This is one of the two winning entries from Freelance Traveller Contest 2008-02.
Nika A6369A5-D Hi In 304
Originally founded as a mining world by the Vilani First Imperium, Nika was renamed during the Long Night, by its subsequent rulers, the Solomani crew of a crippled battlecruiser. Nika never lost the capacity to build starships during the Long Night and managed to build a small interstellar empire, and then lost it to the growing Third Imperium.
Nika in the Subsector
Nika is a high technology, high population, and industrialized world. Placed in a core subsector, Nika will be a powerful, although not dominant world. In a frontier, or non-imperial subsector, Nika will be probably the most dominant world.
Nika's empire has long since been carved from it, but any Captive Governments (Gov code 6) are probably remnant colonies. Also 1D6+2 other worlds in the subsector will be ex-colonies of Nika, and likely very hostile to Nika.
Had this system possessed an asteroid belt Nika would never have been settled.
Nika is a medium sized world of slightly less than 10,000km diameter, possessing an atmosphere barely thick enough to prevent the seas, which cover 60% of this rockball, from boiling away. Despite the thin atmosphere, fierce storms rage across Nika, and to mark their passing the atmospheric pressure can swing wildly down to pressures no respirator can support, and up to nearly half a standard atmosphere. The atmosphere itself is too thin to hold much heat and during the planet's 120 hour night, the storms pick water up from the seas, depositing it as snow and ice across the continent. By day, the continent is covered with floods as the night's worth of ice melts and pours back into the oceans, sweeping away everything in its path.
Built both above the ground, as a series of vast armored towers and domes, and below ground, a warren of tunnels and built-in mines, The Kynigeon is Nika's only city.
Three billion people are crammed into the Kynigeon and ruled by Basileus Nicephorus XIII, with all the luxuries available on a world which as enjoyed imperial standards of living for the last few thousand years.
Its ice-clad towers and domes look quiet and unchanging from orbit, or even outside, but inside, The Kynigeon is a seething cauldron of people, always on the move, always looking for the next big thing. The planet's 240 hour day/night cycle is completely ignored, with businesses open as they see fit and the population working, sleeping, and eating, each to their own preferences.
The first thing any visitor to the Kynigeon notices is the Fugg. The environmental plant of the Kynigeon is thousands of years old and has been added to, renovated, junked, rebuilt, and repaired many, many times. Operated to specifications and loads far beyond the original design, it's not really up to dealing with the scent of three billion people with six billion socks.
First the atmosphere inside the Kynigeon is well above standard – around 1.2 atmospheres usually, and extremely humid. The air is filled with a brown/grey haze which dims the lights that the moisture hasn't ruined. And it stinks. Badly.
Orbiting high above Nika is the Industry which drives the planet. Huge space docks, alive with the glow of thousands of fusion lances, build the massive Bulk Carriers and Cargo Ships vital for imperial trade. Tankers haul loads of hydrocarbons, drawn from the gas giants Belisarius, Justinian, Heraklius or Lusikii to waiting orbital refineries and factories. Ore carriers lumber up from Nika itself, laden with the bounty of a thousand mines.
Orbital habitats, playgrounds of the rich, hang like precious jewels over this dull grey world.
This should not by any means be considered an exhaustive list of possibilities.
The Ice Fair: An Ice Fair is a gathering of criminals. Although Nika's law level is relatively low, there are still things that the Basileus would prefer his citizens did not have access to (or trade to off-worlders), such as high-energy weapons, drug drug, radioactives and so on, all of which have an extremely high off-world retail value, and all of which are manufactured on Nika. Notice of a Fair is spread by word of mouth, and really is just another collection of vehicles and people hanging around an anonymous mine-head for a few hours somewhere.
A successful Streetwise or Carousing skill check is needed to find an Ice Fair; a particularly bad failure means the undercover cop you just asked isn't amused at all.
Of course, at an Ice Fair it is most definitely Buyer Beware, and all sales are final and ex-fair – how the players get their new toys off planet is entirely up to them.
Emergency!: On final approach to one of the Kynigeon's downports, the PC's are ordered to divert to a distant mine, where an accident has been reported. An explosion has breached the armored dome about the mine; in a few hours the sun will rise and the daily floods will completely destroy the place, killing the 49 miners there. It is surely an accident which has destroyed the dome and not sabotage, or a heavily armed lunatic. Nika's thin atmosphere rules out any kind of animal attack, besides only a nest of Reticulan Parasites could survive out there...