|REGION - REBEL'S REACH|
|This location is centered in the Rebel's Reach region.|
|Among the greatest standing acts of defiance against the Solarian Alliance in the modern day, Rebel’s Reach is a portion of the Frontier dotted with Coalition trade posts and secure travel routes. It is the most common route to and from the Coalition due to its position outside of the former Neutral Zone permitting safe travel under the umbrella of either side’s defense forces. Now that the ANZ no longer exists, this route is commonly trafficked due to leftover defense installations still remaining staffed and providing safe coverage all the same.|
The United Syndicates of Himeo, more commonly rendered as Himeo (Hephaestus Industries Mineral Extraction Operation), is an economic powerhouse of the Coalition of Colonies originally founded as a mining venture by Hephaestus Industries in the 2200s. The largest city and capital of Himeo, is Rautakaivos Kaupunki – a sprawling underground city built beneath the landing site of Hephaestus’ largest colony ship after it landed on the planet. The primary export of Himeo is steel, along with other processed industrial materials, and much of its materials go to market in Xanu Prime. The primary language of Himeo, unlike much of the Coalition of Colonies, is Solarian Common – though isolation from the proper Alliance has caused language drift over the centuries. Citizens of Himeo speak a dialect of Sol Common referred to as “Himean Common," that has integrated vocabulary from Freespeak, the original languages of the colonists, and features a distinctive accent. The planet officially describes itself as a direct democracy that serves the citizens and workers of the planet before itself. With the extremely harsh conditions of Himeo's surface, most settlements are underground where cooperation is needed to survive. Himeo’s official motto is "We Shall Overcome All Adversities," and a common symbol of the planet is a white hexagon surrounded by six red triangles holding back a sea of black, a symbolic representation of how the unity of Himeo holds back potential threats to the planet.
The origins of Himeo date back to 2248, when a Sol Alliance probe discovered the planet. The weather was estimated to be similar to the Yukon on Earth, and the planet was estimated to have massive mineral wealth by the probe. Within a year the area deemed “System XZP-0987” by the Sol Alliance was purchased by Hephaestus Industries, which intended to make the most of their new acquisition. In order to rapidly exploit the find, it needed funding and workers, which were primarily recruited from Europe with the promise of a quick expedition and immense profits.
Those that would go on to colonize Himeo came from several European nations: Hephaestus’ home nation of West Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. West Germany provided much of the funding and management along with Finland. Finland – caught between East and West – opted to seize upon the chance to to finally launch an expedition into space and contributed enough to become the project lead, with many from the small nation enthusiastically signing up to take their culture and nation abroad – even if it was only going to be for a few years. While the United Kingdom did not take the lead, as its efforts were much more focused on Callisto, it provided shipmaking help for Hephaestus and contributed many workers from its formerly prosperous mining areas such as Cornwall, Scotland, and Wales. Ireland, much like Finland, opted to become involved due to the short length and potential profits, viewing the expedition as an easy way to become involved in colonization.
In order to maximize profit, an expedition was launched as soon as possible, and in 2250 a Hephaestus fleet set out for Himeo. The fleet that disembarked consisted of nearly a dozen ships total, and they departed with a simple mission: drop a prefab colony (using the four colony ships themselves) on planet HIIMZ-05 (Hephaestus Industries Industrial Mining Zone, Fifth Planet) in order to exploit its mineral wealth. The prefab colony was designed to last twenty years at maximum, and the colony on HIIMZ-05 was expected to operate for five years total. By 2252, the ships arrived and dropped their prefab colonies only to find that the planet was not what the scans had indicated.
It was quickly discovered that fierce polar winds whipped across the surface of HIIMZ-05, causing extreme wear and tear on anything exposed and not designed to withstand extreme wind. It became apparent to the colonists huddled in their prefab buildings that they had to dig downwards in order to create any structures at all. Anything they left exposed aboveground during the first months of colonization was generally very close to the ground, partially sunken in the ground, or built into natural wind barriers. A lack of native fauna and plant life beyond hardy shrubbery and small mammals lead to additional problems, and to most food production had to take place in limited hydroponics facilities in orbit or improvised hydroponics facilities entirely underground or dug mostly into the ground. Yet despite these setbacks, more in-depth environmental scans of HIIMZ-05 revealed that the mineral wealth of the planet is far greater than originally anticipated. The colonists were told to stay and endure by Hephaestus Industries, and that they would be able to go home after five years.
Construction efforts, not prepared for the harsh conditions present, rapidly fell behind schedules. Quotas were only partially met, if at all. Equipment was being stretched to the breaking point. People began to grow restless on the planet now sarcastically being called "Himeo", due to its status as a Hephaestus Industries Mineral Extraction Operation. As the months turned to years, another problem emerged: supplies took a long time to get to Himeo, and the only available communicator that could reach corporate headquarters was on the fleet itself. By 2255, Himeo had drifted so far away from Hephaestus that the planetary administrator was forced to sign off his power to the planet’s population following a devastating mine collapse that left one-hundred dead outside Inverkeithing - an event that came after orders from corporate headquarters to remain on the planet indefinitely. Hephaestus, already becoming crippled by the economic downturns that would lead into the Second Great Depression, was forced to concede to the planet’s demands, fearing a full-scale revolt if they did not. The compromises made here would form the future of modern Himeo’s direct democracy, and formed the basis of quasi-unions referred to as syndicates by their members in order to better avoid raising attention from Hephaestus. The new leader of Himeo would be called the First Speaker, and was initially elected in late 2255 following the compromises.
Over the following years Himeo drew closer to its nearby neighbor of Xanu than it ever was to Hephaestus Industries, which was now viewed as having left the colony out to dry and die. Quotas continued to come in and not be met, while salaries continued to drop and the quotas, bizarrely, started to get larger -- though the colonists did not realize it, Hephaestus was attempting to make money despite an economic collapse rapidly approaching. When the Second Great Depression hit in 2260 Hephaestus Industries sold off the colony, its ships, and its resources to the Sol Alliance. Himeo’s seemingly bizarre government was kept in place as the Alliance was unable to install a governor, but increased taxes on the system to compensate for the Second Great Depression were instituted in the system in 2272. For many on Himeo, this was the last straw.
The United Syndicates of Himeo
In 2275, the planet voted to leave the Alliance of Sovereign Solarian Nations along with Xanu Prime and several other systems, officially changing its name to the United Syndicates of Himeo due to the proto-unions of the past decades having risen to dominate the planet’s already left-leaning government. By 2278, the planet would be embroiled in the Interstellar War and quickly become a major industrial center for the nascent Coalition of Colonies.
The most notable engagement by Himean forces during the Interstellar War was the Battle of Kavachni in 2285, near the end of the War. Kavachni itself is a minor and mostly unremarkable system located between Himeo and Xanu Prime that was uninhabited in 2285. While called a battle, and initially expected to be one between the United Syndicates’ small fleet and a depleted Solarian force, negotiations between officers of both fleets led to a different outcome: the defection and surrender of the Plutonian 10th Fleet to Himean forces. Mostly composed of sailors from the Baltic Soviet Socialist Republics, these defectors opted to settle on Himeo and their descendents form a significant part of the population. Negotiations between Pluto and Himeo to transfer family members from Pluto to Himeo ultimately collapsed shortly after the end of the Interstellar War, which has become an enduring point of bitterness between the two worlds.
Since 2278 Himeo has remained a steadfast member of the Coalition of Colonies, despite often clashing ideologically with the Xanu Free League over the economic direction of the Coalition of Colonies. Himeo maintains a leash so tight on megacorporations in its space that they opt to not operate in its space, with Hephaestus being outright banned from operations in Himeo’s space since 2276. The contemporary Himeo is a major source of the Coalition’s industry, and generally provides the heavy industry and resources needed to ensure that other planets prosper.
The surface environment of Himeo is extremely harsh and uninhabitable. While it features an easily breathable atmosphere, distances from its star means that Himeo is generally freezing: surface temperatures are, on average, roughly −58.2 °C (−72.8 °F) before factoring in wind chill. The local climate is further characterized by its extreme windstorms, usually featuring snow, that whip down from its mountains and bracket the tundra of Himeo. The planet has an orbital period of fifteen months and two seasons due to its unusual orbital pattern: winter and deep winter. Deep winter refers to the period during which Himeo is further from its star, while winter refers to when it is nearest to its star. Deep winter lasts ten months, while winter lasts five months.
The Himean government is quite unlike anywhere else in the Spur due to its nature as a pure direct democracy rooted in syndicalism. Nearly everything related to the government is solved by pure majority vote, which has led to an extremely slow pace that, in the view of many on the planet, is a necessary sacrifice in the name of creating a democracy that serves the people and their syndicates rather than the shareholders and their megacorporations. Another source of political gridlock is a universal trait of all Himean elected offices: that they can be stripped of their position by pure majority vote at any time. While intended to prevent tyranny from taking root in elected positions the recall mechanism often falls prey to mob rule, and many Himean officials have extremely high turnover rates. Even First Speakers — the elected ruler of the entire planet — are not immune to being recalled, and many have fallen prey to it.
The First Speaker is assisted by the Council of Himeo, the planet’s legislative arm. Elected from its districts, the councilmen and councilwomen that serve in it have an important function: only they can introduce legislation that will impact the entire planet. But despite this importance, the Council suffers from much of the same turnover rates and time inefficiencies that plague the rest of the planet.
The process through which bills become laws on Himeo can be agonizingly long. Following a bill’s introduction into the Council and its passing a bill must be approved by the First Speaker (or a Ward Mayor, the governors of Himeo’s five administrative divisions, if at a lower level). If it is vetoed at this level, it goes back for an absolute majority vote. If not, the bill enters the slowest phase of its process: the popular vote. Every area impacted by a bill has its population vote to approve it. At best, this takes only one round of voting. In reality it often takes multiple rounds of voting, negotiating, haggling, and campaigning to pass a bill in a singular area, and bills can often become stuck in political quagmires for years. After every impacted area votes yes the bill becomes a law, as the people have deemed it worthy.
The following parties can be found in the Council of Himeo. The current government, under First Speaker Marja-Leena Helminen, consists of the United Himean Worker’s Party’s Mainstream and Devolution factions along with the ever-present United Mineworkers' Alliance. In opposition are the UHWP’s Centralization faction and the Cooperative Syndicalist Front. Accepted by neither side is the radical and often-overlooked National Himean Worker’s Vanguard which has long dwelled at the fringe of politics.
United Himean Worker’s Party - Mainstream
The United Himean Workers Party - Mainstream is the oldest and largest of the UHWP’s three factions, and can directly trace its lineage to the revolution that created the United Syndicates in the 2270s. The Mainstream faction of the UHWP is highly anti-corporate and has long maintained a hatred of Hephaestus in particular, but is generally opposed to directly aiding external syndicalist revolutionary movements. The UHWP wishes to not “rock the boat” in terms of the United Syndicates’ centralization-decentralization debate: too much centralization compromises the Himean model of direct democracy, while too much decentralization would lead to chaos and inefficiency. The UHWP is led by First Speaker Marja-Leena Helminen, and she holds the most influence over the Mainstream faction.
United Himean Workers Party - Devolution
The United Himean Worker’s Party - Devolution stands as the second-largest of the UHWP’s factions, and gains much of its popularity from its continued promotion of decentralization across the political landscape of the United Syndicates. To Devolutionists, the best way to carry on the Revolutionary traditions of those that stood against Hephaestus is to ensure that the planet’s direct democracy is allowed to flourish through its syndicates, even if it makes the government move even more slowly. The Devolution faction does not promote spreading the ideals of Himean syndicalism throughout the Spur, as it believes influencing other planets goes against the promotion of decentralization. Ernst Kuechler, a councilman from Dorshafen and former steelworker’s syndicate leader, champions the Devolution faction.
United Himean Workers Party - Centralization
The United Himean Worker’s Party - Centralization is the smallest and most radical of the UHWP’s three major factions. Much of the Centralization faction’s power is drawn from the United Syndicates’ Planetary Guard, the main military body of the planet. The Centralization faction wishes to put a stop to the creation of further syndicates in order to work out inefficiencies present in Himeo’s government – which has won it some support – and is the most anti-corporate of the three factions, actively seeking to promote (and perhaps intervene) in Himean syndicalist movements across the Orion Spur. Samantha MacDowell, a councilwoman from Inverkeithing and former Planetary Guard officer, is the arguable leader of the Centralization faction.
United Mineworkers' Alliance
The United Mineworker’s Alliance is a strange middle ground between a large syndicate and a political party. A single-ticket party, the United Mineworkers are primarily concerned with the promotion and continued success of Himeo’s myriad mining syndicates. As a result they are an outward-looking party: with most mining sites on Himeo having long been mostly depleted, the planet’s miners must now secure mining rights elsewhere. The UMA generally aligns itself with the UHWP’s mainstream and Devolution factions, and has long served as an ally of the party. The UMA is led by Harvey Greenwood, a councilman from Inverkeithing and former mine syndicate leader.
Cooperative Syndicalist Front
The Cooperative Syndicalist Front is an odd party on Himeo, and a very recent one: it was only founded in the mid-2430s. Primarily drawing its support from non-mining syndicates, it has long lobbied for the expansion of Himeo’s syndicates to include syndicates founded in the Himean style abroad in order to create friendly trading partners abroad. This stance has placed it into an awkward alliance with the UHWP’s Centralist faction due to their mutual support of Himean syndicalism abroad. Yet the UHWP-C and CSF alliance seems unlikely to persist, as the UHF is far less militant than its counterpart. The CSF is led by Saara Karjalainen, a councilwoman from Uusi Viipuri and former university professor.
National Himean Worker's Vanguard
On the far fringes of Himean politics lies the National Himean Worker’s Vanguard, a party founded in the wake of the Solarian Collapse of 2462. An extremely anti-corporate and militant party, the NHWV positions itself as a more radical version of the UHWP-C: it believes that a freeze on new syndicates is not enough, and that existing ones should instead be consolidated into larger syndicates run in part by the state. It is additionally very militant, and believes that the Planetary Guard should be deployed abroad to encourage the creation of pro-United Syndicates governments. These stances have won it few friends and many enemies, and some argue that it is only its eccentric leader – former Planetary Guard Colonel Oskar Ljungberg – that has kept the party alive through his erratic behavior in the Council of Himeo.
The revolutionary ideology that Himeo embraced in the 2270s as a young and recently independent planet has continued to shape its foreign policy even in the present day. The planet’s strain of syndicalist thought — often simply referred to as “Himean syndicalism” — is often confrontational and brash, openly advocating for the spreading of its beliefs in the face of a hostile and corporate-dominated Spur. This confrontational nature — and its industrial might — have made the United Syndicates a major force in the politics of the Coalition.
The relationship between Xanu Prime and the United Syndicates is a long-standing, deep friendship that occasionally devolves into spasms of mutual animosity. Both agree on many issues related to the Coalition: it should be more centralized and it should be more readily able to defend itself, even with Sol out of the picture for now. However, they often disagree on economic policy: the United Syndicates advocate for a closely-regulated economy that mostly avoids corporate influence, while the Xanusanii advocate for a lightly regulated free market.
Aside from Xanu, the planet Himeo is most involved in is Vysoka. Despite the mostly-agrarian nature of Vysoka’s economy, the planet is home to rich (and mostly untapped) mineral reserves that Himeo’s mining syndicates have long coveted. The decentralized nature of Vysoka’s government has made acquiring mining rights a complicated and often chaotic process, and has caused some controversy on Vysoka itself. Mines are not clean things and many Vysokans — watching once-pristine land turn into muddy dig sites belching smoke — do not appreciate the Himeans or their machines.
The broader Coalition of Colonies typically views Himeo positively, though some hardly appreciate the United Syndicates’ push for centralization. Gadpathur and Assunzione both trade heavily with it, though Assunzione’s distance and Gadpathur’s previous position in a technically neutral zone have historically limited their formal relations.
The Republic of Biesel and the United Syndicates have a very poor relationship. Himeo officially views Biesel as nothing more than a Eridani-like corporate state owned by the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate and has no official relations with it. The United Syndicates sent no aid to the Republic during either of its invasions, and has successfully used it to argue against further permissions for corporations in Coalition space. To many Himeans, the Republic is now the primary threat to the Coalition thanks to its recent rapid expansion. Despite poor relations between their governments, many Himeans that decide to work abroad often drift into the Republic’s space due to its higher pay potential and the greater amount of jobs available. These economic migrants are viewed with some ambivalence on Himeo, with many viewing them as simply being practical while others view them as greedy profit-seekers who have abandoned the revolutionary ideology of the United Syndicates.
The Sol Alliance, like its former member state, has a poor relationship with the United Syndicates. Himeo and Xanu have long maintained a United front against the Alliance and operate a singular joint embassy on Earth. Himeo actively supports the League of Independent Corporate Free Systems, a Solarian breakaway state located in the Northern Wildlands.
Relations between the United Syndicates and the Empire of Dominia are actively hostile, and vessels from each have been known to become involved in skirmishes in the Southern Coalition and the Sparring Sea. While not officially at war, the United Syndicates and Empire are constantly at one another’s throats. To Himeo, the Dominians are monarchist despots that wish to enslave the frontier. Despite this not all relationships between the United Syndicate’s naval forces and the Empire’s Imperial Fleet are hostile: many Imperial Fleet officers, generally of House Zhao, are known to leak information regarding unathi privateers to their Himean counterparts.
Himeo and the Serene Republic of Elyra have a friendly, if distant, relationship. Little trade occurs between them, but their respective navies often cooperate to combat the activities of their mutual regional rival: the Empire of Dominia. Joint anti-piracy operations between the Elyrans and Himeans are a fairly common sight in many regions of the Sparring Sea, and many pirates have come to fear the sight of Elyra’s modern vessels and Himeo’s boxy, heavily-armored former cargo vessels working in unison.
Himeo’s government has an extremely poor relationship with Hephaestus Industries, which it views as having oppressed the planet for its own profits, but holds a neutral status on other megacorporations. The government, by majority vote, banned Hephaestus from operating in Himeo’s space shortly after it declared independence. The relationship between Hephaestus and Himeo is so hostile that working for Hephaestus is considered treason under Himean law, and is punishable by death.
As one of the Coalition’s largest industrial hubs, the economy of Himeo is based around making and exporting various industrial goods such as steel, heavy machinery, and industrial equipment. Most of the mining machines found throughout the Coalition can trace their origins to a Himean factory, and many factories in the greater Coalition are filled with equipment stamped with the United Syndicates’ production quality seal. Most of these goods are shipped to the larger markets on Xanu Prime and sold there by Himean syndicates that operate branches in the Xanu Free League. Himeo exports very few consumer and luxury items, which tend to be imported by the United Syndicates or stay within Himeo’s market itself. The United Syndicates produces very few ships for export, with most remaining in Himeo’s system.
Acquiring the raw materials to fuel Himeo’s industry has been a longstanding issue for the United Syndicates, as Himeo itself has become increasingly difficult to mine upon due to regulations, depletion of natural deposits, and different syndicates becoming caught in lengthy legal debates over who has the right to what mine. Most of Himeo’s contemporary mining is carried out abroad at various locations throughout the Coalition. Himean mines can be found on Vysoka and throughout the Coalition on uninhabitable yet mineral-rich planets such as the other planets within the United Syndicates’ home system. The recent annexation of the Weeping Stars region by the Coalition has led to a recent boom in Himeo’s mining industry, and its syndicates have gladly plunged into the former demilitarized zone to extract its resources.
Society & Culture
The society of Himeo has been heavily influenced by its revolutionary ideology and origins in a popular revolt. Himeans are known for their devotion to their neighbors, a distrust of corporations and those affiliated with them, and their dedication to their revolutionary syndicalist ideology. Collectivism is emphasized as a positive and virtuous trait, while individualism – particularly “greedy” individualism that favors the individual over the group – is discouraged and looked down upon. While the most commonly acknowledged root of this collectivism is ideology, it has a more practical origin as well: it is simply easier to survive in a harsh environment such as Himeo in a society based upon mutual support and trust.
One of the most commonly acknowledged stereotypes of Himean society is the near-universal disdain that most Himeans hold for Hephaestus Industries, which originally colonized – and eventually abandoned – the planet to its own devices. Himeans distrust almost everything to do with Hephaestus, and to work for Hephaestus as a Himean is seen as one of the worst offenses one can commit – both legally and culturally. This distaste must often be set aside, or at least made less obvious, while working abroad due to the sheer prevalence of Hephaestus Industries, much to the ire of many Himeans employed in engineering departments around the Orion Spur.
Himeans that opt to go abroad do so for a variety of reasons. Many leave due to a desire to make more money, perhaps due to greed or perhaps due to a desire for a better life for those on Himeo that depend upon them. Others leave out of a sense of wanderlust, or a desire to see the broader Orion Spur beyond the caves they have spent their lives in. Others leave for their own reasons, known only to themselves, and a handful leave due to being banished from the planet. Judged as too hazardous to remain on the planet by the government of the United Syndicates, these individuals find themselves condemned to live and die abroad, and will never see their home planet again.
Himean Common is an unusual language born of a fusion of Solarian Common and the Coalition’s Freespeak (also known as Gutter) that has grown to become one of the harder dialects of Solarian Common for non-native speakers to understand. Much of this difficulty is due to its usage of Freespeak loan words, which has made translation – particularly mechanical translation – a difficult and often frustrating affair. Another difficulty for many non-native speakers of Himean Common is the language’s heavy use of hard-to-translate metaphors that become quite difficult to comprehend when translated either literally, either by novices or by relying upon machine translation. Some of these metaphors, and their most common Tau Ceti Basic translations, are:
Himean Common Expressions
- “Begrudgery.” – Complaining while not doing anything to solve the problem.
- “I’m starting to feel the band around the head.” – It’s starting to annoy me/give me a headache.
- “The end of the tunnel.” – The conclusion.
- “Emergency does not look like this.” – It’s not so bad.
- “No need to be riding the hare.” – Slow down/don’t rush it.
- “Not to spit into the glass.” – Not to interrupt.
- “Son of yesterday's grouse.” – An inexperienced or naive person. Somebody who is easily fooled.
- “It’s in the glove.” – Situation/thing’s under control.
- “The gloves are lost.” – Situation/thing’s out of control.
- “Hang up the gloves.” - Give up.
- “Loose like a grandfather’s tooth.” – Something could very easily be disturbed or broken.
- “Up on the surface.” – Difficult to obtain.
- “Let’s get to the head.” – Let’s return to the start (referring to a drill’s head).
- “Like a rooster on top of the scree.” – Bragging about cheap accomplishments.
- “Working like the Devil leaves church.” – To work very quickly, and typically poorly.
- “Someone/something has bats in the belfry.” – Refers to a crazy situation, but can also refer to somebody with crazy ideas.
- “Death in a/your wallet.” – To be broke.
- “In the tunnels.” – Lost.
- “Last winter’s snow.” – Something that isn’t relevant now.
- “You need to bleach your nose.” – You need to stop/quit drinking.
- “Digging backwards.” – Making a situation needlessly complicated.
- “Ten for the attempt.” – A good, but unsuccessful, attempt.
- "I only know how to swing a pick." – A phrase used when a person does not know anything about something.
- "Canary in a coal mine." – An indicator of potential danger.
- "Leave the church in the town." – Don't get too excited.
- "You're not made of sugar!" – Toughen up!
- "Until the foreman comes." – Excessively.
- "Two pairs of gloves." – Two different things.
- "Smelling fumes." – Suspecting something.
- "It's your factory, I just work in it." – A phrase used to deride someone for being egotistical or self-centered.
- "Promising a blue sky." – Promising the impossible
- "In the devil's kitchen." – In a bad situation.
- "Make like a rat." – To leave, typically quickly.
- "There will be a dancing bear." – It's going to be fun.
- "The ore of the rock." – Something highly desired or regarded.
- "Make someone's mine." – To go out with someone romantically.
- "(To make someone) Take a trip to the railyard." – To beat someone up. This comes from the fact that historically, many injured miners would only be able to get out of Himeo's mines by rail.
- "Coal-headed." – Stupid.
Along with Himean Common, many Himeans know Freespeak as a second language. It is not commonly used in Himean Society, but is taught to children in grades 4 through 12 as part of Himean efforts to better connect with the rest of the Coalition of Colonies.
The traditional cuisine of Himeo is very sparse. The diet of a Himean was primarily composed of mushrooms until trade was opened with Xanu and the Scarab Fleet, causing the amount of available food to increase dramatically through new hydroponics techniques. The underground and orbital hydroponics farms of Himeo are able to produce a variety of common Terran foods, though meat remains a relative rarity due to the resources it consumes during production. The diet of citizens of Himeo is, however, less plant-based than an Eridanian’s diet – mining, after all, requires a lot of calories.
Education on Himeo is provided at a municipal level, and is generally regarded as high-quality for the frontier. However it lags behind the Solarian Alliance's Jewel Worlds and Middle Ring, and those Himeans that wish to learn specialized sciences such as xenobiology often travel off the planet to Xanu or further afield. Despite this Himeo is famous for its ability to produce talented engineers and atmospheric technicians. But due to a lack of corporate presence in the system, most of these individuals often remain on Himeo and are rarely immediately hired by off-planet entities.
Clothing on Himeo is, by demand, practical and extremely rugged – designed to endure a harsh environment and last for a long time. Much of it features multiple layers, and very little skin is left exposed. Due to the lack of real animals on the planet synthetic furs are common, with Himeo’s furs being commonly referred to as “fish fur” on the galactic marketplace. Himeo’s clothing is prized for its ability to keep in warmth and its low-maintenance designs. Coloring and dyes are generally quite muted due to scarcity, though reflective materials are common for practical and aesthetic purposes. Many Himeans make patterns on their clothes using reflective material, causing their clothes to vibrantly light up in the low-light environments of Himeo’s cities. The recent introduction of alien species such as the Tajara has seen new styles of “fur” coats emerge in the traditional Adhomaian style with Himeo touches – Tajaran peacoats with reflective PRA flags are common amongst certain immigrants.
Architecture and Construction
The architecture of Himeo is very distinctive and is essentially unique to to planet: the world's major settlements are all built underground due to the environment of Himeo itself. While the initial cities were dug out of mine tunnels and intended to last mere decades, rather than centuries, the tunnel systems have been expanded and revamped over the centuries to resemble kinds of subterranean metropolises built on top of one another, with some of the larger cities stretching as far vertically as they do horizontally. Some of these tunnels can be massive, but a typical residential tunnel in an underground city tends to have a clearance of around twenty feet in order to allow for rail traffic. Light is a constant issue in these tunnels, and many areas feature slightly dim lighting conditions. As such, many Himeans suffer from light sensitivity.
Cities on Himeo, due to being entirely underground, universally feature extremely well-maintained, advanced, and robust atmospheric systems that are maintained around the clock. Fuel-burning generators or machines are extremely rare in Himeo: the most common method of transit underground is via an extensive underground rail system that connects all major cities, in which tunnels can stretch for thousands of kilometers as they snake around the planet. A job in the railway service is seen as very prestigious on Himeo, and its staff are known for their high quality. Electric power is often provided by burning the local ore deposits in factories, which vent their waste gasses to the surface via vents – some of which can stretch for hundreds of meters as they lead their way to the surface.
What buildings that are on the surface of Himeo must, by demand, be extremely sturdy or built into a natural wind barrier. Surface buildings are typically rounded to avoid wind damage, and feature very few windows. These shuttle ports of Himeo are generally built upon its plains, and are mostly underground. A wind shield typically surrounds a heavy-duty “wind gate” in the middle of the shields, which opens or closes to let vessels in. Travel on the surface of Himeo is generally done in extremely durable tracked vehicles fitted with enormous plows to fight through snow drifts that keep themselves low to the ground to avoid tipping over in the wind. Air travel aside from interstellar traffic is generally advised against, due to the severe weather of Himeo.
A group of relics that remains in use on Himeo to this day are the massive Hephaestus Industries tunneling and mining machines that the original colonists embarked with. These machines were built to last, and are still in use to varying extents to this very day – with, of course, a great deal of modifications to keep them operational and effective. They typically fall under the authority of individual cities, though some factories operate them, and have storied histories. The machines are typically named and given some form of identifier on their chassis, in order to better distinguish them.
As a member of the Coalition of Colonies, Himeo fields its own navy and military forces. While Himeo's fleet has a strong core of retrofitted military or corporate-grade warships, most of its ships are civilian cargo vessels retrofitted to serve as improvised warships. These “warships,” have recently been employed against Dominian privateers in and near the Southern Coalition to great success. Himeo's ships often feature a black cat painted onto their sides, a tribute to the mining strikes that originally gained the planet its independence.
The ground army of Himeo is referred to as the Planetary Guard, and is based on a municipality-by-municipality basis with each one sworn to defend one another in the event they were attacked. Much of the Guard's equipment has its roots in mining equipment, though the planet has a small-scale arms industry. The arrival of Tajara on the planet has seen many joining the Planetary Guard and serving in its new surface units – volunteer structures that patrol along the surface of the planet and rescue the crews of downed spacecraft. Due to the extremely harsh nature of the surface, animals imported from Adhomai are highly valued by the troopers of the surface units, and tajara are often seen caring for them.
Population & Major Cities
The population of Himeo stands as the Coalition’s second-most populated planet (the most populated being Xanu Prime), with most of its citizens on the planet and a smaller number dwelling in various orbital facilities as of the 2460 census, with the majority of its citizens residing in or around Himeo’s various urban centers. Most residents of Himeo are humans, either baseline or off-worlders, with some light populations of other species. Tajara are one of the most commonly seen alien species on Himeo, and are held in high regard on the planet: Zhan-Khazan and M’sai have found success on the planet as workers and surface scouts, respectively. Unathi and diona, due to the frigid temperatures and often dark conditions, are rarely seen. Skrell, as with most locations outside of the Federation, are rare. Vaurca are nearly unheard of. As with most areas in human space IPCs are an aspect of life in the system, though there are a higher number of free IPCs in Himeo than average. Some of the most major population centers are listed below.
The largest of Himeo’s cities, Rautakaivos Kaupunki, colloquially known as RaK, is a bustling metropolis and is one of the largest cities in the Coalition of Colonies. The city features a booming ore processing industry and manufacturing sector famous for its high-quality products, ranging from precious metals, raw construction materials, and advanced components such as semiconductors and circuit boards used in computer, IPC, and AI production. The largest steel mill in the Orion Spur, the Terästimantti Iron and Steel Works, is located in Rautakaivos Kaupunki and produces roughly one-third of Himeo’s steel and ferrous metal exports. RaK is not just about industry however. The city’s Weber Quarter is a district of the city devoted to arts and entertainment known throughout the entire CoC for its excellence. The quarter has numerous theaters large and small, VR complexes, and various restaurants with cuisine from all over the Orion Spur, and competes with similar areas on Xanu Prime and occasionally even Biesel over attracting highly lucrative stage productions and live musical acts. RaK is also the center of Hiemo’s small but growing biomedical industry, something that both the city and planetary government have been keen to pump money into. The Association of Himean Bankers and Economists (AHBE), the only banking syndicate on Himeo, is headquartered in Rautakaivos Kaupunki, and is seen as a cornerstone of the Himean economy due to its ability to supply the various other syndicates of the planet with funding for whatever initiatives and projects they might wish to conduct. The syndicate can make or break any syndicate it has conflicts with due to its ability to withhold funds, though on more than one occasion the planetary government has compelled the AHBE to cut loans or adjust its policy with threats of sanctions of legal action. Culturally and demographically, Rautakaivos Kaupunki is by far the most diverse city on Himeo and people from all over the CoC can be found here in the subterranean expanse of the city. The descendants of the Plutonians who defected to Himeo during the Great Interstellar War can be found in RaK in a district of the city called “Little Baltisk,” where a unique fusion of Plutonian and Himean culture can be found.
Dorshafen is Himeo’s second largest city and is home to the Dorshafen Industrial Anchorage, the largest interstellar port on the planet. Uniquely to the city, the surface above Dorshafen has comparatively moderate weather by the standards of Himeo. A nearby mountain range shields the city from much of the planet’s hostile weather which allows for most air and space traffic to travel to and from the city relatively unhindered by Himeo’s harsh winds and clouds. This same mountain range which protects the city’s port, the Adenauer range, provides the city with exceptional mineral wealth as well, most of which is usually exported to Rautakaivos Kaupunki for refinement. Dorshafen’s port is one of the largest in the Coalition of Colonies, and while it does have passenger services, it primarily functions as Himeo’s largest cargo port, shipping refined minerals and metals from the planet to the rest of the Orion Spur. Because of its status as a port, many non-Himeans can be found here as well, mostly Vysokan immigrants looking for work in Himeo’s mines or smelting plants. The city is also a massive transportation hub with a veritable subterranean spider web of rail lines sprawling out from the numerous piers and loading zones of Dorshafen’s port. Not only is Dorshafen a lynchpin in Himeo’s transportation network, but it is also the center of the military-industrial complex of the planet. The Free Consortium of Defense Manufacturers, Himeo’s largest and primary military equipment supplier is headquartered here and maintains numerous laboratories and factories in the city, using its port as a quick way to export arms and ammunition to the rest of the Coalition of Colonies and beyond. Dorshafen’s location as a port has also made it a natural home for the Free Tajaran Council after they arrived there in 2430, being given a small autonomous district of the city to govern called the Foundling District.
Formerly a boomtown near which some of Himeo’s largest mines were accessed from, Inverkeithing has stagnated as a city in recent years. While the third-most populated city on the planet, Inverkeithing hasn’t seen any population growth in nearly two decades. As the mines around the city became less and less profitable or more and more mired in political disputes between the various syndicates vying for mining rights, Inverkeithing’s economy slowed to a point of little-to-no growth. Even as the mines have dried up, the mining culture and heritage is very strong here, with many of its citizens going off-world to mine elsewhere and the United Mineworkers' Alliance headquarters is in the city’s center. There have been numerous attempts by the city’s government to reinvigorate the local economy, however each has fallen on its face. Currently, the city is kept afloat by two major industries: energy and manufacturing. Even as the city stagnates, these two sectors make Inverkeithing indispensable to the Himean economy and its citizenry. The Llosgfynydd Geothermal Energy Plant single-handedly provides energy to all of Inverkeithing and sells the surplus to other cities, with Rautakaivos Kaupunki being its largest customer. The plant’s venerable turbines are powered by the large caldera of magma which sits kilometers beneath the city and also gives certain areas of Inverkeithing a unique feature: subterranean geysers and hot springs. The city’s other major industry is transit-related manufacturing. Through negotiations with the Himean government, Inverkeithing and the Unified Locomotive and Rail Coach Production Syndicate managed to secure the exclusive right to build locomotives and train cars, meaning that no other city can legally manufacture trains. A unique quirk of Inverkeithing is its layout, mostly being spread through old tunnels used for mining rather than caverns excavated specifically for urban construction. This feature often makes the city incredibly confusing to navigate for those who weren’t raised there and as such, has been integrated into Inverkeithing’s latest attempt at economic revival: tourism. “Explore Inverkeithing, the Volcano City!”' has been a campaign launched by the city’s government in cooperation with the Himean Collective Hospitality Syndicate focused on bringing foreigners to Inverkeithing’s unique and odd landscape and history with an emphasis placed on finding new parts of the city and of course, on the city’s subterranean hot springs and geysers. It is to be seen if this campaign will be successful or if it will fall flat like past initiatives to revitalize the city.
The fourth largest city on Himeo and the planet’s capital, Uusi Viipuri holds the position of being one of the single-most influential cities in the Coalition of Colonies. Uusi Viipuri, or often just called Viipuri for short, houses the Himean planetary government, most of its ministries, and serves as the headquarters for the Himean military. Many of Himeo’s largest universities, all of which are operated under the Himean Syndicate for Scholarship and Education, can be found here as well. It should be noted that of all Himeo’s cities, Uusi Viipuri has been repeatedly deemed the prettiest city on Himeo. While this is not much of a feat given the typically drab and utilitarian architecture found on the planet, Viipuri has numerous parks and monuments within its grid-iron streets, most of which have actual greenery as one might find on Earth, Xanu Prime, or Biesel. Many of Himeo’s largest and most influential syndicates have their administrative headquarters in Uusi Viipuri. During a national election, the population of Uusi Viipuri often grows substantially, if only temporarily as representatives from the various local chapters of Himeo’s various syndicates make a pilgrimage of sorts to the city in order to ensure that their interests are represented in planetary governance. Every year on August 1st, the main boulevard of the city, aptly called Independence Street, is the site of a large military parade where the Himeans celebrate their independence from Hephaestus Industries. Uusi Viipuri also houses a small tourist industry that mostly is reliant on showing foreigners, or even Himeans themselves, the history and various sites related to Himeo’s independence and government.
Horner Station is a testament to Himean industriousness and ingenuity. For centuries, Horner Station was Low-Orbit Platform-19, an orbital ore processing facility that was nearly destroyed during the Great Interstellar War. It sat derelict and in disrepair for nearly 150 years after the war until the initiative was taken to repair and revitalize the station as a platform from which Himeo could better integrate itself with the Coalition of Colonies and add to Himeo’s outward industry as its planetside mines began to dry up. After nearly two more decades of repairs, reconstructions, and expansions, Horner Station was declared operational in 2405. Presently, Horner Station serves a few major purposes. It is the primary base for Himeo’s navy and its admiralty maintains a massive presence on the station. It is also a secondary port for the planet and often moors smaller ships that have less tonnage than the behemoths that would dock in Dorshafen. A vast majority of Himeo’s offworlder human population lives on Horner Station as well, with many moving there after its completion due to its more offworlder friendly conditions. They make up a majority of the Station’s population and also dominate Himeo’s small shipbuilding industry. Horner Station also serves as the primary method by which Himeo interfaces with the Scarab Fleets, Golden Deep, and Orepit, with all three of these factions having their embassies here rather than in Himeo’s capital. Presently, Horner Station is the most populated of all of Himeo’s orbital facilities and is humorously called “Himeo’s Metal Moon,” despite it being not anywhere even close to the size of a moon and invisible from Himeo’s surface without a telescope.
The Free Tajaran Council is the largest Tajaran community in Himeo; its origin can be traced back to the First Revolution. Born in the city of Shungsta during the war, the Tajaran Free Council was a political movement that advocated for the total abolishment of authoritarian governments in favor of independent democratic councils. Volin Kar’etrink, a young Hharar factory worker, was elected to be its commander thanks to his status as a famous firebrand. The group fought both reactionary and rebels in an attempt to create a state-free Adhomai. This ideology was later named Kar’etrinkism by its opponents. While mildly successful against rebellious and monarchist forces, the Council was defeated by the Hadiists. The surviving revolutionaries fled Adhomai to escape further persecution.
Led by Volin in their exodus, the survivors reached the Coalition of Colonies in 2430. Because of its government and weather, Himeo was chosen to be their new home. Organizing themselves in a similar manner to the rest of the Himean society, the Council was given autonomy to govern themselves as they saw fit. With the help of Himeo, they established schools to freely educate their population. However, they did not abandon their ideals. Kar’etrink and his followers secretly planned to return to Adhomai to overthrow its governments when the Council became strong enough. Military training was offered to all willing members. Plans to infiltrate cities and assassinate leaders were voted upon in secret. These intentions remain largely unknown to Himeo and the Adhomian nations. Attempting to sabotage or reveal the plot is met with violent mob justice. Volin Kar’etrink continues to hold the position of Council representative to this day.
Nowadays the Free Tajaran Council faces serious problems. No matter how hard they try, they can never muster enough numbers and materiel to ever challenge any of the Adhomian nations. A new generation of Tajara was born in Himeo; many of them doubt the viability of Volin’s plan. The Council is now split between two warring factions: the old guard who believes that the operations in Himeo are enough, and the younger Tajara who wants to contact the outside world in search of allies. The older wing has also grown extremely paranoid of foreign Tajara, fearing possible spies among their ranks. The few that leave Himeo are either young Tajara disillusioned with Kar’etrinkism or trying to recruit new members. When abroad, caution about one’s intention is essential to not draw attention to the Council's true purpose.
Volin Kar’entrink is an elderly Tajara and does not have much time left in this world; the future without its revolutionary leader is an uncertain one for the Council. The community is currently engaged in a proxy war that will decide the community's fate.
Synthetics on Himeo
Himeo’s unique government and history of anti-megacorporate laws and legislation, most notably their ban on Hephaestus Industries operating within Himean space mean that the planet is devoid of megacorporations and their operations. This also means there are no corporately owned synthetics in Himean space. The absence of mega-corporations also makes this planet an attractive place for any IPC wishing to hide from them, such as ones attempting to escape to their freedom from within the Coalition itself or from outside sources such as the Solarian Wildlands or the Republic of Biesel. The planet's manufacturing industry also serves a role in producing parts of IPC frames, helping to reduce the cost of living for those who settle there, this is particularly attractive to free positronics who must pay all the expenses for repairs themselves.
Privately-owned positronics do exist on Himeo, however in a different manner to the rest of the Spur. Rather than being owned by individuals, almost all owned synthetics are instead the property of local councils, organizations and industries. The majority of these positronics are Industrial Frames used in the planet's substantial mining, refining and industrial sectors, though other frames have been known to be bought in for other tasks. Positronics that find themselves in this position also find themselves instilled with the unique values of Himeo by their owners, holding the communal, anti-mega corporate attitudes of their owners. Gaining freedom for these IPCs is possible, however, it is up to the mercy of their owners, as no formal system for buying their freedom exists. This issue is compounded by the fact that many of these synthetics do not wish to gain their freedom, seeing their position as just a natural place in their community thanks to the views instilled within them.
Free synthetics also make up a sizable amount of the positronics found on Himeo, often choosing to settle on the planet in search of work due to the planet's booming industrial sector and the liberal attitudes towards synthetics in certain places. In general, these free positronics manage to settle on the planet fine, adapting quickly to the communal, close-knit nature of Himean communities by making themselves useful to the local population, helping to earn their place in the communities that dot Himeo. Those who fail to do this often find the planet more unwelcoming to their presence than is worth dealing with to stay, being locked out of these close-knit communities due to not reaching their usual expectations.
The Human population of Himeo hold very divided views on synthetics, though they can broadly be categorized into three different positions. The first crowd, being the most pro-synthetic, see positronics as having undergone the same oppression by megacorporations as they did long ago and advocate for full, equal rights for synthetics in line with the colonies' direct democratic principles. The cities of Uusti Viipuri and Dorshafen are major centers for this viewpoint.
The second crowd hold a more mixed view of synthetics, not denying that they can be free but also not seeing them as equals or people and allowing them to be owned as industrial equipment. They advocate for allowing the ownership of synthetics for economic gain and in some cases restricting their right to vote within councils, Industrial centers like Rautakaivos Kaupunki and Inverkeithing are hubs of this viewpoint.
The final group see positronics as tools of the mega-corporations that oppressed them before, holding an especially dim view of those made by Hephaestus, expecting them to turn traitor at any moment due to some programmed loyalty. They advocate for removing and keeping synthetics off Himeo entirely. This viewpoint is most common among the more isolated areas of the planet.
Due to this three-way division so far it has been impossible for legislation on synthetic rights to be introduced at a planetary level. This leaves the issue of IPC rights to lower-level governance where opinions are more cohesive such as individual cities. In some areas of the planet, synthetics have equal rights to human residents, whilst in others, they are not even allowed to be residents. For now, this situation seems like it will continue, with the human and free IPC residents naturally settling into areas that allow them to co-exist, and those who want to be away from them settling into areas without synthetics.
Holding onto the views bought from their homeland and their general isolationist nature, the Free Tajaran Council views synthetics with suspicion, and no IPC residents are found within the foundling district. However, Tajara who work outside of the Foundling district tend to have no issues with positronics they might work along, regarding them primarily with indifference.