Mustered Out on Regina
Ruby Library Data
Planetary details: Starport Class A, Good Quality Installation. Refined Fuel is available, as is annual maintenance overhaul. A shipyard capable of non-starship construction is present. A Travellers’ Aid Society is present.
World diameter is 4351 miles (7000 km).
No free standing water
Law Level 5: Personal concealable weapons (such as pistols or revolvers) are prohibited.
Tech Level B: Average Imperial
Trade Classifications: Non-Industrial, Vacuum
Ruby gets its name from the red color of the planet. Like Mars in the Sol system, the color is due to the high iron content in the soil. The colony has a population of around 40,000, nearly all of whom living in a single city consisting of four pressure domes built on top of a network of underground tunnels.
Ruby was first settled in 339, primarily to obtain ores for the inhabitants of Jewell and Emerald. Never of great importance, the colony was abandoned in 362, after large quantities of high-grade lanthanum ores were discovered on Jewell. The system remained essentially uninhabited until 634, although small Zhodani contingents occupied Ruby from 592-603, and in 617. Both of these forces withdrew from the system as the balance of the First and Second Frontier Wars tipped back towards the Imperium.
In 631, Papaieie Sawaiu led a group of leftist libertarians to petition the Jewell government for permission and aid to settle Ruby. Jewell’s government (which was still legally the owner of the system) granted the petition’s requests (probably more to be rid of a troublesome minority than anything else), and set aside MCr4.0 to reopen the abandoned colony. In 634, six hundred Sawaiuites settled a site about 80km southwest of the old lanthanum mines. The group began shipping small quantities of platinum to Emerald in 640, and surprisingly, managed to pay its way. Sharp falls precious metal prices in the region in the late 690’s put an end to the colony’s modest prosperity, and Jewell was once again forced to subsidize its neighbour.
The subsidy was withdrawn in 711, and preparations were made to repatriate the colonists to Jewell. The colony, now numbering several thousand, was saved by the Imperial Government’s decision to establish scout facilities in the system. Tensions between the Imperium and the Zhodani had been increasing since the end of the Second Frontier War, and the IISS had decided to upgrade its presence in the subsector as part of a overhaul of intelligence operations against the Zhodani. The base and accompanying starport facilities were completed in 720, many of the existing colonists were contracted to provide support services for IISS personnel in this lonely frontier outpost.
This event marked the beginning of a new era on Ruby. The new Scout facilities and B class starport helped establish trade routes and Ruby began to prosper. Several new domes were built to accommodate the growing population and expansion eventually halted at its current capacity.
The Scout base was hastily abandoned at the outbreak of the Third Frontier War, its personnel and ships pulled back help defend Jewell from major Zhodani attacks. Once again, Zhodani ground troops occupied the world, taking over the scout base for use in supplying the forces besieging Jewell. They pulled out of the system at the end of the war, having largely ignored the civilian population during their seven year occupation. At the outbreak of the Fourth Frontier War, Zhodani forces ran into substantial Imperial naval assets deployed from Jewell. Their attack was beaten off, and the Zhodani chose to bypass and isolate the world.
Ruby has only one starport, the Class B facility on the world’s surface. This starport is open to civilian traffic, although berthing fees are considerably higher than for comparable private facilities. The base’s repair and maintenance facilities are not available to civilians except in emergencies (although detatched duty Scouts are welcome).
New visitors will be steered towards ’Ruby’s Startown Bar’, on the edge of the starport complex. ’Ruby’s’ is famous throughout the region for its cheap booze (and other, less common stimulants), and for its bouncers. Unruly patrons are given a brief lecture on the anit-social aspects of their violent behaviour by the doormen (a lecture given with absolute sincerity ). Continued troublemaking will normally result in extremely violent ejection and arrest. All staff at ’Ruby’s’ are members of the Stivlprerqaf family, descendants of a Zhodani prole who fled across the border in 992.
Sawaiu Town is the only substantial settlement of Ruby, just 10 minutes by transport tube from the starport/Scout Base. Almost all of Ruby’s 40,000 permanent inhabitants live here. The town itself consists of four pressure domes atop an underground tunnel complex. The domes are given over largely to parkland – each dome has a different environment and ‘theme’. In order of size, these are: Sawaiu Dome (Terran / Tropical Maritime), Isgiidu (Vilani / Highland), Summondamus (Terran / Desert) and Taenu Diran (Sylean / Savannah). Residential, commercial and support areas are all underground. Although the world is small, local gravity is a reasonable 0.78g, due to the planet’s higher than normal density. Atmospheric pressure is maintained at 0.8 standard atmospheres, making the environment tolerable for most visitors.
For the most part, the people of Ruby are friendly and welcoming. However, due to Ruby’s position as a ‘front line’ world it has endured the brunt of the Frontier Wars and the people here have evolved a strong distrust of the Zhodani and, to a lesser degree, the Vargr.
Unlike many people who have lived through wars and survived occupations, the people of Ruby are pacifists although potential criminals are warned that Ruby’s law enforcement officials are generally hired from offworld, and do not have the same passive ethic.
Offenders face deportation and confiscation of their assets if caught – within a short time, they will find themselves on Jewell with little more than the clothes on their back. Given the world’s reliance on offworld powers for its continued existence, foreigners are treated with respect. Merchants on Ruby will buy and sell for fair prices – at any rate, they are trading for the good of the colony more than their own gain. A disgruntled customer won’t come back; a potential loss for the world.
Ruby’s inhabitants are fiercely egalitarian – the concept of ‘privilege’ is repellent to them. Without exception, all citizens are allocated the same communal floorspace in Sawaiu Town’s residential areas. This concept of ‘equality of opportunity’ is one of the basic tenets of Ruby’s society – the lasting legacy of the settlement’s commune origins. The settlement’s ruler, the ‘Premier’, is directly elected by all permanent residents for a two year term.
Traditionally, the office is one of the lowest paying jobs on the planet. Although the Premier is responsible for all aspects of administration, much of the more judicial and administrative work is handled by a council of elders. Membership in the council is voluntary and unpaid, but anyone over the age of 40 can join.
The majority of Ruby’s residents are employed providing infrastructure for the IISS base with a few others involved in trade activities. The remainder are involved in mining, although the numbers involved are only a couple of thousand. Mineral ores are shipped mainly to the agricultural worlds of Emerald and Esalin in exchange for food. A small number of independent miners eke out a precarious existence from gold and platinum deposits. All large scale mining is conducted by RubyCorp, a statutory authority run by the government. Miners typically spend six weeks at a time in the camps, followed by six weeks layover in Sawaiu Town. Independent miners number less than four hundred, and typically live permanently at their workings, coming to town only to sell their ores and resupply.
Ruby maintains a small fleet of four Type R Subsidised Merchants, used to service the mineral trade with Emerald and Esalin. The Papaieie, Rhys, Topaz and Guiding Hand are all subsidized by the Ruby government.