neoXeno
 

Nhedun (Nee-dun)

 

 

 

           

The people of Nhedun were a pre-industrial society when their leaders were visited by the Ancients.  The general population of the planet never knew the Ancients had been to their world.  But in a few short decades, a world of farmers and hunters were centralizing their populations into sparkling new cities.  New technologies cropped up at break neck speed.  In the blur of change the old religion quickly lost favor as an enlightenment spread among the people; though some of the traditions remained.  Without the structure of the religion many of those traditions spiraled into common casual use; consuming soma was one such tradition. 

 

            The old Priestly class used soma to enhance their meditative state, and only used small amounts diluted with water or fruit juices.  In the enlightened age, soma was mixed with wine and consumed in copious amounts.  The swirling winds of change left many Nhedunians lost and confused, leading lives they found pointless and mundane.  The soma helped them cope, and as the society rushed into the space age nearly a third of its people were wallowing behind in a soma induced stupor.  The government initially tried to ignore the problem, next they tried prohibition; neither solution worked.  The harder they tried to eradicate the plague of soma, the worse it seemed to get.  The plant from which it was made, a hearty herb called throxy that grows wild in tropical climates.  In the old days the priest had cultivated throxy in small amounts in their personal gardens, hence where ever there were priests in the past, there was throxy; left unattended the throxy plant quickly overgrows weaker plants around it.   The commonality of soma made it all the more difficult to control. 

 

            350 years of growth and upheaval made Nhedun a stratified world, there was an affluent and successful citizen class, and a poor and frustrated addict class.  In an effort to protect the citizens from the addicts, four cities were designated soma zones, and abandoned to the addicts.  Initially the soma users were rounded up and shipped to the new zones, but many followed willingly; given the choice of the pressures of citizenry and living in the soma zone, many non users chose the latter.  In an unexpected turn, zone 2, formally the city of Gotappa became home to the remnants of the old priesthood.  Prior to the enlightenment Gotappa had been home to the old religions most sacred sites.  And in short order the priests were able to bring the people of Zone 2 back to the old religion and returned soma to its place as a meditative aid. 

            Zone 4, once the glittering capitol of the southern province, a city called Tyindee, became the recipient of the largest number of refugees.  Soma is indigenous to the region and had always grown best there.  When the cities leaders succumb to soma, the decision was easy.  Instead of exhausting effort to replace the leadership and clean up the city, it was made the final soma zone.  Geographically isolated and hundreds of meters from the next settlement it was all too easy to cut off communication with zone 4.  Despite the unlikely chances that anyone would attempt the journey through the forest it was decided to erect a large border wall to contain the inhabitants of Zone 4, hidden 15km into the woods it is a 20m high 5m thick wall of smooth, slick polymer.  Nothing sticks to it, nothing can climb it.  The tree line stops abruptly 10meters before the wall to prevent someone from climbing a tree to escape.  And beyond the wall; hundreds of kilometers of virgin forest filled with any number of animals large, small dangerous and benign. 

            Once a small farming village, the city of Cadiz grew to fill the once bountiful valley with kilometers of homes and shops.  When soma spread into the sleepy valley it struck like a tidal wave crashing over the western hills and filling the valley with chaos.  Once productive citizens devolved into soma hungry addicts, no longer needing the grains produced in the valley is was the first designated soma zone.  There were no migrants into Cadiz, the people there were born in the city, and those wanting to flee the zone were allowed to do so upon earning citizenship. 

            The only soma zone not totally land locked, the city once called Marui Bay was in the early years of the enlightenment of favored destination for pleasure seekers.  Pristine beaches, clear blue seas, lush forests and tropical climate made it a wonderful place to play.  But here as in the other three zones, soma became so much of a problem that it was designated Zone 3.  But unlike the other zones, it was not cut off.  Tourism is still allowed into Zone 3, but visitors are strictly limited to the resorts and not allowed to mingle with the locals.  The resorts are staffed by locals who have proven their sobriety and earned citizenship.  The Marui Bay resorts would in time come to welcome an off worlder, an Apsu man called Admiral Wargi Shelvoc and his crew arrived on Nhedun seeking trade for their company, Co’ir.  While visiting the planet the Admiral’s crew was taken to Marui Bay to rest themselves for the return journey.  While there, Admiral Shelvoc had his first taste of soma; served as the priests once did diluted in fruit juice, but the Apsu responded differently to even this mild mixture.  It hit them hard, and they were quickly addicted.  But unlike the native Nhedunians, it did not render them slovenly and lazy, the Apsu were emboldened by soma.  Admiral Shelvoc was instantly smitten, and convinced to return home with as much soma as possible.  But to fill his ship with the plants he needed money to buy them.  The government would not allow him to take it uncompensated. 

 

            To fund his intended export operation, Admiral Shelvoc sends smaller amounts of soma to near by planets he had already visited, offering to set up the Nhedunian government, who had no deep space capability at the time, with technology to facilitate their own trading operations in exchange for establishing the demand for their goods.  The deal worked all to well; the planet of Khaloon is ravaged with the new plague of soma.  The other worlds where the Admiral tried to sell soma refused him, having already received word of his intent from Khaloon traders.  Unable to properly fund his trip home, (he wanted to fill 3 ships with soma) Admiral Shelvoc remained in Zone 3, taking over an abandoned resortand making his headquarters in the Civic Center where he and his crew indulged themselves, and he planned his triumphant return home. 

            A problem occurred with the shipments to a planet called Asvati, the soma was diminishing in the month long journey between the planets.  With an eager market, a damaged product was not acceptable.  Asvati is a multi national world, with hundreds of provincial governments with which to deal.  The larger nations refused the Admiral’s advances but a few rouge states were eager to deal.  To solve the problem of diminishing stock during space travel, one such rouge state offered a solution.  The profligate Khaloon state  of Ravzha sent scientist to Nhedun’s Zone 3 to establish a proper lab, and work to synthesize soma into a product that could survive years of space travel.  Left to their own recognizance by Nhedun authorities (who were anticipating a huge profit) Admiral Shelvoc created a kingdom of his own within Zone 3, native Nhedunians, Apsu, Khaloons and a few Syk’a rii that were members of the Admiral’s crew.  The Marui Safari resort was the perfect home for this multi-species hodge-podge of people; built around a zoo, where exotic animals from all over Nhedun had once been kept, now most of the cages lay empty save for a few simian species living off the scraps of the soma addicts that now populated the Civic Center.

 

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