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by Pete Gray

Starport: Class A
Diameter: 3973 Miles
Atmosphere: Thin with high levels of methane
Surface Water: 73%
Climate: Chilly
Population: 93.4 Billion
Government: Balkanised (4 power blocs)
Law Level: 11
Tech Level: 15
Tech Profile: FD-FFDDH-FFFF-HH-G

Lilad is the only free orbiting world in its crowded system. It is a small, mountainous world covered in deep oceans, with extensive pack ice and glaciers in the polar regions. Many low rifts and canyons are covered in bogs and swamps that choke the atmosphere in phosphorescent methane gas clouds known as "Faerie Fog" and create a foul odor of dirty socks that hangs over the lower elevations. Surface land for habitation and farming is in short supply, and most communities are built on pier like cities or shallow water arcologies in coastal zones.

The world did possess substantial mineral resources, particularly nickel and platinum group metals that attracted colonists in the latter part of the first century. Though most of these are now played out after a millenia of exploitation, it did attract and fund the worlds enormous industrial base. In Antebellum times it was considered to be the Queen of the Rift, as its tech level exceeded that of every other world on the Rift Highway with the exception of Lintl/Vestus. Despite a poor starport and no local shipbuilding assets, the world was a major industrial player since the 300s.

The world's growing importance prompted the creation of the Ducal seat of Lilad in 411. For most of its history the world was nominally under the control of the ruling Kawabe family. However the Kawabes were often little more than figureheads, with most political power being concentrated in the hands of a handful of bureaucrats and industrialists that ran the government subsidized industries and services. Because of their economic dominance of the subsector, these individuals and their allied government agencies became infamous for their intrusion and interference in neighboring worlds. The Lilad government tried to dictate the economic destinies of its neighbors and immediate competitors for centuries. It generously funded megacorp access to its cheap labor and abundant resources, making itself the perfect world to be exploited, in return the local oligarchs recieved the funding it needed to hinder the development of its neighbors and rivals. The founding of GeDCo by Solomani nobles following the Alkhalikoi ascension undermined its control over Zeng, but it remained dominant by its support and alliance with other tyrannical regimes, most notably Giranima and Gorod/Macon (Reft 1302).

In order to remain competitive, local labor and political groups had to be utterly meek and inoffensive to their overlords, to better attract the offworld and megacorp interest that bankrolled the oligarchs opulent lifestyles. Much like Endup/Gulf, the local rulers were winked at by Imperial policymakers, who proclaimed Lilad a model world. In reality oppressive laws against political freedom, invasive police and surveillance, preferential treatment of monopoly businesses, vast corruption and the trickle down of few economic benefits created a life of misery for the masses. The regime based its power on a hardened core of government and monopoly employees that were guaranteed lifetime jobs in return for their absolute loyalty, and who were eager in their persecution of disloyal elements. Several rebellions broke out in the antebellum period, but were all supressed with heavy loss of life.

But Lilad and her economic dominance came under attack during the Civil War, as megacorps pulled out of the Domain of Deneb, and during the Collapse, when the money her oligarchs relied upon dried up with the death of the Imperial administration. Economic restructuring just in the nick of time prevented an economic meltdown and subsequent revolution, and the government was able to secure Regency money through the Industrial Development Program by showcasing its supposed economic might. An A-class starport and supporting shipyards were built to help alleviate the starship shortage, and there was even idle talk of transferring the subsector seat to the world.

But as the Dreamtime wore on, Lilad's economic and poltical weaknesses became evident, a giant Imperial era Potemkin village. In the increasingly competitive markets of the growing Stronghold, Lilad proved to be bloated, inefficient and weak in economic fundamentals. Manufacturers found its labor force unmotivated, its factories uncompetitive, and its goods and services unnecessarily expensive. Sabotage and boycotts drove many investors away, as did the corrupt and bureaucracy bound government. Many oligarchs had veto power over new investment, ever keen to protect their interests against offworld competition.

Following the Liberation Riots, disgruntled military units in outlying districts mutinied against the planetary government, and seized control of their postings. Rebel armies clashed with the bodyguard units and private militias of the oligarchs for nearly five years before the Regency government was able to broker a peace deal, but by that time the world had fractured into four different parts:

  • Collegium Obsequium: This state includes most of the surviving Oligarchs and remaining members of the Kawabe family. It still controls the main starports and most of the larger arcologies. But infighting and continuous infiltration of guerillas and saboteurs causes daily flare ups of terrorism and ambushes. Most of the Oligarchs are more intent upon personal survival, and either are slipping offworld with whatever wealth they can smuggle, or are preparing to take full control over personal fiefs in the upcoming meltdown.

    Talent: Mod
    Corruption: High
    Cruelty: High
    Aggression: Low
    Paranoia: Mod

  • Merlin Enterprise Federaton: A free trade bloc centered upon the grav city of Merlin. The Federation controls not only the world's grav cities but all orbital habitats, numbering some 8 billion people. The MEF is the most advanced technologically, but most of its inhabitants are descended from offworld immigrants that came here to help build the worlds TL-15 infrastructure. Hit has little support among native born Liladians, and it is considered to be irrelevant in local politics. For the most part the MEF has seceeded completely from the ground culture, and has instituted strict controls over immigration and trade with the surface.

    Talent: High
    Corruption: High
    Cruelty: Low
    Aggression: Low
    Paranoia: Low

  • Lagaashkir League: Military republic that controls the world's smallest continent of Lagaashkir, traditionally the poorest and most backward region. The local military cadres took advantage of a popular uprising to overthrow the local oligarchs and install senior military officers in their place. SInce then promised reforms have stalled, and it has become clear that one set of overlords have merely been replaced with another. Further rebellions have been stemmed by an absolute banning of private arms stockpiles, and the fact that the compactness of the region allows the junta to maintain a close eye on all travel and trade flows.

    Talent: Low
    Corruption: High
    Cruelty: High
    Aggression: Low
    Paranoia: High

  • Aasikgir Federation: The freest, and smallest of the four factions. Aasikgir is the continent to the west of the main continent of Giruuda, and possesses the smallest population. This has also made it the most defiant of the Oligarchs control, and the locals have a semi-democracy that is still coming into its own as a working pluralistic government. Impeding its maturity is a dearth of offworld investment, and the continuing standoff with the Collegium in the East. The Federation is still rather suspicious of offworlders, and has had rocky relations with the Regency government.

    Talent: High
    Corruption: Low
    Cruelty: Low
    Aggression: High
    Paranoia: Mod

    An Amber Zone was imposed in 1167, following near nuclear war between the different factions. A full corps of the Regency Army, the XXIV Corps, is stationed on the world to prevent a full blown set of hostilities. However, rather than resolving the problem, it has emboldened the less stable and more aggressive parties and factions to redouble their efforts, intensifying tensions and an increasing sense of internal collapse.

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