Salk

From Federal Database

Salk
[[]] | Abboud


Allegiance United Citizens' Federation
Population Large (1m+)
Mass 1.2
Radius 1.2
Atmosphere Breathable (oxygen rich)
Climate Varied
Salk is a terrestrial planet with a similar geographic and atmospheric makeup as earth. The planet is split into fragmented continents, and has a similar tectonic profile to earth as well. Initially settled by Pentecostal pioneers in 2208, Salk's natural resources drew in more settlers than initially expected. Salk was recently the setting of a violent war between the Federation and the terrorist group the Salk Liberation Front. Starting in 2291 and drawing to a close in early 2297, Salk is now dealing with the damage and an influx of refugees from the wake of Operation Breadbasket, the Civil War, and a recent outbreak of Hart's Fever that has been ravaging the planet since 2297. The planet is currently under the direction of Federal Councillor Marek Kaminski.



Key Information

Key People

Frank Landon - Final leader of the now-defunct Salk Liberation Front. Cunning and charismatic, Landon rallied the disgruntled people of Salk against the Federation on a bid for independence. He waged bloody guerrilla campaigns against the Mobile Infantry and Federal sympathizers, funding the SLF's enterprise through a secret human trafficking network and interstellar weapons smuggling. Landon abandoned his fighters in his final days, and even after his death remains a horrible black stain in the minds of Salk's people.

Marek Kaminski - The current Federal Councillor representing Salk. Coming into power shortly after the signature of the Treaty of the Bay of Boughal in 2297, Kaminski has been in charge of rehabilitating Salk to pre-war conditions. Following Operation Breadbasket, an influx of refugees to Salk that required accommodation arrived; a situation which was made worse given the already-strained coffers of the planet's treasury. Worse still, the end of hostilities brought about the resurgence of a new strain of Hart's Fever that has ravaged many parts of the planet, and has left several cities under quarantine. Kaminski's administration is proactive, but he draws criticism for his dependence on Federal aid.

Key Locations

Abboud - Salk's coastal capital.

Camp Zulu - One of the first human trafficking camps discovered by the Mobile Infantry. Public knowledge of the SLF's human trafficking camps effectively eliminated public support for their cause; people were infuriated and ashamed that their independence was being funded through such depraved ways.

St. Genevieve - The site of the first "engagement" with the Salk Liberation Front, then led by Amos Callahan back in 2287.

Lafeyette - A prominent coastal city on Salk that was devastated by the fighting in 2297. The first settlement to be founded on Salk by its original Pentecostal inhabitants.

Bay of Boughal - The site of the signature of the instrument of surrender by the remnants of the Salk Liberation Front onboard a Fleet naval carrier.

History

Named after the developer of the Polio vaccine, Salk's early history was one of relative isolation. The Pentecostal community originally settled in present-day Lafayette, seeking a secluded place for worship from the rest of the Federation. However, as the years progressed, population pressures drew new settlers to Salk, and after valuable mineral deposits beneath the planet's surface were discovered, this number only increased. By 2220, Salk's population bordered on 5 million.

The Tannhäuser Steppe, an expansive grassland that hugs the coast where the Pentecostal pilgrims originally settled in present day Lafayette.

By the 2250's, Salk's population reached its present day numbers, peaking in the 80's. The Pentecostal community that had originally settled on the planet had been long gone at this point, seeking further isolation as more and more people piled into Salk for the promise of economic venture from the settling process. From 2253 to 2273 is generally considered to be the 'Golden Age' of Salk; artists, manufacturers, craftsmen and business ventures bloomed in cities like Abboud, which was on course to become the most populated city on the planet. 2253 is generally seen as the beginning of this golden age as it marks the year when Salk gained formal representation in Geneva.

First outbreak of Hart's Fever, 2273

The Fairchilde Riots, 2279

One afternoon in 2273 on Salk, Sgt. Morgan Franks, head line cook, was checked into the medical bay at Camp Hiawatha with flu-like symptoms. Three hours passed, and thirteen troopers were admitted to the medical bay with similar symptoms. Within five days, 139 troopers were admitted, with 63 of them succumbing to the flu. XH3N2, or Hart's Fever, is spread like most influenza viruses; persons up to six feet away from an infected individual can still breathe in particles from the infected's saliva, excreted through talking, sneezing, and coughing. It is believed that the virus was originally carried towards civilization on Salk by a rodent-like species known as Xenomarmota flaviventrus by clinging to their wet feet as they walked towards the still-expanding frontier of human colonists. The virus was carried to cattle and poultry, where it was then carried to humans. The virus appears to only affect humans, and poultry. The outbreak in 2273 took the lives of 11,000 out of the approximately 35,000 infected. Ambitious quarantine measures were enacted to help contain the virus. Cases eventually stopped appearing in the dry season of 2274, in the beginning of the year. A vaccine was developed shortly after, and this first outbreak of Hart's Fever is generally seen as the end of Salk's Golden Age, as the fear and paranoia surrounding the epidemic had far reaching economic and social implications that helped lead to the Depression of 2282.

The 80's: downturn and strife

Riots in Abboud during the dry season of 2286.

Despite the damage done by the Hart's Fever outbreak in 2273, over the next ten years the population rebounded and then some; the economic deficit left behind from thousands of workers falling ill brought thousands of migrant families (largely from planets that had been affected by the Second Bug War) to take up vacancies on Salk. Inevitably, resentment between the newcomers to Salk and its older residents culminated in the murder of Susan Fairchilde, a 17 year old resident of Lafayette at the hands of Collin O'Brian, a 28 year old from Zegama Beach in 2279. Anger ripped through the urban centers of Salk, and the Mobile Infantry were diverted to quell the riots that occurred following Fairchilde's gristly murder. The response from the Mobile Infantry was criticized as being too "heavy-handed," especially after footage emerged of troopers beating a 68 year-old pensioner who was later found out to not be involved in any of the preceding riots. Even worse, an economic depression kicked off in 2282 following the bursting of Salk's housing bubble as Salk's population began to peak around 10 million; wartime fears surrounding Arachnid incursions prompted many to leave, sometimes abandoning their homes, and for the first time in Salk's history its population began to decline. Salk's planetary government tried to introduce many economic reforms in order to favor lower class laborers, but the measures passed ended up stratifying the population even further. A general sense of impending disorder was looming, and Federal Councillor Alec Bingham requested some 8,000 Mobile Infantry to be stationed on Salk, hoping that their presence would generate some calm. This move was viewed negatively by the populace, who saw the MI's presence as a reminder of the chaos of Mobile Infantry activity nearly ten years earlier. For the first time, some disgruntled citizens began to seek some kind of alternative between living with a constant MI presence and being caught in internal conflict...

The Salk Liberation Front, a sheep turned wolf

Originally formed in 2284 as a neighborhood watch organization under the moniker 'Friends of Salk,' the group disagreed with the increasing number of Mobile Infantry being funneled onto Salk. However, they actually worked alongside one another for a few years in joint-policing endeavors that focused on reestablishing order and improving communities on Salk. Mostly composed of citizens who had become so through service in the Mobile Infantry, many had become convinced that a formal Mobile Infantry presence on Salk during peacetime was ultimately not a good thing for Salk. The Friends of Salk advocated for self-reliance and community building in the hopes of bolstering Salk's population to be prepared for the possible threat of Arachnids, or further internal strife as the 80's drew to a close. Due to their mostly positive activities, they were seen in a positive light by the majority of people on Salk. Many saw parallels between the Friends of Salk and the Aberdeen militia that originally founded the Federation.

The 'alliance' between the Friends of Salk and the Mobile Infantry was shaky, there were many instances in which leadership was obfuscated and loyalties were confused among civilian populations- some refused to follow orders issued by the Mobile Infantry and some only heeded the word of the Friends of Salk. However, a leadership change in 2287 prompted radical change in ideology in the Friends of Salk, who rebranded themselves as the Salk Liberation Front at the direction of their new leader, Amos Callahan.

Under new direction, the SLF had become resolved on their stance of the Mobile Infantry: their presence generated more anxiety and strife than good, and if the SLF continued to accumulate members, they could maintain an independent military force that could hold their own in the event of an Arachnid incursion.

The Battle of St. Genevieve

It was on January 12, 2287 that fighting broke out between the Salk Liberation Front and the Mobile Infantry outside of St. Genevieve, a small settlement on the planet's southern hemisphere. In what was supposed to be a meeting to discuss allocation of resources for the coming dry season, an argument ensued, which quickly escalated into a skirmish. To this day, it is unclear who fired the first shot. When the smoke cleared, 17 were wounded and 8 had been killed in what would be the first casualties of the conflict between the SLF and the Federation.

Retribution and decline, 2287-2291

The response from the Mobile Infantry was swift and indiscriminate; SLF headquarters around the planet were raided, and hundreds of arrests were made to the outrage of Salk's citizens who still maintained a sympathetic outlook towards the group. In a series of small skirmishes between the guerilla forces of the SLF and the Mobile Infantry, many areas of the planet became the sites of intense fighting from 2287 to 2291, largely ending in the Mobile Infantry's favor. As the 90's rolled around, it seemed as if the SLF's days were numbered. Amos Callahan had developed renal cancer, and required constant dialysis treatments in order to stay alive. It wouldn't last long, as Callahan died from complications in the dry season of 2290. Under new leadership, the SLF floundered as it was pushed further and further away from the civilian centers it had once helped to build. It seemed that the group was experiencing its final days before the arrival of a peculiar ex-trooper changed everything.

Frank Landon: Rebirth and Reprisal

Francis William Landon was a fairly unremarkable trooper who held an NCO position before going MIA during a deployment in the late 80's, presumed dead. In 2291, Landon suddenly appeared on Salk with an interest in anti-Federal activity. According to testimony from SLF members now in prison, Landon performed a hostile takeover in the wet season of 2291, and engaged in implementing rapid changes in the structure of the organization. Landon, according to his contemporaries and subordinates, was very 'money-minded,' dead set on securing the fiscal means for a large scale conflict with the Federation. In the span of five years, Landon had transformed the SLF from a floundering organization to a force to be reckoned with; performing political assassinations, bombings, and sprees of terror that polarized Salk and drew the attention of the Mobile Infantry once more. In 2296, the Federation recognized the Salk Liberation Front as a threat to the integrity of the union, and launched an operation to liquidate the SLF for good, and bring their new leader to the gallows.

The War in Salk, '96-'97
Lafayette's coastal stretch, circa 2293 and 2297

Salk became the site of a relatively short lived but intense bout of fighting between the SLF and the Federation. To the MI's chagrin, the SLF somehow was able to afford to sustain enough of a military force to be a considerable thorn in SICON's side. Using espionage and infiltration, it is suspected that the SLF was able to secure military means for itself and inflict enough damage to the Mobile Infantry from the inside to force them to cut their losses and leave. Fighting continued as normal, turning many cities into hotbeds of insurgency. Fighting a force much larger than themselves, the SLF utilized underhanded and craven tactics in order to win small victories over the MI when they could.

Discovery of the camps, and the beginning of the end.
One of the human trafficking camps underneath an asphalt quarry dubbed 'Camp Zulu'

It was with the discovery of a hidden network of human trafficking camps in isolated parts of the planet that were administered by the Salk Liberation Front that can be pinpointed as the beginning of their downfall. Widely televised, a series of camps containing hundreds upon hundreds of missing persons revealed how the SLF was able to monetarily sustain its fight against the Federation. With this revelation, public support for the SLF immediately plummeted, and the resolve to eliminate them completely grew even stronger. The tide began to turn as the lucrative endeavor of human trafficking was suddenly cut off from the SLF, and their savings began to dwindle. The Mobile Infantry made more and more headway as the SLF receded into pockets across Salk's surface. Frank Landon, at the time one of the most wanted men in the Federation, proved to be elusive enough to escape from custody after he had finally been apprehended. Despite this, it is reported that Landon had not returned to Salk after his escape, and instead fled with his wife and child to HG-7839A, an uncharted planet discovered in 2107 about 28 light years from the Messier System. SLF elements on the ground continued to fight, convinced that Landon was to return with forces rallied from other systems. As the days turned to weeks, and weeks into months, the remaining SLF lieutenants scattered around the planet decided their fight was lost. Signed in the Bay of Boughal outside of Abboud, the Salk Liberation Front declared their unconditional surrender to the Federation. Work began immediately in rehabilitating the damages sustained during the fighting, an estimated £90 billion in order to fully restore Salk to pre-war conditions. Despite the surrender, isolated pockets of SLF holdouts continued to fight in defiance of the surrender, still convinced that Landon would eventually return. Over the course of a few months, these groups were either killed off or surrendered of their own volition. Landon would inspire an interstellar manhunt that would eventually lead the Federation to HG-7839A. At first, Landon was wanted alive, but after evading capture the directive was changed to kill on sight. Landon had been living alone in a single room shack when Mobile Infantry surrounded him. He surrendered and was executed outside of his dwelling. His wife and child were never found; according to his writings left behind it is unclear whether they left him or he had sent them off. His writings, and the recovery of bodies nearby the property indicate that elements of the SLF had tracked Landon down in the final days of the war, and had attempted to capture him in the likely attempt to avoid the gallows in favor of a lighter sentence. According to the same writings found in his dwelling, Landon's final days were consumed with remorse and obsession with failure. With his death, the brief but violent fighting that the SLF brought had finally come to an end.

The Civil War, Hart's Fever outbreak of 2297

Government workers sanitizing an apartment complex, March 2297

Emerging from the rigors of conflict, it wasn't long before Salk was saddled with another blow: the refugee crisis as a result of Operation Breadbasket. With an entire system's worth of people displaced, the now cheap real estate following the fighting resulted in a massive amount of refugees settling within Salk. Now with the war introducing new economic burdens, the same economic pressures felt by the influx of refugees during the early 70's have resurfaced. Marek Kaminski, who came into power shortly after the end of the fighting on Salk, has depended heavily on Federal aid. Worse yet, a new strain of Hart's Fever had resurfaced, and was rapidly making headway as the government struggled to make ends meet. The current prevalent strain of Hart's Fever on Salk mutates faster than a vaccine can be developed, resulting in mounting fatalities. Currently, there are an estimated 4 million infected with around 114,000 dead. When the Civil War broke out, towns were being quarantined- some regions of the planet were entirely paralyzed by the preventive measures placed by the government to halt spread. Kaminski sided with the Coalition, feeling a personal sense of obligation to the troops involved, particularly the 112th, for their actions on Salk. Despite this, Salk made little contribution to the Civil War more than enlistments.

The Coming Century

Currently, the planet is an epidemic, a refugee crisis, and the aftermath of a violent conflict. The Kaminski administration has struggled to make ends meet, and civil unrest has resulted in strikes and demonstrations about a failure on the government's part to provide for citizens and civilians alike. With millions of people displaced from the Fall of Terra and the Civil War, Salk has been saddled with even more refugees. As the Sol System has gradually become more and more liquidated of Neons, many political pundits of Salk are advocating for a relocation program to Mars, Terra, or the Jovian moons. With the rehabilitation of the Sol System taking precedence over Salk's problems, it is unlikely that the Kaminski Administration will be able to receive the funding that it needs.

Culture

Lately, Salk's people are associated with rebellion, disease, crime, and poverty. Despite recent history, most who hail from Salk are proud to be so; some can trace their heritage back to the original Pentecostal families who hardly hold any sway in the present day that settled Salk. Salkians pride themselves on independence, but this has come under public scrutiny since the war: patriotic displays that exclude the Federation are now frowned upon, as they remind the public of the all-too-recent abhorrent crimes of the Salk Liberation Front. To this end, many residents of Salk feel ashamed to be associated with the Salk Liberation Front, even tangentially. Indeed, the SLF's activities have done much to tarnish Salk's image in the eyes of the rest of the Federation.

People

Salk's current population is a milieu of different races and ethnicities: Europeans, Africans, Asians, and many of the ethnic creole races such as the Desorics have come to find Salk as their homes as the course of the Bug War has proceeded. The original Pentecostal pilgrim families that settled Salk were very much overwhelmed by the influx of people looking for affordable land. This continued to be a general trend in Salk's history, and the planet has become known as one where, while not as lavish or safe as other colonies, is more "affordable." Beyond that, they enjoy good food, good times, and Jumpball just as much as any member of the Federation.

Economy

Restoring Salk to pre-war conditions has cost the government a pretty penny, and much of the enterprises and businesses in Salk are subsidized by the Federation to have them make ends meet. Hart's Fever has paralyzed the industries of specific cities, but the planet has largely been able to support a sizeable economy, albeit while handicapped by quarantines.

Defences

Excluding a large buildup of troops in Salk shortly after the signing of the Treaty of the Bay of Boughal, Salk has a surprisingly small number of Mobile Infantry troopers garrisoned there. The Civil War, the Fall of Terra, and the Third Bug War have dictated that Federal troops be put to use elsewhere. The troopers that are there face very little scrutiny or resentment from the public. In a way, the revelation of the human trafficking network that supported the SLF back in 2297 has done more to squelch any would-be insurrectionists than any amount of military presence could.