St Lawrence

St Lawrence was a major Terran world first colonized in the early 21st century  
 

Location

St Lawrence is the fourth planet in the Ross 159 star-system, located around 35 light years from the Sol system. Ross 159 is a late stage red dwarf star. The other nine planets in the system are all uninhabitable but there is some mining on the moons around Anak, a gas giant.

Colonization

St Lawrence was first scouted in the 2060's and considered one of the best prospects for colonization due to its size, its good climate and the large amounts of natural resources. There were concerns, however, that due to the large numbers of hostile life-forms, the planet would be difficult to colonize.   A joint colonization effort was created between the Federation and several major corporations, with VENTRISS UDC chief among them. The first colonists arrived on St Lawrence in June of 2082.   The first major settlement was assembled from the broken down components of the colony ship and was named "Standard City" by the city-council. Standard became the planetary capital and eventually home to the main downport.

Climate

St Lawrence has a generally fairly warm climate with highs of around 35 degrees and lows during the winters of around -5 degrees. The temperatures are, of course, far lower at the planets polar ice-caps.   St Lawrence has dense vegetation across the planet and around 50% of the planet was covered with deep jungle on the arrival of the first colonists.

Native Flora and Fauna

St Lawrence has a dense and complex eco-system, with large numbers of "giant insects" forming the main part of the planets eco-system. There are many truly facilitating and unique life-forms on the planet.  
  • Hell's Hornet - a large insect resembling an Earth wasp or hornet. Hell's Hornet average at around seven to ten inches long and are generally hostile, becoming murderously so if their nest is disturbed. Hell's Hornets tend to build their nests inside old trees or in holes in cave walls but they have been known to build them in the corners of old buildings
  • Hookjaw - a very large insect resembling an Earth ant or termite with large powerful jaws. The Hookjaw is one of the most commonly spotted native life-forms on St Lawrence. Averaging between one and two and a half metres long and up to a metre off the ground, these huge insects generally just avoid humans but can become aggressive if their nest is threatened. Super-colonies of hookjaws can consist of millions of insects and are often considered extremely dangerous.
  • Lawrence Beetle - a large insect resembling an Earth beetle. Averaging around two to four inches long, Lawrence beetles are commonly encountered and are generally totally harmless.
  • Shield Super Beetle - a very large insect resembling an Earth beetle, the Shield Super Beetle is usually around twenty to forty inches in length. Slow and relatively docile, they can give a strong bite if interfered with but are generally harmless. Interestingly, Shield Beetles are able to emit a very low grade electrical shock at night which they use to communicate and to keep warm. This electricity can be "super-charged" by groups to ward of large predators.
  • Riding Beetle - a massive insect resembling an Earth beetle or weevil, the Riding Beetle stands around four or five feet tall and around eight or nine feet long. A lumbering herbivore, it has razor-shark teeth to cut through bark and can be dangerous if antagonized. Despite its name, it is not a suitable mount and most Riding Beetles will attack anyone trying to ride them
  • Vitter's Giant - one of the strangest animals found on St Lawrence, Vitter's Giant is a massive ten metre plus herbivore that glows with blue or green bio-luminescence. Vitter's Giant feeds on moss, plants and other small objects that it will pick up with one of its hundreds of small tentacles and pass it into one of its dozen mouths. The food is slowly digested and its possible to remove food from its mouth if a person wears thick gloves. Vitter's Giant is not dangerous itself and easily warded away from crops by loud noises, bright UV light or with fire. Vitter's Giant does tend to attract predators at night.
  • Hollow's Razor - the most feared native animal on the planet, Hollow's Razor (sometimes referred to as Aiakann or Hooded Death) is a tall, slender Mantis like creature that tends to fold itself into gaps in trees, holes in the ground or sometimes into the roof or basement of an old building. Capable of staying still for days, Hollow's Razor stand around six feet tall though is very thin. It has two long serrated claws and another set of smaller claws that it uses to move food to its mouth. Razor's have been known to pick off isolated travelers, pets and live-stock and considered incredibly dangerous. Razor's also put a "hood" of carapace over themselves when threatened that is able to resist small-arms fire below 10mm in calibre.
The sheer wealth of native life-forms on St Lawrence led many to speculate that the planet was a "Gaia" world, teraformed by the Taur'lier. Later studies by archaeologists confirmed that this was the case with the planet's ecological system only estimated to be 20,000 years old, despite its incredible complexity and variety.

Demographics

As a large, resource rich world with a good climate and a location fairly close to the Sol system, St Lawrence was a very successful colony. As of 2530 it had a population of 1,294,330,000.  
  • 1,004,330,000 humans
  • 200,000,000 Indirians
  • 650 AIs
  • 5,500 other aliens

Government

St Lawrence has had a long history of intense and competitive politics, with the first colonists forming a Colony Council in 2083 and then wider politics after that.   St Lawrence was officially led by a Governor who would be elected and then work with the Colonial Legislature who were elected to five or seven year terms.   St Lawrence was a part of all the prior Terran polities until the fall of the The Terran Empire . It was then part of the St. Lawrence Compact until that group was formally dissolved. After the referendum of 2525, St Lawrence formally became a member of the The Free Worlds Protection Pact   In 2530, St Lawrence held an election and elected a new Governor.  
  1. Dr Mose Ahaddi - Vishnu Elpis - 2530-2540
  2. Daphne de Haan -Libertarian -2540-

St Lawrence Politics

St Lawrence has a legendary reputation for robust and competitive politics and many top political minds first cut their teeth on the planet.   St Lawrence has generally had a large number of elected positions including elected Sheriffs, Tax-Inspectors, City-Councillors, Mayors and Governors.   The oldest and most successful political party on St Lawrence is the Libertarian Party which has waxed and waned in terms of its success in the wider Terran sphere but has always been able to win elections on St Lawrence.   The planet was also home to the Democratic-Farm Labor Party which was later co-opted into a radical right wing party that ended up being at least partially responsible for the fall of the Terran Federation.   Politics on St Lawrence was dominated for hundreds of years by the Collingwood family, who named several governors among their number. However, with the betrayal of the Terran Empire by Lord Decius Collingwood and his formation of the breakway Karkouri protectorate of the St Lawrence Compact, there was a bloody coup which resulted in the shocking massacre of everyone found to have Collingwood blood, effectively wiping that dynasty out forever.

Corporate Involvement

St Lawrence has a well deserved reputation for corporate involvement, with the initial colony co-founded by several major corporations and the VENTRISS corporation having a large amount of influence on the development of the colony.   St Lawrence's government is generally friendly with the corporations and its considered good practise to keep them onside and work with them wherever possible.   However, this has led to what is felt to be outsized influence by the Hansa members on St Lawrence and a lack of proper regulations, which resulted in devastating deforestation and pollution.

The Black Dragon Yakuza

Since its founding, St Lawrence has had issues with crime and the Black Dragon Yakuza. The Yakuza became heavily involved in smuggling weapons, drugs and "slaves" to the planet and were also involved in extortion, political corruption and murders.   Many top law enforcers have attempted to end the influence of the Yakuza on St Lawrence but all that is generally achieved is a temporary disruption in their efforts.   St Lawrence is considered such rich territory to the Yakuza that there is a long-standing convention that the Daiymo of St Lawrence is expected to pay a small additional tribute to the other clan-chiefs.  

The Ranchers

Due to the huge amount of grass-land and rich grazing territory, St Lawrence became a huge hit with ranchers and ag-business, with massive herds of cattle, pigs and sheep exported to the planet. Sheep didn't do very well but the other animals adapted and thrived, despite the dangers from predators.   Rancher culture is a key part of St Lawrence culture and horses are seen as a common form of transport, as well as vehicles. Ranchers can operate for hundreds of miles away from civilisation and have to contend with hookjaws, hell's hornets, raiders and rustlers so being well armed is another key part of Rancher life   The "Rancher-Vote" is a massively powerful demographic on the planet and ranchers, who skew somewhat libertarian on average, are strongly courted during each electoral cycle.   Tens of millions of Ranchers live permanently away from the main cities in small ranch enclosures where they have a stake in the crops and livestock of the ranch. They also prefer the simpler way of life with less government and corporate intrusion.

The Home-Steaders and the "Home-Steader War"

The Home-Steader Party was a splinter movement from the Ranchers, espousing a populist view that the people of St Lawrence, especially the Ranchers, were better than off-worlders and that St Lawrence was taken for granted under the Empire and should go its own way.   They also strongly opposed what they viewed as the weak leadership of House Collingwood and by the late 25th century they had become a very powerful political party, winning major Mayoral races.   After the break-away of the St Lawrence Compact, Lord-Governor Decius Collingwood scheduled democratic elections, which were expected to see the Home-Steaders win. However, the Home-Steaders instead staged a violent coup, seizing control of the government quarter in Standard City and wiping out House Collingwood, down to the last child in an orgy of violence.   The "Home-Steader War" that followed saw isolated and disorganized groups of militia from various power-blocs attempt to resist the Home-Steaders, whose well organized militia began a bloody purge of all followers and allies of House Collingwood and the old administration, as well as murdering rivals and those that they wished to steal the property of.   The Home-Steader Purge resulted in at least one million deaths, with many sources believing that there may have been even more deaths than this. The arrival of VAIL and their veteran PMCs in 2507, order was rapidly restored and the Home-Steaders militia were no match for the veteran troops of VAIL.   VAIL then took control of the government, before eventually handing over to an elected government, though the legitimacy of this government was always disputed.

Major Sites

Standard City

The first settlement created on St Lawrence, Standard City has a fairly disorganized structure and has grown up in various phases across the years. Situated next to the planet's principal downport and home to the government quarter, Standard City is a wealthy and very cosmopolitan city.   Home to around ten million people, Standard City has a below average crime rate thanks to the efforts of the very well funded Standard City Sherri's Department (SCSD) which is supported by tax payments from the citizens of the city, grants from the colonial government and aid from the corporations.   Standard City is also home to Westchester College, a famous law school and business college.

Fort Francis

The third settlement to be built on St Lawrence, Fort Francis was often seen as the heart of liberal resistance to the influence of the Hansa. Fort Francis became home to ranchers, ag-business workers and miners but also a large number of educated professionals.   Fort Francis is home to around nine million people and enjoys considerable room for expansion and is considered a very well planned city in contrast to the chaotic jumble of Standard City.   Fort Francis is home to the Judge Francis law school, which also teaches liberal arts and political science.

Golden-View

Golden-View was one of the first major growth centres for mining in St Lawrence and built in a joint effort between West-Corp and Sun-Star, as well as several major local mining concerns. The city was centrally planned to be fairly luxurious to lure miners away from other cities and settlements.   Golden-View's primary mines dried up in the 2300's and were gradually replaced by industrial concerns such as refining, vehicle construction and ag-business.   Golden-View is also home to the Golden-Villas, a highly luxurious hilltop residential complex which is the home (or holiday home) for many of St Lawrence's elites.   Golden-View's population peaked at around seven million in the 2300s and by the 2500's had fallen to about four million.

Wallach City

Founded in the late 2200s to take advantage of logging and ranching operations in the northern continent, Wallach City was initially considered lawless, violent and a place where a fortune could be made or lost in a heartbeat.   A massive influx of low-skilled blue collar workers saw the city expand rapidly and slums grew up as poor workers fell afoul of rents and the rampant crime of the city.   Attorney General Steffon Waverley began a crusade to restore order to the city, which was completed by Attorney General Rust Collingwood.   As of the 26th century, Wallach City is now a blue-collar city famous for its hard working ranch-workers, lumberjacks, miners and crooks. The city is home to twelve million people and has one of the highest crime rates on the planet.

New Helsinki

The second major settlement, New Helsinki was founded by VENTRISS as a corporate HQ and as a result has a reputation for being a pro-business city but is also considered somewhat soul-less.   Home to around five million people, New Helsinki is home to a large number of corporate bases as well as the banking hub of the planet.   New Helinski has a complex police arrangement, with the New Helsinki sheriff's authority only extending to the outskirts of the city. The New Helsinki Police Department (NHPD) has authority in the inner city and is thought to be totally in the pocket of the major corporations.

Fort Northern

Established in the late 2100s as a marine training base, Fort Northern was established as a deep jungle training base. Over the centuries that followed, a small city grew up around it, which was boosted by the discovery of rich mineral deposits in the North-Rake Mountains.   Fort Northern is home to two million people who largely work in mining, forestry and ranching.   Fort Northern is considered to be a bastion of libertarian values and was one of the first major cities to fall to the Home-Steaders

The Blackburn Conurbation

The massive Blackburn Conurbation is spoken of in grim terms by the people of St Lawrence. The southernmost major settlement on the planet, it has grown up with the large number of ag-businesses, mines and fishing in the Southern Ocean.   Home to twenty four million people, Blackburn Conurb can be densely populated in some areas and the planning of the conurbation was never done very well, leading to crowded and muddled traffic routes.   Blackburn is also home to intense crime, with the Yakuza controlling the drug and vice trade in the city. Each separate district elects its own sheriff and there is often no cooperation between them unless the Attorney General steps in.   Despite these hardships, Blackburn Conurb is home to Lucien Walker College, a highly prestigious liberal arts college.
St Lawrence by Viktor Hanh
Type
Planet

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