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|Time period:||3048 - 3148|
|Capital world:||Gillfillan's Gold|
|Military:||Rim Collection Militia (RCM)|
Formed in 3048, the Rim Collection is a small Periphery state consisting of former Rim Worlds Republic worlds outside the boundaries of the Lyran Alliance that survived the centuries since the collapse of the Republic at a subsistence level.
Building Towards Unification
The popular movement to found a new nation, dubbed the Unification Movement, began in the late 3030s across six former Rim Worlds Republic planets in the Periphery. Each of the worlds had been given "independence" as a result of the collapse of the Republic in the wake of the Republic-Commonwealth War, whether they wanted that independence or not, and each had managed to maintain a viable population despite a precarious hand-to-mouth existence plagued by bandit attacks. Each world had records dating back to the era of the Republic, and regarded the era of the Republic with nostalgia, but efforts to form alliances between one or other neighboring world had foundered over the centuries because of the ingrained independence of the respective local populations. The Unification Movement worked hard to overcome this prejudice, looking to create a more prosperous future than one of simple survival.
In the early 3040s the work done by the Unification Movement had managed to make active discussions possible and palatable between the populations of All Dawn, Caldarium, Gillfillan's Gold, Otisberg, Slewis and Waypoint - due principally to the involvement of James Moroney, a university professor who had retired to Gillfillan's Gold to pursue life as a farmer. A friend of Moroney's, William Roberts - who also happened to be a councilman on Gillfillan's Gold and a passionate backer of the Unification Movement - discovered a vidtaped lecture Moroney had given on self-determination, and recognized Moroney as the kind of stirring speaker the Movement needed to gain traction. He persuaded Moroney to become involved with the movement in 3043, and following speaking tours of each world by Moroney the Movement had tipped public opinion in its favor by 3046. The discussions hit a crisis point in November 3046, however; a devastating pirate raid on Otisberg gave substantial weight to the argument that as the six planets couldn't hope to muster the resources to employ a strong enough defensive force to repel pirate attacks, forming a new nation would actually make matters worse for all of them as it would attracted increased attention.
The event that tipped the balance once and for all was the arrival of Able's Aces, a mercenary unit, on Gillfillan's Gold in 3047. The Aces' commanding officer, Major Jerry Able, had been born on Otisberg, and the Aces were on Gillfillan's Gold to resupply after being burned by employers in the Inner Sphere. Able attended one of Moroney's lectures and was so impressed that he offered to provide the Aces as a volunteer military for the Rim Collection, to have the Aces train planetary militias on each world, and to pay unit members out of his own pocket until the government was able to pay them. This proved popular with the individual members of the Aces, and when the offer was publicized across the six worlds the remaining opposition to unification faded away. In 3048 representatives of each of the six worlds signed the Rim Collection Charter, and James Moroney was sworn in as the first President of the Collection.
The Collection began as a fledgling agrarian democracy populated principally by independently-minded farmers who were used to only relying on each other. In the first decade of its existence, conditions in the Rim Collection steadily improved. The confederated planets started trading grains and iron ore with the Federated Commonwealth in 3053, trade relations continuing with the Lyran Alliance. Planetary Councilman Roberts also opened trade negotiations between Gillfillan's Gold and the Free Worlds League, with the promise of extending all trading rights to the rest of the Collection if he succeeded. However, the immense degree of autonomy given to member worlds by the charter slowed the pace of government to a crawl. Professor Moroney, seeing more possibilities for economic expansion with more centralized government control, pushed for a temporary expansion of the President's powers. Progress and economic growth had been slowed by the tendency of representatives for the individual worlds to put the interests of their own worlds first; Moroney argued for more central control temporarily to boost economic growth - through measures such as the proposed revitalization of Star League era tourist attraction Hunter's Paradise - and ensure that the benefits of this were shared equally by all of the worlds. The result was a political firestorm, with opinion sharply divided among the population and with the majority of the Council of Planets opposed to Moroney, while local politicians and business leaders favored the proposal. In 3060, with arguments in full swing, Moroney was assassinated via a massive car bomb that struck the Presidential motorcade, killing him and dozens of innocent civilians.
Those who killed Moroney intended for his death to bury his ideas for good; instead, Councilman William Roberts was elected President with a considerable majority, and while he had opposed Moroney's ideas, his discovery that powerful planetary councilmen were blocking the investigation into Moroney's death led to a profound change of heart. Drawing on staunch backing from Able's Aces and the same local political and business leaders he had been opposing, Roberts enacted martial law for six months and rebuilt the government of the Collection from the ground up. While martial law was in place Roberts worked hard to highlight the benefits of Moroney's ideas, and put himself on the line by calling for new elections three months after he lifted martial law. Roberts won the election once again, and was re-elected President in mid-3061, with his term of office due to end in January 3068. Roberts remained clear on his intention to retire as the end of his term drew near.
Reopened in 3057 and with its jump station reactivated, Hunter's Paradise was just beginning to attract the interstellar clientele it once did long ago and becoming the Collection's cash cow in the process, when the FedCom Civil War and Blakist's Jihad disrupted interstellar travel to the Collection. While still luring the intrepid, the volume of secondary trade such visitors brought to the Collection declined greatly.
The Collection fostered trade agreements beyond Lyran Alliance, with the Abbey District of the Free Worlds League becoming a major customer, as well as the Southwestern Worlds (also called the Trinity Worlds). Trade expanded substantially after the Collection awarded the contract for operating HPG systems to ComStar, snubbing the Blakists (and effectively ending trade negotiations with the Principality of Gibson). Trade with the Magistracy of Canopus was anchored around native artisanal grains and luxury foodstuffs produced on Gillfillan's Gold, Slewis and Waypoint, with "Waypoint Wheat" being particular popular in the Canopian microbrewery industry. In exchange, the Magistracy traded both medical supplies and personnel, which were in much demand within the Collection The Abbey District bought large quantities of grain, fruit and livestock, but the plumberries native to All Dawn were the most popular Collection export in the Southwestern Worlds - while gourmets in various markets praised the flavor of the plumberries, the Southwestern Worlds were enamored for the potent wine made using them. The Taurian Concordat continued to purchase iridium from the Collection in exchange for finished goods up until the outbreak of the Jihad, but early efforts to foster trade with the Illyrian Palatinate ended when the Palatinate was conquered by the Marian Hegemony. The Collection's trade with the Lyrans also included the export of exotic wildlife captured on Hunter's Paradise by Collection-sponsored hunting parties, with the wildlife destined for zoos and collections in Lyran space. Prior to the Jihad the Collection used the Lyran Kroner as its primary form of currency.
The Collection Council replaced the Council of Planets under Roberts' reforms; Jerry Able was awarded one of the Council seats and argued vigorously on defense issues, with the Aces coming to regard themselves as very much a part of the Collection, having been paid for their services with a large landholding on Otisberg.
By the eve of the Jihad the population of the Collection had reached approximately eight million, and was an ethnically diverse mix. Much of the local population could trace their roots back to the Republic, which continued to be viewed with nostalgia - although with the majority of those who hearkened back to the Republic striving to make clear that it was the "real Republic" they adored, not the would-be empire built by House Amaris. A vocal minority of the population called for the Collection to be the basis for reviving the former Republic, but the vast majority of the population regarded those doing so as a collection of cranks, and ignored them. A substantial element of the population came from Lyran space, adding Germans, Dutch, Irish, Scots and Scandinavian elements to the populace, while emigres from the Principality of Regulus had added ethnic Bulgarians, Italians and Asians to the mix. There were also notable numbers of Han Chinese drawn from the Duchy of Andurien, having become dissatisfied with life in the Andurien worlds but unwilling to emigrate to the Capellan Confederation due to the tight social controls in place there. Following the Marian occupation of the Illyrian Palatinate quantities of Illyrian refugees also journeyed to the Collection, setting up towns on Gillfillan's Gold and Otisberg. Roberts' administration offered generous immigration terms, with Roberts intent on doubling the population by the late 3070s.
Increased interaction with outsiders wasn't an entirely positive experience for the native population, however; stubborn and independently-minded, the locals treated visitors with a degree of reserve, and some early unfortunate encounters between the drunken crews of interstellar ships and local women on Slewis and Waypoint made a significant impression on the locals, despite the local women giving as good as they got and the number of incidents dropping substantially once word spread as a result. Despite these problems, the inhabitants of the Rim Collection generally preferred to talk through problems, rather than resorting to violence as a first resort. While entirely willing and able of administering justice when deserved, the marked tendency of the local population to talk first was a reflection of their national character; having paid a high price to achieve the relative prosperity enjoyed by the Collection, what most Collection natives generally wanted was to be left alone.
Able's Aces performed admirably in defending the Collection, fending off raids on Caldarium and Slewis by Morrison's Extractors and eventually crippling the pirate band, as well as training the Rim Collection Militia on each of the six worlds of the Collection to bolster the two Battalions worth of serviceable BattleMechs the nation had been able to outfit. The only sour note was the Aces' response to the efforts by a few councilmen for the Collection to hire more mercenaries, with the Aces stonewalling these efforts as unwanted encroachment on what they considered their turf. However, the Aces' interference with the Collection Council also had an immense positive benefit; Colonel Able's constant insistence on refusing the Word of Blake's enticements to join them in the Jihad allowed the Rim Collection to avoid the fate suffered by the Circinus Federation. By 3081 the Rim Collection was building its own BattleMechs on Otisberg, although the 'Mechs were based on RetroTech technology.
Compared to many realms, the Rim Collection was able to weather the Jihad with relative ease, in large part because the six-world nation was simply too small to attract the attention of the factions involved in the war. Lacking any formal training academy, the Collection continued to rely on the Ace's role in cadre training the Militia. A string of attacks against the Collection by raiders in the late 3070s helped to hone the Militia's skills, although the Militia fared relatively poorly and suffered casualties. Despite the Militia outnumbering the Aces by 3079, the Aces remained the more skilled and better-equipped of the two military formations within the Collection.
The Dark Age
By the time of the Dark Age era, the Collection had grown to seven worlds, although the worlds of Caldarium and Slewis had become independent periphery worlds again; having claimed Hunter's Paradise, the newly-settled worlds of Able's Glory and Moroney were counted as members of the Collection.
The Collection claimed Hunter's Paradise formally in 3099 - backing the claim with the posting of a company of Able's Aces, and proceeded to open a recharge station at the system zenith jump point. To make access to Hunter's Paradise easier, the Rim Collection went further into debt to establish the Able's Glory system, originally as a waystation for JumpShip servicing and as a site from which to provide greater security for traveling researchers. The cost of the two efforts was the driving reason in the decision to break away from the Collective made by Caldarium and Slewis, but Able's Glory - named for Colonel Frank Able, now a beloved figure in the Collection - proved to be a source of immense quantities of germanium. That germanium proved an economic boom, with the Collection actively trading the germanium to the Lyran Commonwealth, while the increased accessibility to Hunter's Paradise and the additional security available to those traveling there prompted increasing amounts of interstellar investment in the Collection.
During the Dark Age the Rim Collection's military industrial base expanded slightly; Rim Motors of Otisberg began producing quantities of light BattleMechs, drawing in part on weapons produced by the main manufacturer of military hardware within the Collection, the newly-formed Able's Hunting Arms, Limited. AHA - which was owned and operated by Able's Aces - was ostensibly the manufacturer of personal weapons and 'Mech-grade machine guns and autocannon for the personal security of those intending to visit Hunter's Paradise, but continued to provide the greater part of its production directly to Rim Motors.
The role of Able's Aces within the Collection continued to grow during the Dark Age; in addition to being the core of the Rim Collection Militia and the owners and operators of AHA, the commander of the Aces controlled not one, but two votes on the Rim Collection council - one due to the military position occupied by the Able's Aces, and a second as the representative for Able's Glory. More than just a military unit, the Aces grew to occupy a position as celebrities as well as skilled warriors.
By the Jihad, while still formally listed as mercenaries, the Aces had been employed so long by the Collection that many viewed them as a formal part of the nation's military.
Rim Collection Militia
By the eve of the Jihad the Rim Collection Militia consisted of three combined-arms battalions trained by the mercenary unit Able's Aces, who were also contracted to provide long-term defense for the Collective. The militia was well-trained and enjoyed a number of victories during the first two decades of the Collection's existence, giving them a grim confidence that they could deal with pirate encounters. The Third Collection Armored Battalion completed its training in late 3067, and having been built using material salvaged from the battles with Morrison's Extractors, included a number of Star League-era BattleMechs originally recovered by the Extractors.
Historical Map Gallery
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 174, "Aces In The Hole"
- First Succession War, p. 101, "Other Fragments"
- Shattered Fortress, p. 90, "Dissidents and Breakaway States"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 173-174, "Beginnings"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 168, "Minor Periphery Powers"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 174-175, "Coming of Age"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 17B, "Hunter's Paradise"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 175, "Economics"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 90, "Rising Tide: Wealth and Poverty in the Magistracy"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 117, "Economics"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 194, "Periphery Currencies and Exchange Rates"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 176, "Society and Culture"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 192, "Frontier Values: Similarities and Differences"
- Field Manual: 3085, p. 133 "The Periphery - Minor Powers - Rim Collection"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 117, "Lesser Periphery States"
- Field Report: Periphery, p. 3, "Periphery Overview"
- Field Report: Periphery, p. 7, "Academies and Command Centers"
- Field Report: Periphery, p. 16, "Lesser Periphery States' Forces"
- Field Report: Periphery, p. 19, "Irregular Forces"
- Touring the Stars website (defunct), WizKids
- Map of the Inner Sphere 3130
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 187, "Rim Collection"
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 190, "Rim Collection"
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 199, "Rim Collection"
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 190, "Fronc Reaches"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 175, "Battlefield Assets"