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Lucifer

by Pete Gray

Starport: Class B
Diameter: 5367 Miles
Atmosphere: Dense with heavy gases at low altitudes
Surface Water: 34%
Climate: Very Hot
Population: 1.22 Billion
Government: Civil Service Bureaucracy
Law Level: 6
Tech Level: 8
Tech Profile: 99-989A8-9999-A9-E

The world is a biological desert, with few multicellular lifeforms present. Much of the world consists of desert covered in lava formations and eroded volcanic sand. Geysers and hot springs are common, and periodic eruptions from cinder cones and volcanoes foul the air with heavy metal oxides and poisonous sulfur compounds. But this same volcanic activity ensured a heavy accumulation of metal ores useful for interstellar commerce. The poisonous conditions preempted permanent colonisation, and most early visitors were transient belters seeking rich finds. Poaching by illegal miners led to the world being interdicted in 483 as an Imperial resource world.

The first colonists were prisoners sent during the Second Frontier War to mine the ore for the war effort. As the world's mineral wealth enriched local subsector authorities and nobles, concern for the miners suddenly began to slip. More and more penal colonists were brought in to work the mines, until their demographic weight ensured that they would procreate children in sufficient numbers to staff the mines on a long term basis. As these children were brought up ignorant of a life beyond their world, it became easy for their masters to institute even more cunningly repressive measures to ensure their obeisance.

The Ward of Vision and his cult first appeared in the mid-800s, backed fully by the Imperial Aristocracy. No evidence exists that it was deliberate policy among these nobles to back such a foul and despicable policy; rather the Ward and his closest supporters had enough money and patience to buy support, and silence critics, and convince the mainstream society that their culture was a product of unique religious experience, and not the soulless tyranny it was. A Solomani leader put it aptly: "Evil unchecked grows, evil tolerated taints the whole system." It wasn't the times running on time that compelled the Imperium to support the Ward, whose little empire was never that efficient, but rather an effete and luxury loving aristocracy pathologically worried more about the mortgage on their mansions than the welfare of their subjects.

The war of liberation that overthrew the Ward and his corrupt government was the result of a drastic intervention on the part of the Regency government. Regency Election Observers (REOs) trained by members of the Regency Army Special Forces were dropped or infiltrated onto the planet in the middle 1150s, and intermingled with the lower classes. There they began to preach and teach a liberation theology that questioned the legitimacy of the Ward's rule. In actuality Endup's population were less inspired religious aspects of their message, than by their message of secular freedom and sophont rights. Revolutionary cells sprang up on the world in most communities, and by the early 1170s conditions were ripe for revolution. Because the Regency refused (and still refuses) to avow responsibility for its agents on the world, the Ward of Vision and his troops were effectively isolated in their efforts, and powerless to stop the spread of the infection. In 1174 the bloody outcome of a confrontation between the regime's mercenary soldiers and rioting civilians sparked a general uprising. The Ward and his officials initially retreated into their high altitude fortresses, relying upon their superior firepower to decimate rebel attacks. But atrocities committed by the Ward's troops gave the Regent the pretext to impose a blockade on vital military supplies to the system, and the rebels slowly gained the upper hand against the now isolated garrisons. In 1177 the Ward of Vision surrendered his last stronghold, and fled the world for exile on Mora.

The current government on Lucifer is a civil service bureaucracy staffed in large part by former underlings of the ancien regime that either sided with the revolution, or offworlders with the skills and experience that the population lacked. With local businesses and civic institutions still relatively new and untried, the central government still provides most local administration and services. To rectify the lack of skills and contacts among the populace, and to turn back centuries of still lingering xenophobia, the government sponsors relief and recovery operations that send local volunteers to work on other poor worlds across the Regency. Exposure to other planetary cultures has been a boon to local education and business development, and at the same time has established the world as a benchmark for other democratic reformers on worlds still suffering from dictatorship.

The world's atmosphere is home to a number of deadly toxins, byproducts of ancient volcanism. Under the previous regime, repeat exposure drastically limited the lifespans of the populace, and created high infant and child mortality rates. Because of the low regard in which they were held, the population developed a fatalistic attitude about themselves, regarding death as an acceptable outlet from a life of ongoing misery. Since the airtight homes have been built for the masses, allowing for filtered air and water. Good health is considered to be a human right on Lucifer, and universal health care is provided for all, regardless of wealth or status.


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