The United Colonial Systems or UCS are a group of planets that have merged into one nation and the Star and Crescent Moon banner. The UCS includes such factions as Libertarian, Technocrat, Machine, Progressive, New Texan, Rebel and Prairie. The alliance has expanded recently with the addition of the Ice System, Isthma and, most recently, Aumakua bringing the total number of planets to twenty-two across twelve distinct systems.
Although the UCS had already formed the basic character of the alliance was poorly defined and it took the self-described "Loyalist" system of Vortex to initiate the signing of the Vow of Freedom to push that ahead. Vortex hosts the inhabited planets Inspire, Drift and Imagination the latter now being home to the free-state and UCS Capital, Judgement. The Libertarian systems, Research and Sanctuary were the next to sign, each hosting two inhabited planets, Faculty and Erudite along with New Liberty and Freedom respectively. The "Progressive" Enterprise system, hosting the inhabited planets, Enterprise and Autonomy signed next. Finally, the "Machine" system of Lucille, hosting the inhabited planets of Pivot and Fulcrum, signed and it wasn't long before the remaining systems also signed.
Haven, in the Aumakua system, joined the UCS in 2610. The Aumakua system is based around a K class bright dwarf with a single gas giant called Hades, a planet so large and hot it is often considered a protosun, and the system effectively a binary. Hades has a ring system over a million kilometres in diameter and, between the Nimbus and Cardinal rings, is the relatively clear area known as the Haikili Division. The Haikili Division hosts the planetary resort moon of Haven and the airless moon, Anchorage, used by the Havani for ship building. The division also hosts four UCS asteroid facilities including Port McKinley as well as two current orbital defence platforms and one decommissioned, the latter now used as a research facility and ship's graveyard.
Completed in 2737, Port McKinley houses over one hundred and fifty thousand personnel and is the home base of the UCS forward naval presence in the Abyssal Void arena. The fifty-six-year-old base was constructed within a laser-cored asteroid, ten kilometres by five with a resultant cavity three by eight, over fifty cubic kilometres of space and more than seventy square kilometres of surface. Surrounded by a complex system of asteroids, with formidable defences, the base is generally considered impregnable. Access to the base is via a series of heavily defended tunnels: a two-hundred-metre-wide shaft surrounded by six fifty metre tunnels overlooked by twelve laser emplacements and a further twelve kinetics. The tunnels are internally protected asynchronous laser meshes, directable nuclear charges and retractable stanchions.
The central cylindrical cavity of the base is divided into three zones:
- A half kilometre outer buffer in which ships are not normally allowed
- A cylindrical zone within that for ships under power or "stationed" as they wait for necessary supplies.
- A central "channel" in which ships can dock at a series of low gravity gantries.The base's facilities are built on, into and under the inner
The base's facilities are built on, into and under the inner surface, for example, the main fuel and munitions and materiel depots are built deep under the surface whilst the barracks and administration blocks live on the surface. Gravity is simulated by centripetal rotation and, at the deepest points of the base, reaches just over ½ Earth normal. The inner surface or the base is separated from the vacuum of space by "The Barrier", a transparent ceiling supported on ceramoplastic columns up to one hundred metres in height. Command and Control (C&C) is buried, along with the massive power generators and quantum computers, between one hundred and five hundred metres deep at the rear end or "butt" of the base.
Directions within the base are local with north agreed as the main base entrance and south the opposite end at C&C, east is any point to the right (anti-clockwise) of someone facing north and west the opposite. McKinley has a distributed radar network accessing them via a series of lasers and ultra-fast network links. Information from the network is fed to C&C and the two "towers", actually domed structures, situated just behind and on opposite sides of the main access tunnel. The base has four launch tracks. Originally it had one track, now known as "The Old Launch Track)", which is used for scouting missions (including the base Combat Air Patrol) and civilian ship access. Most standard military flights now use "The New Launch Tracks", three parallel tracks used for high-speed launches.
Transport around the base is by means of the Pod Transit System, over one hundred and fifty kilometres of AESRA track using independently computer controlled pods to carry people quickly to within a few hundred metres of their destination. For the main part, the track is suspended above the ground, just below the barrier, but disappears on several instances inside the higher segments of regolith. Several of these hidden sections contain secret branch lines allowing the pods to stop at hidden stations buried deep beneath the regolith.
The base has a number of civilian installations including a large hotel, a smaller version of The Great Temple at Vortex and, of course, the Civil District, a multi-level mall with hotels, bars, restaurants, clubs, casinos, cinemas and brothels.