Rogue Trader: The Last Pheonix
Port Wander: Gateway to the Expanse
“A stinking, painted harlot who would see your blood flowing for a few coins, that she may be, but who cannot say that they love the light that is known waiting for the traveler returned from the void.”
–Rogue Trader Cortin Blaine, captain of the Astra Veritas
Port Wander is a void station on the uttermost edge of the Drusus Marches of the Calixis Sector, rightly regarded as the last bastion of the rule of the Emperor this side of the Koronus Expanse. A place of desperate hopes and vain dreams; Port Wander teems with a transitory population of traders, spies, merchant factors, pilgrims, and missionaries amongst which move Administratum functionaries and minions of the Mechanicus, all feeding on the riches that flow from the realms beyond the warp storms in the Koronus Expanse. All who travel into the Koronus Expanse share one
common experience in that they pass Port Wander. Be they the pious bringing the Emperor’s Light into the darkness beyond the Imperium or black-hearted monsters searching for the keys to forbidden dreams, many will stop in the last place where the rule of the Golden Throne keeps the horror and possibility of the unknown at bay.
Port Wander was founded by the Imperial Navy in 917.M40 as a staging ground to investigate the loss of many vessels on the fringes of the Drusus Marches. With the discovery of the Koronus Passage in the late 40th millennium, the station grew in importance owing to its close proximity to the Passage. Its original role as a base for military operations was slowly forgotten, and Port Wander became a way station for those daring passage into the Koronus Expanse. Merchants
and mercenaries began to choke the once- deserted corridors of the station, and strangers shook the dust of distant stars from their boots while trading wondrous things from beyond the Great Warp Storms.
The Structure of Port Wander
From a distance, the port resembles a small cityscape, with spires and cathedral towers arching upwards and a huge aquila marking its allegiance to the God-Emperor. Numerous long piers protrude from the sides with spider-like docking fixtures, ready to bring in a ship and anchor it to the station. Smaller shuttle bays dot the station where numerous small craft carry cargo and people between ships and the station. Deep crevasses run along the station, showing the slow layers of expansions through the many decades and the somewhat patchwork nature of many of them which includes parts from small vessels such as the nearly intact hull of the Solstice Imperialis, grafted onto one side of the station many centuries ago. Further construction and external maintenance is constant, with servitors crawling over areas of damage or expansion like flies over a bloated metal beast.
On the underside of the station are the main repair yards, where damaged ships can contract out for refurbishment and mending. The yards include entire sealed dry-dock bays, where smaller ships can be totally enclosed for more intensive work. Also along the station’s keel are a variety of elaborate and mysterious arrays and probes used by the Adeptus Mechanicus in their arcane research into the nature of the warp passage leading through the Great Warp Storms to the
Koronus Expanse beyond.
Across the length and breadth of the station are lance emplacements, weapons batteries, torpedo launchers, and void shield generators, all placed for maximum efficiency and kept in readiness. In addition to these static defenses, squadrons of heavily armed monitor craft are stationed near Port Wander, and warships from Battlefleet Calixis pass the port on regular patrol. Port Wander may be the gate to the Koronus Expanse but it is a gate that is guarded. At any given time there are at least a half-dozen Rogue Traders docked at the station, as well as other merchant vessels, enormous transports, and numerous smaller craft moving into and out of docking stations like swarming insects. Other vessels move through the area, offloading raw fuel gases mined from the two larger planets or minerals and ice from the further reaches of the system.
There are also numerous asteroids sharing its space, most of which have been turned into fuel depots, palatial manses and estates, crude habitats, storage facilities, ship yards, and other more useful installations.