Rhuzzit

Surface gravity 9.03 m/s², 0.92 g
Day length 98.7 ks, 27.4 hours
Year length 50.5 Ms, 1.60 Earth years, 512 local days
Solar binary period 388 ks, 3.93 local days
Seasonal change Minor
Atmosphere 67 kPa, 10 kPa partial pressure O2
Risk of altitude sickness
Fires burn normally
Climate Cool
Notable features Moon of a gas giant planet, binary suns
Population 30.9 million Mants
Capital city Clik Tik Bzzit
Wormhole terminus Klezz Chick Vz
Current Governor Buzz Tak Tchit
Prominent businesses Agriculture, manufacturing, illicit trade, military spending

Natural Features

Rhuzzit is the moon of a mid-sized gas giant, called Kh Chzuck. It is tide locked to Kh Chzuck, so that it is always in the same place in the sky. Kh Chzuck orbits a binary pair of suns.

Rhuzzit's atmosphere is thin, with a low oxygen content. After several hours in Rhuzzit's air, visitors may experience the effects of altitude sickness. This typically manifests as a headache, often accompanied by loss of appetite, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or nose bleeds. Symptoms usually last for 100 to 200 ks (one to two days). In serious cases, pulmonary or cerebral edema may result. The former manifests as a cough, fever, and shortness of breath even when resting; the latter as a severe headache, loss of balance, and unconsciousness. Either can be fatal. Symptoms can be avoided by breathing supplemental oxygen. At higher altitudes, the risks become worse.

Rhuzzit's local autotrophes do not produce wood or other equivalent structural elements. The largest grow waist-high to a Human, with spindly, branching structures colored purple from their photopigments. Rather than flat leaves or fronds, they have thread-like "hairs" ranging from millimeters to tens of centimeters long. The native animals are primitive and sluggish creatures. Most need to stay near water to keep from drying out and to reproduce; a few species have evolved waxy coverings that allow them to range further inland although they still rely on water for reproduction. A number of life forms from Mantheim have become established and are pushing out many native Rhuzzit species.

History

Rhuzzit was settled by Mants from the Zox Hierate. Initially, a small garrison of the Imperial army was stationed on the planet to secure the new wormhole landing site; after a base was built colonists hives and hopeful drones were allowed through with the understanding that they would begin converting the wilderness into bountiful fields. A colonial governor was appointed by the Emperor himself to oversee Rhuzzit on behalf of the Hierate.

The most significant event in Rhuzzit's history was that it was the staging base for the expedition that led to first contact between the Humans and the Mants, and the subsequent hostilities culminating in the Homestead-Zox war, the retaking of the Zox's conquered territories, and the imposition of a heavily guarded border at Kartanum. The expansion into Human space and the following war saw large numbers of troops passing through Rhuzzit on their way to the front, mostly to be slaughtered.

As the Squirm invaded deeper into the Triangulum galaxy, increasingly desperate refugees piled up at Rhuzzit, seeking an escape from this horrific enemy. Many were able to bribe their way past the Hierate guards at the Rhuzzit-Kartanum wormhole. At times the guards were briefly overrun by panicked hordes to allow masses of panicked Mants through, although order was usually quickly restored with brutal efficiency by the troops of the Imperial Army.

During The Bump in the Night, Rhuzzit had sufficient infrastructure to weather the subsequent discomforts without excessive difficulty. Its strong agricultural base and buildup during the standoff between the Hierate and the United States served it well here. Rhuzzit again became the staging area for an invasion of the Verge shortly after The Bump in the Night. The ill-fated expedition met disaster on the fields of Gateway, where most of the Imperial Army remaining in the Milky Way were wiped out, and catalyzed the formation of the Verge Republic to fight off threats such as the Zox.

The time since then has seen growth and recovery. A strong recruitment drive and conscription has built up the Imperial Army to a fierce fighting force, a large number of which are based at Rhuzzit. The original garrison and fort have grown up into the thriving city of Klezz Chick Vz, with a well-to-do capital at Clik Tik Bzzit connected by wormhole transit. A significant industrial base has grown up around Klezz Chick Vz, providing goods for much of the rest of the Hierate's Colonial Authority.

Government

Like most dictatorships, Rhuzzit is administered for the benefit of the rulers and those necessary to keep them in power. Individual rights are nearly non-existent. Secret police use networks of informants, spies, and technological surveillance to tamp down any dissent, and can arrest, torture, and kill with impunity. Minor crimes that are not subversive are likely to be overlooked for a bribe, but anything threatening the entrenched power structure is usually quickly, ruthlessly, and decisively dealt with.

At Rhuzzit, a significant source of wealth comes from the fact that the Republic produces many goods that are coveted by Mants throughout the Hierate, but which are prohibited by religious law. Consequently, you get rampant corruption from the customs officials at the Rhuzzit-Kartanum wormhole through the general of the army stationed at Rhuzzit to the Governor himself as they collude to smuggle illicit goods through the wormhole. There are entire branches of the cross-border wormhole which do not officially exist, with secret trains that run Republic-made consumer items and entertainment to a nation hungry for something new.

Factions

  • Local Officials: The local power structure desires to maintain the status quo. They do not want to see the Republic conquered, because trade between the Republic and the Hierate is making them rich. Nonetheless, they like their position near the top of the pecking order, and will thus resist any efforts to liberalize their society. Ambitious officials may strive with each other for power, prestige, and position; but the overall way things are set up benefits them – individuals may be usurped or done away with, but the power structure is likely to remain in place.

    The Governor has a strong hold on Rhuzzit, given the difficulty the Emperor has with the legitimacy of his claims and the fact that the current Governor can trace his pedigree and office back to an unquestionably legitimate imperial writ. This gives him considerable discretion to do things his way.

  • Imperials: The Emperor would prefer to replace the current governor with someone more pliable to his wishes, but is finding this hard to implement. He would take advantage of any opportunity demonstrating the governor violated his writ or was acting against the Hierate, using this as an excuse to send in the Army and execute a change in power.

    • Imperial Army: Army officers stationed at Rhuzzit have the opportunity to get rich through kickbacks and extortion related to trade with the republic, and thus have interests that generally align with local officials. Nonetheless, there are opportunities to be had in the event of an invasion of the Republic, and ambitious officers may favor increased military adventurism. In the event that hostilities again break out with the Verge Republic, this may lead to conflict within the Imperial Army itself.

    • Ministry of Security: Rhuzzit is a nice place to be for Security personnel. They are virtually guaranteed a tidy source of income from graft, extorting the smugglers of Republic goods. However, they will not tolerate Republic sympathies or anything smelling of liberal propaganda. Security intelligence agents or covert operatives on Rhuzzit do not have the same opportunities, stationed as they are for operations against the Republic, giving them less tolerance of Rhuzzit's more profitable illegal activities.

  • The Resistance: Due to the closer contact with the Republic at Rhuzzut compared to the rest of the Hierate, Rhuzzit is a hot-spot of Resistance activity. Resistance propaganda is common, their fliers are often encountered, and the Ministry of Security is kept busy trying to tamp down the cells which seem to spring up everywhere like mushrooms. In addition to propaganda, sabotage, assassinations, bombings, and terrorism, the Rhuzzit Resistance is active in smuggling refugees through the wormhole into Republic space.

People

Most of the populace of Rhuzzit are either dirt poor farmers or factory workers. Some entrepreneurs are able to rise above the squalor to start a lucrative business; this usually requires considerable moxie and the ability to schmooze and hustle to navigate the labyrinth of graft and competing interests. Soldiers make up a considerable fraction of the population. Conditions might not be good for the rank-and-file soldiers, but at least they tend to be a bit better off than the commoners.

All natives of Rhuzzit are Mants. Non-Mant visitors will stand out, and be the subject of interest, suspicion, superstition, and fear. Nonetheless, Rhuzzit is the only world in the Hierate where outsiders are allowed (except for select EGComCo technicians on legitimate business to install and maintain cross-wormhole fiber-optic communications). Visitors are usually closely controlled by minders, shown Potemkin villages and staged cultural events of happy peasant hives and industrious workers, and kept from interacting with the people.

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