Völund is a mercenary and mercantile nation that is located on the edge of UEE settled space. The active patrol area of Völund settlements extend approximately 20 light years in diameter from the Banshee star system. On the edge of UEE space, these settlers are battle-hardened and ready for a fight.
“Haulers take heed or the death for which this Banshee keens will be your own.” – Old Völund Saying
With the exception of the Vanduul clans and nearby Banu outposts, the Völund strive to be the preeminent commercial and military power within the south-western fringe territories.
Within these territories, the Völund maintain a confederation of fourteen distinct settlements with the largest and most active of operations taking place on Banshee III (Lorona). Völund refugees arrived in the Banshee system in late twenty-eighth century as a direct result of the massacre of Garron II. As their influence increased, Völund territory took shape, and the governing body was officially founded in 2796.
The Massacre of Garron II occurred in on April 11, 2792 when a terraforming corporation began to terraform an inhabited planet, killing all of the sentient, but not jump capable, inhabitants. While the corporation vehemently denied that the aliens were capable of conscious thought, activist vid-footage leaked to the Spectrum proved that they were self-aware. It also revealed that the Corp was closely tied to the Imperator’s family, and there was an advanced colony of human scientists on-planet that were studying the native species. The Massacre served as the last straw for Anti-UEE activists and the settlement, and lead to the subsequent overthrow of the government. These events also lead to the creation of the Fair Chance Act.
Völund holdings are run by a ruling council of ex-military and merchants, wealth is the primary calculus of one’s status in society. Though newcomers do possess some freedoms, they are only limited by their lack of affluence. It is not unheard of for fresh faces to raise in social status quickly among the Völund, normally a result of a benefactor’s kindness.
The Völund mercantile class strictly controls the flow of goods, services, and travelers within its territory. The Völund does trade and interact with outsiders, but this interaction is “UEE officially” limited to three systems, Banshee, Tamsa and Yulin. Despite this self-imposed isolation, foreigners may do business with merchants on other worlds without association oversight and protection. English is the official language, but German and Spanish are also spoken. There is no domestic currency, nor is there UEE communication emplacements, so the administrative authority and military presence controls all large scale commerce and information.
“Take the worst, most awful place in the ’verse, and you can be damn sure there’s not only someone who wants to live there, but who will think you’re crazy for wanting to live anywhere else. These are my people.”
– Senator Junger Ries, Lorona, address to constituent dinner, 2943
Were it not for the vast resources of Lorona, many say the UEE would never have expressed interest in the Banshee System. Today, it’s an essential and irreplaceable part of the universal supply chain. Extensive mining operations extract everything from precious metals to short carbon for the diamond laminate in cockpit glass.
The planet’s riches and inhospitable surface have driven Humanity to create a vast system of underground settlements connected by tunnels, a network that continues to expand to this day. When mining operations begin drilling and excavating new areas, the previous dig sites frequently become home to settlements of workers and their families. Some of these encampments want to trade with outsiders, while others prefer to be left alone. To avoid any confusion, we recommend not venturing into the tunnel system without a local Völund guide.
Once deep enough underground to not have to wear radiation suits, or “Below the Line” in local slang, visitors spend most of their time in Kesseli, the capital and one of the largest subterranean cities in the universe. Though still a mining settlement at its core, the amount a valuable resources moving through the city have brought a measure of wealth to the inhabitants.
Under a ubiquitous layer of dust, numerous Empire-wide franchises have a presence here to supply locals, traders and visitors alike. One can even find high-end restaurants servicing well-paid mining executives. Lorona’s local culinary treasure is undoubtedly the Beutrempe, a sweet or savory puff pastry that uses a yeast strain native to the world to give a uniquely tangy taste. These delicious delicacies are on the menus of most restaurants, but can more easily be found baked in stalls set up near the most trafficked tunnels.
By UEE (excluding the Vanduul Clans) standards, The Völund maintains a relatively large standing army. Originally, the local authorities contracted various deep space mercenary companies, but as UEE influence increased, so too did the flow of war materiels and civilian supplies, and is approximately equal to that of the core systems in 2949.
Gradually the Völund amassed a standing army, the Völund Security Force (VSF). The VSF is composed of “Regional Defense Forces” and a “Convoy Protection Force”. RDFs possess conventional combat vehicles and mechanized battle armor and are used primarily as combined-arms garrisons and pirate hunters. RDFs 1-5 are brigade-sized commands composed of a warship flight and conventional forces. Armor from RDF 6 (a single reserve regiment) are rapidly deployed to supplement each RDF. Fighter assets are deployed in star (companies) of craft, while conventional forces are fielded as battalions. The Völund has never fielded greater than a galaxy (flotilla) of capital ships in a single military operation. The Völund has also maintained many mercenary contracts, bolstering the size of their assets a significant distance within UEE patrol territory.
The Convoy Protection Force (CPF) is a instrument of intimidation and peace of mind used by the Völund. The CPF is composed of marines, mercantile ships, aerospace assets, assault dropShips, and “militarized scout ships”. Though the CPF is normally deployed to ensure the security of Völund trade ships, the CPF has been deployed to rout, cripple or blockade competing interests within surrounding sectors. The CPF has also altered its tactics, and have experimented in deployment as considerable strike forces.
Each Völund galaxy (unit) is commanded by a Galaxy Commander, a post which is both mercantile and martial in nature. Funding for
Völund units is uncertain, but Galaxy Commanders generally receive a percentage of the profits made by merchants operating within their jurisdiction.
Spare parts, especially for warships and cutting-edge fighters, are occasionally in short supply, owing to the great displacement between Völund territory and the United Earth Empire. However, the Völund do possess the industrial capacity to produce weaponry and equipment for repair.
The Völund claim to support free trade throughout the fringes of explored space, and its traders do venture great distances and trade with many small realms and colonies. However, Völund “free trade” clearly does not extend to core UEE member worlds. The Völund have traditionally expanded its borders through annexation of nearby deep space settlements; neighbors with close economic ties to the Völund have found themselves under Völund alliance terms on several occasions.
Völund interests have led to secretly intervene (prolong) in conflicts between neighbors (for example, latent intervention in the extensive war between the UEE and Tevarin). Ultimately, the Völund targeted local depleted pirate armies that fought on the side of the Tevarin would be no match for a Völund invasion force, allowing the them to annex local settlements.
Völund merchants are direct competitors of other deep space traders, especially those of the Banu syndicates, and military actions have been taken by both parties. These open hostilities culminated in 2947 with a skirmish near the Proxima Belts, in which the Banu lost three Merchantmen and various Defender fighter escorts. Since this skirmish, the Völund has attempted to avoid conflict with the Banu, and merchants have a tendency to direct mercantile interests to the core of UEE space (also away from the Vanduul Clans). The Völund have also made a concerted effort to improve the capabilities of their CPF; it is speculated that another conflict is inevitable.
Due to the success of Völund trade ventures, free trade worlds are beacons for commerce and information with the UEE and beyond. These worlds are also home to every type of intrigue; agents, traders and warriors of other realms as well as the UEE, Terran Holdings, and various corporations. Several UEE intelligence agencies can be found in many of these settlements. Indeed, as the consummate capitalists, the Völund are quite pragmatic and recognizes the benefit of having many “trading” partners. The climate has allowed the Völund to play all sides with as little spilled blood as possible; information, goods and services are sold to the highest bidder, and with the number of competitors present, it is always a sellers market.