Mustered Out on Mertactor
Tarkine Library Data
Affiliation: Client States ( Cs )
Starport class C: Routine quality installation. Only unrefined fuel available. Reasonable repair facilities present.
Small world. Surface gravity of .54 G. World diameter is 3853 miles (6200 km).
60 percent water. Cloud cover is 40 percent.
3 million inhabitants
Captive Government. Government by a leadership answerable to an outside group (the Imperium).
Law Level 2: Portable energy weapons (laser carbine, laser rifle) prohibited. Ship’s gunnery not affected.
Tech Level 7: circa 1973.
Trade Classifications: Agricultural. Rich.
With its standard atmosphere, temperate climate, plentiful water, and mild gravity (0.54G), Tarkine is one of the most pleasant planets in District 268. It is also among the most beautiful, with magnificent equatorial rain forests, breathtaking jungled mountain valleys, dramatic cliff-girt coastlines, and a remarkably diverse ecosystem with exotic and often strikingly delicate flora and fauna that have evolved in the planet’s low gravity. Thus, despite Tarkine’s chronic political and security problems, it attracts large numbers of tourists who enjoyed diving expeditions, overland photo-safaris, and aerial sightseeing tours in quaint, propeller-driven aircraft. In order to preserve Tarkine’s stunning but fragile ecosystem, all visitors who travelled outside the starport/capital’s boundaries have to undergo comprehensive (and onerous) bio-decontamination procedures.
Despite the importance of the tourist trade, agriculture was always the keystone of Tarkine’s economy. Indeed, Tarkine is perhaps best known as a source of exotic spices, but it also produces a broad variety of indigenous food crops and livestock (offworld species are banned) which are exported throughout the subsector and beyond. In 780, Tarkine, Tarsus, and Motmos formed the Ag Worlds Combine, a loose cartel that was designed to halt a spiral of mutually-destructive price competition in the lucrative agricultural export markets of Forine and Collace. The Combine supplies food to much of District 268, which includes many other systems which, like Forine and Collace, have inhospitable and/or degraded environments that cannot support agriculture on a large enough scale to feed their populations. The Ag Worlds Combine’s headquarters was located on Motmos.
In order to resolve its food supply problems, Dallia, a cold, inhospitable world just one parsec away, seized control of Tarkine in 840. The occupation forces were withdrawn after a couple years due to diplomatic pressure and military threats from other food-poor systems in District 268 (subtly backed by the Imperium) that were unwilling to see Dallia monopolize Tarkine’s agricultural exports. As additional insurance against future aggression, the Ag Worlds Combine’s members (all of whom were greatly inferior to any potential aggressor in both population and technology), made it known that if any of them was threatened or invaded, the other two would embargo all food exports to the offending system(s).
The Ag Worlds Combine was critically weakened when Tarkine more-or-less permanently lost its independence in 960. In that year, the Imperial authorities uncovered damning evidence that, for nearly two decades, Tarkine’s government had been covertly supporting corsairs (mainly from the Sword Worlds) who preyed upon commercial shipping traffic which passed through District 268 on its way between the Glisten and Five Sisters subsectors. In exchange, Tarkine received a large share of the corsairs’ booty, which was used to fund routine government services and large-scale public infrastructure projects (and line top politician’s pockets) without having to burden the citizenry with taxes. In 960, an Imperial Navy task force invaded Tarkine, replaced its government, and established a scout base on the planet to ensure that there was no resumption of corsair activity.
So today Tarkine is governed by an unpopular pro-Imperial government – a majority of whom have blood relatives on the Imperial world of Mertactor. These government officials are also actively supported with generous political donations by the McClellan Factors cartel so there is a level of nepotism involved here commercially as well politically. Unfortunately this led those previously disposed towards the TTC into losing their jobs at the C-class Moffett Downport.
This nepotism, along with the effects of McClellan Factors price fixing on crop shipments, has given rise to a local insurgency. The TTC still has workers at Moffett Downport simply because those predisposed to the TTC are skilled workers, and cannot be easily replaced by the new government. TTC has been using these remaining staff to monitor the insurgency.
The scout base is located adjacent to Moffatt Downport on the banks of the Bronda River about 25 kilometers downstream from Delis, the planetary capital. Docks lined the riverbank, but water-borne traffic was light since most passengers and cargoes travelled along a highway (built with ill-gotten funds in the 900s) that ran from Delis to the starport and onward to points south. The entire 5 kilometer square starport/scout base complex is under direct Imperial control, and was usually guarded by a battalion-size force of mercenaries or Imperial Marines. All of the landward approaches are ringed with minefields and other obstacles intended to frustrate rebel attacks.
Tarkine’s inhabitants generally detest the Imperial-client government and constantly plot against it. Several uprisings have been attempted, and guerrilla and terrorist attacks targeting the government and the IISS scout base are common occurrences. These are conducted by the Independence on Tarkine Alliance (IoTA), which fields about 5,000 full-time guerrillas and could count on the tacit support of most of the population — including covert sympathizers in Tarkine’s government and armed forces. It is equipped with an extensive array of TL-6 and TL-7 weaponry, including small numbers of armored vehicles and artillery pieces captured or stolen from government forces.
Generally though, The insurgency on Tarkine is currently ongoing and low-key, usually resulting in the armed robbery of Government offices, officials, graffiti, and an underground free-press and radio denouncing the bloodless coup. It is building up to becoming higher tempo, and arms are being stockpiled for a coming armed insurrection.
Terrorist attacks and kidnapping attempts targeting the predominantly Imperial tourists who visited Tarkine are infrequent, but still a source of concern. Tourist parties are always escorted by large numbers of heavily armed guards, but it is not unknown for the guards to be overwhelmed — or infiltrated by IoTA agents. Tarkine’s population of just 6 million is so widely dispersed that tourists have little interaction with the locals – most of whom live under frontier conditions in tiny agricultural villages and isolated family or communal farms. Cities are few, far between, and small. Delis, the largest urban center, has just 22,000 residents.
Due to the difficulty of policing such a thinly scattered population, law enforcement is minimal. Likewise, although the planetary and Imperial authorities would prefer otherwise, private ownership of weapons is practically unrestricted because the inhabitants depend upon them both for protection against dangerous indigenous lifeforms and to supplement their diet through hunting. Moreover, any attempt to disarm Tarkine’s citizens would almost certainly spark a planet-wide revolt.