Some call it a dying world.
Junction, or Rhysen IV by its imperial designation, is the inner-most planet of the Rhysen System. It neighbors the failing star, Rhy, after which the system is named.
At first glance there is little reason for Junction to be inhabited. It is a place of inhospitable extremes, of frigid, deadly frost or intoxicating heat depending on the day (or even hour). The surface is largely comprised of flatlands and salt flats of oceans past, while the equator is marred by a sheer mountain range stretching miles into the sky.
What it lacks in resources, conveniences, and luxuries, Junction makes up for with its one and only natural commodity: safety.
For nearly two millennia the unstable red supergiant Rhy has buffeted the planet’s atmosphere with solar flares and waves of antiseptron radiation. This makes it nearly impossible to fly a cruiser of any practical size to the planet’s surface. While entry may be safe one moment, the next a flare of energy can pierce the hull of even the Guild’s strongest freighters.
One enterprising house, hoping to achieve a stake in the CHOAM directorate, took it on themselves to study and map Junction’s atmospheric phenomenon. More than half a century of work led to the creation of the Shieldchart, a precise tool that predicts routes of safe passage through the deadly atmosphere.
As passage to the surface is impossible without the Shieldchart, Junction’s inhabitants exercise complete control over who is permitted to land in their territory. Without the threat of outside attack or influence, the planet became a hub of all manner of trade and refuge for houses major and minor alike. The planet has thrived for centuries as one of the most defensible in the Imperium. House Khan is the current holder of the Shieldchart.
Due to the caustic nature of the planet’s climate, the population has been unsuccessful in its attempt to establish permanent grounded settlements. Instead, civilization exists on six roving machines known as ‘hulks’. These hulks are each controlled by a collection of houses specializing in a variety of trades and crafts that comprise Junction’s economy. Moving on a series of treds miles long, the hulks are constantly monitoring and avoiding the storms that pepper the surrounding land.
Each hulk represents a separate city-state with its own internal power structure:
3. Cragg (Head)
4. Cragg (Tail)