The world of Juno has stood as the capital of the Askellon Sector since time immemorial. The planet’s ruling classes regard themselves as the elite of the sector, claiming the colony vessel that seeded their civilisation was the one carrying the finest of the fleet. Whether this is truth or fantasy, the rulers of Juno have always comported themselves as aristocratic masters, and place enormous stock in preserving what they regard as the purity of their labyrinthine bloodlines. While the aristocracy live artificially-extended lives of unimaginable luxury, their world cracks apart and their claimed control over the sector becomes more precarious.
As the Pandaemonium grows in this era, the aristocracy of Juno grows ever more distant and detached. Their balls and banquets become ever more decadent and outré, their costumes ever more flamboyant, and their behaviour ever more outrageous. Those who have witnessed these excesses whisper of the Emperor’s judgement being brought down upon their pampered heads, while rebellion simmers amongst the teeming masses. Indeed, some masked harbingers of doom preach sermons blaming all of the sector’s woes on the debauchery of the aristocracy, holding that only by casting the ruling classes down might the fall of the entire sector be averted. Life on Juno is fast approaching a tipping point, though its rulers appear entirely unaware of their own peril.
The surface of Juno reflects the planet’s long and war-torn history. Nothing of its original environment remains, the seas having been replaced by swamps of toxic sludge, and every shred of native biomass having been consumed in one manner or another. Numerous sprawling cities exist on the surface, but only a minority are occupied at any one time, officially at least. The world has been assaulted or invaded so many times throughout its long history that its cities have each been abandoned, re-occupied, leveled, or rebuilt many times over.
The world’s ruling classes, as well as the headquarters of various branches of the Adeptus Terra and other Imperial institutions, occupy structures that resemble mighty bastions. The roads are lined with statues many metres high, and ragged banners sway in the breeze along processionals hundreds of miles long. The skeletal remains of cities lost to long-forgotten wars fill the war-torn wastes between those cities currently thriving. Within these wastes are said to exist all manner of outcasts: mutants struck low by the taint of genetic corruption from the toxins saturating the very ground, Warp-worshipping cults, recidivist enclaves, and even infiltrators of any number of xenos species. Periodically the rulers order such areas purged, partly out of paranoia and disgust, but as much because it is inevitable that they will have to be rebuilt at some point as the tides of war sweep their existing cities away.
The cities are places of enormous contradiction. The weight of power and age rests heavily upon them, even as new structures are thrown up to replace those entirely torn down. The greatest edifices of Juno are riddled with craters and plasma fractures many thousands of years old. All is dilapidated grandeur, grand balls and banquets being thrown in towering halls where walls are pock-marked and the cracked roofs are open to the pollution-streaked heavens. Despite the damage wrought upon its fabric, the world still retains a palpable air of age and power that few can deny.
The capital city for the last three generations, Vesuna Regis is believed to have been founded soon after the original wave of colonisation over ten millennia ago. It is a sprawling metropolis housing close to a billion souls, though no true census has been taken for many centuries. Vesuna Regis is an assemblage of impossibly ancient constructions, battle-scarred with statues weathered to vague outlines. New structures have been thrown up to replace those that have come crashing down due to the weight of age and the ravages of war, but with each generation the refined forms and masterful techniques of the past are lost to these pale imitations of the originals.
Juno is the pre-eminent world in the Askellon Sector and seat of the Adeptus Terra’s sector-wide bodies of government. While each world has a planetary governor to rule it in the Emperor’s name, there are matters that require the exercise of power at the sub-sector and in particular the sector level, and in Askellon these are vested in the person of the Sector Praefect. For as long as the records recount, this office has been allotted according to a complex tradition of inheritance within the Askellian nobility, but its fulfilment has always been subject to ratification by the Senatorum Imperialis, for it confers on the Sector Praefect a senior rank within the Adeptus Terra—one imbued with great responsibility.
The Sector Praefect’s role is to oversee affairs between its worlds, as well as represent the sector in its dealings with external bodies, whether these are neighbouring sectors, Segmentum authorities, or even the High Lords of Terra themselves. The Praefect has no direct power to interfere with the planetary rulers, but in practice exercises enormous influence.
The incumbent is Praefectrix Charlotta Anastasia XX, whom the planetary governors of Askellon fear and adore in equal measure. She rules from the Pellucid Tower, one of the most ancient structures on the surface of Juno, where numerous representatives of the Adeptus Terra’s many divisions are gathered along with countless thousands of officials, scribes, and functionaries to support her rule.
While she has been in power for several decades, the Praefectrix appears to be slowly withdrawing from public life, her appearances at her own court growing ever more infrequent so that they are now almost entirely limited to the grandest of state functions.
As the capital world of an entire sector, Juno is host to the missions and holdings of a wide range of the Imperium’s countless institutions.
The Adeptus Arbites maintain several formidable Bastion-Precincts on Juno. The majority of these are located in and around Vesuna Regis, the headquarters located in the notorious Bastion-Precinct Omega.
Vesuna Regis is also the home of the sector’s principle astropathic choir, housed in an ancient spire on the very edge of the city. Its master Astropath died in the course of his duties a decade ago, his mind ravaged by Daemons during an unexpected surge in the Pandaemonium. No successor has yet been named, and so the task of directing the mind voices rotates amongst the senior members, resulting in erratic communication to and from the capital. Only those messages coded with the highest levels of priority and clearance gain the choir’s full attention and power, but even then there are difficulties.
The single largest division of the Adeptus Terra present on Juno is the Adeptus Administratum, its headquarters located at the mighty Regis Chancellery near the centre of Vesuna Regis. This and numerous subsidiary locations house many millions of scribes, factors, and overseers, many of whom live out their lifetimes within a few metres of their ink-stained desks. Lord High Comptroller-General Avak Numinor leads the mission, and is responsible for cataloguing the sector’s resources so that proper tithe levels can be maintained for each world. It is said that the staff of the Regis Chancellery never cease in their efforts to record every possible detail of the sector’s holdings, and given the massive datavaults that litter the planet and other worlds in the Juno system, this is likely true.
The numerous other pillars of the Imperium maintain holdings on Juno, but not always in plain sight. Such huge divisions as the Departmento Munitorum tend to be headquartered in other areas of the sector, though they maintain missions on Juno for ease of interacting with the sector’s highest authorities. Others, like the Adeptus Mechanicus, distrust and are in turn are distrusted by the many planetary and sector authorities, and choose to remain aloof and apart, even if their presence is vital to the administration of the region.
The Grand Army of the Processional
Juno also maintains a local defence force to protect the planet against both external invasion and internal uprising. The Grand Army of the Sovereign, also known simply as the Grand Army or colloquially as the Oldbloods, is imbued with many millennia of tradition, pomp, and grandeur. It has a standing force of several million troops, the majority infantry but including other types from shock cavalry to heavy artillery. Its members are possessed of a fearsome esprit de corps, and many companies are tithed en masse to the world’s Imperial Guard regiments such as the Juno Grand Fusiliers, where they find glory across the sector and beyond.
Though the Oldbloods might be mistaken for mere ceremonial troops intended more for showy displays of power than actual combat, nothing could be further from the truth. The Grand Army is highly experienced, its units bearing the brunt of the near constant purges of Juno’s ruined wastes. Furthermore, because the world has been invaded so many times throughout its long history, the Grand Army has developed a deeply ingrained institutional memory. It has at some point in the past fought against almost every enemy of Mankind, and retains much of the knowledge on how to do so again.