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Wabash

UPP: E556734-6

by Robert Beck

Wabash was settled in the early years of the Second Imperium by colonists from the central part of the North American continent on Terra. Like many hopeful dreamers, they sought a better life on a world far from the troubles of their homeworld. The colony was never incredibly successful, but the population steadily grew and Wabash plodded along.

During the Long Night, Wabash suffered a technological regression from which it would never recover. Although it was rediscovered by Imperial Scouts, it was only one small low-tech world in a small main on the fringe of what would be Imperial space. Technological development was stunted by the need for the bulk of the planet's population to be devoted to food resources. Wabash was a young world, geologically, and had few well developed soils to farm. It's seas were also not populated by vast quantities of life. Food production on Wabash was the focus of their culture, as to fail on any given year could result in the deaths of millions. Because of Wabash's long isolation, its population largely forgot about space travel and never paid that much attention to the knowledge that several of the twinkling lights in the skies above their world held whole planets in their orbits where others lived. It was never a major concern because there was never much knowledge of it.

During the Third Imperium, worlds to the rimward of Wabash saw greater technological development and Wabash, by chance, was pretty much left alone and unnoticed. The occasional Trader would land and trade hi-tech trinkets with the locals, and this accounted for the E class starport that existed near Wabash's largest city, Whitewater.

Wabash was for a time part of the Solomani Confederation, but it was noticed even less, as it had no strategic value or special resources. Wabash was a non-player in sector and subsector politics. During the Second Solomani Rim War, Wabash saw a brief flurry of activity as the Solomani Fleet used it as a forward base to raid into the Old Expanses. It's poor starport meant that the Solomani presence was minor, in fact almost meager, but the presence of so many soldiers and support staff bringing so much materiel in and out of Wabash, even on the small scale that existed, overwhelmed the locals and they were quickly drawn into a frenzy to acquire all things off-world and exotic. The Solomani presence was only for a few years and then they moved on to better forward bases in the Old Expanses, but their legacy survived. The small garrison left so quickly, the Wabashites were left dazed and confused, wondering what they had done to drive the offworlders away.

After the initial shock had warn off, government leaders decided that perhaps they could lure back the soldiers and the influx of offworld goods they brought by building up their meager starport. Starport facilities were improved and unrefined fuel was made readilly available. Broadcast beacons were launched on primitive rockets, welcoming interstellar traffic to come and visit the mainworld, but it was of little use. Starship traffic was next to nonexistant with the war, and no military ships patrolled Wabash. Yet, the vigil remained a fixation for a portion of the planet's population. Over the past 80 years or so, this desire to bring in offworld trade has turned into a minor religion of sorts.

The people of Wabash never really understood the interstellar society they lived in for so long. Many knew nothing about it, even. One thing they did know was that the arrival of the Solomani military had been a major boon and had provided them with a vast quantity of goods (read trinkets) that appeared to them to be almost magical.

These people were not primitives by any means, but the technology and equipment of the Solomani made them feel as if they were. The starport project was handed down over the years to dedicated crews who could be spared from food processing. They maintained the starport pads and even some fuel supplies in the hope that one day their mysterious benefactors, the Solomani, would return. Every ten years, the resources could be spared to send up a new satellite beacon that would broadcast in hopes of drawing some passing ship's attention. A rather peculiar ploy started with the theory that perhaps if the starport looked busy it might draw ships to Wabash. Mock-ups and surface-only replicas of small ships such as Free Traders and Corvettes were created and placed on some of the smaller landing pads (the bigger ones of course being reserved for returning ships) in the hopes that a busy looking starport might draw them back. This ploy has been in effect for about 15 years, but has generated little results. The Wabashites are eternal optimists in this matter, though, and know that one day their long vigil will finally bear fruit...


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