Our strongest base, our safest base. Sanctuary is the heart of SICON. Not only is Sanctuary armed with the finest in defence satellites and battleships, it is also equipped with the finest theatres, restaurants and shopping facilities from all over the Federation. Troopers in the Mobile Infantry are automatically eligible for station time on Sanctuary when they are in its system, allowing them to rest and relax in the comfort of a military base stocked with every amenity imaginable. Laundry services, gourmet mess and laser tattooing are only part of the luxuries offered by Sanctuary, and only members of SICON can enjoy them.
Sanctuary is a terrestrial planet, and like the Federal Fleet Headquarters, its exact location is a closely guarded secret among the top echelons of the Federal Fleet. Not even the Sky Marshal is allowed to know the precise location of what is essentially earth's fail-safe in the event of an Arachnid invasion of earth. Should earth ever become compromised by Arachnids, Sanctuary was to serve as the runner-up for humanity's new home, ensuring the fight against the bugs wouldn't be totally lost with the fall of earth.
Of course, the system that contains the world called Sanctuary is not really unknown. In fact, the planet Sanctuary is well-known throughout the Federation – it would be impossible to keep the existence of such a place secret for long, considering the number of colonists living there and the number of soldiers and sailors from the Mobile Infantry and Fleet that regularly stop by.
However well known the existence of this system and the world called Sanctuary might be, its actual location is one of SICON’s most carefully-guarded secrets. It is known only to ship captains, piloting officers and others who must know in order to reach the system. It is common knowledge in both Fleet and the Mobile Infantry that each of these men and women is under orders (and has been hypnotically programmed) to kill themselves without hesitation in order to avoid capture, a measure particularly necessary considering the tactics employed by the Skinnies. The reason for this is fairly straightforward – Sanctuary must never be captured by an enemy.
The planet is atmospherically similar to earth, consisting of the same nitrogen-oxygen mix and lying at an optimal distance away from its sun to host the perfect conditions for human life.
The planet is split up into continents, with vast oceans separating them. Mountains, valleys, canyons, and similar geographic features formed over millennia indicate that Sanctuary had a similar geographic history to earth. However, the low amount of radiation emanating from the star Sanctuary orbits has left little opportunity for mutation among the planet's flora and microbial organisms, giving rise to next to no complex life forms and little biodiversity. When humans settled the planet, domestic flora and fauna were brought over from earth, where they rapidly overwhelmed the native lifeforms, setting the stage for the human domestication of Sanctuary. Although the Federation has colonized hundreds of new planets, Sanctuary remains the rally point for denizens of earth should it ever fall to the Arachnid menace.
Sanctuary is on par with Earth as the most important planet in all the United Citizens’ Federation. Its existence is well known, its location is hidden from all but a very few. Sanctuary is the headquarters of SICON. Sanctuary exists for many purposes but its core purpose is its most important – if Earth should fall, this planet will become home to the government in exile. With its facilities on Sanctuary, SICON can continue to operate effectively, marshalling its ships and troops in preparation for an assault on the enemy holding Earth. To that end, SICON keeps a large number of ships and personnel on Sanctuary constantly, which ensures it will always have materiel available to prosecute a war but also ensures that the actual existence of Sanctuary is the worst-kept secret in the Federation. SICON still officially denies the existence of the planet and its resources there to the general public but has long since resigned itself to the fact that the best possible solution is to keep the location of the planet secret. Considering the number of stars and planets in the galaxy, this is a relatively simple endeavour.
Sanctuary itself is much like Earth, with one very notable exception. All but indistinguishable from humanity’s home planet in age, weather, environment, resources and so forth, the flora and fauna native to Sanctuary is at an extremely rudimentary stage of development. The most complex form of animal life is a small insect that does not form hives or any other kind of society. The most advanced form of plant life is a large, very soft fern.
Scientists are divided on why this is the case. Some maintain that it stems from Sanctuary’s sun, that the star does not emit enough solar radiation to spur mutation among the plants and animals inhabiting the world. Others maintain the planet simply never gave rise to enough lifeforms to cause any manner of population pressure on those lifeforms that did arise and that, with no need to change in order to survive, the flora and fauna of Sanctuary simply stayed the same over the course of millions of years. Whichever is the truth, the end result is the same. Sanctuary, in the words of one trooper, is ‘like Earth, but retarded. Literally retarded, like a kid who takes ten years to learn to wave bye-bye and never does manage to master patty-cake.’
The exact time and date when the planet known as Sanctuary was discovered is but one of the details of this world that remains a closely guarded SICON secret but the existence of the planet entered common knowledge a little more than 50 years ago, when the Federation Colonisation Commission began recruiting civilian colonists for a new colony in an undisclosed area of space. The lack of any detail given to prospective colonists was unusual to say the least and it took almost a decade for the Federation Colonisation Commission to compile a list of acceptable candidates. Unlike most colonies, anyone applying for colonisation of this new planet was rigourously screened and, of the applicants, only a quarter were accepted.
Absolute loyalty to the United Citizens’ Federation was demanded of every would-be colonist, all of whom were subjected to psychological testing and even psychic probing. In a further departure from usual procedure, each of the colonists were told the move to this new colony would be a permanent one, that they would not be allowed to move back to Earth. This last point in particular ensured that only the most loyal of civilians applied.
Upon arrival at Sanctuary, the new colonists found that their worst fears, that they had signed on to spend the rest of their lives upon some hellish rock, crouching forever beneath the protective skin of an atmospheric and pressure dome, breathing recycled air and living on a constant diet of canned food, could not have been more wrong. Instead, they were greeted by the sight of a planet so much like Earth that some initially doubted they had even left their home world. Of course, part of the reason the planet appeared so Earthlike was that SICON had been seeding it with plant and animal life from Earth for an undisclosed amount of time. No colonist was ever told how long but it was certainly long enough for young forests to spring up.
The colony on Sanctuary was created as SICON’s headquarters and the colonists are there to serve SICON and the men and women in Federal Service. Obviously, the civilian population are not there as actual servants but rather to keep the colony operating efficiently, to own and run and staff the hundreds of businesses and distractions catering to a MI trooper on R&R leave or a research scientist permanently stationed on the planet.
The loyalty to the Federation that was so important in choosing the initial colonists for Sanctuary has remained in integral part of the culture of the planet. Almost everywhere else in the Federation, there is friction between citizens and civilians. Not so on Sanctuary. Even the scruffiest trooper fresh off the boat from a firefight in Bug Central can expect to be treated with politesse and deference wherever he goes on Sanctuary. Even in the planet’s capital (and only) city, Spiritu Santo, the trooper can expect to be greeted with ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ from every civilian he or she encounters. Like a planetary version of a military base, everything on Sanctuary revolves around SICON in some form or fashion. Perhaps one of the most famous roads (at least among the men and women of Federal Service) is Churchill Road, that leads from the base to Spiritu Santo.
Laws and Government
Sanctuary is the only Federation colony that does not have a governor. In fact, it has no representation on Earth whatsoever. It is ruled over by SICON and is governed by military law, which applies to both citizens and civilians.
The economy of Sanctuary is robust. Between the constant flow of Fleet and troopers who come to the planet and leave all their money behind and the variety of research facilities, shipyards, agricultural concerns and sundry other businesses that operate on the planet, Sanctuary sees a constant stream of income. Citizens and civilians alike live well on Sanctuary, far better than most civilians of Earth. In part, this is due to the price controls SICON maintains on Sanctuary. In the absence of those, prices for some goods would skyrocket, while others would plummet. SICON prefers stability in its home base and has kept prices for every good available on the planet steady for the last 40 years.
Points of Interest
Sanctuary, while a perfectly pleasant planet, has little in the way of natural wonders to admire. However, it has a great many man-made wonders. Federal Service personnel on leave here can find practically anything they desire, either on Churchill Road (for the more risqué and bawdy distractions) to the city of Spiritu Santo itself, which offers everything from fine restaurants to music halls to sports events.
Federal Fleet Headquarters
The Federal Fleet Headquarters are in orbit around Sanctuary, in a highly monitored and guarded system whose exact location is classified. Constructed shortly before the Second Bug War, the headquarters themselves are a collection of stations which house key Fleet personnel, supplies, and information. An incredibly closely monitored area, only those with the highest levels of clearance are allowed full access to the station. Those with the highest aspirations among Fleet view the Fleet Federal Headquarters as the destination point for the end of a long esteemed career, calling the shots and coordinating entire fleets and marine brigades across the galaxy.