EFATE
(1705 A646930-D BHigh population, Industrial800 Im K4V)

PRIMARY: "Orb" Spectral class K4V. ICN S9C0105K4. Mass 0.62 standard. Stellar diameter 0.63 standard. Luminosity 0.15 standard.

PLANETARY SYSTEM: Three major bodies plus a rock. No gas giants. Four inhabited worlds: Efate (1), Erromango (3), Tongoa (4b), Dark Station (5).

1 EFATE: Mean orbital radius of primary 51.16 million kilometers (0.342 AU). Eccentricity 0.000. Period 92.78 days. Diameter 9,815 kilometers. Density 1.00 standard. Mass 0.44 standard. Mean surface gravity 0.76G. Rotational period 6 days 19 hours 30 minute 32 seconds. Axial inclination 4° 36' 15". Albedo 0.300 ...

Surface atmospheric pressure 0.65 atm; composition - standard oxygen-nitrogen mix 'tainted' with a below normal oxygen content. Hydrographic percentage 59%; composition - liquid water. Mean surface temperature 18.6°C.

circa 1105


Introduction

After subsector capitol Regina, the most important world in the Regina Subsector is Efate. A key industrial world and gateway to the Jewell Subsector, Efate is plagued by civil unrest (a fact exploited by the notorious Ine Givar terrorist group). Efate is home to nearly 9 billion people.


Geophysical

Efate is an unremarkable mid-sized world, half covered with water, and orbiting an orange-tinged star called Orb. The rest of the system is somewhat more empty than normal with no gas giants or planetoid belts to speak of. Cloudy Malakula, icy Dark Station (originally named Pentecost), and a handful of rocks comprise this sparse system.

There is life on Efate. While it is not true to call this life primitive, it is underdeveloped. Only half the land has biomass, but this biomass is rich in varieties of plant and insect life. Efatian plants tend to be highly oxygenated, some local berries even have little oxygen-rich air bladders which insects have learned to harvest. The sea shallows are dominated in places by a three-tentacled photosynthesising squid-like creature nicknamed triggerpods by the locals. (Triggerpods are a major food source.) One theory is that Efatian lifeforms are not native but were introduced by the Ancients, but so far no matching lifeforms have been found anywhere else.

The atmosphere on Efate is thin (0.65 atm at sea level) but the average global oxygen content is about half that of a standard mix. Thus pressure at Efatian sea level is equivalent to a Terran altitude of 4 kilometers, and oxygen levels are equivalent to a Terran altitude of 7.5 kilometers. (This can pose a hazard for unwary visitors as a sense of breathlessness in humans is a response to CO2 build-up rather than a lack of oxygen.) However, oxygen levels are not consistent: in areas of high biomass local plants can release enough oxygen that artificial breathing aids are not required (this is especially true around swamps). While some planets have forest fires, Efate has swamp fires.

There are three continents on Efate, subdivided into numerous administrative districts (each with a single major city):

  • Caicoan (in what is arbitrarily considered the 'east') has a large mountainous region called the Boulderlands. On the northern most edge of the Boulderlands is the Grantham District, defined by the remains of a large meteor crater (hex row S-2/3) with the central peak still intact. This district is rich in lanthanum and other minerals, a fact that encouraged early colonisation. Today the Grantham District is the location of Lakatoro (the planet's administrative capitol), Down-Franklin starport (Efate's starport, named after the first mayor of Lakatoro), and the large shipyards (of General Shipyards LIC).

    Northwest of the Grantham District is the more rural Italian District. The district capitol (and only city) is Aniwa. The Italian District provided much of the food for the early colonists. However, as the population grew it was unable to meet demand. In recent decades the Italian District has become rundown as food production falters (due to biomass depletion) and today the Ine Givar problem has further crippled the District. Many local farms now only survive on government subsidies.

    Northeast of the Grantham District is the Tallaght District. The district capitol is Emať. While Tallaght has a mix of agriculture and industry, its dominant feature is its heavy involvement with the pharmaceutical industry. Many pharmaceutical companies have production facilities here. Currently there is a minor (but growing) problem with environmental damage caused by the dumping of unwanted industrial byproducts.

    East of the Tallaght District is the Dead Sea (it contains no observed life) and beyond is the Markham District. The Markham District is largely undeveloped, it is used for the private estates of Efate's ruling class. Access to the Markham District is heavily restricted and local servants are generally very loyal to their Lords. There is no district capitol ... local control is administered through the numerous estates.

    The rest of Caicoan is barren or semi-barren.

  • Kormoran (in the northern hemisphere) is fairly sparse. It is mainly barren or semi-barren ... and sometimes tundra. The exception is the Vandere District ... a fertile southern peninsula (on the other side of the planet to the Grantham District). The district capitol is Tanna. The high availability of local biomass has led to Vandere District being the most productive farming region on the planet. Additionally there is a modest triggerpod fishing industry in the equatorial waters on the southeast coast of the peninsula. In recent years the Ine Givar have grown in popularity in the Vandere District and they now have a strong hold over the rural areas.

  • Sechellan (in the southern hemisphere) is dominated by the Alfan Mountains. Across the Great Ocean from the Italian District lies a shallow sea area with many islands adjacent to the main Sechellan land mass ... collectively they are called the Paradise Islands. The district capitol, Port-Vila, is on the island of Nurakita. In addition to tropical fruit the island waters are a major source of triggerpods. The islanders live an almost regressed life with a technological sophistication of merely level 5 (plus some high tech 'toys'). They produce food for Efate but take little interest in politics.

    South of the Paradise Islands lies the Hammer Bay District (part of the Sechellan mainland). The megacorporation SuSAG is trying to mass breed triggerpods here in more reliable quantities. Though successful, Hammer Bay triggerpods are less tasty than Paradise Islands triggerpods (or even Vandere triggerpods) and processed triggerpod food using this variety requires more flavourings and other additives. The Hammer Bay District population is loyal to the central government in Lakatoro.

    The rest of Sechellan is barren or semi-barren.

Cultural

The date on which Efate was settled is a matter of controversy for academics. The official date of colonisation is the year 300 when Ediie Franklin founded the first colony at Lakatoro. However, from Franklin's own memoirs there are hints that he knew of other prior colonies set up by private individuals in the Paradise Islands (or elsewhere on Efate). Today there are no signs of such early colonies, nor is there any other corroborating evidence. Some have suggested that Frankline was merely indulging in a moment of whimsy, but others persist in believing in the existence of prior colonies.

Although, like many planets, Efate has many cultures and subcultures, here they can be split into two broad camps: urban dwellers ("urbanites") and rural dwellers ("ruralites"). Outside of purely academic circles the terms "urbanite" and "ruralite" take on political significance ... they are only used to highlight this division in Efate's society. There are many on both sides of this division who refuse to recognise these terms, and just as many who promote their use.

Efate's urbanite societies are highly specialised, with a loose caste system, and there is overall popular support for the idea of a ruling class of trained leaders (Efate's government is dominated by a hereditary local peerage). Many urbanites share the belief that democracy produces amateur leaders who often do more harm than good. While a hereditary system (with appropriate safeguards) produces leaders trained from early childhood for the role.

This is in stark contrast with the more independent attitude of the ruralite communities. Here the majority support the idea of self rule to varying degrees and often resent what they see as government interference in their lives. The local chapter of the Ine Givar terrorist organisation has been able to exploit this to its own end by twisting this desire for autonomy to fit the Ine Givar's version of democracy.

A common derogatory term for an urbanite is a "termite" ... a mindlessly loyal insect living in one of the great hives of corruption and decadence. While in return ruralites (many of whom are involved in agriculture) are called ill-disciplined and uncultured "mud puppies".

Efate has a very long 'solar' day: 6 standard days and 20 hours long. Thus the local population live by a clock adjusted such that there are 6 local "days" (of 27 hours and 15 minutes each) per 'solar' day ... called a local "week". Since the clock is divorced from local day and night the whole planet is synchronised on local noon at the starport. Unlike in some cultures residential buildings rarely have windows of any kind, but most rooms do have a "fire exit" hatch which can only be opened from the inside.

Additionally the local calendar is synchronised with the Imperial calendar. There are 321 local days each year, organised as 54 local weeks, plus a leap day at the end of every alternate year.


Government

Efate is ruled by the Central Committee, a legislative council of hereditary local peers. Members of the Central Committee are referred to locally as "Lord". The current head of the Central Committee is Lord Urnst von Alksburg (an Imperial Baron), who inherited the role after his father abdicated in 1100 (following a massive heart attack). The Central Committee governs through five executive Commissions:

  • The Commission Of The Economy (COTE) deals with matters of internal and external trade, industry, and employment. COTE also governs the nationalised mines elsewhere in the system (on Erromango and Tongoa).

  • The Commission For Public Welfare (CPW) deals with matters of health and education, as well as social services.

  • The Commission For Public Order (CPO) deals with law and order ... policing, jails, intelligence gathering, etc. All matters pertaining to the present refugee camps (including food aid) are also dealt with by the CPO. The worst criminals (and political prisoners) are sentenced to the CPO's Dark Station penal colony on the edge of the system.

  • The Commission Of Public Finances (COPF) deals with taxation, unemployment relief, state pensions, etc, as well as acting as a state bank and setting the planetary interest rate.

  • The Planetary Defense Commission (PDC) is an oversight committee dealing with the Efate Army, the PSG (Professional Soldiers Group), and liaising with the Imperium on matters of joint military interest. (The Efate Army has 6 jump-4 battleships, 6 jump-4 cruisers, 150 SDBs, and 1000 battalions of troops and defense batteries. The PSG is currently fielding the equivalent of 20 battalions of mercenaries.)

Although not staffed exclusively by hereditary local peers, promotion within a Commission is fast-tracked for people of high social standing.

Technically, the Judiciary is independent of the government. Efate's constitution prohibits local peers from becoming judges (but not lawyers), but does allow for court judgements to be over-ruled by the Central Committee in exceptional circumstances (this is rare). In practice having a local peer patronise a case can influence the outcome, and courting such patronage features heavily in many pre-trial strategies.


Recent Events

In circa 1050 tension between the two opposed philosophies of urban and rural life led to chronic 'low-level' civil disorder. Extremists in the rural communities, prompted by Ine Givar propaganda, sometimes tried to sabotage the central government by placing small bombs in urban public places (usually there were warnings to allow the area to be evacuated ... the purpose was disruption and chaos rather than loss of life). Also, law enforcement officers and other government officials in rural areas (on or off duty) were vulnerable to sniper attacks.

On the flip-side to this angry urbanites, feeling threatened, started to form into vigilante groups and sought retaliation on rural communities: shooting up farms and lynching suspected rural extremists. Rural communities respond by forming defensive militias ... the Ine Givar provide training and logistical support. And so an escalating cycle of violence began.

The Central Committee was reluctant to commit the Efate Army to large scale anti-terrorist operations against Ine Givar backed rebel militia strongholds. It feared that many of its soldiers were Ine Givar supporters (many in the army came from rural backgrounds and there were some embarrassing small-scale defections). But in 1101 TAS reclassified Efate as an Amber Travel Zone and the Central Committee was forced to turn to offworld mercenaries as a solution.

By 1103 the government had created the PSG (Professional Soldiers Group) to coordinate all mercenary activity on Efate. The PSG was able to build up and field a Division equivalent of mercenaries, many equipped with a technology advantage over local forces (rebel, government, or otherwise). With this it was able to pacify the Italian District inside 18 months. A key strategy in this pacification included the systematic burning of any town or community that was considered to be "rebel influenced", and heavy reprisals for any "disloyal acts". Evicted citizens were forced into refugee camps on the outskirts of the district capitol, Aniwa, where they could be monitored. With the Italian District pacified, and the Grantham District relatively peaceful, TAS was persuaded to lift the Amber Travel Zone rating. (But this rating was to be unofficially reinstated after the local TAS facilities were gutted in a firefight on 269-1105.)

The government's attention now turned to another hot spot: the Vandere District. But by now the Ine Givar were ready. The Ine Givar used snipers and booby-traps against PSG forces, and had well-entrenched operatives in the Vandere capitol city of Tanna. Local rebel militias were motivated, mentally prepared to face PSG tactics, and were better equipped. (Whereas sniper attacks had meant smallarms fire against lone individuals, it now included occasional missile attacks against passing APCs!) And as the PSG started to stage its troops in Tanna (in mid-1104) rebels for the first time conducted a serious bombing campaign within a city.

The PSG responded equally harshly, adopting a policy of more openly targeting civilian infrastructure in areas of rebel activity in an attempt to destroy the rebel's logistical support. This was regardless of any complicity by local communities. This policy also differed from the Italian campaign in that there were no evictions of non-combatants. It backfired on two counts: orders to use heavy weapons on civilian targets without apparent provocation created a growing morale problem amongst the mercenaries (many refused to follow such orders); and the Central Committee was formally warned by the Duke of Regina that its pacification strategy could be considered a violation of the Imperial Rules of War. To comply with the Duke of Regina's warning the PSG was forced to remove its tanks and heavy artillery from the "battlefield".

Today, the PSG's strategy is focused on a war of attrition. Armed infantry patrols sortie into rebel territory, usually employing "Sparrow and Hawk" tactics. Great importance is placed on post-battle field reports listing casualty figures for both sides: enemy personnel killed or wounded are tallied up as a "Combat Credit"; mercenaries killed are counted as a "Combat Debit"; the two figures are compared to see if there was a "Combat Profit" or "Combat Deficit" from the action. However, as pay is often linked to Combat Profit levels no distinction is made between enemy soldiers and non-combatant sympathisers, so in reality these figures are often highly misleading.

Mercenaries in Tanna are at risk of kidnapping, torture, mutilation, and murder. And if that's not enough, the heavily-armed "loyalist" vigilante/para-military groups have turned to organised crime to fund their activities ... and are just as likely to fight each other over control of lucrative underworld activities. Spontaneous "block wars" are becoming increasingly familiar. Yet the numbers of extremists on both side are relatively low. Current estimates by Imperial observers number Ine Givar extremists and rebel militias at about 50 million, while hardcore 'loyalists' vigilates number about 100 million ... combined just 2% of the total population of Efate. However, while the rebels hate the loyalists, and the loyalists hate the rebels, both sides hate the uncommitted majority: if only they would pick a side then the rural/urban issue could be resolved one way or the other.

It is possible that the Ine Givar are receiving aid from the Zhodani Consulate. If this is so then the rebel side is organised in a 4-tier fashion: Zhodani Consulate, Ine Givar, rebel militia, and rebel sympathisers. While opposing them are the Imperium, Efate Army, and the PSG, as well as the loyalist paramilitaries and loyalist sympathisers, and the Imperium.


Trade

Efate's unit of currency is the Baht (B) and usually trades for around B16.58 per Imperial credit. There is a currency exchange surcharge of 2% on amounts upto KCr10, 1.5% on amounts from KCr10 to KCr100, 1% on amounts from KCr100 to MCr1, and 0.5% on amounts over MCr1. Local goods are usually about 10% cheaper than the Imperial RRP standard price (except in the starport, see sales tax below). All local currency is purely electronic and stored in the central state bank (part of COPF), all physical currency is contraband (and possession outside the starport XT line carries heavy punishments under anti-fraud and anti-terrorism laws). Despite this, and the favourable official exchange rate, there is still a thriving black market economy in Imperial credits ... which avoids scrutiny by the tax man and local law enforcement. (Legitimate items bought on the black market with Imperial Credits cost an additional [10% - Broker skill] ... and may require a Streetwise roll to locate a willing trader.)

Down-Franklin starport is currently Efate's only starport. This huge sprawling Class A facility is adjacent to the world's administrative capitol Lakatoro, and handles an average of 24,000 passengers and 522,000 dtons of freight every week. For passengers 41% travel to/from Feri, 31% travel to/from Alell, and 12% travel to/from Boughene. For freight 57% is transacted with Feri, 34% is transacted with Alell, and 6% is transacted with Jewell. The remaining passenger and freight business is with several other Imperial worlds in the Regina and Jewell subsectors.

The downport's largest landing pad can take a ship upto 10,000 dtons in size, but 90% of the pads are for ships upto just 1000 dtons in size. Landing fees are Cr100 (Imperial currency) for each calendar week (or part thereof) for a standard 1000 dton pad. Using the larger pads requires advanced booking and costs Cr30 (Imperial currency) per day per 1000 dtons (or part thereof). There is an import tax of 2% of goods value which is assessed upon landing. Starport facilities (restaurants, etc) are subject to a 10% sales tax.

Also as part of Down-Franklin starport is the planetside component of General Products shipyards (one of three such facilities in the Regina subsector).

Although mining is big business on Efate (and elsewhere in the system) all mined resources go to feed the insatiable appetite of Efate's manufacturing industry (both for the domestic market and for export). In addition to General Products' shipbuilding and SuSAG's diverse pharmaceutical production, there are also significant offworld exports in robots and durable consumer goods. (For example: the Naasirka factory here produces the Naasirka Entertaintment System™ and the LSP factory here produces the FunStation™ ... both for markets across the Jewell and Regina subsectors!) The Efate division of NTV (Naasirka Televideo) is a large producer of 2D and 3D entertainment dramas (as well as news and documentaries) ... many of which have been successfully exported.

A second starport, Port Stanley, is being built at Tanna (in the Vandere District). Currently only the landing pads and primary utilities have been built. Construction of the passenger and freight facilities, warehousing, repair yards, and administration is proceeding ... with the official opening expected around late 1106 or early 1107. As such Port Stanley is not available for civilians, but military ships do sometimes land here.


Population

The official 1100 census of Efate recorded the population as 8,850,000,000. There are just 5 super-cities with a population of over 1 billion each ... about 72% of the total population. The other 2,450,000,000 live in numerous small rural communities. Only the planetary capitol (or administrative capitol as the locals call it) of Lakatoro has a downport (Down-Franklin starport). Within most city limits many laws are level 5+, and within the archologies (see below) those same laws are level 10+. But in many places outside the cities the civilian rule of law has totally collapsed. The Hammer Bay District currently lacks a district capitol, construction of a new super-city (named "Solomon") has begun.

Primary Cities
Name Population District (and continent) Comment
Lakatoro 1,400,000,000 Grantham District (Caicoan) Planetary capitol
Aniwa 1,200,000,000 Italian District (Caicoan) District capitol
Emať 1,200,000,000 Tallaght District (Caicoan) District capitol
Tanna 1,400,000,000 Vandere District (Kormoran) District capitol
Port-Vila 1,200,000,000 Paradise Islands (Sechellan) District capitol

Lakatoro: This is the district capitol of the Grantham District and the administrative capitol for the whole planet. It is allegedly the site of the first colony. Today, at the city's heart, is a massive archology called the "Citadel" ... a gleaming flat-topped pyramid that is home to a billion people, central government, and many businesses. This structure is virtually an ant nest of humanity. Around this is a dense sprawl with a further half billion people (living in relative squalor and urban decay). Beyond lies Down-Franklin starport with its numerous landing pads, and the General Shipyards complex. The densely packed tall buildings of the sprawl leave many of the traffic clogged streets in perpetual darkness. The numerous poorly maintained environmental systems (of sprawl tower blocks) spew water vapour into the air, condensation often leads to localised 'rain'. The proximity of Lakatoro to the starport means there is no separate startown, the whole of Lakatoro's sprawl fulfils this function. Workers for the "Offworld Colonies" (the insystem mines on Erromango and Tongoa) are actively recruited from here.

Aniwa: This is the district capitol of the Italian District. As is common on Efate the city center is dominated by a massive archology. Aniwa's archology (the "Palace") is a giant cube encased in glass. It houses 0.5 billion people in relative yet compact luxury. Around the Palace is the "Old City", a reasonably well-to-do neo-gothic sprawl of 0.5 billion people surrounded by high walls. Originally, before the Palace was built, the Old City was supposed to have an enclosed environment. But this was never completed and the great walls to hold the roof are all that's left of that plan. Outside the Old City walls are a further 0.2 billion people in the slum suburbs. And beyond that are immense fenced compounds of refugee shanty towns (a result of the pacification plan). The slum suburbs are superficially like those of Lakatoro, but noticeably cleaner, better maintained, and less crowded. Aniwa was recently dubbed "Merc City". The PSG are based here and many PSG mercenaries take R&R here. The PSG headquarters is nicknamed "Merc Central".

Emať: This is the district capitol of the Tallaght District. Emať's archology is an arrangement of 4 great tower blocks hundreds of stories high, criss-crossed with numerous connecting bridges at various heights. This archology is called the "Towers" and it houses 0.5 billion people. The roof of one of the towers is owned exclusively by SuSAG, who use it as a private airport connecting their offices and facilities here with those at Solomon and Down-Franklin starport. Around the Towers are a dozen domed cities of various sizes, collectively housing 0.7 billion people. These domes protect the inhabitants from the industrial wastes which are dumped unprocessed out the dome wall. As such the domes are really 'mini' archologies in their own right.

Tanna: This is the beleaguered district capitol of the Vandere District. At the heart of the city is a 0.5 billion people archology called "Tanna Prime". Tanna Prime is built in the shape of a giant disk (or fat cylindrical tower). The other 0.9 billion live in a massive sprawl around Tanna Prime. The population density per square kilometer of Tanna's sprawl is bearly a quarter of the Lakatoro sprawl ... thus it spreads much further. When the PSG started staging units in Tanna, in preparation for 'pacifying' the Vandere District, rebel units bombed that part of the city, causing much damage. Those mercenary units that stay in Tanna are under constant harassment from civilians (who feel the mercs' presence endangers them all), and terrorist bombs and sniper attacks.

Port-Vila: This is the district capitol of the Paradise Islands and it is Efate's greatest cultural contradiction. On the large island of Avalon stands 800 'small' archologies, each holding just 1.5 million people in a 4 square kilometer area of ground. Built to the same design as those on Azun (in the Solomani Rim) the technically 'regressed' locals are unable to maintain them without outside help. Thus they are totally dependant on Lakatoro. On the plus side, with almost no other construction the islands are an unspoiled idil. (Many triggerpod fishermen live in a high-tech residential unit in one of the archologies, yet work on a sail-powered boat!) Oddly, there are few facilities for tourists.


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