Dessica II is a backwater Class M world located near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Once an outpost of the Romulan Star Empire, it is now a sore on the body of the Federation, a haven for fugitives, freebooters and shady operators of many different persuasions. The Romulans first attempted to colonize Dessica II in the 17th century; by the 18th century, they had abandoned the world to its own developments due to its lack of promising resources and its persistent anarchy.
Dessica II is the second planet of the Dessica system, which is located in Beta Quadrant, just on the Federation side of the Romulan Neutral Zone.
Freezing storms wrack Dessica II’s sub-arctic belts, while mild temperatures and relative calm prevail in the tropics. Within the planet’s many mountain valleys, however, much rain falls, days are warm and nights are cold no matter what the latitude.
Dessica II’s landmass is divided into three large continents linked by narrow land bridges, so that they form a roughly triangular whole. The major city of Shiloh is located on New Haven, the central continent. The planet’s other large city, Aglakh, is located on the western continent, Kertal. All three continents are full of deep, isolated mountain valleys that provide many excellent places to hide.
It isn’t so much the case that government on Dessica II is sufficiently corrupt for criminals to flourish there, as it is that no government exists at all and that’s how the inhabitants like it. Dessica II offers sanctuary to just about anyone and anything who wants to avoid the law’s stony glare and can handle a weapon well enough to keep everyone else from taking what they have. No one here recognizes an authority higher than his own wits or the business end of a weapon, and no one has ever tried to impose one.
The majority of Dessicans come from off-world and only stay as long as they need to. They live scattered among the planet’s secluded mountain valleys, collecting in small settlements held together by mutual convenience. Others try to conceal themselves in plain sight in the two large cities, Shiloh and Aglakh. Many Dessicans are affiliated in some way with the Yridians or the Orion Syndicate, and either may exert considerable influence over what happens on Dessica II, but in no real sense do they control the planet. In fact, the Yridians on the planet belong to several different networks and sometimes work at cross-purposes, and the same is true of the rival Orion factions. In short, Dessica II boasts a society that is completely and absolutely open, for better and worse — mostly the latter.
Dessica II also hosts an aboriginal population of intelligent humanoids who have never cared much for the presence of off-worlders on their planet. Very little is known about them, although the Dessicans call them “Wawus” after their distinctive hunting cry, which they also utter when attacking their enemies. When the Romulans first arrived the Wawus fought them with bronze-tipped javelins and melee weapons. By the 23rd century they had developed crossbows and steel weapons, but not firearms. They seem to live in small groups, existing on subsistence farming and hunting.
The Wawus did not interact with the Romulan colonists at all except to attack them, and they feel pretty much the same way about the riff-raff who came after the Federation took possession of the system. No one has translated their language into Federation Standard, and no one even knows just how many of them there are, although those who bother estimate their population in the hundreds of millions.
Dessica II was discovered and settled by the Romulan Star Empire in 1650. Ranging far and wide during their early days of interstellar travel, long before the Federation even existed, the Romulans established an outpost here to claim the Dessica system. Those first Romulan settlers found the planet hostile, however. Its terrain made navigation difficult, and they could not find any natural resources worth exploiting. Worst of all, the Romulan enclave faced constant harassment from the Wawus, who used stealth and superior numbers to offset their steep technological disadvantage. By the turn of the next century, the Romulans had had enough. They abandoned Dessica II.
The planet remained untouched for the next 500 years, even as the Romulans confronted the upstart Earth civilization in the mid-22nd century. The Cheron Treaty, which formally ended the Romulan-Earth War in 2160, redrew the boundaries of the Romulan Star Empire so that the Dessica system now lay outside them, just on the Federation side of the Neutral Zone.
The UFP paid even less attention to Dessica II than had the Romulans. The planet lay too close to potentially hostile territory to rank high on the list of promising new colony worlds. If the Federation was too busy to “discover” Dessica II, though, some of its private citizens were not. Over time, the existence of this habitable world that the UFP authorities all but ignored became an open secret among those whose career choices mandated a good hiding place. As a result, outlaws, freebooters, mercenaries and spies of various stripes came to the planet, all of them seeking privacy in Dessica II’s rugged terrain.
By 2370, when Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard came there on one of his archaeological vacations only to run afoul of Arctus Baran, the world was a notorious hideout for rogues and cutthroats. Both the Orion Syndicate and the Yridians kept many operatives there. The Picard-Baran incident, in which witnesses thought they saw a Starfleet officer murdered in a seedy bar in Shiloh, finally brought down the light of official scrutiny. Even a detailed report on the intense and rampant criminal activity on the planet failed to spark any action to clean up the place. The reason for the Federation’s failure to act has never been determined, but it may be that criminal elements exert more influence in the UFP bureaucracy than they ought.
Places of Interest
Shiloh is Dessica II’s largest city, with a population of just over one million. Any estimate of its size must be taken with a grain of salt, however, since so much of its population is either transient or reluctant that anyone should know that they’re there. Since the city has no real civil government, it has no public buildings or monuments of any kind — except for the spaceport, which was built with Yridian money. It is simply a sprawling collection of bars, flophouses, vice dens and residences built with various kinds of ill-gotten gain.
Neral Station is the site of former Romulan settlement, and it is located on a hilltop 300 miles due south of Shiloh. Little can be found here now except the crumbled husks of buildings abandoned hundreds of years ago. It is a site of genuine interest to archaeologists, and in 2370 Arctus Baran came here in search of the legendary Stone of Gol.
- Burns, Eric, Kenneth A. Hite & Doug Sun. Star Trek Roleplaying Game Book 7: Worlds, Decipher, 2005. ISBN: 1582369097.