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Planetary Data

Expanded Characteristics

Planet Name



3,200 kms






District 268


26 %


Spinward Marches






Self-Perpetuating Oligarchy

Trade Class


Law Level

Portable energy weapons prohibited.

Travel Zone


Tech Level

Lower Average Imperial






Scout base


20.7 C

Mertactor (Plankwell: Spinward Marches/1537) B262732-B S Cp
610 RE G1 V
G=0.26, Day=25:39:30.5, Year = 724d 20:36:54.14 Atmo=1.3, No Weather
Temp= +20.7 (4/lat +12 to -28) (season +12.42 to -43.0, 5.5 deg lat)
Daily temp range 18.2
Agricultural; Agroproducts; Weapons; Artforms
Progressive/Enterprising, Competitive/Neutral, Discordant/Friendly
Legal: 2-20544 Tech BA-BBBBB-BBBB-BB-D

On the fringes of Regency space in the Spinward Marches lies Mertactor, a nexus for mercantile activity.

As a planet on the frontier, Mertactor is known for its free spiritedness and lawlessness. Felons fleeing the authority of the Regency Navy, RQS and/or bounty hunters frequently stop off at Mertactor on their way to the independent worlds and client states spinward and rimward of the Regency. Merchants carrying illegal goods find Mertactor to be the ideal port to sell their wares. For the disenfranchised, disillusioned and disingenuous, Mertactor is the last port on a journey to the outlands of unincorporated space.

The first colonists set foot on the system mainworld's terra firma in the early 300s. The majority of lots had been purchased by Moran interests, which, under pressure from the Moran government, designated Mertactor (then known as 567-910) as a population overflow world. Consequently, Mora issued the Relocation Initiative of 324. The initiative was not looked well upon by the displaced colonists or the small band of colonists already on 567-910. Although Mora publicly used "population relief" as their motive for the deportation, the deportees included an inordinate number of religious dissidents, ex-cons and other malcontents. Draw your own conclusions.

To villify the Moran Matriarchs, the colonists deported from Mora named their world after the notorious freebooter, Wilhelm Mertactor, who had raided, raped and pillaged the coreward subsectors of Gushemege in the twilight years of the Ramshackle Empire. An ambitious public relations campaign by the Moran Matriarchs was demoralized and many a political career fell by the wayside in the ensuing scandal.

Surprisingly, the Mertactans refused the clemency of the Moran government in 328, when they were offered repatriation as compensation for their "unjust deportation." The Mertactan colonists had become accustomed to their small but verdant new home and the majority decided to stay. By appealing to the IISS Exploration department's colonial bureau, Mertactor was granted independence. Imperial officials saw this as an opportunity to prevent the relocation scandal from travelling all the way back to the Iridium Throne. As part of the deal, the IISS was allowed to establish a base on Mertactor. It wasn't until after the Fourth Frontier War that Mertactor finally accepted overtures made by the Imperial Government to apply for membership.

Descending from working-class deportees, Mertactans are proud of their uncompromising heritage. Mertactans tamed the wilds of their planet, forging an advanced and forward-thinking society. The Mertactan Chamberlords reserved approximately 25 percent of the planet's wilderness as preserves to avoid the ecological calamities that had occurred elsewhere in the region due to reckless colonial bootstrap programs. The remaining portion of land was tendered to offworld corporate interests with a mind to develop the planet's resources and promote trade and industry. In order to preserve their independence, however, the Chamberlords carefully screened out any megacorporations, megacorporate shadow companies and sectorwide corporations in order to prevent a takeover attempt by any one corporate entity.

Their conservative approach backfired and industry never really took off on Mertactor. Seeking to teach the upstart colonists a lesson, the megacorporations had colluded with mid-sized corporations to boycott the Mertactans. Employing every type of coercion imaginable, the megacorporations managed to squelch independent-minded investors from circumventing the boycott.

Undaunted, the Mertactan merchant fleet took the initiative and began establishing trade agreements with the worlds of the Daryen Confederation and the Sword Worlds. Famous Mertactan free trader and gambler Michaela Wallace took her business all the way to the fringes of the Zhodani Consulate, and established trade ties with the Zhodani that have survived numerous frontier wars and exist to this day. While most of the early Spinward Marches colonies also traded with the established interstellar governments of the region, few dispute that Mertactan mercantile savvy can open twice as many doors in half the time.

Modern Mertactan industry is essentially just subsistence for the planet's lucrative mercantile sector. Rather than a producer of industrial or agricultural goods, Mertactans like to think of their system as "the best damned conduit for trade in the Regency."

Landing at Mertactor downport can be a harrowing experience. The unregulated close orbit and airspace of the planet are subject to more accidents per capita than on any planet in the sector. While there are ample spaceports on the planet, only the B-quality facility in the capital city of Seacheard and the C-quality installation in Kaydah provide services for interstellar craft.

While dodging free traders and air/rafts, visiting travellers will be impressed by the lush earth and blue skies of Mertactor. Thanks to an absence of big industry and an abundance of scattered wilderness preserves, the planet has been able to maintain its clean air and natural landscape. Due to the planet's rather small size and close horizon, the clear azure skies seem to almost surround the reclining viewer.

Offworlders are frequently uncomfortable with prolonged exposure to Mertactor's low gravity. Generally, hostels that cater to offworlders provide 1G suites to appease those who can't abide Mertactan lightfootedness for extended periods of time.

Mertactor's thriving tourist industry offers a plethora of activities to visiting travellers. In the city of Seacheard, visitors will be astonished by the beauty of the Daryen flame sculpture exhibit at the Seacheard Museum of Art. Donated by First Frontier war hero, Admiral Koenig, the exhibit features some of the finest Daryen artwork to be produced in the last millenium. At the Colonial History Museum, visitors may view artifacts, holovids and antique equipment from the Spinward Marches' colonial past. Of particular note is an exhibition featuring what the museum's curator claims are the original blueprints for the Type-S scoutship prototype. Children will enjoy visiting The Wild Frontier, Seacheard's largest amusement park replete with an imported Moran virtual reality entertainment center.

Inghvernar, Mertactor's largest ocean, lies 280 km to the west of Seacheard. Mertactans on holiday flock to Inghvernar's golden beaches. Well-travelled offworlders will be less impressed by the beachfront of this body of water which would only constitute a large lake on most larger planets. On Inghvernar's east coast is the Lubvenar Fossil Museum, where travellers can discover the rich natural history of Mertactor through an exhilariting series of exhibits and holodynamic displays.

Kaydah, the seat of government, features the impressive Mertactan Legislature Building (MLB). Constructed of reinforced synthetic sandstone, this ivy-draped obelisk seems to thrust right out Mertactor's terrestrial crust and through the planet's thick equatorial jungle as if it had been there since time immemorial. Standing atop Mount Aseldon, the MLB looks over the busy streets of northern Kaydah like an alert sentry.

On the southern end of the city, is the Plankwell Subsector Capital Building. Though the Capital's architecture is aesthetically pleasing with its sharp edges and metallic industrial styling, political representatives from throughout the subsector complain about the dearth of office space in the building. The building was intended to be much larger when the subsector capital was set to be on neighboring system, Collace. However, when the Mertactan Chamberlords successfully lobbied the Archduke to establish the capital on Mertactor, they immediately contracted a local architecture firm to design the building. Due to the time constraints of the agreement, the job was rushed, with the result being an attractive but largely inadequate building.

Despite the Mertactan historical animosity toward Mora, the native government is rather obviously influenced by that of the domain capital. While not a matriarchy, women traditionally get preference for most cabinet posts and tend to be elected to Chamberlord positions at a rate of just over 60 percent on Mertactor. The Chamberlords are a select group of nine individuals, elected for lifelong terms by a subordinate network of sheriffs, who are popularly elected by the rather disproportionately sized counties of Mertactor.

As befits any cosmopolitan world, the fashion and culture of Mertactor are heavily influenced by visiting merchants and adventurers. "Anything goes," is the motto on Mertactor. One will find visiting travellers sporting anything from traditional Vilani lagaash robes to the virtual nudity of Glistenite tailored vaccsuits. The jaded Mertactans are nonchalant and accepting of such diversity.

Perhaps the most outstanding educational establishment on the planet is the Mertactor Mercantile Academy. While the academy is on par with most other Regency educational facilities for the most part, its language department is outstanding. Just about every language spoken within 80 parsecs is taught at the academy, including each and every vargr language in the Extents. The academy emphasizes cultural behaviors and idiosynchrasies as well in order to train the ambitious merchant cadet for any eventuality.

Mertactan trading companies benefit from the presence of the academy. Some of the most finely trained merchant personnel in the Regency can be found in Mertactan trading companies. Mertactan traders are known, however, to be quite bloodthirsty in their competition for business insystem and will stop at nothing to obtain their goals. The rather ineffectual law enforcement administrations of Mertactor are unable to prevent trading blocs and factions from colluding, bribing, embezzling and on occasion shooting each other to death.

Within the last 80 years, the rimward encroachment of aslan ihatei has had an interesting effect on the mercantile subculture. Disputes between trading companies are now frequently resolved by dueling. Unfortunately, the aslan code of honor is absent in Mertactan dueling. Shooting or stabbing one's opponent in the back or poisoning his food the evening before the duel is not uncommon.

Visiting free traders should not fear, however. Oddly enough, the virulence shown by one fellow Mertactan trader to another is not extended to offworlders. It is thought that a general sense of pity for the poorly trained foreign trader makes him unworthy of such treatment. The prevailing attitude is "if he's not Mertactan, he's no good at trading anyway!" Though you'll never hear a Mertactan say this in public!

The Mertactan Free Trade Administration operates the planet's sole orbital starport and city. Built in 1004, FTA Orbital was originally intended as a place where offworlders could comfortably trade without having to make planetfall. The idea never took hold with visiting merchants, however. Declining public funds resulted in the government's inability to properly maintain the facility. FTA Orbital quickly deteriorated into a D-level facility. Ironically, trade traffic has actually increased over 300 percent at FTA Orbital since the decline. FTA Orbital now features the most active black-market trade in the subsector.

To coin an ancient Terran metaphor, Mertactor has a Jekyll-and-Hyde culture. To offworlders and potential trading partners, Mertactans are amiable and welcoming, while to one another they are the most vicious of opponents, professionally speaking. While the divisiveness of Mertactan society may appear anarchic or perhaps downright hostile, it is embraced by Mertactans as an integral part of their culture. To survive in a universe fraught with danger and deception, Mertactans believe that "It is better to do unto others before they do unto you."

This originally appeared in the RICE archives and was authored by Christopher Griffen.