I've made some use of the concept above and here's another:Star Jewel Sands of Noctaris
Noctaris is a hellhole, adrift in the otherwise sparse stars of Tartarus Rift on the Orion Frontier. Its ground is bone-dry, lifeless sand and gravel, Antarctic cold and bathed in irregular blasts of radiation from its moribund sun. The atmosphere is a refractory shimmer of mostly argon with multi-coloured streamers of neon for weather.
Explorers disagree about the source and nature of the translucent, bilious-coloured shards
scattered on the surface, theorising meteoric falls of one or more immense carcasses, a derelict space-fleet of biotechnological vessels or objects carved by an alien race (but where would they have got their unusual material?) The most prized pieces retain organic curves or ripples on one side, whether from the original surface of their parent object or the heat of descent.
The only inhabitants of the surface are bands of vicious enforcers of scavenger cartels
in giant constantly moving crawler-hulks propelled by tracks or multiple legs, pressing physical labour from an indentured workforce herded onto ships from some of the desperately poor surrounding colonies.
Cartel initiates affect a mystical stance, partly bravado but obscurely encouraged by the utter isolation, bizarre landscape and strange nature of their products, following various beliefs and ritual systems venerating death, chaos and occult transformation. Many honour their spirits with tattoos and scarification. Worked with improvised needles and inks by semi-crazed gang members in the sweaty, dim interiors of rusting industrial contraptions, Noctaris tatts are distinctive. Cartel members and those they deal with easily spot a fake.
(More work to do on the cartels)
Local Galactic Concord forces follow unclear and shifting policies towards the goings-on at Noctaris, perplexed by a lack of clear jurisdiction, resources or mandate, and most often, ignore the place as much as they can. Naval officers and colonial officials impatient with this stance have formed a conspiracy called the Enough is Enough Brigade
, more colloquially the Brigade or the EE, making unsanctioned and brutal raids to discourage traffic in and around the Noctaris system.
Brigade members can co-opt Star Force drivespace detector tracking, drivespace communications and intelligence transcripts, but have limited ability to direct actual military forces. Their most audacious act diverted a Concord light cruiser for a "live fire exercise" dropping mass-reaction fire on a previous set of cartels bold enough to set up fixed compounds on the surface, failing to end the trade but driving the evolution of a new generation, far more isolated, more paranoid and constantly mobile. Otherwise, the EE has managed to "lose" a destroyer, a few other light ships and a select force of hardened killers who now lurk about nearby systems, occasionally dropping in on ghost visits to sympathetic bases for supplies.The Bourse of Simon
This exclusive group of elegant, highly educated and icy-hearted people circulate between different locations in the stellar nations, gathering in purpose-fitted display rooms in private mansions and well-known institutions that combine the qualities of a jeweller's showroom, an art gallery and a morgue. They negotiate trades in many commodities of small volume, extreme value and lack of ethical scruples, including cultural artifacts, colostrum
, war medical supplies futures, but most often and most lucratively, in relics, such as live idols
from the T'sa Cluster, flasks of multi-coloured slime from Aurigar's Ring of Frozen Blood
and Noctaris gems.
They are not easily fooled by fakes, nor do they verify any supposed extraordinary properties of their goods. Let the buyer beware. This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Nov 25 2017, 07:11