The Great Lighthouse is a barren planetoid, its surface and small mass giving it the appearance of nothing more than a grey, meteor-scarred moon. While of no material value in itself, the Great Lighthouse's low gravity field makes it an ideal shipyard and location to house the heavy industries of the The Free State.
|Planet:||The Great Lighthouse|
|Stellar Radius:||200 AU|
|Length of Day:||132 hours|
|Length of Year:||385 days|
Though the Freespacers are a nomadic people by nature, many still consider the Great Lighthouse acts as their de facto “capital”. Despite the fact that the permanent population of this world is minuscule as far as inhabited worlds go, the planet itself teems with activity as it services tens of thousands of ships annually.
The considerable influx of travelers inevitably makes this planet the ideal as a location for trade and exchange, and thus a trade hub. These exchanges extend not only to trade, but to culture. Since the Lighthouse is regularly visited by communities spread across hundreds of lightyears, it is widely considered one of the most culturally diverse locations in the known galaxy.
Freespacers crew members will often “jump ship” here in order to join other fleets. This practice is actually encouraged by Foremen in order to prevent homogeneity (which Freespacers believe to be the root cause of nationalism, stigma, stagnation and xenophobia that sometimes occurs among planet-based cultures). Therefore, the Lighthouse will be the first place most ships go to when looking for experienced crew.
Information is exchanged here, too. The Free State is single largest nexus of the Free State's digital network (“Polysentience”), though it actually houses less than 15% of network's communications infrastructure. Its presence is more important as virtual library used to save the collective culture and knowledge of all the Freespacer fleets. The combination of sophisticated data storage and communications systems also makes it a natural paradise for millions of the Free State's self-aware infomorphs. Most of these will take it upon themselves to index, update, and check the accuracy of these files.
Though the Great Lighthouse was abandoned during The Freespacer Genocide, the system has sense come under Nepleslian control and been lightly repopulated by Freespacer Refugees.
This hemisphere is mostly composted of Fleet docks. While Fleets are capable of self-producing replacement equipment, these are usually of relatively lower quality since they're produced on demand (hand-made, so to speak) rather than through specialized assembly lines. So, once every 1-10 years a Fleet must return to the homeworld to stock up on fresh parts, lest their ships fall apart from constant jury rigging. Thus there are so many docking ports, so the shipyards can handle the big 'rush' of repairing and rebuilding hundreds of ships within a short period. The pyramids scattered around are a combination of sensor domes, AI-based traffic controllers, and receiving terminals for visiting ship crew. They are connected to other aspects of the planet through underground tunnel networks that run throughout the planetoid itself.
Above you see the Hanging Gardens, which can be moved to follow the sun. They are used to farm raw solar energy itself via solar panels, and produce food (either fresh or preserved in ration form) for incoming fleets. Large plants such as trees are usually too bulky too grow en masse on Freespacer ships, which makes fruit is somewhat of a delicacy. The large surface area of each of these satellites allows them to be grown in abundance, providing visiting Fleets with a welcome relieve from their algae and vegetable diet. Fruit grown between Fleet visits are often used to produce preserved rations, which will last for years without expiring due to the highly sterile atmosphere the Freespacers live and grow their food in.
This Hemisphere acts as the industrial district and SI city. Since the intelligent machines themselves have no need to go out and look for ice deposits, they can actually afford to urbanize and settle onto a barren planet without endangering their own well-being. Thus the overwhelming majority of the planet's population is machine-based. The “cities” are primarily composed of computers and servers used as the core of the Free State's massive information networks and its Synthetic Intelligence. There is also a large workforce of Automata to operate the shipyards themselves, as using organic workers would still consume water in the idle times between Fleet visits, even if they weren't actually working.
Finally, you see the Great Lighthouse itself, the monument after which the system was named. Its a sort of beacon that acts as a communication hub. As the planetoid is the only non-nomadic aspect of the Free State, its orbit and location are predictable. This allows Fleets to calculate and aim communication signals over many light years, without the worry of their target moving away from the signal path. The Lighthouse, however, can receive without such problems. Since the Lighthouse is the core of Free State information networks, it constantly receives updated vessel courses from all operational Fleets.
The Lighthouse uses Evanescent Wave Coupling technology to maintain FTL communications with not only the Freespacer Fleets of the Free State, but maintain communications to its sister unit on Freehold Factory. Scattered sensors on the planetoid absorb the incoming signals, and the Lighthouse retransmits them on various bands of the EM spectrum. This ability to vary the wavelength of signals allows it to more easily penetrate through various stellar obstacles, such as gas clouds or asteroids. Alternatively, the high powered communications and sensor equipment also allows to act as a electromagnetic telescope array, allowing it to scan for resources and then direct the movement of Fleets accordingly.