Rasalhague and the Rasalhague Trading Union
A day at the races on the RTU capital world of Palermo. Most peoples in the RTU enjoy racing animals or machines. Betting is of course compulsory
To say that the bright A class star Rasalhague and its colonies, partners and dependants have something of a reputation is an understatement. Most of those within the RTU revel in it whether it is deserved or not. As has been proved time and time again everyone loves a scoundrel with a supposed heart of gold.
Rasalhague is a bright A5 star nearing the end of its main sequence in the constellation of Ophiuchus, towards the Galactic centre. Like Altair some time within the next few million years the star will become variable, swell to an enormous size and change the system drastically. For now though it is stable and again like Altair most of the debris from the formation of the planets has been cleared up ,though it would be a very careless colony that didnít expect a major impact every fifty or so metric years.
Past experience with mature A class main sequence stars had showed there might be the possibility of a terraformed world within the system so in 2389 AD a small warp probe was sent to investigate Rasalhague hopping to strike lucky. The privately funded venture was not disappointed, aside from the abundance of material and energy typical of such a hot star a barmy viable world was discovered with a biosphere similar to that of Altair.
The consortium that funded the warp vessel announced its intention to settle the far off system. This was before the discovery of Old Space and in the view of most people the system though rich in potential was too far out the way to be off immediate interest. What the majority of those in the Community didnít know was that the Consortium was a front for a collaboration of organised crime syndicates.
Organised crime though was far from being a exclusively human curse amongst the known humanoid species in the Galaxy ( the Keezmet of Irodia were particularly active in the Odette Major system at the time.) But it was the Human media that had a fascination with the criminal underworld for centuries. Human crime lords becoming something of a celebrity in their native lands/habitats/worlds was a common occurrence. Human culture had for the most part grown to expect some kind of mafia to be operating where-ever human beings went . Of course their success depended on the culture of the system the criminal gang found themselves in. A system like Delta Pavonis for example where traditional laws are absent would be of little interest to the syndicates. Systems like Sirius were extremely tough on any attempt to set up a crime syndicate after the establishment of the Unity and being a culture based on habitats enforcement was a lot easier than on a viable world or backwater system.
As for the motives of paying for a warp probe and then seeking to establish a colony of their own, commentators of mafia behaviour were at a loss to explain. Since the late 21st century and the first instances of organised crime off Earth it was assumed that crime lords would send a lieutenant to establish a syndicate offworld hitching a ride with legitimate colony expeditions. They would never send their emissary on the first few small expeditions to avoid detection, preferring to hide their lieutenants amongst the swarm of colonists on relativistic asteroid ships for example.
Sending a member of a crime syndicate offworld in the early days was often seen a punishment for disrespecting their superiors or messing up an operation. As reports of the pleasant new lives these early agents had developed came back to the Bosses on Earth however this practice soon changed.
As for Rasalhague it was later revealed to be the brainchild of particularly ambitious and outlandish character called Jesiah Jackson. Born on Earth in 2339 AD in the nano-slums of southern California he soon found himself caught up with the world of organised crime which on this part of Earth was run by the Italian-American branch of the mafia as it had been for generations before.
Primarily involving himself in black market software and cyber-fraud he soon rose through the ranks (some biographers have suggested by "bumping off" a number of competitors during his time on Earth.) Seeing the potential of the Extrasolar colonies and the fledgling syndicates on distant worlds he came up with the idea of calling upon the resources of all the various mafia groups throughout the planet and Sol system to fund a mafia sponsored colony in deepest space.
His reasoning was that as other colonies had shown you could make up your own crazy laws, even dispensing with them entirely. They could go far beyond the reach of the police who by the 24th century used technology to make life for the current generation of crime syndicates extremely tough. Many crime lords moaned that they were virtual house prisoners, their every move monitored and recorded, undercover cops whose every memory of the underworld was used as evidence that even the slimiest lawyer could not dismiss. Just staying out of jail or avoiding some kind of behavioural therapy was hard enough, actually running a syndicate was becoming impossible.
By the turn of the 25th century the first colony ships had left for Rasalhague. Whole "families" uprooted and left for a new life among the stars. Justice departments in the Solar System and the more established colonies watched as the syndicates left for deepest space. There was nothing they could do to stop them, the C.D.F. was but a fledging institution, systems could not justify the expense of sending craft halfway across known space to stop a bunch of criminals when the legality of such an endeavour was vague at best.
Despite the settlers nature Rasalhague developed from a frontier outpost to a prosperous colony in much the same way as any other frontier system of the time. Any feuds between families were for the most part put on hold. The most notable exceptions including the notorious Easter Massacre on the habitats orbiting the brown dwarf Don Corleone in 2459 AD and the 110 Herculis Franchise war of 2465 AD which ended up with the Ramano Family being banished to the BD +03 3465 system (later renamed Costra Pozeus)
Rasalhague changed forever though when Old Space was discovered and millions around known space joined the rush to colonise systems in close proximity. Rasalhague and its colonies which by then had developed into the Rasalhague Trading Union had at the time of the rush a quite respectable space force as had any other of the more established colonies in the region (just in case the Sagres turned out not to be only interested in trade to rebuild their shattered worlds.)
It was then that the RTUís shady past came back to haunt them .Some families felt they were getting soft by behaving like a legitimate nation (even being part of the Community for heavens sake!)
These hardliners began purchasing or actually building their own warp capable craft as to steal from another family would be a very bad idea , ask the bitter inhabitants of Costra Pozeus or Hephaestus , a Twilight-type world in the Steph 1453 system. Then based in outposts at strategic points on the trade routes to Old Space they would stalk their prey , following a warp signature until it came into normal space on the outskirts of a star system then threaten the hapless freighter or liner with ultra violence unless they surrendered all their valuables
Despite rumours to the contrary during this period of piracy on the high frontier few lives were lost. Most captains realised that being descended from the mafia these raiders meant business. Those that dared stand up for themselves usually found themselves crippled in deep space, having to fork out a fortune to repair their craft and that was usually done in a RTU system anyway (and who knows what nasties the mechanic might slip in whilst the crew were on shore leave?)
By the later half of the 25th century certain groups were getting sick of this state of affairs, lovable rogues or not. The nearby Gamma Ophiuchus Demopoly and Welcome Systems were above all the most aggressive towards the RTU in the Concourse demanding the that Rasalhague put its house in order before they did.
There was no love lost between the RTU and the G.O.D. particluary. The rush to colonise worlds on the way to Old Space (notably Narma Perinous) led to many a standoff between the two increasingly powerful nations as ideal systems were claimed and counter claimed (note: more on this dispute can be found in the Gamma Ophiuchus entry )
Even some in the RTU voiced disapproval at the raiders behaviour and the older generationsí seeming compliance with them. Ships from the core were starting to avoid the area like the plague preferring to use G.O.D. and other systems to stopover on the way to Old Space. Money was being lost thanks to the greed and selfishness of a bunch of oldies and hotheads a little too enamoured with the idea of the loveable space rogue. The occasional Han Solo was tolerable but fleets of the buggers threatened the CDF to sweep through the RTU and cause all sorts of trouble.
Despite this threat the CDF only stepped in when deaths were involved during a raid or something particularly important was stolen ( a clarketech artefact dug up on some frontier world or in the case of the raid on the Lacerates in 2491AD the theft of the Mona Lisa.) They were too busy patrolling the frontier with Old Space makng sure that the Sagres didnít get any ideas or the Sagre version of the Raiders (who were far more ruthless and a lot less lovable) were stopped in their tracks.
An RTU raider craft. Since the end of 25th century the activities of the so-called Rasalhague Raiders within the Community sphere have largely been more of a tourist attraction than a real threat to shipping. In Old Space however it might be a different story.
In the end the RTU did put their house in order , the news channels of the time noted that the RTU had decide to mature and become a responsible member of the Community rather than a bunch of "thugs and liars" (oddly enough the anchor AI who came up with that description was "accidentally" deleted under suspicious circumstances some years later. The murder investigation continues to this day.)
The Raiders for the most part were either arrested, retired to spool their memoirs or disappeared from the scene for a few decades only to re-appear in some distant corner of the galaxy. Only on a few occasions did the clamp down erupt to a full scale space battle most famously in 2514 AD in the Battle of Achar 6985.
The battle involved the pirate chief Johnny No-Tail , a space adapted neo-chimp who had lost his tail allegedly in some bar brawl in the orange giant system of Sardinia-Thetis (Hip 87861 )and had decided not to regrow his tail to remind others of his notorious temper. He led a small fleet of raider ships who had a base in the Kuiper belt on the outskirts of the white giant star Achar 6985 (HD 171802) which served not only to refit his craft and hide his stash but dealt in smuggled antimatter and manufactured highly illegal nano-possession devices. Such is the general horror towards the technology that the C.D.F. and local forces had to close down his operation.
Johnny No-Tail was no ordinary criminal though, he used his share of the profits from his ill-gotten gains to expand his consciousness via uploading into a pico-scale computer network and seed the region with all manner of defensive weapons from antimatter mines to warp-capable combat drones left over from the Great War.
The battle was a ferocious one as two top of the line C.D.F. cruisers and a corvette were destroyed as well as twelve RTU patrol vessels before Johnny detonated all remaining antimatter in his pirate base. Johnny No-Tail is far from the only story told in the many spools created for the galaxyís amusement by the RTU but it is certainly the most popular perhaps for the large amount of real-life destruction on which itís based.
These days the RTU relies on tales of space raiders, underworld sleaze and more recently cheeky rogues drifting through space from one scam to another to fuel its massive immersive entertainment industry. Some regard the glorification of criminals as tasteless and dangerous but others argue that to ignore this side of humanoid nature is to deny part of oneself.
The RTU today is a populous part of Community known for its criminal reputation and its sleazy glamour. It and the G.O.D. are still bitter rivals , accusations of RTU citizens rigging the Gamma Ophiuchians beloved speeder races for some unlicensed betting scam crop up every few months. The RTU by its very nature has close ties with the Old Space region of Quariane even learning a thing or too about gambling and underworld dealings from their Old Space contemporaries.
Early Warp Era Colonies
Places In the Galaxy