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by Pete Grey

Halfway across Xenough, on the teeming trade route between the Torinsk cluster and the Kamrathi worlds, lies the insular world of Nesturgi. Nearly all of the trade that passes between Torinsk and the neighboring Titan subsector passes through its ports en route to Lenin and its daughters, yet this river of activity scarcely scratches its surface. For Nesturgi's human habitations are quite ancient by Foreven's standards, and the local culture is too governed by the ebb and flow of its oceans and islands to be easily diverted by mere commerce.

The world is governed by its oceans, as ninety two percent of it its covered with water. The world is quite young, less than 1.6 bilion years old, and massive seafloor volcanism continues to add mantle moisture to the already deep oceans. The world orbits Sugoi, a hot F9V main sequence star, and its proximity makes Nesturgi quite hot. Higher evaporation creates massive fog and cloud banks, and a swirl of wind, rain and lightning often dominates its horizons. Native life is limited to marine microorganisms, and the local atmosphere is still largely bereft of sufficient oxygen for free respiration by offworld lifeforms without assistance from respirators. And everywhere ones senses are assualted with the smell of sea salt, for one can not leave the sea behind, ever.

Most of Nesturgi's land is volcanic and plutonic island arcs of granitic and rhyolitic composition. The local landscape is reminiscent of Iceland, or bare regions of New Zealand on old Terra. Most islands are still host to massive volcanism, ranging from large calderas to geysers and other geothermal features. No land life existed before colonisation, and the first colony almost died off from a lack of soil for the cultivation of crops. Imported terrestrial marine and avian life now dominate the seas, and the island arcs are covered with grasses and trees from offworld.

The first colonists came here from Tepenke (Foreven 1926) around -1122, leaving behind a world whose population was diligently attending upon an endless cycle of civil strife and genocide. They were outcasts and victims, and they chose Nesturgi in the belief that adversity would cause them to forget the horrors of their homeworld and the losses they had suffered. Perversity and horror had always dogged their ancestors; before Tepenke it had been the controversy that had split their colonial fleet after it had crossed the Great Rift; before then it had been the final decay of the Ramshackle Empire and the bloodshed and cruelty of its collapse, and the cause of their long, cold migration. Nesturgi's world-ocean and its endless tableau seemed uncaring and formless, not knowing any past or future, and cast its amnesiac spell upon the colonists.

Over the next six centuries, they eked out a life on the cliffs and tors overlooking the sea, one countless, uncomplaining generation after another. For a couple hundred years they relied upon the stocks of offworld marine life introduced into the local oceans, waiting for the lichens, mosses and grasses they had planted to break down the mountain rock into soil suitable for raising crops or fodder. They carefully terraced the hill and mountainsides for for crop planting, and for the collection of rainwater and snow. Forests were planted to slow the erosion of the highlands, and offworld fauna was carefully introduced to each island after enough time had elapsed.

Contact with the Zhodani came in -409, but nothing much ever amounted from it because of the distance between the two groups, both astrographically and culturally. Some trade resulted, mostly for offworld amenities. But more importantly it fired the Nesturgians to acquire spare parts for their derelict starships, allowing them to forge back into space in search of new markets for their emerging economy. By -360 they had recontacted their brethren on Tepenke and Dibelon, and established trade ties with Xenough. But their enthusiasm for offworld contact waned as quickly as it had built, and they eventually turned over their small trading empire to their neighbors in return for security. From -360 until 516, they were a possession of Xenough. And then a part of the Kamrathi League until 890, when the Avalar Consulate took over.

Economically the world is tied into export trade to either end of the great trade route, usually minerals to Lenin, and agricultural and aquacultural products to Xenough and the rest of Torinsk. Undersea mining is the most lucrative trade, even though technological constraints force the local mining companies to rely more upon manned undersea mining platforms like the Tiamat and Gashedda , rather than remote or robotic units to gather and process the ore.

These platforms are amphibious, and sink themselves to the deep abyssal plains with the aid of ballast or water tanks. Ore is collected, and ballast is ejected, until the carrier is full, in which case it disgorges its load into undersea conveyors and elevators for transit back to the surface. The continental shelf region is also scarred with mines and zig-zagging roads for the mining platforms. Most mining work is actually done by men in pressure sealed exoskeletons, usually the locally produced JS-29 "Jumbo Shrimp" Power Suit. Most minerals collected from the seafloor are manganese nodules created by volcanic processes, and collected from the abyssal plains they blanket in a vast ooze.

Mining activities are supplemented by large aquaculture farms for kelp and edible algae. Coral reefs introduced by the original colonists permit limited fish farming. Dry land agriculture is mostly grain and animal husbandry, usually wheat and sheep, though this is supplemented by a gamut of fiber crops like flax and cotton. While dull, these products are in high demand on neighboring worlds, and a textile industry has grown up to produce natural linens and wools desired by nearby high-pop worlds. The local heavy industries are limited to either servicing the large local starports. While Nesturgi has a listing of TL C, this is mostly limited to the downports and their surrounds, and more commonly the TL is 9 to A.

Most transportation and electrical equipment are locally produced, however, though most of these are tried and true offworld designs. Grav vehicles are rare due to their expense and the lack of local expertise in their manufacture. Most air vehicles are either ACVs, like the Tavee-Gho, or PARWIG and compound helicopter designs. Where islands are in close proximity, they are linked by causeways and undersea tunnels of local design and manufacture carry pipelines, railroads and highways.

The locals are extremely insular, often reminiscent of villagers in seaside locales on Terra such as Scotland and Greece. For the most part they are disinterested in offworld affairs and the greater universe, aside from a few imported amenities. Their traditional culture is often painfully at odds with the Avalar mainstream. Travellers will notice that the downports and the local naval base are at a far remove from most nearby communities, and overworld transit links are hard to find and obtain. But while they are indifferent to offworld contact, they are not to offworlders who show a genuine interest in learning the local cant. Travellers should be warned, however, that things move REALLY slow on Nesturgi.

Quarantine Checkpoint Epsilon

Nesturgi is strategically located along one of the main trade routes between the worlds of the former Kamrathi League, and the remainder of the Avalar Consulate. This route is a high capacity artery, as trade from Lenin and its daughters is conveyed to the Torinsk cluster and the Avalar Corridor. The cutthroat competitive business practices of Kamrathi merchants, lingering Anti-Avalar hostility on Lenin and its former worlds, and the corruption of the Kamrathi clusters quarantine personnel makes smuggling and cheating of the quarantine regulations a frequent occurence in the region. Ships moving through the Kamrathi region from worlds in Urnian and Reidain subsectors are infrequently challenged by local patrols, and often get past inspections through contributions to the "charity funds" of local inspection stations. A sizeable percentage of this illicit trade is quickly transferred to Inter-Consulate traders, and is funneled through Nesturgi (Foreven 2128) or Merghy (Foreven 2231), with the lion's share through the former.

Nesturgi itself is at best a fair world, possessing TL 12, a population of 25 million, and an abundance of underwater resources harvested for export to Lenin and the Torinsk Cluster. The world has a very large B class starport to help faciliatate traffic flow between the two endpoints, and frontier refueling sources are plentiful. It does not help that the indigenous population is mostly indifferent to offworld contact, and barely tolerant of Consulate authority. This isolationism hardly hinders local connivance in smuggling rings. Money is a universal language in every advanced culture. Poor fisher and miner families can obtain a fairly comfortable living for "potting" contraband goods, either providing safehouses for smuggled goods for later pick-up, or safe landing fields and labor for "booking" cargo from one vessel to another that has quarantine certification.

Thanks to the generosity of smugglers, the locals are notoriously keen in impeding Consulate authorities in their crackdown on this trade. Cooperation between the locals and Quarantine personnel is nearly nonexistent, and it is impossible to tell how many local officials are on the take, or at least are encouraged to look the other way. Most smuggling involves uncertified (and duty-free) goods from either the Regency, or its allied worlds in Reidain and Fessor Subsectors. The most lucrative products are naturally those that the Avalar Consulate has placed high protective tariffs upon in order to preserve its industrial monopolies: pharmaceuticals, weaponry and advanced electronics.

As a result of this trade, the Avalar Navy took drastic measures about fifty years ago in an effort to stem the flow of goods. Arrival by starship in the Nesturgi system necessitates a visit to the Avalar Quarantine Checkpoint Epsilon. This is required of all ships regardless of their destination or point of origin. Vessels that do not check in with a Quarantine system, or attempt to violate regulations, will be confiscated without exception, and the crew will be incarcerated for up to ten years. The effectiveness of this blockade is difficult to assess, for smuggling continues, thanks to the very high prices that imported goods fetch in the coreward reaches of the Consulate.

Checkpoint Epsilon is one of a network of similar stations located around the periphery of the Avalar Consulate. In Avalar practice, interface worlds are only those border worlds with an A or B class starport. Designation of these checkpoints moves counterclockwise from a starting point in Titan Subsector. All of these facilities are a naval base in miniature, and are home to between 50 and 60 inspection ships, SDBs and their uncounted small craft. Interface/Quarantine facilities are under the jurisdiction of the Avalar 6th Fleet, regardless of which other regional fleet boundaries they would normally fall under. The 6th Fleet itself has only existed since the signing of the Spinward Accords, and is the Avalar equivalent of the RQS and other Spinward Quarantine agencies.

Epsilon is the largest Quarantine facility in the Avalar Consulate, and rivals large Regency facilities. The scope of its operations has necessitated an unusually large naval presence in what was otherwise an above-average backwater system. To save on manning costs and preserve the strength of naval squadrons, the Quarantine in Nesturgi is enforced mainly by fixed facilities, orbital stations, remote sensor platforms and large numbers of minefields, both sentinel and captor.

Ships arriving insystem will be routed to any number of thirty or so "habs" in Byoen's orbit 200. These are large spacedocks capable of handling ships of up to 100,000 tons displacement, and up to eight ships at a time. Ships of more than 100,000 tons displacement are routed to the main Epsilon base for inspection. Each hab has a fighter wing of surplus Zhodani Vlastebr fighters, 1-3 SDBs, and a number of SecDets armed and equipped for Zero-G operations. Each hab is heavily armored, and equipped with bay lasers and missles.

Nesturgi is nominally under the jurisdiction of the 4th Fleet, to which the Kamrathi Cluster and the trailing- coreward quadrant are assigned. But given the strong lingering nationalist sympathies among its rank and file, the local 4th contingent is considered subordinate to the local 6th Fleet command structure. This arrangement tends to create as many problems as it solves, as the two units are obligated to maintain seperate bases, logistics and security cordons. Nevertheless, the 4th's vessels are subject to inspection by quarantine vessels/facilities and their SecDets.

Total local 6th Fleet strength is approx. 75-80 vessels, a massive number even by Regency standards. Half of these vessels are jump capable Zhodani patrol designs like the Dliatsev Patrol Frigate (see for details) various Shivva class frigates and escorts, and modified Zhdits Destroyer Escorts. A handful of Regency/Imperial derived designs, such as Gazelles, have begun to appear in recent years. The remainder of the garrison is primarily SDBs and monitors, notably the Caprice class Moniter, a TL-13 Imperial design license built for the Avalar Consulate on Xenough. About 10,000 personnel are stationed on the main Epsilon station, and these rotate out on a 4 days on, 4 days off, 48 hour shift schedule to minimise fatigue and boredom. Each inspection hab has about 300-400 personnel, with armed SecDets comprising about a third of those.

A typical Avalar SecDet numbers 12 to 20 heavily armed marines, accompanied by a six to eight man inspection crew. The latter are normally locals hired and trained by the navy. This permits less strain on naval personnel and manning. These personnel are constantly monitored by Shanza psionic police to maintain their loyalty and reliability. Shanza "sweepers" are regularly assigned to SecDets, though their numbers vary in accordance to the number of crew and passengers on board a ship. Sweepers do not wear distinguishing uniforms or any other marking that would identify them during an inspection, and other SecDet personnel will not betray their cover.

Incidentally, electronic psi shields and telepathic shielding are not permitted during inspection. Psionic individuals must identify themselves during the inspection process. Such individuals are politely but firmly segregated and escorted to a special screening area for questioning and examination of their baggage and documentation. Failure to declare psionic status, or the use of psionic shielding is a felonious offence, in case you were wondering.

Inspection is a two-step process. Because of the amount of traffic that passes through Nesturgi, the first inspection is abbreviated if intensive. Passengers and crew are removed from their ship and go through normal customs and immigration processing, regardless of their point of origin or destination. Inspection takes about 2-3 hours, with SecDets checking ship documentation, transponders, cargo, and stores. Weaponry is tagged, as is live cargo. All ships are then given a provisional pass for entry to Nesturgi's starports, and they are given an armed monitor that stays with the vessel the whole time it is in transit. Ships that fail the inspection, or are suspected of violating the quarantine regulations are subject to an even more intensive 24 hour search by a SecDet, and if theyse are not cleared they are confiscated, and their masters and crew arrested and punished accordingly. The Second step of the inspection comes when a ship stops for maintenance and refueling at either Taj, the main highport, or at the main downport at Firsland. Maintenance monitors check the ships more thoroughly during their mandated 24 hour stopover, and violaters are treated the same way as detailed above, albeit more quietly, with arrests of crew and passengers by flying squads being a common occurence.

No special priveleges are accorded to any ship, with the sole exception of diplomatic craft with the proper documentation and diplomatic pouches. It should be noted that some government and military craft only go through the most cursory of checks; these are usually affiliated with higher naval commands, the Shanza, and various high-ranking Venues.

The main Epsilon station is actually an array of twenty different facilities, ranging from central traffic control, to the main COACC command center, barracks, ship maintenance and inspection stations, warehouses and sensor/commo arrays. No private vessel may approach within 3000 kms of the station, anything within this perimeter being a free-fire zone. Ships that persist in approaching will be fired upon with extreme prejudice.

System Details

Diameter: 6190 miles/9904 kilometers
G : 0.82
Day :27:13:13.98
Year (Byoen): 1050d 11:38:41.07
Year (Nesturgi around Byoen): 23d 14:24:14.46
Atmos Comp: Standard with Low Oxygen content
Atmo: 1.80, Weather control
Temp: +15.88 (6/lat +18 to -42) (season +4.8 to -8.0, 70 deg lat)
Daily temp range: +11 to -6.8 Native life present
Hydro Percentage: 93%
Surface Land: Archipelagoes Agricultural, Ores, Crystals, Agroproducts, Metals, Non Metals, Parts, Weapons, Recordings, Software, Documents Progressive/Advancing, Competitive/Neutral, Harmonious/Aloof
Legal: 7-58A85
System Details
Orbit Name Stats Notes
Zamovar F9V Primary
0 Daisien Y320000-0
1 Elbaz Y420000-0
6 Goagh Y300000-0
40 Spertemeir HS00166-B Min
65 Obanyan Y200000-0
1.4 Dark Angel YS00000-0
3 Mujijix H7A0165-B Min
4 Byoen Small GG Size 60
35 Particle FS0053A-C Nv
45 Rondauy H234000-0
55 Nesturgi B699787-C Nv, Main
55.1 Taj BXXX667-C H-port, Nv
150 Thymav Y433000-0
200 QS Epsilon BXXX46A-E Quarantine
5 Crenkla Small GG Size 80
10 Wyelkda GS00365-C Nv
7 Resonepts FAA631A-C Nv, Min
13 Gamilik Y725000-0
35 Guidarod Y400000-0
8 Echneis Small GG Size 90
8 Mitt G32036A-C Nv
35 Zembt Y300000-0
10 Devourer Brown Dwarf Size 360
30 Lackey YS00000-0
35 Thrall Y200000-0
175 Penitent Y100000-0
200 Hellion F50036A-C Nv

System Notes: The Nesturgi system is mostly typical for its class, aside from the presence of the Devourer.

This is an Avalar interface system. Frontier Refueling is prohibited. All of the other gas giants are mined and patrolled against intruding vessels. The sole exception are military and government vessels with proper IFF codes that bypass the minefield security grids. All of the gas giants have guardian naval facilities in orbit or on one of their moons to detect and prevent wildcat refuelling. The exception to this is the base on Hellion, which is primarily a search and rescue base to extract those stupid enough to attempt refueling from a Brown Dwarf. Other listening posts, not listed above, are stationed in the Kuiper Belt.

Failure to comply or interference with Quarantine Regulations, and the authority of Quarantine Station Epsilon, will result in arrest and imprisonment of crew, seizure and confiscation of vessel and cargo (if applicable) and permanent curtailing of all trade priveleges and certifications.

System Features

Visitors to the Zamovar system in antebellum times were treated to a spectacular visual spectacle. It is rather atypical for its class. It has a number of unusual astronomical oddities that are rather unspectacular in of themselves, but in combination are much less common. These include a massive brown dwarf, several spectacular gas giant moon systems, a captured body in an eccentric inner orbit, and a triple world system in its outer zone. Nor is the main world a boring place for the curious. The Collapse and the emergence of the Quarantine, complicated by tensions between the Avalar government and Xenough and Kamrathi has radically curtailed outside visitors access to the system, but what remains is still quite significant for the sightseer and the casual tourist.

Dark Angel: A dark, carbonaecous body of indeterminate origin. The Angel is a subject of some astronomical controversy, as its odd composition mark it as alien to Zamovar and its children. No consensus exists as to how the Angel came to rest in the hotter inner zone, without the interference of the gas giants or the Devourer. Its composition is also odd; for its primarily Fullerenes, geodesic sphere carbon molecules, mixed in with high pressure quartz polymorphs like Cristabolite. These molecules are usually formed only within the deep mantles of molten and heavy core worlds, or by meteoritic and cometary impacts. These seem to indicate that the Angel is probably ejecta from an apocalyptic deep space collision, though its chemistry does not indicate what bodies were responsible. Fullerenes are rather more stable than most carbon compounds, and a layer of debris from more recent collisions helps shield them from disintegrating in Zamovar's intense heat.

Gas Giants: The three gas giants and one brown dwarf, and their moon systems, loom over the system. The innermost of these, Byoen, is located within Zamovar's life zone. Typical of a inner zone giant, Byoen is a rich navy blue, the result of water vapor accumulation created by solar heating. Most of the gas giant moons are uninhabited, and with the exception of Nesturgi and Particle, rather useless. But since the Collapse, a naval outpost has been constructed in orbit around each gas giant, to monitor traffic, and prevent frontier refueling.

Nesturgi: The mainworld is 92-93 percent covered by liquid water. The dense atmosphere is mostly CO2 and water vapor, with significant CO2 concentrations as a result of volcanic processes and sluggish photosynthesis by its native algae. Fortunately, the higher partial pressure makes up for the low O2 content, though nitrogen narcosis and the bends are everpresent health hazards. All of the world's dry land are islands ranging from the fifty thousand square kilometers Goliath Islands, to small rocky islets barely the size of a tabletop. The world has a very hot mantle due to tidal attraction to Byoen and the other moons, giving rise to greater than average tectonic activity. Massive seaquakes and "icelandic" volcanic eruptions are part of normal daily life, as are the massive tsunamis they create. This tidal attraction also creates massive fluctuations in coastlines, and tides of 20 to 30 meters are not uncommon in the equatorial regions.

Resonepts-Gamilik-Guidarod: Resonepts is a massive, ammonia shrouded world with two very large satellites. Because of their size, Resonepts has a large wobble within its orbit around Zamovar. While not a true double or triple world system, gravitational attraction from Echneis has begun to destabilise its position, and astronomers calculate that it will be a triple world system (or at least a double world system with Guidarod orbiting both) within another ten million years.

Devourer: a huge 485,000 km diameter world that sits at the boundary between gas giants and stars. The Devourer is a milky blue-white in appearance, with occasional splotches created by accretion of cometary debris. The world recieves its name from its aggressive cannibalisation of passing Kuiper and Oort material. Astronomers think that it formed from a seperate nebular occurence in parallel to Zamovar, as evidenced by the heavier composition of its moons, and the fact that if it had formed closer, it would have accreted enough material to either prevent to creation of the innermost worlds, and possibly become a binary star.

System Environs and Features of Interest

Visitors to Nesturgi are mostly confined to the vicinity of the mainworld, its sibling moons, and the immediate 100 diameter vicinity of Byoen. Travel is prohibited, without permits and an escort, to the other worlds in the Zamovar system. The only exception to this are vessels that have commercial contracts with either the Avalar Consulate Navy, as resupply vessels carrying supplies to the outer system naval facilities, or scientific and commercial vessels that have legitimate reasons (and a clean history) for working in the outer system.

Nesturgi: Deep sea mining and aquaculture, as well as a number of dry land farming ventures, make the world an important exporter of vital raw materials and foodstuffs to both the Torinsk and Kamrathi clusters. Even before the Collapse, a sizeable population called the world home, and many toiled in massive mining crawlers and submarines, dredging or mining vital materials like manganese, copper, iron, chromite, vanadium, cobalt, niobium and iridium. Gemstones are a small but profitable side business, primarily emeralds and sapphires. A number of locals are highly skilled gun and weaponsmiths, and hand crafted guns and blades from Nesturgi are prized throughout Foreven, and have made their way into the hands of collecters in the Regency and Hierate. As the population has grown from offworld immigration, more and more money has been invested in local infrastructure and light industry, and Regency and Avalaran companies are increasing their stake in local economic activities.

Taj: The systems massive highport is only about thirty years old. The port was constructed after the establishment of QS Epsilon as a "break-bulk" point for ships waiting full inspection. Because of this disruption in the flow of commerce, many corporations located major facilities to cater to their crews and itinerant passengers. Originally intended to be only a stopover point, a considerable amount of industry has been built into the stations habitation zones, and it has been expanded several times to accomodate its burgeoning activity. While the station is listed at TL 12, the abundance of imports puts it closer to the Avalar max of TL 14. The station is home to a population of 1.4 million mostly permanent inhabitants. Their culture is more cosmopolitan and outwardly oriented. The increasing congestion and cost of business has driven a growing number of companies to relocate their personnel and plants on Nesturgi instead.

Quarantine Station Epsilon: All incoming ships will be making a visit to either Epsilon or its inspection "habs." Regularly scheduled corp vessels are given preference over unscheduled independents, and actually are given inspection windows for exclusive and expedited processing. As noted in the article on QS Epsilon, civilian and unauthorised military vessels are not permitted to approach the station, though civilian contractor supply vessels are usually given free access. Epsilon has full starport facilities, and the only naval maintenance facilities insystem, which keeps the local, Pro-Kamrathi 4th Fleet garrison under the iron thumb of the 6th Fleet quarantine squadron.

Particle: The only other inhabited moon in the Byoen moon system is home to both a naval training/monitoring facility, and several massive nickel and cobalt mines. The miners are mostly rotating work shifts shuttled in from Nesturgi or the Taj, as security restrictions limit permanent residency on the moon. Rumors of alien artifact finds have always persisted around Particle, and the Avalar Navy has had a number of covert facilities on here since the systems annexation, but then these rumors persist throughout the Consulate. The moon takes its name from a surrounding "dust cloud" of iron-nickel fragments suspended by magnetic interaction between it and Byoen. These fragments are highly reflective of sunlight at certain angles, creating spectacular effects when Particle emerges from the terminator.

Spertemeir: Small body that is the source of a large deposit of various heavy elements, particularly radioactives. Spertemeir, like the Dark Angel, is probably a collision fragment. Unlike the Angel, it is definitely local origin, possibly from Elbaz itself. A small automated mining facility with about seventy personnel is maintained; like Particle these crews rotate regularly, and access is limited to ore freighters and relief ships.

Dark Angel: The Angel is off-limits to all but certified and escorted scientific and military vessels. For the non-scientific, the world is uninteresting. Its primary attraction is to astro- and geochemists intent upon analysing gasses trapped within its fullerene "soil".

Resonepts: Gas and chemical refineries are located here that date from before the Collapse. The local naval station was constructed very close to them to provide constant surveillance. Unlike the mining facilities, the workcrews and admin staff are semi-permanent residents, and have a good working relationship with the Navy. The only vessels permitted to land on Resonepts are the twice-monthly mail and supply shuttles that venture out this far.

Other naval facilities: All are offlimits save for naval resupply contractors. Duty on these stations are the stereotypical "long periods of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terrifying boredom" associated with static naval stations. Attempts to run the Quarantine are frequent, usually weekly events, but it has become repetitive action for the naval crews, who generally spice up their tours with some extremely outrageous and downright bizarre entertainment. The sole exception to this is the station at Hellion, which sees considerable action in rescuing stupid smugglers and thrillseekers, and testing new military and commercial hardware in the Devourer's extreme environment.

Corporations of Nesturgi

This is a list of significant corporations with facilities in the Nesturgi (Foreven 2128) system. Because of the unusual quarantine requirements for all traffic arriving insystem, a number of corporations have facilities to handle the break in the flow of commerce. Other companies cater to the crews and passengers that flow through the Taj, Nesturgi's highport. And there are other companies that seek to exploit Nesturgi's untapped potential, diverting the flow of money and technology from the Taj for their own purposes:

General Products: Manufacture of TL-10 to 12 submersibles and mining platforms in conjunction with Sternmetal Horizons (Taj). General Products has steadily improved its product quality, and it has a fairly good reputation within Foreven. The GP facility is primarily manufacturing, with little or no administrative functions. The companies main headquarters is on Lenin, and a good percentage of its investment capital originates with either kamrathi or Akras traders.

Sternmetal Horizons (ne Horizons in Regency): Manufacture of TL-10 to 12 submersibles and mining platforms in conjunction with General Products(Taj). Minority mining stake and mining supply facilities (Nesturgi). The local manufacturing facilities are exempt from the popular perception of the company's widespread criminality elsewhere in the sector. Avalar quarantine and legal officials audit the Nesturgi facilities on an regular basis just to make sure. Most of Sternmetals resources are tied up in petty trade wars in the buffer region between the Avalars and the Zhodani, and Nesturgi rates little attention from either higher company officials, or its rivals.

SuSAG: Chemical and mine extraction and refining plants (Nesturgi). Light pharmaceutical facilities (Taj/Nesturgi). Another company forced by the stringent Avalar laws to be above board in its local dealings. The local plants are mostly low security, with nothing more important than freely available commercial goods being produced. However, relations with the Avalar government are unusually good for a Regency corp, and rumors abound of preferential treatment by local quarantine officials. The company has a very poor relationship with Pro-Regency worlds in Reidain and Urnian, the result of scandals on Pylkah and Urnian. And relations with the Kamrathi are chilly at best.

Transstar: Maintenance and Rest facility (Taj). Transstar is a relative newcomer in the former BTC. The company's antebellum stake in the Domain of Deneb was minor, and it took the corporate mishaps of Civil War and the Collapse, and shrewd dealmaking and quickness to seize upon oppurtunities, to propel the company into its current prominence. Transtar has always been a model of corporate good behavior, and its operations in Foreven are no less exemplary. Its local maintenance facilities are quite large, and very efficient; and unusually popular, with frequent repeat business.

Ginga Transport: Way and maintenance station (Taj). Minor administrative hub. Ginga is the exact opposite of Transtar, with a number of its executives and operations under investigation at any given time. Ginga (name is Japanese for "Silver River" i.e. the Milky Way) is a young shipping and marketing company, being founded during the latter days of the 1120s. It's illegal behavior is rooted in its founding objectivist philosophy, and the company is a zealous advocate for unrestricted free trade. This attitude puts it in a head-on course with all Quarantine restrictions, and it has been a constant thorn in the sides of authorities everywhere. It steers clear of known criminal syndicates, and its run-ins have forced the company to obey the letter, though not the spirit, of the Quarantine laws. Otherwise the company is continually challenging the law via loopholes and clever manuevering. A popular saying in spinward regions of the Regency puts succinctly: "If Ginga is just given an inch, it takes a whole parsec." Ginga's operations are theoretically throughout the Regency, and is technically its fifth largest shipping company. In actuality, most of its operations are confined to the Spinward Marches, particularly along the spinward and coreward frontiers with the Spinward Hinters and the Vargr Splinters. Fifty percent of its freight is interface traffic through the Quarantine to these regions. The center of its operations is in Vilis and Querion Subsectors of the Spinward Marches.

McClellan Factors/Sovereign Lines: Trade station. Majority mining stake and growing interest in local real estate and construction businesses. Large manufacturing position, concentrating on transport material (Nesturgi). McClellan is not a popular company no matter where it is located, and its strongarm acquisition tactics in consolidating the local mining industry alienated the planetary government and local popular opinion. The company has a favored business position with the Consulate, thereby forestalling major legal action or intervention. MF is infamous for its hyper-competitive attitude, and cutthroat tactics. Its relations with other companies and cartels are never better than average.

Sovereign Lines is a wholly owned shipping subsidiary of the company that now handles nearly all of its interstellar trading and freight haulage. It is evidence of MF's competitive nature, for it was founded after its bitter rival Baraccai Technium established its subsidiary Leviathan Lines in the 1130s.

Venturprise: Major competitor with MF. Large stake in mining and manufacturing operations. Venturprise is headquartered on Rhylanor, and grew out of an antebellum company called Spinward Development. SpinDev was famous for "Buying" undeveloped or lightly populated worlds within the settled portions of the Imperial Spinward Marches, and building them into viable colonies. The Collapse enhanced its business greatly, thanks to the inflow of refugees from the Abandonment, and the sudden popularity of "virus-proof" T-Prime and T-Norm worlds.

While SpinDev was generally an honest company, its offspring has been more adventurous, perhaps piratical. The company was not partial towards opening up frontier worlds, and the number of worlds that had the requisite characteristics were limited in number. This has led Venturprise to target populated backwater worlds, or potentially profitable worlds that are below a certain "development threshold" or closed off to major offworld development for a variety of reasons. The company's plans are rarely commensurate with the desires or the culture of the indigenous population, which creates conflict and the temptation for subversion beyond even that condoned during the Imperial period.

Interglobal: Relative newcomer, and competitor to both MF and Venturprise. IG is really Arkesh Shipping in a new guise as a general cartel. The company has strong ties to the Enterprise, and with pirate bands operating in Foreven and Beyond.

Benchmark Arms: A former division of Instellarms, that seceded as an independent venture after the Great Fire Sale of 1132. The company concentrates in the small arms industry, and its careful hands-on management has allowed it to flourish despite its limited markets. The local office has a major stake in the local vintage and collectible arms markets, but has plans to construct several large weapon factories for Foreven's large military and starmerc markets. The Zhodani Exodus has accelerated its plans drastically, and its local staff and existing plant are overworked by the inundation of orders coming from panicky worlds in the buffer region between Avalar and the Zhodani. Its deliveries of weapons has been bogged down by the interference of local Quarantine officials, whose reasons for doing so are not known in spite of the emergency.

Starsenal: Supplier for the Avalar Navy. Bitter rivals of Benchmark, Wayaroaer and Pentagogue. Another break-off from Instellarms. Starsenal's name and products are famous throughout the Regency for quality and convenience. The company has generous lines of credit for its clients, and very helpful technical support for mercenary and planetary military services. This aggressive marketing gives it a high profile, and also makes it a magnet for controversy and attack by its rivals. Starsenal is most famous as a logistical supplier of munitions, supplies, maintenance services, support equipment, bulk armor and medical supplies. It shies away from actual weapons manufacturing, preferring to create custom integrated systems that combine components manufactured by other companies according to the specifications of its clients.

Octagon Group: Large Avalar financial group with common ties with several of the aforementioned companies. The OG has been implicated with the Beyond Sector criminal syndicate known as the Enterprise, and Regency and Zhodani authroities have a long list of Octagon officials under indictment or investigation for racketeering and money laundering.

Chiadle: One of the few Zhodani companies permitted to operate in the Avalar Consulate following the break in the 1150s. This is mostly due to the company's successful expansion into Non-Zhodani markets; one of the few Zhodani companies to do so. Chiadle operations on Nesturgi are actually secondary to its main facilities on Lenin; mostly they manufacture subassemblies and vital parts from locally obtained resources. Chiadle's operations on Lenin are civilian transport production plants, and is heavily involved in the local shipbuilding industry. Lingering hostilities involving both the Kamrathi and the Zhodani brings intense scrutiny from Avalar authorities, but they have never found anything to implicate the company (for that matter the Avalars have never actually found any evidence of major Kamrathi malfeasance either, in spite of their fears). Chiadle's management personnel are primarily Zhodani, to allay suspicion of subversion of locally hired personnel.

Wayaroaer: Aslan megacorp, that, like Chiadle above, flourishes in non-Aslan markets. Nominally under the control of the Eakhitiyo, in reality the company's operations are so independent of the main clan council it could practically get away with murder. Like Benchmark (its main local competitor) the company is a major stakeholder in the local arms industry, especially custom made guns and blades finished in the Aslan style. Since 1181 its main focus has been as a recruiter and supplier for starmerc groups operating along the trailing interface of Foreven. Most of these merc bands have been human organisations, with a few Aslan and Droyne groups being added to its portfolio in the last five years. Most of the local management is a mixture of Aslan and Humans. The relaxed scrutiny allows the company to hire male "other" Aslan for management and consulting positions without ruffling fur back at home.

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