Crimson flag of the Asuron Star System, blowing in the wind

The Asuron System… A Terrible, Terrible Place!

When we first previewed Gregory and the Gardener to the full Thousand Years War Project team at the university, several people–especially the non-historians who so admirably manage our administrative tasks–were not only horrified that such places exist, but that the Allied Human Peoples allow them to exist. It goes without saying that many had never read The Thousand Years War: Stories of the Corps. Even a cursory glance through Daemon Williams’ experiences in the ghastly mines of Asuron Five would have given them ample warning!

Why does the AHP permit such places?

The AHP is a loose confederation of systems devoted to mutual defense and regularizing commerce among its members. As such, the only membership requirements it imposes are to contribute material and financial resources to the war effort, cooperate with the Combined Forces operating in and around member systems, and render up all children who display psychic abilities at the Sixteen-Year-Exams for service in The Corps of Protectors and Guards. Otherwise, each star system or independent settlement within a system may structure their societies as they wish, however dreadful we judge them to be.

How did Asuron become so bad?

The Asuron System, like most truly dreadful places, did not start out that way. They intended a sort of communitarian utopia with unlimited freedom of expression and association. Some historians maintain they came close to achieving that ideal early on. Once the settlement grew beyond the original small communes on Asuron Four, however, and the astounding riches of Asuron Five revealed themselves not only to the system’s inhabitants but to the enemy as well, Asuron devolved into a brutal totalitarian dictatorship.

Why was Asuron Three especially terrible? Is it better now?

The government settled Asuron Three, which sits on the inner edge of the “Goldilocks Zone” in which a planet may be terraformed, centuries after this tyrannical system was firmly established. They intended it as an “escape hatch” for the leadership, since there is no subspace jump site near its orbit. That, along with the planet’s harsh climate and lack of resources, made it less likely to attract the enemy or other bad actors. Over time Asuron Three became a dumping ground for disgraced government officials and petty criminals with enough connections to escape death or the mines. As a result, during Gregory’s era the misery, poverty, and corruption of the place made it one of the worst spots in the AHP. Today, nearly 300 years later, conditions have improved greatly–but it remains a challenging place to live.

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