Wilke's Star was first settled in 2071. The system's only planet with the potential for life was far more distant than the Earth-orbit ideal. Earth Federation scientists decided to use it as the test subject for the first Atmosphere Condenser. However, the end result was imperfect. The atmosphere was breathable and could grow plant life, but low light from the distant sun mandated a "greenhouse effect" to create livable conditions. As a result, there is an almost constant cloud cover. Combined with the limited light, daylight never gets above twilight conditions.
This combination of factors made it ideal for vampires. When the Wraithlands were destroyed and the Kingdom of Enoch was established, Vampires opposed to the Camarilla fled to Wilke's Star and made it their base of operations. The continuing War of Blood between the Camarilla and the Sabbat led Ventrue to attack Wilke's Star in 2203 in an attempt to crush the Sabbat once and for all. It did not work, and Ventrue ended up dead, diablerized by Mordred. Arikel fled back to Enoch with the surviving members of the Camarilla and the Black Hand. Despite two attempts by the Tech Infantry to purge the Sabbat, one under Sarah Dunmeyer in 2225 and one under Arthur Clarke in 2236, vampires retained a large presence on this world, although Federation Crusader Teams forced them to operate in the secret. Many have suggested their presence has prevented later attempts to use improved atmospheric condensers to make Wilke's Star more livable.
Keystone of the Imperial South
After the Ascension War, Wilke's Star became the capital system of House Mallorea, a thinly-veiled front for the Sabbat. Thanks either to fortunate coincidence or sinister manipulation, the Imperial Navy's consolidation of the hyperspace network has left Wilke's Star in a critical strategic position. Through the jumpgates to Babylon and Jennifer's Star, and the hyperspace beacons to New Tokyo and Van Diemen, Wilke's Star controls the only connection between the Empire's Northern and Southern halves that does not require a long detour through alien territory.
Even without the massive tariff revenue (which only flows into Imperial coffers), House Mallorea has acquired tremendous wealth and power from this geographic advantage. Wilke's Star hosts one of the largest military supply depots in the Empire, supporting all the fleets and armies fighting at the Southern rim against the Bugs and Jurvain. The planet's orbitals are crowded with warehouses and transfer stations for merchants travelling to and from the wealthier Northern systems.
On the surface, life for the citizens of Wilke's Star has grown even more hellish since the Empire vanquished its competitors. Sabbat vampires now rules openly and, without the Earth Federation's guarantees of even the most basic human rights, have the mundane population entirely at their mercy. Ordinary Humans are regarded little better than cattle, bred and kept for their blood and their masters' amusement. Most dream of escape off-world, but few can afford it, and fewer are able to secure exit Visas from the Mallorean lords. Many choose to become ghouls simply to have a better shot at survival and earn even a bare minimum of respect from the vampires. The rest simply pray that they will not be selected in a hunt, or else join one of the frequent but futile attempts at rebellion.
Season Eight Alternate Timeline
After conquering the Earth Federation and its neighbors, Emperor Chiang I of the Eastern Bloc moved his court to Wilke's Star and declared the foundation of the Middle Kingdom. Supposedly this was done to take advantage of the central location of Wilke's Star, but a variety of conspiracy theories about the continuing Vampire presence on that world having a lot to do with that decision were popular at the time.
Behind the Scenes
Wilke's Star is pronounced "Will-ks" not "Will-kees."