Better sale than sorry
The PR includes all Commonwealth territory in Trojan Reach sector, save for Tobia and the Grudovo Pendant in trailing Tobia subsector, and Menorial subsector. In the Spinward Marches sector it includes the rimward portions of both Glisten and Trin’s Shroud subsectors and all worlds rimward and trailing of Collace (Spinward Marches 1237) and Forine (Spinward Marches 1533)
Mostly Imperial culture humans with sizeable Aslan (Fteirle) minority, the latter approaching fifteen percent of the total population. Droyne found on Bantral (Trojan Reach 1906), Clark (Trojan Reach 2322), and Iscand (Trojan Reach 2904) No other significant minor races exist beyond the Llarta of Craw (Spinward Marches 1939) and a few minor human races in Egyrn subsector. The Republic has the second largest population of any region of the Commonwealth, nearly twenty percent of the whole.
First known settlement of Trojan Reach sector and the rimward Marches by any starfaring race occured in -300,000, when the Ancients settled Gazulin (Trojan Reach 2708) and a few other worlds. After the destruction of these in the Ancient’s Final War, the region was deserted until the end of the Vilani Ziru Sirka period. Vilani colonists fleeing Vargr advances into Corridor sector after -2300 settled a few worlds, most notably Horosho (Spinward Marches 2138), and the region around Senlis (Trojan Reach 2108). The Trojan Reach Vilani built a sizeable pocket empire, which collapsed a few centuries later after a brutal bout of internal warfare involving bacteriological weapons. With the exception of Horosho, all of these colonies died out by -1400. Aslan Ihatei began crossing the Great Rift around -1000, though their numbers and organization were limited by the obstacles of Cross-Rift navigation. The Florians, a “manufactured” minor race native to Trojan Reach, reattained jump technology late in the Long Night period, and their Federation was recognised by the Imperium after 308.
After the collapse of the Rule of Man in -1776, a number of Solomani or mixed population groups made their way across the Great Rift not to long afterwards. Included in this mix were even a few Terran sublight missions that reached Rhysk (Trojan Reach 2304)and Caraz (Trojan Reach 2306) around -1550. Unlike their brethren that reached Foreven or coreward Spinward Marches, the Trojan Solomani were better organised and had better luck. Those that settled Gazulin were even able to maintain interstellar trade, albeit at the lowest possible tech level. The Gazulin Trade League lasted until -230 when it fell victim to internal tensions and piracy, though most of the human populated worlds that lie to spinward and rimward in Pax Rulin and Tobia subsectors and along the Borderlands are its lasting legacy. Scouts from the Third Imperium recontacted these colonists in 40, and Imperial Navy forces began securing the region for the Empire after the conclusion of the Vargr Campaigns. Many of the Solomani resented this intrusion and resisted the Imperium’s advance until 540, when the resistance leadership on Albe (Trojan Reach 2211) surrendered to Imperial forces. Piracy along the long and porous Imperial frontier remained a problem, thanks in large part to Zhodani interference after the Third Frontier War. The region’s remoteness continued to attract refugees and “runaway” colonists from as far away as the Solomani Confederation, and the lawlessness that accompanied them prompted the Imperium and Travellers’ Aid Society to place non-aligned worlds under a blanket red or amber zone declaration until after the Fifth Frontier War.
The disintegration of the Third Imperium after 1116 had significant consequences for the region. The withdrawal of the Corridor Fleet by Lucan the Black to fight Dulinor’s forces allowed Vargr corsairs to overrun Corridor Sector and menace the Domain of Deneb’s coreward and trailing border. Trojan Reach Sector Duke Quinn dispatched naval units from his sector to support the Domain against this threat, only to see Aslan Ihatei swarm into HIS sector shortly after the removal of these defenses. The Aslan advance swallowed up Sindal and Tobia subsectors, and Ihatei intruders were present on several worlds in every subsector between Gazulin and Mora. Only the timely divide-and-conquer policies of false accommodation pursued by Quinns successor, Sharik Arcadia, prevented the Aslan from overruning the entire rimward portion of the Domain.
Arcadia used solicitious diplomacy to carefully play the Ihatei factions off against each other. As infighting reached all the way back to the Tlaukhu clans that sponsored the invasion, the number of Ihatei immigrating to the Domain dropped off precipitously, and the Domain government was able to concentrate upon its more critical relations with the Zhodani and other Imperial factions. When the AI Virus escaped containment in 1130, the silicon predator raced through the war-ravaged data networks of the Imperium and its neighbors, bringing about the Collapse. Word of this approaching catastrophe led Deneb and its neighbors to enact the Spinward States Accords in 1130 to stave off its advance. But before the new Regency of Deneb could get to the business of defense, it had to reclaim its worlds in Trojan Reach. Under a carefully calculated policy, Regency forces bluffed or intimidated the Fteirle lords of these captured worlds into surrendering, and those populations that remained were assimilated into the Regency as citizens. On a few worlds, however, conditions did not warrant a full takeover, and the new landlords were legitimised as their rulers by the Regency government.
The populations of these “Fait Accompli” worlds protested this arrangement vigorously, and had the popular support of populations on liberated neighboring worlds. But the Regency government had to worry about the bigger threat of Virus, and backed up their overlords with its full legal might. That is not to say that First Regent Norris and his officials found the situation on these worlds to be adequate. While publicly the government supported the status quo, privately it fretted that tolerance of these governments would contradict the democratic reforms they intended to enact. Thus Norris tacitly approved of resistance efforts by fait accompli populations in spite of his declared support, which created an enormous “pretzel” of incoherent policy. When the Regency declared the Representational Reforms in 1152, the government tried to distance itself in a way that allowed it to straddle the controversy between the two sides. The result of this was the Liberation Riots of the 1160s, which very nearly started a war between them and the Hierate. The Regency government crushed the rioters and rebels at the behest of a peaceful accordance with the Fteirle government, giving the sector’s human population a reason for defiance. For decades afterwards, the liberated worlds walked a path of borderline rebellion with the Regency government.
Regent Caranda succeeded his mother in IY 1190, and worked for years to mollify the fait accompli situation and reconcile the aggreived worlds. To rectify the former, a military plan was drafted for retaking the worlds through limited “duel wars” and was placed on his agenda for the early 1200s. But it was delayed when the Zhodani Exodus crashed across the Regency’s borders in 1200. This distraction was followed by the reopening of the Regency Frontier in 1202, and the subsequent bloody confrontation with the Tong of Kaasu. After that the military option was impossible due to increasing priorities to spinward. But Caranda did manage a reconciliation with the “free soil” worlds by his steady support for the Mora Conventions and his support of local governments through a liberalised trade and tax policies. More importantly Caranda removed many of the oppressive martial law edicts, and the military forces garrisoned to enact them, that were imposed upon both free soil and fait accompli worlds after the Liberation Riots. His assassination therefore came as a major shock to the rimward populations, as did the high handed policies of his “temporary” successor, Lemat Arthurian.
Despite a history for rebellious sentiment, the “Populists” of Trojan Reach were more radical than reactionary. Compared to the Purifier faction of Spinward Marches and Sabinar, they were more faithful to Norris’s original democratic vision and increasingly antiauthoritarian. When Arthurian made his imperialist pretensions evident through increasingly aggressive moves towards the Zhodani, popular sentiment turned against him and his government very quickly. The Black Regent was more concerned with stabilising the Regency’s rimward borders in anticipation of his war with the Zhodani than in ameliorating the intolerable politics that made it so unstable in the first place. This rekindled resistance to the Regency government, and by IY 1230/NE 30 the region was a tinderbox.
Arthurian’s options for dealing with this defiance, which was vertically distributed from the dingiest streetcorner to the sector goverment and local military garrisons, was limited by the increasing allocation of resources to spinward. So in 1231 he “reorganised” the sector’s military forces and defenses, firing or purging key military officers from vital border defense fleets or posts, and playing havoc with its logistics. He also created the impression among the fait accompli lords and their crossborder sponsers of momentary weakness through leaks and careful diplomacy. He had hoped that this policy would silence his critics, by preoccupying them with their own security, long enough to permit his glorious expedition to Zhdant to proceed unhindered by their criticism and resistance. After he had recreated the Imperium, he would then have the prestige to silence them permanently.
But the Grand Fleet’s defeat at Zarontse in NE 32 robbed him of his dream, and it created instant chaos within the Reach. When word of the defeat reached the Hierate, a number of clans defied the orders of the Tlaukhu to immediately launch a new offensive across the border. Just as in IY 1116, the local garrisons were to disorganised to put up an effective defense. This time, however, the local population was better able to recover from the initial shock of the attack to put up effective guerilla resistance. And on the worlds of Albe, Gazulin and Neumann, the besieged defenders were able to hold off the invaders with the concentric rings of defenses constructed by the Regency just for such an eventuality. The Fteirle forces were not as well organised as in 1116, in part because of factionalism on the Tlaukhu, and their fleets were hung up at Neumann, Glisten and Tobia. After about a year of inconclusive fighting, the invaders attempted to smash Neumann’s defenders in a mass attack, but were decimated themselves by the unexpected firepower of its defenses. Admiral Hiroe Kayoi used this setback to launch her Red Fleet to Tobia, destroying the Aslan fleet there without worry of enemy reinforcements. She relieved Neumann and Gazulin, retook Peridot and rescued Pax Rulin and Sindal subsectors in convergence with forces that broke out of Glisten and Collace. When the Ihatei factions refused to accept a peace agreement that divested them of their fait accompli conquests, Kayoi invaded the Borderlands, crushing the Ihatei in battles at Oiwoiieaw (Trojan Reach 1723) and Khusai (Trojan Reach 2023). Kayoi dictated terms to the broken Tlaukhu, and the Peace of Tyokh gave the new Commonwealth of Deneb control of every human populated world in the Reach, and replaced the older Treaty of Ftahalr with an updated nonaggression pact.
Because of their diverse roots in Imperial and Terran culture, and a lengthy history of self-rule before the Third Imperium’s advent, the people of the Republic refer to themselves as Populists. The Imperium found this region a challenge to rule during its reign, and later governments, including the Commonwealth, have had only slightly more success in bending its citizens to its will. That is not to say that they are Anti-Government, but the passing of several interstellar governments from the scene in their long history has made them unwilling to trust central authority beyond tangible programs or policies. Though the Commonwealth is much more in keeping to their otherwise impossible standards, they have promised no letup in keeping it to its promises of fair and honest government.
Like their Strongholder neighbors, the Populists prefer to live in a world defined by set lines and categories. Contracts, with their definitions and limits, are to them the backbone of orderly society within a chaotic universe. But where Strongholders tend towards worship of the tangible, and become rigid and inflexible towards change, Populists see it merely as an important transition in this messy thing we call life. This tends to make them paradoxical: both curmudgeonly and warmly loving towards their fellow man. They are perfectionist to a fault, but are unusually generous in their defense of those unfortunates who do not live up to their lofty standards. They worship law and order, but are unusually liberal at times in their interpretation. They are continually suspended between their straight shooting ideals and the bumpy frictional ride of real life. Behind their walls of definition and order they tend towards paranoia and fear, but can be counted upon in crisis to be among the first to dart out towards the enemy. Their neighbors find them to be weird and wonderful at the same time.
The Populists sense of isolation was reinforced by the Regency governments public tilt towards the fait accompli lords, and Norris’s dishonest liberation policies. Because of these policies of accommodation, and their partial adoption of Fteirle culture, they became virtual outsiders within their own country. The Liberation Riots and subsequent flirtations with Sword World terrorist organisations like the Swords of Vengeance and the Jormungandr alienated mainstream Regency society for several decades, and created an atmosphere of distrust with the Regency government. But it was this outcast status that allowed them to bitterly oppose the Purifiers and their carefully hidden cynicism behind the policies of Lemat Arthurian. With few exceptions, the Stronghold and Corridor mainly, resistance in most of the Regency to the Black Regent was muted. In the Thinrim it was vehement. And though it eventually cost them when Arthurian abandoned them to the Fteirle, their activism encouraged the more placid but better organized resistance of the Stronghold, which eventually became the launching ground for the Liberator coup.
Populist culture is tailor-made for coexistence with their alien neighbors. Despite their anger towards the petty tyranny of the Fait Accompli clans, they were much better equipped than anyone (including their conquerors) at learning and mastering the interloper’s culture. The Fteirle simply possessed a culture that was in many ways a more intense version of their own. During the Regency Century the self styled “New Lords”, human politicians that had mastered the Fteirle Codices of Sakolusalo that governed honor, rose to prominence in the Reach’s political hierarchy and drove their neighbors to fits. The Fteirle learned to respect, even fear, these councilors when disputes drew them into their territories. Local military units learned to govern their fear in battle through rituals and simple mental conditioning, and were often the equal in valor to Aslan militia units.
For their part the humans created copied many of the family structures and traditions of their neighbors, and extended clans ruled by a handful of esteemed elders had become the social norm. Upbringing of children is very conservative, and the adults tend to look down upon the more frivolous entertainments of Metropolitian Commonwealth. Local human children are the wards of their families until the age of sixteen, then undergo a coming-of-age ceremony during which they determine their future career paths, and then enter into training for a profession or vocation. When a newly confirmed adult enters an undertaking, he or she is obligated to carry it out to a successful or satisfactory conclusion, lest it dishonor them, their family and their community. Military service is popular, and most adults have some kind of martial training, though this usually consists in drilling, self-discipline or an understanding of the Commonwealth’s military traditions. The status of persons in a clan depends upon both their public distinction and their political skills: many families are dominated by powerbrokers who operate behind-the-scenes by using their distinguished accomplishments as barter.
Businesses are often family owned, either by an individual clan or through a network of interlocking ownerships and franchises. This only extends to small businesses however, and larger companies are closer to the Commonwealth norm. Property lines are carefully delineated, though are not as rigidly held as their alien neighbors, being more in line with the “dotted line” capitalism of the Stronghold. A well developed legal profession caters to both business and individuals, and contract law is very clearly spelled out. Common law predominates here more than statutory law, and abstract third party regulation is resisted vigorously. This has led the Commonwealth government to directly negotiate with the locals for mutual benefit, rather than merely dictate bureaucratic directives from afar as the Imperium and Regency did.
The usual sexual distinction between male and female in Fteirle culture is abhorrent to the Populists, who tend to be more female dominated as most Commoner cultural groups are. The extension of dueling codes to them has made the local humans quite capable at defending themselves either with a blade or unarmed. Artwork, especially visual and poetic arts, are highly prized, both because of their proximity to aliens that treasure such works, and because of their own highly developed traditions in these areas. Poetic verse is often used as a means of communication between different communities, particularly in negotiation and conflict resolution, and a person who can masterfully conduct themselves in language is highly honored and has a significant advantage in business and political dealings.
6 Worlds of the People’s Republic:
PR worlds are generally run down in appearance. Their architecture is designed to be nondescript and generally bland to preserve the privacy of their inhabitants, and keeping interactions between local clans and outsiders to a formal few. Usually few of their worlds have the soaring skylines more typical of Sabinar or the Islands, and a great many of their business areas are built in cramped, open building or even underground. Orbital and grav-assisted habitats are common, though most of these are not open for business or uninvited contact. This aloofness extends to public landscaping: most cities are subdivided into wards by walls, strategic placing of foilage and natural obstacles, and changes in zoning. The interiors of homes are much more opulently furnished than is indicated by their external surroundings, and many include courtyards with running pools of water and leafy gardens.
Travellers are more often confined to the sprawling startowns. Here accommodations are opulent and affordable, amenities are abundant, and security is unusually tight. Most business with the locals is afforded through special “speaker rooms”, secure auditoria and conference rooms provided at most hotels with a modicum of privacy. Honored guests and longterm employees are more often put up within the private homes or employer provided housing, and are not subjected to the cold shoulder. These communities are very well patrolled by police and Brotherhood cadres, both public and privately employed. Trespassing is a serious crime, though simple asking of permission from the landholder or manager is usually sufficient to gain access to most areas. Most facilities, with the exception of most government offices, requrie some sort of reservation or appointment to access, and uninvited guests are often blackballed from the premises and their personnel for long periods of time.