A toxic world both in terms of ecology and culture. Not only is the world 90% covered by poisonous seas which are fatal to humans, but a religious priesthood controls the world, believing that their god is imprisoned within it and willing to enforce cruel and sadistic practices to appease that god.

From orbit, Scaladon is a glittering jewel. Turquoise seas cover the world’s surface, broken only by tiny mountainous islands which jut above the shallow seas as spots of green and brown. Clouds encircle the world in ribbons of white.

The seas are completely toxic to human life, and the life forms that live within it have learned to produce even more deadly venoms. The island plateaus are home to some 600 million people, crowded into towering city blocks ruled by a zealous priesthood who carry out obscene rituals that include human sacrifice. Even the surface gravity of the world is an uncomfortable 1.3g, and the air is dense and humid. The clouds however are pure water, and the rainwater is perfectly drinkable.

Map of Scaladon

It is perhaps fortunate that visitors to Scaladon itself are rarely permitted, instead all trade is limited to the high port, a black steel spindle that hangs in a geosynchronous orbit above the capital city of Daeglon. Docking arms, somewhat organic in form, reach out for civilian traders from the central hub and are at the ‘up’ pointing end of the spindle, whilst the ship building construction yards are at the ‘down’ end of the spindle.

Geynim’s Spindle, as the port is called, makes no attempt to be welcoming. It is mostly bare metal, and the only decorations are the hideous squid-like statues of Geynim. The hotels are clean and adequate, however they tend to be very spartan. This does not have the feel of a typical Imperium spaceport, and is heavily influenced by the planetary culture. It’s almost as if the Imperium has turned away from the world in embarrassment, and given up any hope of civilising the place.

The number of travellers that come here is quite low, generally only traders who are dealing directly with the world. There are plenty of biological resources that it has to trade, and brings in food and machine parts to help maintain the life support systems down on the surface. The only reason someone would have for going through here would be to get to Boulder, but that is a failing asteroid colony full of hypochondiacs who don’t want anything to do with visitors in case they catch something from them, so this is hardly a common reason.

At one point Scaladon tried expanding its space presence, by constructing an orbital habitat around Sapphire, the 4th world of the system, but they fell into financial difficulty before it could be finished. The habitat ended up being purchased by the Madexi-Worf corporation for use as a luxury resort hotel, but any visitors to there will go straight to that world rather than stopping at Scaladon itself. As part of that expansion they also greatly expanded the star port, but now those expansions are no longer needed so parts of the port are dark and empty, or in some cases unfinished.

So the majority of people likely to be met at Geynim’s Spindle are local workers. They are quiet and insular, rarely offering to speak to outsiders unless spoken to. Their clothing is often grey, hooded and functional, with members of the priesthood wearing white and going bare headed. The priests have to follow Imperium law at the starport, so the enforcement of their usual practices and tough restrictions is mostly limited to the locals (though showing disrespect to their god or the priesthood can make life difficult, or lead to expulsion). Some particularly outspoken critics have vanished, or turned up after suffering some nasty accident.

Men wear trousers, women wear skirts, and both genders are expected to keep apart outside of their own family groups. Indeed, Travellers will find that talking to a local of a different gender can cause embarrassment, and possibly even offence.

Due to the limited traffic that comes through here, there is little for sale that isn’t trade goods from the world. Weapons are very limited, and electronics or similar gadgets also have limited stock and the few shops that specialise them often have large gaps in their inventory. The shopping district on the station is therefore somewhat desolate, both in terms of places to buy things and people. Many buildings that would be shops are shuttered and closed, or converted into public spaces such as oversized (buy spartan) ‘lounges’ where infomercials on the local religion are run continuously on large screens. Alcohol is available, though in limited amounts and can only be consumed on licensed premises (which includes most of the hotels).

All of this means Scaladon is not high on anyone’s recommended places to go. Which is unfortunate, because the view of the planet from orbit can be quite stunningly beautiful.

Scaladon is in Tobia Subsector, Trojan Reach 2616. For more information on the world, see the detailed entry.

Samuel Penn

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