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Before the Rebellion, Herring was owned by Cirrino Stronglia. He
ran a back to nature, survivalist training center. For employees, he
hired members of his family, figuring that he could trust them, and that
they would more loyal than strangers. About fifty family members came to
help. They started bringing in small groups of offworlders to train in
survival skills, including small arms training, wilderness survival, hunting,
and fishing. The family didn't have enough resources or manpower to be self
sufficient, almost all raw materials were shipped in from off world. They were
able to grow a fair amount of food in a large garden, but still shipped in
During the Rebellion, the family saw an upswing in business, but towards the onset of the Hard Times, business began to dry up. The family began to worry about their survival, and to supplement their income, they allowed several starmerc groups to base themselves on the planet. The starmercs started constructing a small primitive landing field for their ships. This still serves as the planet's only starport. It is at the southern end of the Port Adrian helioport. It During the last stages of Hard Times, refugees started to land on the planet, at first it was a trickle, when Virus struck it became a flood, as over three quarters of a million people landed on the planet. The Stronglia family at first resisted letting the refugess land on the planet, but many were coming in ships that were failing and had no where else to go. Unscrupulus merchants would land in the far reaches of the planet, and disgorge their hordes. Others would promise only to refuel, but then release hundreds if not thousands of refugees.
The family debated on what to do, some members suggested hiring the starmercs to wipe out refugees or shoot down any incoming ships, but calmer minds prevailed. The family decided to hire the starmercs as a security force, and to settle the refugees across the planet. This would allow them to start to grow their own food, and lessen their impact on any one area. They also hired a company from Keipes to manage the refuees. The company was payed off with the starport concession and short term mineral rights on the system's far planets. These showed some promise of being profitable for the production of radioactives. The company was given wide latitude and told to do whatever it took to save as many of the refugees as possible. The most immediate problem was that there was no food for the thousands of refugees. In the first year, over 400,000 of them starved to death. In the second year, another two hundred thousand starved. In the the third year, enough farmland was under use that the surviving population of 150,000 was able to survive.
Virus missed the planet on its first sweep through the sector, but several months later, a Vampire fleet jumped into the system. The starmercs tried to fight them off, but were defeated. After the Vampires had infected the surviving starmerc ships, they ignored the planet and jumped out of the system.
In 1140, pretty much everyone had finally conceded that the rest of the universe was either dead or so badly destroyed that they weren't coming back to Herring any time soon. The Stronglia family decided to create a formal government, and to turn the surviving starmercs into a permament army. The family drew up a constitution and presented it to the refugees. The refugees were able to comment on the document, but only a few minor wordings were changed.
The constitution set up the present system of government. It also set up a legal system. Accused citizens do not have many civil rights; they have no right to counsul, no right against self incrimination, no right to bond, and are considered guilty until proven innocent. The accused are often physically interrogated. The rules of evidence are also rather lax. Trials are held before a panel of three judges, who question the prosecutor and any witnesses that the defense or prosecution may have brought forth. The guilty are sentenced to long prison sentences, where they are forced to do manual labor. The death penalty is almost never applied, which is unusual for a world with such a high law level. It is only applied to the most heinous murders. This legal system doesn't apply to members of the Stronglia family. They can only be charged with capital crimes, and a panel of family members judges the cases. The death penalty is never applied to a Stronglia.
The bureaus and the Stronglias set up 13 different communities. From ten to twenty thousand people live in each community. Originally each community tended to be made up of people from one planet, but in the seventy years there has been some mixing. The towns are conected by a small two lane highway. Each town has unlimited use of the surrounding 2500 square kilometers. If they want to make use of any land beyond this, they must petition the Stronglia family. The towns do trade among themselves, each town has an agricultural specialty. Sendegon makes excellent dewmelon wine. While Leftbridge makes sugar and candy from the sap of the carbi vine. Port Adrian catches dozens of different varieties of seafood. The towns have a center which is composed of the original buildings, that were built to house the refugees. These were hastily constructed and are falling apart. The Bureaus are starting a new program tearing these down and turning the land into public parks. Most residents live in small single family houses. Each house has a small yard. There is a sense of community and most residents know most of their neighbors personally.
There are currently some 250 members of the Stronglia family, they all
use the family name as their surname. Members of the family are usually
addressed with the honorific Kel for male members of the family or Kela
for female members. Most of the family lives on the family estates several
hundred kilometers north of Port Adrian. The family estates are very
modest, they centered around the 80 year old main house. This house was
built by Cirrino Stronglia, and has been in use since then. The Stronglias
make a living by running a trading corporation which trades between the
different cities. It is the largest such company, the Stronglias make a
point of not using their power to help the company. It really doesn't need
the help, it was the first trading company established and has built up
an insurmountable lead on the competition. The Stronglias also receive
a small amount of money from the thirteen communities, as a rent for
being allowed to live on the planet. This tax amounts to about 2% of the
gross domestic product.
The Stronglia family is run by a council of all members of the family over 60 years old. The younger Stronglias have always complained about this, feeling that they were shut out. To help allieviate these feelings, in 1197, the family allowed the younger members to appoint one of their own to join the council. They choose Kel Dorian Stronglia, a 31 year old who was filled with visions of the changes he could make, once getting in a position of power. So far he has been extremly bored with the council, because they really don't do all that much. It is only in a time of crisis that they are called on to act, otherwise the members tell dirty jokes, play canasta and finish off the meeting with a good meal. They council meets about once a month.
The family has access to a fair bit of relic technology. They have several hundred small arms, mostly Imperial gauss weaponary. Two grav speeders have been kept operational, are are used in emergencies. They also have many miscileneous consumer items, such as sonic massagers, holovid games, microwave ovens, gravometric exersice equipment, and an automed.
Each of the thirteen communities sends represenatives to the Planetary
Assembly. An assemblyman is awarded for each 2100 residents. This number
fluctuates, so that at anyone time, there are only 200 assemblymen. The
assemblymen are popularly elected by the towns. Assemblymen serve a three
year term, and can serve an unlimited number of terms. The assemblymen
select one of their number to be the world's represenative to the
Reformation Coalition's Assembly of World. The Stronglia Family selects
one of the Assemblymen to be Planetary Governor. The current governor is
Manjit Bryce, who has served four consecutive terms as governor. The
Planetary Assembly can vote to remove the governor from office with a 90%
majority of the Assembly. The Stronglias must then select a new governor.
So far, this has never happened.
The Stronglia family also selects one of their own members to be the Chairman of the Assembly. The Chairman has a veto over all declarations that the Assembly makes. No means are provided to override this veto. The Chairman also has the ability to disolve the Assembly and call for new elections. So far this has only happened once, when 37 of the assembly- members were arrested on corruption charges.
The Assembly does not have a great deal of power. It is able to pass non-binding resolutions on any topic. It also has the ability to pass suggestions to the bureaucracy and the military. All resolutions must be passed by a 75% majority. In general the Assembly is a place for the people's reprsenatives to talk about problems and discuss possible solutions. These solutions are sometimes listened to, but often ignored.
The real power in the government is the bureaucracy. The Bureaus as as they are called, were set up during the Hard Times that followed the Rebellion. The Bureaus are concerned with the welfare and well being of populace, but they assume that they know what is best for the populace. With dozens of different cultures being represented on the planet, someone is always grousing and complaining. The Bureaus are in charge of pretty much everything except for religion. The Bureaus run the schools, but tend to stay away from the teaching of moral values, and the like, leaving that to the parents and religious figures.
To many outsiders Ra seems a repressive planet, with a government that ignores the will of the people. Several groups from other planets in the Coalition have tried to launch a democracy movement. So far these efforts have not borne fruit. One reason is that the government does not appreciate outsiders involving themselves with internal politics, the other is that the residents do not see democracy as the ideal model of government. They realize that Ra is not perfect, but it is better than what mob rule would turn it into. Ra is firmly a member of the Federalist bloc, believing that each world is an isolated case, shaped by circumstances unique to the planet. Each world should be allowed to determine the form of government and social structure that suits it best. Lucas Stronglia, the Assemblyman from Ra often critizes other more interventionist Federalists, who want to interfere in internal affairs of other planets.
A nest of 500 hivers has settled on Ra. They settled on Seabridge
Peninsula, and have taken this as the name of their nest. The nest is
primarily interested in sharing agricultural expertice with the Coalition.
They have stated genetically engineering plant species for some of the
harsher planets in the RC, such as Phoebus. The government of Ra, has
established a reserve around the nest to protect the Hiver larvae from
human interference. The hivers did not ask for the reserve, and don't really understand it, if their larvae die, it is part of nature. Penalties for broaching the enclave are fairly severe.
The nest is protected by the Company A of the 515th Ra Military Police.
The hivers have seeded the area with predators from the hiver homeworld
in order to keep the larvae population in check. M. Dina is the head of
The nest was founded in VIII/1200. In exchange for the use of the land, the hivers gave the Stronglia family a sizable cargo of high tech industrial goods. The Stronglia family sold these, to purchase two TL-12 System Defense Boats from Aubaine. These have subsequently been named Asp One and Asp Two. They also purchased a pair of weather satelites to provide weather forecasts. The hivers also supply a handful of technical advisors to assist in helping the residents of Ra increase their tech level. In early 1202 the nest was attacked with a biological weapon of Solomani origin. The renegade Dawn League scout, Vega Norn is suspected in the attack. She is also suspected in the firing of a nuclear warhead at the surface. The target was an uninhabited island in the north. No casualties were reported, but a RCES crew was in the area. Several hundred of the hivers died from the biological weapon which is believed to be Folgorex II. This has severly handicapped their work, and it is unknown when and if they will be able to resume their work.
The nest is supplied with state of the art hiver technology. This includes many expert system robots. Thus ironically, a low tech world like Ra, is one of the few places in the RC where you can find large numbers of high tech robots. The nest also has a state of the art passive electromagnetic sensor array in orbit.
Since the refugees were from so many different worlds, they brought
different customs, religions and tastes to their adopted world. This
heritage is still present on Ra. Ra has dozens of different holidays, festivals and other ceremonies, that a fraction of the population follows. The blending of culture has given Ra a very exotic air, as dozens of cultures merge into something unique.
The L'Steich refugees still celebrate the Feast of St Vladimir, a four day festival celebrating the salvation of the early colony on L'Steich. The colony experienced a horrible first growing season, and mass starvation was immement, when Vladimir Lukin arrived in system. His free trader had malfunctioned and he needed some spare parts to fix his jump drive. Luckily he was shipping luxury food items to Terra. He saw the desperate straits the colonists were in, and donated his entire cargo to the colony. The Colonists celebrated with a great feast. From then on their fortunes looked much brighter. To this day, the feast is held on the 10th through the 14th of the ninth month of the year. It is celebrated with parades and feasts where the whole neighborhood joins in. Of course historical events don't resemble the myth of St Vladimir, but when did that stop a good holiday.
The residents of Blackstone celebrate the Night of a Thousand Faces, where the entire community dresses up in fanciful costumes and engage in a wild party. During this night, almost all social restrictions are relaxed and the people let themselves go wild. Different groups in the city put on block parties, and residents go from party to party, partaking of alchol, narcotics, hallucigens and other drugs. Many people engage in sexual behavior that they normally wouldn't dare do. In the last few years, the festival has atracted alot of attention from the other communities on the planet. Many residents of other cities have started to come to partaking in the festivities. While other more conservative resdients, particularly the communitiy of Greenwillow have condemn the festival as a hedonistic ritual that should be eliminated before it contaminates further generations.
While Port Adrian is the capital of the planet, it is primarily populated with refugees from the asteroid world of Kruyter. One of their holidays is Equality Day. Mona Biel was a vocal supporter of minority and women's rights. In 432 the corporate dictatorship which ruled Kruyter at that time executed her for her anti-government retoric. The populace was outraged and rose up and overthrew the government. Eversince the date of her death has been a national holiday. Most people celebrate the holiday by taking the day off, and spending time with their family. There are also lectures by prominent thinkers of the day. They give speechs on the status of to equality in the world today.
The Corrigian residents of Sendegon and Le'Fleiago celebrate the end of a deadly plague on the Festival of the Blessed Lady. In -1500 a plague was ravaging the city of Belcoh. A mysterious woman appeared and went through the populace healing the sick and raising the dead. By dawn she had vanished, never to be heard of again. A religion sprang up around her. On the day of the festival, the believers go to church and pray. On the day of the festival, the believers light their homes with white candles. On Corrig there was a large shrine dedicated to the Lady. It purports to have holy relics that were actually touched by the Lady herself. Many in the community want to bring the shrine to Ra. They are trying to organize a mission to do so. They have gotten permission from the Stronglias and the Assembly of Worlds. They are currently trying to raise funds.
The residents of Kelogogianolk celebrate Holy Rites every 15 standard months. The Rites is a week of parties and wild abandon, followed by three days of contrition. This contrition usually involves fasting, praying and physical castigation. The Rites are supposed to balance the soul, by purging the soul of urges that people are filled with. Most other residents of Ra, think the holiday is rather bizarre.
The cities of Greenwillow and Hazardville celebrate one of the more fun holidays, Minlidno Day. Minlidno was the planetary symbol of Bestor. She was a Keltara. Keltara are a species of large aboreal animal native to Bestor. They are very gentle animals, eating fruits and leaves. Almost all humans find them extremly cute and adorable. They are covered with a beautiful golden fur, with large brown spots. Keltara live for several hundred years. Minlidno was a orphaned as a cub, when a forest fire killed her mother and father, and destroyed her habitat. She was found by a firefighter and brought to the local zoo. Keltara hardly ever survive in captivity, but Minlidno not only survived, but thrived. She was extremly friendly towards humans. Soon the entire planet had fallen in love with her. Minlidno died of old age, the year before the Collapse. On the date of her death, people dress up and celebrate her life. They either dress up inHarrington full Keltara costumes, or just wear something with a Keltara fur pattern on it. There is also a giant parade down the main street in each of the cities. There are floats, giant inflated balloons, holographic displays, clowns and marching bands. It is a very fun holiday.
The Red Tide Fete celebrates the start of the fishing season on Welch. It is celebrated every 7 standard months. (A year on Welch.) Originally it was celebrated with a large feast and story telling by the elders of the community. The holiday is slowly dying, the current generations have not ever seen Welch, and don't understand the significance of the holiday. They are treating it as an excuse to take the day off.
Bolo Ball is the obsession of anyone descended from refugees from L'Steich. On Ra, the game is purely amateur, on Balder the game has professional teams. Fans on Ra, feel that Baldur has corrupted the purity of the game. Fans on Baldur don't really care what the fans on Ra feel, they just want to watch a good game. On Ra, almost a third of the L'Steich population plays in a league. On opening day, the teams parade around town, boasting of what they will do in the upcoming season. They also talk to the fans, teach a few tricks to the youngsters. Most people have a picnic dinner. The night ends with a fireworks display.
The one holiday that is celebrated world wide is Remembrance Day. This day is dedicated to remembering those who died in the Collapse. It is a very solemn holiday. Everyone has the day off, except for emergency personal. Many churches hold special services to pray for the dead. The Governor gives a speech, and lays a wreath at the Remembrance Obilisk, located in Port Adrian. The Obilisk is a obilisk of black obsidian sitted on a disk of white marble. The obilisk is 200 meters tall, and the disk is 500 meters in radius. Many people lay flowers at the base of the Obilisk. Rememberance Day is celebrated on the last day of the sixth month of the standard calender.
The Sandpeople of Bolton tell stories of the immense wealth that their ancestors left behind on the homeworld. A group of them has tried to get the Assembly of Worlds to grant them a deed to the planet, so as to prevent anyone else from recovering the treasures. They are also trying to raise capital to finance a recovery mission. They are a rather poor community and have so far been unable to launch a mission.
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