Protean League


Regions:

  •  Proteus (175,000 pop)
  •  Nereid (92,000 pop)
  •  Larissa (1,200 pop)
  •  Galatea (3,000 pop)
  •  Neptunian Trojan Belt (600 pop)

Overview:

  • The second largest of moon of Neptune, the capital of the Protean League, Proteus, is comparable in size to Ceres in the Asteroid Belt, although it is still tiny in terms of mass compared to Triton.
  • Also like Ceres, Proteus, as well as Nereid, Larissa, and Galatea, have all been induced with an artificial spin to generate a centrifugal simulacrum of gravity.
  • In addition to being the largest member world of the Protean League, Proteus also has the distinction of being the richest in hydrocarbons and carbonates, making it a commercially indispensable part of the League as well as the capital.
  • Where Triton's orbit is relatively distant from Neptune, the moons of the Protean League are, with the exception of the Neptune Trojans, all in a tight band tightly orbiting Neptune proper.
  • The largest crater on Proteus is over 200km across, the name of which is also the name for Proteus' largest city and Mallory Kalmes' seat of power - Pharos.

History

  • Due to the valuable colonization target of the large moon of Triton, Neptune was an early settlement focus in the diaspora of the solar system. The Oceanic League poured vast sums of money in a partially commercial, but in truth mostly ideologically driven goal at spreading humanity as far and fast as possible.
  • While the rapid growth of Triton itself brought riches enough to Neptune as a whole, there are always unrewarded margins in such situations, and this was no exception. The myriad mining colonies on the periphery of Triton's reach saw little of their larger sibling's wealth, and their lower share of the population meant that political amalgamation was never a tolerable consideration.
  • For long decades, discontent simmered below the surface, the "Fringers", as the inhabitants of these dispersed moons and trojans were called, living lives of liberty from the rule of the Democratic Republic of Triton, but at the cost of lives filled with economic hardship and privation. The rule of law by force of arms became institutional, and Fringers gradually became a synonym for smugglers and pirates. For Triton, the situation was largely tolerable as these fringe moons served as a cultural safety valve for the increasingly rigid life of the average citizen of the Democratic Republic of Triton.
  • In 2376, a woman by the name of Mallory Kalmes consolidated power over the moon of Proteus. Within a dozen years she managed to bully, cajole, or dominate all other serious rivals among the Fringer population, establishing a political entity known as The Protean League. Deftly manipulating long-seething resentments against the Democratic Republic of Triton, Mallory Kalmes focused the Fringe and the nascent Protean League on a mission of vengeance against that seemingly monolithic power. Piracy turned into commerce raiding, and commerce raiding turned into military raids, until the conflict known as the Long War has dominated the politics, economics, and military of Neptune.

Primary Industries:

  • Carbonates
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Water Ice
  • Maintains some capacity for Helium-3 mining
  • Purchases or acquires via piracy ships rather than natively building its own
  • While largely self-sufficient, economically the Protean League is poor; its primary export lies in the low to mid-value raw materials of its mines

Conflicts:

  • The Long War with the Democratic Republic of Triton
    • Neptune is the site of a protracted conflict between the expansive and xenophobic Protean League and the Democratic Republic of Triton. The conflict is most popularly referred to as, The Long War, as it has continued now for well over fifteen years and shows no signs of going away. Repeated diplomatic attempts to resolve the issue have utterly failed.
    • The Democratic Republic of Triton is larger and more economically powerful, but is crippled with internal political gridlock rendering the polity incapable of effectively marshaling its superior resources. While Triton's navy is substantial, it suffers from low morale and rampant cynicism among its officer corp.
    • The Protean League spends a vastly higher percentage of its productivity on the construction of an ever-increasing military. Where the Democratic Republic of Triton's navy favors larger battleships, the Protean League prefers to operate a numerically superior fleet of more-expendable and more nimble frigates with only a very few larger ships.
    • Still, the Protean League is not powerful enough to launch an all-out attack on the Democratic Republic of Triton, and so has - for now - confined itself to aggressive commerce raiding, capturing smaller colonies and research stations, and slowly but surely tightening an economic noose around its larger neighbor. Until recently Triton's populace considered the Protean League's actions merely a nuisance, but with the loss of a few high-profile mining and research bases in Neptune's Trojan Belt there is an increasing fear that the Protean League may actually someday be able to force the Democratic Republic of Triton to its knees.
    • Under Mallory Kalmes' shrewd leadership, the Protean League has grown from being a collection of poor disgruntled miners to a feared force capable of effective asymmetrical naval warfare and raiding capacity. The Protean League's population has effectively sacrificed their proud history of self-reliance for the promise of revenge, a promise that Mallory Kalmes seems well on her way to delivering.
  • The Promise of the Alliance
    • On the two most distant moons of Neptune - in fact, the most distant moons of any moons in the solar system from their own primary - the Alliance has set up a solitary, small mining operation on Neso, and a tiny research station on Psamanthe.
    • The Alliance has been careful to not antagonize either the Democratic Republic of Triton, nor has it made any moves on the Protean League.
    • Neither the Democratic Republic of Triton nor the Protean League trusts the Alliance's intentions, however, and both keep a close eye on Alliance operations in the area, as the Alliance has gained a reputation for patient but seemingly unstoppable expansionism.
  • Other Polities
    • Aside from Haumea, the Protean League has no real friends, although it continues to make overtures to certain polities in the Kuiper Belt, notably the Quorum and the Orcus Directorate.
    • Most polities in the solar system are diplomatically hostile to the Protean League; many, in fact, refuse to even recognize it as a legitimate state.
    • The more mercenary and practical of the solar systems polities do, however, maintain open commercial relations with the Protean League, assuring it of the supplies it needs that it cannot generate internally.

Politics and Culture:

  • The Protean League is in theory a confederation, but in practice bears more resemblance to a monarchy with Mallory Kalmes at its unelected head bearing the title of Chancellor, and a collection of family heads, strongmen, gang leaders, and others who form a nucleus of de facto nobility. By deftly playing off internal claimants against each other and effectively mobilizing the general population against the ever-present threat of the Democratic Republic of Triton, Mallory Kalmes has vast, albeit not quite omnipotent, control over the course of the League.
  • Mallory Kalmes herself was originally a mechanical engineer working in one of Proteus' many hydrocarbon mining operations. She is cunning, ruthless, politically adept, spartan in her own daily existence, and extremely charismatic. She is not only one of the most effective political operators in the solar system, but one of the solar system's most brilliant strategists. Her only limits thus far have been her very limited base of power, and the fact that in violently turning her people against the Democratic Republic of Triton she has in the process created a xenophobic population who are feared and hated in most quarters of the solar system.
  • Economically, the population of the Protean League are almost uniformly poor. This state of affairs has, however, metamorphosed into a cultural point of pride. "Wealth" has come to mean decadence and laziness in their eyes; "tolerance" has come to mean "unprincipled moral relativism"; a desire for peace to them means cowardice and lack of pride in one's own accomplishments.
  • From an original place of self-denigration, Mallory Kalmes has installed a hitherto unknown sense of pride. While this pride often exhibits as arrogance and xenophobia, it has proven a heady elixir to a people used to being considered pariahs and criminals by their fellows of the Democratic Republic of Triton.
  • The tolerance for the population to persist at - and even take pride in - a low standard of living has given Mallory Kalmes the ability to focus the greater part of the League's economic output on creating a highly mobile, highly effective military force that has been consistently beating the more powerful on paper navy of the Democratic Republic of Triton.
  • Militarily, the League Navy reports directly to Mallory Kalmes as Chancellor, and consists primarily of commercial frigates converted to dedicated military and raiding operations. Discipline is tight, loyalty is reliable, and morale is exceptionally high. The League Navy has also proven itself shockingly tolerant of personnel losses without noticeable loss of morale. Rigid military doctrine is discouraged in favor of innovation, risk-taking, and creative applications of asymmetrical naval warfare. Tonnage for tonnage, the League Navy is easily the single most effective naval force in the solar system.
  • Perhaps the only major Achilles' Heel of the Protean League is that for all its efficiency and effectiveness, the League has a tiny population clustered on a few vulnerable moons. Were it to feel sufficiently threatened, it is possible the Democratic Republic of Triton could order its navy to glass the Protean League's worlds, and although highly effective in a mobile environment, the League Navy is no match for the Democratic Republic of Triton's dreadnoughts in a static fight. Mallory Kalmes has thus far correctly gauged that the Democratic Republic of Triton lacks the political will to order what would essentially be an act of genocide, but the more successful the Protean League is able to threaten the Democratic Republic of Triton, the more of a risk panicked citizenry might put aside their internal disagreements and commit the unthinkable.
  • Commercially, the Protean League heavily restricts outside commercial involvement, a fact that has done little to endear it to the various commercial operations of the solar system. Gaining entry to the Protean League's internal economy generally requires a patron from the League's "nobility" (technically, "peers") to provide assurances and indemnity.
  • Linguistically, like Triton, English is the dominant language, although Hilde, also known as "Spacer's Cant", is gaining popularity and may well overtake English in this role by the end of the century.