Eridani’s Full Circle

In sharp contrast to the 500-year cold war on Secland and feudal caste system on Schwarzwelt, Epsilon Eridani seems to have been remarkably unstable during the Long Silence. Yet, of the three core systems Eridani also seems to have changed the least since colonization.

When the Ceres Directorate seedship first arrived and began bioprinting colonists the crew promptly declared themselves the “board of directors” and presented the colonists with a bill for their creation that they would spend the whole of their lives paying off. When the colonists’ debts were passed on to their children the board saddled them with additional debts for education, equipment, housing, childcare… The third generation were the ones who finally had enough and killed the board, declaring themselves the Eridani Cooperative. However a small group within the Co-op bought the shares of many struggling workers for a pittance (in some cases a bottle of liquor) and consolidated their power as a new board of directors. This new board would respond to complaints of disenfranchisement by repeating splitting shares and selling only enough to maintain their majority stake, often buying them back for a profit later. However, the lower ranks of their security forces often had the fewest shares and eventually a charismatic sergeant assassinated the CEO and forced the remaining board members to give their shares to his faction. Thus was the Eridani Directorate born. The next revolution came shortly after re-contact. Exposure to Pallene memes of “democracy” provided a rallying cry for zero-share gangs to become a political power, to whom Pallene merchants sold arms on credit.

The latest incarnation of the Eridani Directorate, founded by the democratic activists and their allies, has remained in power for more than a millennium. Political scientists attribute this longevity to three reasons that amount to: the Federation, the Federation, and the Federation.

First, the activists who overthrew the security board passed a law banning existing owners of EDI shares from purchasing additional shares, but only after the revolutionaries had seized the old board’s shares and distributed them to their key supporters. These revolutionaries and their supporters have formed a permanent overclass with as many collected votes as the one-share masses. Whenever the population reaches a certain threshold the board splits shares, sells off a token amount, and encourages the new two-shares to sell off their “spare share.”

Second, after incorporation into the Federation Pallas distributed immortagenic micromachines to the populations of all three systems, meaning that many of the revolutionaries are still alive. An even larger proportion of the population remember being personally worse off under the previous regime than they are under the current one, even if their great-grandkids aren’t so lucky.

Third, the stargate network provides an outlet for the discontented and a steady stream of replacements. Epsilon Eridani has the highest emigration rate of the core systems but also the second highest immigration rate after the capital. Every time an Outworld is admitted to the Federation the EDI holds a recruiting drive and attempts to set up a branch office. As the quality of life they offer is still better than on the majority of Outworlds they nearly always get many new employees. They also make sure to set up their presence on new Federated colonies as soon as their ships can arrive, both bringing in their own colonists and offering shares to homesteaders in exchange for the use of their lands.

That said, many in the upper echelons of the Federal government are worried about the potential collapse of the current EDI regime’s support system and have been making contingency plans for dealing with the next one.

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