This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 4.11.
The Kiel system was a major hub of military activity during the cold war, but since relations with the Xi’an have improved, the system has worked hard to redefine itself. The Senate’s recent official recognition of the system’s third planet, Severus, is considered proof to many that some of that hard work has started to pay off.
The system was discovered by a Merchant Marine fuel collection vessel operating in the Hadrian system. The ship’s captain, Adhama Schnauss, made it a point to take a different route on each collection trip to keep the crew on their toes. One day in 2514, Schnauss noticed a strange anomaly on their scans and redirected their course to investigate it. What they found was a large jump point connected to a new system with a white, F-type main sequence star surrounded by six planets and an asteroid belt. Schnauss named the system Kiel after a longtime friend who adamantly refused to leave his home planet of Mars. Schnauss hoped the gesture would motivate his friend to finally venture into the stars to see the system that bore his name.
Military pathfinders scanned the system to discover that none of the planets were naturally habitable and only the third one, Severus, was deemed suitable for terraforming. As the terraforming process was underway, jumps to two new systems (Baker and Horus) were discovered, igniting massive public and private interest in the system. Even though it hadn’t been officially inhabited, it was already well connected to the expanding eastern-edge of the empire. It had a mineral-rich asteroid belt, gas giants to be used for refueling and soon, a terraformed world to serve as the system’s nerve center.
Yet, all that changed when in 2542 when Marie Sante discovered a jump into Xi’an space from the Horus system. Being connected to the Perry Line, Kiel was now only one system away from Xi’an territory, so the UPE quickly re-designated the system. Much to the dismay of the companies that had begun prospecting as the terraforming process was completed, rather than opening the system for economic development, the government drafted plans to make Severus a massive military hub, a decision that would define the system for centuries.
Once Severus was habitable, the military moved into the system en masse. Ivar Messer had recently risen to power partially by cultivating fears over the Xi’an, so pouring government funds into Kiel was considered an impressive show of force against the new alien enemies.
Over the decades, the military’s strong presence in Kiel also proved beneficial for domestic pacification purposes. Its proximity to Terra was a noted concern amongst the growing anti-Messer activists, who saw it as a potential staging point for invasion. There were even rumors that Terran Senator, Assan Kieren, who mysteriously disappeared in 2638 after drafting a bill that would grant Terra sovereignty apart from the UEE, had been abducted and taken to a military installation on Kiel II.
Kiel’s military footprint was greatly reduced in the early 29th century after tensions with the Xi’an de-escalated and the Perry Line was dismantled. However, as the military moved out, attracting private sector companies to replace them in the system proved difficult. With large swaths of resources removed by the military, an aging infrastructure in need of repair, and without a significant population, it just didn’t make economic sense for many businesses to expand into Kiel.
That started to change under the guidance of Joona Tzur, who was elected Severus’ Governor in 2903. Tzur was one of only a few hundred people whose Kiel roots extended further than two generations, beginning with his great-grandmother who chose to remain in the system upon retiring from the Army. He knew Severus’ strengths better than anyone else and specifically recruited industries to the planet that could capitalize on the military’s infrastructure and abandoned bases. The strategy worked and numerous giants of the space industry set up factories in the system. In addition, Tzur knew that he needed more than businesses to grow his homeworld, and so he invested heavily in public leisure and green spaces, claiming that a happy population is one that grows.
One of Tzur’s most notable victories came when he convinced the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo to host the event on Severus. Tzur’s main selling point was the numerous decommissioned spacecraft hangars that could house the massive event. After a rapid series of upgrades were made to the facilities, the IAE was held on Severus for the first time in 2916 and has been one of the system’s main economic drivers ever since, creating additional hotels, restaurants, and attractions in its wake. Today, in addition to the Aerospace Expo, many other conferences use the facilities throughout the year, making tourism one of the largest growth sectors for the planet.
The economic turnaround and rebranding of Kiel has been considered a success by many, including the Senate who official recognized Severus in 2937. The system’s population has continued to swell ever since. With plenty of jobs and considerably less congestion than other systems (like Terra), Kiel was recently voted one of the “Top Ten Most Livable Systems” by the editors of New United.
This small mesoplanet is sun-scarred on one side thanks to it being tidally locked.
Kiel II is a rocky planet that features a thin atmosphere and a good deal of mystery. Scans of the planet reveal the presence of resources, yet the UEE has strictly prohibited any mining operations. This has led some to believe the planet may continue to house classified underground military installations.
Kiel III (Severus)
Severus is a rocky planet that was quickly terraformed after the system’s discovery. Named after a famous Navy admiral who distinguished himself during the Second Tevarin War, it served as a key military hub during the cold war with the Xi’an. Once relations thawed, the planet’s permanent residents worked hard to help it find a new identity.
Things started to turn around after RSI agreed to open a large factory to manufacture their improved line of thrusters. RSI brought a fresh flow of people and creds into the system, which encouraged other companies to follow suit. Soon word spread that the planet had plenty of work and an affordable cost of living. Blue collar workers arrived in droves, and the planet saw its populace consistently rise for decades. It wasn’t long before the Governors’ Council applied for and received representation status, with Tzur’s daughter Janna Thurville elected as Severus’ first senator.
The influx of people and business allowed the government to redesign parts of the planet for civic use. The planet’s capital, Eri City, received the most attention. A number of old, drab military structures were demolished and beautiful public parks built in their place. Though the planet still lacks a unique cultural identity, its fine dining scene is surprisingly strong. There have been great strides in making the planet’s soil arable again, and with housing expenses being relatively low, many people are more than willing to splurge on gourmet meals.
A picturesque gas dwarf that’s a striking deep blue color. The planet’s rapid spin means it only takes 16 standard Earth hours to make one complete rotation.
This massive gas giant has a planetary radius of over 57,000 kilometers and an impressive set of planetary rings that extend well beyond that.
It takes this protoplanet 44,512 standard Earth days (about 122 standard years) to make one trip around the system’s sun. A festival is currently being planned for the next time it reaches its perihelion.
Miners have long coveted a chance to pull resources from Kiel II, and over the years, numerous unauthorized attempts have been made. Yet, even though the military no longer dominates the system, it still maintains a strong presence and is quick to go after those who disobey the mining prohibition on Kiel II.
HEARD IN THE WIND
“The true potential of the Kiel system is still untapped and unmolded. I don’t see its lack of an identity as a hindrance, but rather as the ultimate opportunity to create something new.”
– Governor Joona Tzur, inauguration ceremony, 2903
“The boring, nondescript building was originally constructed and used by the military when they controlled the planet. For centuries, it housed stodgy military bureaucrats, but now it’s home to Nocturne, one of the most exciting new restaurants in the UEE. Like much of the Kiel system, what looks dull and unimpressive at first blush becomes much more fascinating upon closer examination.”
– Gloria Budd, New United “Top Ten Most Livable Systems,” 2945