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by Lewis Roberts

Before the Collapse, Andra was controlled by the Sword of God, an extremely harsh religion. Andra was an Imperial client state, when the Solomani Confederation invaded the sector, Andra declared itself neutral. The Solomani agreed to leave the world alone as long as it remained neutral. The world was too inconsequential for them to waste time or resources on it. Also attacking non-aligned worlds would make for poor propaganda.

When Virus began rampaging across the Sector, the Sword leadership took this as a sign that the End of All Times had arrived. At the End, the Great Horned One and his Seven Sisters would burn the galaxy and all the sinners with it. The Sword leadership ordered the populace to commit suicide to prevent themselves being burned with the sinners. Only the most faithful and reverent followers did so. This was 95% of the population. Unfortunately the dying did not stop there. The 35 million survivors were scattered across the globe and were unable to provide assistance to each other. They were also shocked and horrified by the mass suicide. Virus was actually not part of the problem, as the Andra's technological level was too low to be infected.

Eventually the downward decline stopped and society started to rebuild. Today different facets of society are controlled by different Monopolies. Each Monopoly totally controls one aspect of the government and associated activities. The Judges Guild controls law enforcement and the judiciary. Judges are charged with apprehending criminals and assigning punishments. Sentences are appealable to a three Judge panel, but if the appeal is rejected, the sentence is doubled. The Transportation Union controls all aspects of transportation. These include the construction and operation of roads, rail systems, airports and shipping lines. The Lightning Battalion controls the defense forces and operates several weapons factories. Other monopolies control agriculture, manufacturing, mining, logging etc. Private citizens are allowed to start their own business as long as they do not compete against one of the existing monopolies. If the new enterprise becomes big enough it is granted Monopoly status.

Each of the Monopolies sends a representative to the Board of Directors. The Board assigns tasks to each of the Monopolies and sets general policies and specific laws. Each of the Monopolies can also institute rules, the Transportation Union can set speed limits and other rules that effect only its area of control. Issues that cross into another Monopolies area must be taken before the Board. For instance the setting of safety standards in automobiles must be taken before the board, since it effects both the Transportation Union and the Mechanics Group, which manufactures the vehicles. The economy is centralized and under the control of the Board of Directors.

Many of the citizens still follow the teachings of the Sword of God, but in a much different way. Much of the harshness of the religion has gone by the wayside and today the Sword of God is a protector of the innocent and the weak, rather than a sword of vengeance.

In 1181, Andra was the first planet contacted by the Hive Federation. The Federation offered to set up a technical school to train young people and to open up trade. The Board of Directors agreed to let the school be set up, but under the condition that it only offered high tech training, which is not available elsewhere on the planet. Otherwise it would conflict with the Learning Center's Monopoly on education. Lately there has been some discussion that the Technical Academy be granted Monopoly status and some have even suggested it be allowed to take over the Learning Center. The Federation representative has been open to the offer of Monopoly status, but been reluctant to absorb the Learning Center.

In 1185 Andra changed its name to Cassiopia, based on an ancient legend, whose orgins are lost in time. It was the first of the Sitah worlds to change its name. Since then it has become a custom for worlds to change their name, to symbolize the new era they live in.

The Board of Directors also authorized a competition for offworld trading. Several dozen companies were formed, and after ten years, the Board announced that Starways Factoring was named the Monopoly in charge of offplanet trading. It was also put in charge of the starport and supports the local Hiver Staging Base. The Board of Directors rents out several hundred thousand acres on the northern continent to the Federation for the base.

The citizens of Cassiopia are content with what they have, most of them do not see any need to go gallivanting around the galaxy trying to fix everyone's problems. They feel solutions have to come from within, otherwise no lesson has been learned.

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