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The Crucible Campaign: Travelling In the Commonwealth: The Midway Federation


Starn/Inar (Deneb 1417)

Political Organisation

Undivided federation without internal political subdivisions. Presided over by a governor and executive council and a bicameral legislature.


A crimson tower outline on a green field, with a golden Commonwealth sunburst shining from a beacon at its apex. Midway merchant and private spacecraft also use a Blue Commonwealth Eagle bearing a lit torch, or a flaming torch by itself. The Federation's colors are crimsom and green.


The Midway comprises the worlds of Sabine and Inar subsector (Deneb E and F), the worlds of Rhylanor subsector (Spinward Marches H) except for the Natoko cluster at its rim-spinward corner, and the spinward worlds of Namidshur Subsector (Deneb G).


Primarily Imperial culture Humans with sizeable Vargr minorities. Kubishush/Inar (Deneb 0917) is home to the Gl'lu, a race of sentient ammonia breathers. Pelouse/Rhylanor (Spinward Marches 3019) is home to the Ebur, a sentient vegitarian species. Uplifted Droyne are found on Henoz and Vanejen/Rhylanor (SM 2912 and 3119), Skold/Inar (Deneb 0915) and Karst/Namidshur (Deneb 1814), plus Pre-Collapse Droyne communities on Zeen and Springarn/Inar (Deneb 1111 and 1614). The Endimyon species of the world of the same name (Deneb 0516), and previously undsiclosed races on Huderu and Gerome/Rhylanor (SM 2818 and 3114), remain at precontact tech levels.


First exploration and settlement of the region were carried out by the Ziru Sirka around IY -4000. These were of a tentative and scattered nature, with only a few worlds, like Vanejen/Rhylanor, actually being settled on a permanent basis. After the Long Night, Scouts from the Third Imperium reached the region as early as IY 65, and settlement through Sabine subsector commenced early on. Sabine attracted mainly Vilani colonists, Inar and Rhylanor were settled primarily by Solomani. Differences between the worlds over commercial issues eventually became hardened political rivalries that hampered economic integration of Deneb and Spinward Marches with the rest of the Third Imperium.

Despite these differences, or perhaps because of them, the region enjoyed a high level of commercial and technological develeopment. Worlds like Rhylanor, Magash and Starn were in the forefront of Imperial technical development. The nobility of the region was quite wealthy and forthright, and took a leading role in both the Spinward Marches and Deneb sector. One prominent Rhylanor native, Olav hault-Plankwell, the victor of the First Frontier War, even had the temerity to assassinate the Empress Jacqueline and seize the Iridium Throne for himself, starting off the Barracks War for control of the Imperium. Another Midway native, Arbellatra Alkhalikoi, eventually intervened and stopped the war, eventually being crowned Empress in her own right after consolidating Core sector.

During the long period of hot and cold war with the Zhodani, the region was often targetted by Consular military and espionage forces because of its military and economic importance. In four of the five wars and the Crucible, the conflict was decided in part by Zhodani offensives through Lanth subsector towards Rhylanor and its surrounding worlds. But even during peacetime the Zhodani were active throughout the region in preperation for future conflicts or active espionage, as exemplified by the Fulacin (SM 2613) affair before the Fifth War.

After the advent of the Imperial Civil War in IY 1116, the region came under heavy, indirect pressure from the Domain of Deneb's erstwhile independence from the Imperium. Economic pressure was mitigated by the region's own powerful industrial engine and excess capacity, but refugee flows from core frontier worlds suffering Vargr aggression created significant political turmoil. A majority of the Domain's naval craft were manufactured in the region, and a significant portion of its advanced armaments, creating massive wealth for its elite and business classes despite the crisis. After the Collapse, however, the region's infighting sabotaged any further political gains, and the new Regency government concentrated upon the less well developed "Stronghold" region in Rimward Deneb.

This perceived subordination, and a host of other political and cultural pressures, made the region a hotbed for fervent, if contradictory, political dissidence against the Regent and his government. Political rivalry between Starn and Magash brought the radical/reactionary Purifier faction into power during the IY 1170s, and this later used its leverage to gain a majority stake in the "Regent's Regency" of Lemat Arthurian in the 1230s (NE 30s). However these same political rivalries created the Liberator party arround dissident and purged military officers, including Admiral Elizabeth Bonesteel (a Rhylanor native). The latters military offensive in NE 40, and military victories over Purifier militiamen at Thingen and Seleen, broke the Purifier political base in Sabine and Inar subsectors, allowing for them to be bloodlessly deposed on Mora by a coalition of civilian and military personnel. The victorious Liberator faction is now largely the dominant political party in the Federation, and the most eminent members of upper society are surviving military and diplomatic personnel from the region that were either linked to Bonesteel or facilitated her victory.


The Kingsmen's "city on the hill" narrative is most strongly expressed in the Midway, almost to the point of obsessiveness. The cathedral of Midway society is the tower, either commercial or residential, but in each case representing the center of authority and power. The idea of a perfect community is not an abstraction, but a living experiment that colors their every action. They are the perfect political animals, if one remembers that politics is the art of what is possible-in other words the art of compromise. Politics, and especially the Commonwealth's version of electoral politics, are the oxygen of the region. Power as a means and fidelity to community are the two central themes of the Midway. The Conservative and Liberal factions are well represented in the Federation, and their local leaders and political machines are the ones that defined their ideologies and tactics, though politically the Midway is decisively Conservative.

The Midway is known as the "Cockpit of Deneb", a double reference to both aircraft, in that its volcanic energy supposedly steers the Commonwealth economy, and a fighting ring, in reference to the political warfare that consumes the upper reaches of the Federation. Here politics aren't merely a vocation, it is a Hobbesian bloodsport. The political rivalries of its worlds turn mere legislative minutiae into trench warfare. Despite the seeming self-absorption and lacerating rivalries, Midwaymen are consumed with public issues rather than private agendas. Its patriotism is very genuine and unforced, even if they spit in each other's eyes half of the day. And the hostility tends to obscure the relative moderation and responsibility of its politics. Extremists aren't welcome here anymore, though dissension is treasured when it directly addresses a problem. This internecine warfare of politics and professional distinction is confined to a specific series of cages, and a strict society exist on the streets as a counterweight that prevents the spillage of blood into the streets below. Human competition and creativity is an engine that must be governed and harnessed. In this sense then the Midway Federation is really a mandarinate divided into strata. Three different levels of society exist: a street level of complaisant citizens, a middle strata of battling candidates, and a top level of Elder Statesmen who have paid their dues and now quietly steer the state, business and the professions with their firm and wizened hands. Whatever incorrigibly rebellious elements survive in this atmosphere are not welcome, and best leave for regions that may tolerate their kind of deviance.

The conflicts of the region have been transformed by the Commonwealth's troubled beginning. A great deal of shame exists in the region about the past, particularly its spawning of the Purifiers, and there is an equal determination to prevent a recurrence. The arenas of politics and academia are seen by the locals as proving grounds for the Commonwealth's future leaders. It is telling that a major portion of its senior leadership was either raised, or spent a good portion of their apprenticeship, here in its trenches. To attract the best and brightest requires that a good deal of investment is spent on education, research and development, and amenities for the people. That means that individual worlds have a high standard of living, even though its technological lead has slipped into second place behind the Islands or the Peoples Republic. The most hardened rivalries of the region are now confined primarily to spinward regions, primarily Rhylanor subsector and Magash.

Midway has perhaps the strongest stated devotion to democratic institutions and non-authoritarian rule of any region, including the People's Republic. Despite the seeming hot-house method of social climbing, eventual success in local politics is a measure of both achievement and character. Persons of ruthless intent are usually weeded out of universities and professional positions by stringent third party psychological profiling and local Brotherhood cadres, though the actual method of rejection is non-coercive. And the actual kinds of accomplishment that are most accepted and honored is carefully nurtured by local institutions like the Society of Lynxes and various political and professional lodges. Family ties are very strong, encompassing an extended structure, and the worst instances of individual behavior are restrained by the arch or senior family members.

Worlds of Midway Federation

These have conceded their long time technological edge over the other regions of the Commonwealth in favor of a concentration of political and economic advantages. Banking, business administration and other service industries predominate over heavier manufactory style industries. The people of the Commonwealth like to say "The Stronghold is the muscle, the Islands the brains, and Midway is the whip." Despite the disappearance of Imperial-aged megacorporations and their sepoys, business leadership still has a major say in the policies and processes of local government, for both positive and negative reasons. The local economy can be called a "gentlemen's abattoir" of gently restrained capitalism, where character assassination and political maneuvering has mostly replaced the tradewars of the past.

Specialized commercial/travel districts have replaced the startowns on most significant high population worlds. Where travellers in the past would have been greeted pungently by slums or industrial wastelands, the peripheries of local starports have been transformed into high rise headhunting facilities and traveller hostels. These serve as both recruitment/information gathering centers, and a means of preventing social deviancy among transients through surveillance and compulsory work programs. Social "sluggery" and welfare dependence is much despised in a society for whom motivation is the key to success. Unemployment is virtually illegal in this society, being defined as activity that is negatively detracting from the public good via criminal activity or simple indolence. People will find a means of socially acceptable employment, either paid or private (such as childrearing or housekeeping) on these worlds, either voluntary or provided by the state (in an occupation of the latter's choosing) or face fines or imprisonment, or in the case of offworlders, actual expulsion from the community or world.

This live to work attitude rubs off on the entire society. Travellers to even the smallest or most lightly populated settlements will discover a workaholic ethic that can drive some to a premature death. Populated areas are very clean and well organised, and never seem to slow down for nights or holidays. Industry imposed standards regulate every industry, throughfare and even public discourse. Police presence is limited, though as with most worlds in Deneb sector, public norms are mainly enforced by more subtle means, via work advancement and familial conformity. Public deviance is usually detected early on, usually by family members, bosses or local Brotherhood cadres, and the deviants sentenced to a psychological therapy system that seems to borrow more than a few aspects of the old Zhodani system of reeducation. Offworlders and outsiders who run afoul of local psychiatric hygiene laws are usually not remanded under the local system, and are usually escorted offworld.

Work is seen as an end in of itself in some cases, without the excessive commercialism or materialist objectives. Sabinar worlds are lacking of the glitzy neon style visual pollution. This lack of advertising and strictly utilitarian purpose restrains local architecture styles and urban planning. Buildings are usually not the blocky styles preferred in the Stronghold states, though they lack the adventurist neo-art deco or -modernist styles preferred in the Islands or Pretoria Federations. Skylines are clean, and public transportation predominates. The desire to keep skyways clear of congestion means that most private transportation is limited to low flying grav vehicles or even wheeled ground cars. Urban divisions are carefully delineated, with noticeable boundaries or sharp transitions between residential/commercial and strictly industrial areas. Slums are a rare feature, and they tend to concentrate in remote areas or are overshadowed by larger developments. Homelessness and street vagrancy is not tolerated, and psychiatric hygiene services handle such instances.

Politics in the Midway are generally populist and conservative (tending towards centralised power at the expense of the individual), though they are generally socially liberal and less authoritarian than their Strongholder neighbors. Two of the three Commonwealth Chancellors have come from the Midway, including the current one; on the national level Midway worlds tend to put aside their rivalries for strong unity, with the result that they have shaped the Chancellorship and the Civil Service far more than any other cultural group. On national issues they are moved more by matters of process than policy, preferring to enforce civility and accountability, and being rather less exercised about the actual laws or policies being enacted. They are strict about the integrity of law and the clarity of government decision making, and abhor excessive state secrecy. Because of their central location in Deneb sector and history of economic competition with regions outside of the former Domain, they are traditionally isolationist in foreign policy and protectionist in industrial and trade policy.

Library Data

Black Morning Incident
In the final months of Lemat Arthurian's reign as regent, popular support for the Loyalists (the ones opposed to his increasingly paranoid and authoritarian rule) was putting irresistible pressure upon the Black Regent and his Purifier supporters. When worlds in the Midway, the Purifier's historical base, began defecting to the opposition it created an intolerable provocation to his power. Arthurian gave permission to Inar Subsector governor Samuel Shaakuganii to launch punitive expeditions against the more openly rebellious governments to act as an example to the other wavering worlds in the region. The worst of these attacks came against Morninglori/Inar (Deneb 1216). An expedition force of twenty thousand militiamen affiliated with the Pro-Purifier "Flame of Purity" militia were given captured Zhodani ships and equipment, and were sent to attack this lightly defended world. The force easily overpowered the small planetary military, and rampaged for several days in the streets of the planetary capitol and other major settlements. The operation was perfectly executed, and the raiders would have gotten away scot free, except that one of their transport ships misjumped into Vincennes subsector on the departure leg. This errant ship and its passengers were captured by Loyalist naval squadrons in the Northammon system (Deneb 0921), and the details of the plot were discovered. Subsequently the planetary and subsector governments on Inar (Deneb 1213) revolted against Shaakuganii, and he was impeached and imprisoned. Only Arthurian's careful concealment of his role prevented a greater revolt. The raid damaged the Purifier cause in Inar subsector, and polarised public dissent to the breaking point.
Jehun Plague
Jehun/Magash (Deneb 0819) is a post-industrial tech world that was one of the earliest opponents to Arthurian's increasingly bizarre and violent misrule. In NE 35, a massive polio epidemic swept the world's population, killing one in ten people and causing a quarantine interdiction to be imposed until NE 40. There is no evidence that this was a natural disaster, and there exist tantalizing clues of Arthurian's involvement in documents captured after his fall from power. The Astrogation Patrol and Interface Inspectorate maintain monitoring stations to prevent accidental offworld transmission of the virus (which despite a massive inoculation operation, has seemingly become endemic in some more remote regions of the world).
Thingen, Battle of
The only significant military confrontation between the Liberators and Arthurian's crumbling Purifier supporters. The Black Regent's final months of power were marked by hysterical acts of paranoia, as he attempted to consolidate his control over the increasingly oppositional Regency government through drastic extralegal methods. The most apparent of these acts were his increasing reliance upon the Flame of Purity militia, illegally created and armed by his regime before the Crucible War, and his willingness to use them in a punitive manner against wavering worlds in regions that once vehemently supported him. Despite the fallout of Black Morning, Arthurian continued to use the militia to depose unfriendly planetary governments in the Midway. The last attempt was against the government of Thingen/Sabine (Deneb 0518), which led to street violence and pitched battles between the mutinous planetary army and militiamen. Admiral Elizabeth Bonesteel, whose forces were massing in Gulf subsector in preperation for a coup attempt against Arthurian, instead responded to an emergency appeal from Thingen, and set her forces against the occupying FoP. Her Blue Fleet crushed the militiamen at Thingen in one overwhelming assault, and destroyed a combined force of FoP and Pro-Purifier Regency units at Seleen (Deneb 0517), and overruning their primary base at Magash (Deneb 0316). These victories demoralised the Purifiers and permitted the Regency Senate to impeach Arthurian.

Midwaymen Careers

The Guildsman is a mixture of ombudsman, troubleshooter, and political operative. In other words a kind of 58th century ward heeler that works for Midway world governments. Commissioned officers are senior political operatives, while everyone else is footsore trench fighters that coordinate local operations.
Guild Grades (Ranks)
Officers: G1->G12
Footmen: F1->F10
INT 6+, CHR 7+; Undergraduate
First Term
9+, No DM
Determination-2, Interaction-2, Social Science-1, Economics-2
Vehicle-2, Technician-1, Vice-1, Interaction-2, Gun Combat-1
Subsequent Terms
9+, DM+1 if INT 8+, DM+2 if any asset is greater than 18
Determination, Interaction, Economics, Social Science, Charm
Vehicle, Technician, Vice, Economics, Gun Combat, Determination
Special Adventure
7+ for Acrobat, Linguistics, Determination, Explore, Vehicle, Space Tech
2 (any Government, Academic or Business)
Other Effects
(1+N/10) times starting cash, where N is the character's final Grade number