The history of Hod is inextricably tied to its older sibling, the colony on Hesperus. After the food riots on Hesperus in 2102, the government of the UCF concluded that if this great experiment in interstellar colonisation was to succeed, there would have to be a more reliable and secure supply line for these far-flung colonies. Fortunately, plans to establish an agricultural colony on Hod had been on the table for several years at that point and the Federation was able to move those plans to the top of its colonisation priority list.
By 2106, the first foundations for settlement were being laid in the arable soil of Hod. Before the arrival of humanity, there was little life of any kind on Hod, mostly microbes and other small organisms. The most highly evolved form of life was a kind of dark red fungus that is still found nearly everywhere on the planet’s surface. The news of any kind of alien life, coming so soon after the attack that destroyed the Reynolds at Hesperus, made the job of recruiting colonists for the new installation on Hod much more difficult at first. Dismayed at the prospect of funding a colony with no colonists, the UCF government began offering increased financial incentives to any citizen or civilian willing to relocate to Hod with his family. With the fears of invasion slowly subsiding in the absence of any further attacks and the temptation of the government’s financial incentive programme, colonists slowly began to trickle into Hod. Hod also marked the UCF’s first foray into interstellar environmental configuration. Though the soil of Hod was deemed suitable to growing Earth crops, the planet itself lacked the environment in which they could prosper.
Thus, for the first few years of the colony’s existence, Hod supported itself almost entirely through its mining efforts. Crops were grown within enormous atmospheric domes beneath artificial light, while the surface of the planet was readied for the day humans would be able to leave the domes and breathe freely under the alien sky. Though the planet is still marked by particularly violent weather, especially on the western continent where the majority of the agricultural concerns are located, Hod is now a fully self sustaining ecosystem well within the limits of human (and plant) tolerance.
The only hiccup in the otherwise peaceful existence of the colony on Hod was an attempt to unionise labour some 20 years after the colony’s founding. However, a team of negotiators was dispatched from Earth immediately and, after a few weeks working with the colonists, were able to head off any sort of confrontation and bring the situation to a conclusion that benefited all sides.
Virtually every one of Hod’s inhabitants is involved on one of the two main industries of the planet, either farming or mining. The planet is incredibly rich in iron ore, with perhaps the deepest veins ever discovered. It is particularly telling that, after almost a century of mining, these mines still show no sign of playing out.
Most of the production of Hod’s mines and farms is destined for a very short trip across interplanetary space to the colony on Hesperus, where the minerals go to feed the forges and shipyards and the food goes to feed the workforce. The people of Hod know they live in the shadow of Hesperus and they are well aware that their sister colony is considered more vital than their own. Of course, the people of Hesperus know that as well, a fact that has led to an often unfriendly rivalry between the two colonies. Usually, this rivalry is played out in competition. Both colonies have a number of popular sports franchises and games between Hesperus and Hod teams are always played in front of sell-out crowds. Governor Burke, like all the governors before him, knows from hard experience that it is necessary to have a highly visible and well-armed police presence at such games, which is still only enough to keep conflicts between fans from either side under control. It does little for Hod’s sense of being second rate that their teams lose almost every match with teams drawn from the much larger population of Hesperus.Of course, Hesperus and Hod manifest their rivalry in other ways as well, some petty, some less so. For example, Fleet ships bearing data cores full of FedNet programming stop at Hesperus at least once a week and the Hesperus colony is responsible for broadcasting the transmissions to Hod, as well as the Hesperus colonists. After an upset by the Hod fieldball team three years ago, the Hesperus colonists hacked into the FedNet broadcast, stripping out every language option from the transmission with the exception of Tagalog, which not a single soul on Hod was fluent in. In retaliation, Hod began withholding food shipments, a tactic that lasted only two days before Governor Burke stepped in to correct the problem. Though this deeply ingrained rivalry makes it difficult for them to see, the people of Hod are very similar to the people of Hesperus, both in background and economic status.
Population in 2269: 150.000
Laws and Government
The laws on Hod are identical to those on Hesperus, except for some obvious instances where they are not applicable. Hod has only a very small police force and only one court of law. Due to the frequent traffic back and forth between Hesperus and Hod, it was long ago decided that any trial for a crime committed on Hod (aside from very minor infractions) would be tried in the courtroom facilities on Hesperus.
The planet Hod has some of the richest deposits of metal ore yet discovered in the galaxy and, even after decades of mining, they show no signs of playing out. The planet also has the only arable land in the entire Alpha Centauri system, making agriculture of equal or even greater importance to the local economy than the rich mineral wealth of the world. The Federation’s costly and time-consuming efforts to configure the environment of Hod to human tolerance have paid off dramatically. Hod is one of the few colonies with the environment and the land resources to engage in animal husbandry. The ranches and herds of Hod, located primarily on the western continent along with the farms, raise mostly cattle, swine and poultry, which go to feed the hungry mouths on Hesperus.
Because Hod’s mines, farms and ranches have very nearly a complete monopoly on the Hesperus markets, the UCF government long ago introduced a series of price controls designed to keep one colony from gouging the other, a necessity made even more pressing by the emerging rivalry between the two colonies. Though these price controls guarantee a steady and uninterrupted flow of goods between the two planets (and were eventually expanded throughout the Federation), they are not always popular with the civilian farmers of Hod, particularly after a drought or a storm-tossed spring has dramatically reduced the yield of their crops and herds. However, these controls also make sure the farmers and ranchers get a good price for their goods in flush years of bumper crops, a fact they understand and appreciate.
Ultimately, the economic situation for the colonists on Hod is much as it is for those on Hesperus. They are loyal, hardworking people who, while not wealthy, certainly never go wanting. Hod has a number of sites of striking natural beauty, such as the River of Fire (see Points of Interest below), and Mayor Eledia Montoya of Caer Malley has been trying to start a tourism industry to supplement the planet’s income.
Despite her best efforts, she has been unsuccessful, hampered by three things in particular – the lack of any frequent direct space traffic to Hod aside from the supply shuttles running back and forth from Hesperus, the perception every citizen and civilian of the UCF outside of the Alpha Centauri system has of Hod being nothing but a glorified mining camp and the total lack of anything resembling luxurious accommodations. Thus, most tourists simply save their money and hope they will eventually be able to afford a trip to Zegama Beach.
Points of Interest
The only city of any size on Hod is Caer Malley, named for the first family that agreed to settle on Hod. With a population of about 40,000 people, it is still rather small but acts as the centre for all commerce and traffic coming to and from the planet. Its population is also made up of the only people on the planet not directly involved in the mining, farming and ranching industries, though they are all indirectly involved in some fashion. Like Hesperus City, Caer Malley is a collection of uniform, prefabricated structures, giving an observer the impression of a government housing block.
Hod boasts a number of sites of striking natural beauty, places which would surely be popular with tourists if the planet was ever able to get its tourism industry off the ground. Chief among these are the Reynolds Mountains (named for the battleship Reynolds destroyed over Hesperus in humanity’s first conflict with an alien race), a short mountain range on the eastern continent. It is the only volcanically active area on the planet, though it seems determined to singlehandedly make up for the lack of such activity elsewhere. A valley slices through the centre of the mountain range, capped with glaciers and home to the River of Fire, a lava floe that has been active since the planet was first charted. On the western edge of the range, the mountains fall away abruptly into the smooth face of the Yamala Cliffs, which tower nearly 1,000 feet above the plains below. Few outsiders ever see these sights, however, preferring to take care of whatever business has brought them to Caer Malley and be on their way again as soon as possible.