Metheglin

History

Metheglin is a planet of average salubrity (48%-ile, GURPS Habitability 6) orbiting HIC 11974 A, a G3 main-sequence star with a spectroscopic binary (very close) companion. It is 106.9 light-years from Sol in the constellation of Pegasus.

Colonisation rights belonged to the Society for Organic Society, a secular utopist group which sought to establish an ideal society on the Social Organism theory. Starting in 2286 wealthy members of the group migrated in some numbers, but the Society was never successful in attracting volunteers to occupy the lower strata of the "organism". Migration was thin, and despite having nearly 120 years of migration Metheglin managed to accumulate only 138,000 inhabitants by the time news arrived of the destruction of Earth. Technology declined to the "Craftsman" level (Bronze Age).

The Organic Society was never implemented in anything like its planned form. An expedient dictatorship developed under Scharris Scharde, the captain of the pioneering team. After his death contention developed between those who wished to install an aristocracy of "Guardians" and those who wished to let the forms of town-hall democracy (with which Scharde had cloaked his despotism) have their head. The former were mostly recent immigrants, adherents of organicist theory, and with abstract educations and a wealth of newish imports. The latter were most old hands or locally born, with practical experience but less wealth. Twelve years of turbulence and violence ended only with Scarde's son being declared captain in her place. The Captaincy developed by natural stages into a monarchy.

Pirates from Tau Ceti arrived about 400 PDT. Metheglin was too distant to attract numerous immigrants: Paradise II was the preferred destination. The pirates engaged chiefly in an exploitative commerce; they also accidentally introduced a number of unpleasant diseases, but did not cause a lethal epidemic. In 401 Ethan Hee, a merchant from Tau Ceti, persuaded Captain Paula II to accept him as her chief advisor. In 403 Paula nominated Hee her successor. In 407 he announced her death. Hee pursued a vigorous program of modernisation, with particular attention to schools. This aroused opposition, which his high-tech mercenary guards put down with exemplary cruelty. The survivors of the old royal family fled into hiding. Hee sponsored the immigration of people from Bonanza, Bellerophon, New Fujian, etc. to establish new, higher-tech industries, encouraged them with privileges, delegated them government authority, and granted them fanciful titles. The Metheglinites were subjected to an industrialising feudalism.

After 417 'King' Ethan Hee was subjected to considerable pressure by the Eichberger Foundation, which he was in general disposed to ignore. On the occasion of his 63rd birthday in 426 PDT, without warning, the commanding officer of the Eichberger Foundation cruiser in orbit flashlamped the barracks of Hee's household troops, landed his personal combat detail on the royal palace, arrested the king and most of the nobility in their beds, and deported them all to Tau Ceti. The Eichberger officer appointed Paula II's grand-nephew Tarhun Scharde as her "rightful successor".

Metheglin was a backwater during the formation wars. Eichberger ships visited on regular occasions for trade, and adopted the policy of dealing only with the king, in the pious but misguided hope that this would help to limit and control the effects of technological change. King Tarhun's son and successor, Jeffry II, was an original signatory of the Treaty of Luna.

The immediate effect of the Treaty of Luna was to make the Eichberger Trust withdraw scarce shipping into the core to increase trading profits. Metheglin was almost completely isolated for twenty years. The Empire returned in 531, opening up trade to Bellerophon, Bonanza, New Fujian and (though New Eden and Pegasex, the Suite. In 547 it announced an intention to make HIC 111974 the site of a Sector headquarters, and in 561 the Imperial orbital habitat Piraeus was opened by Prince Antonia Suzuki.

The presence of the Imperial SHQ in orbit has attracted a lot of interest, some immigration, and capital to Metheglin, which the population is growing and the economy developing rapidly. The Monarchy, seen be members of traditional Metheglinite society as a bulwark against wealthy immigrants and their foreign ways, struggles to curb the power of carpetbagging entrepreneurs.