|This world is very fabled for the Biargeian edible poet.|
|Old Galactic Catalogue Entry for 1:3 (Biarge)|
There are 7 direct Witchspace Routes from/to Biarge:
|Average prices are based on long-term established averages (the so-called arithmetic mean). The average quantity is based only on quantity values greater zero. Availability gives a percentage whether a good is available in this system. Please note that these are statistical data. GalCop regulations expressively forbids the broadcasting of actual prices beyond the current system.|
This world is very fabled for the Biargeian Edible Poet. The predominant race on Biarge are human colonials, who arrived in the early days of the 'Far Colonies', even before wormhole technology was discovered. The infamous colonial group, the Dead Poets' Society, were responsible for the genocidal consumption of the Biargeian Edible Poets, but this practice was eventually stamped out. Later, however, Biarge became known for the 'Biargeian Edible Poet to Soylent Green' conversion scandal, a food conflict that almost caused a civil war (Famous Planets OXP)
Biarge United Shipyards
Routes and Regions
The Iron Stars
Biarge is member of The Iron Stars.
The Traders Almanach
|In a low-cash situation, this is my advice: Best would be to buy computers or Biargese sledgehammers and transport them to Biramabi. There is a good chance that the computers give you a margin of about 51 to 58%. Furthermore, the computers can also be sold well enough in Encereso.|
|(Excerpt from: The Traders Almanach entry for 1:3)|
And now for something a little different
LittleBear: I've heard that Commander McLane was once suspected of involment in the infamous Biargeian edible poet to Soylent green conversion scandle. News reports of this incident are sketchy, but all accounts agree that the good Commander's Imperial Courier was in system at the time and that he was observed purchasing a large quantity of food blenders. Can he explain his highly suspicious actions?
Commander McLane: First of all, I would like to send a big barrel of good old Bibeian Lethal Brandy or two to the good Commander LittleBear as a gesture of appreciation—so to speak—for the little challenge he has put before me here. And a challenge it was, I can tell you that.
You still can read my first reaction above here, where I asked for a little time to sort out my memories. Well, what you don't know is that this was meant quite literally. I had to recollect my memories of the incident first—and again, be invited to understand this literally. I had to recollect them from a supercomputer—model Deep Thought—on which they had been archived since the events. The Deep Thought itself was stored—till a couple of days ago—in the high-security archives deep down in the cave system under the Naval Research and Development Complex on Ribilebi. I don't intend to bore you all with too many details, but since the day Commander LittleBear's — may he enjoy a deep sip of Lethal Brandy — invitation reached me, and after I had spent a little while reflecting on whether I should accept it or not—but did I have a choice anyway?—the Deep Thought exchanged hands and went to a secret facility in the outskirts of the Mabelala system on board my Imperial Courier, where the Medical Department of Mabelala Institute of Technology (MIT) maintains some of its more advanced laboratories. I then spend the last couple of days in these laboratories and in the hands of an expert team of neurologists—under the leadership of no other than Dr. Naylfyre Onstfur Jamlyng, the Fierce Blue Furry Lobster who back in the days when the GalCop charter was being negotiated invented the basics of the technique of hex-editing (his services subsequently proved to be invaluable for GalCop Special Branch, for instance when it came to complicated negotiations with unwilling or reluctant planetary leaders, and at many other times as well)—in order to reverse the hex-editing my brain had been subjected to after the Biargeian episode, and re-allocate my memories which had spent this considerable amount of time in the Deep Thought's opto-biological cluster—practically loss-free.
So now—after a quite brief recovery period, if you consider the nature of the procedure that has been performed on the delicate neural network that is layered in the meanders of my grey matter—I am finally able to give you a full account of the strange and extraordinary affair that took place in the seemingly harmless and welcoming system of Biarge.
You all have heard — I am sure — the expression Dead Poets' Society. But do you know where the term originated from, and — more important — which dark origins it has, and which frightening connotations were connected to it for the Biargeian edible poets? You probably don't, and that's why I'm afraid I have to start a little earlier in the story.
The entry for Biarge in the GalCop register is — as usual — short and snappy, and has to be — as usual — interpreted well and carefully in order to fully appreciate the nature of the conflict that had torn and shaken the world of Biarge for centuries:
System 3, Biarge (83,208), TL:11, Human Colonials, Communist, "This world is very fabled for the Biargeian edible poet."
The predominant race on Biarge are Human Colonials, who arrived in the early days of the 'Far Colonies', even before the wormholes were discovered. They built a communist society, and — as you all know — one of the most striking features of any communist society is its collectiveness. Individualism and aberrations from the collective norm are usually not appreciated virtues — to say the least. Perhaps this would not have been a major problem — the colonists as a whole had a quite collective mindset since the days of their journey in a Generation Ship, so communism fitted and fits them astonishingly well — if Biarge would have been an uninhabited world. Unfortunately it was not. As it turned out quite soon after the colonists' arrival Biarge had a considerable indigenous population of — you guess it — edible poets. These were the early days of colonisation, and the ethnography of edible poets was yet virtually non-existent. Thus the communist Human Colonials didn't quite know what to make of their indigenous neighbours — fragile creatures who hadn't formed a social organisation as developed and sophisticated as their human counterparts, but lived more or less scattered in the vast woodlands and the other habitable zones of Biarge (For those of you interested in the — now vastly more well-understood — ethnology of edible poets: Today we classify at least four distinct genera of them: the edible wood poet, the edible mountain poet, the edible savannah poet, and the edible swamp poet. There is still a (sometimes heated) debate going on about the question whether the coastal manifestation of the edible poet is to be treated as a genus of its own, or has to be classified as a subgenus of the respective adjacent inland form. Purely maritime types of edible poets have too rarely emerged yet to really have been studied at all; the most widely agreed hypothesis is that they are rather an aberration of the coastal type (or types—depending which side of the 'coastal escarpment' you're on) than a genus of its own. No aerial edible poets have been reported yet. There have been, however, sketchy descriptions recently of sightings of a possible new genus, the edible cave poet. Although another heated argument has risen immediately, whether they might not be a sub-type of the edible mountain poet. But this shall be enough of this kind of scientific narcissism and vanity.), only gathering for a few days each year for the only social interaction between them worth mentioning: exchanging poetry—and of course mating (in the ethnology of edible poets these two are considered more or less the same thing).
So among the Human Colonials on Biarge — confronted with the indigenous edible poets, who undermined any attempt of collectivisation purely by not showing up and continuing their usual life of scatteredness and individualism — something inexplicable and disturbing happened: They — more or less collectively — went out for what one can only call a genocide. Not that they specifically hated the edible poets. Nor did the edible poets at any point of the story pose any threat to the Human Colonials. They never made any attempt to defend themselves as a group, or even to defend their territories; wherever the newly arrived Colonials set up a settlement, the individual edible poets simply moved out of the way and deeper into the woodlands. So there was no threat, and actually not much interaction of any kind between the indigenous and the newcomers, hence no real reason for aggressiveness. The collective mind of the Human Colonials simply saw the edible poets as too different and alien to the collective, so it univocally decided that they had to be wiped out. It has to be mentioned here that at no point this was any officially approved government policy. On the contrary, the communist government almost at once established reservations for the indigenous inhabitants. But in this matter the government somehow completely failed to be the leading agent in communist society.
Instead smaller or bigger groups emerged all over the settlements, who called themselves Dead Poets' Societies. They had two main objectives: First, to strengthen the collective by pursuing common activities for the general welfare; and second: to hunt down and kill as much edible poets as possible, as their most basic and cheered common activity. In many cases the edible poets would be collectively prepared and eaten as well at the end of as successful chase, and this was seen by many of the Societies as the crowning — even in a sense sacred — moment of the collective consciousness. However, some of the bigger Societies got so successful that the sheer amount of brought down edible poets forbade the notion of eating them all; and the members of these societies eventually got tired altogether of eating edible poets. Yet still they continued with the hunt. And so they were forced to start thinking about other ways of disposing of dead edible poets. What they finally came up with is — of course — closely related to the scandal the exact circumstances of which Commander LittleBear — would you care for another Lethal Brandy? — desired to know from me.
While on Biarge the Dead Poets' Societies still dominated the social life of the collective, and the most successful of them piled up heaps of dead edible poets and were celebrated for it, one of the neighbouring worlds — discretion forbids me to name it here — was headed for a veritable disaster. It is an aquatic world, and naturally all its food chains start with algae. While developing rapidly into an industrial and highly technologised civilisation, its inhabitants never spent much thoughts about their dietary basis — after all, algae seemed abundant in the huge oceans. However, with industrialisation came pollution of the oceans, and with pollution the algae were not quite so abundant anymore, and then they became rare, and finally almost extinct. The planet suddenly faced the imminent danger of starvation. Food prices rose to heights previously unknown in GalCop space, the government made increasingly desperate attempts to at the one hand control the food prices and the inflation, and at the other hand find substitutes for the algae-based stable foods. Soylent Green was born. (Actually it was born a little earlier. The very first prototypes and batches were still made of the algae themselves, at a time when only the higher marine life had become too rare, and the population had been increasingly forced to fall back on the algae themselves as primary source of nutrients. Soylent Green was thought of as a practical solution to the transport-and-distribution problem, an extract of algae in a highly concentrated form. But soon the algae became increasingly difficult to get hold of, and the production lines had to search for another raw material for Soylent Green. This was, however, for political reasons kept secret from the population.) Some promising initial tests had been made with mosses, which happened to grow abundantly in the woodlands of Biarge. Thus an agreement was reached between Biarge and the starving neighbouring world about the export of mosses as basis for the production of Soylent Green.
And this is where the more infamous of the Dead Poets' Societies sensed a golden opportunity right in front of their noses: they could get rid of their piles of dead edible poets, and they could make a decent profit while doing so. The mosses were exported in a blended form, a thick emulsion. It was relatively easy to add up to one quarter — in some cases even up to one half — of blended dead poet to the mix. The combination of nutrients wasn't too different, and the intense green colour of Biargeian mosses helped covering the fact that the emulsion consisted of other ingredients than pure moss as well. The infamous Biargeian edible poet to Soylent Green conversion scandal was on its way, and the Dead Poets' Societies involved made hundreds of thousands of credits.
Of course it is one thing for a common food blender to be fed with mosses, but a completely different thing to be forced to shred and blend dead edible poets. In the latter case the wear-out is considerably higher, so the food blenders used by the Dead Poets' Societies had to be constantly maintained and — eventually — replaced. In other words: the market for food blenders flourished on Biarge.
At the same time the collective conscience of the Biargeian communist Human Colonials was beginning to awake. Or perhaps the pro-edible poet government propaganda was finally bearing fruit; whatever. Anyway, the first collectives were beginning to question the age-old practise of the Dead Poets' Societies. Was it really right to hunt the edible poets to the verge of extinction? Nobody doubted the basic usefulness of the Societies for the collective, and their first objective was widely and collectively acclaimed. But slowly the first Dead Poets' Societies took a turn and underwent a transformation, and more and more Societies followed their example. Instead of hunting the edible poets and eating them in a celebration of collectiveness, they turned to recovering, reconstructing, reciting, acclaiming, and appreciating their poetry. Still they were having meetings which were a celebration of collectivity, and consisted of a common meal and common activities, but the meal was no longer made of dead edible poets, and the common activity was centred around the dead poets in a completely different way. During this process a new idea of general welfare emerged among the changing Societies: suddenly the protection of the few still living edible poets became a collective goal.
It has to be pointed out here that this change only involved part of the Dead Poets' Societies. Perhaps half of them, perhaps two thirds. And you can certainly imagine the strain this put on the collective Biargeian society. The Human Colonials found themselves divided into two groups with contradicting ideological points of view. Now the world of Biarge was deeply in a crisis. And the conflict was not only ideological in nature, but erupted violently. Biarge was headed for a civil war. The 'traditional' Dead Poets' Societies radicalised. They started to more or less openly support the conversion of dead edible poets to Soylent Green, which still was a big business for those Societies directly involved in it. The 'New Kind' Dead Poets' Societies, on the other hand, didn't take long to transform the fight from ideology into practice. Transports of dead poets became targets of attacks, food blenders were sabotaged. Whatever acts of insurgency you can imagine, they were committed by the new Societies, and each time with a dead poet's poem on the lips of the insurgent, or printed on a red banner found at the scene.
One of the results of the guerilla attacks was that the price of food blenders skyrocketed around the Biarge system, and the old style Dead Poets' Societies had to go to ever greater lengths in order to secure a sufficient supply, and therefore a sufficient output of Soylent Green. About at that time I was contacted by a representative of the 'New Kind' with a very tempting business proposal. He handed me a hefty sum of money, with which I should buy all the food blenders I could possibly get hold of, in order to drain the market and make it impossible for his adversaries to replace their sabotaged blenders. Why he came to me, I don't know. But his offer was too good to refuse; a brief calculation of the amount he had given me, the latest prices of food blenders I knew of, and the size of my cargo hold showed me that I would stay with a handsome fee after filling my Imperial Courier with one hundred tons of food blenders. My orders were to meet my contact at the far side of the sun, into which I then should dump all the blenders in front of his eyes.
I had only been mildly suspicious — the Biargeians seemed to be collectively crazy after all, half of them blending, the other half reciting dead poets. More fundamentally, I usually am not specifically concerned to go anywhere with my Imperial Courier — a really extraordinary ship, which can hold its own against a small armada, and frequently has. However, when I turned around Biarge's sun, carefully maintaining a distance that would allow me to fill my fuel tanks on the fly, but not stress my Heat Shields too much, I didn't really expect a small armada waiting for me. Nevertheless this is exactly what was materialising around my ship when I had reached the agreed position for my appointment. To this day I don't know what friggin' secret device allowed them to stay invisible on my scanner until I reached them; all I know is that I can swear they weren't there when I approached, and that this kind of technology should have no place in our Ooniverse to begin with! Needless to say, the surprise moment was on their side, and the fight was intensive, but brief. And I was in for another surprise, when what appeared to be the squadron leader approached my poor, disabled Imperial Courier, and I realised that it was a GalCop ship, as were a couple of other ships as well, among the more common sight of small and medium fighters of the Soylent Corporation. I had been framed, that much was evident. But by whom? Obviously my contact was not working for the insurgents after all, but had brought me here under false premises, in order to acquire a massive supply of food blenders — that part I could easily figure out by myself. But the whole truth turned out to be even more bizarre — and dangerous.
Finally my ship was boarded and I was taken and brought aboard the GalCop vessel, while workers started to unload the food blenders from my cargo hold, and take them to a Soylent freighter that had been waiting in the distance. On the opulently outfitted bridge of the GalCop ship my contact was grinningly waiting for me, which at this stage was no surprise anymore, as I had already figured out that part. However I was completely stunned by the presence of the man who stood next to him, his arms crossed before his body, and fixating — somehow assessing — me with a view from his cold eyes. He was nobody else than the former (now disgraced, although for completely different reasons) GalCop Chief of Security. His presence certainly explained the GalCop ships, but how was GalCop involved in the whole affair in the first place? This part I couldn't figure out for the life of me.
The two men exchanged a nod, and my contact started to speak. I won't bother you with all the details of his long and self-righteous speech, but it turned out he was one of the leading members of the most powerful old school Society. Actually he was the one who had brought them into their dirty business in the first place, secretly taking over one of the main moss-processing plants on Biarge, and mixing more and more blended dead poet substrate into the substance that was shipped in the Soylent freighters. How could he achieve all this? And how could he not raise the suspicions of the Soylent biologists and chemists over such a long time? The answer was — now it stood right in front of me — quite easy. He had secured the assistance of a distant cousin of his, working in a high and privileged position at GalCop — the Chief of Security, who — as I am reasonably sure — had made a small fortune out of his fees as a 'special advisor' to the Soylent Corporation and the Dead Poets' Societies' Society. Everything had went smoothly until the 'New Kind' Societies had unexpectedly changed direction, and threatened the unimaginably profitable business model. Everybody inside Soylent who started to ask uncomfortable questions had inexplicably vanished for an 'extraordinary surprise vacation'; and when he eventually returned to his job, he seemed changed in a peculiar way, like after a hex-editing. After a while simply no more questions were asked. Everybody just did his job, producing Soylent Green from the substance imported from Biarge. Of course you know what comes next. Now that I knew of the Chief of Security's dirty involvement, I was scheduled for the same procedure. Nobody should know about his extra-curricular activities, so to speak. And that's how my memories ended up in the opto-biological cluster of the Deep Thought, in the lowest level of the secure archive under Ribilebi's Research and Development Complex. Why the Chief of Security wanted them archived in the first place, instead of completely destroying them, only he himself could say. And he is currently not available for questioning, I'm afraid.
And here you have — of course — the real scandal behind the Biargeian edible poet to Soylent Green conversion scandal which stirred so much of the media attention those days. And you know all about the dark beginnings of the now fabled Dead Poets' Societies.
In the meantime — to round the story up — some reporters had got hints that there was something fishy behind the whole moss-extract to algae-extract business, so to speak. And I am sure you all remember the huge headlines in the Tionisla Chronicle: 'SHOCKING REVELATION: SOYLENT GREEN IS MADE FROM DEAD POETS', and the article itself, written by the eminent Anna Fereso, culminating in a furiously presented reconstruction of the events which was mainly derived from her own wildest imagination, and her famous final conclusion: 'Truth is: we don't know.'
And you all remember what happened then: The Soylent stocks plummeted, forcing the company that was previously known to stand-up comedians all over Galaxy 1 as the 'Solvent Corporation' to look for protection under some obscure GalCop bankruptcy laws. The food crisis fully hit the neighbouring world, until due to the collapse of most of the industrial activities the algae somehow recovered. And the Dead Poets' Societies, eager to make everybody forget their involvement in the whole scandal, collectively embraced the change of paradigm, and turned into what you probably associated with them in the first place: harmless cultural societies, devoted to strengthening their members, and the collective, by reciting and celebrating the poetry of dead poets during their regular meetings. The Biargeian edible poets themselves, by the way, finally enjoyed a degree of protection by the government, and a degree of appreciation by the Dead Poets' Societies, that allowed them to recover in number, and to flourish in their activities. In fact, the Annual Edible Poets' Poetry Exchange and Mating Festival has become one of the major cultural occasions and holidays throughout Biarge; and it was in the woodlands and mountain ranges of Biarge that the new-founded ethnological discipline of Edible Poets' Studies really took off. And it is pure and unfounded speculation that every now and then some members of a Dead Poets' Society are meeting for a secret hunt, in order to give another edible poet's opus the chance of being recited during the next regular meeting.
Now, my dear friend Commander LittleBear, I hope I could answer your question to your full satisfaction, and I sincerely hope the Bibeian Lethal Brandy did what I sent it to you for in the first place. If not — maybe you would like to enjoy another one?!?
- Commander Munchausen thread (this, sadly, was the end of the thread).