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Capshobem

C78A573-9

by Pete Grey

Capshobem is a stormy world. Complex interactions with its F8V primary and a severe axial tilt of 54 degrees create weather patterns that were severe enough to deter major colonisation attempts. Massive polar freezing occurs on the side of the world experiencing winter, while the other pole undergoes massive evaporation of its ice cap during the summer. The collision between warm, moist air and fast, cold air makes the equatorial and "warmside" temperate zones regions of unstable tornadic weather. The unpredictable devastation of this weather was deemed to great a risk to place a colony, and the sole inhabitants were employees and dependents of the local orbital starport.

The Avalar Consulate seized the world in 1132 as part of its "clean-slate" approach to settling border disputes in the wake of the Collapse. Which was funny, since Avalar had no disputes to settle other than friction with the client-state of Urnian. Avalar was simply satisfying some repressed imperial urge rather than addressing genuine security concerns. The Consulate's seizure of Capshobem was bloodless, and it wasted no time in annexing the world, and attempting to settle it.

To settle the world, the Consulate found it had a small problem. Aside from Dotemire (Beyond 1505) and Nordstrom (Foreven 1523) it had no water worlds, and almost no experience in settling one, which were severe liabilities with on so dangerous world. So instead of a single unified group of colonists, the Consulate had to organise the settlers piecemeal from whatever it could acquire or recruit. With strong leadership, the colony would still have easily survived and even prospered with the amount and type of material that was being provided to them. But the Consulate, in a reflection of its own divided bureaucratic culture, did little to encourage unity among the colonists, and preferred to play them off against each other.

The colonists settled in specially reinforced underwater arcologies that kept them from being exposed to the world's massive storm systems. But within the close proximity of the domes, tensions quickly became animosities, fanned by offworld bureaucratic infighting. Disruptions in supplies, bickering between colonial leaders, and a disaster in a deep sea mine in 1138 that left the colony without power and sanitation for weeks led several groups to secede from colonial government. These groups attempted to seal off sections of the arcologies for themselves, set up seperate life support systems, and develop alternative economic supports. Though violence was narrowly averted, most of these "autarkists" were eventually either expelled or voluntarily emigrated to the surface.

Today the world is still divided between the autarkists and the "domies". Most of the autarkists either settled in new underwater cities of their own devising, or in nomadic "white" fleets that follow the weather patterns closely, never wandering outside of the relatively peaceful high pressure regions at the wintering poles. The tech levels of these groups vary widely, from about 4 to a high of 7. Embittered by the past deadlock with the domies, the autarkists are fiercely self-reliant, and take pride in their fortitude and ability to adapt to their world's treacherous nature.

Oddly enough the Domies vary little from the autarkists in their adaptations to the world, and their strict ecological outlook. While possessing the listed TL of 9, and having grown considerably into several communities, they too consider themselves tested by the adversity of the past, tempered with pride at their tenacity in not abandoning their cities for the surface. However, the bitterness of the past has left these groups unreconciled to each other, and tensions sometimes lead to brief but bitter battles over resources and territory. The Amber Zone is a reflection of these tensions.

Visitors to the world usually find little to interest them, and rarely alight from the highport. This is a pity, for while the locals have a hard time with each other, their hospitality towards offworlders is legendary. Visitors are often plied with food, wine and companionship, and the isolation of many communities make them rather amenable to conjugal relations between unmarried family members and offworld traders. As on ancient Iceland, marital ties are rather loose and collegial, and it is possible for offworlders to have children that they may never know about or meet.


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