OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
Intent: To create a planet to explore for RPs. This planet also plays with the concept of how isolation can affect a world in situations such as the Gulag Plague. How would people react when the civilisation they know collapses? Would benign intentions turn to evil over time? It is also a typical case of how those using the Force can fall to the Dark Side, while still believing that their intentions and actions are good, eventually taking over a planet not unlike Joruus C'Baoth did. Contrasted with them are other factions, all of which are trying to recall a past they do not actually remember, worshipping long-dead idols. How would history be remembered after a dark age? The many dynamics of the place make it an interesting world to explore and interact, especially considering how the galaxy has changed. The sub is a joint effort, incorporating ideas from Valiens Nantaris and Nima Tann.
Image Credit: Here. MQO class planet by MacRebisz, found on Deviantart.
Planet Name: Tephrike
System Name: Sivas
System Features: A vast asteroid field encompasses the system. Large enough to prevent the approach of large capital ships, though smaller vessels are able to slip through easily enough. In addition to Tephrike, there are two other terrestrial planets located in the system: Carcassonne and Bogomil. There are also a few gas giants. Tephrike has a pair of moons, Tarpani and Karbeas.
Major Imports: Technically N/A. Potential: Medical supplies, food, clean water, weapons, advanced technology.
Major Exports: Technically N/A. Potential exports: Wild animals, timber, drugs, raw materiels.
Primary Terrain: Tropics, with some deserts and mountainous areas, along with irradiated wastelands. The constant conflict between Jedi, cultists and rebels has devastated significant portion of the planet. As a result of the use of chemical weapons, several rivers are contaminated, causing great harm to flora and fauna. This has also negatively affected underwater races such as Nautolans and Gungans, compelling many of them to throw in their lot with rebel groups. While the inhabited areas are mostly alright, some parts of the planet have been so devastated by warfare that they can no longer support sentient life. Some forests have been devastated by herbicidal warfare and use of incendiary agents such as napalm.
- Nexus City: The official capital city of Tephrike. It is the centre of power of the Dominion of Light and the Windian Jedi Order that rules it. The city is filled with enormous buildings, monuments and great statues that glorify past Jedi Masters. Unfortunately the names for some have been garbled over the years. For instance, there's a magnificient statue of Master Soda, Grandmaster of the Galactic Jedi there. Naturally, the Grand Masters of the Windians are glorified as well. Other landmarks of note include the Arch of Triumph, the Tower of Eternal Peace, the Grand Jedi Temple, the Grandmaster's Palace and the Senate Building. The last one has never been used. Alas, some monuments are so grand that the soil is unable to support them, causing them to cave in. The régime blames darkside terrorists. High-rise apartment complexes are prominent in the cityscape. Most of them are drab and rather bland, unless they happen to belong to the élite. The Jedi Temple is an enormous ziggurat that in theory can be reached by a maglev train, but said train is less than reliable. Patriotic rallies and military parades often take place in Skywalker Square. A puppet Barsen'thor blesses the faithful. To live in Nexus City is considered a privilege, and thus security is very tight. Those who transgress are often exiled into the wilderness.
- Red Coral City: A cross between a refugee settlement and an armed rebel camp, it is protected by the Republican Guard. The underwater lies in the a sea called the Cerulean Expanse, in the north of Tephrike. Located in some underwater caves combined with the hydrostatic bubbles the Gungans use keep the water out. As in Otoh Gunga, these bubbles contain a breathable atmosphere and have special portals that allow inhabitants to exit. However, space is sparse and quarters are very cramped, meaning there is little privacy for the inhabitants. The members of the leadership fare better, but it is still a far cry from luxury. Security is very tight and the partisans are a vigilant lot. Scarce resources mean that those who gain entrance to the underwater city must make sure they contribute to society, for otherwise they must leave. Red Coral also houses the command staff of the Republican Guard and the leadership committee of its political wing.
- Masyaf Castle: A foreboding fortress located in a mountain that lies on the border between the deserts and the jungle lands. The castle has achieved infamy as the place from which the Disciples of the Vader rule. Through use of slave labourers, they have dug extensive tunnels beneath the earth, enabling them to quickly flee or get reinforcements and supplies in case of an outside attack. Unsurprisingly, the castle also has dungeons and laboratories, in which ghastly alchemical experiments take place. The castle is protected by a shield generator, giving it some protection against bombardment. The castle and the surrounding town function as the capital of the Sith cult. From here, the dark cultists launch raids to acquire slaves and booty, along with forcibly extracting tribute from the settlements that have the misfortune of being under their heel. The cultists have strong opinions on trespassers. It can be summed up with the phrase 'heads, spikes, walls'. The castle features a massive Vader statue, since the Disciples idolise him, believing that he was the true ruler of the Empire, while Palpatine was just a figurehead. The Castle elite guards wear armour and masks based on their idol's life support suit.
- Ruhewald: A thick jungle occupied by a schismatic Jedi sect called the Order of the Blessed Way. They are pacifist flower children who reject violence against sentient beings...which does not prevent them from being the planet's biggest drug producers. They believe that they can commune with the Force through use of mushrooms. The forest's name is rather ironic because it is populated by nasty creatures with a healthy appetite, including mosquitoes, giant spiders, fast growing creepers, feral nexu and carnivorous plants. The cultists have tamed some of the beasts. A cynic would say that the beasts enable them to be pacifists because the Mother Jungle does the killing for them. Aside from being adept at animal friendship and concealment, the cultists employ plant surge to ensure the forest remains untainted. They have been known to provide guidance and healing to refugees who find their way to the jungle, but on the whole are isolationist. They refuse to get involved in outside affairs.
- Die Große Verwüstung: Located in the far east. Once a verdant, fertile land, teeming with life, it was devastated during the age of strife, to the point where it can no longer support life. The air is foul for most living beings to breathe and the water is contaminated. Once Tephrike's old capital Palmyra was located here, but now only ruins remain. Word is that zombie like creatures roam the land. Perhaps they were unleashed by darkside cultists during one of the many battles, perhaps they are the spawn of some horrible bioweapon that was used. Either way, this land is cursed. Rumours of lost treasures or technology continue to attract daring - or foolish - adventurers. Indeed, one occasionally finds something lost and forgotten in an old bunker or amidst the ruins. Very few make it back alive.
- Tephrike Golden Future Binary Fusion Plant: This power plant was supposed to help usher in a brave new world for Tephrike. Alas, it turned out to be just the opposite. Sentient error and construction errors conspired to cause a large scale meltdown. Huge swathes of land outside of the power plant were turned into radioactive wasteland. Successive governments made an attempt to clean it up, but then the Galaxy was thrown into a Dark Age and simply surviving became more of a priority. To this day, the area is contaminated. Even today radiation levels are extremely high. It does not bother zombies though.
Native Species: Once upon a time, Tephrike was close to a paradise. Its tropical forests were home to a diverse flora and fauna, teeming with plant and animal life. However, even in those days, the seemingly so beautiful forests were dangerous. Today, the age of strife has devastated large portions of the planet, though a number of native species still survive. Sea beasts are common in the waters - those that are not contaminated at any rate. They are particularly troublesome for the rebels, who make use of underwater habitats. Of note are the Beißer, which are essentially highly dangerous sharks, and the Ungeheuer, a giant squid with huge tentacles that can drag men to their doom. Fortunately, the squids are quite rare, though there were attempts to weaponise them during the civil war. Piranha-like fish also exist, and can be dangerous for careless swimmers. In the sky, predatory, bird-like creatures vie with one another, some mammal, others reptilian. Most of these creatures live in the mountains, where they are safe from attack. Tephrike has insects and crawly creatures in abundance, including rather dangerous mosquitoes, which can act as vectors for many disease-causing viruses and parasites. Parasites of all sorts abound. Plants are naturally a huge part of any jungle and the remaining tropics of Tephrike are no different. However, the traveller should be careful, because the planet is home to carnivorous plants similar to what might be found on Felucia. Furthermore, there is an ostensibly harmless looking leaf covered in fine hairs. These hairs are a defence mechanism, and if they contact exposed skin they inject a mind altering substance which causes irrational fear and flight. Many animal species are resistant against it, but the effect is quite unnerving on humans. Unsurprisingly, various parties have tried to weaponise the substance in question, seeing its potential. The intrepid explorer should also beware the mushrooms that are particularly common in the Ruhewald, for they tend to possess psychedelic proprties and can have interesting effects on his psyche, causing vivid hallucinations. Moreover, there are fast growing creeper creatures. Of note is also the Blutfledermaus, which is often found in the desert regions. As the name might imply, it is a vampire bat that feeds on warm-blooded animals. Normally it does so while its victim is sleeping and causes little harm, but alchemy has created a meaner, more aggressive subspecies.
Immigrated Species: Humans, Nautolans, Gungans, Devaronians, Twi'leks, Quarren etc. Foreign settlers also imported animals such as Nexu and Boma.
Population: Sparsely Populated
Demographics: 52% human, 48% alien. Aside from the usual alien races such as Duros and Twi'leks, the planet also attracted a number of aquatic races due to its bountiful rivers, which allowed them to recreate their natural habitats. These include Gungans, Nautolans and Quarren. The environmental degradation caused by the war led many to throw in their lot with the rebels.
Primary Languages: Galactic Standard Basic
Culture: Tephrike's culture has been inexorably shaped by the outbreak of the Gulag Virus - and the decisions its leaders made to weather this great storm. As with many worlds across the Galaxy, civilisation collapsed. Cut off from the rest of the Order, the small chapter of Jedi on the planet believed that they were the last bastion of Light in a Galaxy that had beenconsumed by Darkness. In their eyes, the outbreak had to be a Sith plot. With the social order unravelling, they were thrust into the role of political leaders. At first, they assumed this position reluctantly, but over time they came to enjoy being Jedi Lords. Then they became convinced it was the will of the Force. To be keepers of the peace, Jedi could not be at the beck and call of politicians. They had to take control and shape society in accordance with what they considered to be the will of the Force.
As a result, the culture of Tephrike is more than a little...bizarre. Doubtless very, very, very few Jedi would believe that the dogma imposed in the Dominion of Light has anything to do with what the ancient Jedi sages such as Odan-Urr, Yoda and Luke Skywalker wanted. Indeed, they'd understandably argue that it has more in common with the tyranny Lightsiders are supposed to fight. Joruus C'baoth and Atris might approve though.
Within the Dominion, family units have been abolished for the masses. From birth, all new-born children are communally raised in nursery complexes owned by the benevolent Windian Jedi order, without ever knowing their parents. The enlightened Jedi consider sex even inside marriage to be sinful, for lust is a cardinal sin. They suggest all males and females register for mandatory sperm and egg harvesting, before having permanent operations to prevent such sin occuring. Thus the miracle of life can occur in a medically sanctioned way without putting citizens at risk of being seduced by the Dark Side. A tracking chip is implanted into every new-born baby, though it experiences glitches sometimes.
The nurseries raise the new-born for five years, then they're sent to an educational complex, where they're taught to become loyal, hard-working citizens. Naturally the order will decide their profession via a standardised test, and their entire education will be all about excelling in the particular field the order has chosen for them. This enlightened caste system ensures that every citizen knows his place in society. Moreover, their accommodations are chosen for them, because all common citizens are assigned a spot in a habitation complex. There they live in urban communes, under the watchful eye of the order's monitors. It should be noted that these edicts are far more difficult to enforce in remote settlements far away from the centre, meaning that enforcement is not universal. Furthermore, the system is highly corrupt, enabling a privileged few use bribes and connections to ignore the draconian laws. Indeed, it is rumoured that some Jedi Masters are far less chaste than the Code dictates they should be. As the saying goes, all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.
To combat materialism, currency has been abolished. It is not possible to use credits in the Dominion of Light. Instead, every citizen receives a fair share of coupons. From each according to his ability to each according to his needs. Private ownership is considered a great evil because it leads to greed - and thus the Dark Side of the Force. The order provides everything a citizen could ask for - education, an apartment, clothes, food and drink. So there is no need for money.
While the death penalty has been abolished, the theocratic overlords have other ways to punish lawbreakers. Thousands of 'decadent' urban dwellers have been 'persuaded' to relocate to rural areas to redeem themselves by toiling the fields. Particularly extreme deviants undergo a Force-induced memory wipe. Stripped of their original personalities, they are meant to be docile labourers who serve the order without question, for an empty mind is a pure mind. The regime not only tolerates, but encourages the use of 'happy pills' - mind-altering drugs - since they help keep the populace docile. The same applies to cheap talismans and good-luck charms.
The profound social and political transformation on Tephrike went hand in hand with a technological regression and the rise of a theocratic movement, which deified the Light Side and treated the Dark Side as a malevolent demiurge. The Grandmaster is not merely the leader of the Jedi, he is a holy man who has achieved oneness with the Force, making him immune to the Dark Side. In short, he is the embodiment of all that is good and pure in the world.
The irony is that the Jedi who imposed this system on Tephrike were, at least to a degree, motivated by guilt. For it was their belief that the Jedi had failed in their duty as protectors by allowing the Gulag Virus to bring down galactic civilisation, causing trillions of deaths. The only way to protect the last bastion of light is through constant vigilance and faith. Their great role model is Mace Windu, the Jedi Master who led a failed coup to topple Chancellor Palpatine and thus prevent the Sith from taking over the Republic. It is doubtful that the Jedi of Tephrike have much of an idea of what Master Windu's tenants actually were, but they are quite fanatical about them. Doubtless he would be horrified.
From early on, young citizens are taught to dedicate themselves to what is considered to be the one true faith. Jedi healers perform miracles, thus proving that the Light cares about the faithful. On the flip side, those who oppose the order are not merely enemies of the state, but also unbelievers, darksiders and heretics. Great monuments have been erected to glorify the Jedi heroes of Tephrike and their equally glorious forebears, and most art serves propaganda purposes. Within the Dominion's cities, the benign visage of the Grandmaster can be seen on propaganda posters that cover the walls of public buildings. Indeed, every citizen is advised to put a portrait of the Grandmaster in the living room of his or her apartment. Likewise, pilgrimages to giant statues are encouraged.
The Disciples of the Vader were founded by rebellious Jedi who were disgruntled by how official Jedi dogma was infringing on their inalienable right to practice the Dark Side. Their first order of business was to subjugate the communities of exiles who had been driven into the wastelands, and seize a few minor settlements that had previously paid tribute to the Dominion. Their second order was to impose what amounted to chattel slavery by turning their new subjects into serfs. Free to indulge their desires away from the totalitarian control of the Windian Jedi Order, their regime soon degenerated into warlordism, sustained by savage raids and terror.
The average subject of the Windians receives a limited education...but he receives one and, provided he pays lip-service to dogma and doesn't break any of the many, many laws, he has a high degree of job security and is reasonably safe in his life. His life is dull and there's little to buy with his coupons, but he is largely safe. Provided he doesn't get caught up in a terrorist attack or get sent to the frontlines.
By contrast, the average subject of the Sith cult is an illiterate slave who gets worked to death and can be beaten or killed on a whim. His life is a hollow one, defined by fear and backbreaking labour. It is made more bearable by cheap liquor and drugs. Some serfs possess a higher status because they have much needed skills or work in the household of a Sith master, but in the end they are still serfs, unless they turn out to be Force-sensitives. As feuds between Sith masters are common, serfs often change masters a number of times during their lifetime. They are also commonly traded as gifts, since they are considered to be property. The most unlucky ones end up as victims of primitive alchemical experiments performed by the sorcerers amongst the Disciples. By contrast, the Force magi live like feudal overlords, lording it over the peasants. On the flip side, the peasants get to experience something like family life, unlike their counterparts in the Windians' territory. Provided their families are not broken up by their overlords.
The Disciples propagate a darkside religion that idolises Vader, elevating him to the status of a Force God, the Son of Suns, for he was born of the Force. They believe that one day a Scion of the bloodline of Vader will reveal himself and usher in an age of darkness, in which the Light will forever be eclipsed. They are rather militant about enforcing this faith, much to the detriment of the common populace. Items that supposedly belonged to Vader or were components of his armour are treated as sacred relics. Said items are all frauds, and it is doubtful that they were ever even in the same room as the Dark Lord. Or existed in the same era. Indeed, with all the pieces of Vader's cloak, mask and armour they claim to possess, it would have been enough for several individuals to put together. This has not stopped the Disciples from continuing the search for relics. Tales of Vader's redemption are dismissed as filthy lies by the dark acolytes. The Dark Messiah was betrayed by his son and struck down by the false Emperor, who embraced the Light. To become a full member of the cult, an acolyte must have his right arm ritually severed. It is then replaced by a crude cybernetic. The most fanatical Vader worshippers go a step further, sacrificing flesh to become closer to their idol. They are also fervent human supremacists, regarding non-human races as lesser beings.
The situation is quite different - and yet in some ways similar - in the areas that have fallen under the control of the Republican Guard, a radical rebel faction. It is staunchly secular, regarding Force religions as a means 'space wizards' employ to oppress the common people. As a result, all forms of Force worship have been prohibited. Force-users are often regarded as deviant witches. If they cannot be controlled, they must be eliminated. Some of the members of the Republic adopt a maltheist viewpoint, seeing the Force as some sort of malevolent deity, but this is a minority position, as it clashes with the Republican Guard's overall atheism. Children who manifest Force powers in rebel territory are subjected to brainwashing and a good bit of mental trauma to associate the Force with bad things. The rebels regard the Force as a disease, but lack the Vong technology to truly cure the infected by turning them Force Dead. So they resort to mental conditioning to suppress Force use.
Being an insurgency movement that has managed to seize control over a few provinces, the resistance has imposed a war economy on those it seeks to liberate - whether they want to be liberated or not. As it was founded by rebellious clone troopers, joined by various alien races, this faction is highly militarised, with universal conscription. In its culture and daily life, the rebels idealise the old Galactic Republic, seeing it as a bastion of democracy, sentient rights and good governance. Indeed, ballads and theatre plays glorifying the deeds of the Grand Army of the Republic are common - by contrast, the Dominion of Light does the same for the Jedi. Many of the inhabitants of its territory include citizens who fled the Jedi or Sith controlled areas - or were rescued during raids on labour camps. As supplies are scarce, they seize a lot of what they require via raids. Resistance fighters also try to smuggle subversive literature and leaflets into the territory controlled by the Force cultists.
Every citizen is expected to own a weapon and become reasonably proficient in its use, and must serve with the part-time militia. The unofficial credo in these lands is 'freedom is never free. It is purchased with blood', which sums up their mentality quite well. In contrast to the two theocratic factions, semblances of a free press and autonomous cultural life exist, but due to wartime exigencies, even these are limited. It is a hardy, rugged life, defined by the constant struggle for survival. For a while, the radical democrats in their ranks experimented with a democratically elected officer corps, chosen by soldiers' councils. This proved to be terribly inefficient and was quickly suppressed. While the rebel faction possesses a political wing that maintains the formal trappings of democracy, in practical terms it is controlled by a junta. However, there is a strong element of direct democratic participation on the local level. Since the currency is worth little, barter trade is common. The Republican Guard reluctantly tolerates opium poppy production...though they prefer illicit export into Jedi or Sith territory!
Unlike in the territory of the Windian Jedi Order, citizens in rebel territory are allowed to procreate via the conventional way. Indeed, they are encouraged to do as often as practically feasible, since the bastion of freedom is always in need of new workers and soldiers.
GOVERNMENT & ECONOMY
Government: Jedi theocracy. This describes the Dominion of Light, the dominant government on the planet. Its control is contested by a variety of rebel groups, ranging from secularist Republicans to Sith cultists.
Wealth: Low. Decades of war, political and economic mismanagement and totalitarian control have led to widespread impoverishment. Free trade is suppressed by an authoritarian command economy. There is a flourishing black market, which rebel groups use to fund themselves.
Stability: Overall Low, as there is a civil war going on. However, stability in the areas under the unfettered control of the Dominion of Light is High, as it is a totalitarian government that suppresses opposition and has enacted an extreme form of religious communism by forcing an extremist, warped interpretation of Jedi philosophy on the populace. However, revolutionary factions contest this regime by supporting insurgent movements within its territory, which carry out terrorist attacks. Basic rights such as freedom of movement, freedom of expression and so on are suppressed. The Dominion has created a paranoiac surveillance state that seeks to monitor and mould the daily lives of its citizens. Two rebel groups, the securalist Republican Guard and the Disciples of the Vader seek to violently overthrow the regime. Whereas the former is dominated by Non-Force-Users and focuses most of its draconian policies on Force-users, the latter is a cult of darkside fanatics and slavers. Though officially the Dominion is an orderly police state governed by an enlightened philosopher-king who rules in accordance with the will of the Force, in practice the recent Grandmasters have been puppets of their Battlemasters. A Grandmaster who steps out of line risks being 'retired' by a palace coup.
Freedom & Oppression: Freedom is highly limited and largely restricted to a select few, namely the upper class. Officially, the Jedi Grandmaster is the absolute leader of the Dominion of Light, though in practice he is a puppet of the Jedi Battlemaster who commands an army of slave-soldiers. A thought police monitors the citizenry and persecutes those considered to have succumbed to the Dark Side. Though technology has regressed since the outbreak of the Gulag Virus, surveillance is pervasive. Fear of the ruling body is prevalent, as there is strong pressure to conform. Within the areas the Dominion controls, private property has been abolished. The same applies to family units. Forced relocation of nonbelievers is common. Though officially dedicated to the creation of a democratic Republic, the Republican Guard runs its territories via an authoritarian junta and has suspended most basic freedoms for the duration of the war. However, limited criticism of the regime is allowed, but only within certain bounds.
MILITARY & TECHNOLOGY
Military: Heavily militarised, but suffering from technological regression, as detailed above. All feuding factions maintain military forces, using them to mount campaigns against the opposition or extract tribute from the populace. The Dominion of Light is the dominant faction in that regard. Aside from regular soldiers chosen via the regime's caste system, it maintains a force of clone slave-soldiers. However, the technology used to create them is not the best. On average, the clones have a very short life span and increasingly face the risk of madness. Thus more clones must be grown with increasing frequency. The forces of the Vader cultists have more in common with bands of marauders, while the Republican Guard idealise the Republic's army, but have more in common with the Rebel Alliance since they're an insurgent force utilising asymmetrical warfare. However, theShould an external force seek to take control over the planet, the natives would face the problem of being divided and having inferior technology. While officers are promoted on merit in the Republican Guard, Force-users have monopolised command position among the Disciples and in the Dominion.
Technology: Before the outbreak of the Gulag Virus, technology on Tephrike would have been comparable to what constitutes the average on the Outer Rim. Rugged and utilitarian, but not primitive. However, centuries of isolation, impoverishment and civil strife have caused a technological regression. The military sector has fared a bit better than the civilian one since it's in the interests of the feuding factions to make sure their soldiers have the appropriate tools to kill each other - or keep the plebeians in line. Thus they still have guns, tanks, walkers and so on, but these are very dated. Blasters are more difficult to maintain in the jungle, which is why the more rugged, reliable slugthrowers have become popular. The Dominion of Light regime possesses primitive spaceflight capabilities, but only the most ideologically reliable members are given access to starships. As the regime believes that they are the last bastion of light and civilisation in the Galaxy, there is little incentive for it to explore what lies beyond their world.
Tephrike has always been a peripheral planet of minuscule importance. However, its fate has been closely linked to the ebbs and flows of galactic politics. After the Battle of Ruusan, the Galactic Republic enjoyed an age of peace. Enacting the Ruusan Reformation, the Galactic Senate demilitarised the Republic. Likewise, the Jedi renounced their military ranks, disbanded the Army of Light, believing that the threat of the Sith had been banished with the destruction of the Brotherhood of Darkness. This makes it a tremendous irony that one day a Jedi theocracy would come into being upon this insignificant planet. Of course, it is extremely unlikely that Lord Hoth would have approved of the regime on Tephrike.
Regardless, the planet was discovered in 500 BBY. Initially, pirates used it as a base that was out of the way and beyond the reach of law enforcement organs. However, they found the native wild life to be extremely dangerous. Much later, legitimate private enterprise came across the planet. The corsairs were driven out and capitalists from the Core Worlds were attracted by the ample supply of timber and exotic animals.
It helped that Tephrike was not inhabited by indigenous sentient life. Natives always made colonisation awkward since they resented the terra nullius doctrine. Colonial wars were expensive and generally produced negative PR. However, as the private companies soon discovered, while Tephrike was beautiful, it was also home to manifold dangers. This slowed down colonisation to a large degree. To a large extent, the initial settler population was drawn from convicted felons, who were given a second chance by performing menial labour on the jungle world. This was a convenient way to free up prison space.
Occasionally, convicts escaped into the wilderness. Those who survived the experience became raiders, which also gave the corporate settlements another reason to stock up on defences. However, Tephrike also attracted aquatic aliens such as Nautolans and Quarren. Some of them were political activists disgruntled with conditions on their homeworlds for this or that reason. Tephrike's oceans and seas were a natural fit for them. However, these alien colonists refused to follow the rules of the corporations that had been turning Tephrike into a corporate state. Moreover, many of the original colonists were humans or near-human. As a result, conflict over settlement rights were inflamed by racial tensions.
At the same time, environmentalists complained about the effect colonisation was having on the environment. In one case, radical animal rights activists tried to free captured animals, causing a number of deaths. As a consequence of these incidents, the Republic Senate got involved. The Jedi Order dispatched Jedi Knights to mediate, producing a compromise settlement that, in the spirit of compromises, satisfied no one but left the involved parties better off than in the past. The order set up a Jedi enclave, not only to keep the peace, but also to ensure that Force-sensitives born amongst the settler population received proper training after a darkside cult led by a radical Quarren tried to foment civil war on the planet. Following the end of the Naboo Crisis, a community of Gungan exiles who rebelled against the strict laws that held sway in Otoh Gunga established a colony.
The Jedi's presence would turn out to have long-lasting consequences for the people of Tephrike, for it made the planet a target after the Republic was transformed into the Galactic Empire. Jedi had, after all, been declared enemies of the state following Mace Windu's failed coup d'état. Aside from skirmishes with Separatist forces, Tephrike had largely escaped the Clone Wars unscathed.
This changed when Imperial forces descended upon the planet. The Jedi enclave was razed, and the new Imperial governor inaugurated a humanocentric colonial regime. A few Jedi survived the Purge and escaped into the jungle or aquatic regions, where they continued to resist the Empire by using guerrilla tactics. However, even with the help of persecuted aquatic aliens, their ability to bring about change was limited. To combat the partisans, the Imperial forces employed brutal scorched earth tactics, including the use of herbicides, napalm and chemical weapons. However, the colonial government also united Tephrike's scattered settlements and built the planet's first capital, Palmyra. Following the Battle of Endor, the colonial government lost contact with Coruscant, as the Empire began to self-destruct.
With no one further up in the hierarchy to oppose him, the Imperial governor became a warlord. An exorbitant fortune was spent on grandiose construction projects, such as hydroelectric dams and a new palace. These were financed by nationalising private assets and forcibly extracting tribute and population, which also had to provide forced labourers. However, the regime's harsh policies and notorious corruption produced resistance. Already weakened by internal power struggles, the regime was overthrown by a popular revolution with the aid of the fledgling New Republic. In its place, the native set up a federal republic loosely based on the Old Republic. Protection of racial minorities was enshrined in the constitution, which also specified that a minimum number of seats in the parliament should be reserved for minorities. This was a well-intentioned response to the humanocentrism of the Imperial regime and the racial strife that had plagued Tephrike in the past, but would turn out to be an error.
Ostensibly normalcy returned to Tephrike. By and large, the planet managed to get through the Yuuzhan Vong War and the Sith-Imperial War without becoming much of a target due to simply not being that important. The planet's bountiful plant and animal life attracted medical companies. Medical facilities were set up to run tests and experiments, encouraged by rather lax laws. This included a medical cloning facility. Some of these experiments created creatures that managed to escape, causing harm to civilians. Despite attempts at industrialisation, Tephrike remained underdeveloped and dependent on importing and exporting vital materiels. Tephrike continued to maintain a Jedi enclave, though the few survivors of the Great Jedi Purge struggled to integrate into the New Jedi Order. Indeed, there was a bit of a culture war between those who clung to the old ways and those who embraced the new.
To a large degree, the Tephriki focused on raw materiel extraction, relying on other planets for processing. In addition, they imported a lot of their food. Tragedy struck when there was a grand scale power plant meltdown. Some believed it was sabotage, though in all likelihood it was simple sentient error and design flaws that caused the power plant disaster. The Tephrike Golden Future Binary Fusion Plant incident turned a huge swathe of land into radioactive wasteland, triggering the release of substantial amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere. Entire settlements had to be evacuated, and the area was placed under lockdown.
The strain on society was significant. It was accompanied by bickering in Parliament. Many of the political parties were species parties, rather than representing the populace as a whole. Coalition governments were common, and increasingly lacked stability. A power block of aquatic alien species demanded greater autonomy, claiming that the post-Imperial compact had been broken, even though many influential politicians had been drawn from their ranks! Similarly, alien races that had been left outside of the aforementioned compact agitated, believing that they had not been given a fair share. Radical humanist agitators declared that they were the ones being exploited.
But it was the outbreak of the Gulag Virus that broke the camel's back. The pathogen was brought to Tephrike by the crew of an Alderaanian merchant ship, who'd contracted the virus. Thus it was an accidental import. By the time people began to drop like flies, contact had been lost with the Galactic Alliance. Like on so many other worlds, entire Tephriki cities descended into chaos and panic. Security forces, medical doctors and Jedi to make sense of the crisis and hold back the storm that was sweeping across the planet. In some towns, the unrest coincided with outbreaks of racial violence.
It was in this situation that the Jedi decided to assume a protective stance. They were, in their own mind, the only body that could be considered neutral and objective. Furthermore, it was their duty to protect the people. Having lost all contact with the rest of the Order, many of them feared that they might be the last Jedi left. It might find surprising in the light of what their stewardship turned into, but the hardliners among them were also driven by guilt. They were Jedi Knights, defenders of peace and justice in the Galaxy. It was their duty to hold the darkness at bay and protect the innocent. And they had failed. They'd become complacent, and allowed their mission to be compromised by politics. Just as they'd done during the twilight of the Old Republic.
Declaring herself Jedi Lord, the Duros Zaras Dant took control over a provisional government. Her claim was disputed by the surviving members of Tephrike's parliament and cabinet, but she was able to gain control over portions of the security forces. With an iron hand, they began to restore order, whatever the cost. It was supposed to be a temporary dictatorship. Once the crisis had abated, power was supposed to be returned to the people. Necessity has always been the excuse of the tyrant, but it is likely that Zaras was sincere in her promise. At least at first. Alas, things would never return to normal.
Zaras launched a series of campaigns to restore order. As what was left of Tephrike's parliament and cabinet refused to acknowledge her claim, fierce fighting ensued in the capital of Palmyra, and the Presidential Palace was shelled. The death toll was high. However, many fatailities were not due to combat, but due to disease and malnutrition. Tephrike had always been dependent on trade, but this was obviously no longer an option in the Dark Age. Many foodstuffs and other essentials had been imported. With large swathes of the populace at the risk of starvation, the Jedi Lord implemented a policy of requisitions. All spheres of economic life would be nationalised, those who did not work would be conscripted into labour battalions and hoarding would be punished severely.
It came to clashes with the Gungans, who were accused placing their own selfish desires above the greater good and had granted asylum to renegades who'd stood with Parliament. The punitive campaigns and requisitions took their toll on the Jedi. Unable to cope with the strain - or rationalise the disconnect between the Jedi beliefs and their bleak reality - some went insane, deserted or fell to the Dark Side. Feeling that she could not relinquish authority despite having 'restored order' to most of the planet, Zaras broke her promise to step down. A rump Parliament had been convened to implement a new order and attempt to negotiate a settlement. But when several of the delegates criticised the Jedi Lord's actions, her soldiers forcibly removed them from the building. Elections were indefinitely suspended. Zaras Dant was assassinated by one of her own bodyguards. Her death led to a power struggle between the factions, out of all of which Jedi Tyian Kree emerged victor.
A Devaronian Jedi Sentinel, Kree was very ambitious - and had unknowingly fallen to the Dark Side. Obsessed with the idea that the Plague had been a Sith conspiracy and that agents of darkness lurked everywhere, she saw the uprisings sparking across the planet as confirmation. The infrastructure for a dictatorship had already been put into place by Zaras, but Tyian finished what her predecessor had started by implementing a totalitarian theocracy. For it was the only way to ensure that the Light would not be eclipsed by the forces of Darkness. In order to save the last vestiges of civilisation, the Jedi would have to harden their hearts. Furthermore, they would have to spread their beliefs to the common people, lest they become pawns of the Darkness.
A harsh crackdown followed, as her rule was challenged by Jedi who believed she was going too far, genuine darksiders and secular or secessionist rebels. On both sides, the war became increasingly savage. Abandoning the devastated Palmyra, she ordered the construction of a new capital, which would in time be known as Nexus City. By the time of her death, she'd secured most of the planet, though insurgents continued to challenge the Jedi's rule from hideouts in the jungle or underwater. To bring the rebels to heel, Kree laid siege to a Gungan city that housed rebels, but ended up dying from a heart attack.
The Jedi commanders met in secret conclave and elected a new Jedi Lord, who also assumed the title of Grand Master. After all, as far as they knew, they were the last Jedi. The new realm would be called the Dominion of Light. Palmyra was abandoned for good and Nexus City became the new capital. Here, the population could be monitored and indoctrinated. Here, the Grand Master reigned from a Jedi Temple modelled after the one on Coruscant...though said Grand Master increasingly became a puppet of the Battlemasters. Moreover, the Jedi began to make use of the medical cloning facilities that had been built before the collapse. Of course, since these had originally been designed with animals in mind, many clones ended up being of inferior quality. Many had a very short life expectancy or were afflicted with clone madness. Over time science and magic became one and the same, and the ancient systems were surrounded with rituals and lore.
A group of rebellious clone troopers deserted the regime and joined with Gungan and Nautolan insurgents to found the Republican Guard, as the indoctrination backfired. While Jedi idealised a warped Jedi order, believing that they were the inheritors of Mace Windu and Lord Hoth, these clones idolised the Republic. Red Coral City became their new headquarters. From there they would launch raids and skirmishes in their bed to liberate the planet from its theocratic rulers. Rebellious Jedi students, drunk on the power they wielded in the remote provinces, declared war on the Light and founded the Disciples of the Vader. The leader of this cult had been grown in a lab and was more than a little mad, believing that the Vader spoke to him in his dreams and had given him a mission to destroy the Light. Using primitive sorcery, they amassed an army of beasts and undead, using them to overrun a number of settlements, before failing at the ruins of Palmyra, after being lured there by the Jedi Battlemaster. However, disease and lack of supplies took their toll on the Jedi army as it pursued them. The Vader cultists would eventually claim an old castle as their stronghold, using slave labourers to restore it and augment its defences. Reflecting the racial tensions that had plagued Tephrike for so long, they also adopted a human supremacist ideology.
Lacking the means to directly overthrow the theocratic regime, they became raiders, slaveholders and marauders. Increasingly, the Windian Jedi Order grew bloated and corrupt. In the territory it managed to seize, the Republican Guard restored semblances of the rule of law and even democracy on the local levels, but also persecuted Force-users. Given the harm Forceful beings had done, one could not blame them. Both rebel factions remained implacably hostile to the Dominion of Light, but refused to cooperate due to their mutual animosity. This probably helped keep the regime afloat, even though its power was diminished under the reign of a succession of weak Grandmasters. For those who lived within the heartland of the Jedi's dominion, there was a degree of stability and security, albeit at the price of living under a totalitarian regime. Over time, what knowledge the Tephriki had once possessed of the outside world faded into the realm of myth.
Time passed, and most of the rest of the Galaxy emerged from the Dark Age. Great powers tried to exact their dominance upon the known worlds, empires rose and fell, but Tephrike remained in a state of stasis. The Netherworld Incident caused an outburst of religious fervour, as suddenly tons of people vanished. In the territory controlled by the Windian Jedi, the event was blamed on nefarious darkside magic. Clearly collaborators and Sith sorcerers had caused the disappearances, even though the Vader fanatics had been affected, too, and even underwent a civil war. The ensuing purges weakened the Windians, allowing their rivals to make some territorial gains. It remains to be seen which side will prevail and be able to enforce its vision upon Tephrike, and whether the planet's population will finally get lasting peace and the chance to recover.
Edited by Elpsis Kerrigan-Alcori, 13 January 2018 - 05:44 AM.