The Current State of Affairs (Episode 0)

  • Dungeon Master

    A Rock in a Convenient Place

    The sky on Gangsong is dominated by the great iridescent greenness of Hasapum, cresting over the horizon like the dangerous curve of that Apple, the one you shouldn't have eaten. This marginal rock’s proximity to that ball of gas is one of it's only qualifiers for civilization. That, and the dumb luck of having multiple easy dimensional vectors converging on the system. Such a thing was of little use to the pre-Scream populations of Sector Ceres Delta. When you have access to teleportation Gates, spike drives are little more than quaint artifacts, used for tourism, catering to rich hedonists wishing to see for themselves the dazzling incongruities of drivespace. Then the Scream. Suddenly, the far flung sector was alone, and the systems colonized for their specialized resources and sheer novelty were left to starve to death. Those quaint artifacts suddenly became more valuable than water. But in a place like Ceres Delta, the well plotted and documented navcharts of the Golden Era didn't exist, and intrepid or desperate interstellar explorers set out to find the reliable drivespace routes that must be there. All roads in this backwater area of the Sector, it seemed, led to the Daemun system. Eleven planets with a whole lot of nothing, not a habitable one among them. Except for this disappointing moon, awkwardly close to its parent planet.

    The first Colonists of Gangsong were as all true pioneers, desperate. The marginalized Korean minority of Persephone were among the first to take up the mantle of Explorer, and so found a rock with a little water on it, and called it paradise. The route they found in, of course, wasn't the last one there. In this Brave New Sector, navigation is King, the resource below which all grovel. So Gangsong got to have it's time under a sun, as it was. Tariffs have always been a remarkably efficient mode of generating revenue. So while everyone else rebuilt, Gangsong enjoyed it's prosperity, until everyone else caught up. Which they did.

    True to its promise, the Confederation didn't spoil the peculiar beauty of Gangsong's native architecture. It left the linked tiered towers, their cream color topside-burnt from the unrelenting daytime sun. It didn't mar the consistent contrast between the pale towers and the dark red earth with its signature passenger gravways or ever-present holo-ads. To the increasing number of traders, passers-through and interlopers on Gangsong at any given time, the independence retained by the people of Gangsong was remarkable.

    The staggering complexities of running an interstellar government without pretech FTL communications, though, leave their own mark. A Byzantine web of bureaucratic institutions began a slow filtering out of native interests, replacing them by camouflaged corporate ones. The peoples that made Gangsong what it was, the hard-bitten survivor stock, unafraid of the vagaries of space, were replaced by those with bureaucratic savvy and starry-eyed entrepreneurial enthusiasts. Depending on who you talked to, things on Gangsong were going great.

    The Confederation Abandonment

    Two months ago, The ”Outer System” planets and habitats all received the same sudden announcement. Due to budgetary constraints, the support of the Persephone Confederation would be reduced to the minimum required infrastructure, determined case by case by Confederation bureaucrats. Apologies. Perhaps some political theoreticians celebrated, finding themselves suddenly untethered to the vast, lumbering government. Different systems might be having varying experiences, but on Gangsong, the Pullout has left behind chaos.

    The removal of military and security forces has been particularly disruptive to the operation of the lunar habitat, as over the years the local law enforcement has trimmed down to skeletal levels. Why pay police when the incredible volume of credits generated through tariffs brought Confederation forces en masse? The naive saw it as only a boon to the rich cultural growth Gangsong had seen, but there were others who always viewed the donation of Confederation forces as a brittle crutch. There was more than that suddenly gone, though: transportation logistics of pharmaceuticals, food, water, server transport links between the rest of the Persephone Confederation, regular access to the ever changing Psychic Registry, the list goes on. The remaining offices left open have all speculators baffled, primarily the case of the Aengkeo Hedeu Spaceport control and orbital traffic blockade. The staff here, at least the flesh and bones type, had been reduced drastically. Of course, that doesn't change the traffic coming on and off of the busy trade hub. Clearance past the pitiless drone defense net is granted at the pre-pullout rate, a veritable stream of starships and cargo shuttles flying onto Gangsong. Clearance off of the planet has been reduced, however, commensurately with the reduction in staff. The queue to get off of Gangsong has become alarmingly long, and valid launch codes are being traded for shocking prices. The drone shield, owned and operated by the Confederation, is fantastically effective against those who would wish to skirt the traffic protocols.

    Panic is beginning to set in.

    The Gangsong Land Grab

    Nature abhors a vacuum. The sudden lack of overarching authority has put Stars in the eyes of the various factions within Gangsong. The Exchange, the great glue of the cosmos has done what it always has, continued as if nothing were amiss, safer than most in its consulate station at Hasapum-Gangsong Eddy 5. The Gracious Plenty Cartel, the main trafficker of illegal pharmaceuticals and the transference drug Cast has ramped up its nascent extortion business. The Liberty Cooperative, the loose alliance of smugglers had suddenly found its services a bit less punishable. The Merchants Union has seen a ripe opportunity to build its capitalist utopia. The New Sapience Christians aren't having much trouble spreading their ideas about Psychics and AI, offering protection to the hapless businesses caught in the middle. And between all of them are the Gangsong Nativists, at once elated at the possibility of having control over their home once more, and vastly outclassed in manpower, resources, and moral relativism. War has not begun, but the consequences for tasting that forbidden fruit of power have.