Astra was one of the earliest human colonies in the galaxy. It was one of the inner colonies and the capital world of the Taurus sector.
Geography and ClimateEdit
Astra was an Earth-like planet with a purplish-blue sky. Its land surface was divided among seven small continents and subcontinents, which encompassed a remarkable variety of landscapes. The world was tectonically active and had a large number of volcanoes and mountain ranges. Some parts of the planet were mineral deserts, containing exploitable deposits of silicon, copper, manganese and nitrates. The planet was also rich in forests, savannah grasslands, and lakes. The coasts of its northernmost and southernmost continents were marked by rocky fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. Its seas were dotted with thousands of islands.
The planet was host to at least several major climatic subtypes, ranging from desert, to alpine tundra and glaciers, humid subtropical on its equatorial continent, and an oceanic climate on its coastal margins.
History and CultureEdit
Early Colonial PeriodEdit
Astra was a technologically advanced colony, whose cities were models of human achievement. It was one of the earliest habitable worlds discovered, and the fourth closest colony to Earth (after Proxima, Alpha and Terra Nova). It was the first colony to be settled by a non-Governmental organization, in this case, a consortium of corporations and futurists. The technological advancements and industrial capabilities of Astra were instrumental in the subsequent human colonization of the Orion Arm of the galaxy. For example, it was through applied research at Astra that hyperspace drives became fast, practical means of galactic transportation. Tachyon Pulse Communication was also pioneered on Astra.
The planetary capital was Taliesin, a large metropolis located on a fragrant harbor surrounded by mountains. The planet built an economy around equipping expeditions and settlements on other colonies, while developing an industrial infrastructure capable of meeting the planet’s own needs. The Astrans built ships, terraforming equipment, portable shelters, power systems, genetically altered crops, atmosphere-stabilizing plant forms. They left their fingerprints across the entire sector in the machines and life forms they built. Their financial institutions invested in the new colonies and produced a healthy rate of return; although Astra never became quite so dependent on the finances of its colonial possessions as Atlas did. The Astran people developed a reputation for innovation and ambition, accompanied often by an independent streak that was sometimes mistaken for arrogance; especially among less-developed colonies.
As the planet advanced, vast efficient transportation and communications networks were built to connect its cities; although 70% of its inhabitants resided on the Grand Prairie subcontinent. An orbital base serviced The Galactic Federation’s fleet of warships, which kept order throughout the sector, but was resented by some of the Taurean colonies.
29th Through 34th Solar CenturiesEdit
When the general unrest of the 29th Century reached the Taurus Sector, several colonies rebelled and the fleet responded, backed by elements of the Galactic Federation fleet.
Taurus proved to be a rebellious sector, and the Federation Fleet expanded its operations there; even building a permanent base on an orbiting station above the planet. The Galactic Federal Government on Earth and the Executive Committee that governed Astra struggled to work through the challenges of its rebellious colony worlds diplomatically, but violence erupted on several worlds and the Sector was the site of numerous battles in the First Crusade. Through a long series of negotiations and interventions, The Galactic Federation eventually reached an accommodation with all of its colonies that resulted in the dissolution of the Galactic Federation and its replacement with the Galactic Commonwealth. This accommodation included acknowledging the right of colonies in the Taurus Sector to deploy their own warships.
When the Galactic Commonwealth was commissioned at the start of the 30th Solar Century, Astra was by far the most populous and powerful world in the Taurus Sector and was named its capital world. Astra moved aggressively to build a responsive, participatory government for the worlds in its sector. Aldebaran City was purpose-built at the edge of one of the planet’s desert regions as a capital city to house government functions for the entire sector. The Taurus Tower, a one hundred story building with a pair of tall needle-like structures on the roof (resembling horns) was the Headquarters for Taurus Sector Government. As a result of these efforts, Astra was less oppressive than other Inner World governments, and the Headquarters served primarily to resolve disputes, regulate trade, and enforce the Interplanetary Laws of the Galactic Commonwealth. A campus outside the capital city housed the Taurean Institute; a think-tank that developed solutions to the social, environmental, technological, and other challenges of worlds in the sector. The Taurean Fleet was headquartered in the orbiting space station previously occupied by the Galactic Federal Fleet.
During the Second Crusade, the War Against the Terran Imperium, the Taurean Fleet repelled the few attacks launched against the Taurus Sector by Earth forces. Astra contributed a fleet of warships to the defeat of X. Caliber Prime, the charismatic warload who had taken dictatorial control of Earth. Warships of the Taurean Fleet also participated in the battle against the Red Committee in the Third Crusade.
In the Fourth Crusade of the 32nd Solar Century, Astra led the fight against the Scorpion Empire after losing several of the outer colonies of the Taurus Sector to Scorpion domination. The Scorpion Empire launched an all-out attack against Astra colony, but was repulsed with heavy casualties on both sides. Astra’s efforts to rebuild its fleet and defenses were complicated by repeated Scorpion Attacks, until a combined fleet of warships from the outer Sectors (Eridanus, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and Auriga) arrived and provided protection until the Taurean Fleet could be rebuilt to fighting form. The combined fleet pushed back against the Empire and liberated most of the conquered colonies. This rear action kept the Scorpion Empire drained and off-balance long enough for other elements of the Commonwealth Fleet to assault and neutralize the Scorpion Homeworld on Terra Nova colony.
35th to 45th Solar CenturyEdit
After the Fourth Crusade, many worlds in the Taurean Sector needed to be rebuilt and restored after the ravages of war and occupation. Until the 35th Century, these efforts were the focus of the Taurus Sector. The Taurean Fleet remained a vigorous fighting force and participated in battles against the Strange (The Fifth Crusade in the 33rd Solar Century) and the several machine rebellions that took place in the 34th and 35th Century. Rogue berserker war-machines – leftovers from the battles of the Scorpion Empire – were a recurring problem in the sector throughout the period, and the Taureans became effective at fighting them.
During the Seventh Crusade, Taurus proved to be a consistently difficult Sector to attack and a thorn in the side of Adversarial Forces. Astra was not particularly religious, although some of the other larger colonies in the sector were. Its resistance to the Adversarial (Anti-Religious) Forces was rooted in the damage they had witnesses inflicted on other Commonwealth Worlds where Adversarial Forces held sway, coupled with the Independence Streak the colony had against external forces meddling in its affairs. It became axiomatic that if Astra were broken, the rest of the Inner Commonwealth sectors could easily be brought to heel. But Astra was never broken, and simply outlasted the Adversarial Forces until the Seventh Crusade finally ran out of power.
Unfortunately, Astra’s long period of peace and prosperity could not withstand the devastating wars of the 39th and 40th Solar Centuries. Astra was devastated by orbital bombardment in the 8th Crusade and rendered uninhabitable by forces of the Overlord Doomsayer; who lured the main body of the Taurean Fleet into a devastating ambush in the Compass System and then firebombed the planet until not even a microbe remained alive. Sector Operations were relocated to the colony world Aura, which acted as the capital world of the Taurus Sector through the end of the Crusades, and through the Millennium of Peace. A towering memorial in the shape of bull horns was built on the geographical coordinates where Taliesin had once stood. Efforts were made to restore the environment of Astra through terraforming, but the world remained uninhabited at the time the rest of the Commonwealth was devastated by the Tarmigan Assault in the 53rd Solar Century.
Even though the world had been rendered uninhabitable, a Starlock was built near Astra in the 45th Century and was christened Cherokee.
- · Taliesin
- · Aldebaran City
- · Firestone
- · New Denver
- · New Houston
- · New Atlanta
- · New Edmonton
- · New Calgary
- Tau Alpha City