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Life on this world has always been harsh, and the colonists that came here thousands of years ago were known for their ruthlessness and impatience for risks. Esperanza was home to a sizeable community of Droyne, who were exterminated by the human colonists in the first two hundred years of their settlement. After the eradication of the "Batwings" the world descended into one brutal dictatorship after another, as local warlords vied for control of the world. The current dictatorship was established after the Serendip's invention of jump drive, a cruel dictatorship known as the Lord Protector. Unlike many dictators, the local government is more bureaucratic than feudal, but is also more ideological, and the Lord Protector is surrounded by a personality cult that borrows heavily from some debased evangelical tradition.
The world is heavily industrialised, and the teeming population is kept in check by an extensive security service, including the distinctively white robed Civic Police. Pollution is quite severe, requiring the use of filter masks at all times. Food and water rationing are enforced, and dissent is stifled by a vertical line of informants and monitors. The Esperanzan war effort was an unmitigated disaster, thanks to poor planning, and the local economy has limped along since annexation by the Regency. The locals no longer have enough money to maintain public spaces, and the cities and local factories are rubbish heaps of failing services, sputtering utilities and dilapidated buildings. The current Lord Protector, General Jonathan "Babbling" Brooke, and his cronies have retreated more and more into fortified dwellings and communities segregated from the main population.