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by Dedly

1202 stats obtained from Chris Griffen.

Farplace's name is derived from its location, 4 parsecs into the Great Rift. Although this distance doesn't seem like a lot to anyone who lived in the Third Imperium, to the Vilani of the First Imperium it was well named. The comparatively short reach of jump drives during the First Imperium made Farplace a two week trip with drop tanks. To complicate matters, astronomers did not detect any gas giants in the system nor did spectral analysis show any significant signs of water. Refueling would be a problem. The Vilani, not known for being risk takers, couldn't justify an expedition to survey the system.

The Vargr overlooked the world as well. The Vargr living in Corridor and Provence sectors preferred raiding Vilani worlds than exploring new ones.

Farplace lay ignored until the First Survey. It was then that the system's two asteroid belts were discovered. A follow up survey done by Ling Standard Products determined that the belts were primarily composed of carbonaceous asteroids but there was a sufficient number of the nickel-iron variety to justify an investment in the Farplace system. The thinking was to have belters mine the ore from the asteroids and haul the ore to Farplace for refining. Transporting the refined ore, as opposed to bulk material, would save on transportation costs.

If Farplace had been a friendlier world, operations would've gone smoother. Farplace is a desert world tilted 52 degrees on its axis with a day only 13.6 hours long. It has a mean average temperature of 36.2 C (97.2 F). The tilt drives that average up to 67.4 C (153.3 F) in summer and down to -15.8 C (3.6 F) in winter. These extremes took their toll on the equipment and the people. Operational costs for the facility were high. Profit margins were small. When LSP decided to diversify, they decided to sell off their unprofitable mining operations. Farplace was one of those worlds.

Several unions and small overnight companies consisting of belters, refinery workers, and support staff bought out LSP's claim and divided it each according to their contributions. When it came time to determine a system of government, each group became its own fiefdom and insisted it knew the best way to turn Farplace into a profitable operation for everyone.

Forced to share limited facilities, it was obvious that they had to work together in some fashion. It was decided that each group would be sovereign over its own claim, but the chief of operations would be voted on based on who put forth the best 5-year proposal. Of course the voting was lopsided. The votes of those with the bigger claims, resources, etc. had more weight than the small guys.

Surprisingly, it worked well enough. Every so often, one of the smaller factions got a turn at running the place. The end result was that the world achieved TL12 and most people lived relatively well. On a more populous world things might have been different but, before the Collapse, the population hovered around 42,000.

Farplace didn't choose a side in the Rebellion nor did anyone claim them, hence the "Na" allegiance rating. Even the Vargr didn't bother to invade Farplace. Farplace was cut off from what little commercial traffic it enjoyed. All the inhabitants wanted was a return to normalcy so that they could boost exports back up to pre-war levels. When the Vilani began to retake some of Corridor, as part of the Ziru Sirkaa, a small trade route opened up for exports. Even so, the Vilani did not make a claim on Farplace.

Virus didn't totally snub Farplace though. Ships were periodically sent out to trade refined ore for much-needed supplies. Most didn't come back. The last ship sent out that returned came back infected with a Samson egg. It hatched after exiting jumpspace and forced the ship to nose-dive right into the starport, annihilating it.

The remaining ships continued to function for a while. Ice was harvested from several asteroids and the occasional comet. Eventually spare parts ran out and the ships broke down. Dirtside, other things began to break down as well as the harsh desert winds began to take their toll on the equipment. It wasn't long before the moisture condensers stopped working and the water supplies ran out.

With no more water available for the hydroponics gardens, famine ensued. At first, there were battles between the various claim holders over the remaining caches of food, but they soon ran out. A small segment of the population abandoned the ore refining towns and journeyed to the poles to escape the summer heat. They hoped to find more favorable conditions for finding water, whether it be condensed as dew in caverns or lingering meltwater leftover from the winter. The gamble paid off. Although the years have not been kind, the population has stabilized around 2200, approximately 5% of the 1117 population.

As the seasons are drastic, the people of Farplace have taken up a nomadic existence. Summers are spent at the poles. Winters are spent near the equator. With the planet being so small, just over 1000 miles (1600km) in diameter, and the seasons long (Farplace takes 3.6 standard years to orbit its sun), these migrations are not hard on the populace. Each pole provides meager water supplies. Splitting up during the summer increases their chances for overall survival by ensuring that there will be enough water for all.

It is during the winter meetings at the equator that elections take place. The people vote for those who they feel can best lead them through these lean years and someday regain what was lost. What's different now is that everyone gets to vote. All of the old claims are gone. The principal shareholders and their descendants died clinging to meaningless claims and empty cans.

There is also a Winter Festival which is held several local days after both polar groups have arrived. It lasts for several days. During the festival, the elected representatives proclaim the accomplishments their polar village managed during the previous summer. Ideas and survival techniques are exchanged. The people modestly celebrate surviving another year of Farplace and look forward to the time when Farplace doesn't live up to its name.

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