Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Meni Bana

System: Meni Bana
Hex Location: 1627
Star Type: Double (distant) G8V and a black hole
Number of Worlds: 6 and 5
Gas Giants: 5 and 4
Planetoid Belt: No, and Kuiper and asteroid belt, respectively

Starport Type: C
World Size: Artificial (i.e., tiny)
Atmosphere Type: N/A
Surface Water: N/A
Population: Medium (3 million)
Political Affiliation: Dhangetan Cartel
Tags: Xenophilia, Hostile solar system, Boom Town / Gold Rush
Notes: It's always fun when the dice cooperate.  The likelihood of me rolling up a black hole or other exotic star for the second star in a double system was already low, but what are the odds that I'd also get the Hostile Solar System tag?  It looks like I hand-picked that tag, but actually I didn't.  It was all serendipitous.

Meni Bana is under the control the Dhangetans, although no Dhangetan lives in the system on a permanent basis.  Rather, it is governed by their Lieutenant Zenin Nkazao, a skiffer warlord (imagine the skiffers as a hybrid between a zabrak and the kroot in appearance.)  It is an unusual system, made up of two "suns", one of which is similar to our own, but the other of which is a black hole.  They are in a distant orbit as far as companions go, so their interactions with each other are somewhat limited.  Both "suns" have a suite of planets, all but one of which are gas giants (albeit with many rocky and icy moons.)  But nobody lives on the airless rocky worlds either, except for small settlements of pilgrims, miners or hermits, all of which are officially uncharted.  The largest settlement in the system is a large space station in close orbit to one of the gas giants, which serves as a gateway to the system, as well as a facility for fuel refining.

The gigantic artificial capitol of Meni Bana
Many of the people who staff Nkazao's staff are Cilindareans, and he has a strange fascination for their culture.  They are often given favored status in Meni Bana, either because of Nkazao's preference for them, or because of the Cilindarean staff's own preference for their own.  Many have come to Meni Basa in recent years, drawn especially by the chance for wealth.  They make up a sizable plurality in the system, which sometimes brings them into conflict with the others who live here, because they are not shy about exercising their political capital.

People are scattered all through the system, however.  There are two other features of the Meni Bana system that make it more interesting than it otherwise might have been—long after the Dhangetans claimed and colonized the system, it was discovered than an ancient Marian treasury convoy came to a bad end in the system.  The wreckage of their treasure ships (and of course, their cargo of treasure) are scattered throughout the system, most especially in the orbit of the distant black hole.

This means that while there is tons of wealth just flying around out there in space for the finding and taking, which brings many would-be treasure hunters to system, of course, it's all "buried" in the gas and dust disk that circles the black hole.  It's immensely difficult to actually find anything, and there are lots of risks associated with treasure-hunting in the gravity well of a black hole.  Many treasure hunters never return from their forays into the realm of the black hole, and few of those who do come back with a big score.  But that doesn't dissuade those who are sufficiently comfortable with the risks from trying, and Meni Bana has assumed a gold rush town status—people from all over showing up to strike it rich, or die trying.

Due to its location, there are many routes that these prospectors and treasure hunters take into Meni Bana, which contributes to its cosmopolitan nature (which in turn contributes to simmering conflict, that is often ethnic or political in nature, and stems from events happening outside of the system.)  Revanchist citizens can easily reach Meni Bana from any of the worlds of the Carthen Colony and many from the Rhyne Colonies.  Bernese can reach it from Eliane (which admittedly, isn't the best vector to travel through, given that Eliane is itself a pretty rough frontier world without much in the way of services—but it does reach Meni Bana without making a risky 4-hex jump.)  All of the worlds of the Principality of Tan Kajak can also reach Meni Bana, bringing the baleful eye of the Heathens.  And, of course, it's easily reached from Dhangetan worlds Drini IV or even Moise.  Cilindareans cannot reach Meni Bana directly from one of their own worlds, but Cilindareans have always been comfortable and even usually welcome to travel through Dhangetan worlds, and the two Dhangetan worlds mentioned above are near their world Peleres.  It is interesting to note that space lanes from the rest of the Cilindarean Arm are rather lacking; there is a "hole" in galactic space between the majority of the Cilindarean Arm and the worlds of theirs that are close to the Dhangetan Cartel, requiring a rather lengthy journey around, and often through systems that the Cilindareans do not directly control.

For Menian denizens other than the strangely Cilindareophile Nkazao, this is seen as probably a good thing, as it means that armies of Cilindariates and mothakes won't be arriving any time soon in a wave of expansion.  However, one of the political intricacies of Meni Bana is that it is no secret that Zenin Nkazao has worked with some Cilindarean warlords to destabilize and offer up systems of the Rhyne Colony as easy potential conquests.  Given this, along with its proximity to territory of literally every other major power in the sector, Meni Bana is a strangely relevant political Schwerpunkt to galactic politics for the entire sector.  Nkazeo hasn't the foresight to see what he may have unwittingly unleashed with his unusual Cilindareophile attitude, but all of the major powers are looking at sending additional resources nearby, and an escalation of tensions centered on Meni Bana seems to be a very real risk.

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