Riedquat (Rough Guide)
- Economic status: Poor Agricultural
- Technology level: 4
- Population: 2 billion Harmless Rodents
- Political status: Anarchy
- Radius: 6403 km
- G: 1.04 standard
- Neighbors (7.0 LY or less): Lave, Leesti, Diso, Uszaa, Orerve
“This planet is most notable for its fabulous cuisine but beset by occasional civil war.”
Riedquat is probably one of the least-visited worlds in all the eight sectors – and yet, for the adventurous, it’s quite possibly the place for the holiday of a lifetime. From the moment the plasma clears from the nose of your shuttle, you are confronted with a truly epic vista: mountain ranges stretch across the landscape, swathed in dense forest, and it’s well worth tipping the shuttle pilot an extra ten credits to take the scenic route down to Hard Harbour, the principal landing stage on the northern continent. The peaks of Trifros, when the early morning sun paints the glaciers rosy pink, are a sight to behold, and the final blast down the Axbow canyon gives the visitor the first of many thrills to come.
Debarkation formalities at Hard Harbour are minimal. Present your landing licence for inspection, and answer all questions truthfully without prevarication: all questions, no matter how specific, intimate or downright odd they may appear to be. Do not be offended, and don’t be concerned for your privacy; Riedquat’s Customs officials are bound by a solemn oath of secrecy. If they don’t like what they hear, they’ll simply refuse you entry, and you’ll have missed the chance of a wonderful experience: but they are judges of character, not of law or morality. Be bold, forthright and honest in your dealings with them, and all should be well. On no account attempt bribery. This is a mortal insult to the official’s damaan. It will certainly debar you from the planet and may even result in summary execution.
Most social interactions on Riedquat involve damaan, and a brief explanation is in order. Essentially it is the conceptual force projected by an individual into the cosmos, which both forms and informs the universe. Each person’s damaan interacts with every other and, in the Riedquat philosophy, creates an intermeshing multiplicity of actualities. Bribery, therefore, is grossly offensive, since the money offered exists as much within the reality of the bribee as the briber: in effect, you are asking someone to surrender their entire totality in return for something which, in a sense, they already possess.
To say that this can complicate commercial transactions is an understatement, and the concept of damaan is perhaps one reason why Riedquat is a poor agricultural world. Any purchase involves a series of considered negotiation, back and forth, before the bargain is struck. To anyone used to the economic bustle of the wider Co-operative this can be frustrating, at first, but once you relax into the placid pace of life on Riedquat you’ll find yourself relishing these simple, careful and polite exchanges. There is no currency, as such. Beyond barter, the medium of exchange is anything decorative which is small enough to be carried in a pouch (the quasi-marsupial natives, of course, have their own: you will in all likelihood need to equip yourself with a suitable substitute at the Hard Harbour landing). Almost anything can be used, from an unusual pebble to an intricate Maregeis snuffbox; actual values will fluctuate according to each individual’s aesthetic sensibilities. The traveller will find that a variety of offworld coinages can be useful in this regard, but you will have much more success with the colourful – though practically worthless, even on Geinona – Geinonar Chinx than with the financially sound, but leadenly dull, Riinus State Thalers. Familiarity breeds contempt, though, so be sure to mix and match!
If there’s one thing absolutely worth negotiating for, and indeed paying well for, on Riedquat, it’s the food. Trust me: pay the extra on the station to have your gut flora switched, and endure the minor discomfort. You do not want to miss the chance to eat Riedquat cuisine “in the flesh”, so to speak, without the deadening kiss of the sterilising irradiator. From simple soups and stews to elaborate banquets, these people are culinary masters, second to none. Your lower bowel might complain for a day or so beforehand but your mouth will love you forever after. And every meal is, of course, washed down with plenty of rich red Riedquat ale!
Beyond the food, and the simple joys of standing on alien soil, under an exotic sky, Riedquat mostly offers outdoor pursuits, such as mountaineering, white-water rafting and especially big game hunting. Native guides can be hired – or more precisely, invited to accompany you, if they care to pick up a mutually acceptable offering from one reality to another – and are generally competent and friendly, if treated with respect. Equipment, especially weaponry, is of course limited to tech 4: in any case there is little sport, and absolutely no projection of damaan, in bringing down a terathaw with a plasma rifle!
One important piece of advice: if you meet a Riedquater group wearing black feathers, give them a wide berth: they are on cerce, the projection of their collective damaan by physical force. Usually they will ignore anyone not similarly bedecked in black feathers: stay calm and passive and all will be well. Contests between groups on cerce can be bloody and protracted and may range over a wide area, though generally these will not intersect with camps or settlements. If you yourself are bedecked in black feathers, you may want to invest in some plumage dye before visiting.
All in all, Riedquat is a wonderful, unspoiled planet where you can get away from the teeming cares of the Co-operative and relax into a gentler way of life. The only significant problem, and the major risk, is getting there. Riedquat’s local volume seethes with pirates, from lone-wolf freebooters to bandit gangs. Still, for the bold at heart, the journey is at least possible – and if you make it through you can lie on the warm sands of Shander Bay, listen to the hushing surf, gaze up at the night sky to see the pinprick flashes of witchdrives erupting, and consider yourself one of the fortunate few!
|Pages in the Rough Guide to the Ooniverse.