Organon is planet in the Circinus Sector of the Perseus Quadrant. It was charted by the Pathfinder Ship Republic in Solar Year 7170 with follow-up by the Explorer Ship Perseus and the Defender Ship Torchbearer in the Solar Year 7220. (Not to be confused with Organia, a completely different world destroyed by the Tarmigans. Organia was misidentified as Organon by Phil Redfire in Book 05: Aurora )
The planet Organon has a culture similar in technological development to early twentieth century Earth. Approximately 400 million humans inhabit this world. Its principal city was Wilhelm, located on the Wilhelm river.
Organon was one of the few colonies of the Commonwealth Era not colonized under the auspices of the Commonwealth. It’s early settlers were rogues and displaced settlers from other worlds.
For most of the planet’s history, it has been an impoverished world suffering from limited resources. Life and civilization clustered around the edges of the planet’s crater seas. Early colonists brought crops with them including rice, sorghum, quattrotriticale, barley, and fruit and vegetable crops. The planet was devoid of fauna, the closest thing being species of mollusks inhabiting the seas. The colonists brought some animal life with them and were able to seed the seas with fish. Porcine and rodent life forms manage to adapt to the environment, as well as Bovine forms. Birds and ungulates did not. For centuries following the collapse of the Human Galactic Commonwealth, food production was the planet’s primary economic activity. Homes are traditionally constructed of rock owing to the scarcity of trees. The planet’s primary energy resource is deep pockets of methane located in the crust under the locations of extinct crater seas. These have been harvested for fuel, as have deep geothermal taps into the planet’s mantle and wind harvesters on the planet’s vast plains. More recently, thorium reactors constructed and fueled by the New Commonwealth have increased planetary energy production levels.
The center of planetary government is the Grand Quorum, a nominally elected body although seats in the 300 member Parliament have been passed within the same families for centuries. The Grand Quorum has absolute political authority over the planet. A Supreme Quorum, consisting of nine individuals elected out of the Grand Quorum by Quroum members provides executive authority.
The economy of Organon is heavily regulated by the Grand Quorum. All planetary enterprises are owned by the same families that comprise the membership of the Grand Quorum. Most of these have monopoly control over their area of production. For example, rice production and distribution is controlled entirely by the Listratta family. This has led to a long-term stagnation in development and advancement.
Organon's economy was built primarily on the exploitation and trade of the planet's natural resources. The planet has not sought to develop space-faring capabilities, but engages in trade with other planets via intermediaries. The planet was also home to variety of regional folk-music styles.
After rediscovery, Organon sought membership in the New Commonwealth of the Galaxy, but was delayed because a planetwide rebellion and civil war. When the conflict was concluded, the new planet's governments chose not to seek admission.
Geography and Climate
At the time of its rediscovery, vast areas of of the planet had desertified. The sky appeared as brown due to high levels of dust in the upper atmosphere.The position on the planet relative to its sun produces uniformly mild surface conditions, but stellar and atmospheric changes had led to a thickening cloud layer and extremely sparse rainfall. The ecosystem was in danger of failing. Once the causes and effects of the climate disruption were addressed, the planet reverted to a more normal state; heavily clouded, but abundant rain and surface moisture.
Organon is geologically the oldest inhabited colony in the known galaxy, over 10 billion years old (and some estimates suggest twelve billion). The catastrophic conditions on its surface are related to the thickening of its crust and the loss of internal dynamism.
Most of the planet’s seas are edged by mountain ranges. These ranges are heavily forested and characterized by river valleys carved by relatively short but deep and rapid rivers. Each of the planet's major cities is located at a riverhead, and most all share the name of their river. Interior continental lands are quite flat. Some of these are desert, and others are grasslands.
Organon has two moons: Orgone and Willam. Both are relatively large. Neither is life-supporting.
The planet was in the midst of a dramatic climate shift that threatens to destroy its entire human civilization when it was re-charted. Roughly a century earlier, the planet’s sun entered a period of instability and hyperactivity. Changes in its sun and atmosphere caused rain to cease on many parts of the planet, (even as its global cloud cover thickened), The entire planet was in danger of drying up at the time of Perseus’s arrival. A subsequent visit by the Ambassadorial Ship Nova attempted to fix the problem with percussive charges into the atmosphere. This resulted in some rainfall, but also in severe atmospheric disruptions and huge dust storms. New Commonwealth science teams worked with the planet’s scientists to help develop a long term solution. (Book 11, Unpublished Short Story “Cloudbusting”)
Soundings indicated the presence of water reserves deep in the planet’s crust; a volume at least three times greater than the planet’s surface water. In Solar Year 7298, under the guidance of the Commonwealth Ambassadorial Ship Nova, the New Commonwealth undertook an ambitious scheme to tap these water reserves in hopes of increasing surface habitability and moderating planetary climate. Large-scale drilling operations were set up at sixty points on the planet’s surface.
Five years into the operation, tremors were reported at sites 56, 58, and 59. These were initially attributed to crust subsidence due to the evacuation of underground water supplies. Then, a level five seismic event struck station 59, destroying all three drilling rigs and inflicting extensive casualties. Subsequent Seismic events tore through the western drilling network and ripped open a seam in the crust 900 kilometers long. An explosive cloud of hot gas and steam burst out from the tear in the crust. Subsequent investigation revealed that the drilling had weakened an undetected tectonic fault until it snapped under the stress. Additional crust fractures appeared in the vicinity of Drilling Sites 20 and 21, and Drilling Site 13.
New fault seams appeared in other areas of the planet as parts of the crust became unstable. The sudden increase in atmospheric water vapor caused a cascade of environmental effects, including an increase in the severity and frequency of dust storms.
The New Commonwealth of the Galaxy in cooperation with the Grand Quorum of Organon declared a state of planetary emergency. The Commonwealth began a program of planetary scale remediation, involving the installation of terraforming equipment and atmospheric processors. Meanwhile, the planetary government (Grand Quorum) enacted emergency measures. One of the key measures was hardening the planet’s population centers with structural reinforcements and atmospheric shields. The Grand Quorum also accepted the recommendation of the Council of Concerned Scientists that the planet’s population needed to be permanently reduced to a Long-Term Sustainable Target Level of no more than 250,000,000.
The Grand Quorum, in cooperation with the New Commonwealth, enacted Protocol 9 on the Resolution to Achieve Sustainable Population Level within 100 local years. Part of the protocol involved relocation of millions of Orgonians to other Commonwealth worlds and colonies. The Galactic Parliament set targets for 75 million Orgonians to be resettled on other worlds. The remaining population reductions would be achieved through attrition and birth control measures.
The Grand Quorum of Organon went further, however. The goal, they decided, ought not be merely a smaller planetary population, but a better planetary population. “Smaller and Smarter,” were the watchwords for a new population clustered in urban communities built into the shorelines of the planet’s crater seas. For those reasons, the Grand Quorum established the Special Quorum for Off-World Resettlement and Migration that would establish priority and permission for persons to be resettled elsewhere in the galaxy. The SQOWRAM (Scow-Ram) was instructed to prioritize “those who are detrimental to Orgonian society, and those least productive” for resettlement permits in an effort to not only reduce the population but improve the quality of the remaining population. The Scow-Ram initiated several programs to encourage the undesirable elements of the planet to emigrate off-world. Persons on the Social Support System (a planetary welfare system) were incentivized to emigrate or face reduction in social support levels. Continued access to social support was also made conditional upon sterilization. Criminal convicts were offered commutations in exchange for agreeing to emigrate. Eventually, Justice Administrators were permitted (and then coerced) to sentence criminals to off-world exile.
As a result of this policy, the vast majority of Orgonians designated for off-world settlements have come from the criminal class (Organon’s organized crime networks are as extensive as its political and economic networks; and often interconnected) and persons representing the least skilled and least capable socio-economic stratum. Many of the worlds who have taken in large numbers of Orgonians (the Bountiful System, Bodicea, Longueil) have had great difficulty assimilating them. Orgonian refugees have been correlated with increases in crime rates and long-term dependency on planetary welfare structures.
The New Commonwealth Ministry of Inter-World Migration passed a regulation requiring Organon to note on emigration files which migrants were processed as a result of criminal proceedings. Organon protested that this would lead to “discrimination” against their citizens and refused to comply. The New Commonwealth threatened to suspend the planetary resettlement support, but ultimately did not do so.
As of Solar Year 7500 (30 local years into the migration), 26 million Orgonians had been resettled off-world and the planet’s population had diminished by 38 million. More than half of refugees had settled into six Commonwealth systems. (Bodicea – 8.6 million; Bountiful - 3.6 million; Longueil – 1.2 million; Larkspur – 1.0 million; Psi Triangulum – 1.0 million; Independence – 1,000,000} Some Commonwealth Worlds – including Tau M., Maru, Fulcrum, and Emeishan – refused to take any refugees. Other worlds, like Rainier III and Scipio, adopted extremely restrictive screening policies, accepting only small numbers of refugees. Fewer than a million Orgonians had settled on worlds outside the New Commonwealth. Aerona took in half a million Orgonian refugees.