As an independent Pact World, Absalom Station is ruled by the Prime Executive, a term-limited position with theoretically absolute authority over the station’s legislation and management. Colloquially known as the “Primex,” the Prime Executive is elected and advised by the Syndicsguild, a council of neighborhood representatives called syndics who do much of the real work of running the station and who, while bound by the Primex’s decrees, also have the ability to remove their leader from power at any time and call for a new election. Partitioning the station’s different neighborhoods into dozens of electoral districts over the years—many times in ways that favor one faction over others—means that, while most syndics are democratically elected, some corporate or criminal enclaves are dynasties in all but name. The current Prime Executive, Kumara Melacruz, is only halfway through her first term, but she’s already garnered controversy for her crackdown on white-collar crime and her progressive stance on non-human immigration to the station. She’s survived one assassination attempt so far, and allegations are still flying as to whether the culprits were corporations fearing her policies, the Six Tip Gang angry over the arrest of its leader, or the nativist Strong Absalom movement.
In addition to its own government, Absalom Station also hosts the Pact Worlds’ representative body, the Pact Council, meaning that the station is constantly flooded with delegates and ambassadors from other worlds. While this is good for business and gives Absalom Station residents easy access to the movers and shakers of the Pact Worlds, it also creates tension, as these foreign nationals operate with varying degrees of diplomatic immunity. The Stewards, the Pact Worlds’ primary peacekeeping force, also maintain a headquarters on Absalom Station, and local laws allow corporations to employ private security in their holdings, so citizens sometimes find Absalom Station’s legal system a jurisdictional nightmare, while savvy criminals often manage to slip through the cracks. Those in the know often warn that the station is never more than one misstep away from chaos, as security contractors and militant zealots wage shadow wars with street gangs and each other, alien ambassadors negotiate world-shaking trade deals, and explorers go to any lengths to beat rivals’ claims to new planets. Still, station security does the best it can, and most denizens of Absalom Station live and work in relative safety—at least in the nicer neighborhoods.
Absalomians take deep pride in their political independence, but it comes at the price of fear. While some see the expansion of Pact Council power as the primary threat and others worry about corporate or military takeovers by other worlds, all realize how valuable their station is—and what a precarious situation that puts them in. Fortunately, whoever built the station seems to have had defense in mind. In times of conflict, a tremendous blast shield closes over the station’s central dome, and huge superlaser and mass driver batteries open all across the station’s surface, filling the void with a web of death while the station’s immense repositioning thrusters nudge it out of the way of danger. Though the station itself has relatively few military vessels—just enough for security to deal with problems in the Armada—this is a deliberate choice, as both the Steward fleet and the Armada are required to defend the station in times of trouble.