Lithus Sector occupies a region of space that has been claimed, settled, fought over and lost again and again by numerous planetary states, stellar nations, xeno-civilizations and AIsocieties over a period of millions of years. History in this region is a densely tangled Gordian Knot complicated by the deliberate revisionism of militant software and numerous other factors. Ruins litter practically every known solar system within the Sector. Myriads of Mega-Structures, Nomad Planets, and other Big Dumb Objects drift through the Lithus Sector like driftwood on a storm-tossed sea; such things are far too common for anyone's liking. Xeno-archaeology is not just the number one industry, it is a matter of survival for many of the species that have attempted to settle on one or more of the worlds of this Sector. Others explore this region in order to discover answers and revelations that are often more dangerous than any hyper-bomb or warhacked-plague.
The Lithus Solar System (Coord.: 03.05) sits at the core of this Sector. The entire solar system has been dismantled and reconstructed into The Sarabande, a collection of thousands of inter-connected ecologies concentrated within a dense band of overlapping orbital strata that stretches from deep within the Inner System outwards to the former domains of the three gas giants that are recorded as having been 'processed' as part of the effort of restructuring this solar system. The Sarabande extends the Goldilocks Zone of the Lithus system across an incredible volume. Less than 3% of the habitable zone within The Sarabande has ever been explored by any one faction, despite numerous on-going expeditions, automated probe missions, survey-ships and the efforts of several popular Netcasting Xenoploitation Teams. It was an unnamed Achernarian military accountant who first verified that the habitable zones of The Sarabande were still growing, continuing to expand outwards. The proof of their claim survived their assassination during a botched attempt to defect to one of the Entrenched Nations of the planet Lithus.
The planet Lithus orbits at the inner-most fringe of The Sarabande. It occupies an orbit roughly analogous to Venus. The surface is 90% water. Both polar regions are dominated by chains of maelstrom-whirlpools and at least six major underwater volcanoes. Either pole is enveloped in a massive, nearly perpetual storm system making these regions extremely difficult and dangerous to travel. The central oceanic belt is broken-up by vast kelp forests, sargassum-mats, and coral reefs. The Central Atolls are renowned across the Sector for their beaches, pleasant weather and plentiful seafood. Lithus combines the very best and the very worst features of a so-called 'water world.' The major population centers of the planet Lithus are the Dome-States and Entrenched Nations. Numerous Island States dot the world (The Ishmaelian Ishtmus, for example), most of them exist primarily as a consequence of various legal requirements, banking practices or external political policies (Lithus remains a primary host to Dictators-in-exile, ousted corporate heads, and the like). Everything is registered, licensed and inspected on Lithus, unless you know whom to bribe or how to beat the system. The only thing more numerous than fish on Lithus is loopholes in the regulations, rules and laws.
The one thing that all the various clades, clans and corporate affiliates can agree upon is that none of the peoples currently active on the world of Lithus are truly 'native.' Even the claims of the Selak-Tribals has been proven false, or at least 'selectively revisionist' since the discovery of the crude sleeper-ship that brought their ancestors to Lithus 43,000 years ago. If there are any indigenous sentient beings left upon Lithus, no one has found them or managed to put forward any credible, acceptable proof of their existence.
Currently there are over 600 recorded and registered species, races or genomic-polities known to have a presence on Lithus. The most populous group is officially the Selak-Tribals. The most dominant groups are the Merellon Corp-clade, the Aquarials and the Piscear, though this distinction is practically meaningless as no one faction has enough power to really dominate much of anything and the entire world is loosely collectivized under the Maritime Authority, the Coastal Defense Forces and the Board of Tourism, a triumvirate of bickering, squabbling, bureaucratic agencies who are locked in a perpetual clandestine struggle for influence, prestige and ostensible control over the various regulatory agencies that are the real root of all economic power on Lithus and beyond.
Lithus was one of those sleepy back-water worlds whose officials were easily bought and sold like commodities, the sort of corrupt world so divided against itself that no one really ever knew what anyone else was up to and thus it became a favorite play-ground for numerous corporations, banks, and other such institutions. The digital infrastructure of Lithus was constantly upgraded and improved far beyond that of many much more populous, powerful or popular worlds in order to handle the demands of the corporate elite who used Lithus as a repository, a hub and a vacation destination. Dirty secrets, untraceable financial transactions, shady negotiations, backdoor deals and embezzled funds flowed into and through Lithus. Submerged vaults integrated into the deepest roots of the largest coral reefs or far below the peaks of underwater mountains held bullion, contracts, evidence and more. Lithus is a world where people hide things. The Lithus Common Market employs an encryption protocol so complex that it achieved awareness decades ago and oversees itself. The LCM is so discrete that all manner of banned, illicit and illegal transactions take place freely and in the open, but no law enforcement agency has ever been able to actually prove anything or secure coherent records of any of it. Though many continue to try.
Seedy, sultry and seething with corruption, Lithus might have only ever been a salacious footnote in a travel guide if only things had gone differently. With the incursion of the Rilligong and the collapse of the Third Republic of Fomdrang, chaos has spread throughout the interstellar states and principalities. War has broken out across Known Space. Nano-plagues have subverted or killed dozens of other worlds. Something is targeting the standard drives of the starfaring species, something heretofore unknown or unsuspected. Ships are disappearing, and not just to piracy, ambush or enemy actions. There is something Else at work out there in the void. But no one knows what it is, what it might be, or much of anything else. Instead everyone blames someone else. Rumors are flying fast and furious. Colonies are crashing. Settlements are being abandoned. And in the midst of it all, Lithus goes on doing business as usual. A tainted beacon of civilization at the center of a vast whirlwind of destruction, devastation and disaster.
More than one Government-in-Exile has established an Embassy, Consulate or Delegation on Lithus. Leaders, ambassadors and representatives find themselves dealing with ousted or banished predecessors as well as former rivals and questionable allies. Uprisings, revolutions, assassinations are the order of the day. Previously consolidated world-states are falling apart as one nation after another secedes or seeks to take control. Civil war rages across several once-powerful worlds and solar systems. Humanoid barbarians wielding atomic weapons have begun to raid the more decadent worlds of Tregio (00.03), Allarro (00.06), and Vomo (01.09). Unidentified alien hordes have descended upon Donthir (07.02) and elsewhere. Pangazzi (03.08), once a vital, thriving and politically-unified solar commonwealth, is now a rubble-strewn warzone where already two inhabited worlds have been destroyed by unspeakable weapons long denied to even exist. The one place that seems stable, even secure in the middle of all this turmoil and bloodshed is Lithus. For now.