Population: 300 Billion +
Tithe Grade: Exactus Prima
Geography: Polluted wastes covering planetwide plains of hardened silicate flows. Numerous alien structures across entire surface.
Government Type: The Consortium, a ruling council of mercantile houses with major holdings across the sector.
Planetary Governor: Lady Aud Killian
Adept Presence: High, but limited to areas specifically set aside for outsiders and offworld interests.
Military: Desoleum Involute Cadres
Trade: Major exporter of silicate derivatives mined from the plains and used in numerous military and voidship applications. Secondary export trade in ration packs.
Major Settlements Hive Primus, Port Gyre
Desoleum is a planet dominated by three enormous hive cities, into each of which a population of dozens of billions is crammed, though accurate counts are impossible to undertake and the true figure is likely to be several times greater. The planet’s pre-eminent hive city is the eponymous Desoleum, sometimes called Desoleum Primus or colloquially elsewhere as Prime. The triad of Hives Desoleum, Jarvin, and Suzzum, the latter two named for the nighlegendary figures said to have founded them, account for the bulk of the industry on the planet, while countless lesser hives and manufactorums are to be found throughout the wastes.
The planet’s surface is barren in the extreme and apparently once hosted a xenos species. Savants disagree over details about the race, but look to the blasted landscapes of liquefied sand and hundreds of bizarre cyclopean structures seemingly sculpted from the kernels of long-vanished mountains as evidence it destroyed itself with terrifyingly potent weaponry, and is safely long extinct.
The destruction dates back many millions of years, when large expanses of the world’s outer crust were subject to such terrific heat that the mountains themselves ran liquid before cooling in glasslike plains of exceptional, if mildly radioactive, purity. Much of the glass now exists as a subterranean layer beneath drifting silicate deserts. When the first settlers made planetfall and discovered this rich resource, they recognised its value instantly and established what is generally held to be the second of the Founding Worlds. For many thousands of years, the glass of Desoleum has driven an industry that produces a wide range of derivatives, especially the sector-renowned lasweapon-focusing lenses.
As its population soared and the hives grew, a secondary industry processing ration supplements has developed over the millennia. Bulk organics harvested from the seas of other worlds are imported, and rendered into thick, protein-rich gruel that is used to feed the larvae of the Irokian bile-fly. Having reached the optimal stage in their life cycle, the larvae are pulped, compressed, and shaped into notoriously greasy (and universally loathed) ration biscuits used to feed worker-serfs and military forces across the sector. The processing plants where these ration bars are manufactured consist of gigantic air-sealed breeding pens thick with countless trillions of larvae. Each of the planet’s hives has its own facility, usually located at the very lowest habitable level of its structure. Needless to say, only the very poorest and most downtrodden of serfs are willing to work or live near to these facilities, for the levels all about are steeped in the vilest of stenches and vibrate with the constant drone of the creatures bred within.
Desoleum is served by four major void stations. Kappex Orbital is in geostationary anchor above Desoleum Primus, and serves as the system’s main spaceport, as well the as location of much underhanded deal-making and smuggling. Two others in low orbits are defence stations manned by the Desoleum Involute Cadres, the world’s native defence force. The fourth is in a high, elliptical polar orbit, and is actually a natural body that somehow attained this unnatural orbit. It has a large luxury facility for those with wealth and means, and services a clientele that ranges from the nobility from below to visitors from afar, both legitimate and criminal. The truths of what happens here are far worse than any of the gossip told by the envious.
Out in the shifting sands beyond the walls of Desoleum is Port Gyre, the world’s primary transportation field. Vacuum transit-tubes and bulk roadways connect the sizeable port with Primus and the other great hives. A ragged circle of ramshackle settlements here caters to a nomadic population of workers, traders, and down-and-outs. There are also lesser starports near the other hives, but their operations are limited to serving bulk lifters; these import gigatonnes of raw materials, such as organics to produce the hated ration packs, so there is always much traffic both in and out of the system.