The colony on Rhohan began as an adjunct to a SICON military base on the planet, placed there as part of the ongoing monitoring operations looking for signs of separatism or rebellion on Cassandra. However, as time passed, and Cassandra was eventually deemed loyal, SICON began to reconsider the wisdom of having a base on Rhohan. Considering there were no external threats in evidence, the base was eventually dismantled. The colony built to accompany it, however, remained.
The colonists of Rhohan were determined not to let the world they had just begun to build be so easily dismantled. Fortunately, the colony had more than SICON’s military base to support it. A little-known citizen-owned arms manufacturer had just set up operations on the military-friendly world of Rhohan when it created a revolutionary new assault rifle, a weapon in which SICON expressed immediate and enthusiastic interest. That arms manufacturer was of course the Morita Arms Company, maker of most of the personal ballistic weapons in use today by Fleet and the Mobile Infantry. Within a few years, arms manufacturing became the engine that drove Rhohan, with Morita ever at the forefront. The colonists, eager for more such corporations to relocate to the planet, began actively courting arms manufacturers throughout the Federation with moderate levels of success.
As more and more of its private sector arms manufacturing capacity became concentrated on Rhohan, the Federation began to grow concerned over the fate of the planet. After all, a well-informed enemy would not need to be a gifted strategist to realise that taking out this single colony would have a devastating impact on SICON’s ability to wage war. Three-way negotiations began between SICON, the governor of Rho Eridani system and the Citizens’ Tribunal of New Austin, the capital of Rhohan. The New Austin delegation had the upper hand from the beginning, knowing full well that SICON had no intention of taking its military contracts away from the colony’s weapons manufacturers – the product was simply too good for them to do so. In the end, the negotiations came to an unusual and wholly unexpected conclusion. In addition to increased SICON patrols throughout the region of space near Rho Eridani, SICON granted the civilian colonists of Rhohan the unprecedented right to bear arms, with the agreement such arms would only be used in defence of the colony.
The people of almost any colony in the Federation are individualistic and self-confident – such traits are extremely valuable to anyone seeking to make a new home on a distant planet. The people of Rhohan, however, embody those traits. They are self-reliant and proud and groups of colonists have even found ways to raise crops and livestock in the harsh conditions of the planet, simply so that they need not rely more than necessary on imports from the Federation’s other colonies. The right of civilians to bear arms on Rhohan is a source of tremendous pride to the colonists, who prize marksmanship (indeed, any martial ability) more highly than civilians elsewhere in the Federation. Shooting competitions are one of the more popular sports on the planet and the best civilian marksmen of Rhohan have embarrassed more than one cap trooper who challenged them.
There is practically no friction between the citizen and civilian populations of Rhohan. Many children of the colony grow up dreaming of enlisting Federal Service, where the cultural traits of Rhohan serve them quite well.
Laws and Government
The colony of Rhohan is, of course, ruled over indirectly by the governor for the Rho Eridani system. However, local rule consists of an elected tribunal of three Councilmen, chosen at large from the citizen populace of Rhohan. Rhohan has very little crime, due in part to its alert police force and the alacrity and finality of its courts. Some argue that the heavily-armed population also serves to keep crime so low, while others argue that having streets filled with armed civilians is the very reason there is any crime at all. Both have valid points but so long as the crime rate stays low and there is no obvious problem with armed civilians, SICON has been content to observe the situation and not interfere. Suspicions have been raised in the past that some of the civilians of Rhohan are brokering arms deals with separatists but, despite extensive Military Intelligence investigations each time such suspicions are raised, they have never been proven.
The driving force of Rhohan’s economy is the arms trade. Ultimately, weapons are about the only export the planet has to offer but considering the value of the merchandise, it is more than enough to keep the colony wealthy. It would be even wealthier, were it not for the fact that Rhohan has to import so many of its needs. Though the colonists have been ingenious in improvising for their various necessities, the planet is simply not capable of supporting the colony independent of any outside help.
Points of Interest
Though the people of Rhohan consider their planet beautiful, most visitors fail to see the allure. The scorching summers, frigid winters and terrifying storms add up to create a climate most people of the Federation could not endure. However, there are some places of striking natural beauty on this world such as the Gulf Cliffs, a 500-foot basalt wall dropping from the Rhohan plains into the greentinged ocean below. Many visitors to Rhohan never leave the climate-controlled buildings of New Austin, as they are usually businessmen or representatives from SICON. Those who do get a chance to see the wilderlands of Rhohan are generally not there by choice – the Mobile Infantry likes to conduct survival training on Rhohan during the summer, when temperatures on the Brick Plains average 120 degrees, with 80 percent humidity. More than one trooper, labouring across the shimmering plains under the weight of a 60 pound pack, has dropped out of the Federal Service at the first opportunity.