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Masada is a human-inhabited planet in the Endicott System and the home of the Masadan theocratic State. Endicott is over 38 light years to the Galactic Northeast of the Manticore System. The planet is located over five hundred light years from Earth. Masada is located to the east of the Yeltsin's Star System, which is two days travel away. Masada is located roughly 28 light years to the Galactic Southwest of the nearest boundary of People's Republic of Haven controlled space. (HH2)
Masada is the only habitable planet in the system, and at the time of the Second Battle of Yeltsin's Star, had a population about four and a half billion. The development level of the planet (partially due to theologically driven choices made by its inhabitants) is low and it had offered few attractions for trade with the rest of the Galaxy after Grayson and Endicott were rediscovered by Galactic civilization.
The planet has a forty-degree axial tilt. The weather is more severe than the weather on Grayson as a result, but its environment and even the flora and fauna are much more compatible with human life. In particular, the toxic heavy metal burden of the ecosphere is much lower than on Grayson. Masada's orbital radius is barely a quarter that of Grayson. (HH2)
When the planet was discovered, from Grayson, using chemically fueled sublight ships, the colonists on Grayson considered moving the entire population there, given the toxicity of the environment on Grayson. But, they didn't have sufficient advanced technology to do so and remained on Grayson.
Masada was eventually settled as a result of the Grayson Civil War. After the death of Austin Grayson in 998 PD, the Church on Grayson suffered a doctrinal schism. The Faithful came to believe, via a radicalization of their beliefs, in the inherent evil of technology, and further insisted on even greater subjugation of women, seeing in the conditions on Grayson evidence of God's disfavor toward females. Their views differed so much from the mainstream that in the mid 1300's PD, they started the Grayson Civil War to take control of Grayson and impose their beliefs on their fellows, the Moderates. After years of brutal war, the Faithful were defeated and exiled, at great expense, to Masada. The War ended when the wife of one of the Faithful's leaders, Barbara Bancroft, defected and told Benjamin Mayhew (the Great) about the Faithful's plan to destroy the planet if they were defeated using their secretly developed "doomsday weapon". (HH2)
Since 1868 PD, when rediscovered by Galactic civilization, Masada's and Grayson's technological level jumped eight centuries. (HH2)
Wars with GraysonEdit
Since their exile, the Masadans have made multiple attempts to conquer Grayson.
First Grayson-Masadan WarEdit
The First Grayson-Masadan War took place in 1868 PD; the Masadan Navy bombarded Grayson with nuclear weapons before being defeated. After that, Masada repeatedly threatened to use nuclear force again. (HH2)
Second Grayson-Masadan WarEdit
In 1903 PD, Masada invaded the Yeltsin's Star system once again, beginning the Second Grayson-Masadan War. Masada defeated Grayson at the First Battle of Yeltsin's Star, leading to Masadan control of the space around Grayson. Masada supported the Brotherhood of Maccabeus' attempt to assassinate the Protector, but they were thwarted when Captain Honor Harrington's Squadron returned to Yeltsin's Star. The attempted assassination of Protector Benjamin Mayhew was personally thwarted by Captain Harrington and her treecat, Nimitz.
After Masadan forces were defeated during the Second Battle of Yeltsin's Star, units of the Royal Manticoran Marine Corps took control of Masadan military facilities and the planet was occupied by the Manticoran Army. (HH3) For some period afterward, Manticore found itself committed to a local quagmire, as few Masadans had an interest in rebuilding any but a theocratic state and fewer knew how. Disorganized guerrilla warfare and broad, aggressive but peaceful protest movements lasted as a thorn in the Army's side.
The Star Kingdom took significant steps, including keeping orbital-bombardment capable ships and Marine fast-attack units in the surrounding space, to ensure any mass violent uprising would be impossible. Haven planned to put the occupation to ruin in Operation Dagger, but Grayson defeated the first major People's Navy strike deep behind Manticoran Alliance lines. In subsequent years, the planet slowly progressed, and by 1919 PD most fundamentalist Masadans had fled, some joining fringe outfits and mercenary groups.
Upon landing on the planet, the exiles instituted the theocratic state they had planned for Grayson. This included new laws such as dietary laws, ritual purity laws (eg, cleansing in case of sin), and the re-institution of stoning to death as a punishment for violation.
Though the Masadan branch of the Church of Humanity Unchained was nominally Christian, the theology of the Faithfull essentially disregarded the Christian Bible's New Testament, relying on a strict interpretation of Old Testament tenets. The justification for this was that, if Jesus had been the true Messiah, He would not have let technology become important.
Masadan medical technology lagged far behind the Haven and Manticore, and that of Grayson as well. Masada did not have access to Prolong Treatment, and did not wish to adopt it, there being a religious/cultural taboo against such tampering with God's work.
It was a fixed tenet that the Masadan Church was the True Church, and that the Church which remained on Grayson after the Exile was heretical. It was typically referred to as 'the Apostate".
Masadan women were required to wear a veil in their own homes when visitors were present, and to wear a veil at all times when they leave their homes. They were regarded as inherently and irredeemably sinful and wicked. No education was permitted, and it was a capital offense for a woman to learn to read or write. There were no strictures against any action a man might take regarding his women, so the crime of physical or mental abuse by those close to one was not present in Masadan law -- if the victim was female. No woman was permitted to exercise any power over others at all, save over children during infancy.
After the conquest and occupation of Masada by Manticore, women were undoubtedly granted considerably more rights than they had previously enjoyed. While most had no use for this, since they believed the Masadan Church's teachings, many of them took the opportunity to execute revenge against their oppressive spouses.
Masada had roughly three times the population of Grayson before the Second Grayson-Masadan War. Nevertheless, Masada's gross system product was quite low, there having been a deliberate choice to avoid industrial activity since it involved the abhorred technology. Accordingly, Masada was even more cash poor than might be expected. When Haven "sold" two warships to Masada, they represented about eighty percent of Masada's GSP of the time.
As much of the System's resources as possible were devoted to building up the Navy to support conquest of Grayson. As a result, the Navy was very ill-suited to system defense, though too small and backward to be a serious threat to Grayson prior to Haven's intervention. Since 1883 PD, Masada has put roughly one-third of their GSP towards building their navy.
Masada's form of government since the Exile was theocracy. The Faithful of the Church of Humanity Unchained felt themselves to have a Divine mission to regulate all aspects of their society in accordance with the tenets of the Church. The head of state and head of government was the Chief Elder, in charge at the Council of Elders. The Council acted as the legislative branch, and its inner circle as the executive branch of government. There were also other institutions, including:
- the commander of naval operations, called "Sword of the Faithful "
- the intelligence service
- the Office of the Inquisition - established to ferret out and punish sinners
- the Synod of Censors
Manticoran Occupation Edit
Since 1903 PD, as a result of its defeat in the Second Grayson-Masadan War, the Endicott System was occupied by the Star Kingdom of Manticore. The SKM officially claimed the Endicott System as a protectorate by right of conquest. After the occupation was turned over to the Manticoran Army, the person in charge was General Marcel, commanding officer for Manticoran occupation army force. The planet was governed initially under martial law, with the intent of transitioning to a civilian regime eventually. General Marcel had great difficulty finding a body of responsible moderates to act as the local government, because no one on the planet had any idea of how to run a non-theocratic state. (HH5)