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by Pete Grey

Titan was engaged in a major economic struggle with the Venues and governments of the Torinsk cluster during the 900s. This conflict centered over market control of Titan subsector, and actually saw minor hostilities at several points. In an effort to stave off futher penetration by the Torinsk Venues, Titan settled four surrounding systems: Spokes, Evaberi, Ninox (which quickly recieved its independence) and Pudimon.

Pudimon is a cold barren rock of mixed ice and silica. It is the outermost of twelve moons that orbit Postrewa, the outermost gas giant. A trace atmosphere of cold water vapor and thawed nitrogen is its only feeble attempt at habitability, and it lacks any resources other than water and few mineral deposits of meteoric activity. A fair amount of trade passes through the system between Titan and the nearby Torinsk cluster, and this supported a sizeable starport located at the gas giants trailing Trojan. But otherwise the system was uninhabited, until Titan took interest in the untapped wealth of its large asteroid belt.

Pudimon's location swings it very close to the systems rich asteroid belt, which is what made it attractive for settlement. Titan's belters would find a rich rock, start breaking up with mining lasers, and store the ore until their orbital position brought them towards Pudimon. They would then shoot the larger chunks from a mass driver back toward Postrewa at an angle and velocity that would bring the ore into a "soft catch" within Pudimons orbit. Cheap TL-8 and 9 ships would then retrieve the ore and ferry it to Pudimon for processing and shipment to Titan.

Unlike Evaberi with its giant underground compost heaps, or Spokes and its homegrown artisan industry, Titan was not interested in Pudimon beyond mineral extraction. It frequently slashed local life support margins to the bone in an attempt to bleed as much profit as possible from its operations. Consequently living conditions on the world were horribly squalid and overcrowded. Revolts were common, and the even the governors and clerks sent from Titan to run administer Pudimon would shift their sympathies to the overworked and crowded locals over time.

Eventually Pudimon was organised along military lines in an attempt to maintain order, and strong discipline and severely controlled local schedules were enforced by military police sent from the Titan planetary army or hired from Highbury. Individual miners were assigned to work battalions for life, and it was through the "officer" structure that amenities were distributed fairly for hard work, which defused a great deal of dissent. Many of these labor units actually became affilated auxillary units with Highbury Corps or Titan military units, and police action duty on Titan became popular with "Puds" as a means of escape from their oppressive lives.

The collapse of Titan's government following the massive insurrection of the 1140s did not create a similar social breakdown on Pudimon. Rather there was an immediate sense of euphoria mixed with uncertainty. De facto independence was coupled with economic dependence upon the mother world, and the threat of economic depression muted any celebration. The whole point of Pudimon's settlement was to prevent Titan from becoming reliant upon its Torinsk rivals for raw materials, and no other market existed for the world's mineral resources that paid as well.

A number of Pudimon batallions were stranded upon Titan following the outbreak of the Civil War, and attempts to extract these offered an oppurtunity that ultimately saved the world. Because of their neutral status, physical conditioning and disciplined esprit de corps, Pudimons units became a desirable commodity in Titan's military market. Pudimon units often replaced Highbury's departing units, which were barred by its contracts with the Consulate from independent actions, and quickly carved out their own reputation for toughness and gallantry.

Under the cover of these operations, extraction and recovery teams "shoplifted" abandoned or lightly defended goods like spare parts, life support plants and even whole industrial complexes for transit back to Pudimon. What the world didn't use for itself it sold on the open market for a profit. This way it was able to improve local living conditions, and develop its own industry. As the wars have quieted down on Titan, this activity has been terminated, and their units have been quietly removed for disbandment or operations elsewhere.

Currently the world is on a fast pace to TL 10, and hopes to make the world a fully independent system by 1205. The world's economy has shifted from mostly mineral extraction to light industry, and it has taken on a great deal of subcomponent contracts from the the Torinsk cluster. It has also made a number of trade contacts with more stable city-states on Titan, and has even become a major player in rehabilitation and reconstruction work on its former parent.

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