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by Pete Grey

Laberv was settled by Pre-Maghiz Darrians around -1380. A smallish agricultural world, it was chiefly exploited for grazing and minor truck farming. The colony did not attract very many colonists, and it died out after the Maghiz.

The world was resettled by colonists from Mire after -128, but it struggled to maintain a profitable existence. Harsh taxation by Mire did little to help the situation. Many local traders took up smuggling and other illegal activities to circumvent these punitive measures, and to provide an additional source for income. Crackdowns by the Confederacy government merely drove these racketeers underground, and they proved nearly impossible to root out.

Despite misgivings about the syndicate, Laberv received its independence in 609 as a cost cutting measure by the Confederacy government, leaving the local population completely at the mercy of the racket. The syndicate quickly expanded its operations in defiance of the planetary government efforts, and brought the world to a virtual standstill. They were prevented from interfering with interstellar traffic moving through the starport by the Darrian military and the fear of stronger, lasting intervention, but the farmers and townspeople native to the world were not spared. The syndicate had extensive contacts with unsavory elements in the Sword Worlds, and may have provided intelligence and material support during the Frontier Wars in return for financial aid.

Protection rackets and "taxation" became the main means of harassment. Most of the planets businesses and operating companies were partially or wholly owned by the syndicate, and it was impossible to get a service rendered or employment without paying additional fees or usurious contractual obligations. The pervasive harassment eventually drove a sizeable proportion of the population out into the unsettled outback, where they were isolated from offworld trade, but free from the syndicate as well.

The end of the Sword World threat after the 1132 Landgrab cost the syndicate its offworld patrons, and allowed the Confederacy to concentrate upon internal domestic issues without distraction. An alliance was ratified between the government and Laberv's outback population, and a joint military operation overthrew the planetary government in 1136. The local industries were nationalised under a new planetary government, and law enforcement surveillance was tightened.

A new participatory government was constructed to permit the population to directly act against the syndicate, and to keep in constant communication with the authorities. Suffrage is universal, and voting is mandatory. This not only makes it difficult for the population to be intimidated, it also acts as a veiled threat of constant surveillance, as voting patterns are constantly analysed to detect syndicate members.

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