Leather Jacket Nomads
The Leather Jacket Nomads, known also variously as the Leather Nomads or the Pointer Nomads, are small, self-contained society of 'pointers' - people of mixed human and rostran blood - who roam the cube layers of the Eastern Tesseract on motorcycles. Originally formed when High Rostran explorers settled near a group of Elovisian Holdsmen looking to establish farmsteads in the area, the Leather Jacket Nomads represent a modern twist on classic way of living.
The Leather Jacket Nomads are divided into caravans of around 100 people - several families - each. Each of these caravans functions as a democracy, electing a Boss from among the heads of family in the caravan to oversee activities that require executive decisions like the choice of travel route. Otherwise, issues are handled on a per-family basis within the caravan. Whenever multiple caravans meet at a trade post or other gathering place, the elected Bosses confer to deal with matters that affect the culture as a whole, arbitrate trades, and ensure that the eligible single adults of each caravan have a chance to intermingle. Alliances and cultural continuity within the Nomads as a whole are largely maintained through a system of intermarriage and mutually beneficial arrangements at trade posts and the few agricultural centers that dot the landscape.
The heritage of the Leather Jacket Nomads derives its zeal for travel and exploration from its Rostran roots and its love of personal freedom and self-sufficiency from its Holdsman roots. It isn't accurate to refer to the Nomads as Freelanders; Nomad culture, while sparse and unsettled in the land, is not one of total rejection of social hierarchies and structures. It is also not accurate to call the Leather Jacket Nomads a 'biker gang' as such an arrangement would be understood in the Breadbasket Cubes and as some outsiders (particularly Voxelians) are wont to do. Rather, the Nomads represent an rural offshoot society with its own culture, genealogy, and officialdom entirely separate from its parent societies in the manner of other offshoot groups like the Hermitage Island Fellowship or New Cobalt Protectorate.
Small numbers of the people who would become the Leather Jacket Nomads had been trickling into the Eastern Tesseract since shortly after the invention in 9832 AR of dieseltech airships that could cross inflection layers. Human and Rostran travellers alike would come to the Eastern Tesseract to explore or conduct business, encountered people who claimed lost tribes heritage from the region, and decide to establish more permanent ties for business or interpersonal reasons. These early immigrants to the region would blend into itinerant native communities once their counterparts left for home, travelling the Eastern Tesseract and establishing trails on horseback in search of lucrative resources and places to establish farmsteads. The ranches and trading posts established in this first wave are still in use today by the Nomads. In the late 9890's, it was becoming apparent to many in the adjacent Medial Tesseract - especially for the breakaway colonies in Medial C - that a conflict with Voxelia was becoming more inevitable by the day. Those who wished to avoid being forced to fight this impending war - later known as the War of Reunification - often fled to other tesseracts to avoid conscription or, should the worst come to pass, forstall being set upon by their enemies in Medial A. Eastern A was the most obvious choice for a destination, being along the trade route between the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy and the colonies, and it was here that many of these absconders first came into contact with the nomadic peoples of the region. The mostly Elovisian expatriates from the colonies often brought either their own worldly possessions or what few organizational connections they still held with them. While adopting the nomadic lifestyle of their hosts, the expatriates brought along with them technology, machinery, and an ideology involving the desire to escape the complications of the 'civilized' parts of the Manifold Sky. Clever trades allowed this second wave of early Nomads to bring motor vehicles and the means to fuel them to the natives, who in turn taught the newcomers how to get along in the wild and appreciate the stark beauty of the many deserts on offer in the Eastern Tesseract. Over time, the first and second waves of Leather Jacket Nomad 'elders' blended and became more attached to their new culture than their parent cultures. Families of Nomads from this period are now, as of the year 10,000 AR, entering upon their first generation in which no surviving member of the family recalls having lived under the laws of any other geopolitical power.
by Yann Allegre
Demography and Population
The Leather Jacket Nomads number in the thousands, though no precise census has ever been conducted. They represent a blending of primarily Elovisian, High Rostran, Freelander, and even supposedly Lost Tribes blood. There are no known Verdial Nomads, as the environment is hostile to their unique biology, but this is a matter of environmental factors rather than inter-cultural hostility. New additions into the Nomads are now exclusively tied to the tribe by birth. A rare few enterprising individuals from outside of the Eastern Tesseract can successfully integrate into the group through marriage and a demonstration of the ability to live the Nomad's outdoorsy lifestyle for a year or more.
B and D where they settle en masse to weather the winter and summer temperature extremes respectively. Seven Crows Fork is one such settlement, serving as a waystation along this migratory route where the sick and infirm may be left in the care of trained medics. The Bleak Pillars Arena are popular winter grounds for those families among the Nomads who have a tolerance for ghastly entertainment practices of visitors like the Avarix Corps. The question of how much of the Eastern Tesseract a foreign power can develop before the Leather Jacket Nomads take umbrage remains as-of-yet unanswered. The Nomads roam the entirety of the tesseract, even having gone so far as to construct, or contract the construction of, commissure transit station, but declaim comparatively little of it as sovereign territories and do little to interfere with the doings of visitors. The most likely source of agressive foreign expansion would be the Coalition of Breakaway Colonies, as all powers in the Medial Tesseract in particular are hungry for territory, but a shared history of foreign rapacity with regard to territorial claims might give the Coalition powers pause: by trying to take from the Leather Jacket Nomads, wouldn't the Coalition become just like the hated Voxelians?
The Leather Jacket Nomads typically try to de-escalate conflicts or, should this fail, escape to the isolated places in the tesseract that only they know of. If confronted with an existential threat (i.e. raids by Avarix Corps pirates on their trade outposts), every adult Nomad in the area is called upon to wage war on the attackers via guerilla tactics, using their superior mobility and knowledge of the terrain to outfox the opponent wherever possible. A handful of surplus PBA-5 "Pioneer" Main Battle Auto-Armor suits have found their way into the hands of the Nomads, each typically being fielded by the boss of a given caravan.
The Leather Jacket Nomads are not technologically backwards. However, the Nomads are seldom interested in conducting their own technological research and development, as these require stationary laboratories and manufacturing facilities, instead preferring to trade for any useful medicines or equipment they might need from other sources. The rejection of landed, densely-populated settlements does entail a Luddite streak with regards to certain cultural developments, but many Nomads are avid readers on the subject of practical pursuits (i.e.machine maintenance) and tend to be surprisingly well-versed on natural sciences with connections to these pursuits (i.e. geology and hydrology). This is by necessity, as living primarily outdoors in a desert environment can be fatal for those who engage in it unprepared. The confluence of several major air trade corridors in the region, as well as the presence of several outposts by assorted major powers, means that the Nomads can trade for educational books and technical manuals from practically anywhere in the Manifold. Thus, while they might not generate scientific knowledge outside of their own experience (see below), the Leather Jacket Nomads remain connected to the developments of the world through the power of the written word.
The Leather Jacket Nomads regard themselves as an entirely separate entity from the nations that border it, including the Coalition states, Rostran Archipelago Confederacy, and Petalcap Vale, but engage with the representatives of all of these nations when encountered in the Nomads' native Eastern Tesseract stomping grounds. The Nomads reject the claims of authority the nations of their ancestors might claim over them as citizens by blood and do not recognize their authority, but are generally cautious to observe the legal sensibilities of guests in the East out of a desire not to sour trade contacts. In general, however, the Nomads are geopolitical isolationists and don't seek any permanent entanglements, for good or ill, with outsiders.
Like the Lost Tribe horsemen of old, an ideal Leather Jacket Nomad spends their life - from cradle to grave - in the saddle. The youth are inculcated into the lifestyle through a combination of experience with the tasks required of the wilderness environment, instruction on the finer points of these tasks and cultural mores, and books traded for from across the Manifold (see Technological & Scientific Level). Mechanics, medics, and traders tend to be the most erudite members of Nomad society, having honed their knowledge through both book learning and hard-earned experience in the field.
circumvection and the availability of game. The group travels towards the Caudal-adjacent cubes to escape the summer heat and the Rostral-adjacent cubes to stay warm in the winter, hunting and foraging as they go. Small ranches and trading posts scattered in concealed places throughout the region serve as waypoints for this journey and provide plant and animal agricultural products - including the all-important leather for new outerwear - as well as biodiesel from the waste of these industries. Between stops, groups of Nomads camp in the wilderness, employing yurts, small motorcycle camper trailers, or even covered sidecars for temporary sleeping arrangements. The Leather Jacket Nomads are skilled adventure riders who are equally at home on rough mountain trails and smooth, paved expanses of road. The traditional trail system created by the early Leather Jacket Nomads blends seamlessly with whatever roads the major powers might choose to lay down in the region. For example, Nomads are frequently found encamped near the outskirts of the Craterhold Innovation Expo Park during peak season, drawn there by the Craterhold-built roads and engaging in trade with those Exposition-goers willing to take a hike out to the encampments. The Nomads are even willing to take adventurous souls, like members of the Burning Hearts Social Club, on long training rides on this hidden road system in exchange for payment in Navigator's Guild Credit tokens or various trade goods. Indeed, several former Arc 400 champions honed their skills among the Leather Jacket Nomads.
Nomad religious beliefs are highly syncretic, and there is no official religion for the group. The Knappist and Korvidian strains of Rostran Esotericism predominate, but elements of the Cosmeon strain of Unexpectorism are incorporated into this blended faith in recognition of her as the lady of roads and journeys. Leather Jacket Nomads express their faith through the patterns they decorate their vehicles and domiciles with; these patterns bear strong resemblance to ritual sigil, but with looser rules on how they are inscribed and used. There is no Hierophant or Servant of Ironies that explicitly ministers to the spiritual needs of the Nomads, but proselytes willing to live alongside the Nomads with at least a year are generally allowed to come and go as they please from that point forward to share their beliefs.
The Leather Jacket Nomads share much of the libertarian ethos of Craterhold, and many families on either side share genealogical ties. Holdsmen often hold the Nomads in higher esteem than the converse, as the Nomads actually get to live the lifestyle that most Holdsmen can only dream of.
If any Scarab Company members survived 9997 AR, they likely persist in the Eastern Tesseract as guests - or, at least, at the discretion - of the Leather Jacket Nomads native to that region of the Manifold.
The Leather Jacket Nomads provide a useful black market for travelling Avarix Corps agents, but this arrangement does not reach the level of affection.