House: Free Worlds League/House Marik
Noble Ruler: Baroness Hestor Hepburn-Marik
Star Type (Rech. Time): G1Ia (182 hours)
Position in System: 4
Time to Jump Point: 9.75 days
Number of Moons: 2 (Carbons, Deons)
Surface gravity: 1.1
Atm. Pressure: Low (Breathable)
Equatorial Temperature: 56° C (Arid)
Surface Water: 67 percent
Recharging Station: Both
HPG Class Type: A
Highest Native Life: Plant
Socio-industrial Levels: B-A-C-B-C
Major Corporations: Kali-Yama Weapons Industries Incorporated (KYamIn), Quikscell, Inc. (Quik)
Other Locations of Note on Planet:
Important as a manufacturing center and strategic military base, Kalidasa has long been a bone of contention between Houses Marik and Steiner. Recent years have seen a reduction in military operations against the world—the last full-scale invasion occurred in 2997, though the planet suffered several raids during the reign of Janos Marik—in favor of its becoming a commercial crossroads.
A dozen starports cater to cross-border trade, all on the sole hospitable continent of Kalmia, each with attendant customs services (including a collection of Lyran officials licensed to operate in the FWL) that inspect every load of cargo passing through the system. Cleared cargo is stored in massive warehouse districts around the spaceports. Several sanctioned bazaars in each city sell imported goods alongside native commodities. A viable black market exists as well, trading restricted goods to and from the Lyran Alliance without official interference.
Native industries are limited in scope, mainly light industry and refining, with mineral extraction on the largely uninhabited continents of Kaleen and Kumar and logging on Kalmia providing raw materials. To the surprise of many visitors to this commerce-driven planet, the capital, Sakuntalem, has a well-developed arts scene, with plays by the planet’s namesake a specialty.
A substantial military presence exists on Kalidasa, guarding the ports and factories, but most corporations augment these defenses with private paramilitary forces. Kali-Yama and Quikscell in particular place stringent guards around their facilities and are major employers of mercenary troops. Officially, a cadet line of the Marik family governs Kalidasa, but in practice a shadowy alliance of business interests— including both large military manufacturers—dictates the planet’s affairs.
Baroness Hepburn-Marik serves as a neutral arbiter in these corporate affairs and a conduit for official policy from Atreus. She has, however, built up a strong rapport with the local FWLM forces that may stand her in good stead in the event of a clash between the “merchants’’ council” and the legal authorities.
Janos Marik became Captain-General on September 2, 2991, and immediately began building bridges to his political enemies, including a number of those who had sought to use him in a scheme against his father three years earlier. He announced a general amnesty for political prisoners, including those involved in the 2988 plot, and enacted
humanitarian legislation to aid worlds across the Free Worlds League.
The legislation gave particular preference to those worlds targeted by the Deep Raid. Janos and his wife, Hilda Lauber, toured the League throughout late 2991 and early 2992, giving the new ruler deep insight into the problems that plagued his realm. His thoughtful and compassionate leadership, combined with his belief that military action should be a last resort, earned him enormous respect throughout the League. In just two years, he had reversed the alienation created by his predecessors. Janos surrounded himself with a broad base of advisors, ranging from his brother Anton to military officers from the Silver Hawks, Marik Militia and Orloff Grenadiers, as well as regional and national politicians.
Among the best known of these were Saj Rahal and Falstaff McHenry from the Sixth Marik Militia and Silver Hawk Irregulars, respectively, as well as MP Stephanie Alvarez of New Olympia. Vincente Orloff, the current earl’s father, also became a close confidant, helping to promote the Captain-General’s agenda. This “council of friends” would play a key role in shaping Free Worlds League policy in the early years of Janos’ reign.
Hilda’s death in 2994 hit Janos hard, but the entire League voiced its sympathy for their young leader. Even Duchess Catherine Humphreys of Andurien, one of House Marik’s few dedicated opponents, paid her respects at the funeral. Afterward, Janos threw himself into his work, striving to root out corruption in the FWLM and SAFE via the Accountability Edict and the Logistics Act, both passed in 2996.
The restructuring prompted by these new laws was immediately put to the test with the assault on Hesperus a year later. Though defeated by a young Katrina Steiner, the raid demonstrated the FWLM’s newfound strength. When the LCAF launched a tit-for-tat attack against Kalidasa later in the year, Janos ordered reinforcements to the beleaguered world and authorized a new attempt against Hesperus, much of whose garrison was involved in the Kalidasa assault. This second attack nearly succeeded, only blocked by the desperate action and superlative skill of the mercenary Eridani Light Horse.
The marriage of Janos Marik to Ana Stewart in 2998 heralded a new generation of Mariks to complement Janos’ seven children by his first marriage, and strengthened dynastic alliances within the Free Worlds League. The daughter of the Stewart Commonality’s ruling Duke Androcles, Ana bound the Stewart duchy to the Mariks. Her children and grandchildren, though unlikely to succeed to leadership of either Stewart or the Marik Commonwealth, would play a major role in League affairs.
Tragedy struck as well, however, with the death of Janos’ fifth child, Cartwright, shortly after the wedding. The millennium celebrations marked the end of the first phase of Janos Marik’s reign, marred only by Davion attacks against Kalidasa that led to a six-year covert war against the Federated Suns.
For his part, Janos focused his realm’s efforts against the League’s traditional enemy, the Lyran Commonwealth. He intended to weaken the Federation of Skye and diminish Lyran industrial capacity, with the factory complex on Hesperus as his ultimate strategic objective.
Success would have far-reaching effects—a Lyran shortage of supplies would aid League war efforts against the Commonwealth along the entire front and force the Lyrans to draw off troops from their Draconis Combine border. Simultaneously, Janos intended League forces to resume their offensive into the Tikonov Commonality, bringing more former Terran Hegemony planets into the Free Worlds. In theory a cunning and insidious plan, reality would be another matter. Loric, targeted in March 3002.