, hopefully allowing the station personnel to locate and install a replacement reactor before the air begins to foul. One of the major concerns they are faced with is that their current financial situation would not allow for the purchase of a reliable replacement reactor. They have received assurances from the gas mining platform on Theron that they would help purchase one should that eventuality occur, though the arrangement is far from a guarantee.
What follows is a list of some of the organizations that are attempting to exert some influence over the station. Some of them are larger groups that exist beyond the confines of the station while others are small and operate from these facilities. Characters may be invited to take on missions from these organizations or they may find themselves at odds with them.
Brotherhood of Eternity’s Salvation
One of the groups trying to “save” Rover’s Beacon is the Brotherhood of Eternity’s Salvation. They are a group of religious fanatics who believe in the age-old method of using violence to force conversion, and the ‘godless’ nature of the inhabitants of this station are the perfect example of a people who need to find their faith, whether they want to or not. The group leaves behind a copy of their reinterpreted holy book as their signature when they dispose of someone that they deem unforgivable and unworthy. The Brotherhood of Eternity’s Salvation’s organization and goals are detailed in Chapter 4.
Aboard Rover’s Beacon, the Brotherhood of Eternity’s Salvation looks for the most ruthless raider scum to walk the corridors, and attempts to deal with them with their special brand of religious zealotry. Their efforts have been successful in disbanding more than one raider operation but their methods have infuriated the command staff, which has vowed to root out the organization and eliminate their presence from the station. The group does not have central leadership, which is one of the things that makes it difficult to effectively deal with them, but they do have some charismatic members who suggest targets for their wrath. Among them are Pastor Kevin Gadd, Ramon Woods, Judy McMaster , George Suarez, and Jerrell Rutledge, all of whom are in different economic brackets and live in different parts of the station. While station security keeps a list of suspects that includes the above individuals, they have not yet accumulated enough evidence to narrow the list down and make arrests.
The Cosmocompany is the tongue-in- cheek name for the most flamboyant group of raiders who use Rover’s Beacon as their home base. Harkening back to the pirates of literature from Earth’s history, they wear loose fitting shirts and adorn their body armor with colorful scarves. They promise “service with a smile,” though they do not allow their victims to forget that they are invading their ship to steal their cargo, and they won’t take no for an answer. They have no compunctions with killing those who resist them, and in some cases they have left bloodbaths in their wake. The Cosmocompany consists of five mid-size ships, which primarily prey upon freighters. Captain Gary Edmonds, a Human, happily leads his band into danger time and time again, and has so far managed to come back victorious (or at least not dead) from every encounter. Most raider organizations consider the Cosmocompany eccentric, but nevertheless, competition. Most systems where they operate want them dead, and there are several bounties on Captain Edmonds’ head from different governments and organizations.
The Cosmocompany is primarily comprised of Humans, though they also have a few Lamagos, as well as a Tallinite chief engineer on their flagship, Poseidon’s Blade.
Fraternity of Stars
The largest raider organization on the station is called the Fraternity of Stars. It is a loosely organized group of captains and their crews that have agreed not to engage in hostilities towards one another, but instead offer support when one of them gets into a fight with another group. Because of their large numbers, crossing them is usually avoided whenever possible. The leadership of the Fraternity of Stars is made up of a council of ten of the most senior raider captains. The actual members tend to vary over time as some captains and their ships retire, and others are destroyed or captured. Their job is to mediate any disputes between membes and they vote to decide upon prospective new members.
The Fraternity of Stars has run afoul of the Frontier Haulers on multiple occasions. Each lists the other as a threat to their organization. Although initially formed here, the Frontier Haulers does not have a large permanent presence on the station, and most conflicts between the two groups occur elsewhere.
League of Distant Lamog
The League of Distant Lamog is a group consisting primarily of Lamagos who believe that the Lamagos people need to make it a priority to get off of their planet as quickly as possible. Signs are that their blue giant star will go supernova sooner rather than later and most of their membership believe that they wasted an enormous opportunity by not transforming Hagenti into their new home world. Most also believe that while the Stellar Imperium was busy building its own power, it should have been using its resources to find a suitable new world for the Lamagos people.
In light of these perceived wasted opportunities, the League of Distant Lamog seeks to finally do something about this problem by exploring previously undiscovered worlds and proposing plans to the Lamog government regarding relocation. The Lamog government would be interested in what this group has to offer, except for some significant ideological differences that make working with them politically inconvenient. The League of Distant Lamog likes to draw attention to the cause by making regular statements that are extremely critical of the current Lamog government. The organization also infuriates Lamog’s government by distributing their message through advertisements that contain harsh imagery depicting the effects of supernovas on habituated planets while calling for the people of the planet to rise up against “their oppressors.”
While none dispute that if Lamog’s star goes supernova it would mean the end of life on Lamog, but the government argues that there is no reason to rush the process as there are no signs that this will occur in the near future. Some government officials refer to the League of Distant Lamog a terrorist organization. The League maintains a presence at Rover’s Beacon because it is a popular harbor for raiders and explorers. Raiders can provide them with whatever they need, including weapons (some believe that the group is building up to stage a coup on Lamog), while they often pay explorers to survey distant systems. Many within this group dislike Humans and some members have been responsible for hate crimes against them. They also once made an attempt on the life of a Lamagos official who passed through the station in an attempt to draw attention to the cause.
Liberty Brigade of Night
The Liberty Brigade of Night is a group of raiders that is primarily interested in laying their hands on advanced technology from other worlds, which they can then sell to the various technology corporations for ridiculous prices. Unlike many other raider organizations, the Liberty Brigade of Night keeps a low profile and uses their connections to discover ships carrying cargo that is potentially valuable to them. Once they have this information, they then try to learn the flight plan of the ships they’re interested in and attack them somewhere in between the station and their destinations.
The leadership of the Liberty Brigade of Night is unknown. The individuals running the organization make appearances to its members on occasion, though they make certain to distort their voices, conceal their faces, and always appear behind a wall of bodyguards. They do not make any assumptions that the membership is naturally loyal, instead choosing to pay them by giving them a healthy cut of the sales of any acquired technologies. Membership is evenly split between Humans and Lamagos.
The Psi-Assembly is an organization that is active on Rover’s Beacon and spans most of the known worlds and is comprised primarily of psionicists. Information about the organization can be found in Chapter 4.
The Psi-Assembly once enjoyed a prominent spot in the hierarchy of Rover’s Beacon, but the demise of the Stellar Imperium and the rise of the influence of raiders has brought about conditions that have not only marginalized their influence, but left their organization feared and rejected by many of the station’s inhabitants. The organization has become concerned with the attitudes towards them here on the Beacon, which his has led to an influx of psionicists moving here in an attempt to influence the station’s leadership to do something about the problem. This increase in numbers has fueled suspicion and intolerance, which has led to numerous violent incidents.
Troopers of Order
The Troopers of Order is an organization comprised of people who despise the acceptance of raiders aboard Rover’s Beacon and are determined to do something to bring an end to it. Agents operating aboard the station try to infiltrate the various raider organizations and inflict heavy casualties through sabotage. Often, after they have infiltrated a crew, they plant a powerful explosive in the cargo hold and then leave the ship before the bomb detonates. Most of the members of this organization are from other worlds that are suffering raider attacks, many of whom have lost friends, family, or entire crews to raider attacks. Many are extremists who seek to destroy the station because it harbors raiders. Station security considers these individuals criminals and they go so far as to warn raiders if they discover that a member of the organization has infiltrated a crew.