Rejoice For You Are True
Gunmetal City is a huge industrial mass, built into the crater of an immense volcano, Mount Thollos, that rises from the smouldering lava fields of the northern coast. A mere megapolis compared to the planet’s two great hive cities, Gunmetal City’s spires tower high above the volcano’s peak, while its lowest districts delve right down into Scintilla’s crust.
Gunmetal City is a place of soaring steel, with towers like great, tarnished silver needles piercing the sky. The volcano’s crater limits the size of the city’s foundation, so nobles have built upwards, the most prestigious locations being perched precariously on slender columns of steel hundreds of metres high. The city is frequently bathed in smoke from the foundries of the middle city below and the houses employ small armies of menials whose job is to scour the surfaces of the skybound mansions until they gleam. Clean air is a valued commodity, with every mansion having powerful air filtration systems to cut out the smoke, while the most ostentatious hosts pipe air imported from cleaner worlds into their magnificent homes.
The middle level of the city is dominated by immense foundries powered by the geothermal heat from the heart of Mount Thollos. Almost all of Gunmetal City’s middle classers work in these foundries over cauldrons of molten metal or blazing furnaces the size of tenement blocks. Gunmetal City’s main export is munitions, and endless crates of weapons emerge from its foundries, forming an important part of Scintilla’s tithe to the Imperium as well as arming many of the Calixis Sector’s own Planetary Defence Force troops. The foundries are sweltering, filthy places where accidents are common and even a fortunate worker’s life is shortened by decades thanks to the choking air and cruel environment. The middle classers’ homes are clustered around the foundries and often fashioned from cargo containers. People are an afterthought in Gunmetal City. The foundries and the weapons they produce form the real purpose behind the place.
The Infernis is a region formed by the lowest levels of factories that have collapsed or become uninhabitable. This far down, the city is unbearably hot and prone to floods of lava or toxic gas from Mount Thollos’s occasional lurches out of dormancy. The gangs of the Infernis are the toughest and best-armed on Scintilla and almost no one else lives there save hard-bitten killers toting weapons extorted from the middle hivers. There is nothing to live for in the Infernis save superiority over enemy gangs, and so gang warfare is literally a way of life.
The Lawless City
In truth, Gunmetal City is an upstart. Younger and far, far smaller than the dominant hive cities on Scintilla, Gunmetal is a feral community that thrives simply because of what it produces. Hives Sibellus and Tarsus tolerate it because of its export materials. It is a jumped-up, uncivilised boomtown in the Wilderness, a city that got too big for itself. One day, in a thousand years’ time, it might become powerful enough to challenge for the dominance of Scintilla. For now, it is a four-billion-strong foundry station where law is slack and noble houses fight, literally, for ownership of lucrative mercantile output. Of all the main population centres on Scintilla, Gunmetal City is the most dangerous and lawless.
The gun is everywhere in Gunmetal City, from the weapons churned out by its foundries, to the symbols of the city’s noble houses and the guns carried by almost every citizen. Gunfighting is a leisure activity, with designated areas throughout the city set aside for shoot-outs. Duels in Gunmetal are fought with pistols, and a great many people, especially from the middle hives where life is quite short anyway, seek out brief but glorious careers as gunfighters. Shots ring around the foundries of the middle city incessantly and the nobles often hire prestigious gunslingers to battle in elaborate arenas while the audience watches from behind bulletproof screens. Some of the best gunslingers come from Infernis, and it is little wonder that the gangers adore their guns so much when expertise in their use brings such wealth and status.