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Uniqua

E62557B-4

by Pete Grey

Uniqua almost sounds like "unique." It is agreed, by many parties along the interface of the Marches and Foreven that the world has been a unique center of controversy, adventurism and politcal folly. From it's inglorious beginnings to the bloody present, the world has been an embarrassment to all parties foolish enough to make it a stepping stone for greater fortunes.

Uniqua was first settled from neighboring Garoo in the aftermath of the Second Frontier War. Why it chose THIS world, and at THIS particular time, or even opted to create a colony in the first place puzzles post-Collapse historians. Garoo had neither the technology, nor the political wherewithal, to sustain a colony. Even with substantial monetary support from the Zhodani Consulate, the colonial government abandoned the world scarcely twenty years after settlement. There was no advanced warning of this abrupt ending of contact, though Garoo had struggled for years to support their colony's survival. The colonial government simply up and left, showing little or no concern for the colonists and their survival.

But instead of abandoning the world, the population literally dug in. The domed cities were gradually dismantled and transported into specially excavated cavern complexes. Building and containment material from the cities, and whatever machinery that could be maintained, were used to construct huge hydroponic gardens within these caverns. Many early cave cities perished or failed before the colonists hit upon workable systems and combinations, controlled pests, and successfully harvested crops and recycled oxygen. A strict recycling ethic was imposed upon the population that lived in these caverns, with violaters thrown out aboveground without survival equipment as punishment.

Enough income was generated from exports of foodstuffs to Garoo that the colonists were able to afford the purchase of simple to maintain advanced technology such as photovoltaic cells and fuel cell engines. Colonies were linked by an ingenious underground transit system of narrow-gauge railways powered by electricity generated from methane release in the hydroponic gardens. Despite the harshness of life on the world, most of the populace enjoyed a fairly comfortable lifestyle.

The success of their abandoned colony wrankled the Garoo government, who derisively referred to the world's hydroponic complexes as "their secret gardens." Despite the import of Uniqua's vitally needed foodstuffs, mutual resentment made relations between the mother world and colony rather chilly. This was rather ironic given both world's emphasis upon communal centered institutions at the expense of the individual.

Resentment boiled over into greed. It is thought that Garoo harbored plans for a military or economic takeover of the world as early as the Third Frontier War, but simply bided its time waiting for the most oppurtune moment to strike. That moment came in the wake of a system failure in 1038, in one of Uniqua's largest communities. The inhabitants of that city were made refugees, and threatened to invade several neighboring deep cities when they were refused safe haven. Garoo's Ruling Council declared a military emergency, and intervened for the "humanitarian maintainment of order and civil peace." Garooian soldiers quickly crushed the meager resistance, and erected a highly unpopular occupation government.

Uniquans came to quickly resent this oppressive presence. While the quality of the government changed little, as many of its high officials were shrewdly recruited from the previous planetary government, Garoo's policies were tailored towards itself more than the local welfare. Local prices were fixed for those local goods that were exported to Garoo, who also imposed its monopoly upon food and oxygen production. Trade was limited to barter, at exchange rates dictated by the authorities.

As Garoo convinced itself of its power and growing influence in the subsector, its expansionistic policies began to attract the ire of its age-old Darrian enemies. Despite the great difficulty of contact with the world, the Confederacy managed to contact local resistance groups just before the Fifth Frontier War, and began to covertly supply them with arms and support equipment. Escalating violence between these guerillas and the local security forces erupted into full-scale war in the aftermath of the Sworld World Occupation of 1132. Aided by several brigades of Darrian troops dropped on the world, the rebels managed to reclaim about seventy percent of the world before stiffening resistance around the starport stopped their advance. This event precipitated the Bularia Incident and the Garoo War.

Unfortunately the Darrians attempted their own domination and takeover of their allies, which, coupled with their embarrassing withdrawal from Bularia and its neighbors, created further balkanisation as the locals attempted to repel them. Currently the world is divided between the main resistance (45 percent of the world), the Darrian-sponsored Unity Council (30 percent) and the Garoo Colonial Government (25 percent). While the Darrians were ostensibly forced to remove their line forces as part of the 1134 armistice, a number of "colonial" forces remain, armed at TL-12 standards. Regency and Zhodani diplomatic mediation and posturing has slowly eased local tensions, allowing the the removal of the world's post-Collapse Amber Zone in 1189, but there is little chance, given its current disposition, of reunification any time soon.


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