Mustered Out on Mertactor
Avastan Library Data
Planetary details: Starport Class C. Routine Quality Installation. Only unrefined fuel is available. Reasonable repair facilities are present.
World diameter is 3,990 miles (6,420 km).
Atmosphere: Very thin
Participating Democracy – Ruling functions are reached by the advice and consent of the citizenry directly.
Law Level 0: No laws affecting weapons possession or ownership
Tech Level A: Interstellar Community
Trade Classifications: Poor, Non-Industrial
Avastan is a small, poor planet with a very thin atmosphere and little water, and was therefore among the last habitable systems in District 268 to be colonized. However, it does occupy a strategic position on the J-1 main between the Five Sisters and Glisten subsectors. In the early 1000s, a group of entrepreneurs from Collace founded Avastan Portways, Inc. (API) for the purpose of building a C-class starport on Avastan as a speculative venture. Their investment quickly paid off, since the new starport, which offered the only repair yards on a five-parsec stretch of the main, soon became a favorite stopping place for free traders and other merchant vessels.
There was originally no downport since the planet was unpopulated – and bitterly cold. And, although API laid claim to the planetary surface, the company was loath to finance its colonization, since several decades at least would have to pass before it saw any return on the investment. Nevertheless, when small groups of squatters began settling on Avastan, API’s initial response was to try to eject them, but wiser heads soon prevailed. What logic was there in removing settlers when the company had no intention of exploiting the planet itself? Indeed, didn’t API actually stand to benefit if the planet was colonized and developed by others without it having to invest any funds in the effort?
Accordingly, in 1024, the company renounced its claim to Avastan and turned control over to the squatters on the sole condition that they place no restrictions on further immigration and charge nothing for land. When word got out that Avastan was open to unrestricted colonization, it attracted a few adventuresome souls from Collace, but many more of the new colonists were dissidents from other systems in District 268 that had oppressive and/or exclusive political regimes (e.g., Tarkine, Kwai Ching, Motmos, etc.). This made for a highly-diverse population that is generally welcoming towards new immigrants.
Most of the 700,000 inhabitants live in the vicinity of Avastan Downport (established in 1027), where they engage in small-scale agricultural and resource extraction enterprises that sell their products to API for use in the starport. Others are scattered across the planet in small, self-sufficient communities. The Avastans are jealous of their autonomy and freedoms (including unrestricted weapons ownership) and tolerate no intrusion in their lives by any external authorities. There are no law enforcement agencies per se, so order is maintained by local posses. Local judicial and governmental decisions are made in open ‘town meetings’ by the direct vote of all participating adults. On those rare occasions when decisions must be made that impact the planet as a whole, all adults participate directly in the political process by casting their votes on a secure, planet-wide satellite data network.
Despite their minimal governmental and law enforcement institutions, Avastans hardly live in a state of anarchy. Like any frontier planet, Avastan experiences its share of lawlessness and violence – including of the vigilante variety – but it is far from being a high-crime world. Indeed, offworld visitors are often surprised to learn that it is considered extremely impolite to openly carry weapons outside of the starport boundaries unless one is traveling in wilderness areas.
Starport authorities are not scrupulous when it comes to checking ships’ papers and manifests, and Avastan has gained a reputation as the kind of port where corsairs and smugglers can sell their “merchandise” at little risk. More than one merchant crew has found its stolen cargo for sale at a local brokerage or encountered crewmembers of the corsair that stole it in one of the local taverns. Not surprisingly, Avastan Starport is also notorious for its unruliness and violence. API’s Security Division (a light infantry battalion equivalent) concerns itself almost exclusively with protecting company property and places of business that operate concessions within the starport. It generally will not intervene to deal with other forms of unlawful behavior unless it gets completely out of hand.
As part of their ongoing “cold war”, Trexalon has accused Collace of guilt by association with the API and its tolerance for corsair activity. Collace responded by canceling API’s corporate charter, but a new one was soon granted by the “government” of Avastan. The Trexalon Technical Consortium has also implied that the contrast between the Imperium’s decisive action against Tarkine (which was caught supporting corsairs in 960) and its failure to clamp down on Avastan, reflects the influence of pro-Imperial Collace. The official Imperial position is that, in the case of Avastan, extreme measures are not warranted because the API merely turns a blind eye to corsair activity rather than actively supporting it. However, it could well be that the real reason for the Imperium’s forbearance is indeed a desire to avoid antagonizing opinion on Collace.