ENTRY 001: Void Station
Most habitats follow the layout of the solar system, transhumanity strung out like a string of lights along the plane of the ecliptic. From a distance they look huddled close to the rocks and gas giants, or shuttling back and forth between them. Yet approaching the north ecliptic pole, far from the sun, orbits the spindle of Void Station, rotating inside a ring of zero-gravity laboratories. An independent research outpost, eyes out to the deep black, beaming back what it sees to the rest of the solar system. With its transhuman population in the high double-digits, split into three research clades, Void Station is barely a blip on the radar for the hypercorps or larger habitats.
Void Station crowdfunds its research, accepting resources from across the solar system to pursue goal-oriented projects, the clades competing and cooperating for access to equipment and materials. All labs are property of the Station itself, as administered by the infomorph Iubit; the clades rent labs, station facilities, and research drones from the Station out of their budgets. Other than that government is minimal; by unanimous acclaim the clades have eschewed pursuing political trappings, so that Void Station claims no official status, avoiding efforts by criminal and dissident groups to use it as an asylum or tax shelter. As a whole the station has a high reputation and is generally trusted with the credits and resources it receives from its crowdfunding.
While amenities are spare on-station, transhumans travel to Void Station to partake of research facilities without eyes on them or just to get a radio telescope pointed out at the big black. The clades are open to any scholar willing to share their research and play well with others, and sometimes attract hypercorp scientists on sabbatical, particularly from Extropia. Deep space probes are sometimes launched from there, out to beyond the bounds of the solar system.
- A probe is coming back from deep space—but it isn’t one that Void Station ever sent out. Now hypercorps, mercenaries, and Firewall operatives are converging on the small habitat as they prepare to capture the probe and unlock its secrets. The surge of inhabitants would overwhelm the Station’s systems and deplete its resources—players may be hired by Iubit as extra security, or by one of the interested parties to ensure they get first crack at it. Firewall may fear the probe carries an Exsurgent threat, and want the players there just in case.
- A scum barge graveyard has built up near Void Station—a small community of trashpickers and datathieves that live off whatever space scrap they can salvage and data they can skim from the local mesh. Iubit finds them difficult to dispense with because they’ve begun to offer biomorph hookers and home-crafted narcotics, but recently they’ve begun to attract the wrong kind of elements—nation starters with fill-in-the-blank constitutions, rogue accountants and banks looking for non-reveal tax shelters, that kind of thing. The scum barges need to go—are the players up to the task?