The Great TML Landgrab

Ben Pew

7/27/2003

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This landgrab is based upon the subsector information in Third Imperium Magazine. It can easily be brought to any other subsector in the Third Imperium (or anywhere else with interstellar or interplanetary travel). Apparently it is no longer canon, and I’ve tweaked it a bit (switching the hydrographic and population notations to match up with the given information). Enjoy!

2725 Falkenberg/Borderlands/Trojan Reach UWP: A154848-D PPG 405 NA Nonaligned

SYSTEM SUMMARY

There are eight worlds and no asteroid belts in the Falkenberg system. The innermost planet, Despicable, is an unoccupied little fried rockball which is too close to the sun for habitation. Falkenberg itself is in the second planet, followed by Hawk, which is half the size and inhabited by a few thousand miners. Five planets are gas giants: Helgenberg, the inner and smallest giant, has ten moons and is a frequent stop for those who wish to refuel before moving on, while larger Elbe, the second giant, has three moons, two of which are home to most of the system’s Aslan. Marx, the third giant, is generally avoided due to its strong magnetic fields. It has no moons, but a moderately sized ring, which is thought to be the remains of a captured planetoid. Sable and Ochre are unremarkable giants with ten and seven moons in order, with a research base and a naval station on two of Ochre’s moons.

WORLD DESCRIPTION

The main starport is of high quality (class A). There are three downports, two highports and two shipyards (one commercial and one military). The commercial shipyard orbits Falkenberg at just past its moon, while the military shipyard orbits in the inner system at half again Despicable’s orbit. The main downport, outside Pascal Arcology, is Falkenberg Prime. One of the primary attractions is an old 300-ton yacht that an enterprising soul converted from a hulk into a seafood restaurant by the name of the Midnight Runner. Most of the seafood comes from the nearby Sweet Sea; the restaurant has been in operation since 1080. World diameter is 1850 kilometers, and the planet is not very dense (with barely enough metals to create 0.45 gravity) resulting in a thin atmosphere, with enough density to permit normal clothing (although, due to the rather low temperature, heavier clothing is recommended) and compressor mask. The population has reached 950 million, most of whom live in arcologies to maximize on space. Freestanding water takes up about 38% of Falkenberg’s surface area, and constitutes one sea (the Sweet Sea). This provides enough water to (theoretically) allow most oxygen-breathing sapient species to breathe using only a compressor mask and moderate clothing. A southern ice cap accounts for the remaining 5% of the available water. The Republic of Falkenberg has its seat in the Pascal Arcology, and maintains a law level of 8 (which prohibits the possession and carriage of all handguns except automatic pistols, and any bladed weapon larger than a dagger) due to the crowded nature of the population. Falkenberg’s tech level of 13 permits the construction of above-average tools, gadgets and vehicles, although since the planet is not heavily industrial it is not a regular exporter.

STARPORTS

There are two highports, three downports and two shipyards in the Falkenberg system. The primary port is Falkenberg Prime Starport, and is made up of Prime Highport and Downport. Prime Downport is situated just outside Pascal Arcology, and is hosts much of the official business. These handle most of the to-planet traffic.

The other highport, known as, orbits along with the commercial shipyard just outside the moon’s orbital radius. Both are small, given the small numbers of ships produced here. The main purpose of this highport is to service the commercial shipyard.

The other downport on Falkenberg is a class C on the north of the planet (and serves most of the northern arcologies). The lower quality of this port reflects the relative rarity of traffic here.

The final downport is a class D on Hawk. This downport (named Beverly Down after the town it’s in) services small craft for the rare shipping vessel that comes to collect any minerals.

The military starport orbits at half again Despicable’s orbit, and has two slipways and a repair yard. It is restricted to military vessels of recognized governments and bonded mercenaries.

WORLD HISTORY

Also known as Falcon, Falkenberg (0305) is on the spinward side of the Great Rift, which separates most of Borderlands from Village and Towne. Falkenberg was a popular destination during settlement due to its central location in the subsector, a small mining strike of rare gems and lanthanides (which have since depleted) and a position only a Jump-6 from Village, have resulted in heavy initial settlement, primarily during the period between 750 and 835. Most of the population of 950 million is crowded into arcologies to free up what little arable land this 1850 kilometer world has to offer. Public transportation is widespread, mainly due to the massive crowding issues. While many people know how to drive, few do, since most vehicles are reserved for government use. There are a number of agricultural areas, even given the thin atmosphere, although agriculture is difficult due to the thin atmosphere. Crop yield and quality are only borderline, and without using hydroponics (which is a repugnant thought to many members of the populace; they don’t think it is "real food") supporting so many people is exceedingly difficult; hence the 1106 conquest of Sperle, which is a mere parsec away at 404 Borderlands. This world has an excellent starport, with a high enough tech level (13) to produce fine starships and other technological items. However, since it is a non-industrial world, starships are not common; several of the military ships Falkenberg has are guarding Sperle to ensure a flow of foodstuffs for its population; most of the tools and goods it produces are for home consumption. The route between Sperle and Falkenberg is referred to as the "Sperle Run" and is served mainly by a flotilla of Jump-1 bulk transports. One thing it has is an excellent set of technical colleges, and it often exports its experts to neighboring worlds in trade for finished goods.

These experts also work in the shipyards, using imported parts and goods (often combined with local goods to give the vessels "class") to produce rare, but good, starships. These locally assembled ships are occasionally sold, producing a good portion of Falkenberg’s trade, although most ships are military vessels or trading vessels destined for the merchant marine or "Sperle Run." Ten or so corporations dominate the small merchant marine, with a number of smaller companies and individual traders vying for whatever crumbs they can catch. One of the major corporations is Michaelson Industries, Inc, which is run by Lilianna Pew, one of the descendents of Michael Pew, himself a supposed descendent of a minor pioneer of Solomani space exploration. MII concentrates on shipping, manufacturing and some exploration for hire, is the fifth-largest corporation in Borderlands and the largest on Falkenberg. Other companies include Wolfe Shipping, which is the second-most shipping company on Falkenberg, and Garcia-Donato, which is a foodstuff producer. The corporations are primarily responsible for home-system production and trade with the rest of the subsector, the Heirate, and the Imperium.

The Republic of Falkenberg was founded in 776 by a coalition of cities to form a common military and economic entity. Initially votes were reserved for all residents of these cities, but opened it when other cities either joined the Republic or sent large portions of their population to one of the present member cities. Laws were initially rather lax, but once the cities became arcologies and grew crowded, weapons laws grew quite strict; the rationale for the high law level is to prevent violent crime. Unfortunately, this was not much of a deterrent, and there were many fights. As the tech level increased, many people turned to primitive holographic booths to find a sense of space, and the government encouraged this to reduce crime. Once Sperle was conquered, a small migration began, although the Republic cut down on this to prevent damage to the economy of its breadbasket. The People’s Assembly dominates the government, and is almost a corporation in itself. The head of the Assembly is chosen by vote of the parties, and is known as the Censor. Eneri Liksun is the reigning Censor. The president is normally elected for a six-year term, and can run for five consecutive terms. However, the president is subject to the Assembly, which confirms the choice. Rebecca Pew, a relative of Lilianna Pew (the head of Michaelson Industries), is the current president, although she tries not to let family loyalty affect her decisions.

The military consists of one 15,000-ton destroyer, two 5,000-ton escorts and four 1,000-ton ships. There are also eight 400-ton patrol cruisers. System defenses consist of two squadrons of fighters and three 800-ton SDBs (one is at Sperle with four of the patrol cruisers). The Army consists of two divisions on Falkenberg, squad- and platoon-sized units on the offworld colonies and two regiments on Sperle. The marines are specially trained Army units on the ships.

Most of the population is human of Imperial extraction, although there is a small Sword Worlder and smaller Zhodani population; most of the non-human population is Aslan. The Sword Worlders originally arrived in the original colonization wave from dissidents during the colonization period. Few have any idea how the Zhodani arrive, but most suspect a catastrophic misjump. The Aslan arrived when ihaeti arrived in the area. They make up about 2 — 3% of the population, and tend to live among the moons of Elbe, the largest gas giant.

INTERSTELLAR RELATIONS

Falkenberg is an independent world, mostly free of both Imperial and Aslan influences. Since it conquered Sperle, the smaller neighbors have regarded it with suspicion, since they are rather disinterested in being dictated to. The Imperium regards it as a useful source of ships, but otherwise prefer to leave it to itself. There is a diplomatic and trade station on Tobia, and the two worlds have good, if formal, relations. The Sector Duke is waiting to see if Falkenberg turns Borderlands into a pocket empire, and how it does so, in order to determine how to react.

The Aslan Heirate does not have good relations with, or a good opinion of, Falkenberg given the supposed cultural integration of the system’s Aslan. Falkenberg shares this opinion of the Heirate, given local perceptions of Aslan as land-grabbing, over-proud squatters (the local Aslan are not seen this way since they’re not part of the Heirate, although they don’t care so long as they’re left alone and not insulted); system politics is concerned with keeping the Heirate at arm’s length. An industrial development plan is being implemented to build up Falkenberg and Sperle’s economies and military.

Relations with most of the rest of Borderlands are rather cold, due to the recent takeover of Sperle. Falkenberg has proposed a "local self-defense initiative" to organize Borderlands against out-subsector, mainly Aslan, expansion. Towne, Village, Cordan and Umemi have expressed cautious support of this plan, while Sperle has no choice. Since Tech-World and Acrid are Imperial Allies, they have stated their disinterest in this plan; the rest of the subsector is understandably suspicious of Falkenberg’s motives.