Although discovered by the Scout Service over two hundred years ago, the system wasn't fully explored and mapped until about sixty years ago by Alexander Hopkins, head of a small mining company. Beginning his survey with the innermost planet, he quickly became discouraged by the metal-poor worlds. Everything changed when he began taking readings of the outermost terrestrial planet, a miner's paradise. Hopkins quickly left a marker buoy behind and headed to the nearest Mining Office to put in a claim on the world. He managed to get exclusive mining rights and Hopkins' company became rich overnight.
A small colony was set up on Maria (named for his wife), since Tomas (named after his eldest son) had too high a gravity to be colonized (the other planets were also named after close family members). Not long after his company began to thrive, things started to go bad. Other mining companies, seeing the wealth on Tomas, became very envious. After several legal attempts to have his claim invalidated failed (but which succeeded in financially weakening his company), the rival companies began playing hardball, first with sabotage and finally progressing to outright war.
The Navy finally interceeded, but not before Hopkins'company was destroyed and a large portion of the Maria colonies lay in ruins. The Alliance was left in a quandry, since Hopkins' company could no longer function, but the only other mining companies in the sector had been responsible for the war. In the end, the Alliance granted the other mining companies rights to operate on Tomas, with each paying 2% of their yearly local gross to Hopkins and his descendants (10% for companies involved in the war). There are currently a dozen mining corportations operating in the system, seven of which were involved in the war.
Name: Hopkins' Star Class: G8V
Biozone: 0.80-1.20 AU Number of planets: 8
|3||Anna||1.3||gas giant||35,000||1.2||0.96||faint ring|
|6||Bethal||6.2||gas giant||52,400||0.9||1.08||faint ring|
|7||Ezra||11.8||gas giant||90,000||1.5||3.09||faint ring|
|10||Giani||45.4||asteroid belt||n/a||n/a||n/a||some prospecting|
Maria (Hopkins' Star II): While Maria is only a marginally habitable planet, it is the best in the system and allows easy access to the rich mining world of Tomas. Maria has a 27 degree axial tilt which gives normal seasons, but also has a long 1162 hour day with a local year of 6.45 days. The atmosphere is fairly dense, 7.3 times the pressure of earth's, and consists of nitrogen (74%), oxygen (25%) and trace amounts of other gases. Seven tenths of the planet is covered by water and humidity is 87%. Maria has no moons.
Given a slow rotation and dense atmosphere, Maria is a hot world, averaging 120 degrees at 30 degrees latitude. Despite the poor conditions, Maria has developed native life forms as advanced as Terran mammals. However, they are barely edible, and with most Marians living below the surface, colonists and native life rarely cross.
The human population numbers slightly over 450 million (PR 8), with most of them involved in mining or refining ore taken from Tomas. Most of the citizens are human, but there are significant numbers of sparrials and heavy-worlders. Marian technology is comparable to that in the rest of the sector, though weaponry lags slightly behind. Marian society is governed by a Athenian-type democracy which is saddled with a ponderous bureaucracy (CR 4 overall). Maria is CR 5 with respect to lethal energy weapons but CR 3 for other weaponry (slugthrowers are easier to detect and trace than energy weapons). As a tradeoff, no corporate "armies" are allowed to operate in the system, though well-equipped escort ships are owned and operated by various corporations.
The four primary starports on Maria are Serenity (Class V), Obedience
(Class V), Hope (Class IV) and Wisdom (Class IV). Most of the mining corporations
maintain a Class III port for traffic with Tomas, but all interstellar
shipping goes through one of the starports listed above. No significant
mining is done on Maria, but most of the ore from Tomas is refined (at
least partly) there before being sent out-of-system.
Tomas (Hopkins' Star V): This metal-rich world is a valuable mining site in the sector. Not only does it hold large quantaties of mineral wealth but has a wide range of resources, including significant amounts of titanium and tungsten, both very important to starship construction.
Due to the planet's high gravity, there are no large settlements on the surface -- the expense of grav compensators for thousands of people and the power source would be immense. Instead, strongly built automated systems are kept on planet and workers are rotated through the settlements and (rather cramped) orbital stations. After about a month on-duty, the workers get a month of R&R back on Maria. Many of the mining companies have taken to hiring heavy-worlders (p.S40) to make up small permanent ground crews, however.
Society on Tomas and its orbital stations is just an extension
of that on Maria, though weapons are more tightly controlled on the orbital
stations while "barroom brawls" are more tolerated (+1 weapon CR).
The Great Conspiracy: Unknown to everyone outside of Hopkins' closest circle of friends and advisors, the war was instigated by him! Hopkins' company was on the verge of bankruptcy due to his poor management (he was a better geologist than buisinessman), so he leaked certain information and planted a few spies to ensure attacks on his mining sites and ore ships would occur. Now, instead of his ruined company being pushed aside in a legal way, he and his family are collecting money for life.