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Overview: The J-2 Route known variously as the Gold Road or the Mortal Coil starts at this Regency Terminus. Consequently, the world is the Five Sisters, and perhaps the entire Spinward Hinters in microcosm. While the world has benefited from the increase in trade and immigration of the post-Collpase period, its "traditional" culture has been upset by new waves of social misfits and oppurtunists, new age idealists and military necessity.
What remains of dry land are mostly volcanic mountain arcs and a few raised plateaus created from marine terranes (submarine volcanos or seafloor dredged up and uplifted by the moving continents). Most of the worlds terrestrial life was imported from offworld, and the mountain arcs support verdant forests of conifers and mediterranean brushtrees. Unfortunately, some of the imported plantlife took an extreme liking to the world, and the atmospheric taint is a result of heavy spore and pollen clouds produced as a side effect of unforeseen evolutionary development in several species.
The oceans are a different matter, with the first signs of multicellular life beginning to appear within its still young ecology. Mirriam's diffcult ecology discouraged most attempts at early colonization. Coupled with the planets plant spore tainted atmosphere and frequent tremors associated with Mirriams large moon, Pam, what colonists that did come to Mirriam remained within close proximity to the starport.
The first serious colonization came with the establishment of the Imperial Naval Base in 474, attracting a small community. A steady trickle of people, mostly traders and vagabonds coming down the Spinward Main, settled here over the next three hundred years. Its proximity to untapped markets in neighboring sectors, and its location along the Spinward Main attracted trade, and the combination of commercial and naval traffic created enough demand for a B class starport to be built to cater to local needs.
In the 740s, the naval administration began to set aside large tracts of the world's seafloor for settlement, and a sizeable amount of investment funds for aquacultural and infrastructure development. By 800, Mirriam was home to a community of four million people, a X-Boat Way Station, the headquarters of the 208th Fleet, and there was talk of making it the permanent subsector capital. All of this progress was stillborn in the wake of the Psionic Suppressions.
The heightened threat of war with the Zhodani in their wake froze most development. The Ministry of Colonization's benign administration on Mirriam was replaced with an appointed Naval Legate, who was usually either the local base commander, or the CO of 208th Fleet. Mirriam's recieved an Amber Zone rating, as did many other worlds in District 267/Five Sisters, in the decades that followed. Ostensibly, the local Amber rating was for Mirriam's dangerous tidal conditions, but really it was to serve notice to the universe that the Third Imperium meant to defend the world and her sisters against aggression by all means possible.
The navy remains to this day the world's main administration. Because of the imposition of military rule, much of the civilian population became semi-militarised. Military police and hired mercs became the source of law and order. The flow of time and events, and the boundaries of communities and their activities became regulated by military base timetables and perimeters. The population continued to grow, because of its existing amenities and remoteness from the Imperial mainstream.
The Imperial Navy's investment into Five Sisters was quite heavy, and most of it was centered on Mirriam. In addition to the 208s HQ, a demi-depot was placed on Mirriam to serve both the Navy and IISS operations into neighboring sectors. Trade became even more important, as an alternative source of income for the subsector, to alleviate isolation, and to skirt both the onerous local military regulations and narrow official policies of armed neutrality that limited outside contact with the Spinward Hinters.
The aftermath of the Fifth Frontier War brought renewed investment and interest in Mirriam, as victory increased Imperial clout within the Hinters. The generous infrastructure built by the Imperial Navy was attractive to many outside and local investors as a foundation for increased economic trade and industry. A number of development banks and investment funds were centered here, and there was an upsurge in colonization.
The breakout of the Imperial Civil War had the paradoxical effect of intensifying this interest. The loss of Imperial markets had little negative effect upon Five Sisters, as did the Aslan advances. Instead it caused a massive upswing in commercial and military investment as the Domain of Deneb reached out into Foreven and Beyond Sectors, looking for new allies and seeking to make up for lost markets. This investment created a mountain of wealth on Mirriam, and the beginnings of a new class of wealthy families known simply as "Hortalez".
On the eve of the Collapse, Mirriam had all the required attributtes for an economic takeoff: an accumulation of money, a skilled workforce, stable markets, well developed infrastructure and extensive trade and logistical networks. The Quarantine dampened the world's prospects for about five years, until Norris passed the edict that relaxed Quarantine regulations into Five Sisters. After that, Mirriam blossomed into a major trade and political center.
Regency ships that have inspection certificates from other inspection stations in Five Sisters are even luckier: inspectors only check the vessels freight and navigation logs, do a cursory inspection of cargo, and usually let a ship go after only forty five minutes to an hour, sometimes less. Despite the cursoriness of these inspections, they are probably closer to the Regency's current reality than the excessive (and eroding) scrutiny back safeside.
This relaxation of inspection standards is political, economic and pragmatic. Because Mirriam isn't an interface port, most of this activity is primarily done to log incoming cargoes from the Hinters, and to deter smuggling around the Quarantine, rather than any pretension of anti-Virus deterrence.
In addition to Bermuda, there are large concentrations of settlements in the Glomar Deep, Casbah Sea and the Breathless Lagoon. Most mining is done in the northern Helmuth Basin, and the naval base is located on Compass Island within the Casbah Sea. These areas are divided from each other by the Panthalassan Sea, a deep, still mostly unsurveyed body of water. Most underwater cities are specially sheltered and reinforced for protection against the planet's deadly tidal bores.
The sprawling downport of Diriishigan City is the exception. Located on an old marine terrane that is seismically stable. Diriishigan is also the worlds main business center, the core of "Hortalez" and the pivott of the Rand and its trade routes.
The city is an outgrowth of the extrality zone, and it and the port covers an area of almost seven hundred square kilometers. It is a crazy quilt of offices, cavernous warehouses, and a skyline that rivals Mora. Construction is frequent and furious, a reflection of its transient population and oscillating fortunes. It is fairly lawless, and is filled with minor fortune seekers, oppurtunists and predators. Self-described as the City that Never Sleeps, which is an accurate assessment of its frenetic night life. When offworlders think of the Rand, it is Diriishigan that comes to their minds.
Everything and anything that can be sold, can be found in its sprawling markets and trade yards. Compared to the rest of the world, the city is a lawless island in of itself. Organised crime, prostitution and contraband peddling are endemic, as are the throngs of mercenaries, parasites and "gutter-tourists" attracted to its seedy bars, casinos and redlight district. Displaced minor nobles often come here looking for either one last binge of pleasure, or looking to find a niche for survival.
At the top of the food chain, populating no niche other than its own, are the worlds upper class, the Hortalez. The group originated in the former megacorps subsector administrative branch, using purloined corporate assets, and the old money associations of many upper managers, as seed capital for successful business ventures. This group is a cloud island held aloft by its snobbish elevation above the other fueding groups, and the mere entrepenuers populating the streets below. Most Hortalez are second or third generation, old money by local standards. They're rather unimpressive by safeside comparisons, but they dominate the subsectors markets, even holding their own against the former megacorps. Most of them live in the city, though many have estates in the countryside, or in a tony suburb known as Shining Hill, about 50 kms outside the city.
But the city is physically and culturally distanced from Mirriam's mainstream society. Its underwater culture is still heavily impressed with military discipline, and naturally disdains the Hortalez crowd. The "Reals" as they call themselves, would have you believe that they are a sober, hardworking lot. But in fact these people are the descendants of earlier waves of colonists who came to Mirriam seeking much the same kind of easy fortune, only to be displaced by later post-Collapse waves of immigrants. Most of the social tension is a mixture of jealousy at both the upstarts who make it big, and the self-interested old money that seeds the planets conversion into a slum.
Between these two groups are various eco-groups, offshoots of the NEO (Navigators of the Endless Ocean) that colonised Lothorien (140), Galadriel (239) and Prince Edward (734). These groups keep to themselves, and sustain their communities on alternative agriculture, aquaculture and quite a bit of their ethereal romantic ideology.
Mirriam's naval base remains an oversized transitional facility. Too big to be a mere base, and too small to be a depot, with no announced plans to alter the status quo. The base is tightly secured against outside intrusion, and base security is butressed by private security patrols and police in local communities. Despite this, the navy's need for intelligence and private operators in the subsector and the Spinward Approaches (Reidain and Urnian/Foreven L and P; Menorial subsector in Trojan Reach) makes it a heavy employer of private military contractors. Most hiring is done at a subsidiary facility in the Diriishigan downport, but most are stationed out of the base. The mix of private merc and Regency mil personnel is a volatile one, and local mps are especially vindictive towards the former.
Orbit Name UPP Notes Guinevere G6V Primary 1 Gillian FS00339-C Nv 2 Mirriam A9999A6-C Nv 9 Pam F323466-C Waystation 3 Kascha Y622000-0 4 Tiffany Small GG Size 80 3 Ring YR00000-0 5 Marendu Large GG Size 240 2 Ring Alpha YR00000-0 3 Ring Beta YR00000-0 6 Galur Y310000-0 7 Handmaid Y200000-0 8 Meshina H510000-0 30 Consort Y100000-0 50 Lashara Y511000-0 55 Sherashmin YS00000-0 60 Dermanisi Y200000-0 6 Morgana Small GG Size 80 3 Ring YR00000-0 7 Mindy F000337-C Re, Min 8 Luzinda Small GG Size 100 5 Reflect Y100000-0 25 Inspire Y420000-0 50 Shine H400236-B Min 55 Dazzle YS00000-0 60 Illumin Y310000-0