A chipped voice begins speaking in soothing tones, "We are now in transfer orbit between Crystal Palace and the L4 habitat." The voice continues: "The habitat is located at a slot in the gravity well where its orbit is stabilized by the opposing forces of Earth and Luna. The habitat itself is contained inside a torus, which is 3.1km (1.8mi) in diameter. Four spokes, or lift-tubes, connnect the torus to a central core, called the Hub. We are beginning final docking maneuvers for the L4 North Airlock. Once through customs, use the tubelifts (elevators) to enter the habitat's living areas. Have a pleasant visit." A booming clang echoes through the cabin as docking clamps engage.
This facility, the oldest of the orbital habitats, began as the International Space Station in the late 20th Century. Renamed Heaven Star and refurbished after the economic collapses of the new millenium, it became a focal point for corporate research and expansion into space. Today it suffers from funding troubles and the disinterest of its sponsors-- illegal squatters outnumber its corporate 'citizens' by almost 50%.
As a fueling point and gateway station, Crystal Palace is small and austere by the opulent standards of most offworld resorts. It services connecting orbital flights between earthbound airports and colonies in higher orbits. The volume of travellers and goods it processes have created an effective backdrop for a flourishing black market of smugglers and illegal orbital transports.
Conceived from the start as a retreat for the rich and powerful, L4 was built upon lessons learned in the previous construction of the ill-fated L5 colony. Today, L4 is a bustling center of commerce and orbital tourism, with its high-stakes casinos, exotic vistas, and corporate venues. The Offworld Stock Exchange and major manufacturing facilities for the Mortius Biotechnologies Corporation are located here. The colony's owner, InterOrbital Operations, maintains its corporate headquarters in a giant arcology that dominates the habitat's landscape.
The raw material for building the orbital habitats had to come from somewhere, and lifting it out of the ailing Earth's gravity well was deemed prohibitively expensive. The hungry eyes of the corporations turned to Earth's natural satellite to fulfil their mineral needs. Mining outposts and proto colonies were established back as early as the mid 2010's to feed the growing demand. As the habitats neared completion, though, the demand for the services that the lunar colonies provided dried up, and with it the flow of cash and bodies to the moon also slowed to a trickle. In the modern age the few colonists still up there rattle through empty corridors inside the failing husks of their once productive facilities, looking up with jealousy at the gleaming jewel of the Earth above them.
Rumours abound that some corporate entities maintain black facilities on the dark side of the moon, conducting cutting edge weapons or biotechnology research away from prying eyes. InterOrbital Operations in particular are often the target of such speculation.