Sector: Rimward Expansion Zone (a.k.a. The Free Colonies)
as the name blatantly indicates, is the pirate haven of known space. It is
located just off the main trade routes between the Terran Protectorate and the
Xintrin Merchant Guild, and gets a lot of legitimate traffic from the Xintrin
Merchant Guild and the Empire of Many Suns. It is the home port for a large
number of pirates and mercenary groups, as well as smugglers, underworld
elements of all kind, and legitimate independent merchants. New Tortuga and Bifrost sit at opposite ends of the trade
route between the Terran Protectorate and the Xintrin Merchant Guild. Bifrost
is closest to the Protectorate, and New Tortuga is closest to the XMG. There is
about 16 light years between them.
calls itself a free port, meaning that there are little to no restrictions on
who comes and goes, or what they bring with them. This has generated a LOT of revenue for New Tortuga, even as it has made
surrounding space very dangerous. Ships are not checked for weapons permits or
licenses, and cargo generally goes uninspected. This drives the Guardsman
Interstellar Security Service nuts. New Tortuga
is a charter world to the trade pact which created the GISS, so the GISS
patrols its space, but they’re pretty much legally impotent except in the most
blatant acts of piracy or violence. They aren’t allowed to inspect ships they
know are illegal, or even are pretty sure are pirates. They must catch any
known criminals out of the gravity well, but by that point the ships have
usually gone faster-than-light and are impossible to catch or track.
makes its money off rent. It rents out ship yards, repair docks, landing pads,
living complexes, space stations, landing fees, restocking and resupply fees,
and even rents out an entire moon to the Xintrin Merchant Guild. In return, its
tariffs and custom fees are laughable, and rarely enforced. No one, especially
Bifrost, thought this model would work, because when New Tortuga began this
policy, there was about one-hundredth of the amount of space traffic than there
is now, and almost all of that was human. Now, New Tortuga boasts that 10,000
ships per day are logged landing and taking off from the planet, and it is the
second-busiest human star port in the galaxy, surpassing even Terra Prime. Only
the Terran Protectorate core world of York
surpasses New Tortuga in space traffic, and that’s because it’s the largest
manufacturer of spacecraft in human control.
is a quiet political power. It flexes its muscles overtly very rarely,
preferring to use “unaligned” mercenaries and pirates to do its dirty work and
intimidate its enemies. Cross New Tortuga, and pretty soon you’re losing ship
after ship to piracy that cannot be directly linked to the planet’s government.
That is not to say that it doesn’t have a strong military on its own. Its fleet
is third in power in the Free Colonies (Bifrost and the GISS are relatively
tied for first and second, depending on who you ask). But, as Bifrost found out
recently during the short Bifrost-New Tortuga War, New Tortuga can rally a
massive amount of mercenaries and pirates who have a vested interest in keeping
New Tortuga as a free port.
There is no controlling clan on
New Tortuga, and the elected president’s position is a figurehead post. The
true rulers of New Tortuga are unknown, and suspected to be a council of
powerful merchant and banking interests who are at odds with the large
corporations. The starship manufacturer Kugler-Vaughn is the only corporation
that has ties to New Tortuga, as the other companies are tired of predations on
their shipping by pirates that call the nefarious port home.
New Tortuga is a wild and wooly
place, especially the city of Port Royal, the
planet’s largest space port. While there is law, its job is mostly to keep
conflicts from spreading and causing widespread destruction, it’s not very good
at preventing crime or actually tracking down criminals, unless they’re
disrupting trade or scaring off merchants. There are a few large drinking and
trading venues that are highly frequented by spacers, and there are large
planet-side docks that allow for modifications to ships as large as a frigate.
has one of the most diverse populations in known space. Approximately 25% of
the population is non-human, with half of that being Xintrin. New Tortuga also has significant populations (more than 1 or
2%) of Mogg’Theran, Sigmari, and Arnuban.
is terraformed to have an earth-like atmosphere, but has a very sparse
biosphere, almost entirely limited to its scattered oceans and inland seas.
Most life forms on New Tortuga are no larger than a good-sized game fish or, on
land, a house cat.
There are some ruins on New
Tortuga that are alien in origin, but they were picked clean of any useful
items hundreds of years ago.
Population: 250 million permanent
citizens, and 200 million transients (living on-world for less than half a
Controlling Clan: None, large populations of Proletarans,
Davinchians, Yoarashi and members of the Ares-Draconis Brotherhood make up the
bulk of the population, but none can claim control.
Diameter: 10,020 miles,
significantly larger than earth.
Atmosphere: Terraformed from near earth to earth-like, thanks to
Xintrin and Nix technology.
Range: 20°F – 75°F (-7°C – 24°C)
Gravity: 1 G
Calendar: New Tortuga has a
29-hour day and has a 298-day year.
Satellites: New Tortuga has two
moons: Barbarossa and Gladsheim. Both are rocky and cratered, similar to
Earth’s moon. Barbarossa is leased by the XMG in its entirety, and is
restricted to approved traffic only. Gladsheim is off limits to all space
traffic except the New Tortuga military. No one knows why, but there are
several rumors (there always are on New Tortuga) about some sort of alien
artifacts or archaeological site on the moon. There are many small space
stations, but no sky cities and nothing significantly large besides a trio of
mobile space docks (large enough for cruisers).
Defense Assets: New Tortuga has a large number of Ranger Defense
Corvettes and Holstein pinnaces, modified
Siena Ray Armored Transports, and a half-dozen MK-7 Escort Carriers. The
defense fleet is led by three Pulsar Multipurpose Cargo Cruisers that have been
modified into pocket battleships. The planet also has a satellite defense
network and a large number of ground and space-based fighter platforms
utilizing wings of “Jack Jumper” Civil Defense Fighters. The Xintrin also have
a small task force of war galleons and other vessels assigned to their
facilities on Barbarossa.