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Oriflamme

B846857-9

by Lewis Roberts & John Macpherson

Physical Details
History
Political Structure
Military
Free Cities


Physical Details

Oriflamme is in orbit 0 around Von Strucker: its primary which is a K8 V star. Its orbital period is 47.8 standard days. The orbit is fairly elliptical, making for severe seasonal changes. The weather goes from blazingly hot to freezing cold in a matter of weeks. Unlike most planets, due to the eccentric orbit the seasons are not of equal duration. The planet moves slowest while farthest from the star, and moves very quickly while close to the star. At apastron the average temperature plunges to -10C. This winter season lasts for about 10 days. While during periastron passage the average temperature climbs to 40C, but thankfully this only lasts for approximetly 5 days. The planet has a very low axial tilt, so the two hemispheres experence the seasons at the same time. The atmosphere has a high concentration of CO2.

History

Nemyer was settled by a mixed bag of Solomani during the Rule of Man. Many of the colonists were of Russian or German nationality. After the Long Night it willingly joined the expanding Third Imperium. It was made part of the Solomani Autonomous Zone by Empress Margaret and during the Rim War it fought with great gusto on the behalf of the Solomani Confederation. Imperial might was too much for it and it was captured by Imperial forces in the later stages of the war. It remained part of the Imperium, until the Rebellion. Like the rest of the Old Expanses, Nemyer was annexed by the Solomani Confederation in 1118.

Since Nemyer is one of the few industrial worlds with a decent starport this initially means a slight increase in prosperity as the Solomani buy provisions from them. Nemyer is pretty indifferent to who rules them. They have sympathies with the solomani but don't really like SolSec and after all the Impies have been pretty good time.

Before the Rebellion the world was ruled by a Senate made up of the members of leading families and prominent citizens. Citizens earned the right to join the Senate through public service, or outstanding accomplishments in science or business. The Senate had no fixed size and could expand or shrink depending on the number of people worthy of memberhip. Membership ranged from a low of 1460 in the year 659 to a high of 2891 in the year 1021. During the Rebellion there approximetly 1550 members. Members of the Senate and the other influential people of the day were informally referred to as the Notables. Members of leading families got in by inheriting a major business, or by having their powerful families arrange for them to get a sufficiently important political job. This system recieved popular approval and was relatively efficeient in managing the affairs of government.

Hard Times

As the Solomani sphere of control begins to contract, Nemyer finds itself more and more isolated and thrown upon its own resources. This results in economic decline and the dislocation of a lot of people. They begin turning to the Local Notables who have long ruled Nemyer for help. This comes to increasingly resemble a "patron-client" relationship. For instance, shopkeepers might become dependent on the owner of a shopping center for protection, or a distributor who continues to make deliveries even though they have trouble paying. Barter and exchanges of favors are used to keep the system and the economy running.

Collapse

The day the machines went mad. Most of the Virus strains that infected Nemyer were of the suicider type. They caused grav transports to crash into buildings, elevators to plummet, powerplants to blow up and destroyed much of the high-tech infrastructure of the cities where a majority of the population lived. The high tech farms in Nemyer's rural areas used large numbers of robotic farm machines. Virus turned the machines that once fed Nemyer's billions into bands of murderous machines that killed anything in their path.

Refugees fleeing the failing cities were easy prey for these maruading machines. Columns of refugees were beset by giant combines who mowed down the people as so many rows of grass. Most of these bands of rogue machines didn't last more than a year or so, but scattered bands were seen as late as 1154. The farm machines did not account for a large percentage of the victims of the Collapse, but the psycholgical impact was great. Almost every rural community that survived the Collapse had at least one run in with some rampaging farm machines, and the images of the machines still hold a place in the collective memories of the Oriflammen.

Many Nemyerans had lived in crowded industrial cities and were hard hit by the Collapse, but most of them by far survived the first weeks. Many believe it would have been better if they died. The Collapse came shortly before the onset of winter. Many died from the cold before they could have starved to death and these numerous frozen corpses provided a food source for gangs of cannibals. Outlying agricultural areas sometimes faired better, but many succumbed to hordes of refugees who ate everything and then joined the locals in starvation. Despite all this death there were a phenomenal number of people on Nemyer and it took almost a decade for the first wave of die-offs to end. Throughout this period the Notables took care of their "clients" as best they could, and adopted those people initially who they had ties with through Hard Times but then took anyone with useful skills. They organized agriculture in existing or newly cleared land. They got some machines running again with laboriously hand wired transistor controls that had to be rewired by hand to be reprogramed. Without these people to rally around, Nemyer might have collapsed all the way to the stone age.

After the first year, things appeared to stabilize for a while. But then much of the agriculture land that had previously been heavily fertilized began to be used up. There were very few fertilizers and the demand for food was too great to allow land to lie fallow to rejuvenate. As food again became scarce, groups of raiders organized by local Notables began to raid people in neighboring areas or to try wholesale invasions of more fertile territory. This lead to over a decade of endless wars and slaughter. When this cycle had run its course, what it left were stable, self-reliant cantonments ruled by one or a small group of the most powerful Notables. These became the Holdings. Eventually small groups of Holdings were banded together into Trusts. These Trusts have replaced the Holdings as the principle players on the world scene. Not all Holdings have been amaglemated, and the independent Holdings are a vocal minority in the Council of the Technarchs.

This period is the origin of the militarization of Nemyer. Technarchs developed household troops to defend their crops from the starving masses or to seize important facilities. Later these troops may have been used to compete for dwindling resources with other Technarchs after it became clear that there wasn't enough to go around and it was kill or be killed.

As Nemyer recovered, Technarchs began to focus less on being totally self-sufficient and more on being economically competitive, and so we see the rise of Trusts which hold little territory and may not be at all involved in agriculture, but hold major economic or technological assets.

In 1157 the Feudal Technocracy system became formalized. The Feudal Technocracy system worked very well for encouraging investment and speeding Nemyers recovery. Immediately after the collapse it was probably TL6 or 7 but has managed to make it all the way to 9 in a short time because of the ability of the Technarchs to gather large amounts of resources and focus them on a goal. Sometimes that goal was conquering territory to seize sources of raw materials or factories so Nemyer suffered from seemingly continual border wars in many areas.

In about 1188, there was some kind of constitutional convention to review the agreements that had formalized the Feudal Technocracy system. During this time, there was agitation by the "middle class" of technicians and professionals who resented being "owned" by a technarch. This resulted in some changes that allowed people to buy out their contracts, and made becoming a "subject" of a technarch on a childs 18th birthday a matter of mutual choice for the new adult and the technarch. This sounded great. In practice it has meant that the "middle class" gets paid more while the technarchs are free to shed many of their least capable people. These people are forming a new class of dispossesed. Some of them get jobs that pay a simple wage (without being a subject) but because these were the least desirable people, many are simply homeless. They also tend to migrate to the Free Cities and are becoming a serious drain on them.

This has caused an interesting split among Oriflammen. Some want to go the rest of the way to a free market, and some want to go back to the "Good Old Days" when everyone was taken care of and the Technarchs made sure everyone got a decent education since they couldn't get rid of them.

The guiding principle behind the government is that Nemyer is ruled by those most capable of bringing the new technological discoveries into production and spreading their benifits to the citizens of Oriflamme. A citizen who swears alliegence to a Holding on Oriflamme does so of his own free will, and in return he gets a promise of protection and security from his Technarch. Liegemen of a trust are never laid off in bad economic times. When they reach a venerable age, they are allowed to retire and provided for. Liegmen are never cast out when they are of no longer any use. In fact, the old ones are treated not as a burden, but as a valuable resource, which can pass on their wisdom to the next generation.

In the last month of 1195 Nemyer was contacted by Traders from the Dawn League in Nicosia (Aubaine) Subsector. After a series of short diplomatic initiatives, Nemyer agreed to a few basic trade provisions and regular interstellar-trade begins. In 1197 Nemyer agrees to join the League of the New Dawn, which is shortly renamed the Dawn League. In honor of the new dawn breaking over the Old Expanses, the Council of Technarchs renames the planet, Oriflamme: the Golden Flame inspiring devotion and courage. After the Twelve were lost, the League is reformed as the Reformation Coalition and Oriflamme, in which Oriflamme has taken a major role.

With a population of eight hundred million, Oriflamme is allowed eighty representatives in the Assembly of Worlds. The Council of Technarchs divided Oriflamme in to 80 district and apportions votes to each Trust or Holding in each district according to their economic power contained in that district. The Trusts and Holdings then vote for a representative for that district. Since many Trusts have assets in many districts they receive votes in each of those districts. There is often quite alot of negotiating when it comes to vote, as one Trusts trades its support in one district for support from another Trust in another district. The districts are reassessed every ten years for changes in the economics of the Trusts. The next year the districts select representatives to the Assembly. Representatives can serve as long as they are reelected. Representatives can be recalled by a supermajority (75%) of the Trusts from their districts. So far this has not happened, but it was included in case a representative becomes mentally unstable or loses the confidence of his district. Representatives are also free to step down at any time, and if they do so, there is a special election to fill the vacant spot.

Political Structure

The Trusts/Holdings each have areas where they recruit from. They recruit the best and brightest from these areas. The usual way is by excelling at one of the yearly (Standard years) test. Also a technarch could personally select someone for what ever reason the technarch wants. The people left behind run thier own affairs, running small family owned businesses, like grocers, stores, personal services, contractor work. They are the underclass, and the Technarchs regard them as stupid, lazy, criminals or mentally unstable, otherwise they would be in the employ of the Technarchs. Some of this is true, but there are also the unlucky, or those who want to go it alone, and try to start a Holding from scratch. It is these people who are being shipped to Poyzen.

In the rural areas, almost everyone works for a Trust. There are very few private farmers, usually located around one of the Free Cities. There are also the occasional loner/hermit who lives alone in the wilderness. There a few isolated survialist groups, who think the government is just a bunch of bandits with delisions of grandeur. These survivalists tend to isolate themselves from everyone else in the world. There are a few thousand of these people in dozens of isolated bands. They are not a movement or anything approaching that level of organization. Many of the groups do not trust each other. Nemyer was a planet with seven billion people, now that there is less than one billion. There is alot of room that isn't being used and small groups can easily hide out.

A key to understanding modern Oriflamme society is to remember that this system was not designed, it evolved. That means that the administration of cities is not uniform and is often based on precedent or ad hoc organization. One city may be totally controlled, run, and owned by a single Trust which may lease out buildings or districts to other Trusts for their use with all city services still being centralized. Other cities are run by a patchwork of Trusts with particular city services being traditionally provided by individual Trusts and other services by other Trusts. Lastly, some cities could be totally chaotic with each Trust owning and running blocks of the city but not having any centralized organization so that city services, law enforcement and so on vary from district to district with some areas not being under the direct control of anyone.

Military

The Marines and Navy are a world body, but the Army is raised locally. When requested the Trusts and Holdings need to provide troops to the Government. They then serve under a central command, which is normally composed of Marine officers. For instance, during the occupation of Spencer, many Household troops were sent to Spencer after the initial landings. Once the peacekeeping portion of the mission started, the main body of the Marines were pulled out to be used in more active pursuits. This adds a political edge to Spencer, as units from different Trusts have have slightly different goals. The military operation on Spencer is commanded by a group of Marine officers, whose loyalty is to the Technarch Council, and not individual Technarchs.

While the Navy is a world body, there is no laws prohibiting the ownership of armed vessels by individual Trusts. There was not becuase the Council of Technarchs wanted to encourage private navies, it was just created when there were no operational shipyards, and Trusts and Holdings were not about to give up the few ships that they did own. Many of the ships were purchased by the Council to make up the Nemyer Navy. Since the Dawn League made contact with the planet, Oriflamme has started to produce ships of its own. Many of these ships are for use by the planetary navy, but some have been purchased by individual Trusts. A majority of these have been for exploration and trade with the other worlds of the RC and the Wilds.

Originally the household troops were used to wage war against other Trusts and Holdings, there hasn't been such a war since interstellar trade was reopened. Instead the Trusts have devoted their expansion to other worlds. Some Trusts have mounted indpenedent expeditions to the Wilds, though many of these are little more than raiding parties. Some Trusts are thinking about mounting larger campaigns of conquest particularly against those planets with low technology or small populations. The Council of Technarchs has not been able to come to a firm conclusion on how any such conquests would be administrated. Would they be beholden to Oriflamme or would they be independent worlds. It is a question that will probably not be decided until it actually becomes an issue. Then it will decide on which Trust or Holding is responsible and how much power they can wield in the Council.

While there has been no open warfare between Trusts, economic espionage is rampant. Some of the Trusts have had long standing grudges with other Trusts and these occasionally break out into isolated violent incidents, but the Council of Technarchs has prevented these from breaking into full scall war. For the most part the various Trusts get along, and most disputes are settled by the Council of Technarchs.

Free Cities

During the collapse while most people started to ignore government and turn to the Notables, some politicians were able to hold their territory together well enough that social services didn't collapse, and people still gave their loyalty to the government rather than individuals. In 1200 these Free Cities operate much as they did before the Collapse, people pay taxes, and recieve various benifits. The Cities offer very few social services, but they offer police protection, sanitation, and other basic infrastructure. They also offer some minimal amount of food to those without any source of income. This food is of low quality, but it keeps people from starving while they get back on their feet. Gruel lines are a common occurance in the Free Cities.

The Free Cities have had to sign treaties with the Trusts, allowing them much greater access and freedom of movement in exchange for resources and defense arrangments. Employees of the Trusts are exempt from many of the lesser laws, such as speeding, littering, and if arrested for more serious crimes, they receive a lighter punishment, more often fines, and exile, rather than prison and execution. The Trusts are expected to make sure their employees obey the laws and don't rampage around the city. The Trusts are also allowed to build small enclaves in the cities. These are treated much like embassies are treated today. They are regarded as part of the Trusts' territory. In exchange for these benifits, the Trusts agree to guarentee the safe existence of the Free Cities and also pledge a certain amount of annual contributions.

The Free Cities are neutral ground for the Trusts, people who are normally enemies can meet and talk over a drink. Battles between enemies are supposed to be kept out of the cities, and if two Trusts start a battle in the city, the other Trusts will help the City stop it, by lending troops or security personal. Of course this just pushes all of the dirty work underground. This makes it a great place for adventurers to hang out. There are 5 Free Cities, with a total population of 8.5 million people.


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