Star Type (Recharge time): K0V (191 hours)
Position in system: 4 (of 12)
Time to jump point: 5.48 days
Number of satellites: 1 (Zambezi)
Surface gravity: 1.09 g
Atmospheric Pressure: Standard (Breathable)
Equatorial temperature: 31 degrees (arid)
Surface Water: 67 percent
Recharging station: None
HPG class: None
Highest native life: Reptile
Population: 17,500,000 (3090, est)
Socio-Industrial levels: D-D-C-D-D
Landmasses (Capitol city): Chicumbo, Goba, Macia, Muxia, Quelimane, Zavora (None)
From space, Zumbo looked ideal for colonisation. Large oceans covered two thirds of the planet’s surface, suggesting an environment that would be well suited to human life and development. Actual exploration dashed those hopes, revealing that the seas were heavily alkaline due to their mineral content. Furthermore, those same minerals permeated the soil, making it incompatible with Terran plants.
Those same minerals also made the planet desirable for exploitation, which saw groups from the Draconis Combine, Federated Suns and Terran Hegemony all establish operations on the planet. Initially dependant entirely on imported food and water, a desire for expansion (and no small amount of lobbying on the part of Hegemony corporations) saw the construction of a number of massive water purification facilities across the planet. While these facilities were enough to support the population, they also served as the launchpad for a much bigger and more ambitious project. Extensive landscaping was used to create new rivers and large lakes, while expanded construction of water purifiers and even atmospheric converts aimed to transform the oceans into something more Earth-like.
The process was only partway complete when the Periphery Uprising broke out, followed by the Amaris Coup. Fearful for their own future and engaged in an unusual degree of foresight, the largest colonies on Zumbo came together to form a semi-autonomous government to help maintain order and living conditions until the current crisis ended. However, as years turned into decades, it became clear to the ruling planetary parliament that things were never going to go back to the old normal.
Following the collapse of the Star League, the council strengthened its power, focusing on protecting the continued operation of the vital water purification facilities that were keeping the population alive. Unfortunately, this success would have unforeseen consequences. Starting in the 2830s, the world was raided numerous times by pirates who struck at the vital water processing facilities for parts. These attacks cost the world several of the major processors, forcing an end to the oceanic conversion program.
Worse came in 2858 when Zumbo was invaded by Onverwacht, who were seeking to take the planet for their own. While still nominally a part of the Outworlds Alliance, the world was effectively on its own. Realising that their forces were outmatched and that fighting would risk the destruction of more vital, irreplaceable technology, the planetary council opted to surrender and incorporate themselves into the Onverwacht Republic. Any hopes for a peaceful transition or rule were dashed after the planetary council were executed and replaced with a new leadership that authorised a planet-wide looting campaign. Over the next three years, the occupying mercenaries looted whatever they could while leaving behind only enough to keep the population alive.
The collapse of the Onverwacht Republic was not the end of Zumbo’s nightmare by any means. The remaining population were left without a central government and a shortage of clean water. Furthermore, they had no way to replace the purifiers that had been damaged or destroyed during the occupation. A weak coalltion government tried to pull the planet together, but instead collapsed due to internal pressures and renewed pirate attacks.
Facing little opposition, many of those pirates chose to set themselves up as warlords, effectively carving up the world amongst themselves. The late 29th century was characterised by wars between these would-be conquerors, which served to do little except further deplete an already wounded world. However, all involved did make one small concession to reason by declaring the remaining water purifiers to be off-limits to attack. Instead, the warlords sought to ‘claim’ them by controlling the territories around them, effectively turning the water supply into a means of enforcing their will.
With few of them having interstellar or even interplanetary transport, Zumbo’s warlords were limited to fighting each other. The constant low-level ‘water wars’ of the 30th and early 31st achieved little but to keep the population poor and technology levels low. These conflicts largely ground to a halt simply due to the exhaustion of the factions involved rather than any one group achieving dominance.
At present, Zumbo is somewhat stable but far from comfortable. The planet’s oceans have largely reverted to their pre-terraforming state. A number of the artificial lakes and inland seas created by the Star League survive, and serve as the population’s sources of drinkable water. As such, most of the inhabitants are clustered inland while the coastal regions are abandoned. Living conditions are poor, with shortages of food and water common, and little access to advanced technology or medicine.
The remaining warlords rule largely through force of arms and control of the water. Their armies are dominated by conventional infantry and a smattering of armour, with each also possessing a few ancient BattleMechs. With next to no interstellar transport at hand, they are more focused on each other than off-world expeditions.
(Unfortunately for us, IE really missed the mark there. Sometime after the Jihad, several of the warlords consolidated into pirate bands, complete with dropships and Jumpships. No idea how this happened, but its possible that there were some external factors involved. They’ve been engaged in on-off raiding of other worlds for the last few decades, including a couple of clashes with the Grave Robbers nad now us. Putting them down would go a long way to helping clean up the neighbourhood. Otherwise, Zumbo doesn’t really have much to offer us)