[“Black Marble” by NASA Goddard Photo and Video]
And we’re back with a look at the ongoing work in Handbook: House Kurita.
One of the more popular bits of the Handbook series is the Touring the Realm section, which provides a wide look at various worlds in the interstellar nation. Each author picks the worlds listed in the book for various reasons. I selected mine based on a few criteria. Each planet fits at least two from the following list:
- Randall listed it in the original outline
- It’s a District / Prefecture capital world
- It has a role of some sort in the history of the Combine (mentioned in the History section)
- It showcases a slice of life within the Combine borders
- I wanted a ‘fresh’ world to tinker with
So what we have are the four military districts with six to eight worlds highlighted from each area.
Rather than sneak a couple of the complete atlas entries, I’ll do something a little different. I’ll give a couple sentences from various entries, to whet the appetite. This is still a work-in-progress, as I’m still finishing it – along with finalizing editing notes on the other sections and bugging Randall for the opening fiction.
The crown jewel is the sprawling Imperial City, home of the ruling Kurita family. It is a virtual fairy-tale of a city, surrounded by verdant gardens and hectares of natural forest. The impressive Unity Palace, which contains the seat of Kurita power, appears to hover on the horizon. Each of the five towers that form the palace is distinct, built along the aesthetics of a different architectural period from ancient Japan.
Evidence was presented that although exports were re-routed to Jaguar worlds, those raw materials were of much lesser quality and quantity. More importantly, a high percentage of smelted metals and manufactured steel contained numerous defects and weak spots. This created a substandard product that increased breakdowns and other trouble spots in Clan equipment and materials fashioned from Bjarred exports.
The response was overwhelming; the Bureau of Friendly Interior Comfort and Concerns constantly processes requests and handles the transport of citizens to designated worlds in the Bjarred and Qandahar prefectures. Because of the situation, the Bureau formed “resident zones” on all other systems in the prefecture. These zones are nothing more than large, sufficient enclaves under the domain of the Clan. Combine citizens are not permitted on the grounds unless they possess proper documentation and authorization.
Founded during the Age of Colonization by Soviet expatriates, Matamoras has never been considered more than a collection of mines and heavy industry. Few choose to travel to the world; fewer still remain to eke out a living. For a time, the DCMS maintained a prison facility on Siberia, the southernmost continent. Notorious for its small guard detail and highly corrupt administration, the complex was abandoned in the mid-2700s—with over three thousand male and female prisoners still locked down within.
The most famous is the Diplan Mechyard near Belnet. The factory uses an architectural design and construction similar to a Castle Brian and easily holds up against Class 9 storms (425+ kph winds). Such facilities were built with typical Kuritan foresight, as they easily serve as defensive bulwarks during times of crisis.
A series of industries centers around the study, capture, processing, and research of this tenacious predator. The blood limpet is indirectly responsible for scientific breakthroughs in such technologies as battle armor, MASC systems, genetic therapy, synthetic fabrics, and anesthetics. Regardless of industry, civilians who work with the blood limpet undergo a year’s worth of intensive training on the reptile.
The oyabun, Sean O’Clannahan, declared a vendetta against Robert Ivankov. The conflict escalated out of hand very quickly. For the next fifty years, several yakuza clans—headed by the Fuji Snow—invaded Xinyang and systematically pushed the vory v zakone from power. By 2960, the yakuza dominated the Xinyang underworld and remained in control despite two subsequent attempts from outside mafia families.
The hills of Paphos are renowned for its wine industry, often preparing vintages served in the Imperial Court. The volcanic chain—Steps of the Dragon—that border the eastern coastline of the continent is the source of valuable Galdeonian black and red diamonds. Strict security measures keep a tight grip on the production and export of these gems, making them one of the rarest and most expensive diamonds in the Inner Sphere.
Enivians dislike “the Newcomers” as they feel their pace of life is challenged and belittled. Loyal to the Kurita family and steadfast supporters of the Dragon, these citizens are nonetheless mocked for their simplistic lifestyle and nonconfrontational attitudes by the Newcomers. Because of Enif’s chronically poor educational system—even by lower class standards—Enivians are rarely accepted into military academies and few find their way past the lower ranks of the DCMS.
Partly due to the influence of its unofficial lord Chandrasekhar Kurita, Hachiman is considered the place to find everything from forbidden Steiner entertainment discs to shadowy mercenary assassins. The Coordinators of the Combine have allowed this well of depravity to exist within the Combine’s walls, primarily as a funnel for foreign spies and malcontents. With the superior electronics produced by the planet’s hard-working citizenry over the centuries, the Kuritas have permitted Masamori’s existence as a form of stress relief.