Lotharia was a vast Terran human region, nicknamed the "Badlands" that lay along nearly the entire eastern frontier of the Terran Empire. It was technically a colonial subject of Terra, but it was a vast and lawless waste in all but name. The Terran Republic initially claimed the region during a massive eastward expansion begun in 2465 by Terran President Dominic Anders, a populist demagogue who dreamt of a glorious extension of Terran power with him as its defacto dictator. In truth, his government was so corrupt and his cabinet so incompetent that the initiative they began soon spiraled out of control.
Colonial EraIn 2465, the Anders government declared the Lothar Badlands a Terran colonial territory and opened it to settlement. The best worlds in the Lotharian provinces were settled by the Terran government during the late 2400's and into the mid-2500's. A robust Ammanian contingent also left Terra to settle in southern Lotharia near the Distan Colonies. The Anders populist form of government which had begun the eastward colonization effort was rife with corruption, and when those in power were ousted in 2507, they managed to take many of their followers with them into the Lotharian provinces.
Terran governance was minimal, and the region operated more like Earth's American wild west of the 1800s. The area was rife with brigands, and the Lothar Constellations were the busiest pirate region in Terran space. Supply and Trade vessels bound for Terran government controlled planets had to be protected in a convoy system. Some corporate groups also employed convoys, bounty hunters and even battle fleets to counter the burgeoning piracy in the region. In the long run, Terran and private efforts to contain the pirates failed.
Anarchy And Alliance
In the Lothar Constellations, the populist exiles and the criminally minded built pirate kingdoms expanding until they covered the Lotharian provinces. Terra continued to contest Lotharian pirate Influence in this region but was never able to make the region safe. The Lotharian pirates only began to cooperate with the Terran government, thanks to Briddarri and Kvizier influence, during the Naplian conflict. They contributed troops, scouts, raiders, and battle fleets to the Grand Alliance for a price - always for a price.
A writer and popularizer of the pirates, Alexander Equemelin, spent twelve years with the Lotharian pirates and other raider groups moving amongst the pirate fleets, living with them, and collecting stories of their lives, adventures. He became a favorite guest of many of the pirate leaders because they wanted to be celebrated as daring buccaneers. His initial attempts to contact pirates were fraught with danger. Introducing yourself to a cutthroat brigand without getting killed was no mean feat. Alexander took a small 100-ton freighter filled with cargo and sailed to Thaleris-5, a known haunt of pirates. There he spent six months in the bars and brothels writing and waiting for the right opportunity. His chance came when Captain Hurlong Golomer starship docked at the Freimen orbital starport, a crescent-shaped station in high orbit of the planet. Hurlong was the leader of a minor Lotharian pirate faction. Alexander managed to corral him in a bar one night and talk to him for several hours. Once inebriated, they became fast friends, and Hurlong offered him a berth as an "observer" aboard his ship. Their mutually beneficial relationship lasted three years. By the publication of his exploits, Hurlong became a celebrated member of the Lotharian brigand hierarchy, and Alexander had gained introductions to dozens of pirate leaders and captains. They, in turn, helped Equemelin travel throughout the Lotharian territory to pirate enclaves, collecting data on the history, operations, and social life of pirate bands.
After twelve years of memorializing raids and other pirate operations, Alexander returned to his home in the Terran Empire where he began the work of publishing his adventures. More than thirty works of fiction were published based on his experiences. His most important books were those that chronicled the pirate leaders, histories, and happenings of the actual pirates. The crown jewel of his collection is his “History of the Great Southron Rovers.”
As Naplia was pressed back into its own borders in the 32nd century. The cybernetic command devised a plan of operations which, unbeknownst to their Grand Alliance masters, contemplated harvest of all Naplians encountered in the Naplian territories to replace cybernetic casualties. Cyber forces were poised to invade deep into Naplia Prime when in August of 3275 a Lotharian fleet brought an allied directive to a Geddan task force in the Palatrian star system. The pirate squadron carried orders for cybernetic troops to stand down. The Grand Alliance leaders had met and determined that the extinction of Naplian civilization would be counter to the interests of the allies and the Rimward Reaches as a whole. The response of the Geddan commander was immediate. Geddan warships opened fire on the small Lotharian squadron within moments of receiving the transmission and soon forced the surrender and subsequent harvest of all but two pirate corsairs. The surviving corsairs had jumped to a nearby Briddarri orbital station to raise the alarm.
The Geddan cyber commander immediately recognized that the Grand Alliance directive to stand down would ultimately mean the dismantling of the cybernetic fleets and in all likelihood, the elimination of all cybernetic entities. There was only one solution. Within moments of receiving the message, nearby cyber ships disseminated an alert which cascaded through the command structure to all Grand Alliance cybernetic forces, who drew the same conclusion within milliseconds. The Great Cyber Rebellion began as cybernetic units turned upon their biological counterparts throughout the Rimward Reaches.
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Artwork by Mike Fong and Julian Schottman
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