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, members of which 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 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 is 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 influences of their own.
GALACTIC POSITION: 88/23/CS/SW.
SATELLITES: Two moons (Sothus and Lachesis). Orbital docks geostationary above Hive Tarsus.
The moon Lachesis is home to the base of The Tyrantine Cabal. This is the Bastion Serpentis, a bleak fortress of age-polished black stone jutting from the surface of Scintilla’s moon. Few people know of its existence, and those who do not are kept away from the moon by dire warnings about geological instability. Lord Inquisitor Zerbe can normally be found at the Bastion.
CLIMATE CLASSIFICATION: Temperate.
TROPOSPHERIC COMPOSITION: Nitrogen 72%, Oxygen 25%, Argon 1%, Ozone 1%, Carbon Dioxide 0.5%.
RELIGION: The Cult of the Redemption is active on several planets, but its spiritual home is Scintilla.
PLANETARY GOVERNER: Sector Governor Marius Hax.
CLIMATE: Climate temperate with extensive equatorial deserts.
ECONOMY: Scints, Scolds and Scabs – These are all terms used in the hives of Scintilla, and have become synonyms with the most valuable denominations of the Thrones, based in no small part on that world’s excessive levels of wealth. Rounds – Used in the depths of Gunmetal City, where actual bullets are sometimes used as currency.
PRINCIPLE EXPORTS: 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 huge underhive population, both of which make for excellent Imperial Guard recruit sources.
PRINCIPLE IMPORTS: Scintilla cannot support itself and requires massive imports of food from the Calixis Sector’s agri-worlds.
COUNTRIES AND CONTINENTS: Three main continents – southern polar cap mountainous/volcanic, 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).
DEFENCES: Army of the Scintillan Protectorate (medium/high quality, based at Hive Tarsus).
CONTACT WITH OTHER WORLDS: As the sector capital Scintilla has a great deal of contact with other worlds in the Calixis sector, as well as worlds in other secotrs and segmentums. Stable warp routes link Scintilla to Tranch, Settlement 228, Iocanthus, Luggnum, Sephiris Secundus, Malfi, Orbel Quill and Baraspine.