This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 5.5.
A bustling hub of interspecies trade, with several asteroid belts and six planets orbiting the blue-white star at its center, the resource-rich Banu system of Gliese has been a popular destination for Human travelers for well over two centuries. Though Humanity has a well established place in the system today, with several burgeoning settlements of their own, it took hundreds of years of bargaining before any of that could come to pass. For while most Banu are eager to pursue commerce with other species, their trade routes are carefully guarded commodities.
After first contact in 2438, the U.N.E. quickly learned how complex negotiations with the Banu could be. Striking a trade agreement with the Protectorate was not enough — to get access to individual systems required diplomatic delegates to strike separate bargains with everyone from a variety of planetary governing bodies, all the way down to navigational souli for map data. In addition, there was the problem that controlling bodies would dissolve only to be replaced by a new souli who had acquired the rights to bargain, starting the whole process over again. Even then, many systems were not eager to welcome Humans, wanting to limit the competition and control the flow of goods through their system and demanding extremely high recompense for the privilege. Persevering through all those complications and over several decades, the U.N.E. eventually achieved visiting rights to several systems such as Bacchus, Geddon and Kins. However, this was not to be a continuing trend.
With the unfortunate circumstances related to first contact with the Xi’an and the terrible violence that came with the first Tevarin War, Humanity’s outlook towards other species shifted. While existing Banu trade was tolerated, and even relied upon during resource-taxing wartime, the Empire’s willingness to increase our xeno-relations dwindled to nonexistence with the start of the Messer Regime. It wasn’t until the severe economic recession of the early 28th century that this new status quo changed.
With rampant military spending at an all-time high in the wake of the first Vanduul incursions, along with the highest tax rate the UEE has ever had, the economy of the Empire had become stagnant at the turn of the 28th century. After trying numerous other tactics to spur market growth, Imperator Messer VIII decided to take a different, more drastic approach. His theory was that if the UEE could further expand their trade markets, it would bring a new influx of credits that would act as a reset button for several important sectors. For the first time in two centuries, Humanity sent a delegation to negotiate access rights to a new Banu system, Gliese.
It is rumored that the UEE had to strong arm several companies into handing over valuable blueprints and tech schematics to the Banu to make the deal happen, but in the end, many economists believe the 2712 opening of trade relations with Gliese prolonged the life of the Messer regime for another eighty years. A vibrant trading center with an abundant variety of resources, Gliese was a boon to the Empire’s industry, as Humanity embraced the brisk trade of its valuable raw materials and manufactured goods. Of course, beyond its economic appeal, Gliese also contains one additional feature that some claim is its biggest draw of all — a mysteriously deserted terraformed world.
Gliese I & Gliese II
The two innermost planets of the system are relatively quiet compared to the hustle and bustle found in the central trade lanes farther out. With a superheated ferromagnetic iron core, Gliese I has some regular traffic from Humans who claim that orbiting around the planet helps ease symptoms associated with cybernetic limbs (a claim that has yet to be supported by the mainstream medical community).
Gliese II is noteworthy for its retrograde rotation which sees this smog planet spinning in the opposite direction of its sibling worlds.
Gliese Belt Alpha
An “active” mining belt in every sense of the world, this orbital area is notorious for the frequent violence that breaks out between rival soulis during claim disputes over the valuable ore that is still being pulled from asteroids here. While typically Banu prefer peaceful negotiations, it seems the wealth available here has spurred many of the soulis to turn to violent solutions.
As opposed to the nearby belt, Gliese III, a terrestrial world without an atmosphere, is more typical of Banu mining operations. Its various guilds form a shifting landscape of outposts and mining installations, as control of territories regularly changes hands from souli to souli.
Gliese IV (Nogo)
When Humans first arrived in Gliese, they were shocked to discover a fully terraformed utopia that had zero Banu residing on it. With lush forests and grassy hills, Gliese IV seems ripe for settlement, and at one point the Banu themselves must have thought so too. Much of the surface of the planet features the decaying ruins of ancient settlements long abandoned. When asked why the planet is left untouched, most Banu simply reply that they aren’t supposed to go there. This common refrain has earned the planet the nickname ‘Nogo’ amongst Humans visiting the system. With the Banu’s unique view of history, to them it is not important why the world must be left untouched, but rather simply that it should be.
After scientific analysis revealed no obvious reasons why the world would be dangerous, several Human colonies decided to stake claims on the world and (thus far) are finding great success making a life for themselves. They even have brisk trade with the nearby Lyris Flotilla, whose inhabitants have rapacious appetites for fresh produce grown on the planet. Several notable Human xeno-archeologists have dedicated themselves to exploring the Banu ruins on the world to discover the truth of what forced the Banu to give up the planet.
Not everything is as completely idyllic on Nogo as images of the beautiful landscape would have you believe. Several outlaw groups have established themselves here, taking advantage of the lack of a formal government and military to prosper, especially since Banu mercenaries will not enter the atmosphere. However, new information has come to light that may be giving those using Gliese IV as a hideout second thoughts. A recent declassification under the Historical Truth Act has revealed that the UEE utilized a secret program called Project Eclipse to target a particularly dangerous insurgent group living on the world with elite stealth bombers.
The heart of commerce in the system, Lyris Flotilla is composed of a semi-permanent mooring of various stations and large vessels that form a massive trade hub. Almost all ore and other resources collected in the system pass through Lyris on their way to dozens of other systems. With so many visitors stopping at the flotilla every day, there is an incredible mélange of food, shopping and entertainment to be found throughout its various wings and halls. By dating some of the oldest structure which are part of the flotilla, it is theorized that the first ships gathered here when Gliese IV was first vacated, eventually forming into the structure that exists today.
Gliese Belt Beta
Having been more easily mined than Alpha Belt, today this group of heavily worked-over asteroids draws more attention from salvagers, looking to harvest materials from old outposts and abandoned rigs, than it sees from miners.
Thick clouds of dense water vapor cover the surface of this warm gas giant, which is dotted by orbiting condensers. Human corporation Terragra uses Gliese V as the source for their line of bottled water, and claims that its natural purity is unmatched in the Empire.
Gliese Cluster Gamma
This distant and sparse cluster of asteroids has a dangerous reputation and is a viable site only for more experienced miners, thanks to its remote nature and treacherous gas pockets.
The final stop before leaving the system, this distant and barren protoplanet is littered with luck offerings left by new trade soulis before starting their first journey.
Many stalls in the Lyris market will offer visitors a drink from their slomaddon, a large ornate brewing vessel, as part of the traditional deal-making process. It is recommended that pilots who have sampled slomaddon wait a few hours before flying, as some of the ingredients can have a delayed intoxicating effect on Humans that may not be apparent at first.
HEARD IN THE WIND
“The only silver lining to Samuel Messer’s terribly brutal time in office was the opening of trade with Gliese and that he ruled for a relatively brief eighteen years.”
– Sydney Kamarck, A Cruel Farewell: A Survey of Imperators Before the Fall, 2877
“If you ever wonder where all the losing shirts for the Sataball Championship wind up, then you, my friend, have never been to Lyris. It’s like Banu there all live in some amazing alternate universe where the Jumpers won in ’39.”
– Tobias Dapur, Dapur Tells Da Truth Comedy Special, 2942