Vesta was one of the original colonies of Earth, one of the Twelve inner colonies, and the capital world of the Sagittarius Sector. It was the sixth planet out from an F-class star and had two large moons. It was settled by adherents of Vesta, a female prophet and Messianic figure from Earth’s 23rd Century.
Geography and ClimateEdit
Vesta possessed three great continental landmasses; Hestia, Saraswati, and Kitaka. Saraswati and Hestia were connected by a long latitudinal isthmus. Its continents were separated by three large seas; the Vedic Sea, the Aedes Sea, and the Ondine Sea. Its sky was a shade of teal, and its sun was very bright.
The climate of Vesta ranged from tropical at the equator to subarctic in the northern mountainous regions of Hestia. Its continents contained both savanna plains and very dense jungle (rainforest) regions. There were also extensive areas of sahel and steppe.
History and CultureEdit
Early Colonial HistoryEdit
The Cult of Vesta (Iest) arose on Earth in the early 23rd Solar Century, led by a Messianic Woman called Vesta, who was born on Earth’s South American continent. The Prophet Vesta had laid out its principles by combining the common threads of the Earth’s diverse religion and presenting them as a sort of “Best of Breed” spiritual package. The Cult advanced a philosophy of benevolence and a Matriarchy-based social order. By the late 24th Century, many of her followers desired a world that could be started anew from these principles. (Other faiths did similar things during the Initial Colonial Period of human galactic civilization.) The planet Vesta had already been colonized and named for a figure from Classical Occidental Mythology. It must have seemed a reasonable choice to the Vestan Cult. By moving there en masse, the Iestans supplanted the original colonists and established a society based on matriarchal collectivism. The Holy City of Iest was built on a high mesa in the southern hemisphere; and the term Iestan came to be synonymous with those who believed in Vesta’s Divinity; adherents of her Matriarchal Faith.
To build up their numbers, the Iestans invited the poor of Earth to relocate to their world, and provided them with free transport and the promise of security and comfort. Many millions accepted the offer. Vesta, as a result, developed a different character than other colonies. Leaving Earth for a distant colony normally required initiative and ambition. The populations of other colony worlds were eager to work hard and build their fortunes, building the fortunes of their worlds as a result. Vesta became populated by the poor and the dispossessed. Many of them were lured to the planet by the promise that they would be taken care of, and they arrived at their new world with limited skills and less work ethic. This resulted in its cities having some of the largest slums of the galaxy. The planet was highly dependent on food imports from Asha, industrial imports from Han, and the financial support of Earth to pay for them.
Through the 28th Century, the Matriarchy focused on building a Matriarchal utopia founded on Principles in the Book of Vesta. Development proceeded slowly, and the planet lagged behind other early colonies in building technology and infrastructure, although it had the second largest population after Atlas.
29th through 34th Solar CenturiesEdit
The Crusade that broke out in the 29th Century was relatively minor in other parts of the Commonwealth, but it was devastating to the Sagittarius Sector, which bore the brunt of Earth’s counter-attack against its rebellious colonies. Several minor colonies suffered mass casualty events and the destruction of their major cities. On Vesta itself, the cities of Sraosha and Bodica burned to the ground after fire-bombing.
In the aftermath, and at least partially out of guilt over the damage the colony had suffered, Vesta was declared the Capital World of the Sagittarius Sector. The Matriarchy took to its duties with enthusiasm unmatched on any of the other capital worlds. The primary desire of its Government was to spread the Iestan religion, and it would use its power to compel other worlds to comply with its precepts, even if they would not convert to its beliefs. The Matriarchy was resented on worlds across the Sector (as were its rules regarding the common ownership of property, minimal impact to planetary environments, and its directives for extensive welfare resources for the poor.
At the time of the founding of the Commonwealth, the Vestan Government had few resources to enforce compliance with its rule; its space fleet was the smallest of any Inner Colony. In concern over the development of fleets of warships in the other Sectors of the Commonwealth, the Matriarchy chartered the Sagittarian Fleet. At the Vestan Matriarchy’s direction, The fleet was carefully chartered to indicate that war was a tertiary function; and the primary function of the fleet was the advancement of human social, cultural, and scientific culture in accord with the precepts of Iestan teaching; and the secondary function was exploration of the sector and the support of colonial development in accordance with yadda yadda… The Fleet was headquartered on Vesta’s larger moon, although the base was referred to always as ‘Sagittarius Prime’ to mute the association with Vesta and the fleet was primarily made up of her citizens, supported by taxation of the other colonies in the sector, worlds such as Prometheus, Equinox, and Hemlock; which did not much care for this arrangement.
The Fleet was used to defend Vesta and the other colonies of the Sector during the Second Crusade against the Terran Imperium of the later 30th Century. Pitched battles were fought in the Prometheus and Equinox systems, but Vesta was left relatively unscathed. After the War, the Matriarchy became even more convinced that its philosophy of authoritarian collective Pacificism would be an innoculant against interstellar warfare, and it pressure the worlds in the Sagittarian Sector to install Matriarchal Government’s. It even petitioned the Commonwealth to redesignate Sagittarius as the Vesta Sector, but was over-ruled by the other worlds and the Commonwealth Advisory Council on Galactic Cartography on Priori.
In the 32nd Century, several colonies in the Sagittarius Sector were claimed by the expansionist Scorpion Union (based on Terra Nova). The Vestan Matriarchy, pleading a lack of resources, declared the bulk of its forces would be used to defend ‘the Mother World.’ Hemlock and Equinox both fell to the Scorpions, and Prometheus narrowly escaped occupation. With the assistance of worlds in the Outer Sectors of the Orion Quadrant, the Scorpion Union was eventually driven back and defeated. The other worlds vowed to build a stronger Second Sagittarian Fleet to protect against future aggression. The Vestan Matriarchy declared that building such a fleet would be tantamount to an act of war. The other worlds built the fleet anyway, and were supported by allies in other Sectors, who provided them with a number of surplus ships. Vesta backed down. Command of the Second Sagitarrian Fleet was moved to Prometheus in the 34th Century. The fleet was used to great effect during the Machine Insurrection of the 34th Century.
35th through 40th Solar CenturiesEdit
In the 35th Century, there was a schism in the Iestan Faith which resulted in a rebellion against the Iestan Matriarchy. This, in turn, led to the Vestan Civil War. The war lasted for several decades and was resolved when the Matriarchal Church of Vesta formed an Alliance with the Nova Catholic Church. They ruled the planet in coalition for the next two centuries.
The losing side evolved into a new religion that venerated the Holy Twins (Vesta’s Offspring). These dissidents sought out a world where they could build their faith in secret, away from the Iestan Matriarchy. They named this new World “Neamh,” and struggled to keep its location a secret. Eventually, the Matriarchy found Neamh, deep in the Corona Austrina Sector. Some in the Matriarchy wanted the dissident faith destroyed, and wanted to send the Sagitarrian and Capricorn fleets to eliminate them (as they were closely allied with Proxima). The other worlds in the Commonwealth were unwilling to insert themselves into a Sectarian conflict within the Iestan Church. The INCA Alliance eventually, under pressure from the Holy Matriarchy, dispatched a Task Force that was intended to offer the colonists a choice between death and renouncing their heresy, but found the colony under the protection of a powerful field of sentient trans-dimensional energy that simply deflected the Task Force’s ships into another part of the galaxy. The Vestans gave up, and turned their attention back to their own world.
Vesta was largely by-passed by the Crusades that roiled through the Commonwealth in the middle of the Fourth Solar Millennium. The Strange did not bother with Vesta, nor the Sagittarian Sector. The Unholy spawned an insurrection on Vesta that succeeded in undermining and bringing down the INCA Alliance in the 36th Solar Century. A personage calling herself ‘Mother Vesta’ came to power in the Aftermath, declaring herself the Protector of the world of Vesta. She was one of the Underlords, with the power to sway minds and subjugate the will of others to her own. The population spent the 37th Solar Century as her mind-slaves, but, to their credit, they kept the planet nice and clean.
Just before the Eight Crusade began in the 38th Century, Mother Vesta was assassinated by one of her fellow Underlords, and replaced by Pythia; who denied having any extra-human powers, but this was revealed to be a lie as her control of the populace was even more absolute than Mother Vesta’s. Pythia, like Mother Vesta, drew power from an Overlord named Lilith. Upon her death, she died sympathetically. Millions of Vestans who had grown dependent on the mind-link also died from an inability to provide for themselves.
Those that survived attempted to rebuild the world along traditional Iestan principles.
41st through 53rd Solar CenturiesEdit
The planet continued to be one of the most overpopulated planets of the Commonwealth, but the availability of advanced technology made it possible to support the large population. The New Iestan Matriarchy ruled over the planet for the entire millennium.
A Starlock was built near Vesta in the 46th Century and was christened Childhood.
Vesta was annihilated by the Tarmigan Assault in the 53rd Solar Century.
- Uhuru – Capital and seat of the planetary government.
- Iest – Religious Capital
- Sraosha – Seat of the Government of Kitaka
- Sito – Seat of the Government of Saraswati
- Bodica – Seat of the Government of Hestia
Professor Wild Bill Keeler’s Pop-Up, Scratch and Sniff Illustrated Guide to the 'Old' 'Commonwealth