|REGION - LIBERTY'S CRADLE|
|This location is centered in the Liberty's Cradle region.|
|The beating heart of the modern Coalition of Colonies, Liberty’s Cradle is home to many of the Coalition’s most developed and influential worlds. In contrast to the Solarian stereotype of the frontier as a decivilized wasteland populated by roving bands of pirates and petty warlords, Liberty’s Cradle is a prosperous and safe region which has a higher standard of living than much of the former Middle and Outer Ring possessed prior to the Solarian Collapse of 2462. Post-Collapse the area has continued to prosper and, now that it dwells far behind the Coalition-controlled Weeping Stars, is more secure than it has ever been before.|
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.
Members of any Himean syndicate are prohibited from holding command positions on SCC vessels and facilities. Himeans wishing to become command members on any SCC vessel or facility must renounce their Himean citizenship and any syndicate membership due to Hephaestus Industries' integration with the SCC. Any Himean who does this will be charged with treason.
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 CHF 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.
The relationship between Himeo and the Federal Technocracy of Galatea is one of mutual antagonism and opposition rooted in the stark differences between Himean and Galatean political approaches. Where Himeo idealizes equality and freedom, Galatea promotes elitism and order. The two member-states frequently disagree with one another and Himeo is the most vocal critic of the Technocracy in the Coalition. It is only Xanu, and their mutual dislike of Dominia and its privateering, that keep the Himean-Galatean relationship from worsening.
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 are produced on and stay within Himeo’s market itself. The United Syndicates produces few ships for export, with most remaining in Himeo’s system, though the few that are exported are usually large cargo or mineral hauling vessels.
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.
Syndicates are massive worker-owned quasi-labor unions which coalesce around certain industries or locations. They form the backbone of the Himean nation and economy and provide everything from housing to food to retirement plans to their members while also distributing profits in exchange for dues paid by each member to the syndicate on a quarterly, monthly, or annual basis. Failure to pay these dues may result in a loss of certain syndicate services or privileges, or in the worst cases, ejection from a syndicate under the justification of perceived "selfish behavior" on the part of the ejected. Syndicates have their own social circles and often operate social clubs, bars, and restaurants, collectively referred to as “Worker’s Homes.” Usually, only a syndicate’s own members may have entry to their syndicate’s worker’s homes, but some syndicates open their facilities to members of any syndicate. It should be noted however, that the number and quality of these facilities vary greatly by syndicate. Some syndicates are concentrated only in certain geographical areas, for example shipbuilding syndicates are usually only found in port cities, while others with a broader influence such as mining or industrial syndicates have a far more widespread geographic footprint. Finally, along with being both social and economic units, Himean syndicates are also political factions in a sense, with many of them putting their support behind various political parties in the Himean government. This support is notoriously fickle though, as most syndicates are only as politically loyal as their members are content with any given party’s current agenda. Most syndicates have annual or bi-annual elections in which any member can vote to determine their syndicate’s leadership and agenda for the next election period. It is illegal to work on Himeo without being a member of a syndicate with a valid government charter, and renouncing one’s syndicate membership without shortly taking on another is greatly frowned upon in Himean society and seen as stupid, selfish, and intentionally breaking from the collective and causing disunity. Those without syndicate memberships are an infinitesimally small subset of Himeo’s population and usually get by through begging and living on the streets of Himeo’s subterranean cities. They are not allowed to leave the planet, as syndicate membership is a prerequisite to being granted a valid Himean Coalition of Colonies passport.
These syndicates often work in concert with one another towards common, mutually beneficial goals, though competition between them isn’t unheard of and is quite fierce, with some syndicates often closing their services to the members of other syndicates in tit-for-tat “targeted striking actions” with the goal of securing better agreements for themselves with their peers. Syndicates are granted charter by the Himean national government, which despite its decentralized influence, does have the responsibility of gate-keeping irresponsible citizens from establishing syndicates and potentially harming the Himean nation and economy. This is somewhat counterproductive though, as while the national government has the responsibility of granting a charter, without which a syndicate cannot legally operate, it lacks the authority to revoke said charter. Because of this reality, broad coalitions of syndicates have been known to unite their auspices in a common front against other syndicates they see as harmful or irresponsible with the goal of forcing favorable change in rivals or in some cases, even forcing their dissolution.
Syndicates fulfil almost every function in Himean society, including those that would typically be filled by state agencies such as policing and national defense. The Himean national government functions as a coordinator of syndicates and as the director of the national agenda under which all syndicates are expected to honor and help work towards, though opinions on just how involvement or how much authority the government should have in enforcing this agenda vary by citizen and is one of the largest political debates in Himean culture. However, syndicates also maintain a broad degree of autonomy from national government directives and can freely disagree with the government and non-violently protest their decisions if they so choose, though doing so usually draws the ire of syndicates that benefit from working towards national government goals. Being very decentralized, the Syndicalist system actively promotes the idea of a separation of Himeo’s economic and even political power between hundreds, thousands, of different syndicates. This is so no one syndicate can amass enough power by itself to threaten the independence of the other syndicates or the integrity of Himeo’s national government’s position as a guide and coordinator of multi-syndicate actions.
The Syndicalist system is renowned for its ability to achieve almost total employment; it always seems to find a job for almost any person capable of working. Just because it can provide the Himean worker a job however, does not always mean it is a dream job. Most jobs are stable, pay well, and get exceptional syndicate-provided benefits, things all of which would be considered a luxury in the less-developed places of the Orion Spur. However, upward mobility outside of moving from an entry-level job to a qualified one in the syndicate system is hard to achieve through merit alone, and usually involves some involvement or advocacy within the internal politics of one’s syndicate for any member to move up to a higher-ranking or better paying position under their syndicate’s direction. This unofficial prerequisite to advancement has led to some Humans to look for work elsewhere within the Coalition or even outside of it in hopes of advancing their careers, increasing their qualifications, and honing their skills, either to achieve more bargaining power for higher-ranking and better-paying jobs in their chosen Syndicate upon their return to Himean employment, or to start a new life outside of Himeo entirely. Others are more than happy to enjoy the benefits of a stable, decently paying job, for decades or become more involved in their syndicate’s internal politics to secure career advancement; many devote their entire lives to their job and relationships among their fellow syndicate members.
Syndicates also play into Himean family structures in a few ways. Some families have had all or a large majority of their relatives work under the same syndicate for generations, with some membership lineages stretching back centuries to Himeo’s original revolution. Because of these family-syndicate ties, a young adult joining the family’s syndicate of choice or sometimes just that person’s syndicate of choice, typically after reaching the legal working age of 17 and completing their chosen education or vocational training, is often a very big deal in Himean society and the occasion is celebrated with cake and gifts in a similar way to how birthdays would be. It is a sort of coming-of-age holiday that is called “Admission Day” and is idealised in Himean culture for being the point where a citizen truly joins the working class and fights their struggle, but also for the sentimental meanings it has to the billions of individual Himean families, though some take their syndicate lineages much more seriously than others. Ejection from any syndicate is a mark of shame in Himean society, but being ejected from one where a person’s family has worked for generations, is a huge black mark of almost irrecoverable disgrace. Voluntarily leaving a syndicate, even if it is a syndicate with family ties, is not looked upon societally with indignity or disapproval, but this does not mean that internal tension will not occur in some families from such a voluntary departure.
Socially, syndicates also play a large role. Many Himean’s entire social circles work for the same syndicate, and a sense of camaraderie between members of them often can develop from this. This isn’t to say that individual Himeans only know people in the same syndicate as themselves, many Himeans in fact seek out friends in different syndicates from themselves to get a sense of social variety, however, each syndicate actively tries to foster a sense of solidarity and mutual friendship between its own members. Syndicate Worker’s Homes are also often social gathering places for members of their respective syndicates, and function as not just syndicate-provided buildings to eat and drink, but as after work hang-outs, off-duty meet-up points, or simply as places to go to meet new people, relax, and have fun for countless workers across the planet.
People who start working a syndicate job but then either by their own volition or by the syndicate’s discretion become unemployed or take a job with a foreign employer can usually still be members of their syndicate and typically receive syndicate-provided benefits but do not receive the pay that goes with a syndicate job. Syndicates have the discretion to freely eject or disbar members for any number of behavioural, disciplinary, or political reasons, such as promoting the false superiority of megacorporate ideas in the workplace or sympathizing with Hephaestus Industries to name two of many. Many syndicates are neutral or begrudgingly accepting towards the idea of their members working for outside companies and corporations (aside from Hephaestus Industries) but are quick to eject members who abuse the “inherent oppressive power” of their outside corporate positions and act in ways that are “harmful to the working class.” Every Himean returning to a syndicate job after working for a foreign corporation is subject to an exhaustive, weeks or even months long, interview and records review process by a syndicate panel. This process is colloquially referred to as "Walking through Purgatory" and is organized by the member’s syndicate in order to ensure that the returning member has not been recruited as a corporate agent and that they have not adopted any behaviors or beliefs which may be considered anti-Syndicalist or anti-working class, though these are intentionally very broad terms so that the syndicate may essentially reject anyone returning from a corporate job for any reason they deem fit. Failing this process can result in being assigned a lower-ranking job than what the member hoped to receive and a reduction in syndicate-provided benefits, ejection from the syndicate, or even being turned over to the national government as a traitor and corporatist infiltrator depending on the severity of the transgressions found by the panel. Many pass this process without a problem, but there are some who regretfully do not. Every syndicate on Himeo considers working for Hephaestus industries or taking a command/management position in any corporation directly associated with Hephaestus Industries as immediate grounds for expulsion and referral to the national government for treason charges.
While Himeo has thousands of syndicates scattered across its economic landscape, the largest and most influential of these are commonly known as the 8Stars. These syndicates are the premier players in the most important industries in the Himean economy and hold a status similar to what megacorporations may have in other economic systems. Without them, many intellectuals, both within Himean academia and outside of it, speculate that the Himean syndicalist experiment would cease to exist. They are commonly referred to as the 8Stars
United Mineworkers’ Alliance (UMA)
“What lies Beneath?”
When one thinks of the quintessential Himean Syndicate, they often think of the United Mineworkers’ Alliance even if they do not know it is the UMA that they are thinking of. This syndicate are some of the foremost experts in mineral extraction and processing in the Coalition and, to a lesser extent, in the entire Orion Spur. They maintain limited mineral extraction operations on Himeo itself (though gradually less and less as Himeo’s natural mineral wealth dries up) with numerous more sites on Vysoka and in asteroid belts around the CoC. Along with operating the most extensive and sophisticated arsenal of mining equipment in the Coalition and possibly beyond, the UMA has the second largest armed fleet and army under Himean ownership which it uses to patrol and protect the shipping routes to and from its various extraterrestrial mining sites. It is one of the largest employers in Himean space, holding almost unilateral sway over the Himean mining and interstellar shipping sectors to the exclusion of every other major syndicate. The UMA alone represents a significant subset of Himeo’s GDP, anywhere from 20% to 30% depending on the year, and its windfalls and general financial health are often used by outside observers as a barometer for the Himean economy in its entirety. The Alliance is also the strongest of all syndicates politically. It functions as a political party that represents itself and the Himean mining industry as a whole in Himean national politics and often holds significant influence over Himean economic and foreign policy. UMA Worker’s Homes are seen as the standard for what a Worker’s Home should be. Most have a bar, restaurant, showers, local syndicate offices, small all-faith chapels or prayer rooms, and modest game rooms with things like pool tables, large holovisions, and gaming consoles. Due to the integrated nature of their industries, the UMA shares a very close relationship with the Terästimantti-Llosgfynydd Industrial Cooperative.
Association of Himean Bankers & Economists (AHBE)
“Unity is Wealth.”
The AHBE holds the purse strings of Himeo’s economy, for better or worse. This syndicate essentially functions as the Himean national treasury and has a very close relationship with the Himean national government. It is the pot of gold from which all other syndicates seek funding, at least from Himeo. The AHBE is the wealthiest of all Himean syndicates, at least when measured by how many raw credits the association keeps in its coffers. It has influence everywhere on Himeo and can leverage its power against other syndicates by cutting off their funding and often relies on its great currency reserves to stay afloat during tough times. Despite the undeniably essential role the AHBE plays in the Himean economy, it consistently ranks among the most unpopular syndicates with the Himean populace. Its history of credit refusals to other syndicates has contributed directly to decreased wages and all the other unfavourable things that come along with them. Some syndicates use outside banks like Credit Xanusii, Idris Incorporated, or even NanoTrasen, for loans or credit lines so as to avoid dealing with the Association and its slow, albeit exaggeratedly so, credit approval process. Few Himeans look upon the AHBE with glowing positivity, with most seeing them as a necessary evil to keep the economy running. However, a small subset of Himeo’s population sees them as malicious and responsible for the insolvency of hundreds of honest, noble syndicates, the most notable of which being Himeo’s formerly-largest shipbuilding syndicate, the Collective Aerospace Syndicate. AHBE Worker’s Homes are few and far between, usually only in major cities and only numbering in the dozens as opposed to the hundreds typical of other syndicates, but are renowned for luxurious lounges and their fine food. They offer some of the best dining experiences on Himeo, a fact that the syndicate has been keen to open to non-members for exorbitant upcharges.
Free Consortium of Defense and Aerospace Manufacturers (FCDAM)
“The Revolution is not Fought with Fists.”
The Free Consortium of Defense and Aerospace Manufacturer’s is Himeo’s premier shipbuilding and weapons development syndicate. The Free Consortium designs its own equipment and also builds licensed Xanusii and Zavodskoi designs. Their products include everything from small arms to tanks and IFV’s to military spacecraft and everything in between. It also has a substantial subsection of its facilities devoted to the research and development of new arms. Along with weapons manufacturing, the FCDAM offers security services by contract to other Himean syndicates and even outside companies. The FCDAM absorbed the Collective Aerospace Syndicate in 2449 and has since taken over a majority of civil spacecraft manufacturing and shipbuilding on Himeo as well. As one may suspect, the Free Consortium’s shipbuilding sub-syndicates specialise in building freighters and other cargo-carrying crafts. FCDAM ships are used not only by Himean syndicates, but have also seen adoption by a number of Xanusii shipping and logistics companies. Unusually among the Worker’s Homes of 8Star syndicates, most FCDAM Worker’s Homes come with built-in shooting ranges where the Syndicate’s members may test, or more accurately recreationally use, arms developed by Free Consortium researchers. Naturally, this syndicate maintains a close relationship with the Himean People’s Unified Armed Forces, but also with the People’s Polytechnic Partnership of Himeo; the two trade research and researchers quite often.
Unified Locomotive, Rail, and Automotive Syndicate (ULRAS)
“Work forwards as one.”
If it moves on Himeo, then it was built by the ULRAS. Trains, cars, motorbikes, and other vehicles are almost exclusively designed and manufactured on Himeo by this syndicate. This is to the extent where the spoken acronym of the syndicate, “Ulras,” has entered the Himean lexicon as a term used as an informal name for any kind of truck, 4x4, or off-road vehicle, even if it isn’t manufactured by ULRAS. Much to the chagrin of other syndicates, any ULRAS vehicle sold to another syndicate is contractually bound to only be repaired and maintained by ULRAS technicians, which can sometimes lead to long, expensive delays between when a vehicle breaks and when it is back in action. Thankfully this standard does not apply to vehicles belonging to individual Himean citizens who have a right to repair their own vehicles, should they choose to do so. ULRAS Worker’s Homes are rather standard, but are well-liked by the syndicate’s members for being clean, usually built into rail-stations or other transit hubs, having built-in bunk facilities, and being open for 24 hours a day. Along with vehicle manufacturing, ULRAS maintains and operates the Himean planetary rail network, including all the shipping which takes place on those rail lines, and the few subterranean highways on the planet.
First Himeo Healthcare Union (FHHU)
“An injury to one is an injury to all.”
Perhaps the most beloved of all syndicates by the average Himean worker, the FHHU owns and operates nearly all hospitals on Himeo and a handful on Vysoka as well. The Union offers healthcare free of cost to the individual, including emergency services, long-term terminal illness care, routine check-ups, and many other treatments. Payment for the FHHU’s services is done not through the individual, but through contractual agreements with the careseeker’s syndicate in which the FHHU agrees to treat the syndicate in question's employees for an agreed upon quarterly payment. This means however that in times where the FHHU is in disagreement with other Himean syndicates, a key bargaining chip it has in its possession is to completely deny healthcare coverage for all those who work under any syndicate it finds itself in contention with so as to bring about more favourable dealings. This tactic is rarely used except in circumstances of absolute diplomatic deadlock, but has been known to be quite effective when employed and has resulted in very strange scenarios. The most notable of these was in 2452 when the Himean People's Unified Armed Forces failed to reach an agreement with the FHHU and as a result, the entire planet's military was denied all medical coverage (including emergency and triage services) and received no medical supplies for 77 days until a new agreement was reached. Despite being seen as both protectors of the working class and (usually) unconditional caregivers, the FHHU is often the butt of jokes for their lacking Worker’s Homes. Many of these facilities are essentially just glorified syndicate offices and are seen as basic, outdated, boring, and well below the bare minimum of what most Himeans consider what a Worker’s Home should be. Along with medical care, the FHHU is a large pharmaceutical producer and develops its own medicines along with manufacturing licensed medications from companies based outside of Himeo including Zeng-Hu and NanoTrasen.
Himean People’s Unified Armed Forces (HPUAF)
“To resist evil by force.”
The military and its soldiers are workers much like anyone else on Himeo and as such, have their own syndicate. The Himean Planetary Guard and Planetary Navy fall under the HPUAF’s purview and the syndicate acts as both a joint-command structure and a union to represent the interests of the average Himean soldier and sailor. As such, the HPUAF, often simply referred to as “The Army,” or “The Guard,” is very close and often takes orders from the Himean national government, but in times of disagreement, the syndicate is keen to remind Higher-ups in Himeo’s political apparatuses of the Armed Forces’ voluntary service to the government’s policies. Of the 8Stars, the Himean People’s Unified Armed Forces has perhaps the most extensive network of Worker’s Homes, though the Syndicate refers to their own facilities as “Soldier’s Homes”, with them being found in even the smallest and most remote of Himean communities. While usually small, typically just bars or cafes, they are all open to the public and usually have die-hard loyal patrons. In times of emergency in which Himeo or its people may be threatened, the HPUAF may enlist Himean citizens as members, even if these citizens are already members of other syndicates, and direct the activities of other syndicates in the name of class-defence by invoking the Gross Emergency Pact. This “working-class defence treaty,” the terms of which all Himean syndicates must agree to in order to receive their government charters, gives the HPUAF the potential to militarise the entire Himean population should the situation call for it, though this has never once been used. The Unified Armed Forces, along with holding command over the Planetary Guard and Planetary Navy, also maintain and staff the various defence platforms and stations which orbit Himeo or are scattered around its system.
People’s Polytechnic Partnership of Himeo (PPPH)
“Common struggle, common enlightenment.”
If education is the best provision for old age, then the People’s Polytechnic Partnership is the best provision for education on Himeo. The PPPH, usually just abbreviated to PPP or “Triple P,” is the primary academic and scientific apparatus on Himeo. All schools, whether they be early childcare centres looking after toddlers to the most advanced and prestigious engineering and artistic academies on Himeo, are operated by the PPP and their hundreds of thousands of employees. A vast majority of the planet’s scientific laboratories and other research centres are also operated by the PPP, making the syndicate on the cutting edge of Himean technology in fields as diverse as robotics, the life sciences, and bluespace tech. In addition to the sciences, the Partnership also operates a large number of Himeo’s theatres and other performance venues, the most notable of which are in the Weber District in Rautakaivos Kaupunki, 66% of which is owned by the PPP. This artistic flair extends to many of the Partnership’s Worker’s Homes which are renowned across Himeo for their live music, some of which allow non-members entry for a fee. Many syndicates are known to make generous donations to the PPP in exchange for better prices on future sales of PPP-developed technology.
Terästimantti-Llosgfynydd Industrial Cooperative (TLIC)
The Terästimantti-Llosgfynydd Industrial Cooperative or TLIC is the beating heart of Himeo’s heavy industry, manufacturing, and energy sectors. Formed by a mutual union of the Terästimantti Steel Syndicate and Llosgfynydd Energy Union, it is the largest syndicate on the planet by membership and operates a substantial majority of Himeo’s foundries, factories, and power plants. Among these is the venerable Terästimantti Iron & Steel Works, the single largest steel mill in the Orion Spur. This syndicate churns out steel, other processed and refined metals as raw materials for other syndicates and external companies, while also putting them to use in its own factories. TLIC factories are megacomplexes and can almost seem like small cities in themselves. They manufacture a plethora of goods: machine parts, industrial equipment, consumer goods, appliances, and even more sophisticated equipment like IPC frames, semiconductors, and advanced mech components. In addition to this industrial might, the TLIC holds dominance over Himeo’s energy industry with its ownership over many of the planet’s largest and most important power plants, the Llosgfynydd Geothermal Energy Plant being the most notable of them all. Along with its industrial strength, the TLIC is known across Himeo for having perhaps the best worker’s homes, their reputation being that they serve the best food, coldest beer, and have the best facilities like gyms, swimming pools, cinemas, gaming cafes, arcades, and even VR rooms. This notoriety has reached a point where some of the Cooperative’s recreational facilities have been opened up to non-members by the Syndicate’s senior members in ventures to cement the TLIC’s positive reputation among others in the planet’s syndicalist ecosystem. The TLIC exports many of its goods abroad, with the syndicate’s insignia, a crossed hammer and a lightning bolt within the outline of a gear, being seen as a seal of quality.
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 smugglers and pirates 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 Himeo’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.