Beyond the Black
Phelan’s Recourse (usually just called “Phelan’s” by inhabitants) is the largest nomadic settlement in the system, with a population estimated around 250,000. Phelan’s is a swarm of some 10,000 small craft and tin can habitat modules that orbits Saturn along a highly elliptical path somewhat inclined to the plane of the ecliptic. The swarm’s orbit is calculated to maximize the number of encounters with near moons and stations, providing a six to eight hour window in which craft can leave the swarm for trade. Phelan’s Recourse passes through the rings once a month, allowing craft to resupply with water and volatiles.
Phelan’s accepts all comers. One could meet just about anyone here, from the government in exile of East Timor to Hasidim from Brooklyn. The core of the swarm is the Stills, a fusion-illuminated grain farm and distillery operated by an allegedly reformed gang of Irish travelers who conned their way off Earth a few weeks before the Fall and escaped to the outer system. The Stills produce Phelan’s Ma, the most sought-after whiskey in the system, and Phelan’s Da, possibly the worst beer ever made. Despite the Phelans’ protestations of legitimacy, the criminal element is heavily represented here. The swarm represents an important link in red and gray market supply chains.