"When our ships arrived in-system they were able to reconnoitre for some time unnoticed. Our technology, partly thanks to the ambassadors, outclassed theirs by a fair margin. They found two habitable planets and a complex political situation. One of our light cruisers intercepted and captured a ship travelling between the two planets and we were able to piece together the situation. Sladden had been colonised from Wilgraux centuries before and ruthlessly exploited. It was still ruled from Wilgraux, but the government on Wilgraux was finding that Sladden was more trouble than it was worth and had been trying to disengage for about fifty years. Direct rule had given way to half-hearted devolved rule, with at the top of military, economic and political life an elite of carefully chosen loyalists born or at least trained on Wilgraux. There was still a small garrison on Wilgraux troops on Sladden and there was also a poorly equipped planetary militia. There was interplanetary trade between the two, but technological advances had meant that many of the resources obtained from Sladden were in lower demand, and automated orbital manufacturing facilities over Wilgraux had also superseded much of the unpleasant, polluting, dangerous and unsophisticated industry that had been outsourced to Sladden. This had left large areas polluted, and neglected post-industrial town had been simply abandoned to their own devices once they were no longer useful. Sladden was largely reliant on Wilgraux for food beyond the basics and for any advanced technology, and looked at Wilgraux as the source of all expertise, cultural sophistication, and knowledge.
"Our arrival, when we entered orbit over Sladden, was as much of a shock to the people of Sladden and Wilgraux as the arrival of the ambassadors had been to us. They had no interstellar drive, no idea beyond speculation there were other inhabited worlds, and certainly no expectation that they would be humans very like themselves. Our ships began to land troops on Sladden at once; one light cruiser - Wilgraux had no spacefleet, just a small number of transport vessels and a couple of customs ships - lay in orbit over Wilgraux, conspicuously training its weapons on the irreplaceable orbiting factories that produced every essential piece of technology that Wilgraux needed.
"There was of course consternation on Sladden when we landed. Communications with Wilgraux were interrupted, and all interplanetary traffic ceased. We were welcomed as visitors, but that welcome soured when they realised we would be staying as their new rulers. As you know, our plan began to unravel almost from the start. Wilgraux was barred from sending ships to Sladden, but the ruling class on Sladden was still largely loyal to Wilgraux and resistance by the garrison and local militia began almost at once. There had long been an insignificant underground group on Sladden which had agitated for independence from Wilgraux, and they at first cautiously supported us. Some always did, and supplied auxiliary troops, guides and so on. When it became clear that the garrison and militia would not be able to halt our advance alone the governor turned for help to groups that had previously been his greatest annoyance. In those areas which had previously been industrial centres, or hubs of open-cast mining, or huge hydroponic farms growing the unappealing mush which sustained the population of Sladden, but which had since been abandoned, sometimes literally overnight, by the colonial administration once their produce was no longer of use to Wilgraux, the ruling groups were now gangs loyal to local strongmen. The governor armed some of these gangs, allowing them to use their new weapons to subdue their rivals in exchange for supplying troops to fight us. This was the strange alliance of forces that faced us on Sladden: the remnants of the garrison from Wilgraux; their militia, viewed by the garrison and the ruling class as not always thoroughly loyal to Wilgraux; and the armed gangs, who were often nearly as hostile to the government and to each other as to us. Small wonder that the war, intended to be a quick takeover of an abandoned colony from a careless master, turned into the morass that it did - the enemy resisting strongly despite a lack of equipment and training, and ourselves having to transport almost everything over interstellar distances.
"If I had to guess I'd say that in the Culture - Idiran war the fighting on Sladden, and the whole Meriscane Confederation, was not worth diverting even one ship from more important duties. But by expending some effort in long-term planning and embedding a few agents the Idirans hoped we would cause enough of a fuss to gain the Culture's attention and oblige them to divert a ship. That puts us in our place, doesn't it?"
From an interview with Armen Raspagius Velgid, ex-member of the ruling council of the Meriscane Confederation, while in exile on Dibaldipen Orbital.
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http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden.html Overview and planetary data for Sladden
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---chapter-0.html Mini-campaign rules
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---chapter-1.html A game played using MDRG
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---chapter-2.html Another game played using MDRG
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---interlude-i.html Background to the Meriscane intervention on Sladden
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---chapter-3.html A game played using FUBAR
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---chapter-4.html Outline of a game that has yet to be played
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---chapter-5.html A game played using FUBAR
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---interlude-ii.html Background to the Meriscane intervention (continued)
http://www.spodilicious.com/sladden---chapter-6.html A game played using Blast Pistol