The Labyrinth


The Labyrinth, also known as ‘The Lab’, is an impoverished city located in the Noctis Labyrinthus. Formerly a processing camp for illegal immigrants to Tharsis, Labyrinth is today divided by factional violence, a legacy of its revolutionary beginnings. Unusually for Martian colonies, the majority of Labyrinth is above the surface. It uses the steep canyons of the Noctis Labyrinthus, and in many places, a specialized black lichen to reduce radiation exposure. Most Labyrinth structures are temporary housing which has by necessity become permanent, so makeshift repairs like patch jobs, citizen-implemented wiring, and impromptu excavation are commonplace.

  • Government: Disputed
  • Head of state: Disputed
  • Sovereignty: Disputed - de jure owned by Tharsis Landing
  • Location: Noctis Labyrinthus, Mars
  • Established: Settled 2033. City incorporated 2041.
  • Major ports: Terminal, maglev station; Royal Carriers, launch facility (privately owned)
  • Industries: Clothing, electronics
  • Currency: USD, CNY
  • Population estimate: 2,000,000
  • Languages: English, Portuguese
  • Religions: Catholicism


In 2033, Tharsis opened the Noctis Regional Processing Facility at the then-terminus of the maglev line in the Noctis Labyrinthus. Over the next two years of expansion and construction, 50,000 illegal immigrants in Tharsis and nearby Martian colonies were relocated to Noctis Facility for processing and incarceration, ostensibly until deportation to Earth could be arranged. These 50,000 were later dubbed The First Intake. Though the costs of deportation realistically prevented it from happening, tens of thousands more ‘illegals’ were identified, captured, and sent to Noctis Facility under this pretense.

Independence movements in Noctis gained popularity among the inmates, which by 2040 numbered in the hundreds of thousands. A prolonged campaign of both nonviolent and violent resistance began. Four successive wardens of Noctis either resigned or fell victim to violence in Noctis. In 2041, representatives of Tharsis entered negotiations with resistance leaders to grant the Noctis Facility its independence. The winner of the first open elections was the Humanist Movement. This triggered another period of instability as they were believed to be sympathetic to Tharsis, and their opposition made formal allegations of electoral fraud.