Ghanima System, Planet Two
Federated Suns, Draconis March
Ghanima Two, now named Planet Strata, was colonized during the reign of the Star League. A star league regional capitol was established on the more habitable world Ghanima Three, named Atlantia and in response House Davion colonized Ghanima Two.
Ghanima Two was considered of marginal colonization value by the Star League due to the predominantly shrouded surface with no apparent biosphere, and the presumed difficulty in adapting to the conditions of the world. The planetary survey was not completed, but it was assumed the fog layer concealed massive oceans and only the exposed terrain was available landmass. Ghanima Three was an earth like world, if cold, with an evident biosphere and a significant land area presented a much more promising candidate for colonization.
House Davion selected Ghanima Two as the second choice and set up a colony which amounted to a thinly veiled listening post. The limited land area was not a concern to House Davion for this reason. Already distrustful of the central authority of the Star League, House Davion wished to keep watch over their new colony.
Ground recognizance and exploration soon revealed that the exposed landmasses and these ‘highlands’ above the clouds were plateaus surrounded by sloping ‘lowlands’ in the fringe of the cloud layer. Further exploration revealed these descending down finally to the true ‘lowlands’ which were permanently shrouded in the cloud layer like perpetual fog. Early colonists likened these to a sea-bed at the bottom of a ‘cloud sea’. Further exploration proved infeasible given the limited resources available from House Davion to their listening post.
The highlands were above the cloud layer and characterized by perpetual sunlight but no rainfall, so colonization required water to be collected from lower layers and piped to the upper layer. This was the reason that no plant life was present on the land area visible from orbit. The highlands are predominantly used for farming and are dominated by rolling fields and orchards.
Using the cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) is standard in the highlands. Sometimes used are ‘inland’, ‘uphill’, and ‘upwards’ for away from the fog, and ‘coastward’, ‘downhill’ and ‘downwards’ for towards the fog and midlands.
The midlands are almost continually shrouded in cloud, like a cloudy day on Earth. Dim sunlight but otherwise pleasant and with more frequent rain than on old Earth. The midlands originally hosted an assortment of native plants but proved ideal for alpine species of trees and were easily developed into thriving forests. Forestry and water collection are the primary industries in those regions.
Using the cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) is unhelpful in the midlands. The directions used are ‘uphill’ and ‘upwards’ for up towards the highlands, ‘downhill’ and ‘downwards’ for down towards the lowlands, ‘clockwise’ for clockwise around the continent (upwards to one’s right, downwards to one’s left) and ‘anticlockwise’ for anticlockwise around the continent (upwards to one’s left, downwards to one’s right).
The lowlands are permanently engulfed in fog with limited light penetrating that far through the sea of clouds above. A few struggling native shrubs and bushes can be found there at the highest portions of the lowlands bordering upon the midlands, within a kilometer of the ‘border’ of the two layers. The terrain is often rough and rocky, which combined withe the diminished light and the obscuring mists makes the lowlands hazardous to navigate. Mining expeditions and water collection are the primary industries in the lowlands, with only limited and cautious penetration into the lowland regions.
Using the cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) is unhelpful in the lowlands. The directions used are ‘uphill’ and ‘upwards’ for up towards the midlands, ‘downhill’ and ‘downwards’ for deeper into the fog and away from the continent, ‘clockwise’ for clockwise around the continent (upwards to one’s right, downwards to one’s left) and ‘anticlockwise’ for anticlockwise around the continent (upwards to one’s left, downwards to one’s right). Also used is ‘fogward’ travelling deeper into the fog.
Significant Historical Events:
- The Invasion of Strata by Draconis Combine forces occurred from 2962 to 2963.
- The Separatist Uprising in Ganymede occurred in 3037.
Strata is a constitutional monarchy ruled by a duke or duchess with counts or countesses ruling most of the individual continents. These form the ‘inner court’ of the duke or duchess.
The people are represented by a senate which composed of democratically elected representatives. In practice and by tradition, barons or baronesses feature prominently among the senators. The balance between senate and duchy vary depending upon the ruler and the chancellor of the day and the power-sharing balance they determine. A weak royal ruler will result in more powers for the senate in practice, and be required only to give final approval to the senate’s decisions, while a strong royal ruler can bend the senate to a virtual administration branch enacting royal edicts. The limited number of baronies on Strata is the only limiting factor for nobility elected to the senate, except that the constitution forbids the chancellor from holding a noble title.
Whether or not a baron or baroness holds a seat in the senate, they form the ‘outer court’ advising the duke or duchess, and the smaller ‘provincial courts’ advising the count or countess ruling their continent.
Lower levels of politics are dedicated to administration of local affairs not continental or planetary issues. Some regions and settlements will have a democratically elected leader, others a hereditary ruler with the rank of baron or baroness.
The general theory is that hereditary rulers provide continuity, stability, and long term planning while democratically elected rulers provide representation for the people, bring new ideas and energy, and a sense of urgency to addressing short term problems.
Although not part of the government, the corporations of Strata are powerful and organised. A shortcoming of democracy is that the rich and powerful become the only candidates capable of competing effectively in elections, and become over-represented in government. Corporate interests and influence in the political structure of Strata is therefore significant.