At Spin Two Swords
Starport: Class I.
Diameter: 1,961 miles (3,156 km). Atmosphere: Thin
oxygen-nitrogen. Surface Water: None. Climate: Very hot.
Population: 75,000. Government: Impersonal bureaucracy.
Law Rating: 6. TL: 5.
An outlier in the Sword Worlds, both in terms of physical location and culture, Enos has become even more isolated from the rest of the Confederation since the end of the War.
More than any place else outside the Border Worlds, the planet is feeling the Impcriumtakc infonnal control.
Enos was settled in 477 by a misjumped refugee ship. The castaways were found in 484 but elected to stay rather than pay everything they owned for transportation to Caladbolg, where they would have had to start over again as penniless beggars.
At first Enos’ position four parsecs from the main cluster of Sword Worlds kept its trade marginal, but after Caladbolg, Caliburn, and Gunn joined the Imperium in 555, Enos became a stopover for Sword Worlder trade with District 268 and the Trojan Reach sector, bringing in a small trickle of trade and contact with the rest of the universe. The major events of the last 600 years have washed right over the planet’s head, as its distant position and low technology have kept it from being of any strategic interest 10 anyone. After the Third Frontier War a secret, heavily defended, deep-space refueling station was built halfway between Orcrist and Enos as a jumping off-point for siriking at Imperial installations at Caladbolg. The station was eventually found and destroyed during the Fifth Frontier War. Today the Confederation government is rebuilding Ihe station, although with commercial hegemony in mind. Given Enos’ marginal nature, there is little profit, but a new station and a stop at Enos will make it easier to get from the shrunken Confederation to District 268.
The rededication of the station to this function is a countermove to the growth of Imperial influence on Enos. In the last few years the planet has come increasingly under the sway of Ling-Standard Products, which handles the planet’s off world trade in petrochemicals and derivatives, and Hortalez et Cie, which provides the investment pushing Enos through the Industrial Revolution.
Enos is essentially a cannonball. While the planet was forming it was much larger, but at some point a massive impact blasted away most of its crust and mantle. The impact was so great that most of the silicate material was rocketed off at greater than escape velocity and spiraled into the primary star, but a scant amount of silicate remained and collapsed back onto the planet creating a thin stony layer above a rich metallic core. Enos is 95% metal core, with a rocky layer only about one to 10 miles thick. The core is rich in siderophile elements, including gold, palladium, rhodium, platinum, iridium, rhenium, and osmium. Only the difficulty of digging down to get it has kept Enos from becoming a miner’s paradise, and several megacorporations are now thinking about making Ihe effort.
On the surface, the most unusual feature of the planet is the Fire Sea, an unstable region aboul four hundred kilometers across that contains some of the largest and most accessible petrochemical deposits ever encountered. They exist close to the surface, and earthquakes regularly break the rocks above them and allowing the oil and natural gas to seep to the surface. In other places, the sand on the Fire Sea is black and thick with tar, and the atmosphere is foul with sulfurous compounds coming to the surface with the natural gas. The planet’s relentlessly dry atmosphere allows static charges to build up in the air, eventually to be let loose during dust Storms. These lightning-like strikes start smoldering fires in the tar, which are then covered by the storms. An area can look perfectly normal until the moment that the fire bursts to the surface, in a conflagration that may take weeks to burn out. If a natural gas leak is nearby, the outbreak can be explosive, and represents a major hazard to travelers. With the hazard comes opportunity, though, and much of Enos’ recent development has been fueled by megacorporate interest in mining the Fire Sea’s petrochemical resources. Once the Fire Sea is exploited, the money will be there for deep mines to go after Enos’ metallic riches.
Life on Enos
Civilization, such as it is, is clustered around the south pole, site of the largest deposits of subterranean water. The starport is one of the few in Sword Worlder space that is near the capital city, as long~distance transportation is a problem. There are only a few ships a year in any case. The towns have long been sleepy, but clanking. Primitive internal-combustion driven cars are beginning appear, driven by the rich through the countryside. A small cadre of biplanes allow some local repair, but are still imported from off world and are used to tie together the widely separated oases.
For the peasantry, local conditions have driven the Enosians to redevelop the type of culture common to primitive Human cultures living in hot, dry climate almost everywhere. Most people are farmers, living in the oases and tending plots irrigated by underground water. Local species resistant to salt and other chemicals leached by the watering are the staples, and most oases have a small town in the center. Those who make a living from trade drive caravans of miniphants from oasis to oasis. Trade is in luxuries, as most oases are self-sufficient in the basics of life. On Enos, life IS very basic.
The People of Enos
For a monarchy, Enos is surprisingly egalitarian. Communities are so small that there is not enough space or wealth for anyone to rise much above the rest. Each oasis has a hereditary headman, but he is no better or worse off than the people who live around him. Oases are then organized into clans. The smallest clans will control only one oasis, while major clans like the Slenge or the Arrheboe may cover 30 or more, and control over 10,000 people. There are more than 200 clans in all.
Water is the chief obsession of an Enosian, and strict rules surround any source of it. Enosian social rituals, politics, and even language have all been warped by the need to make sure that water is secure. Water is freely available, if asked for, but if taken without permission, the person gains the permanent enmity of the locals. The Enosians have avoided isolation in their oases by strictly enforcing exogamy, or marriage outside the local community. As a rule, marriages are arranged for political or economic reasons, and the caravans’ second great purpose is to transfer brides-to-be to new homes.
Enos is a monarchy, technically absolule but running on bureaucratic inertia whenever there is a weak king. This was the case under the last king, Odinkar Vi, and it has been even more the case for the last 12 years since he died and was succeeded by his daughter Ros. Unfortunately, she was only four years old whcn he died, and a regency has been in place since. The first regent was her mother, but she too died, under mysterious circumstances. A power struggle ensued, and a distant cousin of Queen Ros, Hamund Nafniscn Riscger, came out on top. He has been running things for the last nine years.
Now, as Ros approaches her majority, a crisis has erupted. She has disappeared from the public eye, injured in a riding accident- or so the regent says. Whether this is true or not, rumors suggest that something else is going on. Why the regent would do something as rash as making a grab for the throne at this point, rather than keeping Ros on as a figurehead, is unclear. If that is what he has done, he has misca1culated . Queen Ros is very popular, since she has never had to make an unpopular decision herself and her cousin has taken the blame for most of the government’s failing. Many Enosians have invested all of their future hopes in her reign. Her sudden disappearance has people feeling resentful, even if the planet’s tightly controlled society has prevented them from rising up in rebellion against the (possible) usurper.