New Mecca is a Star System that while not exactly a Core World possesses a unique place within the Heaven’s Gate setting. New Mecca begins with a story surrounding a particularly nasty flexing of The Church’s power.
In 2285 The Church decided to test its strength by declaring that Sol would be a system of only one faith, and demanded that the believers of any other religion immediately leave the star system. This event is referred to as The Last Crusade. The Islamic peoples of Earth were the most vocal about there resistance to this idea, and they paid the biggest price because of it. The opening salvo of the war was the immediate destruction of the Island nation of Indonesia by orbital bombardment which was the largest population of Islamic faithful on Earth. When the Islamic fundamentalists did not respond to this prodding The Church then sent its military into the Arabic peninsula to start a program of cleansing and containment. The war lasted 4 years, but its outcome was known the day The Church threatened the destruction of Mecca. The Islamic people eventually capitulated and allowed the Kaaba to be moved rather than having it destroyed. This precipitated the event known as The Great Hajj, when the Kaaba and the remaining Islamic people were transported by The Church to a new Star System.
The Church gave very few options to the Islamic people, but in the end a great leader, the Ayatollah Najar, chose a system that he believed to be of Holy significance, and possibly the birth place of the Hijre Aswad. The system itself is composed of 5 planets and three asteroid belts. Three of the planets are Gas Giants, and one of them is a lifeless rock much like Sol’s Mercury. This leaves only one barely habitable world, which is now known as New Mecca, and is the source of the systems name. It is a mostly desert world with only 15% of its surface covered in water. The open water of this world tends to be very salty, and undrinkable. There is little plant life on this world, and as a result the population of the planet is extremely limited.
The Government of New Mecca allows only 500 million permanent residents on the planet’s surface, the number of people on the planet greatly swells during the Hajj. Most of New Mecca’s population can be found in Labor Enclaves built on space stations within the Asteroid Belts or near the mine-able Gas Giants.
The economy of New Mecca is completely dependent on the import of goods from other systems. With almost little in the way of viable exports, New Mecca turns to its only real source of raw goods people. New Mecca is the training grounds of some of the finest assassins and spies in all the known galaxy. New Mecca’s warriors often remind the galaxy that it was the people of the Middle East that are often credited with the creation of the concept of spy-craft. New Meccas sons often leave their homes behind to find fortune in the galaxy, sending almost all of their money back to the families they left behind.
Given the skill of New Mecca’s warrior elite, The Church has created one massive hitch in their travels. Any individual who wishes to leave New Mecca must register their DNA with the Cathedral Station at New Mecca’s Heaven’s Gate. Once registered that person is never allowed to return to New Mecca until they reach the age of 90. Since the average lifespan of most of these wandering warriors is somewhere near 40 years, very few ever return.
Periodically some charismatic leader rises up amongst the Muslim people, and speaks of resisting the edicts of The Church; their movements are very shortly lived as the threat of Excommunication would be a death sentence for New Mecca’s 4 billion people.