This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 5.6.
There are few systems in the Empire that inspire the myriad of emotions that Garron does. Even after two hundred years, the effects of the events on Garron II have barely abated in the public consciousness. To many, the system continues to be a chilling warning about the horrors that unchecked Human greed can unleash on the universe. To others, it is the lightning rod that spurred Humanity to finally rise up and free itself from the shackles of oppression.
Discovered in 2784 by Imperial pathfinders, the Garron system was significant from the start. While performing their initial assessment of the system, scientists and researchers focused on the only planet situated within the narrow green band of the G-type dwarf star. They were thrilled to discover developing life on Garron II. Remarkably, with all the systems that Humanity had discovered to this point, explorers had never before stumbled across a non-space faring sapient species, only ruins of long-past civilizations and ‘animals’ — so the government had never been faced with the prospect of how to deal with a burgeoning intelligent civilization.
The Imperator, Linton Messer XI, paraded vids of the aliens all across the Empire and boasted about Humanity uplifting the species. “We will be gods,” was the cornerstone of his address to the public in 2785. A team of the Empire’s greatest scientific minds were assembled under the guidance of famed anthropologist and linguist, Dr. Michael Shiherlis, and assigned to an orbital platform above Garron II. Their mission was to not only study the species below, but devise a method of contacting them and subsequently uplift them.
Over the next five years, Shiherlis and the team worked tirelessly to observe the creatures below and decrypt their language, all while keeping their presence hidden from the unsuspecting culture. However, their Imperator grew bored with the prospect of uplifting Garron II, particularly when he was presented with the initial planetary assessment that detailed Garron II’s considerable natural resources. The prospect of assimilating the species was now overshadowed by the possibility of massive financial gain.
The Imperator immediately began courting terraforming companies and mining concerns to spec out potential bids for processing the planet. Planetary geo-engineers moved into the observation station to perform more thorough surveys of the planet. Shiherlis quickly realized what was happening and implored Messer to reconsider.
He got his answer when Ellis Netemi, Linton Messer’s cousin and chief adviser, broke the planetary quarantine to personally lead a tour down to the planet surface. There, in full view of the alien species, he showcased the landscape for company reps in the hopes of sparking a bidding war. Shiherlis, horrified at having to witness this innocent species effectively being invaded, decided to take a stand and let the public know what Messer was up to. Unfortunately, Shiherlis was betrayed by a close associate who was terrified that the Imperator’s wrath would extend to the entire team. Michael Shiherlis was deemed an “enemy of the Empire” and quickly remanded to Orville prison on Charon III without trial.
With Shiherlis out of the way and the rest of the scientific team terrified into submission, Netemi sold mining rights to the highest bidder and the terraforming machines moved into place to convert the atmosphere. Whether the Imperator had forgotten about his earlier boasts to the public about uplifting Garron II or considered the populace to be so completely subjugated that his reversal would go unnoticed is still being debated among historians. However, all of those vids that he showcased depicting the creatures of Garron II firmly implanted the primitive civilization in the public’s consciousness, so once the underground activist movement known as the Tide released footage of the devastation caused by terraforming an inhabited planet, the public remembered. What came next, no one could have anticipated.
In the aftermath of the revolution, Humanity was faced with a myriad of uncertainties. The newly installed Imperator Erin Toi was busy introducing legislation that would prevent future despots from seizing power while also ferreting out the remaining forces loyal to the Messers, but the public’s attention was firmly on the loss of Garron II.
The Senate enacted the Fair Chance Act and quickly placed the recently discovered Osiris system under its protection, but there was considerably more debate over what to do with Garron II. The Senate decided to build a team to restore Garron II to its original form. They consulted the initial planetary analysis and even managed to bring back some of the original members of Shiherlis’ team to assist. The government even attempted to bring Dr. Shiherlis back onto the project after freeing him and the thousands of other political prisoners from the prisons on Charon III, but the doctor refused. Years of abuse during his incarceration prevented him from returning to the project.
Over the years, advanced research companies like Rayari Inc. volunteered their cutting edge technology to help rebuild Garron II and its biosphere. Imperator Toi ultimately placed Garron II under the Fair Chance Act, guaranteeing that it would be protected from this point onward.
The ramifications of the actions taken in this system reverberated through the decades. It was this incident that Imperator Salehi would cite, almost a hundred years later, as the inspiration for the creation of the Synthworld project. To this day, Garron remains as a nexus for the scientific community. Though it has no settled planets, the system sees a healthy amount of traffic and trade from its connections to Idris and Banshee. Surprisingly, though, Garron generates most of its revenue from the jump point to Bacchus. The system sees millions of travelers every year who are eager to visit the Banu system and conversely, acts as one of the main conduits into the UEE for Banu.
Formed very close to the system’s star, Garron I’s proximity has transformed its surface into a sea of lava.
This rocky planet was home to an amazingly diverse biosphere with an equally varied array of lifeforms until the Messers essentially eliminated the indigenous life by replacing the atmosphere. Since then, terraforming companies and scientists have worked to restore the planet to its former self and although they have not been able to recreate any of the creatures, they’ve made great strides in repopulating much of the botanical life, in large part thanks to the hundreds of detailed scans Shiherlis and his team recorded. Despite not having any inhabitants, this planet has been placed under the Fair Chance Act.
The original observation station constructed for Dr. Shiherlis and his team to design a method to uplift the denizens of Garron II. The station has since served as an operations hub for scientific teams attempting to rebuild Garron II’s original atmosphere and as a museum on the history of terraforming and the Fair Chance Act.
A large super-Earth that formed on the inner edge of the system’s frost line. After exhaustive studies, the planet was deemed devoid of life and cleared for mining to help fund efforts to restore Garron II.
The furthest planet in the system, this large, rocky planet orbits on the outer rim of the system. The UEE constructed a monument on the surface entitled The Sentinel as a sign of their commitment to protect the developing species in this and all other systems.
Those visiting Garron should be aware that the whole system has extra environmental protections in place to prevent additional contamination of Garron II. There are strict fines for littering and all ships are expected to properly dispose of waste at designated reclamation centers.
HEARD IN THE WIND
“I think my second summer house could go right there …”
– Ellis Netemi, Chief Adviser, Messer XI, overheard on prospecting tour, 2791
“Humans of the systems. This is Tide. Pull the veil from your eyes and see. Garron II was a developing world with a vast array of species. We say “was” because they are no more. The Imperator and his Corp minions terraformed the planet, killing everything to feed their insatiable greed. Pull the veil from your eyes and see for yourself.”
– Tide, April 12, 2792