The Colonies of Beyond Sector: Helen’s World

The world which would become known as Helen’s World was founded by a group of academics from several of Earth’s most prominent universities. They sought to build a Platonic Utopia, where they could focus on their research untroubled by the rest of the universe. Their destination world – originally dubbed Hellene – proved to have a very pleasant environment, easily human survivable and with accessible deposits of vital rare minerals.

Throughout the history of Beyond Sector, Hellene has been the recognised leader in innovative technology. Unusually, the world is governed as a genuine direct democracy. All citizens are given discreet cybernetic implants which are necessary to interact with many systems – most importantly, the Forum. All decisions of state are settled by online referenda in the Forum. For routine day to day matters, the Forum commonly votes discretionary powers to certain citizens or committees to deal with the matter, but all significant state decisions must be settled by a vote of the citizenry. Participation rates are high, and failure to maintain an acceptable voting presence is grounds for loss of citizenship.

Hellene was the first world in Beyond Sector to develop the Jump Drive and exported the technology to many other worlds. They also developed the highly controversial bioengineering technique known as “gene-modding”. This process entails growing new organisms from human DNA but modified to remove almost all capacity for free will and emotion. Other modifications to increase strength or dexterity are also common. The uses and morality of this technology remain hugely controversial across the sector and are a considerable headache for the Imperial bureaucracy. On Helen’s World, gene-mod labour is used for all menial tasks, freeing the citizenry to devote themselves to matters of the mind.

In pre-Imperial history, Hellene maintained a careful neutrality. The Hellene Provost Corps was respected as a small but deadly force, often fielding ships a generation more advanced than their opponents. As Hellene was largely self-sufficient in energy and foodstuffs, those worlds wanting access to Hellene technology had to sign trade deals on sharply unfavourable terms – and everybody wanted access to Hellene tech. Both Kentai and Matisse dealt with Hellene, rather than risk pushing the highest-tech power in the sector into the opposing camp. To Hellenists, this “rational mutual interest” was simply the only logical approach.

In the years immediately prior to the Reunification War, Hellene had been trending loosely pro-Kentai in its foreign policy as a counter to the growing power of Matisse. When the first reports of the size of the Imperial fleet reached Kentai, they reached out to Hellene seeking a formal alliance against the Empire.

After a record 56 hours of debate in the Forum, the world of Hellene stunned the sector by formally announcing its allegiance to the Terran Space Empire, and that it would henceforth be known as Helen’s World, in honour of Empress Helen. Although the worlds of Beyond Sector singularly failed to present a unified front against the Empire, much of the sector has never forgiven Helen’s World for actively switching sides, leading to several impolite nicknames in use in spacer bars throughout the sector. For Helen’s World, it was simply the logical choice – it was obvious which way the war would go, and this was the best way to secure their interests.

Early recognition of the Empire secured favourable terms of annexation, and Helen’s World enjoys several liberties not available to the rest of the sector. Notably, the Empire pledged not to limit the academic freedom of the citizenry, leaving them free to study subjects banned elsewhere. Overall, Helen’s World is one of the more loyal worlds in the sector, but the relationship is not entirely harmonious. The Ministry of Stability has lodged frequent protests regarding the content of certain lectures given to off-world students, while the Ministry of Finance is becoming increasingly forceful in its view that the occasional good idea does not excuse such an unreasonably low tax rate.