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Niops Association
This information was last updated on the: 25th of February, 2010
Core Information:

     Capital: Niops V
     Faction Leader: High Associator Brandex Da-Ri
     Military Leader: Unknown
     Intelligence Leader: Unknown
     Approximate BattleMech Regiment Strength: Unknown (Possibly None)
     Mercenaries Currently Under Employ: Black Heart Roses

Origins and History:

The tiny three-world state lies just beyond the borders of the Free Worlds League, between the Circinus Federation and the Marian Hegemony. Originally the site of a Star League astronomical research mission, the three planets and the personnel assigned to them were cut off from the Inner Sphere when the Amaris Civil War shattered the Star League. They remained isolated until the late 2800s, when Capellan refugees fleeing the destruction of the First Succession War landed on Niops V. Poorly educated peasants for the most part, the Capellans wanted nothing more than freedom from war and modest prosperity. The tales of mass destruction and loss of life convinced the locals that they would be better off forgotten by the galaxy. While the scientific community on the planet continued their elaborate research, the Capellan newcomers were gradually absorbed into the social order as skilled laborers and agricultural specialists. In order to obtain these things, they and their descendants accepted an evolving social order in which they remained subservient to the highly educated descendants of the Star League personnel.

For centuries, the educated elite maintained its power by tightly controlling access to education, assuring every laborer a minimally comfortable standard of living and providing for the protection of their Association against roving pirate bands. Niopian rules created an aerospace force capable of fending off most pirate attacks, and the Periphery's bandits soon learned to leave the Niops Association alone. Another factor in the development of the Niopian technocracy was the lack of a means to communicate with other states. The Association's single HPG station succumbed to multiple equipment breakdowns sometime after the Capellan refugees' arrival; preferring to remain free of outside influences, the rulers of the Niopian worlds made no effort to restore it. Unused to personal freedom and deprived of the knowledge that life could be different, the laborer class had no reason to challenge their rulers' increasing monopoly on power.

With Star League technology at their disposal, the technocrats have developed a "Master Purpose" that has grown to semi-religious proportions. Maintaining a cold-blooded aristocracy, the privileged elite are loyal only to themselves and their own petty desires.

Since the beginning of the thirty-first century, however, this solitary nation has gradually been exhausting the natural resources that enabled it to remain self-sufficient for so long. Many of its mineral reserves are nearly tapped out, and its agricultural base cannot fill the economic gap. No longer able to guarantee moderate comfort for everyone, the ruling class has cautiously begun to look beyond its own borders for ways to salvage the Association's faltering economy.

3058 Update:

Thus far, the Association's efforts to end its long isolation have been fitful at best. Though many of the elite recognize that they can no longer go it alone, they are unaccustomed to dealing with the give-and-take of interstellar politics and trade. They are also unused to considering anyone's interests but their own, and find the art of compromise and alien concept. Finally, many of them fear that too close contact with other realms will prompt the very social upheaval they have avoided for so long; they believe that firsthand knowledge of freer societies will inspire their own laborer class to agitate to gain such freedoms for itself. As declining prosperity is just as likely as outside contact to prompt a rebellion before too long, the Niops Association seems unlikely to survive in its current form - unless its leaders can manage the delicate balancing act of forming loose trade ties with their neighbors while hiding knowledge of those neighbors from the Niopian masses.

Thus far, the Niops Association has confined its halting efforts at diplomacy to other Periphery realms. In the past three years Niopian leaders have made tenuous contact with the Illyrian Palatinate, the Magistracy of Canopus, and the Taurian Concordat. The latter two realms show only superficial interest in the Niops Association; they are busy solidifying their own recent alliance, and the tiny Association has little to offer them by comparison. The Illyrian Palatinate is eager to forge diplomatic ties with any realm that might offer aid against its enemies, but Niopian ambivalence about the entire endeavor keeps the diplomatic process moving at a glacial pace. The Niops Association has not made any overtures toward the Marian Hegemony, perhaps from a desire to avoid attracting the attention of the planet-greedy Caesar.