Scintilla

scintilla.jpg

Population: 25 billion.
Tithe Grade: Exactus Extremis.
Geography: Climate temperate
with extensive equatorial deserts.
Three main continents—–mountainous/
volcanic southern polar
cap, equatorial crescent deserts/
jungle (Hive Tarsus, Hive Tenebra
[extinct]), northern temperate
landmass (Hive Sibellus, Ambulon, Gunmetal City). Remainder
of planetary surface covered in ocean (heavily polluted, severely
depleted fish stocks). Two moons (Sothus and Lachesis). Orbital
docks geostationary above Hive Tarsus.
Government Type: Adeptus Terra.
Planetary Governor: Sector Governor Marius Hax.
Adept Presence: Adeptus Terra, Administratum (Goldenhand
Consular Taskforce), Adeptus Ministorum, Adeptus Astra
Telepathica (Astropathic Choir at Hive Sibellus), Adeptus
Arbites, Ordos of the Calixian Conclave High Council Officio
(palace headquarters at Hive Sibellus).
Military: Army of the Scintillan Protectorate (medium/high
quality force, based at Hive Tarsus).
Trade: Scintilla is a major exporter of manufactured goods
including ship-drive components and weaponry. It is also an
important source of manpower, with a large planetary defence
force (PDF) and a huge underhive population, both of which
make for excellent Imperial Guard recruit sources. Scintilla
cannot support itself and requires massive imports of food
from the Calixis Sector’s agri-worlds.

Overview
Scintilla is the capital world of the Calixis Sector, a thriving
Imperial hub that supports the largest planetary population
in the territory. It is dominated (some observers say “shared’)
by two vast hive cities, Hive Sibellus and Hive Tarsus, into
which the vast majority of the planet’s groaning population
is crammed. Despite the dominance of the two great hives,
the “offspring” communities of Ambulon and Gunmetal City
contribute significantly to the planet’s economic function.
Scintilla is a world of splendours where the wealthy and
powerful compete with ruthless appetite. Astonishing
magnificence abounds, from the wondrous fashions of the
hive nobility to the towering spectacle of the hives themselves.
Landmarks, like the Lucid Palace and the Cathedral of
Illumination, are famous throughout the sector.
Scintilla is also a world of corruption. Moral decay eats away
at the noble houses, whose members are often deluded by their
own wealth and status. In the rarefied culture of the high-born,
the corruption of power and privilege runs deep. Noble houses
consider themselves (sometimes correctly) as above or outside
of Imperial law and can wield immense influence. Their attitude
towards those who are lower-born is callous: it is not unknown
for thrill-seeking degenerates from noble houses to prey upon
lesser humans as sport. At the other end of the social spectrum,
the underhives are rife with mutants, outlaws and ultra-violent
gangs, as well as the psychotic zealots of the Redemption.
The middle hivers trapped between the aristo spires and the
rancid underhives live out thankless lives of unending toil,
where ignorance is a virtue and death a reward for a lifetime
of loyal, drone servitude, fulfilling the exorbitant tithes levied
on Scintilla by the Administratum. It has been this way since
the days of Angevin, and Scintilla’s various corruptions are so
deeply ingrained that they have become invisible even to those
who perpetrate them.
Scintilla’s most important features are its two hives: immense,
multi-levelled cities that house billions of citizens. Both hives
on Scintilla are largely independent, ruled by councils drawn
from the nobles of the spire. The majority of the inhabitants
are middle hivers, the labouring classes, without whom the
planet’s manufactories and trade houses would cease to
function. Almost all middle hivers are owned or indentured to
nobles from the great sector-wide families or from Scintilla’s
own lesser houses. The poorest and most neglected areas are
the underhives: polluted, crime-ridden places where life is
cheap and brutal gangs struggle for supremacy before violent
death inevitably claims them. As long as the violence does not
spill into the middle hives, the authorities are happy to let the
gangs murder each other in the cesspits of the underhive.
Scintilla’s two great hives have always compared with one
another for prestige and influence, but no rational observer
could fail to acknowledge Hive Sibellus’s dominance.
Geographically the larger of the two hives, it is often referred
to as “the Capital” or the “ruling hive”, and is both the seat of
political and administrative power, and the centre of the planet’s
manufacturing might. Hive Tarsus functions as a dark, shadowy
twin, popularly referred to, by Sibellians, as the “other place”.
Hive Tarsus is a mercantile hive and controls all off-world trade
and commerce. Neither hive could function without the other,
a fact celebrated in Scintillan proverbs and myths. However,
neither great hive would openly admit to the importance of the
“offspring” communities, Ambulon and Gunmetal City, both of
which wield considerable influence of their own.

Civil Order
Law on Scintilla is the province of the Magistratum, the
planet’s police force. In the hive spires, the dark green
greatcoats of Magistratum officers are a common sight as they
patrol the streets and investigate anything from petty theft
upwards. In the middle spires, they are concerned mainly
with serious or violent crime, unable and unwilling to deal
with other common crimes. In the underhives, they are almost
completely absent. The quality of the Magistratum’s officers
and procedures varies enormously through the layers of
Scintilla’s hives, depending on the funding and support they
are given by the ruling noble councils, and on the environments
they have to work in. Inevitably, it is far easier for a noble
victim to get the Magistratum to investigate a crime, and far
easier for a middle hiver criminal to be arrested for one. The
Adeptus Arbites have a strong presence on Scintilla but they
leave everyday policing to the Magistratum, concentrating on
sedition, interference with the tithes, certain cult and psyker
activity, and in using their paramilitary strength to help put
down major riots. Most citizens never see an Arbites officer
unless it is from the wrong side of a riot shield. The Arbites and the Magistratum despise each other and have little interest in working together except under dire circumstances.
The laws across Scintilla vary from place to place, but two
constants are trial by combat and duelling. Both are legal on
Scintilla, and trials by combat are especially common when the
hive nobility are involved. Trials by combat, where the accuser
and defendant fight to decide who is right, have conditions
attached depending on the nature of the crime (murder and
severe violent crime is to the death, while some crimes have
restrictions on the weapons to be used and sometimes bizarre
conditions for victory, from first blood to the removal of limbs).
It is permitted for either party to have a champion fight in their
place and a skilled combatant can find lucrative, if perilous,
employment in the Bloodsquares run by the Magistratum.
Needless to say, good champions do not come cheap, and
the very best are retained by the noble houses of the spires.
Similarly, duelling is permitted on Scintilla and forms a part
of the culture in the hives and elsewhere. The Magistratum
does not interfere with duels and killing an opponent in a duel
is not considered murder. This means it is entirely possible
to eliminate an enemy by manufacturing a matter of honour
between him and an opponent who happens to excel at the
form of combat used in the duel.

Scintilla

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