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Karin

A767789-E

by Pete Grey

As described in the previous entry on Wonstar - Five Sisters, Karin was settled by one of two branches of a liberal "back to basics" group wanting to escape the noise and corruption of the Imperial Core. Unfortunately, the liberal weapons code, combined with a contempt for the customary methods of law and order, nearly did the colonists in.

Conflicts over land and water turned into escalating fights between large landholders and their militias. Eventually the these petty wars, displaced most of the population, destroyed every part of local economy not affiliated with supplying the war, and brought the world to the brink of famine and anarchy.

In 970 the commander of the local Imperial Navy base, fearful that the Imperium might lose the world, called in the Imperial Marines to pacify the population and quell the violence. The Karin Pacification (970-977) was a brutal operation, even by the relaxed standards of the Marines. Planetary militias were hunted down with extreme prejudice, and factional leaders were either exiled or executed. Most of the population was resettled in a series of camps near the base and starport, carefully watched by the Navy. Guerilla activity continued for several years, only to be rooted out and annihilated.

The Navy had to destroy the world in order to save it. It's intervention was predicated only to preserve Imperial order, not in any genuine concern for the welfare of the populace. The Marines probably killed as much of the population in a few short years as all of the petty wars in the centuries before combined. And the post-pacification administration imposed by the Navy was equally high-handed and paternalistic, especially in its arbitrary reconstruction of the world's infrastructure and public institutions. Most weapons were banned, and the Naval authorities imposed draconian penalties on smuggling, incitement of violence and "suspicious" public assembly. To prevent future hostilities, all of the privately held land that had been in dispute before was placed in a public trust to be administered and policed by the Navy.

So instead of gratitude, the Navy reaped hostility and resentment as the result of its policies. The local base became a fortified occupation encampment, and the usual fraternization of base personnel with the locals was supplanted by heavily armed patrols. Surliness towards the troops, silent protests, and occasional vandalism and bombings by the locals garnered the world a permanent Amber Zone posting.

Around 1030, a unified home rule movement began agitating for independence, but to no avail. By that time the world's reconstruction had been completed, and the locals seemed to finally learn to get along with each other. But the Navy was fearful of a return to the traditional violence if the troops were pulled out, and at any rate had grown accustomed to governing their unwilling yet penitent protectorate.

This attitude still permeated among the local Navy brass right up to the Representational Reforms. The commander of the 208th Fleet actually attempted to garner a waiver for the naval occupation force, but was rebuffed by the united front of Regent Norris and the Chief of Naval Operations. When the referendum went to the locals, the Navy then attempted to sway the vote through scare tactics, reminding them of their bloody past. The clumsiness of their campaign merely reinforced the local voters prejudice: the Navy lost by a margin of 81 to 19.

Contrary to the Navy's dire predictions, Karin has become a mature and peaceful world. The locals suprised the Navy by shrewdly retaining most of the ancillary naval civilian bureaucracy that previously administered the world, but now as an independent organisation subordinate to the local laws and planetary constitution. The navies restrictions on armaments were retained and reinforced. The old surveillance network was reinforced by a large psionic police unit. Even the day-to-day patterns imposed by years of naval occupation, especially the exacting discipline and organisation demanded of civilian life, remained intact.

Land other than a small allotment given to individual families is still held in common trust. Private development of that land is allowed when it is justified for the common good. Land and conservation laws are enforced by heavily armed rangers, and all approaches to, and frontiers on, the world are heavily monitored and patrolled by a mixture of Regency and Karin World forces. Travellers arriving on world are searched for contraband, and in a departure from the norm, are scanned by psionic police and security without their knowledge. Suspicious individuals are frequently tailed by undercover officers; yet in spite of all of this heavy surveillance, there is little evidence of paranoia, and these are seen by the locals as acceptable public safety norms.

The locals had, despite all of their surliness, come to appreciate the Navy's arguements and concerns; they had simply resented its intrusiveness and authoritarian control over their lives, and had merely wanted the chance to govern themselves once again. And perhaps this explains the very warm relations between the local government and the naval garrison.


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