Edge of the Empire - Under the Heel
“Its size makes it appear closer than it is. But the Wheel’s reputation does not rest on its size. There are other constructions in the galaxy larger, more awesome… The Wheel is a monument. A monument to pleasure, to risk, to greed. And, to those with the need or the desperation… It is also a monument to life and death.”
―Statement on the Wheel’s importance
Well-known for its casinos, this space station resembled a huge wheel, with a central axis consisting of the main fuselage of the station. This axis was an immense cylinder, and at its midpoint there were four main spokes leading out to the circular promenade and inner-rim city. At the main axis’s top was the Wheel executive tower, where Simon Greyshade and later administrators lived and worked.
From the tower, people could access the main transport tube and travel through the entire installation in airflow cars. There were several other transport tubes besides the main one, but it had access to the Imperial dock, reserved for military personnel during the time of the Galactic Empire. All parts of the station were equipped with containment doors that could seal off damaged sections during an emergency. These walls were blast-shielded.
Sprouting from the circular section were nearly 100 docking piers, allowing any size of ship to safely approach and dock with the Wheel. Beyond these luxury docks, thousands of buoys were placed to allow for less expensive docking, with shuttles providing guests with transport to the station.
The outer section of the Wheel, which gave the station its name, was a sprawling city with an untold number of casinos, including the Crimson Casino and the Grand Casino, which were two of the Wheel’s star attractions. Deep in the central axis was also a gladiator arena, where all manner of beings were forced to fight to the death for the entertainment and wagering of the Wheel’s visitors.
The security and main systems of the Wheel were run by Master-Com, a super computer capable of projecting his consciousness into several droid bodies provided for him, in an unusual gesture of friendship between Human and droid, by Senator Simon Greyshade so he could move around the casino and to make him seem more Human.
Security was provided by a heavily-armed and well-trained organization known as the Wheel Security Force which helped enforce the law aboard the Wheel, as well as provide armed escort for winners of large jackpots at the casinos. In space, a fleet of ten Guardian-class light cruisers provided traffic control during the Galactic Civil War.
“Space may be freezing, but here the action’s hot, so book your trip today — at the Wheel, where no one gets left out in the cold!”
―The Wheel’s popular slogan
Origins and early history
The Wheel was constructed in 84 BBY by Doffen Gaitag of Qiraash and enjoyed immediate success and galactic fame as a gambling den. Gaitag eventually sold his station to Skijid Vrescot, a J’feh crime lord and the appointed Count of Cheelit, who succeeded Gaitag as the Wheel’s administrator. Vrescot used his acquisition to establish a network of Tirefin spice distribution to the Outer Rim Territories and renovated the station’s recycling systems, which were then utilized to refine Tirefin for increased potency.
The Clone Wars
Shortly after the First Battle of Geonosis, Jedi Master Tholme sent Aayla Secura to the Wheel to try and make contact with undercover Quinlan Vos. Vos had been working undercover to collect intelligence about the Separatists, however, the Jedi had lost contact with him. There, Vos and Secura, with the help of Khaleen Hentz, obtained a hologram informing the Separatist leaders of an imminent attack on Kamino in an attempt to cut off the Galactic Republic’s army.
The Galactic Civil War
During the height of the New Order, the Wheel was situated inside an “immunity sphere,” which meant that Imperial ships were not allowed to come to the station and all within could enjoy themselves while they were aboard. Only “financially worthy” customers were allowed to land. Those wishing to dock needed to have accounts totaling at least 10000 credits. The Empire had a space landing platform just outside the immunity sphere with two system patrol craft.
However, Senator Simon Greyshade, the station’s administrator at the time, paid his taxes regularly and often to appease the Empire. He also adhered to the Empire’s anti-alien biases, and while the station catered to Humans and near-Humans equally, any disputes that arose on the Wheel between alien and Human clients would be handled under the assumption that all alien species were “guilty until proven innocent.”