Monday, May 22, 2017

Beodon

System: Beodon
Hex Location: 1827
Star Type: Double (distant) G5 V, K2 V
Number of Worlds: 9, 8 (17)
Gas Giants: 1, 2 (hot Jupiter)
Planetoid Belt: Cometary and asteroid belt (x2)

Starport Type: E
World Size: Larger than earth
Atmosphere Type: Earth-like
Surface Water: 100%
Population: Superpopulated (12 billion)
Political Affiliation: Carthen Colony (Revanchist Republic)
Tags: Boomtown / Gold Rush, Regional dominance, Zombie plague
Notes:  (Aside before I begin... I rolled up all this data randomly.  All of it.  This is a weird world, in some ways, but at the same time... one that I think really speaks to the strength of the random generation, even when you're using it to fill in systems that are part of space-faring nations that you've already determined.  I needed a head for the Carthen colony, and this is obviously it, based on the rolls that I got.  But a 100% water world, with 12 billion people, only a class E "frontier" style starport and a... zombie plague?  This turned out quite interesting...)

The strange, underwater spaceports of Beodon
Beodon was once a populous and important part of the Carrick.  Although larger than Earth, the core of the planet is less dense, and the gravity is only slightly above Terran average, making life here relatively easy.  The majority of the original colonists were the same, therefore, as that of the Carrick; Bernese humans of Earth-ancestry, with small but significant pluralities of some Altairans, some cepheids and cetians (an element of the population that grew over time, given the aquatic nature of Beodon.)  The oceans are relatively shallow, and vast underwater cities were founded, many of which have since risen well above the surface to become legitimate skyscrapers.

Beodon became a commercial and economic rival within the Carrick with Jhantor as it grew; the smaller, scrappier, leaner and meaner version of Jhantor, as they styled themselves.  This rivalry grew intense between the elites of the two worlds, who were the commercially and politically connected.  Ninety-three years ago, however, something happened that changed all of that.  A plague broke out on Beodon; a designer plague, according to epidemiologists who were eager to suggest that corporate or political espionage was the source of it.  Its victims didn't die immediately, but their cerebral activity rapidly devolved into savagery, and the victims became hyper-violent, insane, subhuman and cannibalistic.  This cerebral degeneration also causes them to be largely immune to shock of injury or pain; they really only "stop" when they've broken down physically sufficiently that they aren't able to continue.

What really caused this "zombie plague"?  Nobody really knows.  Corporate interests on Jhantor are largely blamed on Beodon itself, at least in official propaganda.  Honestly, the rank and file Beodonian is starting to seriously doubt this narrative; a conspiracy theory in which their own treasonous elite engineered the plague to create an excuse for political break with the Carrick due to bribes or kickbacks given to them by the Revanchists has spread like wildfire.  A subversive death sage experimenting with new ways of priming populations for undeath; "terraforming" live worlds into undead ones, in a way, is a popular rumor among off-worlders who are familiar with the situation.  But nobody has any hard answers.  What everyone does know is that this plague is deadly and devastating.  Although largely contained as of right now, it affected as much as 25% of the population at its height, and fears of new outbreaks loom like a shadow over the entire world.  Quarantine zones are strictly and harshly patrolled.  Nobody really knows how many victims live in the quarantine zones.  They could be largely depopulated.  Or they could be teeming with billions of victims.  Nobody wants to go in and find out; they are just sealed and heavily guarded, mostly by robotic soldiers who are not at risk of contracting the plague themselves should there be a break-out of some kind.

Plague victim on an artificial sandy island
This incident and its lingering aftermath had a profound political effect on Beodon and the remaining population.  Angry recriminations and inter-colonial warfare loomed imminent.  As the Revanchists continued their expansion in the region, Beodon split with the Carrick and a Revanchist fleet arrived to support their claims.  Immigration increased tremendously from Republic space, bringing with it new cultural mores; Jaffans and Psarians in particular.  They came in large enough numbers to threaten the dominant culture of Beodon, and they brought with them Revanchist troops that backed them over the natives.  At first, the horror of the plague was deemed sufficient justification for tolerating this, but as the years went on, the plague seemed to reach a kind of equilibrium of sorts, and it became clear that they had merely allowed themselves to be militarily conquered (by invitation, no less) resentment grew among the natives.  The situation on Beodon is today quite tense.  Domestic terrorism, résistance, freedom fighters, guerillas, 4GW fighters—whatever you want to call them—have made life very unpredictable on Beodon.  Vast areas of buildings, largely abandoned to plague victims, are still swarming with them, and occasionally they break through and wreak localized havoc before they can be put down.  The only people who have a modicum of peace are the aquacultural farmers who are removed from the source of either political or epidemiological tension.

Republic forces have created what is in effect a police state, heavily blockaded, and rigidly controlled on Beodon, to attempt to squash both the unrest and the plague danger—although the Revanchist governor has hinted broadly that opening up the sealed plague areas as a form of punishment for domestic violence is not off the table.  Smugglers, many from the Carrick, who now see their erstwhile rivals as heroic and oppressed cousins in need of relief is the prevailing opinion here, and Carrick pilots with letters of marque (or simply less respect for Revanchist authority) see themselves as swashbuckling, idealistic heroes.  In part because of this bubbling tension, there is a booming industry in settlement and gun-running, and other black-market deals. Mercenaries are flocking to the planet in droves, with fat contracts, ready to suppress any uprisings.  Jaffans and Psarians in particular are coming to settle, while many of the mercenaries are Cilindareans, Janissaries, or even more unsavory types.

Ethnic tension is also very strong.  The Psarians and Jaffans tend to be tolerant of the oppressive, capricious and corrupt Revanchist government, and support it (in part, because it favors them over the natives) while the Bernese and non-humans hate it.  This is what causes the starport to be of such low quality—between terrorism threats and zombie threats, the high quality starports of the past are abandoned, or otherwise considered too dangerous to use, and therefore are officially quarantined.  Ships arriving touch down in hastily constructed substitutes, get unrefined fuel cracked from the ocean-water that covers the surface, and head off again sooner rather than later.

In short, Beodon is a watery time-bomb politically, and even in Capital Publius and Dimidium Secundus, the Prime Minister and the King look hesitantly at Beodon and the Carthen/Carrick tension as a potential flashpoint that has known-space spanning implications.  It could be the Sarajevo of known space.  It certainly has no shortage of would-be Gavrilo Princips, although the elites on both sides are wary enough to avoid being the Archduke Franz Ferdinand—at least so far.

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