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by Pete Grey

Froin (0539) was a ball of low grade rock with no resources and nothing to attract major settlement. First discovered by the Darrians in the pre-Maghiz period, who accorded it no importance, it was equally ignored by the Third Imperium during their expansion into District 267 in the 400s. For most of its history only a small starport and its surrounding community existed to serve the rare enterprising or foolish trader that made it out this far.

This isolation eventually attracted the Ministry of Science's attention, when it was looking for a world to build the Spinward Marches Research Station Zeta. Zeta was intended for genetic manipulation research, and Froin's lack of a population and thin atmosphere were deemed acceptable for containment and concealment of the stations experiments. While not as secret as Vanejen's now notorious Research Station Gamma, or the controversy around Trojan Reach's supposedly defunct Delta, it's isolation permitted it to host research projects for the Navy, Scouts, Ministry of Conservation and some shady elements of the nobility and intelligence services.

But the world underwent a major expansion after the Collapse. While not as important as Iderati or Emape, about twenty percent of all the Coil's traffic passes through its huge port. Most ships that pass through are low jump independents that are making an interface from the Coil along the lower Spin Main into Plankwell on their way to Collace or Forine. About ninety percent of the current population is employed at the starport. The port is the fourth largest in Five Sisters, and unsupervised automation became a necessity out of the huge traffic load and the overworked staff.

Research Station Zeta's geneering projects, were mostly terminated after the formation of the Interior Ministry. Its current work is heavily classified, though many suspect that it is now bent towards Viral research. It is thought that the mission change reflects the nature of Froin's increasingly computerised economy. Many analysts think that the world has become a testing ground for a plethora of anti-viral countermeasures, and perhaps even domesticated Viral strains. In support of this thesis, it has been noted that all of the worlds operating electronics are cleared through the station before they are installed on any piece of machinery or put into operation. Much of this includes a number of modifications or custom additions not standard to these systems.

And the RASAC archives hint at a massive Viral-organic integration project centered somewhere in Five Sisters subsector at a facility only improbably described as "Bellowing Moose." If Froin is home to a massive experiment in Viral assimilation, no direct evidence has yet surfaced, and RQS has publicly denied any such project exists, much less in operation on Froin. While this creates nervousness among visitors, and a whirlwind of speculation and conspiracy theories safeside, it has not dampened trade at all. And most native Froinians, have taken time out from their busy schedules to express outrage at RQS, for not realeasing this technology in full to relieve them of their heavy workloads.

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