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Klarus
Invart Caue Ti
Image from Anders Sandberg
Biorec of Invart Caue Ti during a recitation in the woods above Legas Arch on Klarus. His reinterpretations of Klarus history in the light of the Harvest fragments and the myths of his relativist upbringing in the Carina Rush have been a source of major controversy and amusement during the last five Recitation/Recreation Weeks.

Klarus - Data Panel

System61 Ursa Majoris
World61 Ursae Majoris III. known as Klarus
Distance from Sol31.1 ly from Sol
Stellar TypeG8 Ve
AllegianceSolar Dominion


61 Ursae Majoris III - - former megacorp world, during the Imperialization and Empires Eras one of the richest Inner Sphere economic centers, devastated during the Version war with unbelievable loss of life, during the ComEmp and Fragmentation eras became an important romanticist center, currently important tourist center and home to many artistic/aesthetic activities. Site of the Perfect Garden, one of the largest collections of Perfect Art.

A fairly young solar system, with planets subjected to frequent meteor impacts and several asteroid belts on their way to settle down. Regarded as a somewhat risky investment (but much better than the nearby Xi Ursae Majoris), K4H together with Birnam Ecotech set up a terraforming operation on the prebiotic terrestrial third planet together with an extensive automatic long-range impact defense.

The terraforming operation went well, and Praeclarus was opened for colonization as early as 1512 (although full terraforming still required 200 years). It was one of the major colonization targets, and became a diverse world inhabited by widely different tweaks and corporations in the various holdings. It was run by Praeclarus Corporation, owned mainly by K4H and Birnam Ecotech. Many predicted Praeclarus (already being colloquially called Clarus) would become the new center for interstellar trade, culture and expansion.

Problems began as K4H moved in the direction of the NoCoZo, while Birnam Ecotech joined the Conver Ambi. While both corporations were mainly interested in continued profit from the planet, their ever differing views on future development essentially paralyzed the higher levels of the Corporation. It ran things on routine, lower management getting involved in power games and unwillingness to stick their necks out. The Clarus holdings continued to prosper, often exploiting the rigidity of the Corporation for their own ends. The entire system developed into a society of litigation, taxation evasion schemes, and bureaucratic power blocks, but also pleasant local level communities, natural preserves and corporate arcologies protected by their representative legal armies.

The growth of the Solar Dominion in the 2300's was largely ignored or economically exploited; the mature economy and industry of Klarus gladly supported the development projects at neighboring Fons Luminis). While Solarism had a noticeable presence on Klarus, it had little influence on the by now totally traditional and grid-locked Corporation. Slowly Solarist infiltrators gained power over the Corporation, but found that the rest of the legal infrastructure was practically impenetrable. For 1500 years Klarus remained one of the major Inner Sphere worlds, a kind of independent interstellar Hong Kong ruled by lawyers.

The disaster occurred during the Second Interstellar Empires War in 3843, when the Conver Ambi broke up. The Solar Dominion took the chance and seized the majority of shares in the Corporation, using some local unrest as a pretext for declaring a state of system-wide emergency and moved in with their forces. The NoCoZo fraction was put under arrest for "planned economic sabotage" or other charges. Over the next several years the system was shaken by political, economic and social upheaval as the Dominion tried to dismantle the old legalism while multiple fractions fought them legally, politically, and occasionally militarily. The outcome was a foregone conclusion, but the result was the end of the golden age of Klarus (today known as the "Lawyer Imperium").

The Dominion mainly wanted control over Klarus for strategic reasons. Its leaders knew that their enemies could use it as a perfect staging point against Fons Luminis, and were determined to secure their capital against such an attack. Over the next millennium the system declined in importance, becoming mainly a popular resort for Dominion citizens. A number of defense installations and naval yards were built in the system, keeping watch on the wormhole gates.

The Version War was nearly the end of Klarus. Immediately after the initial attack Standardization fleets moved in to take the system, and a number of major space battles were fought. While the first onslaught was defeated, in 4477 the Metasoft fleet successfully penetrated the system and defeated the Dominion defenses in the bitter Second Battle of Klarus. The planet and orbital installations suffered massive sabotage device bombardment to destroy the local Divine Order network and its defense ais, and in the end the system was lost. It was freed in 4478 in the Third and Fourth Battles of Klarus, but all wormhole links were destroyed in the Fifth Battle in 4480.

For the rest of the war, Klarus was totally ignored. It no longer had any strategic importance, not even as a refueling location, as the wormholes and local infrastructure had been ruined. Even worse, the anti-meteor defenses had been largely destroyed and the planet was now undefended against the common asteroid showers. The already reduced population declined due to famine and disease in the wake of the infrastructure destruction, and when a major impact caused a temporary cold period over 300 million people died. It was to be only the first of a number of terrible impacts to strike the planet. The surviving orbital installations and space forces attempted to protect the planet, but their own dwindling resources were not enough in the long run; the tragic struggle of the Klarus SkyWatch remains one of the most poignant and often retold stories of biontkind.

The irony of it all is that Klarus could have been saved. A few years after the fall of the wormhole gates a scoutship visited the system, recording the situation. The crew did what it could to give the inhabitants relief, but their resources were far too small to make any real difference. After leaving assurances about further help they left to report to Tiphareth.

Unfortunately, the navigational survey had convinced the ship ais that a major planetesimal was on its way to collide with Klarus within 50 years. Extrapolating Klarus capabilities into the future implied that it would not be able to deflect the planetesimal and would likely be rendered totally uninhabitable. While a very fast deployment of Dominion technology could fix the problem, the ship understood that this was very unlikely given the present circumstances, they were all needed elsewhere. So the scoutship gave reassuring lies to Klarus and then reported the likely future to the Dominion. However, the survey was wrong (likely distorted by pseudomorphing jamming signals from a still functioning beacon in some of the remaining Metasoft wreckage) and the planetesimal missed Klarus with a wide margin. The Dominion believed Klarus to be lost while it actually survived next door, an irony later not lost on the inhabitants.

In the end, Klarus survived, barely, with a population reduced from 7 billion to just 200 million sentients. Were it not for their public works projects at building underground bolide shelters even that small number would not have survived. The situation was compounded by the enormous mix of biont clades on the planet and lack of proper genetic technology. Many clades found themselves unable to reproduce or at least forced to reproduce only within themselves. Many ethnic and genetic groups separated into different regions, often fighting over scarce resources. Society went back to a low-industrial level, with most of the population involved in farming and basic manufacture.

Over the next centuries the Klarus society slowly recovered, building new independent cultures and restoring a technological base. Partially this was due to help and trade with the relativist crew of the PicaPica, a courier/trade/intelligence organization that found that the system provided them an excellent base to deal with several of the recovering Inner Sphere powers without any risk of having a powerful local government step in on them. In fact, some of the PicaPica members (or the "skaivaukhi" as they were called by the locals) became prominent local leaders.

When Dominion exploration craft revisited the system in 6653 the PicaPica negotiated a deal with them, cleverly setting themselves up as a kind of local prefecture. When contact with the Dominion and re-emerging wormhole nexus opened up, Klarus began to prosper (even if it was still a poor and primitive planet by Inner Sphere standards). For a while it became a symbol for all the pain the Version War had caused, and tourists, ecorestorers and aesthetics flocked to it.

Over the ComEmp era the original PicaPica-governance was phased out by the Dominion (the relativists having long since gone elsewhere, distributing their investments safely across the Inner Sphere). Politically it became a fairly ordinary member system, although the magnificent ruins of the megacities, the craters of the dark ages and the war memorials often dominate the local landscape.

Over time it became known as the Planet of Poets; many late ComEmp and Fragmentation Era poets with romantic leanings went there to seek inspiration on the struggles of mindkind. It became a tradition to hold various cultural events in the meadows around the temperate arcology ruins. Other artistic streams joined in. Today Klarus is home to many artistic/aesthetic activities (beside the usual everyday life of a Dominion world and the still sizable tourism industry), including at any time several of the usually short-lived Institutes of Art. Most famous is the Recitation/Recreation Week, held every trimoon in the Bastion of the Ancient Lawyers (the former NoCoZo arcology of the Era of Expansion, now little more than a rounded hill containing a one kilometer diameter auditorium for the vocal arts).
 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 09 September 2000.

 
 
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