A man named Higgins was appointed magistrate of a small, unnamed moon. (There were rumors that he won his appointment in a card game.) At the time the moon was founded, it did not appear to have useful resources or much potential for agriculture.
A few years later, it was discovered that some areas have a mineral-rich clay that can be harvested, chemically treated and kiln-fired into a ceramic that is ten times stronger than steel at half the weight. It formed a new industry: mud.
The company town of Canton was founded near the largest mud pits. Over two thousand workers, known as “Mudders,” live in Canton and work for Magistrate Higgins. Many of these are slaves and indentured laborers (who probably will never be able to purchase their way out of debt). Higgins rules through intimidation and the use of force, and is hated by virtually everyone. The foreman and his prods enforce the company rules, either with longterm hard-labor, imprisonment, or hacking folk up and rolling them into the bog.
The Mudders of Canton sing songs of a hero who has twice defied the magistrate and sailed away: Jayne Cobb. The Hero of Canton, they say, will one day return to Higgins Moon and free them from oppression. The more likely way for conditions to improve will be the magistrate’s son, Fess, who is quietly working to reverse some of his father’s harshest policies.