Northwoods Botanical Research Facility
The Northwoods Botanical Research Facility (NBRF) is a remote skystation located in the North H/Distal F inflection layer. With access to the bizarre environments of the Distal Tesseract and the omnipresence of ionizing particle radiation, the NBRF serves as an ideal location for research into unusual plant cultivars and mutations.
Despite the relative danger of its location, the NBRF enjoys a year-round research staff of approximately 100 scientists from the Voxelia Academy of Sciences. On any given year, around 5 of these researchers reach their cumulative radiation dose limits and are cycled back to other research posts within the Academy. Guests and passers-through are rare at the station, as there is little legitimate business to be conducted in Distal F, but not unheard of. Most of the researchers are Voxelian in ethnicity, though a few Verdials and even Elovisians with the right credentials also conduct research at the station.
While the NBRF is an apolitical, academic institution, it does still fall under the national umbrella of Voxelia, making the station a potential target of opportunity for traveling Free Faces League aerial fleets. The station possesses a single flak cannon battery, which it keeps pointed towards the Northern Tesseract side of the inflection layer in case of attack, though it largely relies on its relative isolation and radioactive environment to avoid violent encounters. As the station crew are of a scientific-minded sort, small colonies of Distal polyps have also been cultivated behind trapdoors in the docking areas to give any potential boarders a nasty, infectious surprise. Rumors that exchange students from the Manifold Conservation Society have also created booby-traps that spray Billowing Hate spores onto intruders remain untested, though these would almost certainly cause an international incident if confirmed.
The NBRF possesses only limited refueling and resupply facilities, as it is designed as a research outpost first and as a way point for expeditions second. Though it serves as the primary skystation involved in North H/Distal F transits, the station possesses no permanent Navigator's Guild office, as the remote location, environmental dangers, and low activity levels of the place provide little foreseeable economic benefit to the Guild. The NBRF boasts a powerful radio communications array, oversized electrical system, and advanced environmental sensor suite to support its purpose as a research facility.
Two N3 "Honeyguides" with aftermarket electromagnetic pylons are assigned to the station to transport any useful specimens back to civilization without risk of further mutations which might undo any useful properties discovered.
The NBRF is somewhat unique amongst skystations in that it's major research modules are geodesic spherical centrifuges instead of rings, though it's central habitation modules retains the traditional, toroidal construction. The research modules are transparent greenhouses, with lab stations along the equator flanked on each side with numerous planter terraces reaching all the way to the axis, and are intentionally left outside of the protective magnetic field that the habitation sections enjoy. Cranes depending from the axial trusses of the research modules allow shielding covers or "lanterns" full of radioisotopes to be positioned near individual planters, modulating the amount of radiation a given planter is exposed to. Researchers working in and around the research modules are required to don protective gear to prevent dangerous doses of radiation from both environmental and artificial sources. All modules are affixed to a central axial truss, with the habitation modules in the center flanked by the research modules. The station's lifting gas envelopes, micro-gravity laboratory pods, and airship docking arrays are attached to support trusses, which erupt perpendicularly from a central hub on the axial truss (between the habitation modules). A pylon erupting from the North-facing side of the station holds the station's flak cannon, the NBRF's only defensive ordinance.