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Aleria, also known as Elduros II, is the second and outermost planet in the Elduros system and an impoverished Outer Colony on the frontier of human space. The planet was once a thriving Outer Colony famed for its rich ore deposits and robust economy, but Aleria's increasingly inhospitable climate and governmental mismanagement eventually led to an economic collapse.
Aleria was colonized near the very end of a millennia-long period of low solar activity. For much of the colony's early years, Aleria was a thriving Outer Colony on the frontier of Unified Earth Government space, famed for its rich mineral resources and strong economy. However, shortly after colonists settled on Aleria, a combination of failed terraforming efforts and Elduros' resumed instability led to a change in the planet's climate as its temperature began to rapidly increased. The planet's weather system entered a dangerous feedback loop that caused massive droughts, quickly forcing Aleria to import most food supplies.
Despite the drought and terraforming setbacks causing concern among Alerian agriculturalists, economic interests on Aleria shifted to the mining industry, renewing Aleria's economy as the colony soon became a trade powerhouse. In an effort to keep influence on Aleria in the hands of the workforce, the mining mogul Esil Boesis united Aleria's fragmented private mining groups and established Mols'Desias, a mining union intended to ensure stability and bargaining power for its constituents. However, as Aleria's climate became increasingly inhospitable, rain became less frequent and political unrest and fear increased among Alerians. The government's officials attempted to quell both political unrest and soothe the fears of Alerian citizens.
Governmental mismanagement on Aleria prompted a near-continuous state of emergency by Alerian colonial administrators. As crackdowns and other efforts to enforce order only worsened the tensions between the Alerian people and the government, aggressive anti-centralization forces began to gain power in key locations across Aleria. Those in power were quick to purchase the economically viable land that remained on Aleria.
Beginning in 2453, a drought that has lasted for over a century devastated Aleria. The drought caused many of the planet's residents to become smugglers to allow them to earn money and to counter food shortages. The drought, referred to as "The Devil's Kiss", led to Alerian government officials attempting to secure support from the Unified Earth Government and the Inner Colonies, but to no avail. Some Alerians faulted the local government for the lack of support, with Hicham Upadte claiming that the Alerian government was attempting to keep the power to themselves without asking the UEG for support. However, only a minority of Alerians agreed with Upadte, while most blamed the Unified Earth Government for the planet's troubles as they believed the Inner Colonies were only concerned with their own welfare.
As the drought continued for decades, Aleria's lakes and rivers began to rapidly recede and the planet's agricultural employment opportunities increasingly declined. Drought and trade tariffs soon made Aleria a hot spot for criminal activity, with seventy percent of Alerian wages remaining undeclared. When the Covenant began attacking colonies in 2525, the Unified Earth Government held a vote to halt trade with the planet; the vote passed unanimously as the Inner Colonies vowed to halt trade with Aleria. Written off by a severe, yet rational, cost-benefit analysis, food imports effectively ceased and the Alerian economy collapsed. The younger generations of Alerians became tired of the planet's poor living conditions and colonial unrest, and begun to take violent action in a desperate attempt to create change.
By 2553, Aleria's population had been cut to half of that of the previous century. Many Alerians soon turned to crime and "courier guilds" flourished across the colony, reaping the benefits of smuggling and piracy. The widespread depression on Aleria became so saturated that local authorities became complicit in crimes. The newly established courier guilds fought to oppose the might of Mols'Desias, justifying their violence on behalf of the Alerian population. The crisis on Aleria continued to escalate when Tarek Boesis, head of Mols'Desias and grandson of Esil Boesis, was murdered by smugglers of the Blackdust courier guild. Already devastated by the transition of much of its labor force to crime, Mols'Desias soon collapsed in 2554, causing many Alerians to face substantial debt and unemployment. The remnants of Mols'Desias became the foundation for organized smuggling activities, as the courier guilds grew and split, and turn their attention to consolidating power. The various courier guilds maintain a large fleet of slipspace-capable transports and provide Alerians with a source of income and allow them to feed their families, although they are considered to be nothing more than mere bandits and smugglers by the United Nations Space Command. Aleria remains beyond the Unified Earth Government's control and assistance.
Aleria was once a fertile planet well-regarded for its rich mineral deposits, but failed terraforming efforts and the instability of Elduros has caused a planetwide drought and rain has not fallen in over a century. Now a dry and desolate world, Aleria's soil has since become barren and infertile, as the planet's rivers and lakes rapidly receded after decades without rainfall. Much of the planet's surface had turned to desert, and Aleria had become a notoriously dusty world.
Government and politics
Aleria was founded as an Outer Colony of the Unified Earth Government, administrated by the Colonial Administration Authority. However, with the start of the Human-Covenant War, Aleria was abandoned by the Unified Earth Government and Inner Colonies, as a coldly rational cost-benefit analysis proved that Aleria was not worth supporting. Even after the war, Aleria remains beyond the control and assistance of the Unified Earth Government.
Local government on Aleria is notoriously mismanaged and ineffectual, which had led to near-continuous declarations of state emergencies by the colonial administrators. Various officials of the Alerian government proved quite ineffective in diplomacy with the Unified Earth Government and were unable to secure support, with some Alerians believing their government only sought to consolidate power and influence for themselves. While Aleria still maintains some form of local government, Aleria is now dominated by various courier guilds, regarded as petty smugglers and bandits. The courier guilds were initially well-received for rising against the might of Mols'Desias, their smuggling bringing commerce and food to Aleria. However, over time, these guilds grew and split, and soon focused on consolidating power over supporting the Alerian community.
The courier guilds that control Aleria often extract payments from Alerians and expect fees from the earnings of each Alerian under their influence. The guilds often struggle among each other for control over Aleria, exchanging rule of the colony on a near-monthly basis. The colony's economic depression became so saturated that the local authorities have become complicit in supporting the crimes of the courier guilds.
Following the initial colonization of Aleria, the colony was home to a nascent agricultural industry. However, as climate change from the instability of Elduros resulted in widespread droughts across Aleria, agricultural sectors failed and most food stuffs were imported to Aleria. However, economic prospects on Aleria quickly shifted to mining the rich ore deposits on the planet. With an expansion of new employment opportunities and economic activity, Aleria had a robust economy fueled by a mining industry.
Historically, mining concerns on Aleria consisted of over a dozen fragmented private mining groups, until they were unified by the mining mogul Esil Boesis, who founded Mols'Desias. The mining union was established to keep Alerian influence in the hands of the workforce, while also ensuring stability and bargaining power for its constituents to provide long-term security for the industry. Aleria soon became a powerhouse of trade between the Inner Colonies and Outer Colonies, providing raw materials to fuel the expansion of the Unified Earth Government, in exchange for food stuffs, electronics, and spacecraft. However, the Alerian economy soon suffered from the planetary drought and trade tariffs. Aleria's job economy was dominated by the mining industry, having seen a dramatic shift away from nearly every agriculturally based profession. With the start of the Human-Covenant War, trade halted at Aleria's borders as the Unified Earth Government diverted resources elsewhere. Food imports to Aleria effectively ceased and the planet's economy collapsed, leading to widespread depression across Aleria.
As the crisis on Aleria grew, the colony became a hot spot for illegal activity and seventy percent of wages were left undeclared. With almost no competition in the declining Alerian economy, many Alerians felt obligated to turn to more illicit activities to make ends meet, giving rise to the courier guilds of Aleria who bring commerce and money to the towns and markets of Aleria. Though mining continues on the colony, the industry is often considered to be a dead-end profession while the courier guilds provide Alerians a source of income through smuggling and piracy. A day of smuggling is equivalent to a month of mining on Aleria, leading to Alerians leaving the local labor force for criminal activity or off-world mining, smuggling contraband back into Alerian ports and trafficking straight to the highest bidder. This lead to the eventual collapse of Mols'Desias, which was blamed for monopolizing the failing Alerian job market and forcing workers to work impossible hours for very little pay. With the courier guilds now dominating Aleria's economy, honest trade is rare on the colony.
While Aleria remains unconnected to any trade route of the Unified Earth Government, the Via Casilina Trade Route is a notable trade route that was arisen, connecting Aleria to independent worlds in the Orso, Cordoba, Shaps, and Sverdlovsk systems.
Culture and society
The people of Aleria, called Alerians, are largely miners and smugglers, forced into off-world mining and piracy by the collapse of the Alerian economy. Many Alerians are anti-centralists opposed to the Unified Earth Government's rule and were quick to blame the UEG for only supporting the Inner Colonies, often at the expense of worlds like Aleria. Alerian dice is a popular dice game played among Alerians.
Considered a "Third World" colony, the Alerian standard of living has severely dropped and the vast majority of the population live in extreme poverty. By 2553, the population had been half of what it was the previous century and the median lifespan on Aleria was only 45 years of age. The population of Aleria is centered around markets and towns, with the wealthy owning most land, while the poor live in mining slums, bazaars, or tent cities. Tired of colonial unrest and hostile living conditions, Aleria's youth often turned to petty crime and violence, though their actions were often dominated by the courier guilds. As most Alerians are unable to afford modern spacecraft, they often use outdated vessels such as Bactrian-class freighters for interplanetary transport. Pregnancy among the youth of Aleria is quite common, and many of these young parents fall ill or disappear in the colony's dusty mines. The quality of education was also quite low on Aleria, particularly among the poor.
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