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by Pete Grey

Ralhe was colonised during the halcyon days of the first Imperial expansion into District 267 in the 300s. A lack of resources, a tendency towards piracy and the contentious relations between seperated communities made it a backwater. Only the J-1 traffic coming down the Spin Main kept the colony from being abandoned or downgraded.

The economic slowdown created by the Psionic Supressions impacted this trade, and impoverished the locals. The habit of piracy and smuggling became imperative ways of life, of survival on a world so desolate. Many pirate bands eventually became anti-Imperial, and contracted out to the Zhodani, or at least oppurtunistically exploited military confrontations between the two powers. Raids from the world escalated during the Third Frontier War, and the Imperium retaliated with a full invasion of the world in 983. The raiders were hunted down, their bases destroyed, and world was placed under the control of neighboring Iderati.

Now under colonial control, the world's poverty remained unabated, and was reinforced by Iderati's benign neglect. The controlling world set aside few resources for upgrading or improving the lot of its new subjects. The "colonial governor" was little more than a mid- level appointee of no political standing or power. And yet Iderati assumed an air of absolute authority in its dealings with the locals, This caused quiet resentment among many locals, though few outward signs of anger were manifested. But it boiled over, suprising Ralhe's masters, after the announcement of the Representational Reforms.

Many communities away from the starport and the capital fermented an independence movement, and seceded from the Ideratian loyalists. Fearful of retaliation from the colonial government, the secessionists applied and were approved for Regency membership in 1156. Iderati had been careful to keep the colony outside of Imperial borders to disquise its misrule, and was appalled at the idea of losing the areas it still controlled to further secession.

The world is at a brittle impasse. Most of its independent communities bicker among themselves, having failed to create a unified front against their former occupiers. Meanwhile those areas under Iderati's control are heavily patrolled by the Iderati World Army, whose heavy-handed patrols amount to a virtual blockade of the outback. A low-level guerilla war is beginning to emerge, as well as growing backsliding into piracy and gunrunning. The Regency is taking a wait-and-see approach in lieu of a lack of current policy towards the world.

Ralhes factions are divided as follows:

Iderati Control Zone (Pop: 320,000): Iderati's main power center. Includes the old capitol city and the starport. The ICZ comprises 40 percent of population but only 20 percent of the land territory. The Iderati Army controls all main points of entry, and searches every person, container and vehicle entering the zone. The Iderati Navy maintains a base here for the SDBs that monitor in-system traffic. Most of the ICZs population is fervently loyal to Iderati, mostly out of pragmatism rather than genuine affection. These people believe that Ralhe best chance is Iderati development money and organisation. This attitude does not endear them to outbackers, and some of the worst fighting is between the free militias and "turncoat" police and military units.

Huffington (Pop: 155,000): Second largest community, and the main pole of resistance on the planet. Not so much of a unified country as a confederation of local chiefs and disparate population elements. Plagued by infighting between rival leaders, which threatens to escalate the world's anarchy.

Golan (Pop: 120,000): True power behind the independents. Founded by Ralhe's small business community, and bolstered by remnants of the original colonial police and militia. Golan is trying, only with partial success, to wedge itself between Iderati and the other rebellious factions, triangulating a settlement. Golan recognises that Iderati is the only hope of bringing development to the world, but without its colonial domination. It is also working against the bloody infighting of the FreeLeague and Huffington in hopes of becoming the world's government, and restoring order. Its past attempts at a peace settlement have been rebuffed, and the world is now accumulating a covert stockpile of arms and hiring mercs with the intention of dominating the world by force of arms. It has recieved quiet encouragement and support from the Regency to do so.

Free League (Pop: 100,000): "Bandit" kingdom of pirates, mercs and guttertrash. Has resurrected the old practice of piracy in order to survive. Leadership disinterested in taking sides in the fight with Iderati, and has attacked both sides' shipping.

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