Ianic / Lunion / Spinward Marches

Referee's Notes


Player Information

Government and Society

Pirate Activity

T'Hana D'Corta S'Vaat

Visit of the Anastasia

Pirate Activity

Because of the potentially very lucrative trade route between this system and Lunion, there is a major pirate group which has spies here to alert them of any trade activity. This pirate organisation has a working relationship with Ianic itself, as the tech level of the planet is not sufficient to support space flight.  The pirates visit the system frequently, often with an appropriated Gunned Escort in the livery of the Associated Surplus Distribution Company, registered planet Dekalb / Querion.

Government and Society

The government of Ianic is an impersonal bureaucracy, and this helps hold its tech level down to 5 (1930's U.S.). The whole planet is under the jurisdiction of various bureaus -- the Bureau of Personal Identification issues identity numbers to all citizens (although identity cards are not required to be carried), and without an identification number most of the other bureaus will not deal with anyone. Everyone is well aware of the summary (but generally fair) justice that can be dispensed by any government Bureau. Off-plant visitors who break any custom or law will usually find themselves handed off to the Bureau of Deportation (under sawed-off shotgun guard, if deemed necessary), whereupon their movements on Ianic are then restricted to the starport -- their visa rights are revoked for life. Requests for maps of the city (or indeed of the world) will be greeted with alarm, and the person so requesting will be referred to the Bureau of Military Secrets.

The law level is relatively high (no firearms permitted), but crime and violence are rare, mostly because everyone is convinced that the system of Bureaus which govern the planet under the general (but absolute) direction of the Bureau for Bureaucratic Affairs (of which visitors are rarely told) is a stable and benevolent way to run the planet. Basically it is, but many aspects of society are so strictly regulated that progress is difficult.

The Bureau for Health and Recreation is surprisingly advanced, and the hospital facilities are at least TL7. Health care is provided for all citizens free, and for off-planet visitors at the discretion of the Bureau for Interplanetary Trade (which runs the adminstration building at the field of asphalt they call a starport). There is an 80% trade goods import duty, but a loophole exists in the rule and it is not difficult to find a legal way around it (Routine, Admin, Legal). There are generally no obstacles to passenger transport or interplanetary trade.

Imperial credits are worth substantially more than their face value, and are the most effective currency for getting anything done on Ianic.

Transportation in the cities is almost exclusively through wheeled internal combustion taxicabs. Traffic laws are non-existent (no Bureau has ever been created to handle them) and so travel is a dangerous and frightening experience. Letting Italian taxi drivers loose in modern-day Boston might be a suitable analogy. On an average trip across town, a visitor would expect to see at least five accidents, of which one would likely be a multiple fatality.  On the other hand, the taxi drivers know the layout of the city by heart, and will deliver anyone anywhere in a minimum(!) time. They are not really very talkative, because they know that the knowledge they hold is technically a military secret.

In theory, the Bureau of Personal Location knows where everyone is, but in practice does nothing of the sort -- by the time the appropriate forms are filled in, the person is invariably somewhere else. Anyway, it is of little use to travellers as a personal identification number is needed to locate anyone. Any traveller expressing a desire to soak in the local colour is invited to apply for a Sociological Investigation Permit. Some of the forms typically request the person's DNA sequence, X-rays of their last 3 generations, ask "Have you, or do you ever intend to vote in a democratic election?" and so on -- application of Imperial Credits usually reduces simple forms to a manageable level.

Visitors requiring more than simple answers to questions are usually referred to the Bureau of Publications.

The starport maintains radio watch, but the station is not continually manned -- usually only when a ship actually lands! A penetrating scan of the starport area may reveal unexploited heavy metal deposits in the area.

T'Hana D'Corta S'Vaat

One interesting (and little-known) aspect of Ianic is a religious military order called the T'Hana D'Corta S'Vaat (Order of the Reptilian Black Things That Spit). Devotees of this order wear black robes, with black turban-like headgear, with a long strip of black cloth hanging down their back. They will not use any firearms or cutting weapons, and indeed will not use as much as a table knife or fork.

Initiates are directed through a curtain, struck over the head into unconsciousness (4 pts from staff on a bare head), then undergo an indoctrination/hypnotism/ritual in an open-air part of the stilt-mounted building of the order (1-story on 2-story stilts), during which they inhale burning plant material, watch members (dancers?) performing ritualised combat manouevres, and study the psychological symbols of the religion from a book (one symbol to a page).  Eventually they wake up and are let out of the building and have a Master of the order to follow them everywhere and direct them on the Right Path. Members of the order have free passage anywhere on Ianic, and are regarded with respect (if not downright fear) by most of the citizens.

The Order is not under any Bureau control, and this is related to the lack of traffic laws. When a bureau to control religious martial activities was about to be set up, the TDS destroyed the entire bureaucratic chain of command sufficiently to put the bureau creation process into permanent limbo -- this chain of command lead through the Bureau of Traffic, which was completely eliminated, and up into the very top levels of the Bureau for Bureacratic Affairs.  As a consequence, it is now legally impossible to set up a bureau to regulate the Order, and also impossible to regulate traffic laws.

Visit of the Anastasia

012-1117 : Ianic / Lunion / Spinward Marches

The Hermes arrives at Ianic and both ships join up for the flight into the system, where they enter orbit and the Woodstock does a quick mapping scan. They try to raise the starport on radio but get no answer, so land (somebody reaches the radio then!) and encounter the local bureaucracy. Sir Bridgehead actually manages to find a loophole to avoid the 80% trade goods import duty. Chiang Ho runs a scan from the scoutship and finds mineral deposits near the starport that the Imperium could get out economically, but not these people.

David Brock and Chiang Ho go out into the town and find the local bar -- the local drinks are mostly strong spirits. They go on to look for martial arts books in local stores, and on bribing a bookstore owner are directed towards the Order of the Reptilian Black Things that Spit (known in the local language by the acronym TDS). They go to a back room of the one-story building on 2-storey stilts, are knocked unconscious, and wake up in some place open to the sky with some burning vegetable matter waved under their faces while dancers (ritual fighters, perhaps) cavort around them.

Sir Bridgehead is deported to the starport (with his visa permanently revoked) via the Bureau of Personal Identification, the Bureau of Military Secrets, and the Bureau of Deportation. "What is the reason for this?" he asks. "I'm afraid that to find that out you will have to fill out a form from the Bureau of Information, and as a deportable alien you don't have the right to fill in those forms," say the polite gentlemen with the sawed-off shotguns. As he is carted off in a box-like compartment in a car, he keeps ranting about complaints he intends to make with the authorities.

The traders spend virtually the whole day working through the horrendous red tape. They are a bit worried about the others not coming back, so try the administration building but it is closed until morning.

013-1117 : Ianic / Lunion / Spinward Marches

Chiang Ho arrives back at the starport at about 12:00, David Brock around 13:30. They each have with them a man in black robes wearing turban-like headgear with a long strip of black cloth that hangs down their back. These TDS guys don't even acknowledge each other, but the bureaucrats certainly notice them--contrary to the group's previous experience, the four walk straight through the various desks without so much as a request to fill in a form--in fact the locals edge away from them.

The ships will be loaded at 09:00 tomorrow. After dinner, Chiang Ho gives all his silverware to the Hermes--it seems that the TDS guys don't like these "barbaric weapons."

014-1117 : Ianic / Lunion / Spinward Marches

The passengers are boarded and the cargo loaded by 10:00. The Hermes and Woodstock leave Ianic at 10:30. Soon after leaving orbit they are hailed by another ship, a gunned escort from the Associated Surplus Distribution Company (head office at Dekalb/Querion, they say). After a brief conversation with Captain Ed Williams on the Raptor, who seems very familiar with the Ianic planet and bureaucracy ("Happy hunting!" they wish each other), they pass--the Hermes and Woodstock go on to the gas giant to refuel. In the meantime, the TDS guys start giving David Brock and Chiang Ho a workout with weighted sticks (rifles are "barbaric," except when used as clubs); they are also extremely good at chess.