Castle of Aurorae
The Castle of Aurorae is a massive skystation in the Medial H/Northern F inflection layer that serves as the headquarters of the powerful Navigator's Guild.
Purpose / Function
In addition to serving as a seat of power, the Castle of Aurorae also serves an important purpose for the organizatoin: the Castle is one of the most powerful radio sources in the Manifold Sky (with the possible exception of the MCSV Celestial Praxis), making it a useful 'lighthouse' for radio navigation techniques.
Once the danger of the Northern Tesseract's charged particle radiation became known, skystation engineers installed layers of water bladders and electromagnetic coils around the habitation tori to provide some passive protection. Plans for charged mesh spheres around the habitation sections are in development as of the year 10,000, though the issue of these spheres interfering with the station's radio output is proving difficult to solve with the Manifold's current level of technology. Because of all the refits, the size of the Castle's station-keeping lifting gas envelopes has increase three times during the station's existence.
As the headquarters of the Navigator's Guild, the Castle of Aurorae is notable for its enormous size. With the MCSV Celestial Praxis originally intended to be an airship and Maximilian's Bolide being mostly comprised of a naturally-occuring satelite, the Castle is likely the largest skystation in existence which was designed as such. Every possible skystation amenity, from dieseltech airship resupply, repair, and refit facilities to fuel and lifting gas reprocessing equipment, is present aboard the Castle. The Castle's extensive docking arms set records for capacity. The axis of the station is a series of long interlinked trusses through which the skystation's long utility tunnels and radio antennae are strung. A fat, toroidal habitat ring is mounted on bearings at the center of the central axis, with three smaller habitat tori nestled inside its radius. The large torus is counter-spun relative to the inner tori, such that, in addition to generating spin gravity, the whole structure avoids the danger of being spun itself by the angular momentum of these rotating modules. The center-most of the three inner tori is where the actual administrative functions of the facility are handled and where the Guild Board of Trustees hold court, as the rest of the station's volume serves to protect this area from direct attack. Large, barrel-shaped modules on either side of the habitats provide station utilities, with radial arms extending from each to provide mounts for station-keeping lifting gas envelopes. Pairs of counter-spun habitat tori halfway along each arm of the axis provide amenities for visitors; unless directly working with (or summoned by) the Board, no one is permitted to enter the central habitation section.
While the Castle of Aurorae is a destination for well-connected tourists, diplomats, and members of high society, visitors are carefully vetted by Navigator's Guild officials before they are permitted to board the station. The station itself is designed more for opulence and utility than for high maximum occupancy, making visitors' passes difficult to come by even beyond the official restrictions. Once visitors have arrived, however, they are frequently dazzled by the nightly aurorae that dance in the atmosphere of the Northern Tesseract cube below.