Mustered Out on Regina
Erzthung Library Data
Affiliation: Independent Vargr
Planetary details: Starport class E, Frontier installation. Essentially a marked spot of ice with no fuel, facilities, or bases present.
Medium sized world. Surface gravity 1 G.
World diameter is 7000 miles (11200 km).
100 percent water.
Law Level 0: No restrictions
Tech Level 6: circa 1961
Trade Classifications: Non-Industrial, Waterworld
Erzthung is inhabited for just one purpose, and this is for the hunting of the oksthuo, an aquatic mammal which is something similar to a cross between a walrus and a shark. The meat is very popular among Vargr diners and fetches a good price. However, the real value in oksthho hunting comes from the creature’s kidneys, which are very spicy and thus a real delicacy for Vargr and used only sparingly (somewhat similar to wasabi). Such is the value of oksthuo kidneys that it sells for Cr800 per kilo at retail.
Erzthung was inhabited mainly to provide meat for the other inhabited worlds in the area, nearly all of which are barren, vacuum worlds which have no facilities for producing natural meat – only that which is created synthetically.
There is just one permanent inhabited town on Erzthung and this is Gaenksuerr, which is also the location for the world’s starport.
Gaenskurr is a town of only 20,000 inhabitants and is almost unique in the fact that it is built on an iceberg around 10km in diameter. The iceberg is fitted with four massive propellers which can maneuver the town from one place to another. This is important because the oksthuo’s natural habitat is the edge of the ice fields, which vary enormously between summer and winter. The propellers are used to keep the iceberg just offshore of the ice fields where the ocean is just above freezing point, with an air temperature between -5C and -15C. In such a way, the hunting ships are always able to gain access to the docks, the oksthuo carcasses never need to be refrigerated and the iceberg is never far away from where the oksthuo can be found.
Gaenksuerr exists only for the oksthuo industry. Many of the residents work in the processing plants, gutting the carcasses in order to provide the steaks and kidneys which are so highly prized. Another important industry is ship building, producing the ships which the oksthuo hunters need. The remainder of Gaenksuerr’s population are involved in the ‘leisure industry’. The oksthuo hunters spend most of their time at sea and are very well-paid for their hard and dangerous work, which means that the short amount of time they spend on shore leave in Gaenksuerr is spent usually either in the many bars or many bordellos in the town.
The other half of Erzthung’s population crew the worlds man the hunting boats. These tough individuals exhibit extreme Vargr behaviour as there is great competition between boats to exploit the richest hunting grounds for oksthuo. The disputes usually turn violent, leading to gun battles between different crews. Some of the ‘hunting boats’ are little better than pirates, spending more effort upon getting into fights with rival crews and making off with their catch then they do in hunting. Add to this the fact that crews sometimes mutiny against their captains, or groups leave in order to get their own boat and start hunting for themselves, and it can be seen that the situation on the seas is very similar to the situation in space within the Vargr Extents.
Law & Government
Theoretically, Erzthung is supposed to be a Representative Democracy in which every Vargr over 18 has the right to vote for a government. In practice though, the Vargr are too disorganized to arrange democratic elections and it would be difficult to arrange them in any case as such a large proportion of the population is at sea at any one time. As a result, for practical purposes, Erzthung is in a state of anarchy. Somehow, however, the world seems to function. Compared to many of the Vargr worlds, the population of Erzthung makes a fairly decent living and they are not so stupid as to risk losing their livelihood for the sake of settling scores too publicly.
There is just one law in Gaenksuerr that everyone abides by and this is that each ship must give 10% of its catch to the town. Much of this is used to pay off the corsairs from the Aethkaek system two parsecs away which pass through the system regularly in order to make their raids. In return for supplying as much meat at the corsairs can take with them, the corsairs leave the refrigerated freighters which visit the world alone and also fight off any rival corsair bands which might try their luck on the world. Any meat left over after ensuring that the corsairs are catered for is sold on the free market with the proceeds going to maintain and improve Gaenksuerr’s infrastructure.