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Emape

B564622-B

by Pete Grey

In antebellum days, Emape was a lawless border community populated with smugglers and pirates. Violations of Imperial customs were frequent, and an Amber Zone was imposed to protect visitors and crackdown on this illicit activity. Most of this activity was loose and disorganised, dominated by a group of insular extended families who called themselves the "Cool Gang." Most of their contraband was illegally exported Imperial technology that was resold to neighboring states for a high margin of profit. And some of it was espionage driven, though the Cool Gang was relatively patriotic and avoided buyers that were obviously Zhodani.

The creation of the Quarantine gave the Regency a pretext for cleaning the planet up. The RQS evicted smugglers and convicted Quarantine violaters back safeside, often confiscating their ships and revoking their licenses. Naval police actively patrolled the worlds cities, and a dusk-to-dawn curfew enforced. To further cement control of the world, the Ministry of the Interior began encouraging new settlement in 1135. The Cool Gang was broken up, imprisoned, evicted and mostly driven out of business. Smugglers attempting to emulate the Gang or take over their rackets have so far been unsuccessful, thanks to the massive RQS presence still stationed on the world, and the massive number of fatalities incurred trying to run the systems vast arrays of automated weapons and fields of captor mines.

The world is still a volatile place to visit, as many of the original locals have "defended" themselves against the new immigrants, or have been driven into the outback. The Amber Zone now reflects this tension, and the extraordinary security measures taken to ensure that the world's troublesome past doesn't repeat itself. Fortunately, aside from a few outbackers and paroled Cool Gang members, most of Emapes original population quickly adapted to the new situation on the world, and instituted a popular democracy to fill the vacuum created by the Gang's downfall. Law levels are still rather low, and a holstered sidearm seems to be part of the local dress code.

About ninety percent of the population are new immigrants from safeside, or their second and third generation descendants. The old settlements have undergone significant expansion, and new developments ring the starport. Most of the population is sustained by employment in the port, its business districts, or the massive hospitality businesses that have sprouted to serve ship crews and their support personnel, as well as the navy and the RQS. Casinos, bars and brothels are in strong evidence, and most vice is at least semi-legal, or at least winked at by the local and Regency authorities. MoJ and Regency Intel maintains several watch stations to look out for known fugitives and criminals attempting to sneak through the border, or just attracted by the world's playround.

It is no suprise that the world is home to speculators and scalawags no better in some instances than the old Gang. The world is on the front porch of both the Regency and the Hinters, a prime location for shady operations that "keep a toe" on both side of the border, ready to disappear to one side or the other to avoid scrutiny or investigation by authorities. RQS and MoJ keeps a close if discrete eye on these operators, and it is rumored that they have an extensive network of informers to keep them appraised, more than a few of them swimming among the same fish the authorities try to hook and land.

Emape's port is one of three main passages to and from the Coil and the Regency mainstream. While not a massive port by the Rand's overblown standards, it is the largest port ever constructed for a mere population 6 world in the entire Regency. While most border crossers will travel to Mirriam and Karin to offload their safeside bound cargoes, or to Marrekesh or Avalar if going the other direction, many independent merchants do not proceed beyond this point, and the port becomes a holdover and transfer station for many small cargoes. In many cases such transfers are attempts at sleight of hand, trying to sneak contraband across the frontier. The more things change, the more they stay faithful to their origins, one supposes.


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