OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
Intent: Expand on the Shadows.
Image Credit: Here.
Permissions: Blanket permission for all subs made by Laira Darkhold's writer here. Can use Archangel stuff because I own the company.
Links: To Hell and Back, Eldorai Exodus, Twin Exiles, Eldorai, Xioquo, Blades of Reason, Kar'zun, Naesala Faethyra, Stylena, The Final Battle, Outriders of the Breaking Dawn, Firemane, Young Squires.
Mine Name: White Maw Mining Facility.
Material: Palladium, platinum, silver and nickel.
Location: Located on Golgotha, one of Gehenna's moons.
Affiliation: Shadow Knights, Court of Providence, Court of the Shadows.
Population: Moderately Staffed
Accessibility: Difficult to reach. It is located on the airless moon of a remote death world. Moreover, most of the facility lies underground. From above, the above ground facilities easily blend into the rocky moon. The facility is guarded and owned by the Shadow Knights, who will treat unauthorised visitors as hostiles. It is closed to people who are not part of their group or do not have legitimate business with them.
Description: Golgotha is a blasted, airless wasteland. In that regard, it is appropriate that it is the moon of an inhospitable death world such as Gehenna. However, like the planet itself, it is rich in resources. The Shadow Knights have built a small mining facility on it. In a way, it is fitting. Many years ago, Eldorai soldiers fought, bled and died to purge Gehenna from the scourge of the Bando Gora. Now the Eldorai are scattered, but the treasures of Golgotha will serve one of their splinter groups. Being part of a band of exiles and rogues traversing the stars in search of a home and getting into all kinds of adventures might seem romantic, but space nomads also tend to be poor.
The Shadow Knights are all on their own and need to make money somehow to pay their people and keep the ships of their nomad fleet afloat. They do this by accepting paramilitary contracts from interested parties, providing shipping services, raiding and, as is the case here, conducting mining operations in out-of-the-way areas. Thus the White Maw Mining Facility has been created. Palladium is very rare in general, so even a relatively compact mine is worth pursuing. The mining facility is the only 'settlement' upon the barren moon. From orbit, it can barely be distinguished from the rocky moon, which is in the Shadows' interests since they prefer to keep a low profile. A good portion of the mining operations are automated, using droid labourers such as the KM1 and the Mining Droid Mark II, while organics serve as controllers, engineers and the like.
Many of the organic inhabitants are Xioquo. The drows have spent most of their history living in a subterranean realm far beneath the earth, so they are used to long stints in the darkness. Their physiology has adjusted well to it, as they can see much further in the dark than humans or Eldorai, even without the use of technical equipment. Moreover, while new to spaceflight and droids, they are tech-savvy and lack the prejudices traditionalist Eldorai have about droids.
However, other elf races are represented, too, and there are even a few non-elves. The latter tend to be technical experts who have been hired for their expertise. The Shadows have enlisted a few Kar'zun engineers to help out. Sometimes a couple Young Squires can be found at the facility. These tend to be Squires who have stopped by while on their 'Journey' - a kind of rite of passage - or who are enrolled in a national service programme at the base.
In a sense, the White Maw works like a small mining settlement. Xioquo influences can be detected in the architecture, though these have been updated for the modern era. The facility builds upon an old Imperial base, but new structures have been built into the natural or excavated walls of the caverns. These have been artificially expanded as needed. While the mining facility receives shipments, the workers have constructed a small hydroponic garden so that they have access to food if the supply lines are disrupted. The White Maw has an organic security force, which is supplemented by combat droids acquired through legal or illicit means.
In terms of government, the Shadow Knights are governed by an oligarchic republic with a distinct military flavouring. In their society, service guarantees citizenship. Moreover, they advocate the organisation of society by corporate groups, such as agricultural, labour, military, scientific, or guild associations, on the basis of their common interests. There is also an element of guild socialism. This involves the incorporation of distinct spheres of all public life, including economic activity, into bodies which join the disparate interests with those of the state. This is supposed to transcend centrifugal tendencies.
These groups are called Courts, and can be considered a cross between a government ministry and a guild. The leaders are indirectly elected by their constituents. One of these organisation is the Court of Providence, which is composed of agri-farmers, miners, manufacturers and the like. It is headed by Magister Stylena, a career revolutionary. The miners are part of the Court, giving them voting rights, though they must also adhere to its rules. The Court of the Exchange is the mercantile group responsible for actually selling the goods on the market.
White Maw not only capable of extracting ores and gems, but also features facilities that can purify extracted material and refine it into easily transportable commodities. Moreover, there are storehouses in place. Landing pads allow ships to bring in supplies and pick up goods. A small number of the workers are criminals who are performing penal labour to work off their debt to society. Their number is kept small because many Shadows are uncomfortable with the practice or doubt its efficacy. They are obviously kept away from anything critical. Working hours are long, but not oppressive. There is a payment scheme to compensate convicts for their labour, allowing them to earn money for a life after their release.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Mine Shafts - Where the actual mining takes place. A number of mining shafts have been dug, but more are planned. They follow the veins of Palladium and other minerals. The mines take up most of the facility. The Shadow Knights make extensive use of droid labour to ensure operations run smoothly. Heavy blast doors cover the shafts.
Hospice - A medium sized facility that acts as a hospital for base personnel. It is staffed with medical droids, but also features a few Force healers. It has the equipment and know-how to perform serious surgeries if needed. But the fact that the base is quite remote limits the resources that are available on-site. Despite all the precautions that are taken, workplace accidents obviously happen and so they need to be dealt with.
Storehouses - An industrialised area where supplies and minerals are stored, processed and catalogued. This area is patrolled at all times. Security droids are commonly used because machines cannot be bribed and will not experience the temptation to carry out thefts.
Commandery - Located above ground, this enviromentally sealed complex houses the administration needed to run the facility, including the communications equipment. Features heavy blast doors, biometric security, and the like. The elevator shaft that leads into the mine is accessed from this section. Aside from the commandery, the landing pad and the elevator shaft, all facilities are underground.
Brig - The prison section of the mining facility. It is pertinent to note that the cells also have proper doors, instead of just relying on force fields to keep prisoners contained. The mining facility makes limited use of penal labour for menial tasks. Prisoners are easily identifiable by their uniforms. Needless to say this section is guarded and monitored at all times. Access to this area is restricted. The cells are able to disperse coma gas to nonlethally subdue prisoners if needed.
Gate - The above ground elevator shaft leads to a heavy Turadium blast door, which provides access to the actual mining facility. Biometric security is in place. This area is always guarded by patrols. Typical security includes droids, some organic personnel and auto-turrets.
Monitoring Station: An underground control centre used to monitor activities within the facility via the CCTV network. Has a direct line to the main administrative building to inform them of anything untoward or suspicious.
Sky-Void Beacon - Located above ground like the commandery. The landing pads, essentially. Can accommodate shuttles as well as standard cargo ships to bring in supplies and personnel or conversely take minerals off-world. Approaching vessels must identify themselves with a code that changes at regular intervals. Guarded around the clock to ward against intrusion.
Refinery: As the name implies, valuable metals and minerals are brought here for refining. Here workers toil to process the raw materials hauled from the mining pits into something that can be taken off-world to either be used by the Shadows or sold on the market.
The Comrade's Rest: The entertainment sector of the mining facility. Here the workers and guards can spend time during their off-hours. One of its most main venues is a cantina affectionately called the Queen's Head. The cantina fatures an effigies of the tyrannical Xioquo Queen Myrou. Created by a Xioquo artist, it looks like an ogre, with painted blood running down its face.
Pit of the Damned - Located far beneath the surface, this is a mining tunnel that has been abandoned and sealed off after the Shadow Knights discovered that the Bando Gora had performed vile rituals here. The sacrificial victims do not rest easily. Kaida Taldir and Sabatay were sent in to do some ghostbusting and cleanse the place of demons. They put down the crazed spirit of a Bando Gora sorceress. But there are still stories of it being haunted.
Residential Areas - While a lot of the facility has been automated, it still has many organic workers and other employees, who are housed here. This area is lightly protected, but a surveillance system is obviously in place.
Barracks - The living areas for the guards can be found here. The quarters are utilitarian rather than luxurious. Moreover, it is connected to a well-guarded armoury as well as training facilities.
Medium. Defences are in place, but the greatest protection the installation has is its obscurity and remoteness.
- A few scattered point defence cannons, and anti-aircraft and anti-personnel laser turrets.
- Turadium Blast Doors.
- Redundant life support system.
- Autoturrets. Site-wide scanning and sensor array: Motion Sensors and Security Scanners. CCTV network. A hyperwave signal interceptor has been installed to monitor hyperspace traffic and tap into hyperspace based transmissions. This may provide early warning against hostile incursions.
- Within the complex itsef, there are security checkpoints at important junctures. Keycards are needed for access to most areas. Retinal scans are mandatory for access to more important areas. The retinal scanners can detect whether or not the retina they are scanning belongs to a live person. Many facilities are located underground.
- Guarded by a security force of Shadow Knight soldiers, though it is fairly small. Workers participate in drills and can supplement regulars if needed. The droid security force includes CS1 Custodian Police Droids and C1 Security Drones as well as a couple of KX-Series Security Droids. A couple stolen Fenris Cyber Mastiffs are used as guard dogs. If need be, mining droids can theoretically be used for defence, but this is a last resort since they are, well, mining droids. A couple YV-929 Armed Freighters can be mobilised for defence if needed.
Gehenna is a hellish world on many levels. Being trapped beneath poisonous clouds, the planet itself is lethal. Moreover, it is a volcanic hothouse. Finally, it was the homeworld of the Bando Gora, a depraved and sadistic cult of Chaos worshipper who spread terror and misery across the rim. Many years ago, the Omega Protectorate fought a great battle here to rid the rim of the scourge of the Bando Gora. The Protectorate prevailed, but at a staggering cost. Though their armies had been crushed and their leader killed, the Bando Gora did not vanish entirely.
Firemane waged another campaign to wipe out remnants, but they experienced a brief resurgence during the Netherworld Crisis. Years later, following the desolation of Kaeshana, the Shadow Knights, a group of Eldorai renegades and exiles, came to the cursed system. Eldorai soldiers had been part of the Protectorate and Firemane forces that fought on Gehenna. That was during an era when most Eldorai were still united under the banner of the Eldorai Matriarchy.
But now the Eldorai are scattered, and find themselves outgunned and outnumbered on a galactic stage far larger than they could have anticipated. The Shadow Knights are isolationists with nationalist views, but also pragmatists. And their nomad fleet always has need of resources. When the Shadows came to Gehenna, they sought salvage and artefacts. The expedition was spearheaded by the Outriders of the Breaking Dawn, as well as a few Eldorai who had fought in the original battle.
Some considered setting up a base, since Firemane's terraforming project was supposed to make the hellish hothouse a bit more livable. However, the survey teams soon established that the Netherworld Event had brought this undertaking to a halt. Moreover, beasts and crazy cultists still abounded in the caves, which were the only place people could dwell in. The cursed planet was not safe enough and the revenue that could be generated from mining diamonds was judged to be not worth the risk.
Instead the Shadows dispatched an expedition to Golgotha, one of Gehenna's moons. The barren rock had been largely ignored. But they stumbled upon an ancient mining operation from the first Galactic Empire, which had later been repurposed by the Bando Gora as a sacrificial rite. By now the cultists had either left or died from infighting or lack of supplies. At some point, the ruined base's life support had been compromised, so the Shadows found the corpses of asphyxiated cultists and slaves. Some ghosts remained though. The old mining operation was in a dilapidated state. However, the moon turned out to be rich in various precious minerals and metals, though deep mining would be required to extract them. Thus the Shadows began rebuilding the ruined facility and digging new tunnels and mine shafts.
After several weeks of surveying, drilling and building, a mining colony took shape. The Shadows enlisted some outside experts to help out. Much of the operation was planned and implemented by Xioquo, who drew upon their experiences in the Underealm. This was, of course, something the Xio caucus in the Citizens' Council would be keen to empathise when trying to accrue political and economic influence. In keeping with the corporatist structure of Shadow Knight society, the mining operations came under the supervision of the Court of Providence. Some basic defence systems were set up to deter pirates and raiders.