OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
- Intent: To provide a hub for Scar Worlds content and space trash stories.
- Image Credit:
- Canon: Yes, Mek-Sha
- Permissions: N/A
- Links: The Scar Worlds, The Hutts Discover Mek-Sha, Huttbreaker's Rebellion
- Space Station Name: Mek-Sha
- Station Model: Mek-Sha
- Classification: Shadowport
- Location: On the Perlemian Trade Route between Ossus and Onderon (Anzat Hex)
- Affiliation: A local council of powerful crew leaders (IC), The Scar Worlds (OOC)
Population: Crowded. Mek-Sha is positively swollen with refugees of the Bryn'adul genocides and the Sith Empire's collapse, and recently they've been joined by criminals, businessmen, scavengers, explorers, and colonists looking to make their destinies among the Scar Worlds. Even the most rundown structures within the station have plenty of squatters, and the habitation complexes average six people to a room. Providing adequate supplies of food and water is a serious and ongoing problem, and new arrivals often have great difficulty finding a room for the night, to the point that many have to sleep on their ships. The recycled air is stale and heavy, warm with the heat of so many bodies in close proximity. It's easy to get lost in a crowd here, a perfect environment for thieves and kidnappers.
Demographics: A rare spot in the galaxy where humans are decidedly in the minority, Mek-Sha is inhabited by a dizzying array of species, many of them victims of genocides and persecutions that have rendered them extinct on their own homeworlds. Kubaz, Keshiri, Targonnians, Barabels, Sakiyans, Defels, Pa'lowicks, and many other species with nowhere else to go are a common sight on the station. Given Mek-Sha's newly-restored status as the "Outlaw Crossroads of the Galaxy", of course, it's not uncommon to see individuals of truly countless different species passing through the station, and the number of humans is steadily growing. What the demographics will look like over the next few years, as the various Scar Worlds restoration projects begin, is anyone's guess.
Accessibility: Mek-Sha was a forgotten backwater for millennia after its fuel reserves ran out, but it remains an easy waypoint on the route between Hutt Space and the Core Worlds for those who know where it is. Since the collapse of the Bryn'adul, the formerly hidden station has opened itself once again for business, and knowledge of its location has spread far and wide. Anyone who doesn't come in guns blazing can dock at Mek-Sha, and there are no customs inspections or duties to pay on cargo. If you want to visit the place, you can, so long as you know how to make the hyperspace jump to get there.
Traffic: Congested. Huge amounts of traffic flows in and out of Mek-Sha: refugees, foodstuffs, scientific instruments, illegal drugs, colonization supplies, kidnapped slaves, smuggled guns, Hutt Space luxury goods... you name it, you can find it here. Although there are no customs offices or mandatory inspections, the wait to get a hangar berth can still be long simply because of the sheer number of people coming in and out. From bright-eyed explorers to hardened criminals, countless visitors mingle with the more permanent inhabitants every single day. The hardest part of getting around is dealing with the crowds.
Description: A former mining station and refueling point turned shadowport, Mek-Sha is a city-like space station built on the inside of a hollowed-out asteroid. Several shield gates control entry and egress from the colossal deflector shield that protects the structures built into cavernous interior, separating them from the vacuum of space. Inside, the station is almost like a planetary town, with streets and buildings and open air rather than enclosed bulkheads. Those streets bustle with crowds and commerce; pretty much everything is legal here, and there are no formal police anyway. Neon signs blaze above the heads of the refugees, criminals, and explorers thrown together in these tight confines, and music and the low whine of struggling air scrubbers join the constant buzz of the crowd. The whole place reeks of sweat and machine oil.
POINTS OF INTEREST
The Shield Gates: The actual asteroid Mek-Sha is built into has been mostly mined away over millennia, leaving behind only a relatively thin strip of rock onto which the entire station is built. The rest of the station is covered by a colossal deflector shield, which both protects Mek-Sha from attack and (even more importantly) keeps its artificial atmosphere in, allowing the place to function like an open-air city hovering in space. The only entryways into Mek-Sha proper are through the shield gates, which function like massive airlocks. All traffic must pass through the gates, safely transitioning from vacuum to artificial atmosphere without allowing the latter to escape. Unfortunately, this system means that long lines to get in can build up when the port is busy... which happens to be most of the time.
Slugfall Harbor: Most newcomers to Mek-Sha will arrive at Slugfall Harbor, the station's commercial and berthing district. Studded with cantinas, nightclubs, storefronts, market stalls, and a staggering amount of con artists, the area is always crowded. Hustlers and pickpockets thrive here, and visitors are well advised to conceal their valuables - and to travel armed if they stray off the main thoroughfares, for muggers and kidnappers lie in wait in the alleys. If you can handle the omnipresent criminal element, though, Slugfall Harbor positively thrums with opportunity and excitement. The party here never ends, and information and cargo from all across the Scar Worlds and beyond changes hands here. It's a place to make or break fortunes, dreams, and lives alike. The fallen Hutt it's named for would find that appropriate.
Junker's Junction: The Junction is the maintenance district of Mek-Sha, where the life support systems are housed: sanitation and atmospheric processing. Established by one of the station's founders, Republic Navy veteran Junker Jott, it established a tradition on the station: there must always be a Junker, the person in charge of keeping the essentials running. The Junker and his (or her, or their, or its) crew are the district's most important and respected inhabitants, but far from the only ones. Junker's Junction is also home to the Drifter's Quarter, an area of apartment buildings surrounding an open-air market. The Drifter's Quarter caters to people who visit Mek-Sha often enough to need a regular place to stay, but don't live on the station full-time. It tends to be a quiet district. Troublemakers are quietly dealt with.
Brzo's Wells: No one now remembers who Brzo was or why the wells are named for him, but the district known as Brzo's Wells is now a vibrant (if poor) residential area. The wells themselves are literal pools of water, large enough to provide for the whole district and kept relatively clean by purifiers installed beneath the surface. Row after row of apartments are built above and around the pools, often cramped and drafty. Crime is rampant here, with various gangs holding tight to ominously-named strongholds such as Mynock Corner, Renegade's Run, Grift Alley, and Hideout Pass. It is inadvisable to travel alone or unarmed here, especially off the main thoroughfares. Still, the district has its own sense of pride. Its street markets are staffed by beings from a dizzying array of species and cultures. The street food is amazing.
Three Points: If you're looking for something more... unusual than what can be found in the glitzy shopfronts of Slugfall Harbor or the bustling street markets of Brzo's Wells and the Drifter's Quarter, the bazaar in Three Points is your best bet. This is Mek-Sha's center of blatantly illegal commerce, taking full advantage of the station's political independence and lack of formal law enforcement. Guns, drugs, and sentient lives are traded openly here. The district has its own berths, allowing smugglers to move their cargoes right to the bazaar without having to traipse through Slugfall Harbor and parade their goods past credulous tourists. Beyond the bazaar is gang territory, the most lawless on Mek-Sha. Various bands of smugglers and slavers hide out here, and only the most desperate would rent a room in the district.
The Red Zone: Back when there was plentiful exonium for the station's miners to extract, the Red Zone was the part of Mek-Sha still being mined for fuel. Thousands of years later, it is no longer safe for mining to continue; extracting any more exonium would result in the what's left of the asteroid collapsing. But open space seldom lasts long on Mek-Sha, especially during the current population swell after the Bryn'adul genocides. The former mining site has become a vast open-air refugee camp, where those too poor to afford an apartment are thrown together in a tangled mess of sentients. Property crime is rare simply because there is nothing to steal, but violent disagreements are common. The so-called "Last Chance Pier" is the arrival point for many of these desperate beings, who have nowhere else to go.
Huttbreaker's Compound: Once the fortress (some would say palace) of the station's original liberator, ex-slave Gritha Dar, Huttbreaker's Compound is isolated from the commercial districts and impossible to reach on foot. The council of influential crew captains that "governs" Mek-Sha meets here to discuss decisions that will impact the entire station. They generally agree on only two things: doing whatever it takes to keep the station running, and doing whatever it takes to remain politically independent. In the event that Mek-Sha comes under attack, the compound is fortified, designed to be easily defended. Still, it is more of a refuge than an actual military strongpoint; Mek-Sha has no formal police or military, just a sort of vague hope that the people living there will band together to defend it.
The Stacks: There isn't nearly enough housing along Mek-Sha's streets to accommodate its population, and space is at a premium in the hollowed-out asteroid. The solution is The Stacks, row after row of tiny apartments built on top of each other that run up the asteroid's rocky interior walls. Although the apartments are cramped at best, they are relatively safe, keeping well above the bustling crowds of criminals and opportunists who walk the streets. Collapses do happen, however, and are viewed by all the station's inhabitants as major disasters. As Mek-Sha's population has swelled with both refugees and Scar Worlds fortune-seekers, even the vast housing capacity of the Stacks has been stretched to the limit. There is no room to build any more, leaving the station's future deeply uncertain.
Low. Mek-Sha has long been known for its high-powered shield generator, which both protects the station and maintains its atmosphere. The shield is powerful enough to hold up against considerable starship bombardment or impacts by rogue asteroids. Any disruption of the shield, however, would be catastrophic, as it would expose large portions of Mek-Sha to hard vacuum. Beyond that, Mek-Sha has no real defenses except the gangs of desperadoes who call it home, and they are an unreliable bunch. Most have no real loyalty to the station itself, and probably wouldn't stick around to defend it if the place came under attack. They do make the corridors of the station itself extremely dangerous, as they're not above taking advantage of the unwary or starting turf wars in back alleys. Tread carefully (and travel armed) on Mek-Sha, or risk becoming its latest victim.
The asteroid later known as Mek-Sha was first scouted by a group of independent geologists, who identified deposits of valuable minerals on its surface. Unfortunately, events in Hutt Space were conspiring to ensure that they never saw any profit from their discovery. In 3638 BBY, against the backdrop of a renewed Galactic War between the Republic and Sith Empire, the Hutt Cartel invaded the planet Makeb to exploit its rare deposits of Isotope-5. The Hutt Cartel viewed this valuable material as its chance to rise as a galactic superpower in its own right, and wanted to ensure that it maintained a monopoly over the supply. To help make sure of this, the Cartel dispatched surveyors to investigate other systems near Hutt Space and ensure that no Isotope-5 deposits existed outside their control.
One such surveyor was Loddu, a low-ranking Hutt. Shut out of most of the profits flowing from Makeb due to his outsider status, and finding no sources of Isotope-5 anywhere else, Loddu eventually heard of the geologists' discovery. He promptly sent mercenaries to capture the asteroid and claim its valuable minerals for himself. The mineral in question turned out to be exonium, which can be refined into a potent starship fuel. Excited by the potential riches that could be generated by his little side hustle, Loddu moved quickly. He brought over a small legion of slaves and bodyguards to turn the asteroid into a profitable mining station. The slow, careful pace of asteroid fuel mining soon began to frustrate the greedy Hutt, and he demanded that the miners use high explosives rather than sonic charges.
The result was, predictably, a disaster. The explosives intended to unearth the richest exonium deposits instead ignited them, causing a colossal chain reaction. A large portion of the asteroid was blown apart, resulting in the deaths of countless slaves - and of the impatient Loddu himself. His assets fell to his sibling, Prava, who was less than enthusiastic to inherit a ravaged space station in the middle of nowhere... until he saw the end result. The remaining deposits of exonium, still rich even after the blast had partially consumed them, were exposed for quick and easy mining. Loddu's fatal plan had kind of, sort of worked, and Prava was now in charge of a highly profitable mining station. But things were not as rosy as they first appeared. Discontent was rippling through the asteroid, ready to boil over.
The slave miners on the station had lost friends and family in the explosion, and their rage toward their Hutt overlords was palpable. Prava, meanwhile, was having trouble maintaining his new acquisition. With all the focus on Makeb, he struggled to attract investment for his profitable but comparatively minor station. Due to the unusual construction of the mines, built into a hollowed-out asteroid rather than being a fully-artificial facility, upkeep costs were high, eating into his profits. He was forced to employ fewer mercenaries, and even more were drawn away when the Republic and Sith Empire struck at Makeb. That was when a brave, cunning Nikto slave named Gritha Dar made her move. She rallied the other slaves in a massive revolt, quickly smashing Prava's forces and seizing the station.
After that, no one called her Gritha Dar anymore. They called her Huttbreaker.
In the wake of the rebellion, everyone agreed that Huttbreaker should remain in charge. She named the station Mek-Sha, after a friend who inspired her to begin her revolt. She also decided that, in order to prove herself different from the Hutt slavemasters, she was going to share power. She formed a council of influential people to help her manage the station. Initially it was composed of other influential figures in the revolt, but over time it came to be composed of the leaders of the most influential crews on the station. The shift occurred because newly-independent Mek-Sha soon became known as the "outlaw crossroads of the galaxy", drawing in organizations of smugglers, slavers, pirates, mercenaries, and other such underworld types. The illicit trade flowing through the station helped pay its high upkeep.
Mining of the exonium fuel continued, but it had to be done extremely carefully. Every new mine shaft risked compromising the station's structural integrity, and consumed more of a finite resource. The station was clearly living on borrowed time, but its inhabitants intended to stretch that time out as long as they could. To preserve their independence and prevent the resource-hungry Republic and Empire from taking over Mek-Sha, the ruling council devised a failsafe that, if triggered, would render all the fuel useless instantly. This forced both governments to tread carefully in their dealings with the vital refueling station. That didn't last forever, though. Later in the war, during the Sith Empire's second attack on Corellia, the Sith schemed to use Mek-Sha as a way to cripple the Republic fleet.
The fleet was en route to Corellia after engagements in the Outer Rim, and urgently needed to refuel at Mek-Sha. In order to get permission, they would need to be approved by a majority of the council, composed of Huttbreaker and the leaders of four influential crews. In secret, agents of the Sith Empire helped them get the votes they needed, hoping to lure them in to Mek-Sha's docks. They then planned to ignite the fuel lines and blow up the Republic fleet while it was at anchor. Reports vary as to whether they succeeded. Some records hold that their plot ran its course, killing countless Republic personnel and leaving Corellia exposed. This allowed them to take formal control of Mek-Sha for a time. Other records hold that Republic agents thwarted them, and helped the fueling station remain independent.
Whatever the truth, Mek-Sha met the same ultimate fate: its fuel reserves ran out, and most people moved on. Over the thousands of years that followed, the place became a minor underworld legend, a shadowport where those in the know could hide out from the authorities... but hardly the vibrant place it had been under Huttbreaker. Still, some criminal or another was always maintaining it well enough that it remained intact through the millennia, its ancient structure and systems messily patched with replacement components from countless different eras. Although it had no more fuel to mine, its fueling infrastructure remained intact, and canny pirates and smugglers with access to their own fuel reserves from elsewhere were able to put that infrastructure to good use over the years.
But Mek-Sha was not destined for total obscurity; its halls would grow crowded again for the grimmest of reasons. Refugees fleeing the Gulag Plague resettled it at the beginning of the 400-year darkness, using it as a hidden refuge... but their numbers were dwarfed by the tide of refugees that would arrive a few centuries later. When the monstrous Bryn'adul swept across the Galactic Southeast, ravaging countless worlds and committing horrific genocides, some lucky few survivors who knew of the station managed to escape there. A minor station in an otherwise uninhabited system, with no strategic resources for millennia by that point, it was overlooked by the ravenous Bryn. Those who managed to flee to Mek-Sha were able to ride out the years of war until the alien legions were finally broken.
In the wake of the Bryn'adul's collapse, fresh traffic flowed into the vast swath of space they had controlled, the mangled planets now known as the Scar Worlds. They were a strange mix of humanitarians and criminals, businesspeople and colonists, Jedi and scavengers, anyone who sought to shape the destiny of this freshly-independent region - or line their own pockets within it. Very little infrastructure remained intact to support these new arrivals... but Mek-Sha still stood. Word spread about the station, and the "Outlaw Crossroads of the Galaxy" became known as the perfect jumping off point for expeditions into the Scar Worlds. The ancient station's hallways began bustling once again as criminal and legitimate elements rubbed shoulders, and fresh businesses cropped up to serve them.
So began the next act in Mek-Sha's long, long story...