- Iapetus (87,000 pop)
- Iapetus is an oddity in the solar system, a chimeric moon with a dramatic two-tone coloration - something reflected on the black-and-blue striped flag of the coalition.
- The moon a massive equatorial ridge that runs more over two-thirds of the length around its equator.
- Significantly inclined and distant orbit, and the farthest out of Saturn's other major moons.
- Mostly composed of ice, Iapetus was settled early in the general colonization of the Saturn system to provide a supply of water in the form of ice. Because of the relatively higher temperatures in the Roncevaux Terra and Saragossa Terra territories, although obviously still incredibly cold by human standards, water ice mining is substantially easier on Iapetus, a fact that has resulted in water ice mining to be the primary industry of the world.
- Iapetus' early settlement was conducted by a coalition of four smaller metanational corporations who, unable to compete with the corporate efforts colonizing Titan proper, took the next best bet in the Saturn system, setting up extensive water ice mining operations on Iapetus. Decades later, water ice mining operations on Iapetus were sufficiently expansive as to make Iapetus an integral player in the system.
- Several times the Republic of Titan has moved to annex Iapetus and secure its vast water ice mining operations, although each time it has been foiled by intransigence by Iapetus' mining community.
- Because of the Republic of Titan's persistent moves towards formal annexation of Iapetus, the Iapetus Coalition has opened up friendly diplomatic channels with the Alliance. For its part, the Alliance has been careful to avoid targeting any of the Iapetus Coalition's commercial interests and has even offered to make Iapetus a military protectorate with political autonomy within the Alliance. The Iapetus Coalition has long valued its independence, but its frustration with the Republic of Titan's repeated annexation attempts now has the serious possibility of resulting in it becoming an Alliance protectorate.
- Water Ice
- Due to repeated annexation attempts, the Iapetus Coalition maintains chilly relations with the Republic of Titan, although Titan's position as the primary buyer for the coalition's water ice means that there are serious limits as to how far the coalition can push back politically or economically.
- The Alliance has offered to make Iapetus an Alliance military protectorate with full internal autonomy. Given the coalition's historical independence, this is by no means a foregone issue, but continues to be hotly debated on Iapetus.
- The Iapetus Coalition maintains cordial relations with the Amalgamated Calpultin of Dione due to its similar political predicament with regards to the Republic of Titan's dominant position in the Saturn system.
Politics and Culture:
- Politically, the Iapetus Coalition is simply a cartel of four metanational mining corporations for whom water ice mining operations on Iapetus represent over 90% of their commercial operations. Secondary operations and ancillary needs are generally fulfilled by subcontracting out to smaller commercial orgs. The Iapetus Coalition makes no pretense at democracy, and is operated whole and parcel as a corporate state.
- While the coalition maintains an internal security force, in truth it is little more than a robust police force and cannot be seen as having any significant military capacity. Similarly, the Iapetus Coalition's "navy" is little more than a handful of frigates outfitted to function as security patrol vessels.
- Unlike the vast majority of colonized worlds in the solar system, Iapetus has never generated an artificial spin to create a semblance of surface gravity. Instead, humans on the moon have resorted to a combination of genetic modification as well as a regular regimen of supplementary medicinals designed to minimize the effects of living in a low-gravity environment. The decision not to generate an artificial spin was one of economic practicality - the low-gravity environment is easier to conduct mining operations in, and the cost to spin a moon of Iapetus' mass would be considerable.
- Due to the micro-gravity environment, Iapetans are noticeably taller than other humans throughout the solar system.
- While the lack of democracy might cause problems on other worlds, on Iapetus it has never resulted in significant labor unrest due to a combination of excellent pay and profit-sharing for the most valuable workers and widely-rumored chemical pacification of its less-valued workers.
- As a corporate state, every citizen of the coalition is stratified into a pay grade from 0 (minor children and diplomatic non-residents) to A, B, C, D, and all the way up through L. Pay grades come with them pension payments and basic rights doled out as a reward or due to limited supply; for example, a pay grade of C makes regularly available certain recreational drugs, while a pay grade of E offers the luxury of off-moon vacations. Temporary work permits are not difficult to obtain, though few off-worlders take advantage of the opportunity due to the uncommon discomfort of living in a micro-gravity environment.
- As a practical matter, so many automatic deductions occur to a citizen's pay that at the lower pay grades many citizens are actually in debt to the coalition. As debtors are ineligible for emigration or travel off-world - after all, someone might use this as a way of escaping their responsibility to pay their debt - this serves as a de facto institution of legalized serfdom.
- There is widespread suspicion that the coalition's regimen of supplementary medicinals includes chemical pacifiers to keep the lower ranks of the population more complacent.
- The Iapetus Coalition practices strict population control and significant genetic engineering. While some of this is necessary due to the moon's lack of spin and thus low-gravity conditions, some of it is certainly not necessary, and the coalition is clearly engaging in a long-term plan of eugenics with an aim towards the creation of an ossified caste-based society.
- Although citizens of other worlds may look askance at many of the social policies of the Iapetus Coalition, the coalition itself sees its policies as practical and enlightened. Harsh foreign denunciations of coalition practices are most often met with an indifferent shrug - after all, who cares what off-worlders think?