At a 764-kilometer diameter, Rhea is Saturn’s second largest moon. Composed almost entirely of ice, Rhea’s surface is sparsely inhabited, but a population of over 800,000 dwells in Kronos Cluster, a major habitat in orbit. Kronos Cluster’s mass-microfactured violet spherical modules make it look like an immense, irregular bunch of grapes suspended in space, an impression added to by the winding space dock (nicknamed the Vine) extending from the wider end. Within the mass of habitat modules, the Vine branches out in all directions, forming massive central arteries and twist- ing side passages. These can be traversed by pushing off hand and toeholds on the walls or by catching grab loops that move along “fast lanes” in the walls of major floatways.
Nearly five kilometers long and three wide, Kronos has major problems with crowding and infrastructure that have kept it from growing to the same size as Locus. The designers simply did not plan for the size the place might reach, and as a result another 150,000 people live in suburbs of tin can habs and scum barges in the space around the habitat.
Kronos can be an extremely dangerous place. Insurance companies don’t like operating here, and the habitat is a patchwork of criminal and anarchist neighborhoods. Anarchist zones are generally heavily armed and safe, but a trip from an anarchist holding to the spaceport is best done with a group of well- armed friends. Criminal neighborhoods are only safe if you’re in the neighborhood’s controlling gang, and even then con icts are up regularly.
The situation is exacerbated by the Kronos Port Authority, a junta of ultimates who operate security for the spaceport. Originally an Extropian hypercorp,
the KPA fell into the hands of the ultimates when they decided that they could pro t more directly by owning the company outright than by working as hired muscle. They violently ousted the original management and now use indentures in worker pods to maintain the port. This situation is tolerated by the local crime bosses and loathed by the mostly anarchist citizens, but so far no one is able to challenge the KPA, which enforces use of the port rather than any other mooring point with killsats and artillery.