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Sam's World

E100956-8

by Pete Grey

The Saint Simeon was a Solomani colony ship that was stranded over this barren world in -278. The ship, a 25,000 ton colony transport, suffered this fate when one of its boats crashed into its engineering section while attempting to dock at too high of a closing velocity. The collision crippled the ships engineering section beyond repair.

A jump courier attached to the ship was sent out to search for help, and the colonists were cycled down to the world's surface into temporary shelters to wait for its return. They were still waiting when scouts from the Third Imperium contacted the world in 64.

By that time the colonists had resigned themselves to their fate, and had begun to expand the colony by subterranean tunneling. Sam's World has never advanced far from a tech level of 8, due in large part to a shortage of heavy metals and natural organics in the system. All of the locals resources were channeled into food production; air, water and waste recycling and having to survive alone on a desolate and hostile world. In this the Sams (as they call themselves) took immeasurable pride in their toughness and self-reliance.

When the IISS contacted them they refused the offers of more advanced Imperial technology that could only be maintained or replaced by offworld imports. They did accept assistance in building technical databases, and were grateful for new information on construction, life support and life science advancements. But for the most part they rebuffed both the scouts and the Third Imperium, and showed little interest in being engaged outside of their tough but apparently rewarding lives.

The trade encouraged by the j-1 route into the Marrekesh Trade League brought some additional income and luxury to the world, but the locals never got beyond building a primitive starport. Nor is their hospitality industry worth writing home about.

The world's government is divided among several "Sections" organised into technical specialization. The name and structure suggests that they are descended from the Saint Simeon's crew and section structure. All education above the middle school level is controlled by the Sections, and all inhabitants of the world pass through one of their technical high schools before they can obtain any kind of employment at their majority. Graduates go on to lengthy seven year apprenticeships learning the skills and experience within their chosen career.

This educational structure tends to stifle creative thought and does not reward individuality, as those are seen as unnecessary luxuries. It is also the reason for the world's lack of technical advancement. The Sams were so staunch in their conformity that adolescents showing no desire to fit in were exiled, often scooped up by the local police and dumped on a passing trade ship. Free thinking and expression, even artistic expression and exploration, were considered counterproductive and tawdry. Even poetry was held in popular contempt.

Indeed the world's populace is conservative to a degree unimaginable even among staunch Vilani cultural conservatives. Fashions, social habits, decorations, architecture... the whole fabric of cultural exchange and expression is fossilised into frozen patterns. It is as if the Sams were still waiting for that lost jump courier, still attending to interim survival until it returned, allowing them to vanquish the universe on the strength their own merits rather than embrace anything from the outside world.

Even the systems government and populace is beginning to tire of their conformity, and the Regency has established a RISS base to assist them in upgrading their educational and industrial systems, and smooth the transition to full outside contact.


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