Campaign of the Month: January 2011
Honour Among Thieves
Santo is the first world orbiting the protostar Qin Shi Huang in White Sun. Its population is 846,500,000.
The Terraforming Consortium holds Santo up as one of the most triumphant examples of their handiwork. The planet is a wonder to behold: clear skies, blue oceans, and ideal weather no matter the season. It was a bona fide tourist paradise even during the early expansion years when settlers moving to newly terraformed Core worlds had other preoccupations than leisure. Santo had an edge over Pelorum as a tourist destination for the rich and fabulous, and none of the political instability of other would-be paradises like Bellerophon.
The Unification War froze Santo’s prosperity in its tracks. Intending to test the Alliance’s resolve against soft targets, a division of Independent infantry landed on Santo, capturing a large number of vacationing Alliance officers and digging in for a long, protracted campaign of harassment and intimidation.
Santo’s reputation as a pleasant, safe tourist destination was utterly shattered. With reports of tourist kidnappings and water slide bombings (all disinformation), no Core aristocrat was willing to risk travel to the embattled planet. Resort communities depopulated overnight, and Cortex audiences was treated to lurid coverage of the exodus of thousands of debutantes, spoiled trophy wives, and uptight fat cats who demanded first class treatment even as they were being loaded onto bulk freighters hired to pull them out while Independent soldiers surrounded the major starports. That the outnumbered Independents were not swatted down outright by the Alliance revealed the contempt for which the vacationing rich were held by the locals.
However, as hotels boarded up and casinos shuttered their doors, reality sank in for the service class. They were going to have to find a new clientele; one that didn’t mind a little danger with their entertainment. Brothels, strip clubs, and other less-savoury ventures soon opened up amid the abandoned entertainment complexes.
Relying on resupply support from nearby Bellerophon, the Independent “colony” added to its ranks and remained a thorn in the side of the planetary garrison until August 2508, when Bellerophon fell to the Alliance. With their supply lines cut, the Independent forces soon found themselves on the defensive, pursued by the angry local militia, who were enraged at the loss of tourist dollars over the course of the ‘occupation.’
After the war, it was Pelorum’s time to shine, and Santo never regained its premium clientele. However, it was no great loss; with Alliance attention elsewhere, shady casino operators discovered that they could run their scams unnoticed, and by positioning itself as a middle-class getaway planet, Santo attracted a wider base of tourists than before, making up for lost revenue in no time. After all, the planet is still beautiful, even if the accommodations are a bit seedier than before. And the casinos, strip clubs, and whorehouses never close.
Though its name comes from the Spanish word for saint, Santo is a planet made for sinners.
Locations of Note