One of the few heavily populated places in the The Perseus-Orion Gap, Ghosmer is a way-station and mining colony technically controlled by the Federation of Xah, but which in reality controls just the wider system and the spaceports. The majority of Ghosmer is considered 'hostile territory', and whilst diplomatic and military efforts continue to pacify the population, significant and continued resistance is rife. Almost unique in its stubborn resistance, the Xahians are reluctant to damage the world too much, due to its unique position in the middle of the Gap.
The vast majority of the population on Ghosmer are descendents of the original colonists, with only minor changes due to isolation over the six thousand years of its existence. Considered 'standard' human, with only a few increases in rare or novel genetic alleles; darker skin is more common, despite the increasing urban nature of Ghosmer, and at some point the population lost the genes for adult digestion of lactose. There are a substantial number of Warrior Caste members, providing security for those areas considered important to hold for the Xahians, and to conduct patrols, incursions, and military operations across the rest of Ghosmer. Total numbers are approximately 25 million, faced against a Ghosmer native population of close to 12 billion. As well as the Warrior caste, there are also Leader, Technical and Engineering caste members present, mainly to provide support functions for the garrison force.
Prior to its annexation by the Federation of Xah, Ghosmer was nominally a democratic republic, but in reality more of a Gerontocracy. Changes to election law over the preceeding centuries had made age and experience practially mandatory for being elected and able to cast one's vote in an election. Advances in gerontological treatments were allowing Ghosmers to live well into their 140s, and the voting age had been gradually raised to 70. Discontent was rife, but the wealth and power was in the hands of those who could stay alive long enough to exercise it, with the majority of the working class dying in their mid-60s due to increasing environmental pollution.The original constitution was still held to be the core document of governance, and most of its founding principles, including denial of corporate influence and a lack of electronic signal noise, were still adhered to. That government was dominated by hereditary wealth and private individuals, instead of corporations, was just an accepted fact. During the two decade long conflict with the Federation of Xah, most of the older generation, denied access to the gerontological treatments, died off, and the economy collapsed, reducing the accumulated wealth to almost nothing. Power shifted to the informal military structures that had evolved to take charge of the defence of Ghosmer, and civilian rights were severely curtailed. Only once it was realised that nothing could stop Xah from controlling space and access to Ghosmer, if not its actual population, did power slowly return to civilian hands. Now, power is officially in the hands of the Xahians. The ruling of the planet is conducted by a council made up of members of the Leader Caste, with an advisory body made up of the other three castes present in the system. Laws and executive decisions are passed down to appointed Ghosmer local representatives, who are expected to ensure their enforcement using existing infrastructure. From the Xahians point of view, so long as Ghosmer can be continued to be used as both a Way-station through The Gap, and as a source for genetic research, actual implementation of Xahian law by the Ghosmers is irrelevant. Military patrols, strikes against vocal and active dissidents, and denial of access to technologies such as orbital spaceflight is considered enough to keep the population passive. On the ground, for the Ghosmer, real, workable power is in the hands of those who can provide for the population, and in most places, this means criminal gangs. The officially appointed Ghosmer governors of each sector may have their own offices, tax collection apparatus, security forces, and statehood, but for most inhabitants it is the black market where the real power lies. Organised criminal gangs regulate low-level crime, ensure resources are adequetely distributed, and continue to provide low-level, persistant dissidence against Xahian occupation. For most Ghosmer, the collaborators are there to be endured, but the gangs are the ones looking out for them, so long as one doesn't step out of line.
First FoundingThe colony on Ghosmer, a terran-like world orbiting a G class star almost a thousand light years from what was then the bondaries of Known Space, was founded by political dissidents from the Northup Alliance who felt that the Alliance was getting too dominated by corporate influences. They pooled their resources, acquired an old FourDrive enabled vessel, and almost eight million people left on a journey of exploration, looking for a new home. The world had an breathable atmosphere, Earth-equivalent gravity, and a largely temperate climate, making initial colonisation easier. Native lifeforms were still at a simplistic level, and whilst microscopic organisms caused an outbreak of prion disease, it was caught in time and a treatment developed. Within twenty years of first founding, the colony was well established, with the FourDrive vessel used to travel to Ghosmer being used as the core of a modern city. A constitution was carefully crafted to limit future influence of corporate interests, whilst allowing free enterprise. The most important rules were regarding electromagnetic pollution; the leaders of the colony were well aware of the predatory nature of the Federation of Xah regarding independent human colonies, and took great care that the colony kept its emission levels low, as to avoid detection.
GrowthBy the late eighth millenium, the population of Ghosmer had risen to almost 2 billion, thanks to use of artificial wombs and skilled colony managers, who ensured that population growth never outstripped available resources. Dozens of cities were spread across the planet, along with a small number of off-world mining and research stations. The colony was aware that a wider human civilsation existed in the galaxy; vessels from the Alliance had arrived in system a dozen times and a number of attempts had been made to get Ghosmer to join the Alliance, but the colony was proud of its independence and isolation. Tales of the corrupt Alliance and evil Federation were common tropes in Ghosmer fiction, and served to reinforce their desire to remain free. One issue of concern to colony leaders was the continued expansion of the Federation of Xah. Alliance visitors had given some information regarding the spread of the Xahians, and the system had been picked to be on the far side of Known Space to Xahian expansion, but it was still a threat. Keeping quiet, and hoping that the Federation wouldn't notice them was their best strategy; the The Perseus-Orion Gap was mostly empty, and it was unlikely that anyone would pay too much attention.
DiscoveryOptimism that Ghosmer would escape notice by the Xahians proved unfounded when, in 9,594 XC, a Kurir class carrier arrived suddenly in the system. The Federation had been seeking suitable systems in the Gap to act as way-stations, for further exploration and colonisation of the systems in the Perseus arm beyond and intitally had just flagged the Ghosmer system as a potential, with no existing inhabitants. The Northup Alliance, which had some representatives on the planet, made one last attempt to convince the Ghosmer people that only through joining with them would they retain their way of life, but they were denied. The Ghosmer had decided that it was all, or nothing, and started preparing to defend their homes. The initial assault was a overwhelming success for the Xahians; gunships destroyed the small amount of orbital defences (mainly anti-asteroid lasers) from extreme range, then landing beachheads were cleared using precise orbital kinetic strikes. Warrior dropships were landed, and ground combat began. Within a few days, all of the primary objectives were complete, and the Xahians were in control of all of Ghosmer's spaceports and government buildings. Any direct combat was a unmitigated success for the Xahians, and the Ghosmer soon learned that if they were to attempt to take them head-on, it would be nothing more than a massacre. The next few weeks saw the Xahians get bogged down in grueling urban combat, facing a guerilla-style campaign waged by a force that could hide in the general population with ease. Leader caste commanders were reluctant to sanction indiscriminate violence against civilians, as Ghosmer was considered an important location, and it would take too long to repopulate the planet if the native population was decimated. Eventually, the Leader caste offered the Ghosmer a compromise; they accept Xahain overlordship, and they would be allowed to retain nominal autonomy. Whilst the majority of the active fighters rejected the proposal, the civilian authorities agreed, and the fighters suddenly found themselves without an easy place to hide. Within weeks, overt and sustained combat operations ceasued, replaced by a constant, but low-level of violence, usually manifesting in the bombing of official buildings, assassinations of collaborating locals, and the occasional ambush on Warrior patrols (which never ended well for the locals). The Leader caste were convinced that, over time, the Ghosmer would accept Xahain control, and the locals would start to accept the usual offer given to annexed worlds, but the Ghosmer were different. Over a thousand years later, and it is still a hotbed of dissent, and the Xahians still avoid most of the population.
Approx 3000 XC
Approx 12 billion
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild