In the years of the Second Galactic War, economic and military power bases throughout the Stellar Ring played critical roles in establishing and maintaining dominance. One of the most impressive of these bases was the Lighthouse o/Faith, a space station built and owned by the Orlamu Theocracy. What was unique about the giant station was the installation of a powerful stardrive within its heart; this station could move through space with an impressive 50 light-year range, equal to the drivespace range of a fortress ship. In addition to serving a unique role as a mobile temple for the Orlamist religion, the Lighthouse o/Faith served as a center of economic activity within Orlamu space. Merchants came aboard and traded with individuals from diverse worlds; through its travels, the Lighthouse of Faith constantly exposed itself and its guests to new markets and new cultures.
The near-complete destruction of the station in 2461-thanks to a Solar raid into Orlamu space was a terrible loss. The Orlamus consigned its ruined treasure to a scrap heap until the war ended in 2472. Finally, it delivered the crippled Lighthouse of Faith to the Galactic Concord. Sixteen years would pass before its name was heard again.
In March 2498, the Galactic Concord -more specifically, the Concord's Committee on Verge Integration- feared for the success of its frontier rehabilitation program: Put simply, the star systems of the Verge remained isolated and divided-despite the return of the stellar nations and the arrival of the Concord itself. The overwhelming majority of Verge systems had no way to communicate through drivespace; they relied heavily on driveships that could take months to reach other civilized systems.
The Concord (and the Committee on Verge reintegration) hoped that military vessels and the increased economic traffic brought by the return of the stellar nations would forge new links among the Verge systems and the people of the Stellar Ring. Unfortunately, the Concord's Star Force was too busy patrolling, keeping peace, and fighting in Hammer's Star to support this lofty goal. Furthermore, the stellar nations' economic interests in the Verge focused on the most populous and developed star systems.
With the fear of Verge isolation firmly in his mind, Michael Thayne, Minister of the Galactic Consulate, lobbied for the Verge to become the home of a rebuilt Lighthouse of Faith. A year later, the refurbished, refitted, and greatly rearmed Orlamu space station arrived in the Tendril system to begin a never- ending tour of an the Verge settlements. Many inhabitants of the Verge consider the station, now known simply as the Lighthouse, the finest achievement of the Concord.
From top to bottom, the tall cylindrical station is some 1,461 meters, with a diameter that ranges from 36 meters at its thinnest section (the lower disc) to 401 meters at its widest (the upper disc). The station contains docking ports and bays, as well as maintenance services for arriving vessels. Long rails of spindly metal extend from the cylindrical station, allowing hundreds of small craft to link up with the Lighthouse. Within the station's crowded halls, a fully functional urban center answers the needs of both guests and permanent inhabitants. A full range of supplies, entertainment, employment opportunities, and Concord agency offices exist within the station. One of the largest Concord offices functions as the headquarters for the Concord Survey Service, a bureaucracy best known for contracting independent explorers for missions throughout the Verge and beyond.
In gratitude to the Theocracy for donating the station, the highest level of the Lighthouse still serves its initial purpose: Orlamist worship. As a Concord-run station, however, it's open to members of any religion, nation, or species. Essentially, the Lighthouse serves as a point of neutrality under the seal of the Galactic Concord, and it is the primary Concord base of operations in the Verge. Thanks to the efforts of Concord technicians and engineers, the armament aboard the Lighthouse ranks among the most powerful and most effective. Although the station couldn't stand up to a fortress ship, it can repel an attack from a dreadnought. Three Star Force cruisers and a score of smaller escorts fly alongside the Lighthouse. In addition, a rein- forced company of Concord Marines serves aboard the station itself.
The Lighthouse stardrive still has a 50-light-year range, making it one of the most impressive examples of human engineering. Today, the Lighthouse uses its stardrive to follow a course through Verge systems. It remains in these systems any- where from a few days to a few weeks before traveling to an- other destination. The station usually becomes the center of economic and political activity in each system it enters.
Politically, the Lighthouse offers contact and communication with the rest of known space. The station houses an sorts of political officers, ambassadors, and statesman who make a livelihood serving their nations. Moreover, the Lighthouse possesses a drivespace communication relay. As long as it remains in a system, an of that system's worlds can access the interstellar Grid (for a fee, of course). In addition, the spindly docking arms of the Lighthouse permit spacecraft without stardrives or with smaller stardrives to dock and 'piggyback' on it. This allows for faster travel around the Verge and more frequent contact between various worlds and settlements. Every government, both stellar and Verge, takes advantage of the Concord's generosity.
Economically, the single station represents a force that equals any star system in the Verge. A sizable trading community has established itself aboard the station, willing to meet the trading demands of any star system. More than one independent trader has made his fortune traveling the stars without ever leaving the Lighthouse.
The Lighthouse has been caned a beacon that will lead the Verge out of its long darkness of separation. Flowery language and public relations aside, it provides a presence of authority, a connection to the rest of human space, and a protective force to help stand against the many threats -internal and external- facing the Verge.