Mustered Out on Regina
Esalin Library Data
Planetary details: Routine Quality Installation. Only unrefined fuel is available. Reasonable repair facilities are available
World diameter is 4600 miles (7360 km).
2 million inhabitants
Law Level 3: Military weapons (automatic fire guns, except SMGs) are prohibited.
Tech Level 8: 1986
Trade Classifications: Non-Industrial, Agricultural, Rich
Summary: Liechtenstein meets Hobbiton meets early Cold War Vienna meets Monaco
Esalin was originally settled by Imperial colonists in 835. Because of its fertile lands and rich harvests, the world was ideal for providing nearby Jewell with food stuffs necessary to feed its rapidly growing population. The planetary conditions and varied climates allowed for a variety of crops to be grown on Esalin, from tropical fruits to exotic vegetables. Because of the many options for crowing crops, the initial settlers spread out across the planet rather than remaining close to each other as is usual with Imperial colonies. This led to the formation of several different countries across the planet, and Esalin has remained balkanized to this day.
Esalin was occupied by the Zhodani during the opening weeks of the Fourth Frontier War in 1082. The Zhos did not treat the humans badly during their occupation of the world though, preferring to leave the settlers continue with their farming and buying their produce from them rather than taking it from them by force and desolating the colony. For this reason and because there was little military resistance to the Zhodani occupation, there has never been such strong anti-Zhodani sentiment on Esalin as there is elsewhere inside the Imperium.
Following the Armistice, it was agreed to allow joint Imperial-Zhodani administration of the world, and it was officially declared neutral in 1098.
Hortalez et Cie. were quick to see the opportunities of Esalin’s neutral status and were quick to meet with Esalin’s leaders to make a deal. Following negotiations, Esalin announced that it was tax-free for non-residents and this immediately led to a massive boom for the world as Imperial Megacorporations set up shell companies on Esalin to take advantage of the tax breaks. Also, the mega-wealthy of Jewell also moved their assets to Esalin, spending more than half a year there to avoid local taxes on Jewell.
Althoug Esalin is still balkanized, there is a strong Union of Nations (EICON – Esalin International Council of Nations) with both a Zhodani and Imperial Adviser. The current President of EICON is a Zhodani, Aqlajevtlas.
Nations tend to align along either Zhodani or Imperial lines, with about 20% remaining neutral or so divided as to be effectively so. There are, in fact, two down-world starports: one, Denkeny Downport, run mainly by the Government of Ecaimar serves mostly Imperial shipping and the other, Valstivoock, run predominantly by the Government of Irasus serves mostly Zhodani shipping. Both ports are routine quality installations (Class C.)
While both ports must serve both the Imperial and Zhodani governments, and the ports are technically under the jurisdiction of EICON, the ports themselves are located an the territories of their respective governments, staffed by the peoples of the respective governments and security is provided by the respective governments except for a small corps answering to the EICON administration. These two governments are by far the largest on the planet both economically and militarily, with a combined GDP of over 70% of the planet’s Gross Product and about 55% of the planet’s population.
Ecaimar is Representative Democracy and Irasus is a Self-Perpetuating Oligarchy. Representation in EICON accords each government a number of votes based on population and GDP and at present there is no clear pro-Imperial or pro-Zhodani majority. A handful of the smaller nations have become adept at trading favors from the two major powers in exchange for voting a particular way on given issues.
Denkeny is the capital of Ecaimar and the largest city on Esalin although, with a population of just 100,000, it is still tiny. EICON administration is located here. The population of Denkeny is 80% human and 20% Zhodani. Most of the Zhodani have settled on the continent of Irasus to the west of Ecaimar, preferring to be with their own.
Denkeny is located on an isthmus separating the Ecaimar Sea from the Western Ocean. A 150 miles-long ship canal, located just south of Denkeny, connects the two. Denkeny is on the western shore of the Ecaimar Sea, with a large ‘wet port’ at the other end of the ship canal. Denkeny Down and the international airport are located midway between the two.
Ever since Hortalez et Cie. convinced EICON to declare Esalin as a tax-free world seven years ago, Denkeny has boomed as the city saw an influx of bankers, lawyers and accountants. The megawealthy soon joined them and Denkeny soon transformed itself into a ‘millionaires’ playground’. Denkeny beachfront real estate is now among the most expensive in the Spinward Marches. With a low Law Level, many businesses opened to provide entertainment for the wealthy newcomers, with the result that Denkeny has some of the best (and most expensive) casinos, restaurants and clubs in the sector.
Outside of Denkeny though, little of the wealth has trickled down to the farming communities and life there goes on much as it has done for the past two centuries. The ‘country folk’ are known for their warmth and bluntness, plus the wealth of their hospitality. As the saying goes ‘no one ever goes hungry on Esalin’.
As Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder nearly sang:
“Zhodani and Vilani, live together in perfect harmony”
For the main occupying different continents (although there is plenty of interaction between the two races) relationships between Zhodani and Imperials has always been good. Everyone has been making such good money (the Zhos mostly from trading as Esalin provides an opportunity for Zho merchants to buy Imperial goods without having to set foot among the ‘thieves and liars’ in the Imperium) that no one wants to upset the status quo as everyone knows they are onto a good thing. Behind the scenes though, both the Imperial Secret Service and the Zhodani SORAG Special Ops division take advantage of the fact that it is one of the very few places in the ’Verse where Impies and Zhodanis interact with one another in a neutral environment, and it is a hot bed of espionage and counterespionage.
Recently, however, there are a few cracks starting to appear in relationships as news of the tension between the Imperium and the Consulate trickle down. It’s mostly the rural humans that are showing the most resentment as they have seen little of the benefits from Esalin’s independence which the rich city slickers of Denkeny are seeing. In fact, life is getting worse for them as inflation in Ecaimar has gone through the roof following the influx of all the money into the world, meaning that the farming communities’ standard of living has been falling fast.
Much of the blame for this situation (probably unfairly) is blamed on the Zhodanis and the roots of a ‘loyalist organization’ has emerged who want Esalin to return to being a full member of the Imperium. To date this has only taken the form of graffiti and acts of vandalism, but support for the loyalist movement seems to be growing quite rapidly.