Valhalla is a small, hot world, comprising equal parts of tropical jungle and desert. Water covers only one third of its surface, but they team with native life. The seafood of Valhalla is a gourmet’s dream, complicated only by the dangers involved in fishing on the planet, which is subject to violent storms throughout the year. The Valhalla serpent is incorrectly named, since it is anatomically related to the mammal like native animals of the world. It grows to lengths in excess of thirty metres in the deep ocean regions of the planet and careful control of hunting of the creatures maintains the population at a sustainable level. The serpent is the source of cabitol oil and greaver, used in pharmaceuticals and beauty products throughout human space, and its brilliantly patterned hides adorn the most wealthy of the Federation.
This system is remarkable in that it was the first on which life was discovered off Earth. The first intrepid pioneers led by John Taylor set up a settlement and named it Taylor Colony. They were very successful and used the fertile land for agriculture, which was fully automated. The population grew rapidly and revenue was earned from hunting which more or less wiped out the indigenous life. When word got back to the Authority for Ecological Control they became concerned and issued guide-lines for conservation, which were duly ignored. The hunting of wildlife and destruction of habitats continued until Earth threatened to send a police force. John Taylor was a particularly hot headed individual and started to insist that independence from Earth was granted to the Tau Ceti system. Trade embargos failed and finally a military force was sent out by Earth believing that Tau Ceti would not have the resolve to resist. A battle followed which resulted in an impasse -surprising the authorities. Eventually after much diplomacy the deadlock was broken was by forming the Federation including Tau Ceti and Earth amongst others as founder members. The unfortunate creatures that fuelled the whole debacle which led to this extremely powerful alliance, virtually died out. Today they remain in small numbers in enclosures and sanctuaries.
Most visitors to the Sirius system are disappointed at how little there is to see, given its importance in human history. It has numerous firsts to its name, in addition to being the brightest star in the sky of ancient Earthbound humans. Doubtless the guides in the Sirius Museum Complex on Lucifer will tell you, this was the first entirely corporate system, and the location of the first commercial production of anti-matter based fuels.
A very small system with little to attract any interest. The only reason it is mentioned here is the curious ecosystem on the ice world Merlin. All the indigenous life is beneath the ice of the vast salt-water ocean, which covers the entire world. It exists in large pockets of gas, trapped beneath the permanent stable ice sheet, and in the oceans themselves.
Travellers do not flock to Ross 128 or to its only inhabited planet, Grant’s Claim. When Maurice Grant claimed it, it was through an over ambitious desire to build an independent colony that he could rule without question. His early surveys suggested that the planet was mineral rich and promised an exciting future amassing wealth from mining. Unfortunately, he discovered that in every body of people there are always a few who ask questions, and awkward ones at that, then don’t settle for a feeble answer. Whilst answering a few of these at his Citizens’ Clinic he was assassinated. Grant’s analyses proved to be erroneous as minerals were only to be found in small pockets here and there – the mines were soon abandoned. The remaining would-be leaders realised that it was not an easy job to govern a population driven mainly by greed and the resulting economic collapse was devastating. The Federation stepped in and `rescued’ the colony on the condition that it came under their control. The populace greeted them with open arms and promptly found that their home was to become a prison colony.
Like Lave, this is one of the Old World systems, with just a single planet and star. It has now been in a state of anarchy or civil war for some five hundred years and it seems very unlikely that a stable government will ever be successfully established, since the anarchic attitude is so ingrained in the planet’s culture. Social stability depends on large family groups or clans, and minor wars between them are continually breaking out, keeping the thriving arms importers busy. There have been attempts in the past to start up local weapon manufacture, but typically family rivalries tend to end up with the factories being destroyed. Indeed there is no heavy industry to speak of because the investment required to build a factory is far greater than that to destroy it.
The second planet of this system, New America was claimed early in the life of the Empire and has stayed loyal from the very beginning. The population are fiercely bound to the Empire and many of the most fanatical of the Empire’ s regiments have a core of Quincet soldiers. The Empire’ s tolerance of genetic manipulation has found a ready hold in the people of Quince and here more than anywhere else in the worlds the principles of directed development have been pursued.
Stevenson is a cold world orbiting an isolated star of this ternary system. It is a Corporate planet, but runs along the lines of the Empire rather than the Federation, and visitors and tourists must be sure to have all papers and identification readily to hand if they land at either Fortress Birmingham or Nakamichi’s Camp. Despite the martial sounding name, Fortress Birmingham has never been the focus of military action and the history of the planet has been quite peaceful. the civil war which established the planet as an independent, Corporate run World occurred within a decade of first landing and the governmental structure has all the merits and deficiencies of a long established bureaucracy.
The Phekda system was opened up by three major corporations simultaneously. Kamawachi, Bell-Traket and Inter-market. A brief spell of mutual cooperation soon degenerated into fierce corporate warring, resulting in the destruction of most of the original bases. Several small pressure groups converged on the planet of New California and set up independent operations, using military hardware from a nearby war to enforce their independence. In the uncontrolled warring, much of the indigenous life was destroyed by bacterial warfare and radioactive fall-out. Many parts of the World are still contaminated. The entire system now operates as an anarchic state and visitors must be prepared to deal with each individual entirely on their own merits.