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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Skill Changes, Part 2 (07/15/21)

Author Topic: A Strangled Star  (Read 233 times)


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A Strangled Star
« on: June 24, 2021, 06:47:12 AM »

A vast but broken world, burned to the ground and its’ ashes conquered by Volondhust invaders in cycle 50. Now the few remaining arcologies house the rest of the enslaved population, a mere fraction of its’ former scale. Pelitritan used to be the capital of a young republic, proud after shaking off the domain and starting fresh with aims of growth and diplomacy to form a glimmering stellar civilisation. The planet was gorgeous, golden and green from space and amicable to all forms of life, it was the closest thing to an ecological utopia in the sector and it was prized for the fact. Many worlds readily allied themselves with this living beacon of prosperity, the people there were fair and hopeful and although arrogant they always proved themselves moral and just in the end. Unfortunately, arrogance was a crucial downfall when they encountered Raphan. Unable to stomach the existence of such a civilisation, Pelitritan and its’ 9 great cosmopolis declared they would liberate the people of Volondhust from the shadowy grip that choked the life out of it. Unfamiliar with indoctrination tactics employed by a highly advanced dystopian nightmare, Pelitritan found war was not fought on fair or reasonable terms. The war broke the heart of the republic, it was so awful entire planets would leave the conflict, the republic and pray that the war had forgotten about them. Viral bombs blasted landscapes leaving tombs where millions once lived, naval warfare deployed scorched earth strategies to ensure no survivors were ever left and worlds that were invaded were not merely conquered, but slaughtered down to the last ready abled body.

Calls for ceasefire were simply ignored and diplomats sent to discuss terms were sent to camps where they never left. Pelitritan was facing a quandary, unrest had destabilised public order at home. Fear of their relentless foe had taken the fight out of most of their navy and the leaders of the republic feared their own personal safety from the angry mobs who wanted an end to the sea of bloodshed. But the tides were merely readying another tsunami and the republic consigned itself to a war of survival. It was hard for the people to accept it at first, the fact of it shook the nation with a deep rage, that Pelitritan needed to fight for it’s own survival spat in the face of the sacrifices made to get away from the domain and start something unhindered by the threat of destruction. The very identity of their star spanning republic was built on this, and this was the pyre that burned their worlds across the sector. What was originally known as the war enlightenment became merely known as the Thanan war, Thanan being the home system of Pelitritan. Sick of being forced forever backwards against the savage tactics employed by Raphan, the republic navy did something normally unthinkable for them. They loaded bombs, planet killer devices, AI weapons, anything normally forbidden was now acceptable so long as it removed this threat for good.

Most of the fleet didn’t make it, in fact, slave survivors from their captured territories were loaded up to pilot former republic navy suicide vessels which unbeknownst to them had unstable burn drives and antimatter bombs. Every small distance the fleet tried to take was met with bombardment and death, it was the worst they had ever seen it. Their own ships repurposed into a mockery of what they stood for and sent in the thousands to die. The meagre fleet that managed to enter airspace above Volondhust did indeed bombard a significant portion of the city, but that was all it managed to do. Most of the bombs missed, creating a jaggad landscape around the hellish city that further assisted in preventing its’ people escaping. The return volley snuffed what was left for good, the hope of a republic, damned in order to save itself, nothing more than the easy pickings of scavengers. The fleet it sent in return doomed Pelitritan and the republic worlds still in system, Sund lost millions and its industries ruined, the bombardment of Sund was so extensive the atmosphere was mostly blasted off and the desert planet became volcanic. Hyacion, an archipelago world of tens of millions murdered as chemical weapons evaporated the seas and turned the atmosphere into methane. Pelitritan saw its’ arcologies shattered, the landscape cracked into pieces and the subsequent invasion sacked every remaining city of the republic, leaving only one industrial polity and a quarter of its population.

Pelitritan these days exists as a centre of trade, it still has only one functioning city and most of the population is destined to live and die there, as the generations before them have. It sells valuables collected from the outer rim by scavengers, raiders and small polities who do not wish to be invaded. The vast ruins along the cracked and roiling landscape are left untouched, a clear message to those who would consider the mistakes of Pelitritans’ past. The planet itself is still somewhat yellow, but the skies are muddied and brown where the worst of the bombing took place and much of the native wildlife has perished in the firestorms that preceded it. It is also much hotter than it used to be, due to the megaton explosions trapping immense heat within the atmosphere, it is a miracle that plants still grow on the surface at all. The air is choked with acrid smoke and death comes early for those not under the protection of the hive city Malandi (formely Arandal), that is if they don’t get caught by hunter drones that regularly sweep the landscape for one escaped rebel or another. Unconfirmed reports of massive refugee populations in the huddled ruins of the great cosmopolis’s also circulate Malandi Hive, although never within earshot of a factory lord or compliance drone. It is said these savages are generations old and every now and then when manpower is short, subjugation squads will dispatch to collect them for hard labour. It is unknown who or where these people are after this, if you were to ask an Adraxian representative you will normally get some denial or another, mostly followed by the words “unsubstantiated” and “nonsense”. It is however confirmed that Pelitritan is a huge source of harvested organs of quite varying quality, it is also confirmed these are not collected and sold at the Dagon Resource Market from elsewhere in the south east of the sector. Official conclusions are not drawn except in intelligence divisions who are quite certain of a dark truth.

The refineries here are Pelitritan’s core (legal) industry. Many blocks long, the immense factories processing ore and isotopes gathered in the markets provide entire empires with the material needed to make warships and build cities. Currently, Pelitritan holds the largest market share of processed metals. Mostly due to the numerous, simultaneous wars that bog down Hegemony logistics which could be used for trade. Primarily however it is due to it being the main industrial output of the population, with little other native economic activity a monumental effort is placed in production of these goods. Lives and fortunes are decided on the crushing output of these refining factories, breaking the indentured population under its’ weight and replacing them with the next generation. Sometimes clones of good workers are used whenever there is a setback in manpower, clones do not last long and are mentally unstable but they bridge the gap when the population needs time to reconstitute. Pelitritan has not recovered from its devastation even 150 cycles later, the current population is leagues smaller than the largest planets in the sector, a far cry from its’ earlier glory. It is predicted that the razing of Pelitritan killed roughly 95% of the entire population, it has grown since then, but not quickly.

The current rulers of Pelitritan are not eager to see it prosper, the planet certainly makes an enormous income in trade especially with Tri-Tachyon getting involved in the riotous interstellar market. But its’ people must be kept small and beat down until the ashes of the republic are completely forgotten and only the fear remains. There are still incidents, people who would take small revenge for the crimes committed against their fore-bearers and there is an ever-present fear that the hordes of unclean beyond the city would band together in unchecked numbers and rally the people of Malandi to overthrow their masters.
A tension exists, hidden, that if Pelitritan was allowed to prosper it would fracture under Adraxia control.