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While the End Time collapse was unexpected by the general population but many individuals, especially those of a more pragmatic attitude, saw the writing on the wall in the first few months. They realised that, not only their way of life was unsustainable, but their population was likewise far too high for everyone to survive and so the first Refuges were planned.

These ranged in size and complexity, from a two man farm in the depths of a forest, to the city state of the Centurian Elevator[1], but most ranged between a village size (100-500 people) to that of large towns (5000+) and were set up in isolated locations on the planet’s surface. What set the refuges apart was the complete redesign of society within them to be sufficient without the use of heavy automation, particularly in farming, and in other key areas such as transport the responsibility for necessities became focused on what could be achieved by the community. If no one could make toasters, you ate bread, was a popular mantra by these fledgling communities.

Most were under prepared for the sheer scale of the disaster. The founders may have been at least aware of the danger, but many that focused on ploughs rather than machine guns found their towns swamped and destroyed by the starving hordes descending from the metropolitan areas[2]. The more isolated, the more sealed, those built on an asteroid six light seconds away tended to survive much more often, and so some semblance of natural selection occurred as the local government imploded. The more isolationist tended to survive, and so were successful and so ruled over the remaining states.

In some places the local government did weather the turmoil, but in the outer reaches especially it collapsed, leaving those with sustainable supplies of food and guns as the absolute rulers and more than a few tyrannical regimes sprang up. Most collapsed for a variety of reason, continued contact with a range of stellar states with a plethora of superior technologies, internal forces, or in some cases the planetary environment collapsing. Of course, contact with the Empire was the final nail in the coffin for these cultures as they were amalgamated into the main body, though many of the smaller settlements kept a sense of autonomy due to sheer insignificance.

As a point of interest orbital Refuges were very popular in the inner systems where there wasn’t enough wilderness to hide a good sized settlement. Many of these were much smaller than their land locked counterparts[3] but net some planets reached over ten million people living in a band of orbital habitats and standard of living tended to be much higher due to the ease of trade.

[1] It was rather a special case. The majority of the planet’s surface had been rendered uninhabitable during the End Time Wars and so it was the only state sponsored project at this time.

[2] Many of the surviving Refuges have strong roots in the local military forces, who integrated into the enclaves when they realised that the situation was hopeless, to ensure their men’s survival. The mutual contract has persisted into the modern age and more than a few peasant and warrior caste cultures have sprung up.

[3] Though it was at this time where humanity quadrupled the number of colonised stellar bodies as the planets passed over as unviable for colonisation before suddenly because cheep and isolated real estate.


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