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Appendice 4: The Colonies

Beyond the Viridia-Solaris / Leviathan binary system there are thousands of other inhabited worlds, humanity having spread itself wide across the galaxy as soon as the means to do so had been realised. Many of the inhabited worlds are mature colonies every bit as established and prosperous as the homeworlds, whilst others are developing experimental societies plagued by difficulties and engaged in a constant struggle to survive. There are fertile paradises with rich biospheres, providing an abundance of agricultural produce to put Viridia to shame. There are military outposts chosen for their tactical value or strategic locations. There are worlds suited to researching new technologies- much like Prime- on account of their unusual geologies or favourable environmental conditions. There are many more worlds of marginal value to settlers- after the mould of Ironglass- that have been settled by prospectors chasing false hopes. In the more affluent sectors there are worlds given over entirely to tourism and leisure, such as the Viridian financed Hypnos 4. There are also purpose built worlds such as the Synthan Illuminatus- Weishaupt L3 and L4 space labs in the Peos Nebula; or the Junker Thanatos Class Starfactories, which are planetoid sized tangles of semi-repaired wrecks and lifepods to which the biggest plasma drives in history have been attached. They float through deep space processing cosmic debris and salvaging wrecks, until they gather enough cargo to put in at a system and trade, then it's off scavenging again.

The sheer variety of worlds and ways that people have managed to exploit them according to their needs defies the imagination. Bare asteroids, bleak ice worlds, radioactive wastelands, planets awash with toxic oceans, crushing gravity, all these difficulties and more have been overcome when a world has something worth having on it.

The technologies used to settle worlds depend very much on the circumstances of the world. Some worlds come ready made, with a life- supporting biosphere capable of sustaining humans. On others humans have to live in sealed environments, often beneath the surface, where they create artificial biospheres. For most colonies though humans start off in sealed facilities, and use terraforming technologies to transform worlds into inhabitable environments over time.

Most of these colonies are allied to one of the homeworlds, or more rarely they have direct allegiance to VASA itself. This is all well and good for the richer worlds, or the 'Gate' planets as they are known in VASA bureaucracy, for whom maintaining close ties with their patron state provides them with security and prosperity. All colonies have their own security forces, and some starfleet capability to speak of so that they can deal with home defence issues. Indeed on many worlds less well off than the Gate planets the promise of revolution is never far away and the security forces are kept very busy. On the less important worlds that make up about 80% of the human galactic population (this is very approximate since an accurate census hasn't been taken for over a hundred years) the Tripartite Confederacy is often referred to in hushed tones as the 'Tripartite Conspiracy'. In some cases worlds have broken away entirely from VASA, declaring their independence in much the same way Prime and Ironglass broke away from Viridia in the dim past. Sometimes diplomatic solutions are found, more often though the matter will be resolved through bloody coup, revolution or sabotage. These worlds in conflict are the battlefields on which the homeworlds can compete with one another. The Tripartite Confederacy and the Vacillus Treaty would never allow the homeworlds to go directly to war with one another again, lest they plunge humanity into a galaxy wide civil war. Therefore they covertly support their own factions on these lesser planets, vying for advantage but never quite coming into direct confrontation. Covert military actions, back door arms deals with rebels and terrorists, social engineering, bribery, propaganda, and every dirty trick in the book is used by the Viridians, the Syntha, and the Junkers in such theatres, where the only victims are the politically trivial populations of these minor colonies.

Once a colony has won its independence though, it is incumbent on VASA to recognise the new State in order to maintain trade and diplomatic links with it- particularly if the colony has a rare or unique resource that benefits everybody. Therefore there are numerous independent worlds and independent alliances that have their own forms of government, ranging from isocratic utopias to terrible despotic empires. Such independents have limited sway over galactic matters though, and VASA finds it much easier to dismiss them, or press sanctions against them when they fail to comply with interstellar law, than it does the Confederacy colonies. A particularly insidious pitfall faced by newly independent colonies is that they are horribly vulnerable to exploitation by the Tripartite Confederacy. Their economies can quickly become destabilised by the trading power of the Confederacy, tipping them straight back into the sort of social ferment that precipitated their independence in the first place. Human rights violations inevitably take place and since they are outside of the Confederacy it is easy for a concerned homeworld to gain VASA's blessing to bomb them into behaving themselves; before generously stepping in to run the shattered executive.