A small Caravan-ship drifting over the plains of Weg.
A small Caravan-ship drifting over the plains of Weg. (by Ian McQue)

Weg (0512 A5629A9-A, pop=8b)

Orange jungle, forest, savannah, desert, tundra

The Long Republic (Langerepublik) is a huge German-speaking state that grew out of the human colony world called "Weg" (The Road). Weggers live as nomads, constantly on the move, either on their home world, or in "Caravan Ships" that ply the Main. Weggers are allied with the mysterious "Spiders" who live somewhere in the coreward Main. This has given them access to technology that baffles Core world scientists - particularly gravity generators and apparently reactionless thrusters. This technical edge allowed them to drive the Xa Imperium back along the Main, almost to Xa-Xa.

Colonisation of Weg

Weg was settled in 2271 CE during the "human diaspora" period, by settlers from Bessel (1417). The colonisation project was promoted by the Xa Emperor, in order to create a human buffer between the Xa Imperium and the inscrutable Spiders. The Weg colony also well placed to prevent Khigrish refugees from Misaruu from settling on the borders of the Imperium.

Weg is a hostile, though habitable world. The early colonists were not overjoyed at the prospect of living there. The narrow habitable belts move slowly from the poles in high summer, to about 30 degrees latitude in the depths of winter. No point on the surface of the planet is habitable for all of the 3000 day year.

Eventually they decided that a nomadic lifestyle was the only real option. Fortunately much of the planet's surface is rolling grass-hills and tundra. Earth grazing animals such as sheep and hardy cattle can survive on the coarse grasses that grow abundantly in Weg's temperate bands. The long year (9 Earth years) meant that the colonists only had to travel about 3 miles per day to keep within the "Grün", as the moving temperate belts came to be known.

Within a few decades, the pattern of nomad life was set. Caravans follow the seasons South along the Weg (the nomads' "Road"). They pass through the dangerous and unforgiving "cool jungles" during mid-winter, and trek North again with the Spring, eventually to meet up at the pole for the midsummer "Moot".

The Spiders

Many Weggers were recruited by the Xa to form part of a border force to deal with the Spiders, who were encroaching on Imperial territory from coreward. Rather than fighting the Spiders, an alliance was forged. Armed with the Spiders' gravitic technology, the Weggers were able to expel the Xa from their world in 2375 CE, and ultimately help the Spiders to push the Xa back as far as Junction (0712).

The Abstract Republic

Free from the Xa, and armed with counter-grav technology, the Weggers took their nomad lifestyle to the skies, and from there, to the stars. By about 2500 CE millions of nomads were plying the Main in huge grav-powered Caravan Ships. They became a common sight throughout the Xa Imperium and far beyond. They have several base worlds very, very far from human space. Glitzern (1123) and Steinkreis (2507) are notable examples.

As their range grew, so did their influence. Their trade networks enriched not only Weg, but all the worlds they visited. The Xa Emperors reconciled themselves to the idea of a free Weg, and settled for exacting huge taxes from the now prosperous traders. Many Xa worlds near to Weg began to fall under its influence. Weg trading posts were enthusiastically welcomed on Ramm (0811) and Xa-Xierru/Himmel (1212). The Imperium tried to counterbalance the Weggers' increasing power by setting up a rival human colony at Xa-Bri/Junction (0712). Junction became tremendously successful, but its success only helped the Weggers, rather than constraining them.

Nomad society still looked to Weg as its home. Returning for a Moot is a vital part of a Caravan's rhythm of life. Moots are where marriages are made, and deals are struck. Despite the vast distances they travel, Weggers still saw themselves as part of a single family - they called it the Abstract Republic.

The Long Republic

By the 2600s, the Nomads were essentially running the entire Spinward section of the Xa Imperium. The Xa's most populous world, Xa-Xierru (1212) was looking more to Weg and Junction for trade and influence, than it was to the Imperial capital. Frustrated by their waning influence, successive Xa emperors sought to constrain nomad "piracy" through ever more aggressive naval policing actions.

Matters came to a head in 2673 CE. Exasperated by the Imperium's repeated hostilities, the Abstract Republic forged a secret alliance with the Esperanzan Commonwealth. When the Xa Navy launched its next punitive raids, the alliance counterattacked with devastating force. Esperanzan jump-1+ technology, combined with the Nomads' reactionless thrusters gave the allies both a strategic and a tactical edge over the Xa. All Imperial worlds Spinward of Gateway fell to the Nomads, who have governed them ever since, as the Long Republic.

Citizens and sub-citizens

Weggers are full citizens of the Long Republic, which is in theory, a fully participatory democracy. Local decisions are made by citizen votes, but most day to day central decision making is performed by clan representatives. All citizens belong to a clan - Clans were the "nations" of Weg, while the culture was bound to a single planet.

Most other humans in LR space are "sub-citizens". They can elect representatives who then participate in votes as honourary citizens. Most aliens are treated as foreigners - colonials who have no direct power.

Citizens are permitted (usually expected) to carry arms. In most cases, this is a dagger or knife of some kind. Others may not carry weapons, unless it's as part of their job.

Social standings...

  • Weg - None: 2-4, Subcitizen: 5-6, Citizen: 7+
  • Long Republic - None: 2-7, Subcitizen: 8-9, Citizen: A+

Junction (0712 A575887-A, pop=100m)

Blue/green jungle, farm, purple savannah, desert

Sometimes called "The Fork". Junction is the great melting-pot. Travellers from far and wide are drawn to this world. It stands at the meeting point of three great trade routes. It is principally a human world (English is the main language), but there are substantial populations of Xa, Khigrish, Bol, Spiders, Fteirle, and small numbers of many more species.

English-speaking humans (originally from Earth) run the planet through the Junction Council. They have done so ever since an ancient dispute between the Xa-Imperium and the Weggers - Xa-Bri was turned over to Earth humans in a compromise deal, as they were perceived as neutral. Since then, the Weggers have come to dominate this part of the Main, but they have largely left Junction's government alone.

Outback: Most of the rural population are still Xa. Remnants of Junction's history as "Xa-Bri". The Xa lords guard their territory jealously. Travellers from Junction generally need permission in advance from the Xa.

Shipyards: Weggers run the shipyards, which make Weg technology available to all-comers... for a price. Reactionless thrusters, grav-plating, inertial dampers. Many trading ships make a point of having their annual maintenance done here, because the quality of the workmanship is so highly regarded.

Hiring Halls: If you want a job, this is the place to come. Ship's crew are often recruited here. They also operate indenture contracts, where applicants can offer themselves for fixed term contracts, without necessarily having foreknowledge of what's involved. A variety of different halls compete for trade. Some specialise in certain skills, or species, while others concentrate on certain types of contract. There is a great deal of cross-trading between Halls, so it can be difficult for a job seeker to really know who they are dealing with.

Trading Markets: Wares and trinkets from up and down the main are sold at a variety of markets. Different markets specialise in different commodities: tech, food, slaves, ships, information, gems, etc. Markets tend to be held at particular times of day, so a venue might host a ship auction in the morning, and an information auction in the afternoon. The markets are complemented by a host of permanent shops which cater for a myriad of different specialities.

Alien quarters: Certain residential districts attract clusters of aliens. The various quarters contain many shops and businesses catering to the special needs of the residents.

Nomad quarter: There are many Weggers on Junction. This area caters for their needs. The nomads tend to be disdainful of the Junction authorities, and run things according to their own rules.

Crime is rife. Criminals are organised into guilds, each specialising in particular forms of crime... Pirates' Guild. Mercenaries' Guild. Pickpockets' Guild. Burglars' Guild, etc.

Nomad assault drop ships landing on Xa-Xierru
Nomad assault drop ships landing on Xa-Xierru (Ian McQue)

Other worlds

Procyon has less information about the other worlds of the Long Republic.

Vorposten (1413) ("Outpost") The last outpost of the Long Republic before Gateway. A bubble world, which has become a sort of museum of the nomad lifestyle, aimed at Commonwealth and Xa tourists.

Uberwachen (1412) ("Overwatch") A lawless "wild west". Most inhabitants are ranchers, who live hundreds of kilometers from the occasional small towns.

Bogenlicht (1312) ("Arc Light") The only habitation is essentially a large bar, which attracts unsavoury sorts from the Long Republic, Corridor, Xa, and further afield.

Quixote (1211) An inhospitable world with sweltering heat and a crushing, toxic, ammonia atmosphere. This is a popular destination for big game hunters, who come to hunt "Bandersnatch" - giant, aggressive molluscs.

Himmel / Xa-Xierru (1212) High-population Xa world, now controlled by the Long Republic.

Angelpunkt (1112) ("Lynchpin") A major stopover for nomads travelling to and from the Xa Imperium. The starport offers extensive maintenance and construction facilities.

Bastion (1011) This desert planet is the Long Republic's principle military depot.

Joyeuse (1012) A garden world, mostly populated by French-speaking Catholic settlers.

Das Auge (0912) ("The Eye") Dead world ruled by an inscrutible, ancient, artifical intelligence.

Ramm (0811) Xa agricultural world.

Forn (0812) The main industry is extraction and processing of Forna - a relaxing drug, and mild psionic enhancer. Forna is extremely popular within the Commonwealth.

Grenze (0713) ("Frontier") This is the Rimward limit of the contiguous Long Republic. Beyond are the worlds that the Weggers call "Wildnis" (The Wilds) - a collection of minor worlds with little or no government, and no interstellar law. Grenze itself is a backwater, with little or no trade or industry of its own.

Ballon (0610) The Long Republic's frontier with the Spiders. The colony is sited on a grav-suspended cloud city platform.

Freihafen (0611) ("Free port") Maintenance port and trading station. Rival to Junction (0712).

2 G Hydri (0411) Most through traffic simply refuels at the gas giant and continues on its way.

Distant Long Republic outposts

Boxenstopp (0518) ("Pit-stop") A distant outpost of the Long Republic. Nomad ships stop off here for a few months or years, on their way to or from Uo - a popular destination. There is a small colony of Khigrish on the far side of the planet.

Glitzern (1123) Wegger mining colony, named for its large, glittering quartz deposits. Most workers are recruited at the hiring halls on Junction (0712).

Steinkreis (2507) ("Stone circle") Long Republic outpost, established to protect and nurture nomad travellers in the Aldebaran Main.