An Unauthorised Colony World (UCW) is the term applied to any colony, settlement or outpost established without UN agreement. This UN Agreement was brokered by the four main human factions and several influential megacorporations during the Second Age of humanity under the guise of a safety initiative – although in reality it was more designed around saving the best planets for these interested groups.
Each of these groups sent out scouts and probes – often automated – into unexplored space. These ships and robots were tasked with finding habitable planets or valuable minerals. Such information was then stored away in secret for later use.
All kinds of people sought to establish colonies of their own. Some people desired to escape the overcrowded Core Systems, others wanted to strike it rich or live outside of government control. But even large, well-funded groups of people lacked the necessary information about places they could journey to. The first round of UCWs were established by sheer chance; for every expedition venturing forth into the unknown several would be lost and never heard from again. The rules of the game changed after the unprecedented intervention of an entity calling itself Veritas.
Rumours abound about Veritas. Some believe Veritas is a rare collaboration between eminent computer hackers, some that it is just one person, others argue Vertias to be some secret AI program cut loose from corporate chains. Veritas had accessed and collated every government, corporate and UN record about these newly discovered, unclaimed planets and proceeded to dump this data across the Public ‘Net for anyone to read. This huge swathe of information gave fresh impetus and hope to groups wanting to escape the Core Systems and several significant convoys were established.
These groups – as well as Veritas – were disavowed by all authorities, up to and including the UN. But they stopped short of using force to stop these groups from leaving; a Resolution was instead passed that said all UCWs sacrificed protections afforded to them by various charters. They were effectively ostracised; though several of the anti-government groups were decidedly nonplussed.
UCWs can be effectively split into two rough groups; residential and industrial. The former types were set up by people desperate for space of their own to live in, away from the crowded Core planets. These residential settlements tend to be on worlds in the human-habitable range; not too warm, not to cold, average gravity and a predictable climate. Aside from farming and the construction of necessary infrastructure, residential colonies tend to be light on industry. They provide new markets for smugglers and independent traders to sell their produce to. The Jaipur colony is a good example of a residential settlement.
Industrial colonies were established to exploit resources, materials or caches deemed valuable and extractable. These worlds featured less in the way of ‘home comforts’ and were driven predominantly by profit. Industrial worlds provided similar opportunities for independent traders; this time as a place to buy valuable cargo to sell elsewhere. A thriving black market soon popped up; minerals and resources mined in the unregulated Rim could be sold to Corporations in the Core for a significant profit. Some corporations even broke the rules to join in; Blackmane’s colony on Dau III being a significant example.
Several of these colonies didn’t last in the long term; some suffered from lack of food, harsher than expected environments, disease, infighting or external threats. These external threats meant some colonies – especially those mining for valuable materials – funded their own militia or hired one in. Another black market – this one for military equipment – was created in order to supply this need.
There are no thorough records of UCWs; this information is usually shared on an ad-hoc basis throughout the Rim. Even so, stories have spread to the Core about these frontier worlds falling victim to frightening external threats, such as marauding Wun’Tux BroodClans. Local militia is seldom strong enough to protect a colony against such a threat and images, video and other recordings of attacks spread through human media outlets like wildfire. Even so, the ‘rogue’ nature of these colonies means they are not offered protection from any human military expedition force. The loss of the Jaipur colony was effectively ignored by a USEF task force on exercises nearby.