Port Gyre is a hub of activity every hour of every day. When Desoleum’s sun leaves the sky, massive floodlamps affixed to the towers illuminate the port, while a constant barrage of warning flashes, running lights, and engine flares sporadically light the area and cast flickering, stark shadows. Beneath the highest landing platforms, though, corners and half-concealed walkways are stuck in perpetual darkness, and the further down one descends into the sublevels, the darker it gets, as ancient lumen-globes and inconstant power supplies provide intermittent, unreliable lighting and leave entire corridors in pitch blackness.
Points of interest
Checkpoints: Sanctionaries garrison a checkpoint at each port entrance accessible from the Main Hive. They stop and question any wishing to enter, screening for those attempting to escape their oaths. For hive citizens, this means furnishing their oath-cogs to either prove their debt has been fulfilled—an extraordinarily rare occurrence—or to show that their oath requires travel on behalf of their master. Visitors to Hive Desoleum must register themselves before exiting the port, otherwise Sanctionaries might suspect bond-violation upon attempting to re-enter. At best, this means an inconvenient and unpleasant delay; at worst, incarceration or execution.
The Landing Platforms: Landing pads of different sizes dominate the majority of Gyre’s surface, arrayed at varying elevations. Many of the platforms are the private property of Consortium members; these are in fairly good repair. They are frequently adorned with statues and ornate archways; even the loading cranes are decorated with mythical creatures, lions, and other symbols of strength. Other platforms are purely functional, covered with decades of grime and scorched by centuries of constant exposure to the flames of orbital jets. Situated between the landing platforms—some at floor level, others suspended by reinforced struts—small officios house representatives of the Consortium, as well as various merchant houses and trade concerns, and no small number of taverns and gambling halls at which the port labourers and visiting ships’ crew spend their free time. Many of these establishments feature back rooms where “misplaced” or “surplus” cargo can be had for a pittance.
The landing platforms are typically accessible by wide stairs, with ladders providing secondary access, and high-volume cargo lifts that lower directly to the tunnels beneath. Some of the largest offer direct entry to the mag-rails and vacuum transit tubes that
lead to Hive Desoleum or across the wastes
The Loading Tunnels: Many kilometres of loading tunnels wind and intersect beneath the port’s surface. In fact, these descend much further than most know, down through the ancient construction that supports the landing platforms above, and perhaps even beneath the planet’s crust. Only the labour-clans and stavardorns who load and unload cargo are qualified to navigate even the shallowest tunnels, and still they dare not tread too deep.
The Warehouses: Only the Consortium and the most wealthy and influential of merchants have storage space set aside at the port; others must move their goods into the hive with all haste. Combat servitors and private security forces guard many warehouses. Sanctionaries additionally monitor the Consortium warehouses, passing frequently during their patrols. While some warehouses are more-or-less freestanding structures, many are incorporated into the landing platforms, with the landing pads stationed atop the reinforced structure of the warehouse. Inside, workers must contend with violent shuddering whenever a shuttle lands, leading to frequent accidents.
Field Precinct 686-Delta: The Adeptus Arbites maintains a small field office situated at the outer edge of the port, along with a small fleet of orbital craft for conducting searches and raids on voidships in orbit. Under the leadership of Marshall Seiglan, they are to the man a righteous and loyal group. However, the massive amount of traffic is far too much for their number to fully police, with the understanding that the Auctoriates Porteus and Sanctionaries also monitor the port activity. In practice, therefore, the moral turpitude that permeates the Auctoriates and Adeptus Administratum also limits the Adeptus Arbites’ ability to enforce the law. For each recidivist or unscrupulous ship’s captain brought in, a dozen smugglers and unsanctioned travellers slip by right under their visors.
The Officio Auctoriate Porteus: Centrally located, the main holding of the Auctoriate Porteus is, theoretically, a storehouse of complete and accurate records for all traffic through the port, from humble pilgrims to grandiose Rogue Traders. The Officio can be easily spotted from a distance, as it is one of the tallest structures on the port. This imposing building of dark rockrete and plasteel hosts numerous divisios and thousands of scribes, accountors, and other officials tasked with seeing to various aspects of port operations.