Keywords: Capitalism vs. anarchism, terrorism vs. freedom struggle, signs of impending civil war
In-game language: Danish
Urras and Anarres is a double planetary system. Anarres is the minor planet, the moon, while Urras is a relatively large planet. Urras is a lush and highly populated with many different nations, while Anarres is a barren desert, where humans can only just survive. Anarres is inhabited by Odonians who 200 years ago emigrated from Urras to create an ideal society based on anarchist principles. The anarchist principles dictate that there should be no common laws, but every person must make his or her own law. However, this does not mean that you can do whatever you want, since you are always dependent on your fellow humans and their cooperation. The Urrasti anarchists came from different nations, but shared common ideals, and they have managed to create a stable nation in Anarres, based on mutual trust and dependence, as well as the individual’s freedom to realize them.
On Anarres, there is peace, and nobody wants to escape, even though life is sometimes hard. On Urras, where there is abundance, the picture is quite different. The riches of the planet are not equally distributed, and although the capitalists hoped to get rid of all unruly elements when they gave Anarres to the Odonians, this has not happened. Nothing can stop people from falling into the grip of idealism and political fanaticism, when exposed to social injustice and poverty. And the moon is in the sky as an eternal reminder that there are other ways of organizing society.
Consequently, the prevailing political underground movement is anarchist by nature. In recent years, they have moved on from using only peaceful means and now try to start an anarchist revolution. There have been bomb attacks on government buildings and newly built luxury hotels, burglary of food stocks and banks, where the goods and money have been distributed amongst the poor. In the beginning, the anarchist revolutionary movement was very careful to avoid civilian deaths, but as repression and retribution from the ruling classes against the underclass has become harsher and harsher, the police more ruthless and the overall pressure inhumanly hard, the revolutionary movement has also escalated its actions. This happened under the leadership of the charismatic leader Laio Pae, an excellent anarchist thinker, a bloodthirsty revolutionary and freedom fighter. Thus Laio Pae is the most wanted person in Urras, throughout the solar system and in the neighbouring solar systems.
The anarchist revolutionaries sabotaged exclusive hospitals only treating the rich, which caused deaths and fatalities. They poisoned the water in a wealthy neighbourhood where several government members lived, which cost many “innocent” lives. The anarchist revolutionaries argue that nobody is innocent, if they agree to live a luxurious life, financed by the exploitation of other people who are forced to toil day in and day out for a miserable salary, with poor access to medical care without proper housing and without the opportunity to improve their lives.
The ultimate goal of the anarchist revolutionaries is to create an anarchist state throughout Urras. The anarchist movement is widely diversified, and they are active in all nations on Urras, but they are strongest in A-Io, one of the oldest and richest nations on Urras. All governments and dictators are condemning them as terrorists who want to impose their fanatical idealism on the rest of the population. They strike down with an iron fist on any sign of anarchism. This also affects neutral citizens and thus generates more and more sympathy for the anarchist cause. In other words, Urras are on the way towards a global civil war.
A slogan often used by the capitalists is: “Send them to the moon!”, but this is not possible. When the state Anarres was created, the World Council of Urras and Anarres signed a treaty banning all Urrasti from setting foot on Anarres. Also, the ecosystem of Anarres is not able to feed many more people than are already living on Anarres. The response from the anarchists are the slogan: “We are the moon of Anarres – anarchism now!”.
The revolutionary anarchists see themselves as soldiers belonging to a rebel army, while the government are labelling them as terrorists.
The revolutionary anarchists think very rationally and are concerned about the absolute freedom of any individual person – but under full responsibility towards one’s fellow humans. This translates into a syndico-anarchist philosophy. They believe that the production facilities ought to be taken over by autonomous units of workers who have full responsibility themselves and can enjoy the fruits of their own labour.
Life in A-Io has gradually become disturbed due to the constant terrorist attacks / revolutionary action (depending on the eyes of the beholder). All police and military are deployed in the hunt for Laio Pae, the man who has escalated the fight to a scale as never seen before. Laio Pae has been underground for a long time, but even in the anarchist inner circles; there are not many who know where he is hiding. Rumours are circulating that he feels compelled to go into exile on another planet and intends to send inflammatory texts and original contributions to the anarchist ideology.
Six months ago, Urras received a visit from Anarres for the first time, as Anarres has otherwise kept itself in total isolation, apart from a bit of trade with necessary goods and exchange of research in mathematics and physics. The physicist Shevek from Anarres believes that the self-selected isolation of Anarres is a mistake, and, together with his group The Syndicate for New Initiative Shevek has organized to come to Urras as a visiting professor at the most prestigious university in A-Io. There was widespread opposition on Anarres against this, but since society functions on the basis of anarchist ideas, and no one was ready to do whatever necessary to stop Shevek’s departure, Shevek succeeded in going away on one of the rockets that bring goods and in turn collect metals from the mines of Anarres.
Shevek is an incredibly gifted physicist who for years has exchanged research in physics with his colleagues on Urras. Now he has the opportunity to work with them in person. The government in A-Io is very interested in Shevek’s research, but he has been kept in isolation from the real problems in their society, as they are afraid that the anarchist revolutionary movement will use him as a rallying point. To the anarchists, he is a representative from the actualized anarchist society, a figurehead who can inspire and bring together the masses.
Shevek is on the edge of a scientific breakthrough, combining several of the great physical theories of gravity and quantum mechanics, on time and order into one big Theory of Everything. According to several physicists and engineers, this combined theory could lead to immediate substance transfer, or in other words: people will be able to travel in space without spending months and years to arrive, and it will enable spaceships to move from one point to another in an instant. It’s no wonder that A-Io’s government has been willing to take the risk and invite Shevek to Urras, if they gain access to the Theory of Everything as the first, it will be invaluable.
Urrasti (and thus also the Annaresti) are more hairy than the normal human genetic standard. Their skin has a grey colour, and the hair on their bodies as well as on their head is gray. The hair on their heads varies from pure grey, the grey-brown to grey-black. Annaresti are taller than Urrasti due to the lower gravity of Annares.
On Urras women are considered weak, unable to think logically and controlled by their emotions. Men and women are treated very differently, and the role of women is in the home where they take care of their husband and children. Urrasti men (and women) cannot imagine that women are able to go through higher education and in the working class common slang for one’s wife is “the old sow at home” (and this is not meant to be demeaning!).
On Anarres men and women are considered equal, since everybody does the work they feel best suited for, and all are involved in the physical work. Men may be stronger, but women often have more endurance. Odo, who founded Odonism, was a woman.
The anarchists on Urras are trying to free themselves from capitalist sexism, but they do not always succeed, neither men nor women. Thus, many of the leading figures of the revolutionary anarchist movement are still men.
Urrasti from the upper classes are very lavishly dressed, while the middle class and working class does not have a special manner of dress. The revolutionary anarchists’ clothing is very functional and simple with a military look.
Urrastis can have many different kind of names, after all, as there are many different nations, but in A-Io (where most refugees come from) the names contain many vowels, such as Laio Pae. Urrasti from the upper class can seem very confident and condescending, while Urrasti from the working class have learned a submissive and self-effacing manner, except when they are among their own. The Annaresti are very relaxed, unaggressive and unconventional (since the conventions are so different on their planet). They do not understand the concept of property and money, and they are accustomed to sharing everything.
There are several different refugee groups with different reasons for fleeing and thus with very different goals. Ordinary citizens from the lower middle class are fleeing, because they have lost courage and can no longer cope with the violence. They fear the anarchistic evolution and an anarchist society. If they have enough money, they apply for a visa and will travel via the official routes, but if they do not have enough money or if the money does not exist in the official system (if for example they were gained through crime), they must resort to smuggling routes. They just want to get to a peaceful place with a high-tech civilization.
Only a few workers flee, as they cannot afford to. Those who flee may have been suspected of being anarchists, perhaps they are related to someone who is an anarchist, and consequently the police make life difficult for them. They flee before they are put in jail or die under torture. Workers who flee want to reach the Culture or civilizations close to the Culture, where there are equal rights for all, even the machine intelligences. They can certainly not afford the official route, but must take what they can and go via the smuggling routes.
Revolutionary anarchists are not usually trying to escape, but if they do, they have to be wary. All border patrols, security forces and bounty hunters are hunting for them, as no government wants an anarchist revolution on their own planet. They must travel undercover and try to find a place to hide.
Urras has had no contact with other planets for a very long time. They have been isolated and were only “discovered” 50 years ago, but gradually they have had more and more contact with the nearest solar systems. Because of this, common Urrasti are not very aware or knowledgeable about other galactic cultures.
Urrasti from the upper class tend to regard androids as an exciting technology and desire to own one of their own, while workers and anarchist revolutionaries support android rights.
The anarchist revolutionaries consider religion a tool rulers uses to oppress the people, and are very unsympathetic towards the fundamentalist religion of the Sekolts.
Urrasti culture is very individualistic, so they will be very uncomprehending of the behaviour of the Urbanites.
Tuio Meisthe (M) Worker, Falsely arrested and tortured by the police, now a drug trafficker to get the money to escape, 23 years old.
Maio Lekes (M), Urrasti government agent, only sent out to find information, but boarded Aspera on own their own initiative to search for Laio Pae, 25 years old
Shevek / Reio (M), Anarchist (Odonian) from Anarres, Urras’ moon, brilliant physicist, the scientist behind a Theory of Everything, 37 years old
Alueo Poesti / Roeo Keile (M), One of the big fish of the the criminal underworld on Urras, wanted by the police for murder, conspiracy, robbery, drug offenses and economic crimes, traveling with his “girlfriend” Eo (19 years), 36 years old
Eo Saefe (F), “Partnered” with Alueo Poeste, criminal boss, former prostitute in one of his whore houses, sold by her parents, 19 years old
Laoi Pae / Patience (M), revolutionary freedom fighter / terrorist disguised as Sekolt man, ideologue behind violent revolution, very much wanted by authorities, lover of Siro (23 years), 30 years old
Siro Uie / Strength (F), fanatical female anarchist revolutionary dressed as Sekolt woman, the lover and right hand of Laio Paes, wanted by authorities, 23 years old