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|Time period:||Mid 28th Century - present|
|Capital world:||Niops VII|
|Ruler title:|| High Associator (Succession Wars)|
Director (Modern era)
|Military:||Niops Association Militia|
The Niops system was colonised by the Star League to conduct the first study of a falling star based on generations of direct observation. The first research teams settled the three habitable planets in the system, Niops V, VI and VII, in mid-2700 intent on studying stellar evolution, but found themselves cut off from the Inner Sphere when Stefan Amaris launched his takeover of the Terran Hegemony. The first contact that the isolated scientists had with the Inner Sphere was through the arrival of refugees from the Capellan Confederation, desperately fleeing the ravages of the First Succession War.
The tales the refugees brought of massive loss of life and destruction convinced the local population of the Niops system that they would be better off remaining forgotten by the Inner Sphere; the scientific communities within the system continued their elaborate research, while the Confederation refugees were slowly absorbed into a new social order as agricultural specialists and skilled labourers.
Over time, the descendants of the original scientific research teams became increasingly influential within Niopian society, forming a technocratic society with the scientists at the top, and the majority of the planetary populations trapped in an underclass after generations of bartering away freedoms in exchange for economic survival and education for their children. Education became the key means for allowing the scientists to keep the bulk of the population in check, whilst the scientific class enjoyed continued access to Star League level technology, becoming a cold-blooded, privileged elite loyal only to themselves. By the early thirty-first century the scientist caste had developed a "Master Purpose" that bordered on being a religion.
Possessed of abundant geothermal energy and with access to fusion technologies, the technocrats running the Niops association were still able to guarantee a comfortable standard of living for their subjects at the end of the Third Succession War, but the price the bulk of the population paid for that standard of living was complete subservience to the authority of their rulers.
Increased interest in the near Periphery, as well as recent political upheavals, have resulted in many changes for the Association. In the mid-3060s, the military adventurism of the Marian Hegemony prompted the Niops Association to sell centuries of novel research to corporate interests within the Inner Sphere. The outright sale and licensing of research has allowed the Association to pay for added protections. Further, increased awareness of the Periphery has drawn much positive attention to the Niops Association. Because of this increased profile, the Association has become the preferred destination for scientists of all sorts, but especially astronomers, within the Periphery.
After an election campaign lasting three months and which was heavily contested throughout, Rayanne Nellis was elected to the post of Director of the Niops Association's ruling government on the 2nd of April 3075. The election campaign had proved to be markedly different to previous campaigns, which had focused on social and economic issues and debate; the 3075 campaign didn't even focus on finding solutions for the various issues plaguing the association at the time, but instead involved little other than mudslinging between the political machines of Rayanne Nellis and her various opponents; at least one candidate, Chairperson Gary Tran, alleged that there was widescale voter fraud involving fake citizenship paperwork going on amongst the uncounted refugees in the Association. Despite the tenor of the campaign and confusion on the part of the voters on what exactly the various candidates stood for, the voter turnout for the election was the highest ever observed in the Association.
Nellis' term as Director was short-lived; a terrorist bomb was detonated within the Association Council's chambers on the 12th of November, killing more than a third of those gathered there, including both Director Nellis and Chairperson Tran. Chairperson Olsen was left critically injured and comatose in hospital, and with both Chairpersons and the Director dead or incapacitated Brigadier L. Jamison Fallon of the Niops Association Militia declared a state of emergency. Fallon dissolved the council, effectively placing the Niops Association under martial law. Chairperson Olson would remain in a coma for over a year before waking on the 16th of December 3076. The initial reports indicated that the device - which was hidden beneath the speaker's rostrum - was a low-technology device, incorporating unregulated items such as black powder, thereby escaping the detection systems put in place to identify high-tech explosives. A considerable degree of planning evidently went into the placement of the device and its construction.
On the 14th of January 3076 Captain Alicia Carmichael of the NAM was arrested in connection with the bombing of the association council, and charged with treason. Two weeks after being arrested, Carmichael was broken out of prison by the Black Heart Roses, a mercenary unit in the employ of the Niops Association; the prison breakout prompted a battle between the mercenaries and the NAM, with fighting between the two factions continuing until the end of February. The Black Heart Roses were exiled from the Association by way of punishment, but as the mercenaries were leaving Niops VII a mysterious explosion was seen that holed their DropShip. There were no known survivors.
The Niops Association was rocked by internal controversy and external assaults during 3077; with Chairperson Olson awake, tensions increased within the Association during the first half of the year as the pressure on Brigadier Fallon to repeal the state of emergency increased, culminating in Niops VI placing the other Niopian worlds under an embargo in July in an attempt to force the issue, only for Fallon to respond by ordering troops to break the embargo. Then, on the 20th of August Fallon was forced to redeploy his troops after a devastating raid from the Marian Hegemony saw the raiders sack Niops V while shattering the defending NAM forces. A month later, forces from Niops VI launched an invasion of Niops VII using supplementary mercenary forces to increase their strength, intending to depose Fallon; instead, the combat ground to a stalemate that inflicted increasing levels of damage on Niops VII.
A rescue force from the Free Worlds League left the nearby Romita system on the 20th of February 3078, tasked with recovering League delegates in the Association at the time; however, both the rescue force and delegates failed to return to the league. This led to much speculation on nearby worlds like Goth Khakar as to what was going on inside the Association; with the League rescue force apparently lost despite media assertions that it included anything up to a full 'Mech regiment plus support assets, rumours began circulating that either the Niops Association had a far larger and more capable military than had originally been believed, or that an external force had taken control of the Association and destroyed the League expedition. Some fingers were pointed at the nearby Marian Hegemony as a possible conquering faction.
In May 3078 local media in the Rim Commonality began reporting news from the Niops Association which claimed that both Brigadier Fallon and Chairperson Olson had been killed when a nuclear weapon of some kind had been detonated on Niops VII, leaving the Association without any surviving senior members of the government. The media also reported unsubstantiated rumours of subsequent additional nuclear strikes against Niopian worlds, as well as reports of invading forces from outside the Association. Media sources within the Commonality openly speculated that the Association was falling victim to either the Marian Hegemony, the Word of Blake or another unknown Periphery faction and called upon the Commonality government to send military forces and humanitarian aid into the Association.
These assaults also resulted in the destabilization of the Association's government. The Association was in a state of anarchy until a new government formed in 3097 with the help of Interstellar Expeditions and the Republic of the Sphere. As of 3145, only archeology expeditions are tolerated, and those must come from some realm other than the Free Worlds League. After the Jihad ended, the Association's plans to build its own military equipment were scrapped, but they did create the Central Military School in 3133. This academy trains infantry and armor officers, but has a small (underfunded) MechWarrior program. The Niops Association Militia lost many of its most experienced officers during raids from the Marian Hegemony.
- The Periphery (sourcebook), p. 139, "Niops VII"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 10
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 15, "Timeline of the Jihad"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 53, "The Jihad In Review"
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3076, p. 37, "Nellis Wins Heated Election"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 19, "Timeline of the Jihad"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 55, "The Jihad In Review"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 23, "Timeline of the Jihad"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 56, "The Jihad In Review"
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3076, p. 53, "Association Council Bombed!"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 20, "Timeline of the Jihad"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 57, "The Jihad in Review"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 58, "The Jihad in Review"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 79, "Rescue Gone Awry"
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 80, "Nukes On Niops"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 116, "Lesser Periphery And Pirates"
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 187
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 190
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 199