Located at the far edge of the Cyclopia Sub-Sector, Port Aquila is one of the major hubs for trade in Askellon and acts as a launching point for goods entering from the coreward and spinward systems as well as the neighbouring Ixaniad Sector. However, many passages to Port Aquila are treacherous, due to the Warp shadow cast from the Pandaemonium. The Warp routes to and from Diomedea Stella—while not easy to navigate—are stable enough for regular traffic
Port Aquila is a misnomer, as it is not a single centralized location, but rather a belt of asteroids orbiting the star Diomedea Stella. The largest of the rocks are almost planets in their own right, and many host a wide range of shipyards, docks, refueling posts, strongholds, and storage facilities.
While many of these groups compete against one another, they are surprisingly adept at cooperating for the mutual benefit of all. It is common for the different bodies to ally with one another in the defence of Port Aquila, but their cooperation goes much further than self- preservation. When acting in concert, this Greater Askellon Trade Combine has interests in markets across the length and breadth of the sector, and has of late cast its acquisitive eyes still farther afield.
Diomedea Stella is a blue supergiant surrounded by a huge asteroid field, the size and scope of which far surpasses any known logical parameters. It forms an almost perfect ribbon, with narrow bands of denser formations in different areas that cannot yet be explained, making this a source of inquiry for the Askellian Mechanicum. Individual asteroids also seem to relocate, causing havoc as the belt seems different every time it is mapped—to this day no one has a complete or accurate map of the field.
The asteroid field’s largest natural formation has been converted into the Greater Askellon Trade Combine’s huge Atticus Compound, however many smaller asteroids are also inhabited, forming the private fiefdoms of numerous trading concerns, Chartist Captains, shipwrights, and others.
Governance of the system is nominally under the Cyclopian Sub-Praefectorate, but in reality, most acknowledge that the only group willing and able to promote law and order is the Greater Askellon Trade Combine.
Though the Imperial Navy has the most direct ties to Imperial Law, it does not have a large enough fleet to police the system in the way the Combine can. As a result, the Imperial Navy often acts as an auxiliary to the trade fleets, though officially the relationship is reversed. While minor confrontations are constant between smugglers and prospectors, the Combine and the Navy usually only get involved when their immediate interests are in jeopardy. As a result, frontier justice is often used and accepted among the floating rocks of Diomedea Stella.
The Greater Askellon Trade Combine
The head of the Combine is now Zadori Whelk, a former smuggler captain who “saw the error of her ways” after being caught and has renewed efforts to eliminate the criminal contingent in the system. Following her reformation, she undertook a purge of smuggler hideouts located near Combine facilities. Since her inauguration as Trademaster-General, she has opened up dialogues with the Prospectors’ Guild and begun working more closely with the Imperial Navy.
Whelk has also instituted a policy of open enrolment for captains. Those who sign with the Combine come and go as they please, so long as they adhere to its simple but strict principles. The result has been a constant stream of new talent trying to make their fortunes and an increased stability in the region, as the Combine has refused to hire anyone wanted by the Imperium.
The Combine now controls a healthy portion of the trade across Askellon, and is even trying to expand into the neighbouring Scarus and Ixaniad sectors; early forays into Calixis, though, showed that the risks were too high, given the current turmoils there.
The inherent difficulty in finding a safe singular location for functionaries of the Adeptus Terra has limited the ability of the Imperium to do its work. As a result, the presence of Terra mirrors the reach of the Astronomican to Diomedea Stella: relatively weak and tenuous at best.
Stationed in the Pride of Askellon, a Ramillies-class station outside the asteroid field on the edge of the system, the small Naval garrison and Adeptus representatives sit and let Port Aquila manage most of its own affairs.