The Asteroid Belt
Situated in a broad band between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, the “Main Belt” is the newest frontier to be explored - and exploited - by humans. Scattered among the millions of stony fragments of the shattered planet “Lucifer” are vast deposits of gold, silver, titanium, uranium and other precious metals in short supply on Earth. While the promise of great wealth has lured many an enterprising prospector to the Belt, others have ventured there seeking privacy and freedom from government interference. A man can literally be king of his own tiny world if he chooses, and some religious groups have found the Belt’s isolation from the “corrupting influences” of the home world very attractive. Even with the advent of regular spaceliner service to Vesta, the sheer size of the Belt makes it possible to avoid civilization if one wishes.
Although the Belt has no central government, it does have an unofficial “capital” at Vestaport. Located on - and in - the large asteroid Vesta, Vestaport serves as a sort of interplanetary trading post, supply depot and financial center for the Belt. Despite being only five years old, Vestaport is already to the Main Belt what San Francisco was to the Old West. In addition to banks, churches, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, barber shops, doctors, dentists, equipment outfitters and used spaceship dealers, Vestaport has its share of bars, brothels and casinos. It also has its own jail and court system (“Law West of Mars”), although the sheer vastness of the Belt makes it difficult for the long arm of the law to reach very far beyond Vesta.