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Scatterhome

Summary

maddox khan

Maddox Khan, founder of Scatterhome

Scatterhome was founded nearly 900 years ago by Maddox Khan, the most famous and revered human in the history of their species, in the aftermath of the rebellion and subsequent execution of his daughter - Commander Tamiko Lane. It's a collection of asteroids - some massive, some not - that are, for all intents and purposes, the home of modern humanity, and substantial numbers of Elgan, Krona, and Bushraki and other races as well.

It's a rallying point within the Starmourn sector for anarchists, revolutionaries-in-hiding, criminals on the run, and other rule-breaking, lawless misfits, but also contains a healthy population of wealthy mining magnates, heads of intersellar corps, and others who appreciate the finer things in life in an environment light on regulation. Conveniently located near a Voidgate, the asteroids are rich with minerals and chunks of ice, providing a nearly limitless supply of both water and metal to the inhabitants.

Although there are thousands of asteroids in the field, only a fraction are inhabited to any extent, and most of the population is concentrated in half a dozen of the largest rocks, all of which have been fitted with powerful engines and set spinning to provide artificial gravity to the inhabitants. The population lives in tunnels, artificial caverns, deep canyons, and, for those who can afford it, huge biodomes on the surface.

Scatterhome - click for desktop background size.

Haven City

The most populous habitat of Scatterhome, Haven City is named after Maddox Khan's flagship, The Haven, and is the first rock on which he landed when settling Scatterhome. Over the centuries, what was once an unimpressive and average asteroid was built on and into, and is now almost completely covered on all sides by huge structures. Commander Khan's famous words upon landing - "We're not taking off again." are engraved on a plaque in the center of the asteroid, and serve as Haven City's motto.

Bodean

Bodean is controlled by a number of Scatterhome corporations, their families, and their employees. Venture Chemicals, Ibix Manufacturing, GravCorp, Hercule Mining, and Amar Exports are some of the major corporations that call Bodean home and headquarters. Many of these conglomerations are family businesses, and the politics between the clans can be cutthroat. When Bodean was first discovered and spun up for habitation, deep wells were sunk into its surface with mining lasers, and these "reverse skyscrapers" are connected by an underground railway system. The wealthiest CEOs and land-owners on Bodean live in clear, rad-shielded domes on the surface.

Marle

The private security firms that keep Scatterhome's population more-or-less safe (when the money's good enough, that is) are located in offices and garrisons beneath the surface of Marle, which is a mid-sized, mostly round asteroid. Such "security" ranges from the semi-professional, garrisoned outfits of Homewatch and Nebula Arms, to individual bruisers willing to serve as bodyguards for a day's pay and a hot meal. Proximity to the security firms has led some of Scatterhome's wealthiest to settle on Marle, where they live in rad-shielded domes on the surface. There is a sizable settlement of less priveleged sorts who live beneath the surface, and serve the families aboveground in one capacity or another.

Ishbi

Ishbi is used as a stockyard and moon-sized slaughterhouse, raising both oversized insectoid livestock and warm-blooded mammals in underground corrals and selling meat to the population of Scatterhome. Ishbi is often derided by people on Bodean and Haven City as being a hick town, and they're not wrong.

Whittler's Hollow

The closest thing Scatterhome has to a garden world, Whittler's Hollow is, as the name suggests, completely hollow, and was claimed in the early days of the settlement by a young human engineer named Whittler, who immediately saw the potential of the rock. Working closely with the Elgan, with whom he struck a legendary deal, he expanded, reinforced, and terraformed the inside of the hollow asteroid. Trees and crops grow on the inside surface of the asteroid towards the nuclear-powered and levitating "sun" that shines at its heart. Much of Scatterhome's food is provided by Whittler's Hollow.

How is Scatterhome "Governered"?

While there's no government, the citizens of Starmourn have worked out a system of governing themselves, for regardless of their antipathy for formal government, someone has to be able to command their armada, someone has to be able to spend Marks on the city's behalf, and so on.

It works like this: every citizen of Scatterhome has a formal Influence number. Influence is gained by doing things that help Scatterhome, like taking Cosmpiercers, killing enemies while they’re in the city (or even via outright bribery...this is Scatterhome after all.)

Influence does, however, slowly drain away with time. Scatterhomeans mostly care what you’ve done for them lately.

When someone wants something done, they put out a Call for that thing. For instance, one might put out a Call to kick someone you don’t like out of the city. The Call runs for 1 day (24 rl hours), during which people may vote yea or nay on the Call. Every influence point that person has counts as one vote for yea or nay – one person one vote is not the Scatterhome way.

People are allocated powers within Scatterhome this way too. There are a few sets of powers, and someone may Call to bestow those powers on themselves or someone else.

If one places a Call that is unsuccessful, a small amount of Influence is lost, and it’s also possible to Call to besmirch someone’s reputation, in which case that person loses some influence.

Essentially, this system means that those who work to help Scatterhome (in the ways that can be measured at least) will have vastly greater influence over the goings-on in the city than those who don’t, and anyone can submit Calls to do a variety of things. We don’t know how it’ll play out, as we’ve never implemented a system like this before, and I’m not aware of any other game that has either. We do think it’ll be interesting to see and a new experience for Scatterhomeans who might be used to how government tends to work in our other games.

How Did Scatterhome's Governmental system Evolve?

While Scatterhome has no government per se, it’s not the completely lawless anarchy of yesteryear.

In centuries past, gangs effectively ruled different territories within the various asteroids and the Jin’s Blood Ark ship that make up Scatterhome. Any discipline its citizenry had enjoyed in the wake of its founding had devolved into near-tribalism. All-out gang wars were rare, but there was constant tension between them, with frequent small brawls and infrequent battles between scores of people. What made life tolerable for everyone else was the relatively small size of the gangs, which kept their predatory nature somewhat in check.

“Governing”, such as it was then, essentially functioned as rule of the jungle. If you could convince a big enough mob to do what you wanted, it got done. Skulls might end up being cracked, but it got done.

On issues of consequence, of course, your gang might have found one or more gangs actively opposing whatever it is your gang wanted, and so it became necessary for the various groups to stir up the other gang members and ordinary people and get them to join your cause. Gangs did this by putting the most verbally persuasive members of their roster in heavily-trafficked common areas, where they would, loudly and at length, call for the denizens of Scatterhome to join them in whatever cause it was they were championing. These were colloquially known as Callers, and what we know of those times tells us that it was an extremely dangerous job, for a good Caller could greatly augment the strength of a gang with their Calls, and so became an obvious target for a knife in the back, or a blaster to the gut.

As the years passed, these ‘Calls’ got much more sophisticated, and involved full-blown multi-media marketing campaigns designed to whip up the Scatterhomeans into an outraged fury and deliver mob justice to someone. This was expensive, and the smaller gangs couldn’t keep up, and in order to have any chance of seeing their agendas pushed forward, they would band together with gangs that they had something in common with, forming larger ones. By this process of accretion, gangs got bigger, had yet more resources to spend on Calling, and thereby to crush their enemies. This too accelerated the process, as if your gang’s dire enemy just doubled its size by merging with a rival gang, you better find a way to keep up.

Inexorably, over time, the gang composition of Scatterhome consisted of only two major gangs and a few minor ones that were barely hanging on. The two majors – Haven’s Children and the Ishbi Yardies – were gearing up for the war everyone could see coming, and when it began, it was bloody.

The Internecine War, as it became known, wasn’t a war fought between disciplined soldiers executing a multi-front battle strategy. It began in 461 A.E. when one of the Yardies walked into a restaurant where a few Children were dining and dropped a thermal grenade, killing everyone in the place. It got worse. This was killing your enemy’s kids or cutting off power to entire sections of Scatterhome’s life support, hoping to muirder everyone inside those parts before power was restored. There were no rules, and nothing was too brutal. Each side seemed willing to escalate endlessly, and while each gang claimed territory, the reality is that they lived amongst each other, and so there was no “behind the lines.” Everywhere was the front line, and everywhere, gang members and ordinary citizens were being butchered.

Finally, a few members of the Children had the bright idea to dump some nerve toxins in the ventilation systems on Marle and Isbhi. They managed to deploy it on Marle, but before doing so on Ishbi, their homebrewed manufacturing rig for the toxins exploded and released the toxins into a crowded area on Haven, the stronghold of the Children. In one day, hundreds of Yardies and Children died, as did thousands of civilians.

The people of Scatterhome had had enough. They’d been terrified of the gangs, and were frequently collateral damage, but this was simply too much. Very quickly, they erupted into a mob larger than either of the gangs, and began beating, stabbing, or shooting to death any Yardie or member of the Children they could find, whether they were really sure the victim was in the gang or not. They died by the scores, as the gangs were much-better armed, but they had numbers on their side, as well as a sense of justified outrage, and they slaughtered hundreds of gang members to death before collectively issuing a demand: your leaders need to forever leave Scatterhome and the rest of you must disband or we won’t stop until we find every last one of you and toss your bodies out an airlock.

The remaining leaders of the Yardies and Children had no real choice. They weren’t shadowy, mysterious figures – everybody knew who ran the gangs. They fled, spreading to various dark corners of Starmourn, and, now rudderless, most of the gang members disbanded. The others generally wished they had before they were allowed to die.

Now, gang-less, the Scatterhomeans had to decide how to self-govern in a way that wouldn’t lead to the same outcome again. They decided that they didn’t wish to have a ruling class, or have elections in the way other civilizations did. They decided to preserve some of the spirit of the system of Calls, which is how Scatterhome got its modern form of government.

Ultimately, it's agreed upon that the end of the Internecine War and the formation of an agreed-upon method of self-governing that doesn't (usually) involve violence was the seed that later allowed Scatterhome to grow into a civilization on par with the Song and the Celestines.

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