Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Turkana IV
- Class: M
- Moons or Rings: None
- Gravity: 1.0 G
- Climate: Standard atmosphere, 40% hydrosphere (note the majority of the water is concealed by rainforests and swampland), warm temperatures
- Demographics: tens of thousands of former colonists
- Civilization: Anarchy and despotisms
- Resources: Metals and mineral resources
Once a colony world of Earth and the Federation, Turkana IV has had a bloody history of strife, civil war, anarchy and despotism. It stands as a harsh example of the fragility of civilization, and the bloody world of its absence.
Turkana IV is the fourth planet of seven in orbit around Turkana, an orange star approximately fifty light years from the Cardassian Demilitarized Zone.
The relative lack of large oceans on Turkana IV doesn’t mean there isn’t a great amount of water on this planet. There is a tremendous amount of vegetation – rainforests cover 40% of the planet, and large stretches of wetlands and swamps stretch over much of the rest of the surface. This contributes to the monsoon seasons which drench different regions of Turkana IV at different times of the year.
Turkana IV is a world of prairies and wilderness. The planet has unusually high amounts of iron ore, giving the planet a distinctive reddish appearance, contrasted with the green of vegetation. There are four seas on the planet, along with an interconnected series of rivers which makes it possible for a sailor to travel to every major sea by boat. There are heavy monsoons along the equatorial regions, and a rainy season even in the more temperate regions that lasts four months of the year. The planet has excellent mineral resources, which attracted the original colonists to this world.
There was one major city on Turkana IV’s surface before the collapse. The city – simply called Turkana City – held hundreds of thousands of colonists at its peak. After the destabilization of the planet, followed by its governments’ collapse, a long period of anarchy settled over Turkana City and her people. During this time, small packs and gangs began to form. They called themselves cadres, and began carving Turkana City up between them. Eventually, as the former colonists abandoned the surface for the tunnels beneath, two cadres became dominant. These are the Alliance and the Coalition, and each controls half the remnants of the city.
The cadres are both organized along despotic lines. A single commander controls his cadre, with hand picked lieutenants enforcing his will down the line. Betrayal or insubordination is treated harshly – much to the amusement of the other cadre members.
By now, the cadres would have destroyed all of Turkana IV, except that one of the last acts of the former government remains in force. Each member of a cadre has a proximity detector implanted in their chests, under the skin. When oppositely aligned proximity detectors come within thirty meters of one another, they light up with a bright light, visible through the skin – yellow for the Alliance, green for the coalition – and let each side know their enemies are nearby. This tactical balance between the cadres has kept the two factions from exploding into all out war. It is nigh impossible for a major offensive to be prepared without setting off the proximity detectors of the other side. If someone removes a proximity detector from their body, a micro-detonator explodes as soon as the detector comes in contact with the air. It’s said that when a person joins a cadre, they join for life. As a result, the cadres constantly joust with one another, stealing supplies and creature comforts from one another. Caught in between them are the unaffiliated descendents of the colonists. Without rights, without hope, living in an eternal combat zone, these people survive any way they can. As a result, no one does anything for anyone else unless they have something to gain from it.
By the late 2360’s, Turkana City is no longer habitable. The inhabitants instead moved into the tunnels and mines below the city, to better protect themselves and hide from their enemies.
Turkana IV was colonized in 2297. At that time, it was felt that Turkana IV would be a moderately standard industrial colony. In the beginning, a simple Colony Leader’s office, along with some town selectmen, were able to do what little governance is necessary. Most of the work was shared, including the construction of mines and tunnels below the city – both to extract minerals and ores for continued growth and development, and to provide some shelter from the monsoon season before the permanent city was established. As Turkana City rapidly grew, the local government made its first mistake. Despite the recommendation of some Federation observers, they did not change the form of their government, instead running the larger city with the same light hand and lack of control that the original settlement had.
However, what worked well when every colonist knew every other colonist became unwieldy when the colony numbered in the tens of thousands. Coalitions of miners, industrialists, workers and homesteaders began banding together, to exploit new resources as they came up. Attempts to strengthen Turkana City’s government failed, as the individual groups – already called cadres – refused to support the measures. In 2337 – with hundreds of thousands of colonists now living on Turkana IV and rival factions growing less and less patient with each other – the government began to collapse. Large sections of Turkana City became no man’s land, with rape gangs, thieves and thrillseekers preying on the colonists trapped in those sections. 2337 was also the year Natasha “Tasha” Yar was born, followed by her sister Ishara in 2342. At six years old, Tasha Yar watched her parents killed by a fight between two cadres. This caused Yar to hate the cadres for the rest of her tragically short life.
In 2352, with chaos reigning in the streets, the remains of the Colony Government gave official police powers to the two most powerful Cadres – the Alliance and the Coalition – and charged them with getting control of the remains of Turkana City. When the remaining Federation delegation to the beleaguered colony protested, the government expelled them, ending all diplomatic ties to the Federation. Tasha Yar, then fifteen, managed to escape from Turkana IV with the departing diplomats. She tried to convince Ishara to go with her, but unlike Tasha Ishara had embraced the cadres, joining the Coalition.
In 2367, the Federation Freighter Argos had a warp core containment failure. They were able to make an emergency orbit around Turkana IV, and escaped in an escape pod before the destruction of their ship. The USS Enterprise-D responded to the distress call, and made contact with the Coalition in an effort to secure the captured officers. However, the Alliance was the cadre that captured them. The Enterprise crew had to enter a tenuous partnership with the Coalition, in hopes of getting the officers back.
This partnership was both facilitated and complicated by Ishara Yar. Her sister, Tasha, had become the Chief Security Officer on board the Enterprise before her untimely death in 2364. Ishara Yar played on the friendships and emotional bonds her sister had forged with the Enterprise, ultimately helping them rescue the officers but attempting to destroy the Alliance’s early warning detection grid in the process, so that the Coalition could sweep in and destroy their enemies. The Enterprise crew foiled this plot, and returned Ishara Yar to the Alliance.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The Alliance and the Coalition control most of the remaining resources in the failed colony. Some forays into the thick forests surrounding the city are necessary, to hunt for food and gather natural supplies. These hunting grounds are the only places where the former colonists still venture above ground. In the tunnels beneath the surface, the cadres control all the main thoroughfares and access tunnels. Characters who might have a mission in these tunnels would need a guide versed in the back tunnels to get anywhere.