First explored by Lester Arkwright, who claimed the system for the NATO Bloc and established an initial settlement on Franklin, the Independence System was quick to attract the interest of multiple parties in the area, primarily the Neo-Soviets and the already established NATO colonists. It didn’t take long before conflict was already brewing over the system, primarily because one of the planets, Franklin, was suitable for human life. Eventually an agreement was reached in which NATO and the Neo-Soviets would share Franklin and establish settlements in zones designated to each. Meanwhile NATO would take control of the moon of Burr while the moon of Hamilton would fall under Neo-Soviet control. The rest of the system was then declared to be neutral ground with the exception of a handful of independent settlements that were later established orbiting the gas giant Washington.
The planet of Franklin is at one time habitable and bizarre. Like Earth, Franklin orbits within it’s star’s habitable zone and experiences similar seasonal changes, although in most regions it is more likely to rain than snow in the winter. The planet’s surface is white and chalky in most places ranging from fine sand to solid rock and during heavy rains the sand turns into a thick paste.
Surprisingly, both NATO and Neo-Soviet scientists have been able to to engineer crops able to be grow in the planet’s alien soil, although these crops require special attention. To date most crops grown on Franklin are engineered variants of potatoes, beats, and various root vegetables. More traditional crops are grown in special green houses.
Flora and Fauna
These imposing creatures are mainly scavengers, eating whatever their tentacles can pick up off the ground. Pedestrians should beware however, the tentacles are tipped with deadly stingers. When sleeping they lower themselves to the ground in order to blend in with the landscape.
Those who have hunted these massive creatures hoping for a feast have often been disappointed. The majority of the creature’s body is its shell, which is continually extruded and grows thicker as it grows older.
These gelatinous multi-cellular organisms resemble a giant cell. They move slowly, and attack their pray from above. This is a very painful experience, the poison they excrete slowly breaks their victims down, allowing them to be absorbed by the dropper.
Alone a single dropper is not a huge threat, but droppers reproduce via budding and are often found living in “packs.”
Instead of trees Franklin is home to “forests” of organisms resembling coral. These colonies are mostly dead except for those parts of the colonies close to the ground where they can easily absorb nutrients.
Dead coral is very brittle. It shatters easily and broken coral shards can be quite sharp. Some settlers have begun polishing coral fragments to make jewelry.
The bane of every technician and soldier stationed on Franklin. Creep is most similar to algae on Earth. It links to grow in thick mats on objects with lots of crevices. Just a small amount left remaining on a surface is enough to restart the colony, providing endless work to those who have displeased their superiors.
Washington is a gas giant slightly larger than Jupiter. Though it may not be habitable like Franklin it does possess many moons with varied environments. Many independent settlements have been established on these moons that have chosen to put themselves under the umbrella of the Rogue Star Collective. Their concerns are mostly represented by the RSC Administrators who oversee Washington Station.
Officially Washington Station is an important trade hub for the Independence System. It’s the one place were merchants of any nation know that they can trade freely. It is also a place were spies and informants often meet and secrets are sold.
Officially the Rogue Star Collective is a neutral entity within the system. However, many suspect that the value of the system has caused the local administrators to assemble a larger concentration of force than is typical for the RSC. Whether this concentration of force is significant is unknown but represents an significant unknown in the plans of many other actors.
Washington Station was built after several independent settlements on Washington’s moons petitioned for membership in the RSC. Washington Station was then built to house the RSC administrators and representatives and to direct trade around the gas giant.
Many independent merchants have made their home on this station. The ring is full of taverns, warehouses, and casinos that do not wish to be under the thumb of other powers in the system.
A small asteroid that was captured in Washington’s orbit. Berzog Point is a mostly lawless settlement administered by the Berzog Family. They don’t much care what goes on in their asteroid so long as everyone pays their docking fees.
This sounds exciting, but for the most part the people here just want to avoid more expensive docking fees or experiment with drugs that have been outlawed elsewhere in the system.
Cold, icy, and full of interesting chemistry. Tartan is the manufacturing center of the Washing Sub-System. It’s surface is home to a number of large plantations home to self-replicating molecular systems. These self-replicating molecules harvest light from the star Independence and use that light to grow a variety of useful polymers that are sold elsewhere in the system.