Freefall 1 – 2007
After the defeat of the Independents, the Alliance had a huge number of captured Browncoats on their hands. Most of these POWs had all their personal assets confiscated as reparations, and were compelled to do a stint in a “Resocialization Center” before they were released. After release, these “redeemed” but penniless Browncoats tended to seek employment as indentured workers on the Border Moons so they could get as far away from the Core as possible.
The Magistrate of Ataraxia, a small moon with a harsh climate but rich veins of precious minerals, offered terms of indenturement that seemed almost too good to be true to these Browncoats, if they would only sign on as miners. He lied. Once they arrived, the Browncoats who signed on found working conditions to be more dangerous than slave labor. After all, slaves are valuable property, while many Border World Alliance loyalists believed that “Them ‘Innypenets’ shoulda been burned offa every world spinnin’.” Even worse, the Alliance was turning a blind eye to the Magistrate’s abuses. Fewer Browncoats meant less trouble, as far as the local Feds were concerned.
This was a miscalculation on the Alliance’s part. After a particularly fatal and totally avoidable mine collapse, the indentured miners had had enough. Working with certain disreputable spaceship crews who frequent Ataraxia’s virtually lawless port city, Freefall, these desperate former soldiers of the Independence re-armed themselves and seized the moon’s mine heads. They claim that they are holding the mines hostage until working conditions are improved to promised levels; in reality, they continue to work the mines and sell the ore to smugglers who make huge profits shipping it off-world. Most of these smugglers are Browncoats themselves, so they are particularly delighted to aid in the liberation of Ataraxia’s natural resources.
The Magistrate of Ataraxia’s mercenary force has not proved heavy enough to retake the mineheads from these veteran troops, and so he has called for Alliance help in crushing what he calls this “violent miners’ strike.” The townsfolk of Freefall have refused to join a side in this struggle, preferring instead to stay neutral and profit from the brisk smuggling trade.