Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Bernese Colony Lanes

The Monarchy is challenged in regards to its colonies in the "south" of the New Alderamin sector; of which they have several large, profitable, and politically powerful colonies.  However, they have no direct access to them.  Looking at the full sector map, you'll notice that the Monarchy's main territory, the southern reaches of which are shown at the top and top west especially of the map, are completely cut off from their colonies in the south by a vast sea of green; the Cilindarean Arm.  While the Monarchy does, of course, have access to space lanes (not shown here) by treaty both with the central Cilindarean government, but also with several specific system governments to reach their colonies, the reality is that the Bernese colonies have always had to be more self-sufficient and self-reliant than the colonies of the other major powers.  The Revanchists and the Empire can reach their colonies through stops of territory that they own or are allied with, with only a few treaties with other systems, and as such, both are at a logistical advantage relative to the Monarchy when it comes to the supply and management of their colonies—although that advantage isn't always realized (the Imperial colonies in particular, are surprisingly autonomous, and don't want to be tied down by Imperial policy if they can.  And the bureaucracy of the Revanchists is infamously corrupt.  Plus, the Bernese tend to be more self-sufficient by nature and require less support, meaning that this advantage is more true on paper than in reality.)

That said, the Bernese colonies tend to be quite well connected with each other, at least, and have developed space lanes that allow them to remain connected.  Although each is autonomous from the other, and there are sometimes serious differences of personality, culture and policy between the various colonies, they do tend to act, in some ways, as a joint entity comparable (in some ways) to a smaller power like the Cilindareans or the Dhangetans rather than simply transplanted islands of the Monarchy.  A few far-sighted people predict that complete independence of the colonies, probably united in confederation, lurks in the future, requiring only the spark of a bad monarch to push them to revolt and declaration of independence.  Luckily for the Monarchy, Maddav Bern III, the current Rex, is disengaged and therefore not all that bad.  He offers little benefit to the colonies by his policies, but he's sympathetic to them in general and mostly leaves them alone to conduct their affairs according to their own desires—exactly as the colonial governors, counts and dukes want.  Maddav Bern is approaching middle age, and remains without heir—so who knows what the next few years will bring.

The Colony Lanes, shown below, connect the colonies quite closely.  Traditionally, the Bernese Colony space lane starts in New Rodinia, a trade hub of some importance, where goods come into the southern edge of the sector.  Of course, many traders and travelers join the space lane further in.  In the past, when the Carthen Colonies belonged to the Carrick Grand Marches, they were included in the lanes, but since their alignment with the Revanchists many years ago, those spurs have been cut off and are infrequently used.  Rather, from New Rodinia, the lane passes through the Grand Carrick systems, usually starting with the super-populated (yet curiously frontier-themed) Shahar, and the super-populated urban Jhantor.  (The rest of the Carrick is usually serviced by "local" trade with Jhantor rather than directly from the space lane itself.)  The lane continues to Freeport, a friendly independent system, although it sometimes passes through Voormellei on the way.

Fotta Zonaii is another important connector system; also independent although historically friendly to the Bernese.  Fotta Zonaii is currently undergoing a civil war, which makes it less desirable as a stop than it used to be, but there are few good options to replace it.  Republic world Hata would make a possible re-route to avoid Fotta Zonaii, but the desperate and incompetent governor of Hata, Abembo Gama, has made it even worse than Fotta Zonaii even with the civil war.  Wary Republic ally Shoa-Shanian is a possibility, but that would leave New Titania out of the loop, bypassing it, which is politically difficult.  Right now, this remains a weakness in the space lane that needs to be solved diplomatically—although independent traders who are less invested in the political back and forth are capable of using many of these options without much fuss.

Passing through the relatively friendly independent system Annon, the lane now splits and can go many different ways depending on the specific travel needs desired.  Most often, it jumps from Annon to Heastead and from there can go to any of the systems of the Emerus Marches.  Wild frontier port Oerken is a stop from either the Emerus Marches, or even directly from Annon to the Viomium Marches.

From Heastead, the trade route typically avoids the Takach Kingdom, which tends not to bother the Takach, who like their privacy and are wary of foreigners. (To be fair, they've got a complicated relationship with both the Cilindareans and the Janissaries, with both of whom they claim genetic linkages, and they have fought many fierce wars against Umbral Crusaders who have tried to incorporate their systems into one of the Outremer satrapies.)  But mostly the route doesn't stop at Takach because unless someone is traveling specifically to the Takach Kingdom, it doesn't have to.  Cilindarean world Pentase has built its wealth on being a trade hub between Bernese colonies, and actively encourages passage.  This sometimes brings the local government of Pentase into low-grade conflict with some other Cilindarean interests, but the use of Pentase as the anchor of this leg of the space lane is unlikely to change anytime soon.  From Pentase, the entire Machesk Frontier is opened up and accessible.  The "northernmost" Machesk World, Kereux, is the bridge that makes it to the Bechtel Marches, albeit with at least two stops through Altairan Ascendency worlds.  The Altairan Ascendancy has always been friendly to the Bernese colonies, but after political crises with Revanchist expansion, and then the establishment of Imperial Outremer, that relationship has only strengthened considerably, and the Colonials almost see the Altairans as brothers-in-arms, if you will; not exactly part of the Colonial orbit, but their closest allies in the region.  The same people who predict that some day in the future the Bernese colonies will form a new nation, or at least confederation, connected to each other, wonder if the northern Altairan Ascendancy will join them.

As an interesting note, although it's been more than a century since it's been used, the old space lane had a much shorter option.  In this scenario, Beodon was still a Carrick system, not one allied with the Revanchists, and the Umbral Crusade that conquered Hentau III and Perchta had also not happened yet.  All three of those worlds would have shown as solid red planets 125 years ago.  Now, the route is completely closed except to those few travelers who are comfortable and capable of traveling through Monarchist, Revanchist and Imperial space with impunity.

NOTES: STAR SYTEM DATA SHEETS required: Pentase (1131), Annon (1734), Shoa-Shanian (1933) and New Titania (1934).  All of the Bernese colony worlds, on the other hand, will be done anyway, although of them, Kereux (1028) and Heastead (1433) seem to be the most urgent.

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