This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 5.12.
A memorial commemorating both Tevarin wars now occupies ‘the Hill.’ Some consider this (in)famous site in the Idris system to be the location of one of the most important events in all of Human history. Here, in 2544, an ambitious young officer named Ivar Messer directed dangerously close bombing runs to turn the tide of the battle and arguably the entire First Tevarin War. One can only imagine how history would differ if the Tevarin had won that day and the fanatical Ivar Messer never risen to power to usher in the darkest days of Humanity.
While Idris can’t shake its association with Ivar Messer, the rich and interesting history of the system has had a significant impact on the Empire in more ways than one.
A Strange Trip
In 2493, Terrell Dorazio slowly piloted his exploration ship, Ika’Roa, across a sector of Rhetor. A student at Mentor University, Dorazio and a friend visited this section of space to ingest hallucinogens and stare at Rhetor V as it traveled through a picturesque portion of its orbit. Mid-experience, Dorazio became convinced that his ship’s scanner had picked up an anomaly, but his friend assured him it was just part of the hallucination.
The experience stuck with Dorazio. After graduation, the novice explorer returned to that sector and spent weeks scanning it. Eventually, he found a jump point into an undiscovered system and named it Idris after the friend who insisted nothing was there.
UNE pathfinders explored Idris to discover one potentially habitable planet and a mineral rich protoplanet. They quickly claimed the system and rushed to terraform Idris IV. Once habitable, the government declared Idris IV a Recommended Growth Center in 2533. Its population swelled and businesses flocked to the system as it became a symbol for Humanity’s ability to quickly colonize a new system.
No one could have predicted that making Idris IV conducive to Human life would also make it a prime target for an alien invasion.
Freedom’s Front Line
In 2541, Dr. Kellar Lench discovered the Elysium system and the new species that called it home — the Tevarin. The UPE attempted to establish diplomatic ties with the Tevarin, but they were more interested in Humanity’s land than in peace. The Tevarin had not mastered terraforming and were desperate for new planets to inhabit. After discovering that the atmosphere of their worlds was similar to that of Human planets, the proud and martial Tevarin concluded that invasion was the answer to their problems. The first Tevarin War ignited and the UPE Navy was dispatched to defend the Elysium-Centauri jump point.
Unfortunately for the population of Idris, the Tevarin discovered a jump into the system and mustered a surprise attack in 2542. The Tevarin invasion began with orbital bombardments that devastated population centers and left countless dead. These massive impact craters can still be seen on approach to the planet. While most survivors fled the system, some sought refuge in the mountains and organized resistance groups to provide valuable intelligence and assistance when the UPE finally struck back on the planet.
When the First Tevarin War ended in 2546, Ivar Messer had been elected Prime Citizen, a position which eventually transitioned into the role of Imperator. It was a meteoric rise to power. He wielded his immense influence to reshape the government to his liking and help those who aided his ascent, which included the people of Idris. The new UEE government flooded the system with credits to help rebuild cities and resettle inhabitants.
To commemorate the system’s sacrifice during the First Tevarin War, and curry favor with Messer, Aegis Dynamics named a line of capital ships after the system in 2551, and even opened a facility on the planet to manufacture them. Ivar Messer gave a famous speech at the inaugural Idris launch, which hinted at the fascism to come.
In this speech, Messer said that “never again can we let Humanity be made the victim. Let all who would dare become the enemy of our Empire tremble as they hear of our victory in Idris and the ship that bears its name.”
The system’s reconstruction was stalled in 2603 with the outbreak of the Second Tevarin War. Committed to preventing Idris from again falling to the Tevarin, the military stationed a massive force in the system. Tevarin warlord Corath’Thal recognized Humanity’s intent to hold the system at all costs and used it to his advantage. On several occasions, he sent decoy fleets into Idris to draw more UEE forces into the system before launching a surprise attack elsewhere.
Only after the Empire defeated the new Tevarin threat could the Idris system truly prosper.
Out of the Ashes
The centuries following the Second Tevarin War were not as dynamic, but were no less important to Idris’ development. On Idris IV, Aegis Dynamics bought up tracts of cheap land to expand their production facilities, while the significant military presence in the system kept trade lanes safe and secure. Cheap real estate, safe shipping and lax regulations were a boon to businesses flocking to the system. By the end of the 27th century, the system had evolved into a production powerhouse.
However, during the Messer regime, the system developed a reputation of putting the needs of corporations before that of the general population and earned a poor track record regarding workers’ rights. The well-organized strikes of 2808 pushed back on poor working conditions and low pay. It energized a planet-wide movement that pressured the Governor’s Council to refine their labor laws. Numerous UEE systems have since adopted similar standards, now universally known as the Idris Amendments. The legislation is considered a significant accomplishment for the system, though its impact on the Empire receives much less attention than its part in the rise of Ivar Messer.
Idris I resides a mere 0.1 AU away from the system’s F-type main-sequence star. It lacks an atmosphere and both its crust and mantle have been blasted away due to its solar proximity, leaving the planet’s iron core to solidify.
While Idris I lacks an atmosphere, the one encompassing Idris II makes it completely inhospitable to Human life. Planetside temperatures soar under the thick and volatile cloud cover. When combined with dangerously high atmospheric pressure, this rocky planet is best viewed from afar.
Idris III is an uninhabitable terrestrial planet mostly covered by an ocean of water mixed with ammonia and other volatile fluids. Countless research probes sent to investigate this high-density mixture have fallen victim to its viscosity. If anything of note resides beneath the soupy seas of Idris III, it’s still waiting to be discovered.
Idris IV [Locke]
Rachel Locke fled into the mountains of Idris IV following the invasions of the First Tevarin War. Though she had no official military training, she led the resistance movement known as the Greys that terrorized the Tevarin invaders. Following the war, the Governor’s Council honored her leadership and heroism by naming the planet after her.
As the system’s only habitable planet, Locke is Idris’s beating heart. Besides being a business-friendly location, word has spread among outdoor enthusiasts about the picturesque Corsti Mountains in the north. A thriving tourism industry based in and around the city of Tanys is geared to those interested in taking in the sights either on foot or by vehicle.
The planet is also known for growing a distinct version of the ugni blanc grape varietal. The planet’s soil composition accentuates the grape’s acidity, making it ideal for cognac and brandy production. The Starlight Idris Cuvée has been voted the universe’s best cognac on multiple occasions.
This protoplanet originally contained a wealth of valuable minerals. The government and various companies systematically strip-mined Idris V throughout the 26th and 27th century until its resources were significantly depleted. Today, the abandoned facilities there are best known for being sporadically occupied by criminals and squatters.
It may not be apparent, but security is tight around the Tevarin War memorial. Though dedicated to those who bravely fought in both wars, its association with Ivar Messer has attracted criticism, vandalism and threats to destroy it.
HEARD IN THE WIND
“Freedom comes at a cost of more than lives and credits. It requires commitment, dedication, and a willingness to do what’s unpopular to accomplish what’s right. It must be ready to crush any opposition that threatens it. With that last point in mind, I’m pleased to unveil the latest capital-class ship from Aegis Dynamics — the Idris. It is the UEE’s new definition of a freedom fighter.”
– Ivar Messer, speech at the inaugural Idris launch, 2551
“Humanity made this world what it is. If we walk away instead of fighting for it, then the Tevarin have already won. They’ll push further into Human space until all our planets and even Earth are subjugated. That’s why we must make a stand here and now. Because if this frontline falls, who knows how far they’ll go.”
– Rachel Locke, pirate comm broadcast, 2543