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Prodigal Empires – The Planet of Arachne I

Arachne I (also known as Hermes) is a small planet in a synchronous rotation with the systems star means the same face is always facing the sun. This means it effectively has a ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ face. The Hot Face is excellent for skimming minerals off the burning surface though conditions mean mining parties can only be there for an hour, the cold surface is subject to more convention mining. Due to the planets density the gravity is roughly earth equivalent.

There are two independent colonies in the ‘temperate zone’ where they can use solar energy for their domed establishments both only numbering a couple of hundred.  There are two colonies on the cold surface. The Colonies are:

Trismegistus in the temperate zone & mainly settled by Guyanan colonists. At some point in the long multi-generation voyage from Earth the Pentecostal Christianity of the colonists became intermingled with Hermeticism so that their version of Christianity has many Gnostic elements to its theology and is characterised by a resistance to the dominance of either pure rationality or doctrinal faith. Hermes Trimegistus is venerated as a prophet as is William Blake, and their writings are featured in services. Pastors are laymen elected by their congregations and as well as their spiritual duties they form a Parish Council to administer the colony. In addition the big decisions are referred to quarterly public assemblies where direct Athenian style democracy occurs. Mining outputs are collected and sold by a Colony Co-operative to the big inter-stellar corporations or independent shippers.

Trimegistians wouldn’t bother with a military left to their own devices but due to their neighbours they operate a public militia of every able bodied adult serving best they can. Objectors are for instance trained as medics. They also have a small number of light nuclear missile for deterrence and to protect their orbital space.

Trimegistian culture is open and uses the best Human space has to offer though sexually explicit imagery is frowned upon. They have their own traditions in the form of Choir competitions and an abiding love of cricket which is played both inside the domes and also in space suits out in the temperate zones.  Despite their only being 1000 adult colonists it supports 5 Parish first XIs as well as a number of ‘B’ and ‘C’ Reserve teams.

Hermes Reich the other colony was settled by white supremacists who believed in national socialism and the Fuhrer principle. Every role in the colony is militarised, uniformed and tied up in bureaucratic rivalries. The Current Fuhrer is Eric Arkham a bookish neat, tidy man of New England extraction.  The Reich HATES the Trimegistians and attempts to conquer the ‘Untermensch’ in what’s been described in the Trimegistian Assembly as ‘Saturday morning cartoon villany.’ The Colony attempts to be self-sufficient but this means unpromising diets, restricted amateurish entertainment and out of date weaponary. This is confusing as the mining outputs are collected and sold to big inter-stellars in accordance with the colonies 4 year plan so it should be more prosperous. People do complain (very quietly) of corruption in the ruling party higher ups.

Sport is compulsory and therefore has most of the fun taken out of it. The Colonists speak a dialect combining English and German.

In terms of population the Reich is of a similar size to the Trimegistian colony. However it has a 4 separate miltiary and 3 security forces with overlapping responsibilities.

The Fuhrer Guard – based on the Waffen SS, an ‘elite’ platoon of 50 men devoted to protection of the Fuhrer and special forces operations.

Heer – the actual army – a professional core of officers and NCOs with conscript soldiers.  100 men at peace expanding to 200 if the reserves are mobilised.

Luftwaffe – the airforce, as Hermes does not have an atmosphere these are actually ‘man anti-shipping lasers and missles or operate as ground troops. 30 men in peace and 60 if fully mobilised.

Kreigsmarine – the Navy, consisting of an interplanetary shuttle The Adolph Hitler with a weak laser fitted.   The Trimegistian Assembly has passed a resoultion that if this gets in position to fire at their dome the Parish Council has permission to launch a nuclear missile at the Reich so it rarely flies other than to take officials on diplomatic missions off world.  There are also 5 ‘elite’ marines.

In addition the 30 men each Kriminal Police, Secuirty Police and Special Central Security Office could take up arms if needed to defend the colonies. (Each armed service also has at least 1 Military Policeman.)

Given 300 of the colonies population of 1000 adults are permanently devoted to military or security functions might also explain why the Colony is struggling. Given these numbers the Reich has had to concede on women’s right to work – in fact working women are the only thing keeping the colony going.

Breetown on the cold side of the planet recently the Arachne IV Monarchy has set up a small colony of the Royal Arachne IV Mining Company.  It is early days with an only a few dozen colonists making exploration digs. It has already had to defend itself against Reich & Ashe attacks. A Kentucky Rifles team has been hired to help the miners defend themselves.

Ashe is the final colony on the cold side of the planet. It has been settled by Korean-descended refugees from the Niptish Empire some 40 earlier. They repelled initial Reich attacks and reached a understanding with the Nazis after driving them back to their dome.  Ashe has subsequently operated an open door policy and attracted immigrants from across human (and even alien) space. Ashe has numerous dome and has grown rapidly to around 5000 adult colonists. Ashe takes a very laizze faire approach to government as a result it’s domes are chaotic and busy and colonists are encouraged to build their own extensions and family domes.

The King or Queen is head of state (a ceremonial position) is chosen an annual lottery, the President (the head of government) is directly elected by the population every 4 years and is assisted by a 10 person council which is half elected and half lottery ‘winners’. The idea behind the lottery system is everyone has to have an interest as anyone might be called upon to serve.

To defend itself colony relies on the right to bear arms and the on the colonists to form militias when danger threatens. There is a small Constabulary which enforce the laws and act as a border guards. The Chief Constable is one of the elected council. The Constables wear smart uniforms with peaker caps and sam browne belts but the militias often just have a lapel badge or arm band to identify them (and act as informal networks for business deals.)

The Korean origins of the Colony shows in elements of the culture such as elements of traditional dress (Hanbok), arts, folk dances,  predominance of rice based diets and combat sports. Religions are split between Korean Shamanism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Christianity plus those of the newer immigrants. Smoking is very common and the whole colony has bustling, noisy, neon lit energy to it.

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