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Sable des Etoiles

B00099B-E

by Pete Grey

Name is French, meaning "Etoile's Sand." Sable des Etoiles is one of five worlds settled by French Solomani known as the Marseilles cluster. This was part of the same group that settled the Federation of Garrone in neighboring Beyond Sector.

When first contacted by the Third Imperium in 69, the five worlds were all part of a small interstellar state known as the Strend Pact, which possessed TL-12 and a small fleet of starships. The Pact was governed by the oppressive Destiny Directorate, the predecessor of the Strends current Rational Destiny movement.

It espoused (and continues to espouse on Strend) a strange mixture of ecstatic Catholicism and poorly understood Cartesian philosophy. It held that humanity once existed in an edenic state under a deistic god, but had been expelled from paradise by the fall of Adam, and was consigned to a hellish animal state as a result. In order for man to be redeemed, he would have to recognise and retrieve his original rational side through severe self-examination, clean living and strict obedience to laws of reason. Those that were most successful than others at redisovering their rational purity were declared to be "evolved" and were placed in the Destiny hiearchy to help their less fortunate brothers and sisters.

Strangely enough the Destiny movement lacked the secret police or large security apparatuses typical of totalitarian government. But that was because it believed that the path to reclaiming this purity lay through proper nutrition, heavy exercise, ascestic self-deprivation and even surgical mutilation. As a result, physicians, nutritionists, surgeons and calisthenic instructors became the Destiny elite. Martial arts and physical training were stressed, and the mastery of the body through athletics and physical prowess became as important as normal academic learning.

Because of its literal interpretation that redemption lay through health, Rational Destiny was in many ways more benevolent than most totalitarian societies. But it was in many ways more intrusive in its desire to monitor the health of its citizens, and intolerant of failure. People that didn't measure up for whatever reasons determined by the regime, were exiled to less amenable worlds for "rehabilitation." Most of these were sent to Sable des Etoiles.

Sable des Etoiles was settled as a resource colony for Strend, and its "Rehabilitants" were practically slaves for the oppressive Pact government. They lived in miserable conditions under heavy military guard, and were worked like beasts of burden till they died from exhaustion, accidents or suicide. The local military garrison eventually decided to make common cause with the miners, though purely for reasons of self-interest. After several years of quiet preparation, the troops mutinied against the Pact in 256, winning the systems independence. The loss of the system made it difficult for Strend to replace its military losses, and the Pact broke up in 260.

Alas, the new military regime gave way to a bureaucracy that reenshrined many of the original Destiny teachings, and applied to their new subjects, with much the same severity. Unlike Strend's Destiny government, the Sable des Etoiles government is non-doctrinaire, more concerned with profits from the systems mines and factories, and only concerned with individual health where it applies to productivity and work attendance. While this makes them less intrusive into private life, it makes them extremely punitive towards "slackers" and "donkeys" that don't measure up.

Fortunately the regime has shown enough sense to share enough of the profits with the common people to raise the standard of living, and therefore avoid widespread dissension. While private corporations are banned, a system of advancement, carried over from the original Destiny days, uses aptitude and medical testing to recognise individual potentials in adolescents, and steer them into appropriate slots within the worlds well funded Ecole system.

With a TL of E, the world exports a number of industrial products to the Aslan, the Regency and various Hinter states. The government would like to eventually upgrade the starport to an A class facility, and to exploit the Regency's demand for merchant starships.


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