"When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.”
Battletech: New Horizons
From the personal logs of Illarion Volkov IV, December 23, 3018:
The Third Succession War is finally, inexorably, grinding to a halt. After two hundred years of war the untold billions of dead have bought only a few small changes on a map. Given a choice, the Successor States would no doubt continue to war with each other. But they no longer can... so much is gone. So much has been lost. Nearly all the glories of the past age have been drowned in fire and blood. There is almost nothing left to fight over, and almost nothing left to fight with.
On the edge of the Periphery, a single world endures. Oh, to have seen Horizon at its height! Once, great caravans of Jumpships flowed through the Horizon star system. Steiner, Kurita, Rim Worlder, and many others too, they all came here. Horizon, the bustling gateway to the Great Periphery, home to over a billion souls, and the crown jewel of the Apollo province. How it rivaled Apollo itself in its prosperity and grandeur!
Yet nothing lasts forever. One day our so-called king went quite, quite mad, slaughtered the Cameron line, and declared himself Emperor. The Star League Army came to the Republic, extracted its vengeance, and then left. Defenseless, most of the core Republic worlds were soon annexed by the Lyrans. The Rim Worlds Republic, the real
Rim Worlds, a proud nation that had endured for centuries, disappeared like a breath on a cold morning. May Amaris rot in hell!
A few dozen Republic systems were orphaned, left to wither on their own. Horizon was among these, and found itself quite alone indeed. And yet, all might not have been lost, for even on its own Horizon could survive. That hope was nearly extinguished when the entire Inner Sphere erupted into unrestrained warfare on December 12, 2786. For on that day, the Jumpships stopped coming.
The first ten years were the most difficult. Left to its own natural processes, Horizon's climate tends to run cool and dry in the warmer seasons and frigidly cold in the winters. The complete disruption of interstellar commerce meant that spare parts to maintain the world's atmospheric stabilizers could no longer be easily acquired. After the factories themselves were destroyed in 2815, such parts could no longer be obtained at all. As the world slowly reverted to its harsher natural state, many millions died from starvation, exposure, lack of medical care, and frequent raids from mutinuous Inner Sphere units fleeing into the Periphery. For a time the government of Horizon appeared to be on the brink of total collapse. Order was maintained only by instituting brutal martial law in the remaining food-producing regions and a few of the most important cities. In a reflection of what had happened to the lost worlds of the Republic, most other areas of the planet were left to fend for themselves. When all was said and done, nearly 90 percent of Horizon's population perished in those first few years. May Saint Andrew shepherd their souls, for our very survival is a gift from God.
Eventually, the Jumpships started to trickle in again. Even though the Lyrans and the Dracs were mortal enemies, the system's location just spinward of Star's End meant that Horizon could still serve as an indirect means for the major powers to trade with each other, much as they had before. Horizon also possesses the only functioning jump recharge station within 2 jumps in any direction. Yet no longer do a dozen Jumpships arrive every day. For how could they, when the majority of Jumpships were destroyed during the Succession Wars? Across the entire Inner Sphere, the pitiful handful of replacement Jumpships cobbled together from spare parts and salvage each year cannot even keep up with the losses that occur from routine operation! Now, the Horizon system is considered busy if more than one jumpship arrives in the same week. And yet, most other Periphery worlds count themselves fortunate if they are serviced by a monthly Comstar mail courier. Those that aren't might be visited by a free trader once every year or less. There are even rumors of worlds beyond the Elysian Fields that have been cut off from outside contact since the Succession Wars started, and as a result have regressed to a pre-industrial state... or worse.
Rimward of the Horizon system, the Lyran Alliance and the Draconis Combine are barely able to muster sufficient assets for company-sized Battlemech raids, and a battalion-sized assault is considered a rare and major operation. Relations with the Draconis Combine have noticeably cooled as of late. There have been rumblings of a new independence movement within the Rasalhague Prefecture, and their attention had been diverted inward. If true, this would be a very favorable development for Horizon. As for House Steiner... well, as long as they continue to feel that there is more profit in just leaving us alone, we will maintain that status quo.
Coreward of Horizon, the ashen remains of the Apollo Province's abandoned systems have fitfully coalesced into a handful of small Periphery states and Bandit kingdoms. In the current day, this region is collectively known as The Barrens. Currently, the pirates of Butte Hold (Redjack Ryan), the Greater Valkyrate (Maria Morgraine), and Santander's World (Helmar Valasek) all pose a severe threat to Horizon's welfare. In any other century, any one of these groups would be considered exceptionally savage. Yet of the three, Redjack Ryan is singularly renowned for his rapacious cruelty. It is a sobering reality that each of these cancerous pirate bands individually possess more battlemechs than Horizon does itself. However, Horizon has generally managed to remain an unappetizing target by maintaining a large and well motivated conventional armor and infantry force.
Meanwhile the nearby Belt Pirates (currently led by Morgan Fletcher) have all but ceased raiding in recent years. Evidently it has been far more profitable for them to make their Star League-era ship repair yard available for commerical use. Rumor stands that they are even capable of producing new Jumpships, but this seems unlikely.
Further coreward exists the Oberon Confederation and its protectorate, the Elysian Fields. The Oberon Confederation has recently been rebranding itself from a bandit kingdom into a legitimate Periphery state, and they have been largely successful in doing so. Relations between Horizon and the Confederation are currently cordial, although an offer for Horizon to join the Confederation's sphere of influence was politely rebuffed. Further coreward from the Oberon Confederation exist the Chainelane Isles. However, these worlds, backward even by Periphery standards, seem to have little interest in anything that does not involve fighting each other and have little to offer to outsiders.
Far into the Deep Periphery exists the Hanseatic League. Little is known about this secretive and distant nation. Although Horizon has no official contact with the Hansa government, their Jumpships are frequently seen in the Horizon system.
FACT SHEET: Horizon, aka the Kingdom of Horizon (Independent World)
Star Type (Recharge Time): K3V (194 hours)
Position in System: 2nd planet
Time to Jump Point: 4.62 days
Number of Satellites: 2
Surface Gravity: .91
Atm. Pressure: Standard (Breathable)
Habitable Band Temperature: 19° Celsius (Cool-Temperate)
Surface Water: 52 percent
Recharging Station: Zenith
HPG Class Type: None
Highest Native Life: Avian
Technological Sophistication: C
Industrial Development: C
Industrial Output: C
Agricultural Dependence: A
Raw Material Dependence: B
Exports: Agricultural goods, metallurgical goods, small arms, military vehicles.
Imports: Luxury items, consumer goods, medical equipment, advanced military equipment.