Sector: Niflheim-Lumilar Independent Economic Zone
The planet Niflheim is located between the Terran Protectorate and the former Empire of Many Suns, but is well “below” the ecliptic (the flat plane of the galaxy), making it an out-of-the-way trip for anyone going between the two territories. It is an ice world covered by water ice slush and seas about 8 light years from Donovan’s Jump. The planet’s water is teeming with life due to its highly active core, which releases energy from numerous vents. Most of the cities are built inside of massive lava tubes through the ice formed by dormant volcanoes, but the star ports are large cities built on the surface.
It was settled about 220 years ago by an independent human expedition, however, it had been scouted 50 years before by the Mogg'theran from the Empire of Many Suns. This led to a claim dispute that went unresolved for 20 years, until the Empire fell after the destruction of the Mogg'theran home world. To everyone's surprise, Niflheim refused to join the Terran Protectorate, and instead declared itself the Niflheim Sovereignty, ruled by, of all things, a human monarch; Queen Vika Airngriepper the First.
Niflheim is an incredibly important world, because it is the only source of Nifacillian, a powerful antibiotic and antiviral agent that works across species. The substance not only fights both bacterial and viral infections, but it links into the body's immune system and supercharges it for a limited time. This defeats many infectious diseases, and it also significantly increases disease resistance and lifespan. For example, Queen Vika lived to the age of 185, and her daughter, Queen Sefa, is 150, but looks to be in her 40s. No attempts to artificially replicate or grow Nifacillian in other locations have succeeded.
The people of Niflheim, which includes both humans and Mogg'theran, are almost fanatically religious about the defense of their planet. However, while isolationist, they appear to be most determined to keep something IN. While tight-lipped about the situation on their world to outsiders, what has leaked is that the original colonists found some kind of structure under the ice, a prison of some sort, and the claim is that something still lives and is contained there, and the people of Niflheim seem to believe that this thing can break pieces of itself off and "corrupt" other creatures, particularly those with psychic abilities.
Fighting and containing this "corruption" appears to be the life's goal of every Niflheim citizen, and has become a religious crusade complete with an entire church structure and a never-ending Inquisition, led by Inquisitors who answer only to the church and Queen. Most outsiders believe that this is simply some sort of mythology cooked up to control the masses, however, a few months ago, a Nifacillian smuggler made it all the way to the Donovan's Jump Transfer Station before the Niflheim Inquisitors caught up with him in the docking bay. Witnesses claim that, when confronted, some sort of dark "miasma" left his body and confronted the Inquisitors in an inhuman voice before they destroyed him and took his ship, and its multi-billion credit cargo, and drove it into the nearby star.
The Niflheim Royal Guard and Niflheim Inquisition are some of the most formidable ground troops in known space, due to their incredible health and vitality, and their unrelenting fanaticism.
Most visitors to Niflheim are involved in the Nifacillian trade, which is the life’s blood of the Sovereignty. There are two legal ways of becoming part of the Nifacillian trade: A large trade deal with the Sovereignty, reserved for planetary or interstellar governments, or by acquiring a Sovereign Independent Trade Authorization License (SITA License). SITA licenses were instituted to vary the amount of trade coming into the planet. SITA license holders are allowed to purchase Nifacillian out-of-pocket from surplus stocks and then trade it to whomever they like. Most traders try to maximize their profits by always carrying cargo, so this means that SITA license holders are constantly bringing in shiploads of exotic materials, rare technology and foreign goods that stimulate the Niflheim economy, provide luxury items to its people and keep the planet abreast of current technology. SITA licenses are not easy to procure. There are a limited number given out each year, and they must be renewed at least once every two years. Ship owners must have clean records with most interstellar law enforcement agencies (especially those on Niflheim) and must have a sponsor on-planet for the initial license. In most cases, the sponsors are looking for small amounts of specific goods to be shipped in and want a portion (usually 10-15% of the trader’s Nifacillian profits. They are always upstanding and connected citizens.
Even SITA license holders must go through tough inspections when they leave the planet, but they are always placed at the head of the inspection lines and given a little more leeway and courtesy.
Nifacillian varies in value from place-to-place and due to the vagaries of the market, but it generally goes for about 4,000 to 8,000 credits per kilo. Niflheim sells it to SITA license holders for about 2,000 credits per kilo.
Population: 130 million (65% human, 25% Mogg’Theran, 10% Other)
Controlling Clan: None, although the royal family has strong Azure Sept heritage.
Diameter: 8,587 miles (13,820 km)
Atmosphere: Earthlike, with slightly higher oxygen content and much higher water vapor.
Gravity: .98 G
Calendar: 22 hour days, 487 days in a year
Satellites: One customs station
Defense Assets: The Niflheim Sovereignty maintains a strong defense fleet consisting of a mix of independently-manufactured starships and surplus Mogg’Theran ships. These ships rarely leave the Aquila System. Their main defense fleet includes a squadron of eight Ranger Defense Corvettes, four Solar Shrike frigates, and a large number of various pinnaces used to inspect all traffic leaving the planet. The planet also maintains a large number of Sundagger interceptors planet-wide.
*For the Niflheim Inquisitors, use the Close Combat Specialist O.C.C. with the psionic option and an emphasis on law enforcement-type skills. Also give them an additional +2 to Perception rolls and +4 to Horror Factor.