The planet Crunch

This page Copyright 2010, Karl Leffler

This is the second inhabited world of the Lone Star System, and is subjected to even more intense meteoric bombardment than New Texas. It serves mainly as a mining colony with a small permanent population supporting a much-larger transient workforce. Most habitats and mining operations are underground, and a ring of orbital weapon stations operated by the Space Patrol defend the inhabitants from collisions. Crunch provides nearly one-third of the mineral resources used by the Republic, nearly all of those not obtained locally or from Wilson's System. The Lone Star System's location relative to other Republic worlds, and the difficulties in navigating through the dark matter surrounding Wilson's System, make the operations on Crunch economically feasible. Crunch earned Member World status in 107 JR.

Barely habitable with little native life, the harsh and often hostile environment can be quite depressing for the half-million Subjects and Citizens living and working there at any given time. To relieve the monotony and attract workers, the mining corporations sponsor regular recreational cruises on corporate yachts at the end of each union's half-year tour of employment. Many of these cruises become little more - or less - than spacegoing orgies of Roman proportions as the stress and boredom of months of hard and dangerous work are relieved.

A small operation near the planet's south pole serves as a penal labor colony for the few Jeffersonian criminals who survive the attempt to commit a violent crime and who, for some reason, escape the death penalty. Criminals convicted of lesser crimes are sent to a similar but milder institution in the temperate zone of Crunch's southern hemisphere.

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